10 Deals That Would Spice Up the Final Weeks of the Summer Transfer Window
As the summer transfer window approaches its conclusion, the deals are coming in thick and fast.
There have already been some major moves, with players such as Alexis Sanchez, Toni Kroos, James Rodriguez and Luis Suarez switching clubs. However, many of the game’s key protagonists are yet to move.
Doubtless some of them will change their employers before the window slams shut on Monday, September 1.
This article runs through 10 deals that would spice up the final weeks of the transfer window.
Liverpool are expected to wrap up a deal to recruit Mario Balotelli shortly, via BBC Sport.
According to Chris Bascombe of the Daily Telegraph, Brendan Rodgers is seeking a contractual clause to ensure that the striker doesn’t step out of line as has been his wont in the past.
Should Balotelli agree, a £16 million deal should be confirmed imminently.
In terms of “spicing up” the final weeks of the transfer window, they don’t get much more vociferous than Balotelli.
The Italy international brings more baggage than a travelling circus and will surely go someway to replacing the extensive controversy that left the club when Suarez left for Barcelona.
One senses, however, that the risk-to-reward ratio with Balotelli isn’t quite as encouraging as it was with the Uruguayan.
A potential debut against Manchester City would afford observers a particularly exciting glimpse into the wisdom of Rodgers' recruitment policy.
Legendary Cameroon forward Samuel Eto’o may be past his prime (the striker is now 33), but his time at Chelsea demonstrated that he still guarantees two things: headlines and goals.
His stay at Stamford Bridge may have been brief, but Eto’o, in his first foray into the Premier League, still managed nine goals in 16 EPL starts and contributed three goals in five starts for the Pensioners in the Champions League.
Despite his ageing legs, there are few poachers as pure as Eto’o, a fact which has dictated that there has been extensive interest in his services over the summer.
A move to Major League Soccer has been an option all summer, with Journal Du Cameroun, via MLSsoccer.com, reporting earlier this week that several of the division’s clubs were considering a move.
Jones also reported that Everton are considering a deal for the forward.
Finally, David Craddock of Goal.com reported Thursday that Liverpool have offered Eto’o a one-year contract.
The potential for combustion, should the former Barcelona man find himself leading the line at Anfield alongside Balotelli, would be immense!
An intriguing transfer tangle that has emerged only over the last few days is the tussle between Arsenal and Lokomotiv Moscow to sign Newcastle United midfielder Cheick Tiote.
Gary Jones of the Daily Star has indicated that the 28-year-old defensive midfielder is keen to try his hand at European football and is prepared to leave St James’ Park in order to get it.
The Ivorian would be a cheaper alternative to William Carvalho and Sami Khedira, and Wenger will likely find a willing vendor in profit-hungry Mike Ashley.
We often hear the line that Arsenal need an effective defensive midfielder to anchor a potential title charge. Either they need “bite” or a “bit of nastiness,” or they need someone who can offer something a little different than the players they already have.
James McNicholas of Bleacher Report argued recently that the club “still need a holding midfielder to complete their transfer puzzle.”
Stewart Robson, speaking to talkSPORT (via Anton Stanley), has also argued that Wenger needs to sign a defensive midfielder: “Ramsey, certainly Wilshere and Oxlade-Chamberlain, are the future of Arsenal, but they need a holding midfielder to come in and complement their attributes.”
Tiote, who has picked up a remarkable 42 yellow cards since arriving at Newcastle in 2010, would certainly offer something a little different to the Gunners’ current stable of midfielders.
Angel Di Maria
It was Jonathan Wilson, writing for Bleacher Report, who drew a parallel between Angel Di Maria’s potential departure from Real Madrid and Claude Makelele’s switch to Chelsea back in 2003.
Back then, Florentino Perez failed to spot the value of one crucial player, or “the tactical key” as Wilson puts it, and he offloaded him in order to cram more stars into the Galactico XI.
History appears to be repeating itself, but Manchester United or Paris Saint-Germain could well be the beneficiaries.
United, with a lesser spending power, would likely only be able to achieve a deal should the French giants pull out.
One senses it’s the end of an era at Juventus. Antonio Conte has departed and Arturo Vidal—one of the club’s most influential players—looks likely to follow him out of the door.
Giuseppe Marotta, the club’s chief executive officer, has revealed to Sky Sport (via Football Italia) that there have been no negotiations for the player, but Manchester United are hovering.
Louis van Gaal is yet to recruit that marquee signing that the club crave (and arguably need), and while Vidal doesn’t offer as much fantasy as some of the others on this list, he is a heavyweight operator and is the kind of player around whom the Dutch boss could build his new side.
A move is looking less likely than it was a few weeks ago, according to the Press Association (via The Guardian), but as the pressure grows on the Red Devils, Van Gaal may well return to Turin with a mammoth offer.
There aren’t too many things that divide north London quite like a transfer tangle.
The example of Sol Campbell’s switch from White Hart Lane to Highbury is one case, while Didier Zokora also enjoyed the early adoration of Spurs fans after snubbing Arsenal and choosing Tottenham when he first arrived in English football.
More recently, William Gallas and Emmanuel Adebayor have crossed the divide and become pariahs on terraces where they were previously adored.
Could Morgan Schneiderlin be the next player to come between these two bitter rivals?
While Southampton are insisting that the Alsatian midfielder won’t be allowed to leave, via Charles Perrin of the Daily Express, the Saints have proved that they’re amenable when the fee is right.
Should Spurs make a renewed offer, as Oliver Todd of the Daily Mail believes they will, then could Arsene Wenger resist the desire to try and ruffle his city rivals?
Don’t be surprised to see Schneiderlin have a divisive influence in north London over the coming weeks.
Pep Guardiola has identified Mehdi Benatia as a key figure for Bayern Munich as he attempts to take the Bavarian giants back to the pinnacle of the European game.
The German side have moved ahead of Benatia’s other suitors, and according to French outlet L’Equipe (as translated by 101 Great Goals), they are in the process of agreeing personal terms for the player.
Bleacher Report writer Paolo Bandini speculated recently suggested that Roma would have struggled to qualify for the Champions League without Benatia.
The Moroccan centre-back could forge a potentially impermeable centre-back pairing with Dante, Javi Martinez or Jerome Boateng.
He could provide the platform upon which Bayern could reclaim the Champions League title.
Miguel Delaney of ESPN FC believes, however, that the German side face competition from Manchester United for the player’s signature.
Despite Vadim Vasilyev’s protestations, as per L’Equipe (via Jack Wilson of the Daily Star), that Radamel Falcao will not be leaving AS Monaco this summer, a few of the continent’s big guns may well turn their attention to the Colombian hitman before the close of the window.
Liverpool have previously been linked with the South American, as per Jamie Anderson of the Daily Express, but their potential impending deals for Balotelli and/or Eto’o (as explored in previous slides) would seem to negate a big-money move for the South American.
Juventus have ruled themselves out of the running, as per Mark Doyle of Goal.com, but Hamish Mackay of the Daily Mail reports that AC Milan are targeting the striker as they attempt to replace Balotelli.
Falcao may have endured a tough season—largely due to injury—but he is a complete forward who all but guarantees goals.
Like so many of the other transfers on this list, Wilfried Bony’s proposed move to one of the Premier League’s big boys has bubbled away all summer without actually moving forward.
The Ivorian was believed to have been one of Rodgers’s key targets as the Northern Irish manager attempted to fill the gaping void left by Suarez at Liverpool, via Alan Nixon of the Daily Mirror. However, with Balotelli on the brink of a move to Anfield, it would seem that Bony no longer has a place on Merseyside.
This doesn’t, however, mean that Swansea City are guaranteed to keep their man through the coming campaign.
The £19 million release fee in the striker’s contract may well tempt the likes of Arsenal or Tottenham Hotspur (both identified as interested parties by Andrew Gwilym of the Daily Mirror), or indeed, any club keen to recruit a 25-year-old with a proven pedigree of scoring in the Premier League.
They are hard to find!
Another player who could be part of a continued exodus from Juventus is France international midfielder Paul Pogba.
The powerful central midfielder has won two Serie A titles and two Italian Super Cups in Turin, but he is yet to commit himself to a new deal despite Juve being keen to secure the player on a long-term deal, via Anthony Chapman of the Daily Express.
Pogba was spotted at Stamford Bridge following his country’s World Cup exit, fuelling rumours of a potential switch to Chelsea. Indeed, the dynamic 6-footer possesses all of the qualities that Jose Mourinho typically looks for in his central midfielders.
Should Pogba agree a new deal, it would surely end speculation that the midfielder could be set for a move away. His former club, Manchester United, are described as “admirers” by Richard Arrowsmith of the Daily Mail.