PREMS MOST NEEDED: CLUBS SEEKING THAT TOP FOUR BOOST
Despite the millionaire owners, state of the art football stadiums and some of the best managers the world has to offer, some of the Premier League’s traditional big six are still looking for that one final player to take them to the next level.
Whether it be through negotiations stalling or deals collapsing some of England’s top clubs haven’t quite yet brought in all the signings they want and just two days out from transfer deadline day it will be interesting to see whether or not these three deals get over the line.
Tottenham Hotspur – Centre-back
Spurs have had an extremely successful transfer window bringing in back-up keeper Joe Hart, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Matt Doherty from fellow Premier League clubs and Real Madrid duo Sergio Reguillon and Gareth Bale, with the latter returning back to Spurs after seven years away. Also, it looks as though finally a back-up striker is arriving in the form of Carlos Vinicius.
While everyone wondered whether or not Harry Kane would struggle to score in a Jose Mourinho team, the actual issue has come at the other end of the pitch. Spurs have far too frequently given away cheap goals and made stupid mistakes, leading Mourinho to look for that one final piece in this window to challenge for silverware.
Inter Milan are very much known as a club that buys wantaway Premier League players, but in this case the tables have turned. Milan Skriniar was an integral part of Antonio Conte’s defensive line in the opening months of the season, but after the restart the 25-year old found himself on the bench possibly a bit more than he would have liked.
The asking price from Inter has been set at £40m, but Spurs opened with a slightly lower £32m with add-ons which was swiftly rejected. Conte has suggested that if the right price comes in it will be accepted due to Inter still being active in the market and the Slovakian international is very open to a Premier League move.
Spurs could really do with his experience and leadership at the back and the £15m they’ve just received for qualifying into the Europa League group stages, could mean that we see Skriniar in North London very soon.
Manchester United – Winger
Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Anthony Martial topped the scoring charts as the most prolific front three last season, scoring a total of 55 goals - four more than the league-winning front three at Liverpool.
There is absolutely no doubt that this Manchester United side can score goals, the only problem for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the depth he has in those positions. If anyone of his front three were to get injured he would have to rely on: Odion Ighalo, Dan James & Jesse Lingard, not exactly an attack capable of scoring over half a century of goals. United desperately need another attacker and rather than looking to improve the depth, why not make the front three world-class.
As soon as the transfer window opened back at the end of July, the one deal looking most likely to happen was Sancho to United. But now three days out from deadline day and the two clubs are still struggling to agree on a final fee. The 20-year-old has been a revelation for Borussia Dortmund, playing just over 100 competitive games with a staggering 80 goal contributions.
Unfortunately for the Red Devils, when it comes to star players rumoured to be leaving, Dortmund are not a club that will buckle easily in negotiations. As seen in this window with highly reliable sports journalist Fabrizio Romano, reporting that Die Schwarzgelbel (The Black and Yellows) are holding out for £120M. Throughout the window, other names have been thrown around including Ismaila Sarr, David Brooks and Ousmane Dembele, but no United fan will be happy if Sancho doesn’t come through the doors of Old Trafford before the window closes.
Arsenal – Central Midfielder
Mikel Arteta is a magician, how he turned Arsenal from a team filled with arrogant characters and no backbone into a real force to be reckoned with this season in such a short amount of time, still baffles me. The Spaniard, who spent five seasons as a player at the Emirates, has worked wonders for the Gunners giving them a real identity to their style of play, adopting a Guardiola tactic from his time spent at Manchester City through passing out from the back. While the defense is still far from perfect, it is a darn sight better than what Arsenal fans saw under former manager, Unai Emery.
Somehow, Arteta’s biggest challenge since his appointment was not coaching a defense with David Luiz in, but instead ensuring that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang remains at the club. However, now that the Gabonese international has signed a new contract, Arteta can focus his efforts elsewhere. The signings of Brazilian nationals Gabriel and Willian have given Arsenal more firepower upfront and more security at the back but there’s just one thing missing.
The highly talented box-to-box French midfielder came through the ranks at Olympique Lyonnais, making his first-team debut at 19 years old and hasn’t looked back since. He was integral in Lyon’s run to the Champions League semi-final last season playing brilliantly against Manchester City, proving he could do it against a Premier League giant. His eye for a forward pass and contributions in front of goal has made him one of Europe’s hottest prospects and would balance out the Arsenal midfield brilliantly alongside a player already at the Gunners.
It looked as though Granit Xhaka’s Arsenal career was in the mud when he was stripped of the captaincy last October, but to be fair to the Swiss international, he turned his career at the Emirates around. Showcasing both a highly professional attitude and a display of impressive performances, now he just needs someone to play alongside him at Arsenal and Aouar could be the perfect partner.