With the close of this summer’s transfer window fast approaching, clubs are in the process of scrambling around the market for any bargains or panic buys they can pick up. Many Premier League clubs go into the final day still unsure of many scenarios that could play out for or against them. We highlight five key transfers that could have a huge influence for the forthcoming campaign.
Alexis Sanchez ARSENAL to MANCHESTER CITY £60 million
Arsenal have pretty much hit rock bottom with their current crisis, but to hit the nail in their coffin key man Alexis Sanchez is highly likely to complete his much-anticipated move away from North London. Entering the final year of his contract, the Gunners would be daft not to cash in on a player who clearly wants out and looks dejected by their whole demise. Pep Guardiola has an arsenal himself at Manchester City, full of many of the best attacking players in the world. It’s questionable as to how they would fit Sanchez into that mix, but one thing is for sure – his former Barcelona coach will make the Chilean a star player. Raheem Sterling had been mooted as a surprising compromise in negotiations, but £60 million should really seal the deal. Arsenal have only themselves to blame and goodness knows where they would and will be without Sanchez’s magic touch. They owe it to the player to allow him to leave, and probably owe themselves the money too to avoid letting him go for nothing next summer.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ARSENAL to LIVERPOOL £40 million
It had appeared Oxlade-Chamberlain was heading across London to arch rivals Chelsea after a £35 million fee had been agreed, but now the 23-year old utility man is having a medical with his boyhood club Liverpool instead. Another embarrassing dilemma Arsenal have caused themselves, the Ox is entering the final year of his contract and has already made his mind up that he wants to jump the sinking ship. Like Sanchez, can you really blame him? After turning down the eventual offer of a contract extension last week, the former Southampton youth player epitomises the negativity around Arsenal under Arsene Wenger. Willing to take a significant pay cut to join the Merseysiders, Oxlade-Chamberlain wants to play in his favoured central midfield position instead of being deployed as a right wing-back under Wenger last season. He reportedly rejected Chelsea because he believed Conte was going to use him in a similar position as well. Prepared to earn £100,000 less than the reported salary Chelsea offered him, Oxlade-Chamberlain offers a refreshing change to the everyday money-grabbing footballer. A player with vast potential, hopefully the England international can thrive under the stewardship of Jurgen Klopp in midfield, especially after his nightmare appearance against the Reds on Sunday.
Riyad Mahrez LEICESTER CITY to ARSENAL/CHELSEA/AS ROMA £40 million
Ever since Leicester’s miraculous one-off title victory in 2015/2016, star man Riyad Mahrez was always likely to constantly be linked with a move to a bigger club. A player who has defied all obstacles to reach his way to the top, the Algerian international owes it to Leicester for everything they’ve achieved but they owe it to him just as much. This means they share a love-love relationship as everybody at the club understands his ambitions and wish to help him achieve his dreams. After handing in a transfer request at the beginning of the summer, Leicester City players, staff and fans have all warmly appreciated the situation. The player loves the club and the club love the player, but they all know Mahrez deserves this big-money move. As the summer has dragged on, no real concrete bids have arrived for the player other than AS Roma’s pursuit which ended well below Leicester’s valuation. The Foxes have every right to ask for around £50 million given transfers such as Gylfi Sigurdsson to Everton, but the last day of the window should make them open to helping their loyal servant secure his dream move. Arsenal and Chelsea among others continue to register an interest, so maybe a move should finally materialise. £40 million may force Leicester’s hand, but the player has continued about his business admirably and professionally. He will go with everybody’s blessings, but secretly they will be hoping the interest never turns to anything meaningful. Maybe wait until next January, Riyad?
Renato Sanches BAYERN MUNICH to SWANSEA CITY Loan
Perhaps the most surprising transfer rumour in the final week, Swansea City look likely to pull off an incredible coup by landing one of the world’s most highly-rated youngsters Renato Sanches. After the Portugal international’s £28 million move from Benfica to Bayern Munich last summer, Sanches has found game time few and far between. Considered a supernatural talent from his heroics at Euro 2016 last year, the Bavarian giants have found it difficult to always give the 19-year old enough minutes on the pitch. He could happily continue playing a bit-part role in Munich or he could get some consistent match experience elsewhere on loan. Swansea would undoubtedly make Sanches their key man and offer him star status that the other potential destinations wouldn’t. Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Juventus among other European giants were linked with moves, but a move to South Wales will give the player what he wants for a season. His former assistant coach at Bayern Paul Clement knows the player well and will be a key factor in the player choosing the Swans.
Mamadou Sakho LIVERPOOL to CRYSTAL PALACE £30 million
Going into the final day of negotiations, Liverpool and Palace still remain unable to reach a deal for the France international. The Reds have not budged from their £30 million valuation and will be well-aware of how desperate the South London club are for reinforcements. The player clearly wants the move after continuing to be frozen out by Jurgen Klopp at Anfield. A cult hero for his successful loan spell at Selhurst Park last season, he has remained Palace’s key transfer target ever since. The recent offer emerging from reports has been rejected at £25 million. Palace are really going to have to bite the bullet and cough up the money. They need Sakho more than ever, but Liverpool need their own funds for other potential transfers including Thomas Lemar. Hopefully it all ends well for all parties by the 11pm deadline. It is a transfer that must happen.