Reflecting upon the deal that took Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United, Jose Mourinho spoke of his belief that the big Premier League rivals should conduct more transfer business together. Here are some of the deals that might benefit everyone if the clubs were willing to deal with direct competitors…
David Luiz to Arsenal or Manchester City
This one is simple. Chelsea want rid of David Luiz. His appearance off the bench against Brighton last weekend was the first sight of him in the first team since October; he has fallen out with Antonio Conte while also nursing a knee injury. But he is fit again, with Arsenal and Manchester City both in need of a ball-playing centre-half.
Arsenal have chopped and changed between back threes and fours, and Luiz has shown that he can slot into either, excelling particularly in a three. Laurent Koscielny aside, Arsene Wenger doesn’t have a centre-half he can fully trust, and Luiz would offer leadership qualities that the Gunners don’t possess at the back. They were even linked recently.
City are on the hunt for a centre-half this month, while keeping defensive midfield options in mind for the summer. Luiz could tick both boxes, but instead, Pep Guardiola looks likely to spluff almost £100million on Aymeric Laporte and Fred in the coming months.
Olivier Giroud to Chelsea
If Arsene Wenger needed to sweeten any deal for David Luiz, he could offer his wantaway centre-forward as part of the package.
Reports on Friday morning suggested Chelsea were considering a move for Giroud, having seemingly exhausted all other Premier League-based options, including Andy Carroll, Peter Crouch and Ashley Barnes.
Given the calibre of their other targets, it makes you wonder why Chelsea weren’t all over Giroud from the start. The France star is proven in the Premier League, where his rate of 154 minutes per goal over six seasons in the Premier Legaue is almost identical to Morata’s rate since he arrived in the summer. With the World Cup approaching, he’s hungry to prove a point and is eligible for the Champions League.
Giroud would need some convincing over the lack of a guaranteed start but he would surely see more action than the 359 minutes Wenger has offered in the league this term. Michy Batshuayi, who Conte would seemingly prefer not to use at all, has played just five minutes fewer.
Emre Can to Manchester United
Captain contract rebel will be a free agent in the summer and the midfielder is free to discuss a move with European clubs now. Juventus have been a consistent presence on the list of the German’s suitors, but Manchester United and Manchester City have both been credited with an interest.
As mentioned, City are on the lookout for another midfielder capable of filling Fernandinho’s boots, and Guardiola is said to have considered Can, whose supposed preference to rejoin Bayern Munich has been scuppered by Leon Goretzka agreeing to move there from Schalke.
United are also understood to retain an interest in making Can the first player to move from Anfield to Old Trafford since Allenby Chilton 80 years ago. United’s next transfer priority is likely to be a midfielder, with Michael Carrick set to retire and Marouane Fellaini out of contract in the summer. Despite the clamour for a new Carrick, Can could play alongside Nemanja Matic and take over the majority of Paul Pogba’s defensive chores.
Given Jurgen Klopp handed the captain’s armband to Can for the defeat at Swansea on Monday, Liverpool seem not to have given up hope of persuading the 24-year-old to recommit. But if they wanted to claw some money in now, rather than lose him for nothing in a few months, the Manchester clubs may well be interested.
Danny Rose to Manchester United in exchange for Luke Shaw
Mourinho described the Alexis Sanchez/Henrikh Mkhitaryan swap as a “fantastic deal” and this had the makings of another. But a lot can change in month or two.
Prior to mid-December, Shaw looked as though he was finished at Old Trafford, with the left-back seeing no action until United’s 17th game of the Premier League season. Mourinho has been very vocal in his frustrations with the England international, all the while his interest in Rose was clearly evident.
Rose himself has struggled for game time at Tottenham, partly due to injury, but that didn’t stop the speculation linking United with a £50million move. If that materialised, Shaw would have to go, and the chance to work again with Mauricio Pochettino would likely be too convenient for either to turn down.
But, during Ashley Young’s suspension, Shaw performed credibly, offering encouragement to the many United fans desperate for the 22-year-old to succeed at Old Trafford. Mourinho was very complimentary when discussing his defender last week. Of course, the manager then dropped him for the subsequent trip to Burnley. But Shaw finds himself on a much firmer footing with his club, which is more than can be said for Rose right now.
Daniel Sturridge to Tottenham
Tottenham could do with a striker who possesses pace, while an attacker to play wide would also strengthen Pochettino’s hand, especially if Erik Lamela departs, as has been suggested.
Given his other options at present, you would probably expect Sturridge to walk to Wembley if an offer from Spurs was forthcoming. Fitness permitting, of course. And there lies the issue with the England forward: durability.
But a fresh start may just lift his physical state as well as his mental condition. A fit and hungry Sturridge would be a huge asset for any Premier League side.