These six proposed intra-Premier League transfers are enticing but they are also fantastical and won’t receive the Fabrizio Romano ‘here we go’ treatment…
Folarin Balogun (Arsenal to Chelsea)
Chelsea have spent over £900m on new signings since Todd Boehly arrived with his deep pockets 16 months ago but they are somehow still lacking a world-class striker.
Nicolas Jackson has made a promising start at Chelsea since his £30m switch from La Liga outfit Villarreal, but he does not strike me as a player capable of scoring 20 goals per season on a consistent basis. Or any basis.
While Victor Osimhen or Dusan Vlahovic are arguably the players best-placed to solve Chelsea’s goalscoring issues, they are actually being linked with Arsenal youngster Balogun.
The USA international is coming off an impressive 21-goal season at Reims but he needs to leave Arsenal as he is behind Gabriel Jesus, Eddie Nketiah and Kai Havertz in the pecking order under Mikel Arteta.
Balogun has great potential but Arsenal’s £50m asking price is a tad unrealistic at this stage of his career. For their new star striker, Chelsea will be scouring the market for a higher-level forward and a move to Fulham for the Gunners starlet (to replace Aleksandar Mitrovic) would make much more sense.
Joao Cancelo (Manchester City to Arsenal)
The Portugal international fell victim to the ruthless Pep Guardiola axe last season after (if reports are to be believed) they clashed when he was not selected in a couple of key fixtures.
Cancelo is not part of Guardiola’s plans after his loan at Bayern Munich last season. He was being monitored by Arsenal earlier this summer (before Jurrien Timber’s arrival) and these links made a lot of sense at the time.
The 29-year-old’s versatility makes him a pretty solid fit for Arsenal and they realistically need to sign a new defender to cover for Timber following his serious injury.
But Arsenal have already spent £200m on signings this summer and with sellable assets (like Balogun and Nuno Tavares) still around, it’s difficult to see them spending £35m-plus on Cancelo.
There is also the small matter of FC Barcelona being in the running for Cancelo, who ‘only wants’ the Spanish giants. As for Arsenal, a low-cost raid on Leicester City for Timothy Castagne would be pretty astute as a stop-gap while Timber is out of action.
Conor Gallagher (Chelsea to Tottenham Hotspur)
Prior to the arrivals of Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia for a ludicrous potential combined fee of £175m, reports of Gallagher’s imminent Chelsea exit were baffling.
Their summer departures left the Blues with just Gallagher, Enzo Fernandez and Andrey Santos as their centre-midfield options.
Caicedo and Lavia are going to be huge assets to Chelsea for the next EIGHT years but Gallagher is more forward-thinking and it’s worth keeping him around.
New head coach Mauricio Pochettino has publicly stated that Gallagher is “part of his plans” moving forward and while we’d be foolish to rule out any exit after this summer’s £200m-plus mass exodus, this sale would follow the Lewis Hall and Mateo Kovacic trend of nonsensical departures.
Caught Offside have reported that Gallagher is ‘high’ on Ange Postecoglou’s list of targets but Chelsea are ‘set to dismiss’ an approach from their London rivals for the midfielder, who could be in line for a big season at Stamford Bridge after starting Chelsea’s opening two Premier League games.
Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace to Liverpool)
Liverpool have used the money saved from not buying Jude Bellingham to recruit Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai and Wataru Endo. Jurgen Klopp’s side are now in for a fourth new midfielder, with Fluminense starlet Andre joining several other targets on their radar.
But they are also in the market for a young centre-back who can bolster Klopp’s options and Guehi has been heavily linked with several Big Six clubs following his stunning recent form for Crystal Palace.
Guehi has proven at Palace that he is capable of making the step up when a big transfer eventually comes to fruition, but he will not be ending up at Liverpool.
The England international is valued at around £60m by the Eagles and Liverpool are not going to pay those kind of numbers for a back-up defender when a similar fee will be required to solve their problem position in midfield with Palace’s Cheick Doucoure.
Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea to West Ham United)
The Belgium international is in transfer limbo after he f***ed up his move to Inter Milan by talking to Serie A rivals Juventus, who are now struggling to meet Chelsea’s asking price for the striker. A deal is also made more difficult by the Turin side’s financial troubles and the Premier League team’s insistence on a permanent deal.
The Chelsea-Lukaku marriage was one doomed to fail from the get-go and there is currently no road back for the striker under Pochettino.
Having already had spells at Chelsea, Manchester United, Everton and West Brom, Lukaku could join his fifth Premier League club this summer with Tottenham considering him as a potential replacement for Harry Kane.
But Football Transfers have boldly claimed that West Ham are in ‘pole position’ to sign Lukaku and while you’d have to back him to score for fun at the London Stadium, a player with his level of ego may follow Harry Maguire in snubbing the Hammers as he pursues something bigger.
A move to Tottenham feels a lot more doable, but it is even more likely that Lukaku will end up in the Saudi Pro League.
Kalvin Phillips (Manchester City to Liverpool)
I’m sorry Jason, but this transfer (even though it would be the correct next step) is not happening…
Phillips’ trophy cabinet is now littered with undeserved medals and the former Leeds United standout’s standing at Man City will not improve any time soon with Rodri and Kovacic firmly placed as Pep Guardiola’s first-choice options in central midfield.
At the age of 27 and with next year’s European Championship looming, Phillips needs a move so he can start to play football again on a consistent basis.
In an alternative reality, a move to Liverpool last summer instead of Man City would have made a whole lot of sense for Phillips, who would have made a lot more than four starts had he chosen the Reds over the treble winners.
But the England international’s hopes of a move to Anfield have likely been and gone. He will be hoping for a Jack Grealish-esque second-season resurgence but he is more likely set for another year as a back-up behind Guardiola’s favourites.