10) Alexis Sanchez
No player in the Premier League is wanted less by his club than the Chilean. His move to Manchester United has been a disaster with far wider implications than just wretched performances. Giving Sanchez a deal which could net him around £500,000 a week has caused untold damage in the dressing room. And for what? Three Premier League goals in a season and a half.
Ed Woodward is left picking up the pieces of his own catastrophe while desperately hoping another patsy digs him out by taking Sanchez away from Old Trafford. Reports suggest Inter Milan and Juventus have been in touch to see if there’s a deal to be had, but both trails seem to have gone cold.
In the meantime, this should be a belting watch…
9) Toby Alderweireld
The Belgian’s agent played a blinder when negotiating his contract with Tottenham. Alderweireld was due to be out of contract this summer but Spurs exercised their right to extend the deal for another year. But that came at a cost. The centre-back could still leave this summer for £25million.
For a defender of Alderweireld’s quality, that is a small price to pay, even if he has just edged over to the wrong side of 30 and is a year from becoming a free agent. That figure certainly hasn’t put off Manchester United or Juventus, even if the former Ajax defender has admitted that he fancies a return to Amsterdam.
He could do that next year as a free agent if no offer this summer tickles his fancy. Regardless, Aldrweireld finds himself in a very strong position.
"'I'm very proud to play in this team."
"We're fourth in the league, everyone is complaining about us, and we're in the final of the Champions League!"@DesKellyBTS spoke to Toby Alderweireld and Danny Rose following Spurs' amazing win 🙌 pic.twitter.com/vqpkoMZxcL
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 8, 2019
8) Ryan Fraser
Bournemouth would prefer not to lose the Premier League’s smallest player who created more Big Chances than anyone else last season. But Fraser’s contract situation and the Cherries’ finances mean they cannot afford to lose the Scotland winger for nothing next summer when the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United are sniffing now.
Reports suggest Bournemouth are looking for around £30million for the 25-year-old, which is hardly unreasonable considering the numbers being thrown around for younger, unproven wingers entering the final year of their deals. Arsenal seem the most obvious destination but they are sure to quibble at Bournemouth’s demands considering how far Unai Emery may have to make £45million stretch.
Ryan Fraser created at least 10 more Big Chances (28) than any other player in the 2018-19 Premier League season
Only Eden Hazard (15) provided more than his 14 assists. 🎯 pic.twitter.com/dL78L2K1sY
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 19, 2019
7) Aleksandar Mitrovic
The Fulham striker had everyone questioning Rafael Benitez’s judgement last summer when he began the Premier League season on fire after scoring the Championship goals to take the Cottagers into the top flight. But Mitrovic could not sustain his scoring rate, netting in only two matches in 2019 and only once after January.
It wasn’t for a lack of trying. Fulham finished second from bottom but their centre-forward attempted more shots than any other player in the Premier League – one more than joint Golden Boot winner Mo Salah.
The lowest conversion rate of any striker with 10-plus goals might be a concern to any of his suitors, in addition to Benitez’s reservations over the Serbian. But Fulham are still expecting £30million for Mitrovic.
If you score 11 goals for a relegated side, then you absolutely should get a summer move. Aleksandar Mitrovic to Liverpool?https://t.co/2pLh40iacj
— Football365 (@F365) May 8, 2019
6) Ryan Sessegnon
Sessegnon might also fit the bill for Liverpool, with the teenager also able to provide cover for Andrew Robertson. But apparently the Reds reckon the England Under-21 prospect is bound for Tottenham, a year after Spurs failed to persuade Fulham to sell prior to the start of the season.
This time, the Cottagers hold rather less leverage. Sessegnon is a year from free agency and understandably reluctant to drop back down into the Championship. The 19-year-old won the Championship Player of the Season this time last year after 16 goals in Fulham’s promotion campaign and though only two goals and six assists have followed in the top flight during a season he was in and out of the side under three different managers, Sessegnon’s previous form remains attractive to the Big Six.
It is reported Spurs will offer £25million while Fulham want a figure closer to £40million, which is perhaps not unreasonable when you consider the sums Chelsea turned down for Callum Hudson-Odoi.
— Premier League USA (@PLinUSA) May 23, 2019
5) Xherdan Shaqiri
The Switzerland star only moved to Anfield last summer but already reports suggest Jurgen Klopp is open to moving him on. Shaqiri struggled during the second half of his first season with the Reds, offering only one assist in 2019 while sitting out as many Premier League matches as he participated in.
Shaqiri was signed on the cheap and reports suggest Liverpool are still unwilling to spend big on squad reinforcements like the 27-year-old. Selling the former Stoke, Bayern Munich and Inter Milan winger would free up resources to invest in attacking talent more suited to Klopp’s tactics than Shaqiri and Daniel Sturridge, who will leave Anfield on a free this summer.
Apparently, Liverpool are keen to redirect those funds to Villarreal in exchange for 20-year-old Nigeria winger Samuel Chukwueze.
| 🎉 |
Villarreal's starboy, Samuel Chukwueze, turns 20 today 🤩💛
Happy Birthday! 🎂 pic.twitter.com/eWJttaGHJR
— Eleven Sports (@ElevenSports_UK) May 22, 2019
4) Romelu Lukaku
The consensus around the Belgium striker has fluctuated like his bulk. During his first season at Old Trafford, he was one of Jose Mourinho’s untouchables. Never the most agile of touch or movement, but Lukaku netted 16 goals while leading the line seemingly single-handedly. Carrying that burden perhaps helped him add “a little bit of muscle” for the World Cup, which served him well in Russia but once back in the Premier League, he was too slow and sloppy on the ball.
When Mourinho went, so did Lukaku’s protection. He missed the first two games after Solksjaer grabbed the wheel and the new manager had a different idea of what he wanted from his centre-forward. Solskjaer also worked with Lukaku to get him facing the opposition goal more, but Lukaku doesn’t feature in his first-choice XI.
Reports suggest United want almost all their money back on the £75million signing, but there isn’t a lengthy queue forming outside Old Trafford.
Lee Sharpe on Romelu Lukaku: "I've never seen a centre forward with such a bad touch. If your centre forward can't hold the ball up, it makes it a very hard game." pic.twitter.com/zNMKzuNMFg
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) October 25, 2018
3) Mesut Ozil
The Arsenal playmaker is very much up for sale but it will still be a huge surprise to see him leave the Emirates.
Ozil splits opinion like few others and Unai Emery seems to be leaning towards the side of the German’s doubters. Given the need for strengthening elsewhere – two defenders, a midfielder a a winger – and the potentially small pot to work with, the Gunners would be willing to sacrifice the infuriatingly inconsistent genius of Ozil if it meant getting his huge wages off the books.
The problem lies in convincing another club to take on that burden. And Ozil is perfectly content to sit tight too with two years left on a £350,000-a-week contract.
🗣 Ian Wright: "I'm not for selling Mesut Ozil because he is a player you want in your team.
"He's top in Europe for chances created. Whether Arsenal don't get the best out of him or people don't take the chances, he still creates.
"I have no problem with his big wage." pic.twitter.com/rl53Ps8kr0
— Goal (@goal) May 23, 2019
2) David de Gea
If reports that the Spain goalkeeper has informed Manchester United that he won’t be signing a new contract to extend his deal which runs out next year are true, then Woodward will almost certainly look to take one of his prized cows to market. PSG are said to be willing to pay De Gea £350,000 a week to do almost nothing until Champions League weeks and if they’ll chuck £50million at Woodward too, then it suits everyone.
Would anyone begrudge De Gea his move? Most United supporters would question his sanity if he did re-sign. After eight years of rock-solid service, he’ll be sent on his way with a handshake, and a cross between a thank you and an apology. The question then becomes how do United replace him? Surely not like this.
(relatively) unsung 18-19 PL hero thread: congrats to Palace's Vicente Guaita who made his debut in December and kept as many PL clean sheets as David De Gea this season
— Duncan Alexander (@oilysailor) May 12, 2019
1) Eden Hazard
Chelsea have little choice but to sell the Premier League’s best player in the knowledge that they may not be allowed to replace him.
Hazard wants to go to Real Madrid and Zinedine Zidane wants the Belgian at the Bernabeu. It could all be settled very quickly if Real simply stump up £100million, but there seems little doubt that Florentino Perez will attempt to wheel and deal for a discount knowing Chelsea cannot afford to risk the prospect of their prized asset walking away for nothing in 12 months. Real have already had a couple of bids rejected.
If Chelsea opt not to take their appeal against their transfer ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport – as yet they have not – then Maurizio Sarri or whomever is managing the Blues next season will be banking on an immediate impact from Christian Pulisic. All the best, fella.
— UEFA.com em português (@UEFAcom_pt) May 22, 2019