The Rumour Mill: What Deals Should We Expect this Summer?
May 24, 2018
With the EPL campaign having now ended, there’s only the FA Cup and Champions League finals left to conclude this season’s business, leaving many looking towards future deals.
The vast majority of clubs can now begin to prepare for next season, as they consider which members of their squads are likely to be sold and identify new targets to replace them.
In this post, we’ll look at the moves that are most likely to take place during the summer transfer window, while appraising their potential impact on the 2018/19 Premier League season. Don’t forget to take advantage of some new bookmaker offers for the new 18/19 season here on Bethut.
Jorginho, Napoli to Manchester City
While Manchester City may have vanquished all before them in a record breaking EPL campaign, manager Pep Guardiola has already laid out his summer transfer targets with clarity and purpose.
It seems his main priority is to identify a long-term replacement for the Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho, who despite flourishing under the Spaniard this season recently turned 33. It was thought that Fernandinho’s countryman Fred was the most likely to fulfil this role, particularly as City only just failed to complete a deal for the 25-year old Shakhtar Donetsk star back in January.
The Citizens have recently cooled their interest in the midfielder, instead turning their attentions to Napoli’s 26-year old Jorginho. The Brazilian-born star, who has won five caps for the Italian national team, is coveted by up to four Premier League clubs, including Liverpool’s and City’s bitter rivals United.
Guardiola’s public pursuit of the player and the exciting nature of his squad has made City the favourites to secure his signature over the course of the last few days, with a deal expected to be completed imminently. It’s though that the Blues are keen to complete their transfer activity early this summer, with the Russia World Cup creating a shorter and more hectic window.
With United increasingly likely to sign the aforementioned Fred, this could also clear the way for City to complete a quick and seamless deal that benefits all parties.
This would certainly represent a statement of intent by City, who will not rest on their laurels after an historic EPL campaign and are keen to build a dynasty for the future.
Ivan Perišić, Inter Milan to Manchester United
If you remember, this on-off deal was one of the stories of last summer, as Jose Mourinho sought to create a more efficient forward line.
While a deal did not materialise, the Portuguese is expected to return with an offer for the talented Croatian winger in the summer, despite his side finishing in second place in the EPL and being poised to contest an FA Cup final against rivals Chelsea.
These relative successes have not prevented Mourinho from enduring a fractious relationship with some of the players this season, with the mercurial French forward Anthony Martial one of the young stars in the managers’ firing line.
With this in mind, it’s thought that Mourinho is willing to offer Martial as part of a deal for Perišić, while the Croatian himself may well be enticed by the prospect of playing Champions League football next season (Inter are currently two points off the final qualification place in Serie A with just two games to play).
The deal would certainly be a controversial one, as despite question marks over his consistency and attitude, Martial is still only 22 and remains one of the most exciting prospects in Europe. In contrast, Perišić is 29 and approaching the twilight of his career and his statistics hardly represent a huge improvement over the talented Frenchman.
In fact, Perišić has scored 31 goals in 114 appearances during this time, with Martial contributing 36 strikes in 135 games with a far lower proportion of starts. If we focus solely on this season, we see that the Croatian has produced a total of 19 goal involvements in 3,136 minutes of play (11 goals and 8 assists), a figure that is matched by Martial (12 goals and 7 assists) despite United’s number 11 spending just 1,927 minutes on the pitch.
Mourinho is a man renowned for playing favourites, and the suspicion remains that the Portuguese simply does not trust his French striker. He also has history in this respect, having bombed out Mohamed Salah and Kevin de Bruyne while at Chelsea when these players were in their early 20s, only to see both players return to dominate the EPL with new clubs.
So, while this deal could well work for United next season and in the short-term, the risk remains that Martial would mature into one of Europe’s best players and ultimately come back to haunt the Reds over time.
Emre Can, Liverpool to Juventus
We close with a potential departure from the EPL, and one that could strike a deceptively damaging blow to Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool.
With the Reds set to sign RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keïta for a fee of up to £59 million this summer (depending on whether or not the Bundesliga outfit qualify for the Champions League), it’s increasingly likely that German star Emre Can will depart Anfield on a free transfer.
In fact, the talented 24-year old is expected to complete a move to Serie A champions Juventus imminently, as he looks to rebuild a career that has stalled against a backdrop of injuries and inconsistency.
Still, there’s no doubt that Can has tremendous potential on the biggest stage, with his composure on the ball, versatility and physical strength making him the ideal midfielder in the modern age. He has certainly succeeded in adding depth and diversity to Liverpool’s occasionally one-dimensional midfield this season, and Klopp’s men could well miss this flexibility in the future.
With Can having recently confirmed his desire to sign a lucrative contract with Juventus, however, this is a prospect that Liverpool must now consider a reality.
Of course, the optimism surrounding Jurgen Klopp’s attack-oriented squad may well play down the potential impact of Can’s departure, particularly if the Reds secure their sixth European Cup triumph in Kiev at the end of May.
Still, Liverpool can surely not afford to continue to lose players on a regular basis, especially if they intend to challenge Manchester City for the title next season.