Here we are, the eve of the return of the Premier League. We’ve had the UEFA Nations League, the Copa America, and the African Cup of Nations which have seen us through; given us the pick me up that we’ve needed.
But nothing beats the football season for English football fans.
The summer transfer window has slammed shut and it has been its typical cauldron of transfer rumours that range from the completed, to the plausible, to the frankly outrageous.
Here’s a list of 10 ongoing transfer sagas which dominated the summer.
Kieran Tierney to Arsenal
The Scottish full-back will be looking to follow in the footsteps of Andy Robertson by establishing himself as an outstanding all-round Premier League left-back after completing his long-awaited transfer to Arsenal for £25million.
Affection has grown around Arsenal’s current first-team left-back Sead Kolasinac after the burly Bosnian single-handedly fought off two armed thugs who tried to carjack teammate Mesut Ozil; but with Nacho Monreal ageing and injuries getting the better of him, they will need more options after seeing Granit Xhaka fill the slot many times last season.
Wilfried Zaha to Arsenal/Everton
An exciting prospect for many Arsenal fans which was curtailed by the signing of Nicholas Pepe, but this was a saga that went on for a considerable while anyway. Arsenal fans were hoping they’d sign the Ivorian winger so he stopped terrorising their defence more than anything; but Zaha would represent a fantastic signing for any Premier League team because of his flair and direct style.
Everton were also eager to sign Zaha who would add yet more blistering pace and flair to their front line should he join Richarlison and latest addition Moise Kean at Goodison Park. But instead, they signed Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi for £40million.
Neymar to Barcelona
After a record-breaking move before which he well and truly threw his toys out of his pram and wanted to break out of Lionel Messi’s shadow, Neymar was being linked with a move back to Barcelona. Did he realise that PSG’s riches won’t build him a legacy? Did he realise that playing with Messi actually made him better? Did he realise that French cuisine wasn’t to his liking and he preferred Spanish?
But the Brazilian winger was mooted to return to his old stomping ground and reunite the MSN trio which broke so many records. It didn’t happen, but that doesn’t mean it wont in the future as Barcelona are favourites alongside Real Madrid to sign Neymar Jr, mainly because they’re two of the only teams in world football besides current team PSG who can afford his wages and provide a stage for Neymar to win the Ballon d’Or.
Gareth Bale to China
This one also didn’t happen, but it was still a big one. Zinedine Zidane basically said, “on your bike” and Bale started pumping up his tires.
After being offered a mammoth £1million a week contract, who wouldn’t?
The Welsh winger was surplus to requirements at the Bernabeu, but now looks to have snuck his way back into Zidane’s plans after a long-term injury to Marco Asensio, Ceballos going on loan to Arsenal and a general lack of excitement going forward. Bale cites the reason that the move was called off was due to “personal reasons”.
Maybe it’ll mean time for some more golf.
Leroy Sane to Bayern Munich
Sane is a modern-day enigma – on his day he’s the best left winger in the Premier League and certainly one of the most exciting youngsters in world football. But there seems to be an attitude problem surrounding the German wide man: at the start of every season he is left out of Pep Guardiola’s starting team and he missed out on Germany’s World Cup squad in 2018. Fair enough it was a dire tournament for them, but Sane was still slightly aggrieved not to make it after a stellar season with City where they won the Premier League title.
He was linked with a move back to Germany with champions Bayern who were reportedly willing to match Pep Guardiola’s £145million valuation, but after Sane damaged his anterior cruciate ligament in the Community Shield against Liverpool, it stopped any momentum in of a transfer in its tracks.
Paul Pogba to anywhere
Overall, we can probably consider Pogba’s move back to United a bit of a flop so far; there’s no doubting his talent but the red side of Manchester has been very divided as to what he actually brings. He also shows glaring inconsistency throughout a season.
A move back to Juventus where he would be welcomed with a massive fanfare and slot straight back into a title winning side would be quite appealing to the French central midfielder. The influence of his Agent, Mino Raiola, would seem to be the deciding factor as to whether a future move happens or not.
Paulo Dybala to the Premier League
First Tottenham were linked, then Man United were linked with a rumour that seemed a bit more concrete, but things stumbled after the Argentinian striker’s wage demands proved too high and issues with his image rights, which is also where negotiations with Spurs hit a snag and Juve decided they didn’t want to sell.
Now, he will be hoping to work his way back into Head Coach Maurizio Sarri’s plans as Juventus go for yet another (ninth consecutive) Serie A title.
Romelu Lukaku to Serie A
Lukaku became a meme at Manchester United, not what anyone would have expected when they shelled out £75million on the big Belgian striker. Images of Lukaku playing in Timberland boots filled the internet as his quality for a club like United was questioned – probably somewhat harshly.
A move to Serie A may be a perfect fit for the hitman who has signed with Inter Milan for a fee of £75 million (United made all their money back) to resurrect his reputation after a mixed time in Manchester where he scored 42 goals in 96 games.
Bruno Fernandes to Manchester United/Tottenham
Fernandes was the most exciting player in Portugal last year and his output made him highly sought-after. His statistics led him to being linked to basically every top team in the Premier League with City and Liverpool leading the bookies odds to get the maestro’s signature.
Then, United and Spurs seemed to sneak ahead in the rumours and rankings of favourites to sign him. For now, he is staying in Lisbon, but I’m sure that will change.
Laurent Koscielny to France
The French centre-back just went on strike; very randomly. Refused to join his (now ex) Gunners team-mates on their pre-season tour of the USA and really wanted a move back to France. The majority of Arsenal fans were fuming after the club stuck by Koscielny after a potentially career threatening achilles injury which he did well to come back from and feature a handful of times for Arsenal in his last season.
The 33-year-old has joined French club Bordeaux for around £4.5milllion, which Arsenal fans wont mind for an ageing centre back, with a bad injury record, in the last year of his contract. Koscielny’s time at Arsenal was littered with inconsistent displays but he was a good servant in his time in the Premier League.
Intermediaries have been taking calls, fielding emails and travelling non-stop over the past few months. As you can imagine, it’s been the busiest time of year!
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