The 2019-20 Premier League season was tumultuous and unprecedented although Liverpool came away with their first title in 30 years. The current Premier League transfer window opened on July 27 and will stay open until October 5, with an additional domestic-only window remaining open until October 16. The timing for this calendar year for international soccer has been utterly bizarre with the Champions League Final happening in August a couple of weeks after the new EPL season starts. However, there is an everlasting arms race between the Premier League’s top six sides that is still going strong despite all of the chaos surrounding this past season. In this article, I’m going to take a look at one big-name transfer target for each team and assess whether the rumor should be seen as fact or fiction.
Liverpool – Thiago Alcantra
The rumors about Liverpool’s interest in the current Bayern Munich midfielder have persisted over the last couple of weeks. Thiago has one year left under contract at the Allianz and he’s made known his desire to play for Jurgen Klopp at Anfield. Thiago is one of the best defensive midfielders in the world and he’s a brilliant passer as well. There’s little doubt he would fit in perfectly with the Liverpool scheme, but they do already have their midfield three relatively set in Georgina Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson, and Fabinho as well as having Naby Keita, James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Curtis Jones off the bench. There doesn’t seem to be a glaring need in the midfield for this team, but they need to continue to make strides to improve with the sudden rise in talent among most of the rest of the top six sides. Wijnaldum has just one year left under contract with Liverpool and there haven’t been any significant movements in negotiations. There’s a chance Liverpool have pegged Thiago as Wijnaldum’s replacement, so this will be an interesting situation to monitor. However, I expect Thiago to agree to a long-term extension with Bayern and Wijnaldum to do the same with Liverpool.
Verdict – fiction
Manchester City – Kalidou Koulibaly
Manchester City have surged through their Financial Fair Play issues and look set to challenge for the Premier League title again in 2020. The addition of the current Napoli center-back Koulibaly would be massive as they look to solidify their defense. Napoli have suffered through some tumult as of late with a manager change and still not completely disclosed financial issues. If those financial issues are worse than they are letting on, this could finally be the summer they sell Koulibaly. The Senegalese defender is one of the best in the world at his position and would form one of the best center-back tandems in the world with Aymeric Laporte. Manchester City have reportedly made significant strides recently in agreeing to personal terms with Koulibaly as they are still negotiating the transfer fee with Napoli. The rumored amount of £57.5 million is likely less than Napoli is willing to agree to, but Manchester City should have plenty of money to up their offer. I expect this deal to get done barring any change of heart from Napoli with their rocky team situation.
Verdict – fact
Manchester United – Jadon Sancho
The calendar year of 2020 has been brutal for most, but the Red Devils gave their fans plenty to cheer about as they went on a 19-game unbeaten run and surged back to 3rd place in the Premier League table. The arrival of Bruno Fernandes helped unlock the talents of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, but the team could still use another attacker to play on the right wing. Jadon Sancho is the perfect player to fill that role, an English forward for Borrusia Dortmund who has made known his desire to return home to England and play in the Premier League. Sancho has scored 17 goals and produced 17 assists in 32 Bundesliga games this season. Sancho’s pace, passing, and finishing would give United one of the most dangerous sets of forwards in the world. The Dortmund player has already agreed to personal terms with Manchester United and is waiting on the teams to agree on a transfer fee. Manchester United guaranteed themselves a significant uptick in revenue when they qualified for the Champions League for next season and I expect them to put that money to good use and secure Sancho.
Verdict – fact
Chelsea – Kai Havertz
Frank Lampard has selected the 21-year-old German midfielder Kai Havertz to be the missing piece in Chelsea’s rebuild after they have already shelled out almost £90 million combined on attacking players Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner. Havertz has scored 18 goals and 9 assists in all competitions for Bayer Leverkusen this season as he has shown incredible finesse, pace, and ability to read the game. Leverkusen is reportedly holding out for £90 million and have been for several months. Havertz agreed to personal terms on a five-year contract with Chelsea last week which indicates the team believes it can finance his transfer, but it remains to be seen if Leverkusen is willing to budge. I expect this deal to get done although it begs the question of if Chelsea should be investing in their midfield or defense rather than adding yet another forward.
Verdict – fact
Arsenal – Thomas Partey
This Arsenal squad is in need of many things, but a pacy, defensive-minded midfielder is at the top of the list. Atletico Madrid’s Partey is a brilliant on-ball controller and rarely makes mistakes on the field. He’s a steadying force for any side and would help take some pressure off Arsenal’s often overmatched defenders. Arsenal often dropped points this season due to sloppy turnovers and unnecessary mistakes, two things Partey would immediately help them cut down on. Recent reports say that Juventus has entered the race for Thomas Partey after Blaise Matuidi joined Inter Miami – Andrea Pirlo would like to add another defensive midfielder to his new side. Juventus likely has the necessary funds to meet Partey’s release clause of £45 million, something Arsenal has reportedly struggled to do. The Gunners really should secure this transfer, but I’m not confident in anything Arsenal related at the moment.
Verdict – fiction
Spurs – Paulo Dybala
has been suspiciously quiet during the transfer window to this point, so I’m going with a swing-for-the-fences move here. Reportedly, Paulo Dybala may not be in new Juventus manager Andrea Pirlo’s future plans for the team and he may be available at a lofty fee this summer. Tottenham have already signed Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Steven Berjwin this year, so they may feel comfortable with the attacking talent they have heading into next season, but there’s no doubt Paulo Dybala is at a higher quality than any of their current forwards outside of Son Heung-min. However, it would likely require a massive transfer sum to secure Dybala, something which Tottenham isn’t prepared to offer after missing out on the Champions League. I anticipate this being a pretty quiet transfer window for Spurs.
Verdict – fiction