Andrew Gastelum

Transfer Talk

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The Transfer Hub-July 11

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


Welcome to the start of the preseason; while not as exciting as pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training, at least there’s some soccer to watch even if players are more focused on their tans than the final score.

 

And with the start of the preseason comes the biggest and busiest week of the transfer window. By my count, which is surely missing a name or two, there were 21 transfers-in during the last week—and some massive names at that.

 

Romelu Lukaku spurned a Chelsea return to complete a £75 million switch to Manchester United, Alexandre Lacazette joins Arsenal in a club-record £46.5 million move and Wayne Rooney heads back to his old stomping grounds at Everton. Neal Thurman did a great job of recapping those three transfers in two columns earlier this week (make sure to check it out), so I left those deals out of my column to focus on some of the other moves that may have slipped by over the holiday.

 

Every week we’ll look at the transfers coming in, the players leaving the Premier League and the biggest rumors that look to be in the works. Hopefully, this helps you all as much as it will help me to stay organized this summer.

 

Without further delay, here’s my analysis for the past week of moves in the transfer window. I’m welcoming all suggestions and debates on Twitter (@gastelumEPL) and hopefully I can include your thoughts here in this column next week.

 

 

TRANSFERS IN:

 

 

DEF – Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea)

Chelsea has missed on a number of targets this summer, leading to rumors of manager Antonio Conte’s frustration with the club over its slow-moving summer plans outside of a free transfer for Willy Caballero. But the Blues made a bid splash with a £34 million move for AS Roma defender Antonio Rudiger. A versatile defender, Rudiger played all three defensive positions for Roma last season, possessing a similar skillset to that of Cesar Azpilicueta as both a central defender and right back

 

But the arrival of Rudiger presents a lot of questions for Conte and company. Is this the beginning of the end for Gary Cahill? Could this force Kurt Zouma to leave the club with rumors of a loan move to either West Brom or Stoke City? What will Andreas Christensen’s role be following his highly impressive two-year loan at Borussia Monchengladbach? Unless Rudiger is deployed at his most unfamiliar left-back, expect a massive position battle along the three-man backline.

 

 

DEF – Michael Keane (Everton)

Last week, I said that Bournemouth was the most impressive team in the transfer window thus far. And then Everton made three more signings and are second only to Manchester United in spending during the summer window. And as I said last week, a move for Keane is a canny bit of business for the Toffees as they fill their biggest hole from last season: a consistent partner up to the level of Ashley Williams—sorry, Phil Jagielka.

 

In Keane, Everton gets a hardline central defender who is a potential cornerstone of a defense and a massive improvement technically over John Stones. In Everton, Keane gets a competitive, well-managed team where he can earn European experience, keep his standing in the national team in a World Cup year and continue his development as a young talent without the risk of being buried at Manchester United.

 

 

MID – Vicente Iborra (Leicester City)

Leicester City is still trying to recover from the N’Golo Kante vacuum left from the Player of the Year’s exit after the club’s remarkable title campaign. Daniel Amartey hasn’t quite adapted to the Premier League and Papy Mendy looks ready to jump ship after just one season, so manager Craig Shakespeare has opted for a veteran midfield presence rather than trying to adhere to the magic formula that brought Kante out of obscurity.

 

Iborra is a central midfielder who can play in the hole or also in behind the attack. At six-foot-three, the Spaniard is a menacing presence in the air, which played a part in his seven La Liga goals last season, and has Champions League and European experience to a team that just got its first taste of the European stage. Iborra has a knack for springing the counter attack and that’s exactly what the Foxes are missing from the Kante days.

 

 

FWD – Tammy Abraham (Swansea City)

The 19-year-old tore up the Championship last season with 23 goals in 41 appearances while on loan from Chelsea at Bristol City. Abraham’s surprise performance with Bristol City and England U21s surely played a role in Chelsea’s decision to let academy product Dominic Solanke leave the club on a free transfer. Now, Abraham will get his first taste of the Premier League in a loan move to Swansea City, who has shipped off club-record signing Borja Baston to accommodate.

 

Abraham’s first challenge will be to break into the starting lineup with Jordan Ayew and Fernando Llorente competing at the position. Luckily, Abraham can play on both wings as well as center forward and is an excellent finisher. The Chelsea starlet needs playing time though, and plenty of it to find his groove; so at the start, it might be best to sit back and observe before making a move for the forward who has the potential to be Chelsea’s next start forward.

  

 

DEALS IN THE WORKS:

 

 

FWD – Everton isn’t done just yet

In just one week, the Toffees made as many transfers as they did all summer with moves for Sandro Ramirez, Wayne Rooney and Michael Keane to fill all their glaring vacancies, including the void left by Romelu Lukaku before he even left the club. However, Lukaku is not a player that can be replaced by just one person, and that has Ronald Koeman looking to spend all of that £75 million in another week.

 

Everton is being linked with a move to bring Christian Benteke back to Merseyside, but this time at Goodison Park as a like-for-like Lukaku replacement. Meanwhile, the club has also been linked with a move for Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud, showing that a move for Rooney will not leave the club complacent when it comes to finding a new striker, so look for another new name to arrive soon.

 

 

GK – We may not have seen the last of Joe Hart in the PL

There have been rumblings recently over the future of Joe Hart after he ruled out a move back to Torino following last year’s loan. For the moment, Hart is still a Manchester City player, but a move for Benfica’s Ederson has made him redundant with Claudio Bravo still around. But this is a World Cup year, and Hart is still England’s No. 1, meaning the right move is instrumental.

 

That move looks increasingly likely to be within the Premier League with Newcastle desperately looking for a new goalkeeper and West Ham also linked with Hart as the club looks for an improvement at the position despite just signing Adrian to a new contract. For the time being, it looks like Hart is in no hurry to move, but we know he has the Premier League experience to make a difference.

 

 

MID – Could United swoop for Eric Dier?

Ed Woodward has reportedly stayed behind from Manchester United’s preseason tour in order to focus on a couple more moves: the biggest being a link to Tottenham’s Eric Dier. After landing Lukaku, Jose Mourinho has made it clear that Dier is now his top target, the problem is Spurs are not so keen to let the versatile defender leave with both Kyle Walker and Danny Rose also being linked with a summer exit.

 

United looks ready to spend £50 million for Dier with reports saying that the English international favors a move to Old Trafford after Victor Wanyama was brought in last season at his preferred defensive midfield role. And by doubling his wages, United could push Dier into requesting a transfer after moving on from interest in Nemanja Matic.  








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