Before becoming a Sports Journalist for Free Super Tips, Aaron spent three years studying Sports Journalism at the University of Sunderland while taking in the Black Cats' 'glory years' under Martin O'Neill. Now back in Northern Ireland he turns niche stats into predictions for FST, while he's one of the few people on this island who is equally comfortable at Windsor Park and the Aviva.
Even with 11 months’ notice, Premier League clubs seem to have been caught by surprise by the early transfer deadline. The Christmas these Turkeys voted for is upon us, which sets up a busy final day of the window. Ahead of the deadline, here’s where we’re expecting the biggest stories to emerge, as clubs race against the clock on the eve of the new season.
Grealish Saga Dragging on
This summer started with clubs patiently waiting for Aston Villa to sanction a cut-price deal for star Jack Grealish. A financial boost means Villa are taking a stern approach on deadline day, saying that Grealish is going nowhere. Tottenham made their interest clear with a £25million bid, and even after that was rejected they’re still trailing the midfielder.
The myth that Daniel Levy is a transfer-market whizz has been disproven with this deal. The talented midfielder looks prime for a White Hart Lane switch, and he’s reportedly desperate to make the move. Spurs had the chance to tie up a cut-price deal, but haggling means they’re going to be stumping up at least £30million. With no new names through the door, Spurs may give in to Villa’s demands. With little progress on this one, expect this story to rumble on throughout deadline day.
If there’s anything in demand on deadline day, it’s centre-halves. Manchester United seem to be targeting anyone who has ever blocked a shot, while there are a few other sides aiming to strengthen at the back. Jose Mourinho’s defensive chase will take top billing on Thursday, with the United boss chasing a huge move for Bayern Munich and Germany man Jerome Boateng.
The former Man City player is available at the right price, and he’s interesting a United side who badly need to freshen up their defence. However, after spending his best years under Pep Guardiola, he isn’t too keen on Mourinho-ball. That means that the Red Devils are keeping their options open. A late move for Harry Maguire isn’t being ruled out, and the Leicester man is still hopeful of making that huge move.
United’s desperation for new blood has seen them turn to Yerry Mina in recent weeks, while late reports pointed to Mourinho raiding his former club. A bid for Chelsea’s Kurt Zouma could happen before the window shuts. However, the Red Devils are likely to go back in for their number one target from early in the window – Toby Alderweireld. He’s looking for a move, and with United frantically chasing a centre-half, Spurs are likely to see his price balloon as it approaches 5pm.
Marco Silva Making an Impact
While Man United are taking a scattergun approach on deadline day, Everton are aiming for a busy day. They’re looking to ship out Yannick Bolasie among others, Marco Silva wants to up his squad on the final day of the window. On top of the big moves they’ve already made, the Toffees have a few deals lined up. With a huge gap between them and the top six, getting a few more players in could be crucial for new boss Silva.
The deal for Brazilian winger Bernard is likely to be tied up on Thursday. He left Shakhtar Donetsk on a free, and Everton have beaten a host of clubs to his signature. However, that deal can be completed after the deadline, so could it be put on the back-burner? With a few other deals in the pipeline, Everton may shift their focus to get as many through the door as possible.
After getting Lucas Digne from Barcelona, Everton are set to return to the new camp to secure Yerry Mina. The Colombian has been linked with United, but Everton seem like frontrunners to secure the Catalan outcast. They want to move him on, and they’re set to make a huge profit on the player they signed for £11million in January. Mina seems like a good option for the Toffees, but a loan deal for Kurt Zouma seems to be their back-up plan.
Silva’s also making moves to improve them centrally, as they chase another body in the middle of the park. Portugal’s Andre Silva could join his countryman and namesake Marco at Everton, as he’s set to depart Barca this summer too.
The Left-Field Interest
There’s usually an odd story that unravels close to the deadline. Clubs who know how difficult transfer deals are suddenly like the idea of a mega-deal at the eleventh hour. It’s the football equivalent of ordering a dozen cocktails at last orders. We saw Thomas Lemar emerge as an Arsenal target 12 months ago, and there’s likely to be another example of this on Thursday.
With the deadline pushed forward, there’s bound to be even more panic around the Premier League. There’s more than enough money sloshing around, and we’re already seeing a few surprising rumours. Arsenal look like a prime side to make a shock move, and their £100million link with Ousmane Dembele is the kind of left-field rumour we enjoy just as the window shuts. It would be a mammoth deal to get over the line, and it could only be a loan move, but Unai Emery did say they’d only move if a big opportunity arose.
Radio Silence in Newcastle
Deadline day isn’t likely to be a big event at St James’ Park, with Newcastle unlikely to spend money ahead of the deadline. It’s not a happy camp, and Rafa Benitez won’t be pleased with his lack of backing. However, this is a familiar story for Newcastle fans, having seen their current transfer record stand for 12 years now. While there’s going to be some big spending before the deadline, we don’t expect much on Tyneside.
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