Top 5 players to watch ahead of Deadline Day
It appears that unlike recent summer transfer windows we will see plenty of monster deals done in the final days of the window.
[ MORE: Bale to Man United? ]
Deadline Day should be a fun one. Bring it on.
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Below is a look at the top five Premier League players who could well be on the move on or before Thursday’s 6 p.m. ET deadline with the future of several of the PL’s biggest stars shrouded in uncertainty.
Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) - To Barcelona
With Liverpool bidding a club-record $71 million for Monaco’s Thomas Lemar, it seems like there’s some movement in this situation. Why would a club already loaded with attacking talents (Mane, Salah, Firmino, Sturridge, Lallana et al.) try to add another attacking midfielder? Coutinho, 25, is said to be “desperate” to make the move to Barcelona happen but the Catalan club have had several bids turned down, the last for over $190 million. Liverpool insist he is not for sale but if Barcelona come in with one more massive bid, does the Brazilian playmaker go?
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal) - To Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City
Part of the “I’ve got one year left on my contract” brigade at Arsenal, the Ox has turned down a new deal with the Gunners and both Chelsea and Liverpool are said to be seriously sniffing around his situation. The versatile England international just turned 24 and has shone in a wing-back role for Arsenal over the past 6-8 months. Oxlade-Chamberlain can get UEFA Champions League action at both Liverpool and Chelsea, while Manchester City are said to be long-time admirers too. with the situations regarding Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere and others just as unclear about Oxalde-Chamberlain’s future at Arsenal, this will be intriguing to see what decision Arsenal make. Do they cash in on the Ox or risk losing him for nothing? Arsenal is said to want $45 million for him and Chelsea have reportedly agreed a fee.
Diego Costa (Chelsea) - To Everton, Atletico Madrid
The saga of the summer is set for an interesting finale. Diego Costa, 28, is still hanging out in Brazil and refusing to return to Chelsea until they sell him to Atletico Madrid. With the Spanish outfit unable to register new players until January 2018, that presents a signficannt spanner in the works of any deal. Chelsea is said to want over $60 million for Costa but Atleti know he is proving difficult and their offer is said to be way short of that. Everton have emerged as contenders to sign Costa, perhaps on loan until January or maybe even permanently with Ronald Koeman stating he needs a new striker to complete his big-money overhaul. The thought of Costa playing in front of Wayne Rooney and Gylfi Sigurdsson will have fans of the Toffees salivating.
Virgil van Dijk (Southampton) - To Chelsea, Liverpool
Southampton insist their team captain Virgil van Dijk is not for sale despite the Dutchman training with the reserves for most of preseason and also handing in a very public transfer request. Van Dijk, 26, saw a move to Liverpool completely evaporate early in the window after the Reds apologized publicly for allegedly reaching out directly to the player. Despite Jurgen Klopp’s side saying they have “ended their pursuit” in the player, it appears the Reds may make a late move for the towering center back. Southampton continue to state VVD isn’t for sale but if Liverpool or Chelsea offered over $80 million for the elegant defender, surely it would make them reconsider. Saints have handled life without VVD very well for the past eight months since he was injured but there’s no doubt he would make whatever team he is playing for better. If van Dijk is still a Southampton player on Sept. 1 then he will face the prospect of either making up and playing for Saints at least until January, or sitting out the opening half of the season in a World Cup year. Neither scenario is ideal.
Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal) - To Manchester City
The Chilean star returned for Arsenal at Liverpool on Sunday but cut a forlorn figure as the Gunners were hammered 4-0. With less than 12 months on his contract remaining (Arsenal’s contract strategy boggles the mind) Sanchez holds most of the aces in negotiations. Arsene Wenger has repeated multiple times that he’s hopeful Sanchez will stay, but given another summer of unrest and a poor start to the season Sanchez must be hoping to get out of the Emirates Stadium as quickly as possible. Sanchez, 28, has been chased by Manchester City and linking up with the man who took him to Barcelona, Pep Guardiola makes sense. Do City need another attacking player? Probably not. But when has that ever stopped them in the past? Arsenal selling to a direct PL rival seems unlikely but if a bid of over $70 million comes in for Sanchez between now and Thursday it would make a lot of sense to sell him and move on from this sorry saga.
Bonus: Gareth Bale’s situation at Real Madrid could be an intriguing one to follow with Manchester United said to have offered over $118 million for the Welshman, while Thomas Lemar could be closing in on a move to Liverpool with the Arsenal target the subject of a $71 million bid from Liverpool.