WINTER TRANSFER SAILS AHOY

WINTER TRANSFER SAILS AHOY
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Welcome to the New Year 2018. A Year that pundits believe will produce a lot of results. Don’t forget it’s also the year of the first World Cup to be staged in Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

The fees being quoted by teams for their players us very steep these days but it doesn’t seem to deter suitors. PSG showed this when they prized Neymar from Barça in the summer.

Already, the rumour mill is churning with the news that Spanish giants Barcelona were turning all the screws to get Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho a player they chased the whole of last summer.

Nike set the tone by putting on their website that Coutinho has signed for Barcelona. Though the link was removed the rumour has not stopped and it’s expected that by the end of the winter window, Coutinho would make the switch to Barça.

EPL heavyweights, Liverpool, we’re the first team to set the transfer train off with the acquisition of Virgil Van Dyke from Southampton for a whopping £75m.

Virgil Van Dyke of Liverpool FC

By paying such an amount of money, Liverpool set a new record fee for a defender. Pundits have said that in signing Virgil, Liverpool have made a real statement to stay competitive. However, I daresay that £75m for someone who hasn’t won a trophy before is too steep.

Meanwhile, Liverpool are also expected to lose Emre Can to Series A giants, Juventus. Striker Daniel Strurridge is also expected to bid Liverpool farewell to join an EPL club either on loan or permanently to boost his chances of playing at the Mundial.

The case of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez both of whom would be free agents come the end of the season is also closely monitored.

Ozil is wanted by Manchester United while Manchester City is craving Sanchez. Arsenal dies not want to sell to their rivals but with time running out, they have to cash in or risk the players becoming free agents come the summer.

Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho has moaned and groaned about how much their neighbours City are reaping results because of their heavy investment in the transfer market.

But having spent £350m in the last 18 months and having signed players like Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku for world record fees,  it’s not too clear whether he wants to go. Is it going to be Ozil and or Chelsea’s David Luiz? There’s also talk of Mikhitaryan leaving this window.

Manchester City has shown that they have the wherewithal and the attraction to sign any player at all on the planet. Already, there’s speculation about Pep bringing in Leo Messi but certainly would not be this winter window.

The runaway EPL leaders have a title winning team in place but it will not surprise pundits if they strengthen the team especially with injuries to Gabriel Jesus and Vincent Kompany.

Chelsea has upped the ante by signing Everton’s Ross Barkley for £15m to augment their midfield. That would by no means their last foray into the market as they are expected to get a back-up for Alvaro Morata.

Chelsea new signing Ross Barkley

Pundits therefore expect them to send Michy Bathshuayi out on loan to make room for another striker. So far, everything points to Chelsea trying to lure Monaco’s Le Mare.

It’s expected that in the event if Chelsea failing to pride the Frenchman away, they would fall on either Jamie Vardy of Leicester City or Andy Carroll of West Ham.

This far, all talk of Real Madrid signing such marquee players as Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois as well as Harry Kane remains nothing but a pundit’s pipe dream. Even an endowed club like Madrid cannot take on board such players without falling foul of Fair Play rules!

Rumours surrounding the possible sale of Gareth Bale from Real Madrid to an EPL side would also not go away.

This is only the beginning. Watch out for more gifts as we get to the business end of the winter window and the game gets real frenetic especially in the EPL.

P.S.

Barcelona has just announced on their website that they have signed Philippi Coutinho from Liverpool ffor a EPL record fee of $160m


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