In his fifth exclusive Column for CaughtOffside, Jon Smith, one of football’s first-ever agents and a man who was an integral figure in the forming of the Premier League, looks ahead to what is shaping up to be an exciting summer transfer window.
Gabriel Jesus wanted in London…
The summer transfer window is now upon us and it is easily one of the most exciting periods, particularly for fans. A lot of high-profile names are already being tipped for moves, including Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus.
Originally I thought Jesus was nailed on to go to Arsenal, but now it seems Tottenham Hotspur are in the mix too. Antonio Conte and Daniel Levy are being really aggressive in the market so far. It is almost like they’ve got the bit between their teeth following their qualification into next season’s Champions League.
With regards to Arsenal though, I think it is a given that they have to trade. If they do end up seriously going for Leeds United’s Raphinha, they’ll have to get Nicolas Pepe out and that isn’t going to be easy. He’s on a lot of money and has hardly set the world alight since his move from Lille three years ago.
Chelsea want Raheem Sterling but may have to wait…
In addition to both Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, fellow London rivals Chelsea are another club who are probably going to have to spend a lot. Now under new ownership, Todd Boehly really knows what he is doing. I think the Blues’ new hierarchy is going to be really successful but they are going to have a lot of supporters saying ‘show us what you’re prepared to do’ this summer.
One player I do think Chelsea could make something happen with is Manchester City’s, Raheem Sterling. It may not necessarily be this window, but certainly at some point in the future. He has one year left on his contract and although running it down is a risky game to play because if he were to get badly injured, he doesn’t have the same kind of financial security, it is a tactic that can pay off and the thought of being able to manage your own contract and career is very alluring to a player like Sterling.
Sevilla’s Jules Kounde… He’s another player who is going to move and I won’t be surprised to see him finally end up at Chelsea this summer.
Manchester United are a worry…
I do, however, worry for Manchester United. The Red Devils are sort of Newcastle United in disguise. They just have so much to do. They’re in the process of putting together a new backroom team but Matt Judge is still there until the end of the month, so they’re going to have to move a lot around, quite quickly, especially considering players will return for pre-season slightly earlier this year.
When it comes to the newly promoted sides, particularly Nottingham Forest, there are definite comparables there between them and Man United as well.
Steve Cooper is also facing a lot of the same problems Erik ten Hag is. The Reds are in a situation whereby they need to sign eight or so players, keeping Djed Spence is going to be challenging but they’re owned by the rather successful Marinakis family – welcome to a whole new ball game!
Although at opposite ends of the table, it is certainly going to be interesting to see how both these clubs navigate what will be one of the most challenging, as well as important, summer transfer windows in their rich histories.