Roma could miss out again with Arsenal and Chelsea after Bayer Leverkusen's Leon Bailey

Tom Biggs 25/07/2018
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With the World Cup finished, the summer transfer window is now starting to heat up, as managers look to bring in additions to their squads ahead of the start of the 2018/19 campaign.

Plenty of big names have been linked with switches, and with that in mind, we’re taking a closer look at some of Europe’s most in-demand stars.

Our next player analysis is Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey…

Linked to: Arsenal, Chelsea and Roma

Price tag: £40 million

Competition to sign Leverkusen’s Bailey is likely to heat up following Barcelona’s capture of Bordeaux star Malcom.

AS Roma had looked certain to sign the Brazilian before a dramatic late bid from the La Liga side saw Malcom make the switch to Spain rather than Italy, meaning the Giallorossi are back in the market for a winger.

But the Serie A side could also miss out on 20-year-old Bailey, with both Arsenal and Chelsea reportedly interested in bringing the winger, who has a contract with Leverkusen until June 2022, to the Premier League.

Leon Bailey has made a name for himself after an excellent first full season at Bayer Leverkusen

Leon Bailey has made a name for himself after an excellent first full season at Bayer Leverkusen.

Bailey impressed for Leverkusen during the 2017/18 campaign, scoring 12 goals in all competitions, including a sensational free-kick against Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.

The winger is hugely talented, with electric pace, trickery and an eye for goal, meaning interest in him is thought to be high as the transfer window continues to heat up.

Maurizio Sarri and Chelsea are still likely to be in the market for a winger, despite Barcelona’s move for Malcom meaning Willian is now set to stay at Stamford Bridge.

Across London, Unai Emery has made a number of astute signings so far this summer, but the Gunners lack genuine width and pace in wide areas, something Bailey would no doubt provide should they bring him to the Emirates.

For Roma, the desire to bring in a winger is clear, and having been so close to tying up a deal for Malcom, they are now reassessing their options.

Roma’s director of football Monchi has said they are “working hard to identify a player that wants to come to Roma and is the equal or even better than Malcom”. Bailey may just be that man.

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Premier League has shot itself in the foot with penny-wise, pound-foolish transfer window change

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Guardiola and Mourinho have been unusually quiet in the transfer window.

Premier League clubs’ decision to enact a rule change that shuts the transfer window before the season starts is being shown to be penny-wise and pound-foolish in its very first summer.

The motivation behind the decision is understandable. Once they lose a player late in the window, clubs are often left scrambling with little time to find a replacement.

Either they don’t find one at all, or they’re faced with an inflated market, with everyone fully aware that they are flush with funds and desperate to find a player before the window shuts.

Not to mention, players have begun sitting out games at the beginning of a season in a bid to force through a transfer. They’re afflicted by mysterious ailments that disappear as soon as the transfer goes through or the window closes, or team management itself decides that a player is not in the right frame of mind to play. Alexis SanchezPhilippe Coutinho and Diego Costa were high-profile examples last season.

But clubs have shot themselves in the foot with this rule change, and they’re seeing it now, when the new policy coupled with the World Cup has led to a truncated transfer window.

Players wanting to concentrate on the World Cup rather than transfers during the early part of the summer has meant that, unofficially, the window will be open for less than a month, with the World Cup final on July 15 and the window closing on August 9.

The shorter duration has led to exactly the same situation as that which clubs face during an end-of-window scramble: selling clubs are jacking up their prices, knowing that a deadline is fast approaching and thus buyers may be desperate to seal a transfer.

Faced with the inflated values, some clubs are being forced to deal with the reality that a target may be unattainable, at least in the short-term.

But the true fallacy of the rule change is the go-it-alone nature of the Premier League’s decision. The old transfer window remains in place for every other league.

Thus, English clubs have closed the market off to themselves for more than three weeks while everyone else can still do business – including buying their players.

Mourinho and United have endured a frustrating transfer window.

Jose Mourinho and Manchester United have endured a frustrating transfer window.

And because that is the case, one of the concerns clubs had – that they can be raided late in the window with no time to find a replacement – hasn’t been addressed.

The rule change simply means it won’t be Premier League clubs doing the raiding. Plus, there’s still nothing to stop players from sitting out games in a bid to make a move happen, knowing that a club from outside England could still come in for them.

Manchester United and Manchester City must be cursing their fellow clubs right now. They, along with Watford, Crystal Palace, and Swansea had voted against this rule change last September, but 14 others were in favour (Burnley abstained), giving the policy the two-thirds majority it needed to be enacted.

Some clubs have still thrived. Newly-promoted Fulham and Wolves have done some excellent business, and further up the table Liverpool and Arsenal have had good windows as well, while that duo will also be less constrained by players going deep at the World Cup.

On the other hand, last season’s top three have been relatively quiet. City did break their transfer record for Riyad Mahrez, and missing out on their midfield targets has little to do with a shortened window, but they are undoubtedly aware of the premium they will have to pay if they dip into the market now, and have deemed it unnecessary.

United, meanwhile, are being stymied in their efforts to strengthen their squad. Sir Alex Ferguson’s infamous mutterings that would pop up every few summers, that there was no value in the market in that particular window, are being remembered now as they deal with proposed transfer fees that are being inflated by the fact the club must conclude any incoming transfers within a fortnight. Tottenham are facing a similar issue.

It’s a problem that at the moment has hit Jose Mourinho’s title challengers the most. But with the Premier League rule change, it’s one that can crop up any summer for any club – and they’ll only have themselves to blame.

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Christian Pulisic is Europe's most in-demand teenager but should stick with Borussia Dortmund

Tom Biggs 25/07/2018
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With the World Cup finished, the summer transfer window is now starting to heat up, as managers look to bring in additions to their squads ahead of the start of the 2018/19 campaign.

Plenty of big names have been linked with switches, and with that in mind, we’re taking a closer look at some of Europe’s most in-demand stars.

Our next player analysis is Borussia Dortmund’s teenage star Christian Pulisic

Linked to: Real Madrid, Chelsea, Liverpool and Bayern Munich

Price tag: £70 million

“He’s a fantastic skilled boy, and it’s not a surprise to see. He’s a smart player.” It’s fair to say Jurgen Klopp is a fan of Dortmund wonderkid Pulisic.

The American teenager was impressive in helping the Bundesliga side beat Klopp’s Liverpool in a pre-season friendly on Sunday, scoring twice in the International Champions Cup clash.

But it’s not just the Liverpool boss who has been impressed, with Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Chelsea all rumoured to be interested in signing the 19-year-old.

Christian Pulisic is yet to reach 100 senior appearances at club level, but already clubs are taking note

Pulisic is yet to reach 100 senior appearances at club level, but already clubs are taking note.

Could Pulisic follow in the footsteps of Robert Lewandowski, Mats Hummels and Mario Gotze and switch Dortmund for Munich? Bayern are understood to see the youngster as the ideal replacement for the ageing Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery.

But European champions Real Madrid have been alerted to his excellent performances, and with Cristiano Ronaldo gone and Chelsea digging in their heels over Eden Hazard, Pulisic could be a possible solution.

Chelsea, Klopp’s Liverpool and Manchester United have all registered an interest in the Dortmund star, but the presence of both Real and Bayern mean a Premier League switch is unlikely.

Christian Pulisic (l) has admirers in Germany, Spain and England

Christian Pulisic (l) has admirers in Germany, Spain and England.

His on-field quality, coupled with the American market he would entice to his new club, makes Pulisic one of the most in-demand youngsters in the world right now.

Though Pulisic seems perfectly happy to continue his upward trajectory at Dortmund, should one of the big clubs come calling, it may be difficult for both club and player to say no.

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