What the papers say
Paulo Dybala‘s prospective move to Tottenham may not have gone through during the summer transfer window, but the Champions League finalists will be offered the chance to make a move for the £65million-rated forward in January, reports the Daily Star.
Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid are said to be interested in signing Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen in the winter, according to the Daily Express. There was previous speculation the Dane could join Manchester United, but the Spanish side are reportedly keen on the 27-year-old.
Olivier Giroud may be heading across the Atlantic to play in the MLS after falling out of favour at Stamford Bridge, according to the Daily Mail.
Ruben Dias, who currently plays for Benfica, is wanted by both Wolves and Manchester United, with the Red Devils sending scouts to watch the defender last weekend, reports the Birmingham Mail.
Jose Mourinho refused to sign Virgil Van Dijk in January 2018 while at Manchester United before he moved to Liverpool, according to the Liverpool Echo.
Social media round-up
Man Utd 'make contact with Paul Pogba's agent over new contract' after midfielder's failed attempt to seal Real Madrid transferhttps://t.co/fINYTHoE7T— The Sun Football ⚽ (@TheSunFootball) September 5, 2019
Players to watch
David De Gea: The Manchester United goalkeeper is among a raft of players wanted by Juventus, alongside Eric Bailly and Nemanja Matic, Gazzetta Dello Sport reports.
Thomas Meunier: The defender could leave Paris Saint-Germain in the summer and has been linked with a move to Manchester United and Arsenal, RTBF claims.
Mario Gotze: Inter Milan could look to bring in the Borussia Dortmund playmaker in January, according to Gazzetta Dello Sport.
What the papers say
Italian giants Juventus are keeping an eye on the Manchester United trio of David De Gea, Eric Bailly and Nemanja Matic in the lead-up to the January transfer window, according to Gazzetta Dello Sport. Having signed Aaron Ramsey from Arsenal for free after his contract expired, Juve are drawing up a shortlist of players who will also be free agents if they fail to sign new contracts.
Manchester City’s David Silva and Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen are on the list, but Gazzetta says so too are goalkeeper De Gea, defender Bailly and midfielder Matic. De Gea has had months of talks about a new contract at Old Trafford but is yet to sign. Bailly is recovering from the serious knee injury he suffered in pre-season and 31-year-old Matic has dropped down United’s pecking order this year.
West Ham are preparing to swoop for Mario Mandzukic in January, after he failed in his bid to move to Manchester United when the European transfer window closed on Monday. While United decided the 33-year-old was not an appropriate replacement for striker Romelu Lukaku, the Daily Mirror says the Hammers are hoping to sign him.
The sale of Javier Hernandez to Sevilla, the decision to let go Andy Carroll, Marko Arnautovic and Lucas Perez, and a serious injury to Michael Antonio have left West Ham short of goal-scoring power. Croatian Mandzukic has not played for Juve this season and is keen on a move.
Spanish clubs Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad are set to bid for Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta with an eye to luring him back to his home country, according to the Sun. Azpilicueta has been a mainstay at Chelsea for seven years, but has come under recent pressure to hold his spot, particularly from teenage full-back Reece James. The Sun says Bilbao and Sociedad are hoping to persuade the seasoned defender to “cut his losses” and move back to the Basque region, where he was born, possibly as early as the January transfer window.
Social media round-up
Players to watch
Leroy Sane: The 23-year-old winger, currently sidelined with a serious knee injury, is set to attract further Bayern Munich in January. But Pep Guardiola will be putting a high price on his head and will be hoping to secure him at Manchester City, The Sun reports.
Declan Rice: The midfielder says he is happy at West Ham for now, but believes he has the ability to shine at a major club, the Mirror reports. Manchester United were linked to the 20-year-old in the summer, but Rice opted to stay with the Hammers.
The new season is here, and so is the hype surrounding fresh signings.
The transfer window is closed and some of the big transfers have already materialised, with the teams slowly shaping into the side they could look like in the 2019/20 season.
We take a look at five of the best signings from each of the top-five leagues, judge them based on compatibility and lay expectations ahead of their debut season.
With the help of transfermarkt.com, age, transfer fee, and value, compatibility and potential are some criteria used in the development of this list.
Here’s Ligue 1…
Pablo Sarabia (Paris-Saint Germain) – Midfielder
Transfer fee: €18 million
Market value: €40m
Purchasing Pablo Sarabia for as little as €18m will be seen as a master-stroke by PSG one year from now.
The Spaniard partnered with Wissam Ben-Yedder to provide his club with a tremendous start to last season. Eventually, his 12 goals and 13 assists did not suffice, with Sevilla failing to qualify for the Champions League due to a terrible collapse that began this January.
PSG’s fiery attack comprising of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and Mauro Icardi is likely to grab the headlines. But Sarabia in the No10 position could play a crucial role in their quest for a Champions League title.
The 27-year-old can also function as a striker in a 4-4-2 and a second striker in a 4-4-1-1. His versatility thus opens up a plethora of tactical options and Thomas Tuchel will look to exploit them.
It would not be a surprise if Neymar’s form dropped after the transfer saga. Sarabia – who averaged 2.1 key-passes per 90 minutes last season – will then make it his responsibility to supply the front-line.
Expectation: 15 goals, plus assists.
Numbers aside, Sarabia will need to play a decisive role during the business end of the season with half of PSG’s front-line injured, fatigued or out-of-form. The French champions will hope that he steps up at such a time and leads them to glory.
Kasper Dolberg (Nice) – Forward
Transfer fee: €20.5m
Market value: €18m
Linked with the likes of Bayern Munich, Manchester United and Barcelona at 19, Kasper Dolberg finally left Ajax to join Nice for an amount considered peanuts for young prospects in today’s market. Despite this downward step in his career, Dolberg can still make it to the top with two-three good seasons in Ligue 1.
His season with Ajax was branded as average, but the Denmark international still scored 11 goals and provide two assists in 15 starts and 11 appearances from the bench. The youngster still possesses traits that made him a hot prospect after the 2016/17 Europa League. He needs to wake up those dormant qualities and a moderate profile club in Ligue 1 could be the right path.
Like most modern strikers, Dolberg is great with his movement on and off the ball and likes to be involved in the build-up. His positional awareness is also a huge plus, so is his shot power and ability to have a go at goal from anywhere on the pitch.
Expectation: 15 plus goals. At Ajax, he was one of the many attacking talents while at Nice he is likely to be the face of the front-line.
The pressure will be high as the 21-year-old assumes the responsibility of being the primary source for goals at the French club.
Timothy Weah (Lille) – Forward
Transfer fee: €10m
Market value: €6m
Son of Ballon d’Or winner George Weah, 19-year-old Timothy Weah has been roped in by Lille to make up for goals lost due to the sale of Nicolas Pepe to Arsenal. Positionally a centre-forward, Weah is versatile and competent everywhere across the front-line.
His skill-sets are like that of Pepe, indicating that he could do better out wide than as a striker. Weah’s blitzing pace coupled with incredible acceleration and good ball-control makes him a defender’s worst nightmare in a one-on-one.
The American also has a very good eye for a pass and delivers accurate crosses. He can link up very well and provide many assists.
PSG loaned the player to Celtic last season, and he managed just three goals in 13 appearances. He lacks the striker’s instinct and has a lot to work on his finishing too.
Weah will look to hone these skills at Nice.
Expectation: 15 goals, plus assists. As already established, Weah would function better as a winger than as a lone striker.
Goals alone will not suffice in measuring his impact at his new club. Weah will hence have to manage at least 15 goal-involvements this season. He is likely to get more assists than goals, depending on how manager Patrick Vieira uses him.
Wissam Ben Yedder (Monaco) – Forward
Transfer fee: €40m
Market value: €40m
Monaco need a radical change after barely avoiding relegation and France striker Wissam Ben Yedder could be the answer. They made a statement by signing the Sevilla striker for €40m and now it’s up to him to prove his worth.
The 29-year-old is a prolific goal-scorer whose biggest strength is finishing.
Ben Yedder scored 18 goals and provided nine assists for the Seville-based club and recorded 1.3 key-passes per 90 minutes – impressive numbers for a striker. He has displayed his quality at the European level too, scoring eight goals in the Europa League last season and Champions League two seasons ago.
The Sarcelles-born had a fruitful spell at Toulouse during the first half of the decade. He scored 62 goals and provided 17 assists in four full seasons at the club. All numbers point to the fact that Ben Yedder will succeed at Monaco.
Expectation: 30 goals, plus assists. Unlike others on the list, Ben Yedder is not a player in his developmental years and has a high price-tag to justify. The expectations are high but the Frenchman could achieve it, as evidenced by his numbers with Toulouse.
On average, Ben Yedder was involved in 20 goals every season at Toulouse. These numbers are impressive, given it arrived at a very good consistency over four years.
He is now a more mature player and is plying trades for a club of bigger profile. The 29-year-old must achieve the extra 10 goal-involvements.
Jeff Reine-Adelaide (Lyon) – Midfielder
Transfer fee: €25m
Market value: €11m
At 17, Arsenal academy player Jeff Reine-Adelaide warranted enough hype for him to be called the next Robert Pires. But his career did not experience a sudden boost.
The then 19-year-old started his senior career at Angers, before finally being picked up by Lyon as a potential replacement for Nabil Fekir.
Reine-Adelaide is a central midfielder by trade but can also operate on the wing. He is technically gifted, pacey and possesses very good ball-control.
He is also a potent dribbler and likes to cut in and have a go at goal after surging runs into the opposition box.
The Frenchman has big boots to fill at Lyon but his talent and experience in Ligue 1 should aid his quest to prove himself as a top talent. If Lyon’s line-up against Bordeaux is anything to go by, the youngster is likely to start on the right side of midfield.
His vision and ability to get into space and trouble the defenders with his pace and dribbling abilities make him a signing to watch out for this season.
Expectation: Establish himself as an undisputed starter.
Reine-Adelaide is not one to contribute to a goal directly. He managed just three goals and three assists for Angers in 29 starts and six appearances from the bench last season.
However, Lyon winning the midfield battles and transitioning into attack smoothly could be a sign of his mastery.