There are certain transfer moves that just make sense.
Were we given the power to transfer players who should be playing elswhere to their ideal destination, then the following Premier League deals would be happening very soon.
Christian Benteke - Liverpool > West Ham
Footballing and political opinion are remarkably fickle. Cock of the walk one day, feather duster the next. Rarely do you see Christian Benteke and Michael Gove clumsily roped together, but if it’s lazy and barely-applicable comparisons you’re after, we’re your men.
Benteke has becoming a laughing stock far too quickly. At Villa, he struggled with injury and was in and out of a tanking side – where he still managed a 1 in 2 rate. After parachuting into a flaming Anfield, and Brendan fiddling all the while, it was hardly surprising that his form suffered in a team not suited to his strengths. Benteke needs a side that is focused on direct play, and West Ham need a striker that will score 15+ league goals next season. Having found a pot of free money under Boris Johnson’s chaise longue, it’s not hard to see the Daves coughing up the dough.
Asmir Begovic - Chelsea > Everton
Some transfers can really disappoint the neutral. When Asmir Begovic joined Chelsea to sit on the bench, it felt like such a waste of goalkeeping talent. One can understand a highly-competitive breed backing themselves to dislodge a world-class opponent for their position, but Begovic hasn’t managed to leapfrog Thibaut Courtois.
A huge factor in Everton’s terrible season was the inconsistent – or, rather, the consistently appalling – form of Tim Howard. Now that New Jersey’s finest has high-tailed it, the Blues need a commanding goalkeeper. One with a point to prove might not be a bad choice…
Jose Fonte - Southampton > Liverpool
Contract law is a funny old thing. Who would have thought that signing for Southampton would include a clause saying you are forced to sign for Liverpool two years later?
Many Saints fans were adamant that Liverpool’s decision to sign Dejan Lovren was something of a sleight of hand from Ronald Koeman. The reason for Southampton’s rigidity at the back has been their newly-annointed European champion, Fonte. An excellent reader of the game, and physically dominant, he would be perfect for a Liverpool side that need a partner for Mamadou Sakho. Lovren has been inconsistent – it might even work to get the old band back together…
Virgil Van Dijk - Southampton > Everton
Another raiding vessel from Merseyside winds up the Solent (in more ways that one.)
Since signing from Celtic, Van Dijk has done one of those quietly-under-the-radar-until-grotesquely-over-the-radar veins of form (see Kante, N’golo). Van Dijk’s partnership with the aforementioned Fonte shipped only 41 goals last season – bettered by only four other clubs. Everton have a couple of looming defensive problems in that (a) Phil Jagielka is about as sprightly as Val Doonican’s music career and (b) John Stones will be away on his toes down the M62 soon enough. Twinned with Ronald Koeman’s appointment, Everton have both the personnel to tempt VVD, and a wad to shame Tony Soprano’s bird feeder.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - Borussia Dortmund > Arsenal
Arsenal are, frankly, pissing absolutely everyone off. Everyone – bar Spurs – wants to see Arsene Wenger make a fist of an actual, legitimate title challenge. The glaring area of weakness is up top, and it can only be amended by Arsene pushing himself to go and talk to the prettiest women in the place. Arsenal serve no-one by playing small.
Aubameyang is one of the few players that is yet to play for an elite European side, that is shitting ability and is perfectly-suited to exploiting cramped space with his technique and explosive pace. It will simply cost 60-70m to make it happen. As with Pokemon Go, ubiquitous TOWIE stars and Brexit, this is just the way of the world. It’s what needs to be paid for Arsenal to effectively rubber-stamp success.
Juan Mata - Man United > Juventus
Juan Mata is living some sort of dystopian remake of Goodnight Mister Tom. Try as he might to be an absolute cherub of a man, he wanders into horrendous football situations not of his making and certainly not his fault. Mata’s signature for Manchester United was one of few times that United fans dared to dream under David Moyes, but he wasn’t to be the salve to United’s crippling wounds.
Fast forward two and a half years, and dreadful mother Mourinho is back on the scene, ready to belittle Juan in front of all his friends. It has long since struck that Mata’s slight lack of pace and somewhat louche passing style would suit Serie A. It would be nice to see Paul Pogba’s imminent move involve a disturbingly-OTT airport greeting for little Johnny Kills.
Riyad Mahrez - Leicester > Tottenham
Like Angela Leadsom, Spurs want to forget May. The ghost of Herbert Chapman could not have conjured a more perfect collapse, but it would be ridiculous to claim anything other than Spurs’ season as a roaring overall success. One can’t help but feel that a stellar signing would help kick the club onto feeling right at home in the title mix.
Riyad Mahrez is a player who would provide a visceral threat from the wing that Spurs have lacked since Gareth Bale took flight. Erik Lamela has come along fantastically under Mauricio Pochettino, but one can’t help but feel that Tottenham maybe trying their luck to lure Mahrez to the bright lights/big city might be worth a pop. File under the more adventurous moves – particularly given the tightened purse-strings around the new stadium – but, hey, we’re just ideas men.
Hal Robson-Kanu - Unattached > Swansea
Have you ever been in a big group of friends – some male, some female – and you just know that two people are going to hook up, solely because they are from a similar place? The fact that there personalities don’t match in the slightest, there’s just and air of right-place/right-time…