Football Features

“For Depay to arrive, Barcelona must sell” – Biggest transfer stories this week

By Muhammad Butt

Transfer news this week

Published: 17:51, 18 September 2020

There’s so many actual football games going on right now. Who’s got time to stay across all the major transfer news?

So just in case they passed you by while you were reading about Gareth Bale’s next club, here are five of the past week’s biggest transfer stories condensed into one 10-minute read.

1. Everything’s coming up Villa!

Aston Villa just about survived their first season back in the Premier League. But now they get another shot at the big time, they’ll want to make a better go of it this time and begin to climb the table.

To this end, they’ve gone about spending some money. First they’ve found a new goalkeeper in Emiliano Martinez, the Argentine who shone for Arsenal at the end of last season as they claimed the FA Cup (and then won the Community Shield last month). The move was prematurely confirmed by Martinez’s wife on social media before being announced by the club with a farewell interview on Wednesday.

Villa are also in discussions with Lyon over the transfer of Bertrand Traoré, according to BBC Sport. The winger would likely play on the right of Villa’s attack and add some much needed pace, dribbling and goalscoring, meaning Jack Grealish wouldn’t have to do it all. And speaking of Villa’s captain… he’s staying!

William Hill’s* Premier League relegation odds:

  • Fulham: 4/6
  • West Brom: 8/11
  • Aston Villa: 2/1
  • West Ham: 2/1
  • Crystal Palace: 11/4

*You have to be 18+ to gamble. All odds and offers within this article are accurate at the time of publication (17:50, 18/09/2020). BeGambleAware.

Perhaps that was pretty obvious after Manchester United, the only club that really seemed in for him, signed Donny van de Beek from Ajax. But now it’s been made official with a brand-new contract extension, which means in a year or two if Grealish wants to take his talents elsewhere, Villa will be able to demand a colossal fee for their star man.

2. “For Depay to arrive, Barcelona must first sell”

After last season’s brutal ending, Barcelona were promised a revolution this summer window and a fresh start for the club. And while that does appear to be happening, it’s moving very slowly.

Ivan Rakitic left for Sevilla earlier this month, and after much wrangling Arturo Vidal seems to be on his way to Inter Milan. However, Luis Suárez is still at the club and there have been no new signings to join Francisco Trincao, Matheus Fernandes, Miralem Pjanic and teenage hopeful Pedri.

William Hill’s* La Liga title odds:

  • Real Madrid: 4/6
  • Barcelona: 6/4
  • Atletico Madrid: 9/1
  • Sevilla: 33/1

Georginio Wijnaldum has been linked but those rumours have cooled lately. Memphis Depay is ready to join, but Koeman has confirmed they need to sell players first. “For Depay to arrive, you must first sell,” he told Fox Sports Netherlands.

So, it seems that no deal can happen until Suárez is sold. And even though he has reportedly been told he’s not in his manager’s plans, the Uruguayan’s exit does not appear as forthcoming as one might expect. Barcelona’s revolution is happening, just very, very slowly.

3. Chelsea want a new Kepa

Chelsea have made serious waves in this transfer window, changing the look of Frank Lampard’s side in a very dramatic way. The latest of those transfer targets is in goal, where Kepa Arrizabalaga is coming off a bad season and began the new one by conceding a shot taken from outside the box in Chelsea’s opening game against Brighton.

As reported by the Telegraph, the Blues are hopeful their pursuit of Rennes’ goalkeeper Edouard Mendy will motivate Kepa to rediscover his best form. However, given the outlay it would require to actually sign Mendy, said to be around £22m, it is more likely that Kepa will be reduced to a bench role, and his Senegalese counterpart will take up the starting berth.

4. Leicester going Under the radar

Leicester are closing in on the signing of Roma winger Cengiz Under, according to the Guardian. The deal is said to be a season-long loan with an obligation to buy for £24.6m next summer. Under’s arrival will strengthen Leicester’s attack as they look to go one better than last season by finishing in the top four.

They made the ideal start with an opening weekend win at West Brom, and Brendan Rodgers will hope Under – who can play out wide or through the middle – will lighten the load on Leicester’s attackers and take the Foxes’ front line to the next level.

First, though, he will have to rediscover his scoring touch. Under is a left-footed forward who likes to cut in from the right and wreak havoc. However, his goal tally has decreased season-by-season at Roma, and the 23-year-old Turkey international scored just three times across all competitions last term.

Despite that dip, he has always been regarded as a player of high potential. Under was named Turkish Footballer of Year as recently as 2018. Will that talent push Leicester into the Champions League places?

William Hill’s* Premier League top four finish odds:

  • Man City: 1/33
  • Liverpool: 1/4
  • Chelsea: 4/11
  • Man Utd: 8/15
  • Arsenal: 15/8
  • Tottenham: 9/2
  • Wolves: 6/1
  • Leicester: 7/1

5. All systems Thia-go

You probably didn’t miss this one but, as of Friday afternoon, Thiago is a Liverpool player. Reports say the Merseysiders will pay an initial £20 million for the Spain international with an extra £5m dependent on Premier League or Champions League success.

Thiago, 29, signs a four-year deal and will wear the No.6 shirt at Liverpool. He missed most of the Bundesliga run-in last term because of a groin injury but returned in August to play a crucial part in the Champions League win.

Asked what special qualities Thiago will bring to Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp told the club website: “He can demand rhythm, that’s how it is. He can obviously create and use space for other players, all these kinds of things. First touch incredible; vision incredible; passing pretty good! But is quick as well. Work-rate great.

“His numbers were absolutely special last year in Germany as well, most steals, ball recoveries and all these kinds of things; most passes.”