One must never forget the inevitable. In life or in sport. And football's great inevitability is the transfer market. Notwithstanding the start of a new season, the market remains open for movement of players. It is like stretching the concept of borrowed time into an entire phenomenon. One could call it a masterstroke of sorts. The press, the content makers, headline writers, television channels and every other person related to the sport benefits from a transfer window like no other time so consistently. Further, the gossips of movement and the excitement offered by a potential new arrival keeps the fans hooked.
Hence, in the interest of interest itself, the transfer window remains open for activity. It - in a way - gives space for correcting certain miscalculations and filling certain holes. Sort of like a second chance. And, well, people deserve a second chance.
There is also a frustrating element to this. Hope, as you see, is a dangerous thing. It is the hope, translating to expectation, that always disappoints. And every season it so happens that fans of a certain club get irate after a long-drawn transfer saga. Imagine flirting with a new marquee arrival for two months, only to learn the player has signed a new contract. Or is staying back for another season. Suddenly, this leads clubs into late hyperactivity trying to line up a new replacement.
Panic or Plan B, one can argue for length. But the truth is that the football world is united in its love for the drama of a late bid. The players love it too. Nothing like a new face in the dressing room to rejuvenate everyone. So, as we enter the final fortnight of the 2022/23, there are certain deals waiting to happen. And hence, here are the top three imminent transfers.
Transfer - Adrien Rabiot to Manchester United
Manchester United are still pursuing an arduous transfer target in Frenkie De Jong. The midfielder is himself in a very precarious position at Barcelona. Hence, nothing seems to be the full truth in this exchange between two great football clubs. Deferred fees, reduced wages, players will, manager's words, former manager's words and a new stage. De Jong is considering and/or suffering various battles.
And in this continuing saga, Manchester United are now interested in Adrien Rabiot. Whether or not, the Juventus midfielder is the Dutchman's alternative remains unknown. However, Rabiot provides an interesting option to Erik Ten Hag. The former Ajax manager is not known to employ specialist game breakers. Instead, he prefers functional, technically superior midfielders who understand space off the ball and on it.
Rabiot is a top quality midfielder who can play in the number 8 role and has plenty of energy to travel between both boxes. However, his creative output is below average. The advantage of this player, though, is his versatility. Rabiot can play in the number 6 role because of his high tackle rate. Rabiot wins the ball back by disrupting opposition play very often. He is also good in the air and even better in terms of physicality. While he may not possess creative output, the Frenchman does not lack in holding the ball.
Rabiot is very good at progressing - with the ball, dribbling, and passing into the final third. He can also protect the ball very well, playing in the double pivot of a 4-2-3-1 formation. The Juventus player, however, is not a De Jong replacement. The duo, though, would make a perfect double pivot for a top side.
A transfer to Manchester United looks fairly imminent. Now, he and his entourage have to keep their temperament to succeed.
Transfer - Leandro Paredes to Juventus
The Leandro Paredes situation is the reason Rabiot to United is likelier to happen. Juventus have their sight set on the PSG midfielder. Paredes, on his part, will fancy a move to Italy too. He harbours strong hopes of playing a critical role for Argentina in the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. And for that to happen, he must play regular football. That is exactly what seems difficult at PSG. Hence, there seems to be an understanding for a move away from the French capital.
The price, it seems, will be around the ball park of what Manchester United pays to sign Rabiot. Hence, this is a merry-go-round of sorts, waiting to happen.
Paredes, though, will be a shrewd signing for Juventus. He will play in the deep lying midfield role for the Italian side. He can play in the double pivot and excels in the 'Regista' role. Juventus fans will be very familiar with that style of midfielder. Andrea Pirlo is renowned for making that role his own. And while Pirlo's shoes are too big to fill, Paredes is a fine player.
He will excel playing alongside Locatelli. And may even partner Zakaria and Locatelli, both. Paredes is among the best ball progressors in the game from deep. He is a master of playing the low driven aerial pass. It was from his pass that Messi scored that spectacular back volley against Clermont Foot. Paredes is good on the ball and can dictate play from deep. He was pivotal in Argentina's victorious Copa America campaign.
Off the ball, Paredes offers a feisty campaigner. He is an aggressive presser and tackler. Further, Paredes also covers the full back positions. He, however, needs to balance his aggression as he tends to leave space when bypassed.
Transfer - Marcos Alonso to Barcelona
FC Barcelona have enjoyed a tremendous transfer window. A look at their acquisitions and one would never guess the financial disarray of the club. Following Leo Messi's departure, there was a sense of shock and bewilderment at Camp Nou. A sort of pain that even time will find difficult to soothe. Furthering the hurt was Real Madrid's victories - in Spain and Europe. Thusly, the hierarchy at Barcelona needed to act quickly and decisively.
Therein, Robert Lewandowski, Andreas Christensen, Franck Kessie and Jules Kounde came through the door. There are talks of a further arrival, in the form of Marcos Alonso. The Chelsea full back has a family history related to Barcelona. His father, Marcos Alonso Pena, played five seasons for Barcelona. In that time, he helped his nation finish runners up at the Euros too. Thus, one can see why a move for the current Chelsea player make sense.
Marcos Alonso, born in Madrid, is an attacking full back who fits the Barcelona mould of football. Many a times, the left-footed player has found himself in attacking positions, scoring important goals for Chelsea. He is extremely good on the ball and can evade the press quite well. Marcos Alonso also has a fantastic delivery in him. In fact, he can take free kicks too and is an expert at dead ball situations.
Alonso is a good ball progressor as well as a decent ball carrier. He will face no problems settling in as an attacking outlet down the left side. His defending, however, is his weakness and can be found out of position given his penchant for attack. Barcelona, thus, need a mobile left centre back who can cover for Marcos Alonso on the break in big games against big teams.