The transfer market is a rather strange phenomenon. It is almost representative of school projects. Remember your chemistry assignments? Or the math ones? History perhaps. Pick any subject you did not like. And that represents the transfer market better than anything else. Imagine having more than two months to complete a certain activity and waiting till the last week. Panic, frenzy and overall hyperactivity.
However, this is not a complaint. In fact, this very nature of the football business is extremely intriguing. There is no other way anyone outside the ones directly involved in the deal would have it. As fans, there is nothing more exciting than a new arrival in the dying embers of the transfer window. A new player creates a buzz unlike any other. The excitement resonates among players as well. Everyone loves having a world class player in their team - players and fans. Thus, there is a sense of electricity associated with transfers. And a late arrival multiplies the magnitude manifolds.
For a manager, however, this is not ideal. Irrespective of excitement, every manager wants a settled squad before the season commences. One can even say that landing a player is the easiest bit of the bargain. The toughest is for the newly transferred to settle down and settle in. New club, new teammates, new city, new culture, new people, new tactics. Basically, new everything. Hence, the clamour to settle business early in the transfer window.
Further, it becomes easier to start a season better. Different combinations are tested in pre-season. And come matchday one, everyone is more or less aware of the different plans and their roles within each plan. But, football would not be the same without the late transfer market frenzy. Here is a lowdown on three top clubs in the final week.
Transfer Market - Barcelona
The transfer market saga for Barcelona does not really end. Ever. Barcelona have kept making headlines courtesy their incomings and outgoings combined with mergers and strategic partnerships. Sometimes, the lack of anything has also been news. It really has been a unique transfer window for the Camp Nou-based side. And, heading into the final week, the fans will be quite pleased.
Most of their incoming transfer business is over. However, there are certain outgoings yet to take place. Most notable among them are the forward players. Pierre Emereick Aubameyang is leaving the club. And so is Memphis Depay. The Premier League train has hailed Aubameyang. Meanwhile, Italy has called the Dutch player. Chelsea have been in direct contact with Aubameyang and his entourage. Word is that the Gabonese international is in favour of a move back to London. Thomas Tuchel is in search of a striker and Aubameyang is the answer, according to sources. He is quick, incisive and, managed well, extremely dangerous. Chelsea, who have let Timo Werner leave, require a striker. And their reversal at Leeds is accelerating the need for a solution.
Memphis, meanwhile, is going to Juventus. Reliable sources have reported this development widely. In fact, meetings have taken place between Juventus and Memphis Depay's entourage. And the results are positive for a move. It will be a welcome one for Memphis too. The situation at Barcelona was looking unfavourable for the attacker. The new arrivals and Ousmane Dembele's contract extension means reduced game time for Memphis.
Thus, it made sense for both him and Aubameyang to negotiate a mutual termination of their respective contracts. There could yet be a third high-profile departure. Albeit unlikely with passing time, Manchester United may return for Frenkie De Jong. Samuel Umtiti is also leaving the club.
Transfer Market - Chelsea & Juventus
Chelsea and Juventus are also in the transfer market. Juventus are simple with their demand. They want Memphis. However, there are still details that need sorting in that deal. There is, of course, the termination at Barcelona. And perhaps even deferred wages. Also, he needs to agree personal terms with Juventus. That is not an easy detail, especially with the astronomical contracts Barcelona have handed out lately.
Any delay at this point will be catastrophic for all parties. Thus, Juventus could remain in the market for an attacking player. However, they remain hopeful of signing Memphis before deadline day.
Chelsea, meanwhile, have eyes on two targets. One striker and one defender. There have been widespread rumours on the London blues. The imminent arrival of Aubameyang has already been discussed. There were also enquiries for Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United. It seemed strange at the time. However, the intentions from the camp are clear. They need a striker. Perhaps, more than a striker, Chelsea are seeking a goalscorer. The club is in dire need of someone who will score 20 goals in the Premier League. That, according to Tuchel, is imperative for a sustained title challenge.
Chelsea are also searching for a defender. The club lost two central defenders in the summer. Antonio Rudiger now plays for Real Madrid. Meanwhile, Andreas Christensen left for Barcelona. Kalidou Koulibaly has arrived. However, there may yet be another possible incoming before the transfer market closes. If rumours are to be believed, Chelsea are showing interest in Harry Maguire. This is indicative of a genuine need in a crucial position. One in which Tuchel employs three players.
Transfer Market - Manchester United
Dread it. Run from it. And fate still catches up. It all comes down to Manchester United again. No transfer market piece is ever complete without the serial headline makers of our industry. Irrespective of form, situation, players, manager and reality, Manchester United's interest in players remains permanent. This is not all of their doing either. There is a little bit of media hype related to this club. Basically, being the most popular club in the world comes with its own negatives.
Negative is also Manchester United's goal difference in the Premier League. This is among the most embarrassing starts to any Premier League campaign. That means the club will once again be busy late in the transfer season. The transfer market, many believe, still has possibilities for Erik Ten Hag and company. The arrival of Casemiro is a positive. The now former Real Madrid player is a proven winner and a definite upgrade in United's midfield.
However, there are talks that United could acquire yet another midfielder in the remaining open days of the transfer market. Frenkie De Jong possibly? Perhaps another option, one is not sure.
Meanwhile, there is more assurance in potential acquisitions further up the pitch. Antony from Ajax is a developing story. And the developments suggest yet another reunion at Old Trafford. In fact, Ajax have progressed on a reunion of their own. Out of favour Chelsea attacker Hakim Ziyech is in talks for a return. And that could only mean a move away for Antony, given their extremely similar profiles and playing styles.
Manchester United may regardless sign another attacker from the transfer market. Cody Gakpo from PSV Eindhoven is first on the list. He is a talented, young attacker who primarily plays on the left.