Nick Ames on 3 December 2019
How do you strengthen runaway Premier League leaders? Easy: sign one of England’s best young players, a star who might illuminate any squad on the planet, to parade you over the line. Jadon Sancho’s Borussia Dortmund stint has soured slightly, by all accounts, despite some blistering form and he is keen to return to his homeland. Enter a Liverpool manager with particularly tight contacts in Dortmund, and two plus two equals Jürgen Klopp’s side sauntering to a 20-point advantage by May.
Those aren’t the only maths being done around Liverpool’s window. Last month Klopp praised the Genk midfielder Sander Berge’s performance after they had locked horns in the Champions League and – whaddya know? – he has found the perfect time to make an even stronger play for him. Fabinho’s injury is pretty much the only cloud on the red horizon currently but signing the giant 21-year-old Berg might compensate in the short and long terms.
No such happy endings at Tottenham, where Christian Eriksen has seen the first days of José, spent Saturday’s win over Bournemouth entirely on the bench, and decided he would still like to get out asap. He will not sign a new contract, which will alert half of Europe – with Juventus and Internazionale among those licking their lips should all the chatter around Real Madrid come to nothing.
Chelsea are on the brink of losing a forward too, with Olivier Giroud reportedly available in January. The modern-day Stéphane Guivarc’h should have his admirers elsewhere in the top flight, and also in his native France.
Can we go a day without speculating over Arsenal’s new manager? Don’t be ridiculous. Marcelino, the former Valencia manager, is among those apparently being considered – and could be an appetising option given that he is available and thus relatively cheap. Everton might also fancy a go when Marco Silva finally receives his marching orders. Meanwhile Mikel Arteta, who was passed over for the job last time but would not cost the earth to prise from Manchester City, continues to be mentioned in hushed tones as a leading candidate.
News from abroad is that Barcelona are making eyes for the Internazionale goalscoring sensation Lautaro Martínez, although his employers are distinctly unwilling to sell. And it appears that Zlatan “Zlatan” Ibrahimovic will soon be shooting his mouth off in Rossoneri colours, with a return to Milan seemingly close. Premier League clubs showed their hands but the lure of the Duomo and La Scala have proved impossible to resist.