A little earlier than in previous years, the Premier League’s transfer deadline day is upon us. And, as the clock ticks toward the window closing at noon ET / 4 p.m. GMT on Thursday, it appears that many of the big clubs have plenty of work to do.
Will Tottenham endure a signing-less summer?
Should Spurs supporters be alarmed? On the one hand, they are already blessed with an excellent core of players that improves by the year and it can be overlooked in the modern-day transfer frenzy that there is no harm at all in developing what you already have. On the other, Mauricio Pochettino made no secret of his desire to get deals over the line early on this time around but the prospects of any big-name incomings look exceedingly remote.
After Aston Villa rejected a £25 million bid for Jack Grealish, Tottenham are in stasis unless things fall dramatically into place on the last day. Transfers out are required, so it could yet spark a late scramble if Manchester United make a late move for Toby Alderweireld or anyone comes in for Danny Rose. Support for Harry Kane is desperately needed and perhaps Spurs could do with some extra midfield competition; surely the deadline cannot pass without Pochettino getting one or two of the men he wants.
Will Mourinho sign the centre-back he craves?
To his increasing exasperation, the Manchester United’s manager central defender search is a saga that may rumble until the window’s dying minutes. He has been knocked back by Jerome Boateng, although the Bayern Munich man did extend the courtesy of a telephone call, and a deal for Alderweireld does not look especially close. Leicester’s Harry Maguire is third on his list, but Yerry Mina appears to be off the menu even if Barcelona are reported to have proposed him as part of a fanciful deal for Paul Pogba
In a summer that has seen only Fred, Diogo Dalot and Lee Grant join the first-team ranks, Mourinho is desperate to add a commanding, top-quality figure to a defence that was miserly last season but fell short at times against top-quality opposition. A deal for Maguire might be the easiest, although Tottenham may be happy to force through a deal for Alderweireld if it allows them to strengthen.
Chelsea’s revolving door quickens
Thursday should feature several ins and outs at Stamford Bridge. Thibaut Courtois’ departure for Real Madrid looks certain to be confirmed and the £71m deal for replacement Kepa Arrizabalaga will also be rubber-stamped. The strong impression is that Chelsea have been rushed into parting with more money than they would have liked, something brought about in part by the truncated nature of this window for Premier League clubs.
However, the pill might be sweetened by Mateo Kovacic’s imminent arrival. The Croatian international is a smooth distributor of the ball and a fine mover between the boxes; his signing it should hasten the temporary departure of Tiemoue Bakayoko to Milan. By the time the window closes, we should have a better idea of how Maurizio Sarri’s first Chelsea squad is placed for an assault on the top four.
Arsenal to make late defensive move?
The Gunners have already added Sokratis Papastathopoulos to their centre-back ranks but links with Croatian World Cup finalist Domagij Vida will not quite go away and it could yet be that Unai Emery, who has strengthened the core of his first-team with five workmanlike signings, adds another. The aim is to make Arsenal more solid and less susceptible to counters and aerial assaults; Vida, currently at Besiktas, would certainly help on the latter front.
Calum Chambers’ departure on loan to Fulham has freed up a potential vacancy at the back and the most pressing name among several other possible departures — some of whom might move to foreign clubs later in the international window — is Danny Welbeck. He appears free to leave and has been linked with Everton, as well as Bournemouth and Southampton, both of whom could use his running and eye for goal in what could be relegation battles. As such, a late bidding war cannot be completely ruled out.
Benitez hopes to break Newcastle impasse
What a mess this summer has been at Newcastle, where Rafa Benitez admits to being “really worried” about a lack of incomings but continues to receive only moderate support from the club’s owner, Mike Ashley. Getting Salomon Rondon through the door on loan from West Brom was a plus, even though Dwight Gayle had to go the other way.
However, they remain in need of creativity, particularly in the No. 10 position, and Benitez’s willingness to stick around may depend on him being allowed late reinforcements. Newcastle have brought in four players and received fees for five, including £22m for Aleksandar Mitrovic; they have a punishing start to the season in store and, if Thursday is not fruitful, perhaps there will be limits to what even the excellent Benitez can achieve in keeping them safe.