It’s all change with the summer transfer window in 2018, and there are two major changes to be aware of.
The window is ALREADY OPEN.
Normal business would see the Premier League summer transfer window open on or around July 1st. This season the window opened yesterday, May 17th.
With the World Cup approaching, and players already in their swimwear, and the transfer window closing earlier than normal (we will get to that), the pressure to complete deals will be intense.
The window closes before the season starts
Recent history had the window shut on or around August 31st. This season however, the window closes at 5pm GMT on August 9th, in theory a day before the opening Premier League game of the 2018-19 season.
We have become familiar with (and disgusted by) the chaos arising from players’ agents continuing to negotiate into the opening month of the season for moves away from their clubs. The disruption as players are deemed unfit due to pending/possible moves is frustrating for managers both real and fantasy.
Looking back at the summer of 2017, Arsenal faced the problem with their star player Alexis Sanchez. Sanchez patiently (or not) waited for Manchester City to match Arsenal’s valuation while Arsenal were faced with trying to replace him with a player of similar ability. The deal fell through, but the Gunners had been without their best player for the opening month of the season, and the effects of the unrest may have lasted longer. Had the window shut before the opening game, then Sanchez could have played from game one. The new window allows clubs to plan better and players to remain focused a little more.
Silly season begins
It doesn’t take much substance for the rumors to flow. Some have a strong possibility of coming true while others are complete fabrication from various media outlets/websites (cough cough). Let’s take a look at the latest:
Paul Pogba to leave Manchester United
Red Devils manager Jose Mourinho said that he has “a feeling” that Paul Pogba will stay with the club for next season, despite there being many a story linking the French midfielder with a move away from Manchester United. Mourinho said:
”I think he’s going to be here next season. That’s my feeling. I can give the guarantee that I don’t want him to leave, that the club doesn’t want to sell him, and I can give you the guarantee that we don’t have any approach from him or his agent or from any club. In this moment, for me, he’s staying, yes.”
Pogba’s second season at Utd since his return was one slightly better than the first. Once again, the problem was that we saw a player full of ability fail to make the jump from talented youngster to first team leader. Maybe Jose isn’t the right manager to get the best out of him, but I think the issue is more likely with the player himself. At 25 Pogba needs, really needs the penny to drop.
At times he watches the game pass him by, other times he plays as if he is a kid in a school playground (as pointed out by ex Utd full back Gary Neville). Then there are still other times, those times when you can see just why he commanded the big transfer fee. The second half showing in United’s comeback win at rivals Manchester City will see him in plenty of highlights packages. Then the all-around showing at Wembley in this season’s FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham.
Big performances in big games he can do, but it’s delivering those performances week in and week out against the league’s lesser lights that sets the top players apart. Dropped from the 1st team and subbed early in a couple of matches, Pogba has been shown the warning signs that he may be failing to meet expectations.
Off the pitch, the Pogba brand is strong and striking, but as for his on-field returns, United overpaid for Pogba two years ago and there is no sign yet of the club getting value on their purchase.
Any move for the player would require a club with real financial muscle to pay a transfer fee similar to what Utd paid to Juventus. There are only a couple clubs in word football with that level of money, and you can be sure they won’t be spending that on a player who so often disappoints.
Fantasy implications: In FPL we can expect him to be priced around the price the Manchester City midfield choices were last July and that represents great value if we can see Pogba bloom into the player he is on paper.
Jack Butland to Wolves
Jack has become a fantasy favorite over the last few seasons, and he is too good a keeper not to immediately rejoin the Premier League. He is also not a keeper that I can see any of the top clubs wanting to take a chance with, at least not yet.
Still, Stoke boss Paul Lambert seems to have some pretty big ideas on his summer value. Lambert had this to say about reports of Wolverhampton Wanderers offering a £35m fee:
”Is that for one glove? With the way the modern market is, I think you might get one glove for that! When it becomes a little bit probably more realistic with the modern-day transfer fees then wait and see. I obviously know people at Wolves and get on well with those guys. But I think that would probably get you Jack’s right hand.”
Fantasy implications: Butland conceded 58 goals in his 33 appearances last season. Even in this inflated market, a £35m move to Wolves seems about right to me. However, we have that old chestnut that the player is English, which seems to automatically add a premium to any player’s value, so a higher fee is possible.
Butland may have dreams of playing for a Champions League level side, but a move to Wolves could still work well for his career. Certainly playing for a club heavily influenced by super-agent Jorge Mendes can only be full of potential for any young player.
In FPL next season the cheap-duo keeper tactic seems one many players will be using. On the back of the season past and with Wolves being promoted, hopes will be high that Butland is available for 4.5m come mid-July.
Yaya, Ya ya Yaha, Ya ya Yaha, Ya, Ya YAYA TOURRRRREEE (to stay in the Premier League)
The song about Yaya and his big brother Kolo has been used during City play for many years. Now it has become so popular that it’s sung wherever best friends, sport and beer meet. To hear fans sing with such enthusiasm a song that has nothing to do with football shows how these chants can translate. Take a look at a few examples for fun:
First a little from the City fans
Then at the darts with the Christmas jumpers
Then some PhD British students on holiday in Magaluf (have a Google search for the joys of that little place if you are not aware)
Then finally at a wedding reception
As you can see the natives like the song!
With Yaya Toure now ending his time with the champions, the 34 year old is looking for a new home. At first thought, Toure could look to the US or China for the Indian summer part of his career, but he believes in himself much more and has thoughts of staying in the Premier League. When asked, he said:
”Yes. Definitely. I love the challenge and the difficulty. Some fans were asking ‘are you retiring?’ I said no. I have, maybe, two more years at a high level.”
Is that really meaning he will stay in England or just that he intends playing at certain standard?
The ability to burst from deep is probably gone, but the technique clearly isn’t. There are a number of clubs whose starting 11’s Yaya could improve providing they have the players with the legs to do the work around him. A bigger issue will be if these teams can find the funds to pay for him. The top six sides are likely out of the running, so it would mean a gamble from someone like West Ham or Everton, or perhaps 7th-place Burnley who will be new to European football next season and could benefit from adding experience.
Fantasy implications: Toure remains an excellent penalty taker and more than capable with direct free kicks. He could be a real value fantasy football pick at the right club. Its just a question whether a side below the top 6 is attractive enough to compete against a move outside of the EPL.
Allegiri rules out Arsenal
Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegiri is at the top of many Gunners fans wishlist to succeed Mr Wenger. Sad news then is that he seems to have ruled himself out:
”If they don’t sack me, I’ll stay at Juventus next year too.”
Fantasy implications: An excellent manager, Allegiri would have been a wonderful signing for Arsenal, making their players very attractive fantasy options. Mikel Arteta, who is currently the bookies favorite, would be an ideal number 2 with a view to be the eventual long term replacement.
Allegiri comments make the whole idea of taking the Arsenal hot-seat very unlikely. Maybe he has eyes on role elsewhere in the league with bigger budgets to work with in the summer of 2019?
Who sung the Yaya song the best?
This poll is closed
The City fans
The darts fans
The wedding party
Where do you see the names above playing managing next season? What (realistic) transfer rumors have you heard? What new rumor should we fabricate right here? Tell us in the comments section below!