BREAKING: Kovacic to Chelsea, Felix to Atleti and De Ligt to Juve
by Chirag R Bhattad
Twitter went crazy last night as Fabrizio Romano, the renowned journalist from Di Marzio spilled the beans on atleast half a dozen transfers which are set to be completed in the next 48 hours. From Kovacic to Joao Felix to Tanguy Ndombele, let us run down each and every transfer listed by the journalist:
Inter have reportedly wrapped up a deal to sign former Man City striker Edin Dzeko from AS Roma. The 32-year old was a high-priority target of Antonio Conte and will cross the Roman lines to join the Milan club. Inter will reportedly part with €10 million and the exiting 18-year old striker Edoardo Vergani.
Edin Dzeko, 32-years old, has been one of the best strikers in the Serie A since moving from Man City. The Bosnian was at the peak of his powers in the 2016-17 season, scoring 39 goals in all competitions. He had a relatively quiet season last year, with just 14 goals to his name, 5 of which came in the UEFA Champions League. Conte wants a physical presence up top who can bring in players around him, and Dzeko is just that.
After two windows of inactivity, Tottenham are set to splash the cash. They are going to make Olympique Lyonnais midfield powerhouse Tanguy Ndombele as their first summer signing. The 22-year old has been an ever-present in the Lyon lineup and has provided 7 assists.
But the more important stats of his game are 2 tackles per game, 2 dribbles per game and a whopping 89% passing accuracy over 53 appearances last season. Ndombele will be a direct replacement for Moussa Dembele, who took the China route in the January transfer window. Pochettino is a master at developing young talents, and Ndombele might just be the best young talent he has ever managed.
Manchester United fans can finally breath easy, even if it is for a day or two. Their club have finally reached Total Agreement for the signing of Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace. In a deal costing a reported €54 million, Wan-Bissaka will sign a massive five year contract till 2024. The young English right-back has been one of the breakthrough players from last season, making a quick step up into the Theatre of Dreams.
Wan-Bissaka won the Crystal Palace player of the month 4 times last season, an incredible achievement for a player with Wilfried Zaha in his team. Wan-Bissaka averaged 3.7 tackles a game, 2.4 interceptions a game and had an incredible 1.7 dribbles per game. He is solid defensively, but needs to add more to his game going forward if he is to succeed at a top club like Man Utd.
With Juventus leading the race to sign De Ligt, the talks of the best centre-back pairing in the Serie A are well underway. SSC Napoli have raised the bar with Kostas Manolas set to partner Kalidou Koulibaly at the centre of Napoli’s defense. They have stripped their direct rivals of their best centre-back. Manolas is a Greek behemoth, averaging a mind-boggling 88% passing accuracy and 1.9 interceptions per game.
The centre-back will cost Napoli €34 million, with Amadou Diawara moving in the other direction for €20 million. The 21-year old Guinea International did not get a lot of minutes under Ancelotti, but in the limited time he got, Diawara managed a 90.2% passing accuracy, 2.9 accurate long balls per game and 1.2 tackles per game.
It looks like a deal which both the clubs will profit from, with SSC Napoli on the look-out for a Raul Albiol replacement, while AS Roma are desperately after midfield options. Steven N’Zonzi has failed in midfield, Daniele De Rossi is out of Roma and they have not yet replaced Kevin Strootman. The swap + cash deal will be announced shortly by both the clubs.
PSG have stepped up their pursuit for yet another Italian goalkeeper, with the 20 year old Milan goalkeeper replacing the 40 year old outgoing Gigi Buffon. Donnarumma has been a target linked with PSG for a long time, with his agent Mina Raiola pushing for a deal due to the financial difficulties and lack of Champions League at Milan.
Donnarumma has been one of the stars of the Serie A, with the 20 year old already clocking up 164 Milan appearances and 12 International appearances. Donnarumma has only missed 2 games for AC Milan in the last three Serie A campaign, an astonishing stat. With Donnarumma in goal, Milan conceded just 31 goals last season, in an ultimately failed Champions League qualification bid. With yet another season of Europa League on the cards, Donnarumma could be swayed to join a UCL contender and take on a new challenge.
We had reported on Joao Felix joining Atletico Madrid a week back. With Benfica confirming a €126 million bid from Atletico Madrid for the Portuguese ace, it is only a matter of time before the deal is announced. Joao Felix will replace the outgoing Antoine Griezmann, with the frenchman fetching the €120 million needed to finance this deal.
Joao Felix had a breakthrough campaign last season, scoring 19 goals and laying on 8 assists. Felix averaged 2.4 shots per game, 1.1 key passes per game and was fouled 1.3 times per game. Felix formed a deadly partnership with Haris Seferovic at Benfica and with Atletico boasting a striker trident of Diego Costa, Alvaro Morata and Nikola Kalinic, Felix will not be short of target man to play alongside him.
Finally, it seems like the long protracted saga of Matthijs De Ligt seems to be coming to an end. The Dutch teen sensation is set to oblige to Cristiano Ronaldo’s words and sign for Juventus. Juventus are ready to shell out €65 to €75 million for his signature. They are also ready to hand out an €8 million rising to €12 million per season wages package to the 19-year old.
De Ligt, captain of AFC Ajax, was the star of an unlikely semifinal run by Ajax. He scored crucial goals against Juventus and Tottenham Hotspurs in the knockout stages, averaged 1.2 tackles and interceptions per game and had an astonishing 89% passing accuracy. All this at the age of 19, playing a 56 game season. Juventus have got one hell of a player on their hands, with De Ligt boosting their UCL title hopes and making them one of the big favourites ahead of the new season.
The Croat is finally out of his limbo. Mateo Kovacic will be a Chelsea player next season, with the Blues activating a €50 million buy clause inserted into the loan deal. This is completely legal and is not hindered by their 2 window transfer ban. It is because of the transfer ban that Chelsea are pressed into signing Kovacic, with other targets out of their hands at the moment.
Mateo Kovacic was a regular starter under Maurizio Sarri, with the Croatian International clocking up 1.6 tackles per game, 1.5 dribbles per game and a whopping 92% passing accuracy over the course of his 60 appearances for the club. Kovacic is a deep lying playmaker, with goals and assists not defining his impact, but quick movement, incisive passing and brilliant positioning impacting the smaller details of the game. It will be interesting to see how he fits in the team under Frank Lampard, but nevertheless, Chelsea have secured a serious talent with this signing.
What a brilliant few days it is going to be. Do you think with missed out on any other obvious signings? Which among the above is the best signing? Write to us at email@example.com or reach us on instagram, twitter and facebook.