As the January transfer window was true to its name and slammed firmly shut on February 3rd 2015, all money-minded football fanatics sit patiently, licking their lips at the anticipation of what this Summer’s window will conjure up. Whilst last summer was filled with all the excitement which surrounds a tournament as big as the FIFA World Cup alongside the consequent transfer deals for big name players before the start of the 14/15, the transfers in the pipeline for this for this summer are shaping up to be equally as exciting, with teams all around the globe set to spend big in hope of strengthening their squads, ahead of next season.
A key difference between teams reigning supreme in their domestic league right now and the teams just behind them fighting for a UEFA Champions League spot, has to got be the defence. Those teams however in less fortunate positions in the standings look ready and prepared to bring in young, upcoming yet talented back lines in order to prevent the aforementioned big name forwards from scoring at will. Chelsea are sitting pretty at the top of the table in England, yet Diego Costa may not be the major factor to their current success and good formt. The likes of Gary Cahill and John Terry, as well as the luxury of an in-form Branislav Ivanovic have helped to keep Chelsea far above their Premier League opponents. The experience and quality in which these three individuals provide Chelsea are matched equally by like for alternatives Chelsea have at their disposal – both young and old. The promising Thibaut Courtois shows signs of his quality week by week of his pre-decesser and now Chelsea’s backup shot-stopper Petr Cech, whilst Chelsea are blessed with an abundance of depth with the likes of César Azpilicueta and Kurt Zouma more than adequate replacements or even starters of late, when called upon. This abundance of talent not only bodes well for the future but works perfectly in this day and age to stop their rivals from scoring.
Meanwhile currently in Second place in the English Premier League are current champions Manchester City. With big names such as Sergio Aguero, Jesus Navas, and David Silva going forward in attack, the Citizens have had few troubles scoring goals in recent years. Rumours would suggest however with such an older squad and very few younger alternatives, City could perhaps have a more conscious eye on the future with a view to replacing an aging Vincent Kompany sooner rather than later,. Yet, whilst Manchester City do not look nearly as strong as Chelsea defensively, they most certainly haven’t encountered such struggles quite like other Premier League sides this season.
In regards to defensive difficulties, it would be fair to say that both Liverpool and Manchester United have obvious problems at the back. Although Manchester United have been graced with a brilliant David De Gea this season, Liverpool have had no such luck when it comes to defending. Arsenal are seemingly struggling too and perhaps an experienced defensive midfielder would to prevent teams from threatening their aging back four. In bringing in a holding midfielder to cover their back line, this then would hopefully help Arsene Wenger in his attempts to stop opposing midfielders from controlling the pace of the game and help secure their defensive and midfield setup.
Therefore with all the problems in defensive positions this season, the English Premier League as a whole looks ready to go on a spending spree. And as teams prepare their shopping lists ahead of this Summer’s transfer window, I believe some of the big names to watch out for this summer are as follows:
The World-Cup winning centre-back was heavily linked with Manchester United in January and continues to be, but The Red Devils seemingly struggled to convince an equally as faltering Borussia Dortmund to part with their highly-rated German mid-season. However once this season ends, acquiring Mats Hummels may prove easier for Louis Van Gaal and his Manchester United side.
Again another player repeatedly linked with a move to Manchester United, Kevin Strootman is arguably one of the best holding midfielders in the world in the current footballing climate. With age on his side, he is still relatively young and any team who makes a move for the Dutchman will be pleased with his ability to stop opposing attackers, although recent injuries are undoubtedly a cause for concern.
Another German international whose impressive showing throughout 2-14 show why he is so highly rated and one of the best defensive midfielders in the game. And with Real Madrid poised to replicate last season’s Champions League success, with sufficient game-time don’t be surprised if the Sami Khedira’s stock and value rises. I fully expect to see bids from the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool – I mean who wouldn’t want a World Cup winning defensive midfielder shoring up their midfield?
The future of fellow Real Madrid team-mate, in this case Raphael Varane also seems uncertain with paper talk suggesting the promising Frenchman could be another player who leaves the Bernabeu this Summer after being linked with the most elite sides in European Football. As defenders with pace remain so elusive in the modern game, expect sides such as Bayern Munich or even Chelsea to look to add Varane to their ranks to help improve their defence for years to come. The French international has already proved he has the determination let alone the quality to anchor a defensive unit and earn his place in any side, and it’s clear that the promising defender will certainly be an important part of whichever team he may decide to join.
Dante may be bring a wealth of experience and unquestionable quality but it seems his quicker and much pacier years may be far behind him and he maybe doesn’t quite have the pace Pep Guardiola desires at Bayern Munich to keep his back line holding their high position. Whilst Dante still has the skill to be playing in Europe’s top leagues, he may be searching for a move away from Germany, where a number of teams will be surely be interested in acquiring his services.
Last but not least, in my opinion the best young player in the world Paul Pogba is not as much of a defensive player as he was when he left Manchester United for current Serie A title holders Juventus. A defensive midfielder in his days at United, Paul Pogba has now settled into a much more of an attacking role alongside the ever-reliable anchorman, play-maker and genuine all-rounder Andrea Pirlo. Inevitably, Pogba remains the biggest name being linked with a move away from Italy this summer. His prowess may now be in his ability to use skill to cruise past opponents whilst his long-range shooting capabilities, his size and blistering pace will certainly also be useful to teams all through Europe looking for defensive cover, mixed with an attacking edge. Expect to see the Frenchman linked every club in Europe who are willing to pay his outlandish price. Whether or not he leaves is unclear but the one thing that is for certain is that it will be very interesting to see who can lure and impress the promising Frenchman enough to land his much desired signature.
Article written by: @BradleyDE14