With Lyon’s flying left back Ferland Mendy’s move to Los Blancos looking imminent, I will be looking at options they could add to replace the Frenchman.
This season Mendy has proven to be pivotal to OL, playing 44 games over the course of the season scoring 3 and assisting 3 but it was his overall performance that has earned him his pending move to one of the most decorated and biggest teams in world football and that’s why Lyon will need a better than good player to replace him
Despite only joining the Merseyside based club last summer Digne could already be on the move. The Everton left back had an outstanding season which has seen him lauded by some as the second best in the Premier League in his position. Digne’s attacking prowess – his crossing, decisions when passing and concentration would allow him to play to Dembélé’s strengths and make him a great fit for Lyon.
The second choice to succeed Ferland Mendy is young Scottish left back Kieran Tierney. On the radar of many a club, Tierney has been impressing a lot of European teams for seasons with rumours of a big move surfacing every window and with his position opening up at a club like Lyon he would have the opportunity to play alongside former team-mates Jason Denayer and prior-mentioned Moussa Dembélé. Despite being restricted to only 19 league appearances this season due to a hernia injury the Celtic defender would still be an ideal fit to fill Ferland’s boots at the Groupama Stadium due to his great strength and pace which allows him to drive forward whenever he picks up the ball and a great defensive side to his play too.
The cheaper alternative, Rebocho has plenty of Ligue 1 experience under his belt with Guingamp and with Las Costarmoricains being relegated to Ligue 2 the left back will be going for a cut-price. Interesting Premier League clubs such as Watford and Leicester, just like Digne – Pedro Rebocho’s attacking side is a massive strength of his, only Ligue 1 team of the season right back Kenny Lala creating more chances than Rebocho this season (for a defender). Rebocho would be a good addition for Lyon as it would allow them to somewhat mend the left back problem for nearly pennies, letting them spend elsewhere and maybe get a better replacement for captain, Fekir or whoever else jumps ship.
Every year, when a team gets relegated there is always at least one stand out performer and that’s what I’m looking at in this article.
The Cardiff stopper was recently awarded The Bluebirds player of the year award and it’s no surprise as to why. The former Walsall goalkeeper displayed himself as an excellent shot stopper over the course of the season saving the 2nd most shots this season, only behind Lukasz Fabianski. Etheridge also showed his penalty saving talents early on when he saved penalties against Bournemouth and Newcastle in his first two games. That being said, I feel Bournemouth could do a lot worse than signing Etheridge as could Crystal Palace with Guaita and Hennessey both being the wrong side of 30.
Keeping with the Premier League theme is Fulham’s Jean Michael Seri. The Ivorian didn’t live up to standards in his first season in the English top flight but he still showcased what a great player he could be scoring a screamer against Burnley and putting in great performances against Brighton and Watford. This being said it would suit the player if he returned to the league where he made his name – Ligue 1, with Monaco most likely to sign the midfielder.
Our final Premier League player on this list is former Newcastle striker Aleksandar Mitrovic. Despite a drop of form in the second half of the season Mitrovic managed 11 league goals, the 8th best for a striker in the bottom half of the table, this showing he is far better than Championship football in 2020. With Michy Batshuayi returning to Chelsea and Benteke struggling for goals, I reckon Crystal Palace should make an effort to sign the Serbian.
Son of World Cup winner Lillian Thuram, Marcus has been a bright light in EA Guingamp’s rather dreary season. The winger/striker scored 9 league goals as Guingamp finished bottom of Ligue 1. Due to the fact this relegation will have a cut-price effect on the 21 year-‘ old’s value adding on to his contract expiring next summer Thuram will be perfect for a club such as Tottenham who seek bargains.
This is a strange one as although Dijon (Enzo’s club) are not officially relegated from Ligue 1 there is a massive chance they will be with only a two legged tie against Lens who have won 4 of their last 5 games. Enzo Loiodice is an 18 year-old central midfielder with great technique, vision and ball retention among many other skills. The player who is currently playing in the u-2os World Cup for France has started 10 games for Dijon and appeared in 2 more as a sub. With it seeming near certain atleast two of Ndombele, Aouar and Fekir leaving Lyon this summer Loiodice would be a great addition looking to the future.
The former Middlesbrough striker exceeded expectations by an absolute mile in the La Liga this season scoring 19 goals for Girona, the 5th most in the league. The 32 year old Uruguay international also got his name in the Spanish team of the season despite Girona being relegated to La Liga 2. These stats make him perfect for a team looking for a stopgap cheap back-up striker. The reasoning behind Barcelona’s interest.
The second Guingamp player on this last is Ludovic Blas, the talented 21 year-old was a mainstay in Guingamp’s team this season making 40 appearances for the French side. His fantastic strike put the spotlight back on the midfielder who possesses fantastic dribbling, vision and concentration. Staying in his home country and signing for a better Ligue 1 side would be a smart decision, OGC Nice would be in desperate need for an attacking talent if Allan Saint-Maxim does complete a move to the Premier League.
Despite only signing for Dundee this winter Andrew Nelson showed his potential straight away getting 6 goal contributions in 701 minutes, one every 116 minutes for the worst team in the league, which is highly impressive. Nelson displayed that he is way above Scottish Championship standard this side of Christmas. This form should have earned him a move to at least a top 8 team in Scotland. With Motherwell’s Curtis Main joining Aberdeen and Hibs’ Marc McNulty returning to Reading, Hibs and Motherwell would be Nelson’s most realistic destinations.
Ertugrul Esroy is a 22 year-old Turkish centre back who plays for and captains Bursaspor. As the captain of his boyhood club Esroy won’t be in a rush to leave but that is no indication that he couldn’t cut it in mainland Europe. With Boyata leaving Celtic for Hertha Berlin, Esroy could be a perfect replacement with his passion, positioning and ability to read the game.
The third and final Guingamp player in this list is left back Pedro Rebocho. Rebocho has also shone at the Ligue 1 strugglers. Rebocho has turned into some sort of assist king this season with 8 in the league, only bettered by 5 other left backs in Europe. The former Benfica full-backs price-tag was set at £3.5m but that is likely to reduce with EAG’s relegation. There is Premier League interest though as Watford and Leicester are interested in him.
Playing on loan for Girona in La Liga the, at the time, Man City full back looked a new man which forced Stuttgart to pay a club record £8.8m for him but this backfired horribly with Maffeo playing only 8 games for the club who are sitting 16th. Just like Enzo Lociodice, Maffeo isn’t offcially relegated just yet but his fate is decided tomorrow when Stuttgart face Union Berlin. If Stuttgart go down I would be less than surprised if the Spaniard left the club. His most likely destination back to La Liga.
Thorgan Hazard, Julian Brandt – Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Mönchengladbach to Borussia Dortmund. € 50 million
The first ‘big deals’ of the window is a very exciting and smart one. German giants Borussia Dortmund have activated the release clauses of both Thorgan Hazard and Julian Brandt, both of at the relatively small fee of around 25 million euros. It’s good business by Dortmund with other clubs from around the continent interested they have saved themselves the hassle of a war for the players by buying earlier. The deals also represent extremely good value for money, something that has become a trend with Dortmund in recent years. Transfermarkt values the players at roughly 45 million euros each and Hazard is in his prime at 26 years old and Brandt is already an established name in German football at the tender age of 23. For Dortmund it provides depth and two rotation players who can both play on both flanks as well as central. It is also notable that American winger Christian Pulisic has now finally joined Chelsea so more firepower was needed out wide and these two are the perfect duo to give them that. Presumably neither will be a consistent starter with Dortmund possessing the talents of Jadon Sancho and Marco Reus in the wide areas, but if they were to the starting lineup could look something like the picture on the left, assuming they sign Paco Alcacer.
Signing Rating- Hazard- 8/10, Brandt 9/10
Vincent Kompany – Manchester City To Anderlecht, Free (Player – Manager)
This could be the strangest one out of the lot and the one that could go either way. On one hand Vincent Kompany is an incredible leader (and still a fantastic player) and has learned from the best of the best. On the other hand there will be huge expectations for Kompany to hit the ground running in Belgium. The Belgian league is very competitive and Anderlecht have underachieved in the last few seasons, after winning the title in 2016-17 they finished 3rd the following season and 6th this year. A revival is needed at the club and if Kompany is the one to lead the team back to the big time then his stock will rise and he will be in the frame for a lot of jobs around Europe. While I respect Anderlecht for taking a huge risk on an inexperienced manager and having a player-manager, something rare in the modern game, but truth be told the reason for the lack of player-managers is because they rarely succeed. Kompany will need guidance and help to establish himself and construct a team that fits his vision and then take that forward and challenge for titles and progress in Europe. Alternatively Anderlecht may slide further down the table and Kompany could be left without a job. I’ll be keeping tabs on them and I’ll be one of the many cheering the Belgian on in hope he can make a successful career in management.
Romelu Lukaku – Manchester United to Inter Milan, £30 million + Ivan Perisic
This is an extremely interesting rumour for both teams, according to many outlets Inter Milan are desperate to land Man United’s Belgian forward Romelu Lukaku and are willing to offer up long term United target Perisic. While this deal wouldn’t be fantastic for United, losing a player they brought in for nearly £90 million plus Wayne Rooney just two years ago, for £30 million and a 30 year old winger who scored 8 goals last season but it could turn out well for United. Losing Lukaku would allow them to either deploy Anthony Martial or Marcus Rashford as their main striker and put Perisic out wide, or sign a new striker and stick Perisic in midfield. However whatever Ole and United do is irrelevant to the situation at Inter Milan. Argentine forward Mauro Icardi has been linked to Juventus however there are still no strong rumours (hence why there’s no section in this blog for that move) and even if Icardi stays in Milan, well a front two of Icardi and Lukaku isn’t exactly anything to be snuffed at. While Lukaku gets his fair share of criticism he would be a perfect fit beside Icardi in Italy, using his big frame and immense strength to compete with the defensive brutality we associate with Italian football. Alongside the more technical, talented Icardi the two could work wonders up front and finally be the key to shooting Inter back to the big time.
Joao Cancelo – Juventus to Manchester City, £52 million
This is one I really like from Man City’s side. Joao Cancelo is one of, if not the best right back in the world at the moment and Kyle Walker has fallen out of favour with Guardiola. When you consider the current climate of the transfer market in which Wilfred Zaha is being valued at between 70 and 100 million, 52 isn’t as terribly expensive as it first seems. Cancelo would also be ideal if Guardiola ever decides to change to a system with wing backs like he sometimes does in big games. He was also linked at the start of this season to both Man City and their neighbours before Juventus snapped him up and has been linked to both sides again this year and it looks as if City have won the battle against United, once again. At just 24 he will be a key part of Guardiola’s future plan for European dominance that he’s been building at the Etihad for the last few years and will prove to be a formidable fullback. He’s some I like a lot, fast, energetic, intelligent, exciting and a real modern fullback. I’m excited to see him in the premier league in a Guardiola side he’ll compliment well.