Liverpool legend Phil Thompson has picked out his “signing of the summer” that will tip the scales in the Premier League title race, and it’s not Cristiano Ronaldo or Romelu Lukaku.
The current season is shaping up to produce one of the most exciting title races in recent memory. At present, the common consensus is that any one of Man City, Man Utd, Chelsea or Liverpool could be crowned champions when the dust settles.
Barring Liverpool, each of that quartet has significantly strengthened their squad this summer.
Man Utd acquired Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho before leaving the best for last with Ronaldo. Chelsea solved their centre-forward issues when sanctioning a club-record £97.5m deal to bring Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge.
Man City had visions of acquiring England pair Harry Kane and Jack Grealish, though ultimately had to settle for just the latter.
Liverpool, meanwhile, bolstered their defensive ranks when buying Ibrahima Konate, though the Frenchman appears unlikely to make a significant impact this season with Joel Matip preferred so far.
Picking out the signing of the season from that laundry list of elite names is no easy task. But via the Liverpool Echo, Thompson has claimed Grealish is his pick of the bunch. Furthermore, he reckons Grealish has made “all the difference” to Man City’s title tilt.
“I would have to say Jack Grealish is the signing of the summer,” said Thompson. “I was hoping that Liverpool would be in for him, but £100 million took it beyond most teams except for Manchester City.
“He’s a real game changer and a fantastic player. Liverpool have the likes of Harvey Elliott and Sadio Mane that can create a spark out of nothing, and similarly he brings that to the teams that he plays for.
“He’d walk straight into Liverpool’s team, he’s that good. I’d say Manchester City are ready to compete for the title again with Grealish.
“Before he signed, I would have said Liverpool are a good shout for the title, but now he has made all the difference to City’s title challenge.”
Abramovich backing huge Chelsea deal in January?
Meanwhile, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has earmarked around €80m to put the final touches to Thomas Tuchel’s squad in January, according to a report.
The Blues chased Jules Kounde for much of the window, though ultimately failed to twist Sevilla’s arm. The La Liga outfit’s strong bargaining position with Champions League football to offer and three years remaining on Kounde’s deal meant they were not tempted to sell on the cheap.
The Frenchman holds a release clause reported to be in the region of around £77m within his contract. Chelsea were unwilling to trigger it, despite selling Kurt Zouma to West Ham in the window’s final week.
But according to Caught Offside (citing Spanish outlet Don Balon) Abramovich has his sights set on acquiring Kounde at the first available opportunity.
They claim the Russian owner is ‘willing to bankroll an €80m’ move for Kounde in the winter window.