TT’s Top Five: Players most likely to join a Premier League rival

Date published: Monday 18th July 2016 11:52

Daley Blind & Diafra Sakho: Good bets to join PL rivals this summer

With the transfer window in full swing, we select five players we believe could feasibly seal a move to a Premier League rival in a deal that would suit all parties.

Juan Mata to Everton

Juan Mata: Set to be shunted out of Man Utd

It’s safe to assume Juan Mata’s time at Old Trafford could be coming to an end, with the appointment of Jose Mourinho looking likely to signal his exit at Manchester United.

The player was this week mentioned as one of four high-profile stars set to get the chop at Man Utd, and given the Portuguese coach cast the Spaniard aside during their time together at Chelsea, it would come as absolutely no surprise to see the player shipped out once again.

Mata has already been linked with numerous moves this summer, but of those reported links, it’s only Everton who have come out and confirmed any sort of interest in the Spaniard after Ronald Koeman claimed a deal was “possible”.

Everton, with a wealthy new benefactor behind them, look like being major players in the market this summer, so a move for Mata – who would reportedly prefer to stay in the north-west, would make perfect sense  -it’s just a shame the player has told this fan “not to believe all you read in the media”.


Diafra Sakho to Sunderland

Diafra Sakho: Seeking answers on his future

We wrote last week about how England’s interest in Sam Allardyce was unfairly disrupting Sunderland’s transfer plans this summer and the Black Cats will be eager to see the saga end quickly one way or the other.

One of the players Allardyce had reportedly targeted was West Ham’s Sakho, who seemingly looks set to be the fall guy of the Hammers’ efforts to bring in a marquee striker signing this summer.

But Sakho is certainly no soft touch and his loss could be very much Sunderland’s gain, amid reports he’s wanted by the Black Cats in a £9million deal.

With 15 goals in 42 games for the Hammers over two seasons, Sakho could prove a decent foil for Jermain Defoe and plug one of the striker gaps left in their squad by the departures of Danny Graham and Steven Fletcher, as well as the loan return of Dame N’Doye.


Nemanja Matic to Man Utd

Nemanja Matic: Could join Zlatan at Man Utd

With Manchester United’s interest in Paul Pogba so far failing to bear fruit, some observers have questioned the wisdom in Manchester United splashing out a potential world record £100m fee on the midfielder – particularly on the back of his less-than-impressive performances at Euro 2016.

One ‘cut-price’ alternative open to them would be Chelsea’s Matic – a man well known to Mourinho – and a player whose time at Chelsea could be numbered following the £32m arrival of N’Golo Kante from Leicester.

Following an indifferent campaign for Chelsea last season and amid question marks about how Matic would fit into Antonio Conte’s system, we feel this is very much a move that could suit both club and player.

Whether Chelsea would be willing to sanction his sale to a title rival, however, is another question altogether, but given claims the player would welcome the move, we do wonder if Matic is a player Mourinho could turn to should a move for Pogba fail to materialise.


Mousa Dembele to Liverpool

Mousa Dembele (l): Feels he has a lot to offer Tottenham

Liverpool are very much in the market for a new centre midfielder this summer, but face disappointment with No 1 target Piotr Zielinski seemingly set to join AC Milan.

Familiar to a two-man midfield, his ability to bring the ball forward from deeper positions means he would be an ideal acquisition for Liverpool – were they to attempt to convince Spurs to sell. Of the 402 players to attempt 50 or more dribbles in Europe’s top five leagues last season, Dembele had the best success rate (92.2%) – of the 90 dribbles he attempted, just seven were unsuccessful.

But with new signing Victor Wanyama arriving to play at the base of midfield alongside Eric Dier, Dembele could find himself surplus to requirements this summer and a big-money offer for the Belgian could tempt Spurs to sell.

And, boasting an average of 3.6 tackles per game – ranking him fourth in the Premier League last term – Liverpool could do far worse than target a move for Dembele.


Daley Blind to Arsenal

Daley Blind: Doesn't convince Mourinho as a centre-back

Another who could reportedly find himself a victim of the Mourinho revolution at Manchester United, Blind is a player whose stats show would, however, be a big loss at Old Trafford next season.

Operating predominantly as a centre-half, it seems Blind could well be sold off with Mourinho preferring a Chris Smalling / Eric Bailly partnership in the centre of defence and amid reports the Portuguese does not feel the Dutchman has the presence to play in the centre of defence.

Arsenal’s need for central defensive reinforcements has also been made clear and it was no surprise to see the player linked with a move to Emirates Stadium earlier this summer and with the added bonus of his versatility, you could see him being very much a player Arsene Wenger would go for.

James Marshment

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