Five perfect fits
Nick Miller selects five transfers that he believes would prove a perfect fit for all parties concerned. It's a list based on gut feeling rather than insider knowledge, but it's when managers have similar thoughts that deals start to happen...
By Nick Miller
Last Updated: 04/07/13 11:19am
Raheem Sterling to Swansea
This is one that would just seem to make sense for everyone involved. If the back half of last season is anything to go by, Sterling isn't likely to play every week for Liverpool, especially since they've just signed Luis Alberto and Iago Aspas, players who at the very least are comfortable on the wings.
So why not a season-long loan somewhere that will enhance his game? Somewhere that Brendan Rodgers is reasonably familiar with? Somewhere he's unlikely to be scrapping for relegation? Somewhere he'll learn more about possession and counter-attacking football? It seems almost too obvious...
Robert Lewandowski to Chelsea
If we have learned nothing else in these past six weeks (other than that Manchester United fans are deeply in love with Thiago Alcantara), we know that if Lewandowski gets his way, he will wait until the end of the season and his contract and then follow Mario Goetze to Bayern Munich. However, with Borussia Dortmund taking both a pragmatic (they want the money) and vengeful (they are thoroughly miffed with how Bayern handled the Goetze deal) decision not to sell to the European champions, Lewandowski could be forced elsewhere.
So where could he go? Talk of Manchester United's interest seems to have waned since Sir Alex Ferguson disappeared upstairs, and while Manchester City could do with someone of Lewandowski's ilk, he would seem a perfect fit for Chelsea. Jose Mourinho could really do with a new centre-forward for reasons that you know and have been discussed extensively before, and Lewandowski has obviously excelled at Dortmund playing in front of three smallish, quick and technical players. And we think - we think - Chelsea have that area covered these days.
Alexis Sanchez to Spurs
Word on the street is that Andre Villas-Boas is considering a formation tinker for next season, starting with the 4-3-3 system that served him pretty well at times towards the back end of last term. The beauty of this set-up is that, with the players already at his disposal, Villas-Boas doesn't necessarily require a traditional centre-forward, with Gareth Bale, Aaron Lennon and pals able to switch positions and baffle opponents with their speed and movement.
David Villa has been mentioned with this switch in mind, but the idea of Daniel Levy paying money for a 31-year-old is still difficult to really imagine. So another Barca man could be the answer, with Sanchez likely to be available (the arrival of Neymar pushing him even further back in the queue), and while he won't be cheap, he'll certainly be available for less than the £23million Barcelona paid Udinese two years ago. While his time in Catalunya hasn't been a ripping success, he did manage eight goals and nine assists in 18 starts last season - how many of those assists were five-yard passes to Leo Messi who then slalomed around six opponents isn't recorded, but still...
Mousa Dembele/Yohan Cabaye to Manchester United
Of course, Thiago seems to be the chosen one for the perennially vacant spot in the United midfield, if he and Barcelona can finally stop dancing around and make a decision. However, if David Moyes wants to look a bit closer to home then there are some pretty ideal candidates in the Premier League - one likely, one a little less so. Dembele was as perfect for the United midfield last summer as he is this, so one does wonder why they didn't move for him when Spurs did, especially after his excellent showing at Old Trafford in the opening weeks of the season. His creativity combined with those snaking, occasionally physics-defying legs would theoretically make him the perfect foil for Michael Carrick and whoever else. United haven't been shy in going in hard for Spurs players in the past, so why not throw in a hopeful bid now? If they would prefer a more 'budget' option, Yohan Cabaye might be available for a more reasonable price after a difficult second season with Newcastle - just because he wasn't great last term doesn't mean he isn't an excellent player, and would offer a similar combination of skill and running to Dembele.
Ilkay Gundogan to Arsenal
This is a theoretical list, and has little place in reality - so we therefore know that Borussia Dortmund would be unwilling to sell their midfielder and Gundogan himself says he wants to stay. This, of course, hasn't stopped Gundogan from being linked with Arsenal in the hallowed gossip pages of our national press, but that's by the by. However, if you place this piffling 'reality' to one side, think how wonderful Gundogan would be in Arsenal's midfield. Maraoune Fellaini is of course the more obvious candidate, but what Gundogan lacks in relative physicality he makes up for in guile and tenacity, able to both make and break up play from deep. Go on Arsene - take a chance...