There’s an old wisdom in the Premier League that if you want to win anything you need a prolific goalscorer, and that applies to a lesser extent to teams at the bottom end which are merely hoping to survive.
The top clubs can dream what it would be like to capture the signature of Lionel Messi, but that is very likely to remain a dream, as Barcelona have made his contract renewal their summer priority. So the English clubs must look elsewhere, at home and abroad.
Can Arsenal hold on to Auba?
One of the big Premier League 2020 news stories has been the struggle of Arsenal this season, and even the return of former playing hero Mikel Arteta in the winter has failed to spark a consistent charge to the top. Despite a recent upturn in results, the Gunners sit in ninth position, eight points behind Chelsea in the fourth Champions League place and with fewer than half the points tally of league leaders Liverpool (40 to 82).
So it’s no surprise that rumours around the future of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have surfaced again. The Gabonese striker was the subject of transfer speculation last summer but opted to stay at the Emirates instead of a move to replace Romelu Lukaku at Manchester United. And the Red Devils are still desperate to find a striker who can bag over 20 goals, with neither the injured Marcus Rashford nor Anthony Martial capable of that kind of guarantee.
Aubameyang was the joint top scorer in the 2018-19 Premier League season, along with Liverpool’s lethal pair of Sadio Mane and Mo Salah; and he’s a good bet for the Golden Boot again when this season eventually ends, he’s on 17 and just two behind Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy.
The 30-year-old would cost in the region of £50m with one year left on his Emirates contract and Arteta might be tempted to cash in. Old Trafford seems the ideal destination as United look likely to offload Jesse Lingard before too long.
Coutinho to return?
Former Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho is being tracked by a number of Premier League clubs with Chelsea leading the way. Arsenal, Manchester United and Spurs are all reported to be interested in the Barcelona man when his loan spell at FC Bayern ends this summer.
The Bundesliga champions seem unlikely to make his move permanent, which would leave the door open for the four Premier League clubs in the hunt, with the chances of a return to the Camp Nou drastically reduced by the arrival of Antoine Griezmann.
Last week, here at SBOTOP, we asked whether the time has come for Harry Kane to leave Spurs in search of silverware. The press in Italy have recently reported he is ready to shun Manchester United in favour of a move to Juventus.
If he goes, Spurs will desperately need a replacement and the British press are reporting that Real Madrid’s Luka Jovic might well be available. The Serbian striker broke the club’s rules on self-isolation and so Los Blancos are happy to let him go, with Tottenham and Chelsea already linked.
Meanwhile, Coutinho might be on Spurs’ radar as a replacement for Christian Eriksen who has already departed for Inter Milan.
Evan knows where he’ll land
On the defensive front, Liverpool and Arsenal are reported to be watching Eintracht Frankfurt defender Evan Ndicka. The France under-21 star is also fancied by La Liga clubs Sevilla and Valencia and Inter Milan, who are in the market for a promising left-footed centre back.
Meanwhile, Liverpool have picked out Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz as their main summer target. Gli Azzurri are struggling to persuade the 23-year-old to sign a contract extension; and he has no shortage of admirers with Real Madrid, Barcelona and FC Bayern ready to challenge Liverpool for the Spaniard’s signature.
Top players out of contract
The latest Premier League 2020 tips are backing Chelsea to keep hold of a top-four place but the Blues have three key players out of contract at the end of June. Pedro, Willian and Olivier Giroud are all officially without a club in July, but in the current situation, all are likely to stay at Stamford Bridge until the end of the season with Willian already offering his commitment if the league extends beyond 30th June.
And don’t forget David Silva is leaving Manchester City after nine sparkling seasons in the Premier League.
There’s a gem there for somebody.
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