1. Kyle Walker to Manchester City
Danhai: With Pep Guardiola’s maiden season in the Premier League ending in failure, he will be keen to make amends once the transfer window opens. At the core of his troubles has been his defence, specifically in the full back position. Both Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna are the wrong side of 30 and shadows of their former selves.
The likes of Fernandinho and Jesus Navas have been trialled in the RB position, with neither necessarily making waves with their performances. In Kyle Walker, Pep would gain the kind of full back he often opts for in his teams. The move ticks all the right boxes for City: pacey, attack-minded and English. The only drawback will be Walker’s injury record which, depending on where you get your information, is the reason his current manager, Mauricio Pochettino, has lost faith in him. However, with nary an Englishman in sight within City’s squad, securing Walker’s signature in the off-season will be a top priority for Guardiola.
Marc: This one has merit, especially after reports the England international and manager, Mauricio Pochettino, haven’t seen eye-to-eye for months due to questions over Walker’s fitness. City has had concrete interest in Walker since last summer and can easily offer a significant increase to the £70,000 a week he’s making at White Hart Lane.
After being benched for Spurs FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea on April 22 and their North London derby win over Arsenal on April 30, as well as turning in a shoddy effort in a damning defeat to West Ham last Friday, the writing seems to be on the wall for a player whose head seems to be elsewhere. With City unlikely to get other targets at his position, such as Arsenal’s Héctor Bellerín, Walker is the most logical choice for a side desperately needing speed on the flank, as well as English talent. The 2016/17 PFA Team of the Year representative will command a nice payday for Spurs given he has four years left on his deal and is in the prime of his career; enough transfer funds to find a suitable replacement to compete with Kevin Trippier, as well as bump up the wages of their top stars.
I’d put the smart money on Walker becoming a Citizen next season and being a key cog in a much-needed defensive rebuild for Pep Guardiola.
2. Emil Forsberg to Arsenal
Danhai: Will this finally be the year Arsenal plug the gaping hole in their attack that fans and pundits alike seem all too willing to overlook? Arsenal have needed a creative influence from the wide positions since Santi Cazorla was shifted infield. That Alex Iwobi, a talented player in his own right, became such an important member of the squad highlights this. Wenger’s team lacks technicians in the final third and Forsberg would go some way to helping that balance.
The young Swede has racked up an impressive tally of eight goals and 16 assists for Leipzig to aid them in securing a maiden Champions League berth for next season. The main sticking point would be the cost. Papers are saying a bid of £20m would be enough to secure his services, but it may well be more than that as Forsberg is the crown jewel of a young Leipzig squad. What’s more, Arsenal are almost certain to miss out on Champions League football next season, which Forsberg has openly admitted to dreaming of playing in. Should they miss out, landing him could prove all the more difficult. No pressure, Arsène.
Marc: With one, if not both of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Özil, possibly set head out of the Emirates Stadium this summer, Forsberg has reportedly been earmarked by Arsenal to fill the creative void left should either depart and rightfully so.
No one in Europe’s top five leagues has more assists than RB Leipzig’s Swedish sensation. Primarily a left winger who can be deployed centrally and possessing a mean set piece, Forsberg would be a versatile and apt fit for Arsenal’s style of play. His willingness to press and adapt on the fly would pay dividends for a team lacking consistency in those attributes.
Some reshuffling would have to be done though. Arsenal are stacked on the wings with the likes of Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Alex Iwobi and Lucas Perez, with one, possibly two of them needing to be offloaded, whether or not Sanchez and Özil remain, in order to make room for Forsberg. The price tag seems rather manageable for a player who should be near the top of Arsenal’s shopping list. But should the Gunners lose out on Champions League football, their bargaining power with this and other transfer possibilities involving similar talents would be significantly reduced. He would inject some life into a wide position that lacks ingenuity, but like with any Arsenal transfer rumour, take this with a grain of salt.