The silly season’s most intriguing transfer speculation
What you need to know:
- Rejecting interest from several major European clubs in exchange for the comforts of the MLS proves Bale is hiding.
Of all the transfer speculation keeping fans on their toes this silly season, none is more baffling than Robert Lewandowski angling for a move to Barcelona.
Why would the club’s record scorer, ten-time Bundesliga winner and top division goal plunderer for five years in a row, want to exchange stability for the financial uncertainty at the Camp Nou?
It can’t be about the money because the Catalan giants only recently asked its highest paid players to take a pay cut, and hasn’t registered free signings Frank Kessie and Andreas Christensen due to monetary handicaps. Doesn’t Lewandowski read the papers?
Was initially inclined to believe the agent of Poland’s record net buster was planting stories in the media to facilitate negotiations for a final bumper contract commensurate with his client’s exalted Allianz Arena status.
But why Barca? Lewandowski is surely seeking a new challenge. Having seen his biggest rival for the Bundesliga Golden Boot, Erling Braut Haaland, desert Dortmund, the Pole feels pitting his wits against the likes of Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla will set his pulse racing faster.
La Liga is definitely a better destination for a 33-year-old as the rough and tumble of the English Premier League could prove too physically demanding.
Sterling to Chelsea
Raheem Sterling’s imminent departure from Manchester City is both more understandable and commendable. Comprehensible because of the diminishing amount of playing time following the arrival of first Jack Grealish last season, followed by Haaland and Julian Alvarez this window.
Commendable because moving from a club with which you’ve won four titles in five years carries some risks. Glad Sterling has refused to sit on his laurels - a lesser player would be content with a bit part role – but he has chosen to pursue more game time elsewhere.
If Chelsea do land the England forward, their attack will be enhanced by his speed, dexterity and clinicality.
Equally appreciable is Gabriel Jesus’s decision to swap Etihad Stadium for Emirates Stadium. The Brazilian typifies a player who has suffered from being an attacking all rounder in a classic case of a Jack of all trades, master of none.
Jesus was starting games for Brazil and Manchester City when he first arrived from Palmeiras six years ago.
Years of being shunted from one forward position to another – he spent last season as a right sided midfielder, has taken the venom out of his striking instincts.
Handing him the main striker’s role at Arsenal should enable him to see off the competition from Richarlison and Roberto Firmino to reclaim his position as Brazil’s number nine of choice.
Richarlison has since sealed a move to Tottenham Hotspur where Antonio Conte appears intent on building a team that can challenge Manchester City and Liverpool duopoly at the top of the Premier League. Leaving the struggling Everton should indeed change the Brazilian’s fortunes. Conte has assembled a strong attack line.
Bells for Bale
At the opposite end of the spectrum, Gareth Bale’s move from Real Madrid to Los Angeles confirms his appetite for club football has diminished.
The five-time Champions League winner is always phenomenal when featuring for Wales but in recent years has rarely played his A game with his club.
Rejecting interest from several major European clubs in exchange for the comforts of the MLS proves Bale is hiding.
The same cannot be said of Giorghio Chellini, whose age warrants less intense football.