A mere few days after Italy’s Euro 2020 success, our attention now turns to a transfer window that is set to erupt into life while that in turn bleeds into the new domestic seasons. And it is interesting to note that all three events have a direct impact on the other.
How this summer’s transfer activity affects the forthcoming Premier League campaign is clear. Manchester City will take some serious catching should they further embellish an already formidable squad with a high-end purchase or two. Chelsea meanwhile are arguably only an elite finisher away from being the club best positioned to do that, transformed as they are under Thomas Tuchel. Beyond the title race, whichever promoted side somehow manages to source a regular supply of goals for a reasonable fee will surely dramatically increase their chances of staying up.
So far, so obvious, but the chain doesn’t end there. The Euros are also an intrinsic part of this larger narrative and not solely because it acts as a shop window. Czech keeper Tomáš Vaclík began the tournament without a club but after five impressive performances now had Napoli and Olympiacos competing for his signature, with the Greek giants winning the race to sign him. And need we bring up the hoary old tale of Karel Poborsky to additionally illustrate how major tournaments can have a real influence over subsequent transfer dealings?
Tomas Vaclik is officially an Olympiakos player! The 32 year old Czech goalkeeper signs until 2023. pic.twitter.com/Lq5jBMkuHD
— Hellas Football (@HellasFooty) July 13, 2021
It goes deeper than that though. In many instances, we can see that the past month of international competition may, and probably will, have a genuine knock-on effect with transfers that were already in the pipeline. Intriguingly, the most high-profile example of this is Harry Kane.
It would be ludicrous of course to suggest that Kane’s underwhelming displays for England in recent weeks will put off any interested parties. The Tottenham forward has found the net 166 times in 245 Premier League appearances and last season topped both the scoring and assist charts in the top-flight. He is a blue-chip striker worth over £100m of anyone’s money.
Yet if you believe his relative anonymity in the majority of England’s outings at the Euros won’t impact on negotiations that may well take place very soon we only need consider how delighted Daniel Levy would have been if Kane had conversely stormed the competition and won the Golden Boot.
Another ten million would almost certainly have been placed on an already steeped valuation and in a Covid-hit industry, with the Spurs supremo holding all the bargaining chips, would that have resulted in Kane staying put for another season? Maybe.
It is reasonable therefore to assume that the reverse also holds true and if that is indeed the case then Pep Guardiola’s comments earlier this month come into sharper focus.
No Kane or Haaland for hard-up City this summer according to Pep pic.twitter.com/JrazChdGyN
— Liverpool FC News (@LivEchoLFC) July 8, 2021
"At the prices (quoted) we are not going to buy any strikers. It is impossible, we cannot afford it,” the City boss complained with only Kane or PSG’s valuation of Kylian Mbappe realistically the only enquiries he was alluding to.
However, chip a few million off the former’s fee, factor in the 27-year-old’s public desire to leave North London and City’s need to replace Sergio Aguero, and suddenly the 5/4 for Kane to fire home an abundance of goals at the Etihad next term becomes a decent bet.
Not that City have a clear run at securing a move that would have their rivals cursing. Manchester United also hold a long-standing and sincere interest in the Spurs hit-man though the 4/1 pricing on Kane plying his lethal trade at Old Trafford anytime soon should be viewed with a degree of caution.
The reason for this, quite simply, is United’s advanced pursuit of Jadon Sancho that according to reliable sources is set to finally be concluded imminently. With United elsewhere prioritizing a midfielder and centre-back – and once again recognizing the financial impact Covid has had on even the biggest clubs – we must deduce that City’s neighbours are likely out of the reckoning in the Kane chase: present at the auction but without a paddle.
As for the midfielder and defender in question we must turn to Rennes teenager Eduardo Camavinga first and cast a little doubt on his 2/5 odds to join an already well-stocked United engine-room. Regardless of his undoubted ability, is the 18-year-old a ready-made upgrade for the Reds, at a stage of their development under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer where transition will no longer be tolerated? Or is the ‘next Pogba’ mainly potential at this point?
It is the latter surely, which suggests the Red Devils may well be looking elsewhere, perhaps at another young midfielder, one who has used the Euros as a significant stepping-stone on his path to joining the very elite.
— Balamurugan (@Balamuruganthvr) July 7, 2021
Declan Rice is 5/2 to head up the M1 this summer, adding improved mobility and surety to United’s heartland. By every conceivable metric he is a United signing in profile, going back to the days when they would wait for a player to fully prove themselves and be on the cusp of greatness – think Rio Ferdinand – before swooping.
Likely it is between United and Chelsea for Rice’s prized scribble and don’t be put off by David Moyes’ claim that his stand-out star is worth over and above £100m. The player’s brilliant performances at the Euros renders such sabre-rattling redundant.
At the back meanwhile, Raphael Varane is almost nailed-on to join, with the Real Madrid defender close to agreeing personal terms. As with Kane, we can expect the fee to be reduced by a smidgeon due to the French star’s poor showings at the Euros though the difference will be minimal with Varane only having a year remaining on his existing contract.
Lastly, we come to Liverpool’s reported interest in Renato Sanches, a player who heightened his reputation at the Euros, at times appearing to be the only Portuguese talent – bar Ronaldo – capable of creating anything of note.
It has long been speculated that the former Bayern Munich midfielder is on Jurgen Klopp’s proverbial radar but always with the caveat that doubts persisted over his ability to excel in the bigger ponds after his failed stint in Germany. A cut-price deal therefore was required for the Reds to even consider making a bid.
With the Lille schemer having shone brightly at the tournament that is now out of the question leaving his 2/1 odds to join Liverpool looking decidedly slim. The 4/1 available for the 23-year-old to sign for Arsenal however by August 31st is a tremendous shout.
The Gunners admittedly have priority targets elsewhere to inject some creativity into their final third. Yet should they fall through – and Arsenal have an impressive track-record in courting players who string them along – then Sanches is a legitimate and genuine person of interest.