The Merry-go-round 3
Hello, putting this up a little earlier than usual as I probably won’t be able to get it done later, wouldn’t want to drop it back. Not because anyone reads it, just for my own personal brand of OCD.
Got a couple of interesting deals that have already gone through to start with, similar prices for two players moving in different directions in their careers.
Dwight Gayle; Peterborough – Crystal Palace. £4.5m DONE DEAL
I actually watched him in non-league football for free a couple of years ago, now he commands a price tag that, while undisclosed, is reported to be between £2m and £6m. Great to see talent being rewarded, from Conference North to the Premiership in two years.
He is a quick and tricky player, and his traits convert well into any league he’s played in. His goal return for Peterborough in a relegated cause was terrific.
Whether he can complete the Smalling-like meteoric rise we will see this season, but just to be playing in one of the world’s top leagues is another example of how real talent exists in the lower leagues.
The fee raised my eyebrow, well I tried to raise one on its own but I’m not Dwayne Johnson. I hope Palace will reap the rewards of the Zaha sale, as I felt United overpaid for him just as Palace have overpaid on Gayle.
Maarten Stekelenburg; Roma – Fulham. £4.75m DONE DEAL
What happened to this guy being the next top keeper? No offence to Fulham, who have picked up a great stopper to replace Schwarzer.
Stekelenburg was like van der Sar Jr. in the 2010 World Cup. Going to the final with Holland he looked like he was going to break into one of the top teams and start winning trophies. Looked like it to me anyway.
He’s a good shot stopper and commands defenders like Schwarzer, making the transition easier. He’s only 30, has a few good years left in him and Fulham have done well to land him.
If the fees around the £5m mark are to be believed it’s a good price for a top keeper.
Wilfried Bony; Vitesse Arnhem – Swansea/West Ham. £10.2m
Where do you start when you’re looking for a new striker? Last season’s top scorers.
Bony topped the Dutch league goal chart last year, and the Ivorian would suit a top 10 team.
Swansea could do with some backup for their current strikers, letting Danny Graham go in January and Michu no doubt being targeted by the big clubs.
West Ham could pair the quick and nimble Bony with Andy Carroll after making his loan deal from Liverpool permanent. If they can forge a good relationship up front the Hammers could improve on last season’s 10th place finish.
Bony scored 31 goals in 30 games in the Eredivisie last year, so he can clearly carry form. Whether he can do that in the Premier League is a different issue.
Daniele De Rossi; Roma – Chelsea
With Jose Mourinho having a strong liking for De Rossi – he went after him as manager of both Real Madrid and Inter Milan – the right price could see the Italian moving to London.
De Rossi is a World Cup winning midfielder who is still at the peak of his powers at 29. The grit and strength he gives the Azzuri in midfield allows Andrea Pirlo et al to dictate and play their killer passes, and he could do this for the creative might at Chelsea.
De Rossi is the kind of player Chelsea have been missing since Makelele left. I’m a big fan of both players, and De Rossi would certainly add something to that Chelsea dressing room.
Mikel just doesn’t cut it in that holding role, and Lampard will never be that type of player. Nathan Ake broke into the team last year, but he is only 18 and could benefit from watching and playing with one of the best of his type.
The Wishlist! Micah Richards; Man City – Arsenal
Arsenal need a solid defender. Richards needs to be playing week in, week out for a top team if he wants to get back into the England set up.
Last season Richards was affected quite badly by injury, but when he has been available he has been overlooked by Mancini in favour of Pablo Zabaleta, who turned into one of the players of the season.
Bearing that in mind, despite new boss Pellegrini saying Richards ‘features in his plans’, it looks unlikely he is going to cement a first team place for the majority of games. Even at centre back he has Kompany, Lescott and the upcoming Nastasic to compete with.
At Arsenal he would slot right into that defence and give it a bit of force. Gibbs and Koscielny are probably Arsene Wenger’s only first-pick defenders right now, and Richards could easily take the place of the increasingly injury-prone Bacary Sagna or the out of favour Thomas Vermaelen and make it his own.
He is still only 25 as well, and if Wenger gets him back to his best there are few that could take that right back spot away from him.
Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack