16 major transfers we think might happen this summer
1. Virgil van Dijk: Southampton to Manchester City
All of Manchester City’s summer efforts should still be focused on their defence, despite Ederson arriving to hopefully solve the goalkeeping issue. John Stones remains an often chastised figure, but clearly has the faith of Pep Guardiola and, with the Catalan’s desire for centre-halves who can thread the ball into midfield, Southampton’s Van Dijk would be a logical addition.
The Saints are newly resistant to outside interest, so the price tag will likely be steep. However, this is City and, more importantly, this is an era in which the broadcasting contract is the size of a small country's national GDP. It would require an enormous fee to take him away from St Mary’s, but that isn’t to say the Dutchman isn’t worth it.
2. Daniel Sturridge: Liverpool to West Ham
What to do with a problem like Sturridge? Even when fit, Jurgen Klopp just doesn’t seem that enamoured with him. The player’s brittleness has been a problem, but it’s hard not to think that there’s something not right about their relationship.
What we do know is that Sturridge needs a crowd. He’s energised by supporter affection and, with West Ham desperate for a goalscorer, a fair fee and a move back to London is an outcome which would seem to suit everybody’s best interests.
3. Nathaniel Chalobah: Chelsea to Swansea (loan)
The chances of Chalobah being granted a sustained opportunity at Stamford Bridge seem remote, so with the midfielder now fully aware of his need for first-team football, Chelsea will need to appease him with a well-reasoned loan if he’s not to become disaffected by the prospect of stagnation.
Swansea would be an excellent destination. Chalobah is an accomplished ball-winner, albeit with some positional naivety, but also boasts the requisite technical abilities to suit the native style in south Wales. In such a situation, the coach is always as important as the team, and Paul Clement – who will know the 22-year-old from his Chelsea days – would be a useful surrogate for Chalobah at this stage of his career.
4. Riyad Mahrez: Leicester to Arsenal
Arsene Wenger clearly carries an interest in Monaco’s Thomas Lemar, but the French club are neither willing nor obliged to sell - and the player himself doesn’t seem intent on forcing the issue.
Mahrez isn’t the same sort of player, but he is determined to leave his current club and would offer something that neither Theo Walcott nor Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is capable of providing: consistent production from attacking-midfield. In all likelihood, Mahrez’s championship-winning displays at Leicester will likely prove a slightly false dawn, but he’s still a fine player who would cost a little less than Lemar and, conveniently, not have to suffer through a Premier League adjustment period.