Swap deals used to be pretty commonplace across football and they still crop up from time to time on the continent. For reasons hard to deduce in the Premier League however they have become as rare as hen’s teeth.
Which is a great shame because it’s an arrangement designed to benefit both parties and when done right it sees two players revitalised at new clubs with everyone a winner. Better yet, they rarely failed to ignite furious debate among the fan-bases over who got the better end of the trade.
The five straight swaps suggested below for this coming January window will never happen in a million years. They are implausible in the modern market place; utterly infeasible in fact. That doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t happen though because in basic terms they make perfect sense.
Danny Rose to Manchester United, Luke Shaw to Tottenham
Each left-back is reportedly highly coveted by the other club and with both players presently exiled on the periphery of the first-team this one is potentially a no-brainer.
Rose’s ill-judged criticism of Spurs’ wage ceiling and supposed lack of ambition has left him with nowhere to go at the Lane other than the exit door, a situation that has only been exacerbated by a long-term lay-off that has seen his former understudy Ben Davies excel this term. Now fit and available for selection the England international has found himself cast in purgatory with Mauricio Pochettino showing no signs of succumbing to forgiveness anytime soon.
Until Luke Shaw’s horrendous leg break in Holland in 2015 he was fast on track to establishing himself as Manchester United and England’s go-to left-back for years to come. Since then it’s been a long road back to fitness only to encounter a manager who clearly doesn’t fancy him and worst still who thinks nothing of publicly diminishing his reputation at want.
With a World Cup on the horizon a fresh start for both is surely the way to go.
Islam Slimani to Crystal Palace, Jason Puncheon to Leicester
Palace’s desperate need for a centre-forward was crystal clear back in the summer and their failure to land one led to strong criticism of the board from fans who feared the worst. With just eight goals to their name in December, languishing in the bottom three, and already a manager down it’s fair to say that those fears have come true for the south Londoners who need to start scoring soon or face the dreaded drop.
However, if isolating a problem is one thing solving it is quite another for new gaffer Roy Hodgson who might find that clubs want to hold onto their best forwards halfway through a campaign. Which is precisely why Islam Slimani could well be a godsend to the former England boss.
Disenchanted and dispensable in the Midlands but thoroughly capable of bullying defences when in the mood, the Algerian is expected to be moved on this coming window with Leicester looking to recruit more creative options. Step forward Jason Puncheon whose failure to land a regular spot in a struggling side – not to mention a long-standing divisive relationship with the supporters – could mean that he would leap at the chance of writing a new chapter to a well-travelled career.
Aleksandar Mitrovic to Everton, Morgan Schneiderlin to Newcastle
There is no disputing Mitrovic’s qualities. Here is a striker who can terrorise centre-backs single-handedly on his day and score goals into the bargain. Unfortunately there is just as much chance of the Serbian self-combusting and it’s this ill-discipline which is why Rafa Benitez dare not trust starting with his erratic firecracker in any game of substance.
Such is Everton’s desperation for firepower however they would presumably be willing to overlook the rough to take the smooth and factor in too Sam Allardyce’s past record in getting the best out of temperamental talents and Mitrovic to Goodison begins to add up.
As for Schneiderlin, few Gwladys Street regulars would mourn his departure while Newcastle’s midfield would be greatly enhanced by his steady guile.
Michy Batshuayi to Southampton, Ryan Bertrand to Chelsea
Antonio Conte’s desire to improve his left-back options is clear from his prolonged chasing of Juventus’ Alex Sandro but it seems no matter what price is offered the Turin giants are loathe to budge. Perhaps then the solution lies closer to home with a defender who began his career at the Bridge before finally moving on to establish himself elsewhere after a multitude of loans. All due respect to the Saints, but such has been Bertrand’s consistency he deserves another shot at a top six club.
Regarding the Belgian hitman, quite why Conte fails to see what most others do – that the 24-year-old is a prolific and lethal finisher who would embellish any side – is unknown but certainly whichever club eventually swoops for him will be rewarded with goals galore. Southampton have hardly been blessed in that area in recent months.
Daniel Sturridge to Newcastle, Jamaal Lascelles to Liverpool
A long shot on both counts but with Sturridge increasingly resembling Pete Best to Liverpool’s ‘Fab Four’ and Lascelles proving himself to be a composed and pragmatic defender of the highest order let’s just say that Liverpool should be delighted with this exchange.
The Toon Army meanwhile would be aghast at losing their young captain until Sturridge began doing that annoying dance celebration on a weekly basis.
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