Often underrated and always scores goals Olivier Giroud is facing a decision over his future. After all, It is imperative that the French World Cup winner plays regular football in order to secure his place in his national side for next year’s Euros.
The 34 year old has appeared just six times this season for Chelsea and this week France manager Didier Deschamps spoke out about the striker who has been an integral part of his plans in recent times despite being on the fringe at Stamford Bridge.
Giroud scored twice in midweek for France against Sweden to move him to within seven goals of the nations record goal scorer Thierry Henry – a mark of the forwards credentials.
However, with the plethora of striking options available to Chelsea boss Frank Lampard, Giroud has been on the periphery of matters in West London this term, leading to plenty of speculation around a move in the upcoming January transfer window.
Fellow Premier League club West Ham are believed to be interested, whilst a host of Serie A sides have also been credited with interest, including a reunion with former manager Antonio Conte at Inter Milan.
The cultured French striker who’s attributes stretch to beyond his prowess in front of goal with his ability to hold up the ball and bring others into play will be desperate for one final hoorah on the internationals stage in the rearranged Euros next summer – therefore may need to move on to pastures new.
France boast a host of high-quality forwards who will all be hoping to oust the tall striker from Deschamps’ plans. The likes of Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezzmann, Anthony Martial, Moussa Dembele, Ousmane Dembele and Marcus Thuram are all in with a shout of leading the line.
With competition for places at the attacking end of the France squad as such, it is inconceivable Giroud could expect to be picked without regular football behind him.
At 34 years old and with Timo Werner and Abraham clearly above him in the pecking order, a mid-season move seems the most viable option in order for the cultured frontman to get the football he needs for the rest of the season.
Steve Bruce’s Magpies have been typically inconsistent so far this term without setting the world alight. However with the attacking threats of Ryan Fraser, Allan Saint Maximin and Callum Wilson, they can be confident of stopping the visitors heading to the top of the table.
Tottenham v Manchester City Saturday 5.30pm
A huge test of Tottenham’s early title credentials as Jose Mourinho’s men look to seize the opportunity to reach the summit of the table, albeit potentially for just 24 hours.
Spurs have been a tough team to beat this season and with the likes of Harry Kane, Gareth Bale and Heung Min-Son in attack they pose a danger to any team.
Pep Guardiola, fresh off the back of a new contract, will be looking for more consistency from his side as they look to close the small gap to the league leaders. Gabriel Jesus is likely to be available whilst Sergio Aguero is a doubt.
Manchester United v West Brom Saturday 8.00pm
United went into the break on the back of a morale boosting victory over Everton, a victory that arguably saved Ole Gunnar Solskjær from a difficult conversation over this job.
Slaven Bilic’s Baggies meanwhile are desperate for points already as they flounder in the relegation zone without a win in their opening eight matches.
Leeds United v Arsenal Sunday 4.30pm
Perhaps evevery neutral’s favourite side to watch, Leeds United have made for enthralling viewing this season, unless you’re a fan of stout defending.
Marcelo Bielsa’s charges are a fast flowing bunch who always look to play on the front-foot, occasionally to their detriment. The Yorkshire side have already shocked the big boys this season, taking a point from the game with Man City.
Mikel Arteta’s Gunners could almost do no wrong until they came unstuck in a big way against Aston Villa before the break. The North Londoners sit 11th in the table and will be desperate to start clawing their way up.
Liverpool v Leicester City Sunday 7.15pm
Arguably the game of the weekend as the reigning champions host the current leagues leaders at Anfield.
Jurgen Klopp’s side come into this game with almost an unprecedented amount of injuries with Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez out for the majority of the season at least. Captain Jordan Henderson, Thiago Alcantara, Mohamed Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold are all major doubts for the clash whilst Fabinho has returned to full training.
The Foxes, not without their own injury concerns, must fancy their chances of taking a positive result back to the Midlands as former Reds boss Brendan Rodger’s pits his wits against Klopp.
Wolves v Southampton Monday 8.00pm
The weekend’s action rounds up at Molineux as this seasons surprise package Southampton head to Wolverhampton hoping to continue their positive start.
Ralph Hassenhutl’s Saints sit fourth in the table heading into the weekend after a 2-0 victory over Newcastle before the international hiatus. The visitors are likely to be without talismanic striker Danny Ings however as he recovers from a knee issue.
Wolves meanwhile haven’t quite hit the heights perhaps many expected this term so far as they struggle to get going with a host of new signings in their ranks. Nuno Espirito Santo will be hoping this period can bring about a new level of consistency from his talented squad.
Aston Villa v Brighton & Hove Albion Saturday 3.00pm
The UEFA Champions League returns tonight with two nights of action lined up and plenty of top quality fixtures in store.
After last seasons competition drawing to a close in odd circumstances without fans in Lisbon and in a one game format, this seasons tournament kicks off without fans across Europe as counties continue to battle the coronavirus pandemic.
Here’s your preview of the key fixtures from the opening night…
Barcelona v Ferencvaros
After a turbulent summer, Barcelona, with Lionel Messi, will be happy to be back playing football, and none more so than in their favourite competition.
The Catalan giants go into their opening fixture as huge favourites and should make light work of Celtic’s qualifying conquerors.
Chelsea v Sevilla
This looks set to be a classic tie as Frank Lampard’s new look Chelsea host the Europa League winners Sevilla at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues have been inconsistent this term in the Premier League and have made a habit of conceding goals, something they will have to address on the opening night as they face a well organised La Liga outfit who pose plenty of threat.
PSG v Manchester United
Manchester United travel to last seasons runners-up and the birthplace of the permanent appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjær.
United haven’t made a particularly thrilling start to their domestic campaign, despite a 4-1 victory in their last outing. This will be a huge test for the three times European champions.
The Red Devils will also be without their club captain Harry Maguire in defence, while Edinson Cavani is currently deemed not fit enough yet to play against his former employers having only started training with United on Sunday.
PSG, meanwhile, have won their last five games in Ligue 1 and look set to provide plenty of problems.
Dynamo Kyiv v Juventus 17.55, Zenit St Petersburg v Club Brugge 17.55, Lazio v Dortmund 20.00, RB Leipzig 20.00, Rennes v Krasnodar 20.00
Following the closure, or ‘slamming’ of the transfer window late on Monday night for Premier League clubs wishing to buy from abroad, the time is nigh to pick the top five transfers from the bizarre summer of 2020.
Many may have expected a curbed spending prior to the window given the financial landscape and without the prospect of full stadiums on the horizon, although top flight clubs still spent in excess of £1 billion – remarkable.
The Welsh star has returned to the place that first brought him to the attention of the world in Tottenham Hotspur having spent a strange last 18 months in Madrid.
Bale, who is now 31 years old left north London for Real Madrid in the summer of 2013 for a reported £85.3 million fee and enjoy a largely successful spell, including multiple La Liga and Champions League successes. Most of which the athletic forward was an integral part of.
However the last two seasons in particular have seen the Welshman take up a watching brief, perhaps owing to injury and a fallout with the powers that be.
Bale has now resigned for Spurs on loan and despite not playing since his return due to injury, fans across the land will be excited to see the man who was once heralded as amongst the world’s elite playing football again.
Perhaps the most talked about move of the summer finally came to fruition as defending Premier League champions spent just over £20 million to land their man from Bayern Munich.
The Spaniard has only made one fleeting second half appearance against Chelsea thus far, having since tested positive for Covid-19.
However that 45 minutes and his previous form is enough to convince Reds fans and many others the 29 year old will add plenty of quality to an already packed Liverpool midfield.
The multiple trophy winner has an eye for a pass and dictates plenty of matches and will perhaps provide additional threat to the best team in the land.
James Rodriguez – Everton
Another who hasn’t played a massive amount of football in recent times, however the Columbian forward has certainly hit the ground running in an Everton shirt as the Blues have got off to the perfect start in the Premier League.
The 2012 FIFA World Cup Golden Boot winner has been in dazzling form since his arrival and linking back up with Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti.
Having signed from Real Madrid with plenty of pedigree, the 29 year old has certainly delivered up to now. With sterner tests to come including the Merseyside derby after the international break – Everton fans will be praying long may it continue.
Thomas Partey – Arsenal
A deadline day arrival at the Emirates after the Gunners had toyed with the idea of the move for some weeks.
Eventually Arsenal met the release clause for the midfielder after much conjecture and perhaps looking at other targets including Houssem Aouar and Jorginho from Chelsea.
The 27 year old arrived on a £45 million deal from Atletico Madrid after suffering a disappointing time in the Spanish capital. Partey is a combative midfielder with lots of ability, who impressed across the two legs in the Champions League quarter finals last season against Liverpool.
Arsenal fans will be looking forward to seeing their new man in action after the international break.
Kai Havertz – Chelsea
The biggest monetary move in the window, Chelsea who were extra busy this summer in terms of incomings, confirmed the signing of one of the hottest properties in European football from Bayer Leverkusen.
Havertz signed for a deal rising up to £71 million and has enjoyed a reasonable start to life in the Premier League without setting the world alight.
The Blues, and Frank Lampard will want and perhaps expect more from the 21 year old, but given time it is extremely likely the Germany international will deliver.
Despite the difficult financial circumstances cited across football, this summers spending has shown little sign of relenting as numerous clubs continue to splash the cash in search of a successful campaign.
With Premier League clubs spending already surpassing the £750m mark there has certainly not been the reduction many expected. Chelsea have been the biggest spenders to date, the deal to bring Kai Havertz to London from Bayer Leverkusen the largest outlay of the summer.
As the transfer window enters its final week we’ve had a look at the five deals we could still see in the Premier League before the October 5 11.00pm deadline passes.
Jadon Sancho – Borussia Dortmund – Manchester United
The Old Trafford clubs interest in the England man has been widely spoken of in recent weeks with the 20 times English champions reportedly having bid of £91.3m rejected by the players club Borussia Dortmund.
With the interest showing no signs of subsiding this is a deal that could run and run, however, earlier in the window Dortmund stated they wouldn’t sell the 20 year old this summer.
Even if they were willing to sell their star, the Yellow & Blacks have set an asking price of over £100m – a fee United have been reticent to even come close to.
Ousmane Dembélé – Barcelona – Manchester United
It’s United again, however, a lot depends on the Sancho deal for this one. Should Ole Gunner Solskjær fail to add his number one target the Norweigan could turn his attention to Barcelona’s Dembele.
The talented French forward has long been linked with a loan move away from the Camp Nou, and United could provide the way out before the deadline.
Dembele is currently not being used at Barca, who boast a wealth of attacking talent, including Ansu Fati – who has surpassed Dembele in the pecking order.
Houssem Aouar – Lyon – Arsenal
The Lyon captain impressed plenty in the latter stages of the Champions League as he lead the Ligue 1 side to a famous victory over Manchester City.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is reportedly a huge fan and is desperate to land another midfielder before the window closes next week, with Aouar his number one target.
There has been little movement on the deal to date but there could be time for a late move for the 22 year old.
Rhian Brewster – Liverpool – Sheffield United
Much has been made of the prospected future at Liverpool of the goal scoring 20 year old who impressed whilst on loan at Swansea City last season.
Although now it seems with a wealth of high quality players in front of him at Anfield, Brewster’s future may in fact lie elsewhere, with numerous clubs looking at snapping up the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup Golden Boot Winner.
Many expected Liverpool to allow the youngster to leave on loan this summer, however it seems a permanent deal with a buy-back clause looks more likely at this moment.
Dele Alli – Tottenham Hotspur – Anywhere
One time regarded as a pivotal part of the Spurs setup, it seems more and more likely Alli’s future could well be away from he New White Hart Lane.
Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho has seemingly not taken to the attacking midfielder in recent months and has outcast him from almost every matchday squad, including a depleted Carabao Cup line-up this week against Chelsea.
In terms of suitors there are plenty who would benefit from a in form Alli. PSG were linked for a while but nothing has materialised, there could well be a host of Premier League clubs making tentative enquiries before next weeks deadline.