Tag Archives: Ismaila Sarr

The Transfer Window: What Next?

This football calendar year of 2020 has certainly not been like any other, and with this in mind, the Transfer Window is no exception.

Indeed, the window for signing stars overseas such as Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho may have closed this week, but the domestic transfer window will remain open until October 16.  In other words this allows a further 11 days for domestic clubs to strengthen their squads. 

The Premier League confirmed this in a statement which says:

“During this window, clubs will only be able to trade with EFL Clubs (either loans or permanent registrations)

“No transfers can take place between Premier League sides in this period.”

Certainly Premier League clubs such as Burnley, West Bromwich Albion and West Ham United could do with some more additions, however, this begs the question, who maybe on the move to the Premier League before the second transfer window deadline:

Said Benrahma (Brentford)

The Algerian 24-year old set the Championship a light at times last season, scoring 17 times and providing nine assists.  Benrahma joined the Bees from Nice in the summer of 2018 for just £2.8 million and has subsequently been capped by his country.

In addition, Benrahma was nominated for the Championship Player of the Year award, and plays primarily on the left flank. He proved a timely reminder of his talents in the Carabao Cup victory over Fulham by scoring two of Brentford three goals in their impressive 3-0 win.  

Ismaila Sarr (Watford)

The Senegalese international winger is a reported target for the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool.  Sarr’s speed, his direct running and ability to play on either flank certainly would make a valuable asset, particularly to the likes of United who missed out on adding Jadon Sancho to their ranks.  

According to 2019/20 stats, Sarr completed 52 successful dribbles compared to the Red Devil’s Welsh winger Daniel James’s 28, however, the former Rennes player could cost in the region of £45 million pounds.  

An added complication, however, would be that Sarr would not be able to play in European competitions due to the registration of squads being on October 6th, but he would be able to play in domestic competitions. 

Todd Cantwell (Norwich City)

The Canarias’s highly rated 22-year old is a reported target for Leeds United, however, due to the Yorkshire club’s signing of Michael Cuisance on loan from Bayern Munich the likes of Burnley or West Ham United could potentially move in for Cantwell. 

Cantwell has been left out of the two most recent match day squads due to speculation, he certainly impressed in the Premier League for his boyhood club last season, scoring six League goals, which was more than a fifth of Norwich’s entire goal tally. 

Joe Rodon (Swansea City)

The 22-year old centre back has attracted interest from the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United.  

Indeed, Spurs have already in talks to sign Rodon for a reported £18 million pounds. 

The likes of Danny Higginbotham and former Manchester City defender, Andy Hinchcliffe have already compared his game to former England internationals Rio Ferdinand and John Terry. 

Higginbotham added:

“What I love about him as an individual is that he’s his own worst critic. He is willing to take responsibility.  

“After the Preston game in February, where he’d made his first start for three months, it looked as though he hadn’t even been away and he was the best player on the pitch.”

Josh King (AFC Bournemouth)

The Norwegian and former Manchester United striker, King is a target for the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, Aston Villa and Serie A side Torino.  

King has a Premier League record of 48 goals and 14 assists in 161 appearances. His best goal return for Bournemouth came in the 2016/17 campaign where he managed a total of 16 goals.   

Premier League: Who will escape the drop?

With the resumption of the Premier League season on the horizon, it’s looking increasingly more likely that clubs in the lower reaches of the table will have to face up to the danger of relegation. 

Despite the caveat of having no fans, a full season of Premier League fixtures are set to be played leaving little argument against relegation for three teams. So with the danger of the drop still present, which teams are in the most trouble? 

Norwich, of course, are currently the most threatened side. They sit bottom of the table with 21 points, six points adrift of 17th. It’s a large gap, but one that is still just about bridgeable. Despite facing Chelsea and Manchester City towards the end of the campaign, the Canaries’ run-in overall makes more positive reading. 

They face Southampton, Brighton, Watford and West Ham during their first six games back. Positive results in these matches could well turn the relegation battle on its head, and a recent victory against Leicester shortly before the lockdown will give Norwich hope of conjuring some form. 

In 19th, four points above Norwich, sit fellow promoted side Aston Villa. Since reaching the League Cup final, the Villains have lost all four of their Premier League matches – most recently 4-0 against Leicester.

Villa have a game in hand against Sheffield United, which is scheduled to be the first fixture back for the Premier League. A win would see Villa move up to 16th, but this will be a tough task against an excellent Sheffield United side who dispatched the Villains 2-0 earlier in the season. 

The run-in for Villa doesn’t gave any easier after that either, with matches against Chelsea, Wolves, Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal to follow. Their season then finishes with what could well end up being a final day relegation decider against West Ham. 

Bournemouth lie in 18th with 27 points, joint with Watford and West Ham above them. The Cherries arguably face the toughest run of fixtures, with Wolves, Manchester United, Tottenham, Leicester and Manchester City all on the horizon. 

In fact, Bournemouth will not be facing any teams below them in the table. The lowest placed sides they face are Southampton and Newcastle – seven and eight points respectively ahead of the Cherries and both look to be clear of any real relegation trouble. 

The Cherries not only face difficult opposition, but have no opportunity to directly gain any ground on their relegation rivals. 

Watford and West Ham – the two other teams on 27 points – face each other in a relegation crunch match scheduled for mid July. The Hammers also have another key match scheduled a few days earlier against Norwich, as well as their final day showdown with Aston Villa.

Results in games against their relegation rivals could well see the Hammers safe. Add to this the fact that David Moyes seems to have struck upon a cohesive and powerful combination up front with Sebastian Haller, Michael Antonio and Jarrod Bowen (they were very unfortunate not to get a result against Arsenal before the lockdown), and things are looking relatively positive for West Ham.

Watford, meanwhile, face some tricky fixtures against Leicester, Chelsea and Manchester City before Arsenal on the final day of the season. Their run in, however, doesn’t quite match the desolate landscape of Bournemouth’s with opportunities to gain points against their relegation rivals still available to the Hornets. 

Brighton sit in 15th with 29 points and despite a two point cushion above the relegation zone, they are by no means out of the woods. Like Bournemouth, they lack matches against sides in the relegation battle. The only team below them Albion face is Norwich who are already eight points adrift of Brighton, so it’s possible the match could be of little direct consequence. 

With six draws and only four defeats since the start of 2020, Brighton are proving tough to beat but are also massively struggling to carve out wins. They are winless since the 28th December 2019 and will need to be picking up all three points when they can to avoid slipping further into the relegation battle. 

One thing that should also be considered is the lack of fans, and how this might affect results. It was previously a topic open to debate but the fact that home advantage seems to have gone out the window in the Bundesliga seems to indicate it does have a large influence. 

Frankfurt boss Adi Hutter even commented the other week saying:

“teams with a high level of technical quality in particular are less dependent on support”, while also noting how a lack of fans can adversely affects sides lower in the division. 

At a glance, Aston Villa look to benefit the most from having a crowd behind them with a swing of 0.78 points per game (PPG) more at home than away. This would make sense given the raucous reputation of Villa Park and the Holt End. Villa’s home PPG swing is the third highest in the division behind Manchester United (0.79) and Everton (0.99). 

While Villa’s is the most stark, all the teams in the midst of the relegation fight have a swing of at least 0.5 PPG more at home barring West Ham with 0.27. This also makes sense given their questionable choice of new stadium. 

This would indicate that West Ham are less reliant on home support, so are less likely to be as affected by the lack of fans. Given this along with their bolstered frontline, the Hammers stand a good chance of staying up. 

Things don’t look so good for the Villains though, with a lack of fans looking like it could possibly be more of an issue for them. This coupled with their tough run of games could spell trouble for Villa.

Bournemouth also face a tricky run of fixtures but more importantly, do not face any teams around them so have little chance to make up ground on their rivals. They could also be set to slip further into the relegation quagmire. 

Watford will hope to draw upon Nigel Pearson’s experience from his great escape with Leicester in 2015, as well as looking to talented players such as Abdoulaye Doucoure and Ismaila Sarr. Gerard Deulofeu, however, is still likely to be out for the remaining fixtures. 

Brighton and Norwich are both tricky to predict. Brighton have had a long and slow slide down the table, and it’s difficult to see where it might stop or how far down it will take them. 

Norwich look like they might be dead and buried, but a good run of results in the games they have against their rivals could seriously shake things up for the Canaries.

What is certain is that there is still much to play for at the bottom of the Premier League.