Grading The Deal; The Accession Of Ahmed Musa To Leicester City

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The silly season is fully underway, as club “think tanks” seek to delve into the transfer market and attempt to strengthen their teams going into the new season, while also ensuring that they get the best possible value for money deals in a very competitive and largely inflated global transfer market. We at GSV have taken it upon ourselves to give you a comprehensive breakdown of some transfer deals in our Grading The Deal supplement, an exclusive and comprehensive guide catered towards the purists who seek to know more than the average fan regarding the wheeling’s and dealings in football today. Enjoy!

#TheSuperMarket

Defending English Premier League Champions, Leicester City Football Club, have had to deal with the threat of their league winning side being raided by traditionally bigger clubs; after warding off interest from Arsenal for the signature of last season’s club top scorer, Jamie Vardy, The Foxes watched on in agony as Ngolo Kanté turned down a new deal and eventually chose to join Antonio Conte’s revolution in London. The recent weeks have seen the club’s marquee player, Riyad Mahrez, also turn down an improved deal from Leicester and angle for a move to a much bigger club, with Arsenal said to be leading the chase; the rumour mill has continued to tick with news of players leaving the club, as Jeffrey Schlupp and Ben Chilwell have both been courted by Premier League clubs in recent weeks.

Enter Ahmed Musa, the club’s record signing ,and a player that has the ability to make up for much of the losses Leicester have and may still incur, from losing players due to their unforeseen success. The Nigerian attacking dynamo nearly came close to signing for The Foxes in the January transfer window, but a reported £23m bid was rejected by CSKA Moscow, who he then helped guide to their 3rd league title in the last 4 seasons, with a 17 goal haul in all competitions. Securing the services of a young elite level talent like Ahmed Musa for a truly laughable fee of £16m, in today’s transfer climate, is another example of the great business done by Leicester City in recent years. The former CSKA & VVV-Venlo star brings with him a wealth of Champions League experience, to a team that will be in unchartered waters in the coming season; Ahmed has already amassed 24 Champions League appearances thus far in his career, and his expertise will come in handy for The Foxes.

The one undeniable quality Musa brings to Leicester City, apart from his blistering pace, is his ability to play on the flanks, behind the striker & upfront as well; the versatility of The Foxes new addition will afford them with the perfect platform to unleash him in areas where he can be most effective, against specific opposition, in Leicester’s highly effective counter-attacking game. The rise of The Foxes can be witnessed off the field as well, as Ahmed Musa reportedly turned down offers from Everton, Southampton & West Ham United prior to penning his 4 year deal with Leicester City; the one time Arsenal target is overjoyed to be finally fulfilling his dream of emulating childhood idol and friend Nwankwo Kanu, by starring in the Premier League and hopefully going on to become another Nigerian legend in the division.

Ahmed Musa

Bio

DoB: October 14th, 1992 (23)

PoB:  Jos, Plateau State; Nigeria

Nationality: Nigerian

Caps & Goals: 58 Caps, 11 Goals & 6 Assists

Position/s: Inside Forward, Winger, Deep-Lying Forward, Poacher (L/R/C)

Height: 1, 70m

Preferred Foot: Either

Club: Leicester City Football Club

Jersey No: #7

Contract Expiry: June 30th, 2020

Transfer Fee: £16m

Former Club: Jos University Teaching Hospital Football Club (Loan, 2008 – 2009) | Kano Pillars (Loan, 2009 – 2010) | VVV-Venlo (2010 – 2012) | CSKA Moscow (2012 – 2016)

Development Nest: GBS Football Academy (2008 – 2010)

2015/16 Club Stats: 44 Games, 18 Goals & 6 Assists

Total Career Stats: 253 Games, 86 Goals & 41 Assists

GSV Deal Grader: Trevor Benjamin from Cambridge United F.C.  to Leicester City F.C. for £ 1.3m on July 12th, 2000 (3/5)

The Grand Stand View

The former Nigerian Premier League record goalscorer, a record he had set at 17 years of age with 18 goals for Kano Pillars, Ahmed Musa has made great strides in his career thus far; a Nigerian International at 17, after making his debut on August 5th of 2010, Musa has gone onto net 10 further international goals after scoring his 1st for the Super Eagles in March of 2011, as a 17 year old prodigy. It seems almost unfathomable that the diminutive attacking marvel hung up his gloves at age 12, after playing as a keeper since he was 10, to become an infield player that has terrorised shot-stoppers since.

Strengths

One trait that immediately stands out about Ahmed Musa’s game is his electric pace; the lad is well versed in the art of accelerating quickly, while maintaining his top speed and balance, often leaving his marker eating dust when he’s on one of his trademark mazy runs. A technically gifted attacking weapon with bags of tricks to unleash on any marker brave enough to square up against him, Ahmed uses his low centre of gravity to evade opposition defenders with ease; a trait that makes him a commodity in the game today, where players have to work even harder to create space for themselves or their teammates. Agile and capable of running hard for the entire duration of a game, Musa is a player that stays a threat for 90 minutes, and often punishes the opposition late in games as they tire of chasing him about. A consummate finisher, Ahmed Musa knows how to find the back of the net, while also creating his fair share of chances for his teammates as well.

Weaknesses

The one downside to playing Ahmed Musa on the flanks is his lack of an end product as it pertains to crossing or looking to pick out better positioned teammates 1st, prior to digging into his bag of tricks to create a better chance for himself to score. The lack of composure in the final third is rather surprising, for a player with the goal & assist tally that Ahmed boasts, something he will have to improve upon as he acclimatises to life In the Premier League. Despite being naturally diminutive, Musa will need to strengthen his body, if he is to truly succeed in a fiercely competitive league; his all action game and trickery will naturally invite tougher treatment from opposition defenders, and a stronger body will be crucial to remaining fit for each battle.

Grading The Deal; The Resplendence of Riyaad Norodien to Orlando Pirates

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The silly season is fully underway, as club “think tanks” seek to delve into the transfer market and attempt to strengthen their teams going into the new season, while also ensuring that they get the best possible value for money deals in a very competitive and largely inflated global transfer market. We at GSV have taken it upon ourselves to give you a comprehensive breakdown of some transfer deals in our Grading The Deal supplement, an exclusive and comprehensive guide catered towards the purists who seek to know more than the average fan regarding the wheeling’s and dealings in football today. Enjoy!

#TheSuperMarket

The almost inexplicable rarity of a young talent bursting onto the scene as a teenager, earning the respect and accolades that some seasoned professionals retire without receiving, while managing to remain grounded and continue to grow at a progressive rate is something many South Africans all too familiar with. Yet every once in a while, the stars align for some of those “once in a generation” talents that transcend the norm and create a new plateau to be broken; the rise & rise of Riyaad Norodien has been spectacular to witness, the Ajax CT youth graduate has quickly established himself as one of the premier young talents in South African football, due to the great strides he has continued to make in his development since bursting onto the scene as a teen.

Riyaad made us all sit and take note of him towards the end of the 2014/15 season, where gaffer Roger De Sa looked to prepare the squad for the eminent departure of Keagan Dolly to Mamelodi Sundowns at the end of the season; the loss of one key player created an opportunity for a youth graduate to step in and continue the club’s proud tradition of promoting talent from within when there is an opportunity to do so. Riyaad stepped up to the elite level and took his opportunity with both hands and feet; after overcoming off-field troubles in the form of a legal battle with the club, Norodien seemed to use the platform as an opportunity to prove that he was good enough to be a professional, and now he has earned a move to an even more illustrious club as a reward for his perseverance and dedication to progression.

The transfer became one of the worst kept secrets of the transfer window, after news was leaked of the deal being announced as part of a dual-swoop on Ajax Cape Town by Bucs, that also included Abbubaker Mobara, who seemed to have his sights set on filling the vacancy at right-back, created by the departure of Ramahlwe Mphahlele, in the Mamelodi Sundowns side. Riyaad is said to be overjoyed to be linking up with gaffer Mushin Ertuğral, a keen admirer of young talents and enterprising attacking football, Mushin also happens to be the man that promoted Riyaad into the 1st team setup at Ajax when he was Head Coach. The great rapport between player and coach will assist Norodien in acclimatising to life at a club of Pirates’ stature, something that will be key if the lad is to avoid the fate that has befallen many a talented youngster, that moved to a big club and failed to receive the necessary tutelage to convert potential into regular displays of elite level ability. Orlando Pirates have now elected themselves to be entrusted with the responsibility of developing Riyaad Norodien into the top-class talent that his potential promises he will be, as custodians of such a great talent, the organisation can reap great rewards if they invest wisely in his development into the player we know he can become.

Riyaad Norodien

Bio

DoB: March 26th, 1995 (21)

PoB: Kensington, Cape Town; Western Cape

Nationality: South African

Caps & Goals: u/23 International | 3 Caps

Position/s: Attacking Midfielder, Advanced Playmaker, Trequartista, Inside Forward, Winger (L/R/C)

Height: 1, 68m

Preferred Foot: Either

Club: Orlando Pirates Football Club

Jersey No: #95

Former Club: Ajax Cape Town Football Club

Development Nest: Ajax Cape Town Youth Development

2015/16 Club Stats: 28 Games, 1 Goal & 5 Assists

Total Career Stats: 34 Games, 3 Goals & 5 Assists

GSV Deal Grader: Steve Lekoelea from Moroka Swallows to Orlando Pirates in of 1997 (4/5)

Orlando Pirates are a club that love their good attacking players, and Riyaad Norodien will provide the club with something many South African teams tend to lack, a natural left-sided player that brings dimension to the offensive unit by providing a different angle for deliveries or shooting chances in attack. The competition for starting places at a team like Orlando Pirates will always be tight, regardless of the phase the team is in; during this minor rebuild, players will be even more incentivised to prove their quality and readiness to fight for an opportunity to play regularly. Riyaad Norodien brings a unique set of abilities that are tailor-made to allow him to flourish in a thriving Orlando Pirates side, the youngster could go down in history as one of the best players to wear the Bucs jersey in the modern era once all is said and done.

Strengths

Skilful players are a dime a dozen in South Africa, yet we still find it hard to develop our dribbling wizards into technically gifted professionals that also possess the physical and tactical dexterity needed to excel at the elite level. Riyaad Norodien is an outrageously gifted technical footballer that seems able to do whatever he wishes on the ball, the playmaker has the ability to weave his way out of tight situations and beat his marker with relative ease. When you consider his high talent ceiling and the incredible scope for growth he is blessed with, one cannot help but feel as if Riyaad is perfectly positioned to become a genuine star in the coming seasons for club and country. A nimble midfielder with the pace to out gas most defenders in the league, Norodien has the ability to be effective on and off the ball, something that marks him out as a premier attacking outlet in the making.

Weaknesses

Great ability is nothing without the mental aptitude to apply oneself towards using those God given gifts to the best of one’s ability, Riyaad’s mentality was questioned when he took his former employer to court in an attempt to server ties with the club and seek gainful employment elsewhere. The determination he showed to overcome those obstacles is commendable, but now the spotlight will be on how he handles the pressure of playing for such a prestigious club. One weakness most modern players make is reading too much into media reports, and often using those very same outlets and channels to get themselves into trouble by saying something that is almost always taken out of context. Riyaad will need to show more control of his overall business as a player, in a city where the media cycle and supporter interest is double what he was experiencing in Cape Town, we would like to read about Riyaad as it pertains to his on-field exploits and not what may be occurring off the field and affecting his image as a promising young star for the future.

Grading The Deal; The Grandeur of Granit Xhaka to Arsenal

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The silly season is fully underway, as club “think tanks” seek to delve into the transfer market and attempt to strengthen their teams going into the new season, while also ensuring that they get the best possible value for money deals in a very competitive and largely inflated global transfer market. We at GSV have taken it upon ourselves to give you a comprehensive breakdown of some transfer deals in our Grading The Deal supplement, an exclusive and comprehensive guide catered towards the purists who seek to know more than the average fan regarding the wheeling’s and dealings in football today. Enjoy!

#TheSuperMarket

Arsène Wenger is a man that developed a blueprint to winning titles in England, refined it and made an art form out of its intricacy, before discarding the model for one that was based on the Tiki-Taka era that blossomed before reaching its plateau and fading out in popularity and effectiveness. The largely unflattering season past seems to have reignited a fire in Le Professor’s belly, a fire that has seemed to coincide with what can only be the result of a nostalgic wine induced trip down memory lane with the Missus, one that lead to him digging in the attic and dusting off his “master plan for success”. The pre-Tiki-Taka Arsenal were a combative, yet technical football side, that could play as pretty as they could mix it up, and get stuck in if need be; that flexibility allowed Wenger to showcase his tactical dexterity, by making subtle changes in-game without having to totally move certain players out of position, or sacrifice the balance or functionality of the team, in an attempt to attain the desired outcome.

The current Arsenal squad is largely undersized when compared to the more bullish big EPL sides like Chelsea, Manchester City or Manchester United, who over the years have sampled that formula hatched by Wenger, to build combative yet attacking sides, that won games and titles with more regularity than the more aesthetically pleasing Arsenal led by Wenger. From Emmanuel Petit and Patrick Vieira to Gilberto Silva and Patrick Vieira, a thriving Arsenal side under Wenger has always been built around two physical, yet technical central midfield players, that form the heart of the team and offer balance on both sides of the ball. Le Prof seems to be returning to those deep roots, judging by his last two transfers. Mohamed Elneny came in as a much needed buy in January, and the industrious Egyptian has already won over many fans with his tenacious approach on the defensive end, while his propensity to take a pop from range has him marked as a future terrace favourite in the making. The arrival of Elneny has been followed up with yet another physical yet technically gifted former FC Basel 1893 midfield player, a lad who may just be the long awaited replacement for Patrick Vieira that many Gooners have prayed for, in more ways than one. Granit Xhaka could be the type of player Arsenal fans have been yearning for in their quest to reaffirm themselves as one of the elite clubs in English and World football, the squad knows that they can go a long way towards fulfilling their undoubted potential by winning a major piece of silverware or two for Wenger before he hangs up his faulty zipper having winter coat.

Granit Xhaka

Bio

Full Name: Granit Xhaka

DoB: September 27th, 1992 (23)

PoB: Basel; Switzerland

Nationalities: Albanian, Swiss

Caps & Goals: 47 Caps, 6 Goals & 5 Assists

Position/s: Ball-Winning Midfielder, Deep-Lying Playmaker, Attacking Midfielder, Advanced Playmaker, Trequartista, Inside Forward, Winger (L/R/C)

Height: 1, 85m

Preferred Foot: Left

Club: Arsenal FC

Jersey No: #29

Former Clubs: FC Basel 1893 (2010-2012), Borussia Mönchengladbach (2012-2016)

Development Nest/s: Concordia Basel (2000-2002), FC Basel Youth (2002-2010)

Transfer Fee: £30m + add-ons

Wage: £120k p/w

Contract Expiry: June 30th, 2019 + 1 Year Renewal Option

2015/16 Club Stats: 36 Games, 3 Goals, 2 Assists, 7 Yellow Cards, 2 Double Yellow/Red Cards & 1 Red Card

Total Career Stats: 207 Games, 12 Goals, 15 Assists, 45 Yellow Cards, 5 Double Yellow/Reds & 1 Red Card

GSV Deal Grader: Patrick Vieira to Arsenal from Inter Milan on August 14th, 1996 for £3.5m (5/5)

Signing Granit Xhaka is a sign of intent from Arsenal, the former Gladbach skipper brings leadership traits and a physical prowess that has been sorely missed at London Colney; Xhaka may take a few months to fully adapt to the style of play at Arsenal, yet he seems like a long-term replacement for the pivotal Santi Cazorla in the deep-lying playmaker role. Xhaka affords Wenger more flexibility in tactical outlook and personnel selection, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see the team change formations more often in the coming season, as Wenger looks to get the best out of an already talented midfield group, one that can be said to have underachieved given the plethora of talent battling for the 5 starting positions.

A combative, yet intelligent midfield general, with a good eye for the pass and an instinctive positional sense that allows him to keep the midfield ticking over on both sides of the ball, Granit Xhaka has all the tools required to develop into an elite level regista for Arsenal and Switzerland.

Strengths

Granit may have played in a more direct system at Gladbach, yet he has always been the player who starts most attacking moves, with a decisive pass or a defensive line shifting run. An average passing accuracy of 85%, with an average pass length of 20m, in the 2015/16 season, proves that Xhaka will not necessarily take too long adapting to the constant passing demanded in an Arsenal side; Granit is well adept at looking to play with his head up and look for the forward pass first, before going sideways or backwards to retain possession if the pass is not on, this trait makes him akin to Santi Cazorla in many ways, and that places him in good stead for the future in an Arsenal jersey. An 81% success rate in take-ons, 30 out of 37 attempted, is a testament to the brilliant combination of guile and strength that is Granit Xhaka; the midfield general is well versed in the art of breaking from deep in midfield, ala-Aaron Ramsey or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and forcing the opposition defenders to break out of shape to halt him, it’s on such runs that Granit makes his living, picking out teammates with pinpoint through-passes.

Weaknesses

A return of 3 goals in 28 games during the previous campaign is a poor showing for such a talented midfield player, Xhaka will have to up his goal tally and aim for double figures in all competitions if he seeks to be an upgrade to the players he seeks to play over regularly; Arsenal have largely failed to reach the lofty heights of the great Wenger sides before them, due to a drought of goals from midfield, where they used to get a steady supply in the past from players like Marc Overmars, Robert Pirès, Fredrik Ljunberg, Patrick Vieira, Sylvain Wiltord & Ray Parlour. It’s worth noting how Xhaka had a 48% shot accuracy for Gladbach in the 2015/16 season; as a technically gifted player with a powerful shot on him, the Basel born star can expect to get tons of encouragement from the terraces to have a pop from range when there is an opening for him to shoot on sight, something that seems to be currently largely unencouraged from within the team.

For a deep-lying playmaker ,with good positional sense and a frame that allows him to compete with the best of them, Granit Xhaka still seems a tad bit naïve in some defensive situations, and that will be something which has to be worked on, if Arsenal aren’t going to stop turning-over the ball in midfield as often as they do; a 41% success-rate in tackles, 49 out of 121 attempted, is also not flattering for a player that carries so much defensive responsibility in the double-pivot. Xhaka has also seemingly unfairly developed the tag of being a hot-headed player, due to his determination to succeed, coupled with his inability to time tackles as well as he should, much like a modern age Paul Scholes. The lad is maturing with each season, and his defensive game can only improve when playing in a side that forces defenders to earn their keep more often than not, due to their more expansive style of play and obvious defensive fragilities.

Attracting Attention; The Refulgent Rise of Romelu Lukaku

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Its Like Meeting Clarke Kent, A Boy & His Hero | Romelu Lukaku & Didier Drogba
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Primed For Greatness | A Teenage Romelu Lukaku

#TheSuperMarket

It seems as if modern day football is the only sphere were one can become a professional at 16 and still have their ability & potential doubted and discussed even though one continues to perform at the elite level and show gradual signs of improvement; which brings be to the question of the day, why do we still continue to doubt and underrate Romelu Lukaku?

Having recently cemented his place in football history by joining the EPL “50 before 23 Club”, becoming the 5th footballer to score 50 Premier League goals before the age of 23, joining an illustrious honour roll that includes Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney & Cristiano Ronaldo; Romelu should be seen as an elite level star when we consider the body of work he has compiled at 22, with the different clubs and philosophies he has played under thrown into consideration. The fact that Lukaku scored no goals for Chelsea in his time at the club is actually laudable in hindsight; Romelu has proven that he is an elite level finisher while excelling at clubs that don’t always provide the quality chances afforded to leading forwards at other top sides in the realm. It comes as no surprise that bigger clubs have been sniffing around Merseyside with the view of signing a player that has now earned the right to compete in Europe and prove his worth against some of the best clubs in the world, yet his gaffer, Roberto Martínez, may have been right to quickly refute those rumoured by adding that his star front man would easily fetch £ 55m in the current market climate; that figure is testament to the potential many saw in the teenager that seemed to bully men twice his age and score goals for fun at an alarming rate.

A boyhood Chelsea fan and a youngster that looked up to Blues legend Didier Drogba, one wouldn’t be remiss to think that Romelu felt hard done by in his time at the club, and rightly so, his performances out on loan were not justly rewarded with a spell in the first team; proving doubters wrong seems to be a driving factor for a young man who doesn’t seem to need much fuel to gas himself up once he gets in his Terminator Zone. Being touted as a young superstar in the making for your entire adult life can have a differing impact on different young players, Romelu seemed to carry the burden of his great potential and rave reviews until they threatened to either break him, or make him a better man; at 22, with a great career ahead of him, and some sound development behind him, the lad seems primed to fulfil and even exceed the expectations many had of the young lad that led scoring charts as a teenager and had scouts raving endlessly about his great future in the game.

Everton have had to deal with tons of transfer speculation regarding their key players over the past 24 months, be it Kevin Mirallas, Ross Barkley, John Stones, or Romelu Lukaku, the club have remained steadfast in their stance and refuse to be held ransom by any party; the investment into this current project has been measured and methodical in many regards and the Toffees will be conscious of the fact that they cannot keep hold of their stars without offering them good remuneration and the opportunity to play regularly at the highest level, European football will be essential for Everton and Bobby Martínez if they seek to sustain their resolve. Inversely, Everton could cash in on one or two assets and have enough in the kitty to go back in the market and rebuild around other talented young prospects with great potential and good resale value; the current crop of stars are on good long-term deals and playing some of their best football at an ambitious club that has the ability to match its lofty ambitions, yet we have seen good projects rebuilt due to players leaving for greener pastures and shinny trinkets.

The transfer speculation has been justified by Romelu’s brilliant numbers and performances this season; having led the attacking line alone for most of his career, Lukaku has now begun to show just how dynamic he can be with is amalgamation of pace, power and precision combining to make for a quintessential modern age striker that scores goals add adds genuine value to an attacking unit. Everton raised many eyebrows when they paid a club record £ 28m to sign Lukaku in July of 2013, Chelsea had doubled their investment on a player they were choosing to discard and it seemed like a brilliant piece of business for the club; hindsight may have us believing that The Blues actually did themselves a disservice in selling a player that could come back to haunt them, on the field, or cost them financially, when the inevitably seek to by him back in years to come. The Toffees seem set to double their investment into Lukaku, should they look to cash in on their star striker; the Romelu doubters are quietly being silenced with each passing season of growth and development, while the finished article may be far from arrival, Bob’s your Lierse S.K. beer mug having uncle, this lad will go down in history as a pretty decent striker when all is said and done.

Romelu Lukaku

Bio

Full Name: Romelu Menama Lukaku

DoB: May 13th, 1993 (22)

PoB: Antwerp, Belgium

Other Nationality: Congolese

Height: 1, 90m

Position: Advanced Forward, Complete Forward, Target-Man

Preferred Foot: Left

Current Club: Everton FC

Contract Expiry: June 30th, 2019

Youth Development Nests: Rupel Boom (99-03), KFC Wintam (03-04), Lierse (04-06), Anderlecht (06-09)

Former Clubs: Anderlecht (09-2011), Chelsea (2011-2014), West Bromwich Albion (2012-2013; Loan), Everton (2013-2014; Loan)

Market Value: £21m

Asking Price: £ 55m

Career Club Record: 248 Games; 105 Goals; 45 Assists

Caps & Goals: Belgium (37 Caps, 11 Goals); u/15 (4 Caps, 1 Goal); u/18 (1 Cap); u/21 (8 Caps, 1 Goal)

Possible Destinations

Paris Saint-Germain

The Parisian Project has not truly yielded a great return on investment, for the millions invested, there is no sign of the team improving and taking those extra leaps forward in Europe; winning the league is now a prerequisite for PSG when one considers their vast abundance of talent and riches, combined with the gradual decline of some of their closest rivals thrown in for good measure. The current offensive line has been in need of a face-lift for 18-odd months and now the missing piece seems to be a young elite level ready talent to lead an exciting attacking line that would include the dynamic duo of Lucas Moura and Ángel Di María; Romelu Lukaku would fit the bill perfectly as he would continue to develop at a high level and grow with another ambitious group of players that have the potential to truly flourish at the elite level.

The PSG link is considered unrealistic by those that feel as if Romelu may not be the marquee buy the club would need to lure in as a direct replacement for Zlatan Ibrahimović, yet the Belgian International would provide the club with a player that can contribute immensely from the onset, while still possessing the scope to grow and develop further into a player they’d be looking to add to their roster in years to come. Romelu Lukaku could be the dynamic figurehead an attacking side like PSG would require if they want to go further in the Champions League during the coming seasons, the lure of becoming s star at one of Europe’s most illustrious clubs and competing for major honours would be hard for any player to snub without due consideration and just merit.

Juventus

There is an age-old belief in football, that form is temporary while class remains permanent; no truer words can be spoken regarding Juventus and how they managed to rebuild their club, after a shambolic end to an era, and re-establish themselves as a European powerhouse that can compete with the best of them. A new stadium and increased revenue from improved commercial appeal has now enabled the Old Lady of Turin to compete on the transfer market as well, while Italian teams are known to scour the lesser followed territories for talent or buy proven players that are being undervalued at some bigger European clubs, instead of procuring a star for big money from another European rival; Juve seem conscious of the fact that their talisman, Paul Pogba, would be more inclined to leave if he remains one of the truly superstar players on the roster every season. The arrival of a big money buy, or two, could settle any unrest in the Pogba camp and afford the current group an optimal opportunity at succeeding together while capitalising on the great growth experienced by Juve in their rise back to the top.

Romelu Lukaku has the physical and technical gifts to excel in Italian football, and the thought of playing in more of a partnership upfront would be enticing for any forward looking to improve and up their output on the field; if Juventus were looking to rebuild their team around an attacking tandem of Lukaku and Paulo Dybala, they’d potentially create the ideal “Big & Small” striker combination for their flexible and direct style of football. Such a move would require brevity and a genuine interest from all parties, Juve do have the attraction and the pedigree to tempt any player in the realm, yet they would need to step out of their comfort zone a tad bit by investing big money in a signing that could pay off exponentially in years to come.

Arsenal

The two most recent Everton to Arsenal transfers would scare of many thoughts of a Lukaku move to London Colney; Francis Jeffers is the name that comes to mind for many, a “fox-in-the-box” that cost good money and showed little in return during his spell at Arsenal, all after establishing himself as an exciting young talent on Merseyside. Mindful of the fact that we live in a different time, and Romelu is a completely different player, the lessons must be learned if one is to fully grow and actually learn; Arsenal do need a different option upfront, some might add that “quality” would be the operative word to add in that statement, and Romelu Lukaku is dynamic enough to add that extra bit of quality to an already gifted attacking unit.

For all the flack Olivier Giroud catches, he does score some of the endless opportunities he often seems to be provided and that fact cannot be overlooked, the one true flaw in his game is his evident lack of pace and the ability to make definitive runs off the ball when his team is in possession for long period of time; the addition of Lukaku would mean that Arsenal can remain with a focal point or outlet ball at all times, yet they would now also have a big man that can hold it up or get in behind and offer more goalscoring options. The fact that Lukaku is young, talented and proven in the EPL will make one question the feasibility of Le Prof dipping into his vast transfer kitty to sign a player he was rumoured to be close to snatching from under the noses of Chelsea when he was still a teen; one thing is sure, Arsenal have signed lesser forwards than Romelu and the lad would add true quality to their current side, and a Belgian international on your roster is the new accessory in European football.

Chelsea

The “buy-them-cheap, sell-them-steep” transfer policy employed at Chelsea now seems to be questionable when we consider the on-field returns on those investments; Chelsea have been a team in need of a rebuild even prior to winning their title last season, yet they wouldn’t have needed to tap into the market for those replacements, as they had quietly amassed a roster of talented young players befitting of a seasoned Football Manager enthusiast shopping off the Wunderkind Lists made available on the net. Fast forward 24 months, and three of their former charges have developed into the calibre of player needed at Stamford Bridge currently; Marco van Ginkel would have given them more defensive solidity and allowed Cesc Fàbregas to play further forward against more direct opposition, Kevin De Bruyne would have negated the need for an overreliance on Eden Hazard and Willian or aided in the avoidance of Oscar becoming burned out when he should be shining brightest.

Undoubtedly, the biggest loss was that of a player that seemed destined to replace his boyhood hero and become the bullish yet sophisticated striker Chelsea have had since the days of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Tore André Flo; a combination of factors can be attributed to the regrettable departure of Lukaku from Cobham, yet one would be remiss not the think that Romelu would be welcomed back with open arms by all and sundry at Chelsea. The Diego Costa experiment may not last as long as many hoped it would, he has begun to be more disruptive than he is dependable for goals and his dip in form has coincided with a general decline in the team’s ability to be effective under the current systems deployed. A new frontline striker will be needed at Chelsea, sooner rather than later, and the outside bet would be a move for a player that wouldn’t need much time acclimatising to a ground and a jersey he has adored since he was just a boy; the good money would be on whether The Blues have it within them to spend big on buying back a player they shouldn’t have let leave in the first place.