x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Premier League: will Bale or Suarez stay? 10 questions at the transfer window

The summer period is a beehive of activity and Richard Jolly has 10 question to ponder. Also 5 players likely to move, + Free transfers XI

Andre Villas-Boas, left, will have a tough time convincing Gareth Bale, the Player of the Year award winner, to stay at Tottenham Hotspur. Adrian Dennis / AFP
Andre Villas-Boas, left, will have a tough time convincing Gareth Bale, the Player of the Year award winner, to stay at Tottenham Hotspur. Adrian Dennis / AFP

Can Tottenham keep Gareth Bale?

Everyone bristles when sides are described as one-man teams yet there is no denying Gareth Bale's contribution to Tottenham was colossal. The double Footballer of the Year scored 26 times and won matches almost single-handed.

It is little wonder Real Madrid are interested and it is a pertinent question how long Spurs, after again missing out on Champions League qualification, can count on the Welshman's loyalty. With Bale, Andre Villas-Boas may need only a couple of judicious signings - particularly a striker - to propel Tottenham into the top four. Without him, he would need a major overhaul.

 

Can Liverpool keep Luis Suarez?

For much of the past year, Brendan Rodgers's mantra has been that Suarez is not for sale and is happy at Liverpool. Then the Uruguayan starting speaking about joining Real Madrid. Should he do so - and Liverpool remain publicly adamant he is staying - then Rodgers would have the money to sign several players and reshape his squad.

Yet it is implausible that he would secure a replacement of a similar calibre; the reality is the world's top strikers probably do not want to play for them right now. And, minus the 30-goal Suarez, the Reds could be in another season of transition.

 

Can Manchester United keep Wayne Rooney?

If Sir Alex Ferguson were still in charge, the probability is they would not even have wanted to. Moyes has been more conciliatory towards the 27-year-old striker and it may reflect badly on the new manager if his reign began with an elite player leaving.

It may depend on whether Rooney is sufficiently disillusioned that he is determined to leave, whoever the manager, as well as if Paris St Germain will match his huge wages and meet United's considerable asking price. If they do, Moyes will have an even bigger budget.

 

Will David Moyes sign a superstar?

The new Manchester United manager has never enjoyed the luxury of a large transfer fund but United's huge revenues mean he should have £50 million to spend, even before income from sales.

His predecessor, Ferguson, liked Robert Lewandowski and dreamed of bringing Cristiano Ronaldo back to Old Trafford. Moyes seems to have an interest in Cesc Fabregas as well as his former Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini. Now, after years of dealing on the cheap, he has the chance to think big.

 

How will Jose Mourinho reshape Chelsea?

When Chelsea first appointed Jose Mourinho, in 2004, he transformed the team immediately, bringing in Didier Drogba, Ricardo Carvalho, Paulo Ferreira and Arjen Robben. Now, more change is likely, with Chelsea requiring a central midfielder - Real Madrid's Sami Khedira has been linked - and, probably, reinforcements in defence.

Like all other recent Chelsea managers, he faces the problem of what to do with Fernando Torres, especially as, compared with the other top teams, they desperately need a world-class striker.

 

Will Manchester City get their top targets?

Last summer, City wanted Robin van Persie, Eden Hazard, Daniele de Rossi and Javi Martinez and got none of them. Now they want Edinson Cavani, Isco, Jesus Navas and Fernandinho, and the latter two have been reeled in.

To bring in all four, representing a cost of around £100 million (Dh572m), would also require them to sell wisely to bring money in. And if, say, Cavani eludes them - and he is in demand elsewhere - they have to ensure that, unlike 12 months ago, they find appropriate alternatives.

 

Will Arsene Wenger actually spend big?

Every year, the Arsenal manager apparently has vast sums at his disposal; this year, it apparently is £50m. Yet last year's arrivals were funded by the sales of Robin van Persie and Alex Song, just as two summers ago, the departures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri financed Wenger's buys.

None of Arsenal's premier players are expected to leave and Wenger has the chance to strengthen significantly. Fiorentina's Stevan Jovetic appears one target as the Frenchman looks to enter the market for high-class players who can turn Arsenal back into contenders.

 

Can Aston Villa get rid of the old guard?

Paul Lambert has been a revolutionary at Villa Park, dropping virtually everyone with any experience. This summer, he may try to complete his clear-out. Stiliyan Petrov has, sadly, had to retire and the defender Richard Dunne is out of contract and has already packed his bags.

Lambert will be keen to get rid of big earners like the goalkeeper Shay Given, the defender Alan Hutton, the midfielder Stephen Ireland and the striker Darren Bent, all of whom have fallen from favour.

He will be keener still to keep the much-admired spearhead of his young team, the excellent Christian Benteke.

 

Will the promoted clubs splash out?

Twelve months ago, Southampton and West Ham came up, spent sizeable sums and stayed up. Reading were cautious in the transfer market and went down. Yet the equation for new arrivals in the Premier League is not that simple. Overspend and underachieve and the club could be sent spiralling downhill.

The signs are that Hull will not gamble with their future by paying fees they cannot afford. Nor will Crystal Palace, who were in administration three years ago, although Ian Holloway's war chest will be increased by the £15m Manchester United are paying for Wilfried Zaha. Cardiff, who have wealthy Malaysian owners, are likely to be the biggest buyers of the trio.

 

Who will go in the QPR fire sale?

A cautionary tale for any side in the bottom half of the Premier League, QPR paid large fees and amassed a wage bill that is clearly unsustainable. Now they need to dispense with many of their expensive failures.

The goalkeeper Julio Cesar is likely to leave along with the midfielder Esteban Granero. Loic Remy, the striker, has an £8 million release clause.

However, the defender Christopher Samba cost £12.5m and his £100,000-a-week wages may deter potential buyers. They also will struggle to move out the likes of Bobby Zamora, Andy Johnson, Jose Bosingwa, Park Ji-sung and Shaun Wright-Phillips.

FIVE PLAYERS LIKELY TO MOVE

Nani
The Portuguese has just had the worst of his six seasons at Old Trafford and has only one year left on his current contract, meaning Manchester United have to cash in now or risk losing him on a free transfer. The winger has been linked with Monaco, Zenit St Petersburg and Arsenal.

Edin Dzeko
The Bosnian has grown frustrated with life as Manchester City’s super-sub and they, in turn, have been irritated by his inconsistency. There is talk he could he included in a part-exchange for Edinson Cavani. Borussia Dortmund also are interested in the striker. Either way, Dzeko will go.

James McCarthy
If Wigan had stayed up, they would have struggled to keep hold of James McCarthy. After going down, it seems certain the midfielder will leave. McCarthy, who enjoyed an excellent season, has long been mentioned in connection with Arsenal. Plenty of other clubs may covet him.

Marouane Fellaini
The Belgian has a £24 million (Dh137m) release clause in his contract at Everton. It may well tempt his former manager David Moyes, now at Manchester United, but could interest others as well. Arsenal are believed to be in the fray with the added carrot of Champions League action. Fellaini has completed the best year of his Everton career and a track record of troubling the best is a sign of his ability.

Andy Carroll
Unwanted at Liverpool and very much wanted at West Ham, the questions concern the size of the fee and if anyone else – Newcastle, in particular – will enter in the bidding. The canny Sam Allardyce will probably force the price down, knowing Brendan Rodgers does not need a target man.

FREE TRANSFER XI

Mark Schwarzer
Turns 41 in October but remains one of the Premier League’s most consistent goalkeepers. Schwarzer wants to stay a first choice in order to appear for Australia in the World Cup.

William Gallas
Had a tough year at Tottenham where his presence tended to coincide with their worst performances, but spent a dozen years at London’s top clubs.

Richard Dunne
Injury meant he missed the entire season for Aston Villa but the Irishman has been one of the division’s most determined defenders for a long time.

Antolin Alcaraz
Had Alcaraz stayed fit all season, Wigan probably would have stayed up. The Paraguayan is a class act, as the central defender showed in the FA Cup final.

Maynor Figueroa
Likely to join West Ham, the Honduran has been one of the more reliable left-backs in the Premier League for several seasons.

Giorgos Karagounis
The veteran Greece captain, 36, quickly became a crowd favourite after joining Fulham last summer. He retains his competitiveness and enthusiasm.

Phil Neville
May be wanted as a manager or a coach, as well, so the Everton captain faces a decision if he should play on. He is hugely respected for his professionalism.

Andrey Arshavin
One of Europe’s most coveted players a few years ago, Arshavin cost Arsenal £15m. The Russian can frustrate but still possesses huge talent.

Florent Malouda
Frozen out at Chelsea this season, but the France international was a regular source of goals from the left wing between 2008 and 2011.

Carlton Cole
An England international three years ago, Cole’s goal return is mixed but he is an athletic target man who should attract Premier League interest.

Roque Santa Cruz
Manchester City paid £17m for Santa Cruz four years ago and he helped Malaga reach the Champions League quarter-finals this season. Injury-prone, at 31, but talented.


sports@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE