Who the Premier League’s so-called ‘big six’ still want before the transfer deadline

The Premier League transfer market is still busy with only days to go until the deadline

Miguel Delaney
Chief Football Writer
Tuesday 29 August 2023 14:46 BST
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Ivan Toney looks set to be the big target in the remaining days of what could be the most frantic transfer window yet, as all of the Premier League’s old so-called “big six” will be seeking major deals right up to the close of the market on Friday night.

The situation has been influenced by the influx of Saudi Pro League money, which has caused every Premier League club to delay and disrupt their plans, including Manchester City who usually have all their business done by now. They are likely to get a deal done for Wolves’ Matheus Nunes, although the player’s willingness to go on strike – sensing a rare opportunity as City cast around for other attacking players – could make it go very late.

Manchester United meanwhile want a midfielder – preferably Fiorentina’s Sofyan Amrabat, possibly Tottenham Hotspur’s Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg or Bayern Munich’s Ryan Gravenberch – and a temporary left-back due to Luke Shaw’s injury. The Old Trafford hierarchy have been in talks with a series of clubs over potential deals, from Lyon’s Nicolas Tagliafico to Barcelona’s Marcos Alonso.

Arsenal are looking for a right-back and Tottenham Hotspur a full-back, along with a forward player likely to be Nottingham Forest’s Brennan Johnson. Talks over the latter are understood to have been hugely frustrating, though, with very little common ground between negotiation teams led by Spurs’ Daniel Levy and Forest’s Evangelos Marianakis. As one involved source quipped: “Imagine trying to get a deal done between those two.”

Forest had initially set a price of £40m for Johnson, which Brentford had met, only for the midlands club to make further demands. They would also prefer not to sell to Brentford as they are seen as a potential rival in the Premier League table. Brentford have not yet given up, though, as there is understood to at least be a £15m difference between Forest and Spurs.

Chelsea may yet move for Johnson depending on how far they get with bigger targets up front, as Mauricio Pochettino wants a forward who can play across the attack. Toney represents that and there is an increasing feeling a deal could be struck in the last few days in the window, although Brentford would want £80m.

Meanwhile, Liverpool are investigating whether they can do one more midfield deal. There is still interest in Cheick Doucoure of Crystal Palace but they have so far been put off by price. Wilfried Ndidi may be considered as relegated Leicester City are willing to do business in the last few days of the window.

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