Transfer deadline day: Aubameyang, Mahrez, Giroud and what to expect in last 24 hours of the window

One move sets off another and so on until the first move is finally completed, allowing the rest to follow suit

Miguel Delaney
Chief Football Writer
Tuesday 30 January 2018 16:16 GMT
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Premier League transfer round-up: Latest deals from the January window

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

On Monday night, a player who is the subject of a great deal of interest right now was talking about the last time he made a transfer move. He pointed to how, the last time he made a move, he was “absolutely certain” to go to one club on the 30th of the month only to end up somewhere else at midnight the next day.

The point was how particularly chaotic it can get at this stage of the window, how what was true at one moment in time can become an utter irrelevance another as the clock ticks down and clubs swiftly have to move on to other targets. That dynamic is only set to drastically escalate this window, due to a series of interlinked transfer moves. In that regard, the January 2018 transfer window may ultimately become a revolving door, and one that swings at a pace more furious than ever before. It might also become quite tense, and is already very taut.

The broad details are this: Arsenal want Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but Borussia Dortmund won’t let him go if they get a replacement. Dortmund want Michy Batshuayi, but Chelsea won’t loan him out unless they get an upgrade. The champions have a few options - including Fernando Llorente, with Tottenham Hotspur themselves keeping an eye on Salomon Rondon - but the most realistic still looks Olivier Giroud, and Arsenal won’t let him go unless… they get Aubameyang. And that brings us right back around.

The dominos here are so dependent on each other, and with time so quickly running out and so much negotiating still to do, that it is possible it all falls down. It’s also possible that we see the dominos go down another route, or some pieces fall while the rest continue. It isn’t impossible, for example, that Chelsea and Tottenham come to an agreement over Llorente and Batshuayi goes elsewhere.

Either way, the frenzy that will happen regardless does feel a fitting end to a genuinely active January window that has lived up to the hype, which has seen some sensational moves. Tottenham Hotspur’s pending move for Paris Saint-Germain’s Lucas Moura will mean that it is the first January window since 2006 - and only the second ever - when all of the current top six have done significant business. One of those from 12 years was a mere Chelsea loan move for Maniche, so this would greatly trump that, and there could be potential for a lot more beyond that carousal of strikers.

City are moving for Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez as they weigh up the effects of Leroy Sane’s injury, and Manchester United have had tentative looks at midfielders. Then there are so many deals that might well come out of nowhere at the bottom.

As to the reason for this ramping up, you could put it down to the money super-charging the Premier League, but it is really about the deeper effects of that and the crunching of the competition at both ends. We are seeing such huge figures because of other numbers: at the top, six want to become one and four and, at the bottom, 10 want to avoid becoming three.

It is also pointed how the basic pursuit of pure goals has fired this, as so many of the top teams seek attackers and specifically second-strikers, and the bottom half are looking for goalscorers.

This similarly might be a consequence of the bottom half's shift towards more conservative managers, although the top six are obviously looking to impose and enhance themselves. They are struggling to impose themselves on deals at the moment.

Aubameyang's move to Arsenal is closest to be completed, and everything is in order right down to a planned time for a press conference, but Dortmund still won't give the green light until a replacement is in. That will come down to Chelsea, but their situation could really go either way. Giroud is the top target, but his asking price of £35m at his age is way above what they want to pay, and it is likely to lead to a tough Tuesday of talks.

Arsenal may pull out and look to send him to Dortmund, although Chelsea themselves could go straight to Spurs.

And that's the thing. So many "coulds" on a day of "needs".

All could go through, all could fall down, on a day when what’s being said will for once so definitively come down to what you’re willing to pay.

It could well force the most hyperactive January window ever.

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