Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly wants to launch a Premier League North versus South All-Star match – but which players would feature in the game?
Boehly, who also owns shares of the Dodgers in Major League Baseball and the Lakers in the NBA, suggested the idea at a press conference in the USA.
“Ultimately I hope the Premier League takes a little bit of a lesson from American sports,” Boehly said. “And really starts to figure out, why don’t we do a tournament with the bottom four sports teams, why isn’t there an All-Star game?
“People are talking about more money for the pyramid; in the MLB All-Star game this year we made $200m from a Monday and a Tuesday. So we’re thinking we could do a North versus South All-Star game for the Premier League, for whatever the pyramid needed quite easily.”
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp isn’t a fan but we’ve taken a look at how both teams could line up if the game went ahead.
Note: each starting XI can only have a maximum of two players from one club.
GK: Emiliano Martinez
Martinez spent eight years at Arsenal before joining Aston Villa in 2020 in search of regular first-team football.
The goalkeeper has since justified the £20million price tag with some brilliant performances in Villa’s goal and has also established himself as Argentina’s No.1.
RB: Kieran Trippier
While we haven’t ignored the merits of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joao Cancelo and Kyle Walker, we decided to pick Trippier for the right-back spot.
The Newcastle United defender is renowned for his attacking capabilities and set-piece prowess, but he also worked on the defensive side to his game during his time at Atletico Madrid.
CB: Virgil van Dijk
Admittedly, Van Dijk hasn’t been his usual imperious self of late but nobody can deny that he still deserves a place in this XI.
CB: Raphael Varane
After a injury-plagued debut season at Manchester United, Varane is now starting to show why he’s regarded as one of the best defenders in the world.
The France international, who won 18 trophies at Real Madrid, has pocketed some of the best strikers in the world and a centre-back partnership with Van Dijk would be formidable.
LB: Lucas Digne
Digne joined Aston Villa in January 2022 after falling out with Rafa Benitez at Everton and has been one of their best players during a difficult period.
Casemiro has only just arrived in the Premer League but has some serious pedigree, having won three La Liga titles, five Champions Leagues, three UEFA Super Cups, three FIFA World Club Cups and a Copa del Rey during his time at Real Madrid.
Manchester United’s No.18 is regarded as one of the best defensive midfielders in the world and would happily do the dirty work for this team, allowing the attacking players to do what they do best.
CM: Bruno Guimaraes
Guimaraes joined Newcastle United in January 2022 and has made an immediate impact, helping Eddie Howe’s side go from relegation contenders to Europa League contenders.
The 24-year-old adds a bit of Brazilian flair and creativity to his teams but also works hard in the middle of the park.
CM: Kevin De Bruyne
De Bruyne has gone from strength to strength under Pep Guardiola, helping Manchester City win the Premier League title in four of the last five seasons.
The Belgium international is arguably one of the greatest passers in Premier League history and would create plenty of chances for this front three.
RW: Mohamed Salah
Since joining Liverpool in 2017, Salah has transformed the club’s fortunes and established himself as one of the best players in the world.
The 30-year-old has scored at least 25 goals in four of his five full seasons at Liverpool and would undoubtedly strike fear into the defenders in the South XI.
ST: Erling Haaland
While Cristiano Ronaldo would love to start in a game like this, he’ll have to settle for a place on the bench as Haaland is the North’s undisputed No.9.
The striker joined Manchester City in the summer and has now scored 10 goals in his first six Premier League games, the joint-fastest a player has reached that total, along with Mick Quinn in December 1992.
LW: Anthony Gordon
Gordon nearly moved down south during the summer transfer window after Chelsea contacted Everton and submitted an offer of around £45million.
But Everton refused to sell the 21-year-old, who has already become one of their standout performers and looks set set for a bright future at Goodison Park.
Subs: Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ruben Dias, Fabinho, Thiago, Bruno Fernandes, Phil Foden, Allan Saint-Maximin, Cristiano Ronaldo.
GK: Robert Sanchez
We were spoilt for choice with this one.
Edouard Mendy, Hugo Lloris and Aaron Ramsdale are all excllent goalkeepers but we couldn’t look past Sanchez.
Brighton’s No.1 rarely makes a mistake and has everything you look for in a modern goalkeeper, combining his excellent shot-stopping skills with his brilliant distribution.
RB: Reece James
Despite only being 22-years-old, James is already regarded as one of the best right-backs in the world.
From a defensive standpoint, the Chelsea academy graduate is incredibly difficult to beat but he’s also very effective in the final third and can create a lot of goal-scoring opportunities for his team-mates.
CB: Thiago Silva
Silva joined Chelsea in 2020 as a 35-year-old free agent amid doubts from some whether he could make an impact on the Premier League.
The Brazil international has silenced those critics with some brilliant perfomances in England and would add plenty of experience and leadership to this side.
CB: Joachim Andersen
One of the most underrated players in the Premier League, Andersen has been a revelation for Crystal Palace since signing from Lyon in 2021.
The centre-back also isn’t afraid to use football’s dark acts and managed to rattle Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez during a 1-1 draw at Anfield earlier this season.
LB: Oleksandr Zinchenko
Zinchenko spent six seasons playing in the north and made over 100 appearances for Manchester City before switching sides and joining Arsenal ahead of 2022/23.
The Ukraine international has hit the ground running and made a real impact in north London, proving that he’s far too talented to be a squad player.
CM: Declan Rice
Rice has silenced any doubters and developed into one of the best holding midfielders in the Premier League due to his defensive awareness and ability on the ball.
He’s been linked with moves up north to Manchester United and Liverpool but West Ham reportedly value him at around £100million and will do everything they can to keep the England international in London.
CM: James Ward-Prowse
While the north have a set-piece specialist in Kieran Trippier, the south are able to call on Ward-Prowse.
The Southampton captain has scored 14 direct free-kick goals in the Premier League and is just four short of David Beckham’s record. He’s also got other qualities but this skill makes him a crucial asset for the south.
CM: Martin Odegaard
After his career stalled at Real Madrid, Odegaard has turned things around and established himself as Arsenal’s creator-in-chief.
The Norway international isn’t on Kevin De Bruyne’s level just yet, but he loves to showcase his excellent technical skills and would add a bit of magic to this midfield three.
RW: Jarrod Bowen
After registering 12 goals and 12 assists in 36 Premier League appearances for West Ham in 2021/22, Bowen has fought off competititon from Bukayo Saka and Raheem Sterling to earn his place in the team.
ST: Harry Kane
While Gabriel Jesus and Ivan Toney have enjoyed brilliant starts to the 2022/23 season, there was only really one option for the No.9 spot.
Kane, who is currently the third-hightest goalscorer in Premier League history, is still at the peak of his powers and would back himself against Raphael Varane and Virgil van Dijk.
LW: Son Heung-min
Alongside Mohamed Salah, Son won the Premier League Golden Boot in 2021/22 after ending the season with 23 league goals.
The South Korea international has also formed a sensational partnership with Kane and we’d be crazy if we attempted to break that up.
Subs: Edouard Mendy, Wesley Fofana, William Saliba, N’Golo Kante, Rodrigo Bentancur, Mason Mount, Bukayo Saka, Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus.
READ MORE: Transfer Gossip: Boehly goes big with Chelsea sporting director salary offer and war chest, but Man Utd could step in; West Ham eye Serie A swoop
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