As the gap between the top six teams narrows each year in the Premier League, clubs will be looking at beating their rivals off the pitch as well as on it.
There have been some stellar performances from players all around Europe this season, but here are six who have impressed the most and would improve the quality of the team they are most suited to.
Julian Weigl – Manchester City
Pep Guardiola has been a long-time admirer of the Borussia Dortmund midfielder after following him closely when the Spanish manager was at Bayern Munich.
Weigl looks a perfect template for a Guardiola midfielder. The German is elegant on the ball, clever in possession and has the ability to thread passes in-between the lines time and time again.
The 22 year old has not even hit his prime years yet, and so he could be Fernadinho’s replacement this summer if the Citizens decide to move on, or reduce the time of, the 32 year old.
Weigl is in the top 30 most accurate passers in the Bundesliga and has completed 86.4% of them this season for Dortmund. The German club are reluctant to sell for a modest fee given his age, ability and the current market status quo. Weigl is likely to cost over £70m.
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic – Manchester United
Manchester United have had a rude awakening this season with their number of limited midfielders accompanying Paul Pogba in José Mourinho’s second year in charge.
The Portuguese boss is reluctant to switch a three-man midfield, possibly due to the fact that his players are not of the required quality to uphold the required standards that Mourinho demands.
A player that has been closely watched by Mourinho’s scouts is Lazio’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. The six-foot-three midfielder is a box-to-box machine for the Italian outfit and is a big reason as to why they are challenging for a Champions League place both domestically and in the Europa League.
Pogba needs some quality around him and Milinkovic-Savic has plenty of it in abundance. The Serbian international has been phenomenal at times in Lazio’s transitional play from defence into attack, and has contributed nine of his own goals to the team’s efforts as well as six assists.
Claudio Lotito, Lazio’s President, has come out and told clubs looking to purchase the commanding midfielder that it will cost them €100m. The price tag is not surprising in today’s market for a 22 year old that is on the verge of joining the elite.
Leon Bailey – Chelsea
With Real Madrid eyeing up Eden Hazard, Chelsea might well need a replacement to come in straight away and hit the ground running. The Blues should look no further than Bayer Leverkusen’s sensational winger Leon Bailey.
The Jamaican has notched up 11 goals and recorded five assists in just 23 appearances this season for Bayer, a phenomenal amount for a player that has only recently gone to Germany and features down the left wing.
His incredible pace, agility and technical skill makes him one of the most dangerous wingers in Europe at the moment, and a reason why defenders look uneasy when trying to contain him.
Even if Hazard decides to stay at Chelsea and sign a new long-term contract, Bailey should – and will – be considered by the club’s management due to his phenomenal numbers this season. Chelsea have, at times, looked absent of pace in their team and have relied on Hazard too frequently – help from a player like Bailey can only be an added bonus.
The pure speed in which the former Genk player glides past his opponents is astounding, and is a quality in which Chelsea hope to see if they are the club to sign him come the summer.
Matthijs de Ligt – Tottenham
Matthijs de Ligt has impressed in Ajax’s defence this season
With Toby Alderweireld stalling over a new contract at Tottenham, the Lilywhites should dip back into the ‘Ajax market’ and seriously consider up and coming central defender Matthijs de Ligt.
While he might only be 18 years of age and not ready to step in and replace the Belgian international, de Ligt has a wonderfully promising career ahead of him.
Another technically gifted defender to come through the Ajax academy, the defender has already made three appearances for the Dutch National Team at such a young age. A whole host of clubs – including Manchester United and Barcelona – have been sending scouts to watch him over the past 12 months.
De Ligt is a very composed and assured ball-playing central defender, and so would be a perfect fit to be working under Mauricio Pochettino who has a knack of nurturing young players and integrating them into the first-team.
It might take him a while to adapt to the Premier League and be comfortable in front of 60,000 fans, but once he does, spectators will be able to witness de Ligt’s fantastic ability to take the ball out of defence and drive into space, creating gaps for his teammates to run into and launching counter attacks. He has done it countless times this season.
Spurs signed Davinson Sanchez from Ajax last summer and should look to sign another defensive prodigy in de Ligt.
Alisson – Liverpool
Along with David de Gea, Alisson has been one of Europe’s best goalkeepers this season. The Brazilian-born shot stopper has kept Roma in games when he has no right to thanks to his unbelievable reflexes and dominance in commanding his area.
Just recently, against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League first leg, Alisson save a string of opportunities that should have resulted in goals for the Ukrainian team. Roma were lucky to come away with a 1-1 draw when, in truth, it could have been three or four for Paulo Fonseca’s side.
Impressively, Alisson is yet to make a save inside his six-yard box in either Serie A or the Champions League, which suggests he thwarts danger before opportunities arise for attackers to come incredibly close to his goal.
It is hard to quantify Alisson’s contribution in goal this season, but he is by far and away Brazil’s number one goalkeeper ahead of Manchester City’s Ederson, and should remain that way with the World Cup looming.
Jürgen Klopp has had his troubles with goalkeepers in recent years and is in a rotation policy between Loris Karius and Simon Mignolet. While Roma are not going to let him go for as cheap as they acquired Mo Salah, the Reds would solve their goalkeeper issue and have a first-team starter for a decade.
Jorginho – Arsenal
Jorginho has become one of Europe’s quickest rising stars since coming into the spotlight with Napoli.
The Italian has oddly been revered by the National Team, but he is an instrumental figure in a Napoli side that are aiming to win their first Scudetto since 1990.
Jorginho pulls the strings for the Ciucciarelli sitting at the base of their midfield and dictating play. The Italian’s passing is sublime and holds an 89.2% pass completion rate in 22 games, a quite staggering statistic.
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Arsenal have lacked a defensive midfielder that can break the lines and pose a credible threat going forward, but most importantly look strong in front of their back four. While Jorginho is not the most physical, his spatial awareness and general intelligence more than makes up for it. There has seldom been a time where he has been caught out or made costly errors.
With the Gunners’ new transfer strategy and willingness to spend big money on the right players, Jorginho would be a sensational signing.