A third exclusive by Anirudh Srinivasan
In what can be considered as one of the biggest coups of the summer, Swansea City managed to pull off the signing of the 20-year old Golden Boy winner. Little more than a year after he set about making a name for himself with stellar performances in the 2016 European Championship, Sanches has joined Swansea on loan from Bayern after struggling to make an impact in Bavaria. But, one must remember that he was behind the likes of Arturo Vidal, Thiago Alcantara and with the signing of Corentin Tolisso, opportunities were going to be limited. Swansea boss, Paul Clement, used his wide ranging contacts and a good relationship with Carlo Ancelotti to make this signing. Sanches needed a platform where he could express himself and the Welsh side could provide him with that. Swansea are one of the few sides in the lower echelons of the Premier league who stay true to their philosophy and play progressive, attacking football. The signing of talented Spanish midfielder Roque Mesa from Las Palmas and the presence of Tom Carroll will mean a really impressive midfield trio could help Swansea push higher up the table. Sanches might as well prove to be an inspired signing for Swansea and for Sanches; this move could help him relaunch his career.
Liverpool is a club synonymous with great European nights and have had many a successful European campaigns. Alexander-Arnold, a couple of weeks back, in a tough playoff tie away at Hoffenheim, scored an absolute peach of a free kick to secure a crucial win for Liverpool which in turn helped them secure Champions league football back at Anfield. Liverpool’s talisman Phil Coutinho had just handed in a transfer request the day before and the fact that Alexander-Arnold took up the responsibility despite being the youngest member of the squad in trying circumstances speaks volumes about his temperament. Alexander-Arnold is a young man with massive ambitions. In a recent interview, he told, “I have achieved goals. But the dream is to captain Liverpool. There will be goals to achieve along the way, but until I captain Liverpool I won’t be satisfied. It goes back to Steven Gerrard. He was my idol. I always wanted to be like him, so wearing that armband would mean a lot to me.” This is a big season for him and with the long term injury to Nathaniel Clyne; he has a big opportunity to establish himself as the first choice right back for his boyhood club.
Timothy Fosu Mensah
With a previous link with Frank De Boer at Ajax during his youth days, Timothy Fosu Mensah made a move down south to Crystal Palace on loan, from Manchester United. Although Crystal Palace have had a dreadful start with three losses on the bounce, Fosu Mensah, who has been playing as the right sided centre back in a back three, has been one of the few bright spots in Palace’s campaign so far. Jose Mourinho rates him highly and felt that he needed regular Premier league football this season before he could make him an integral part of the Manchester United squad, next season. Fosu Mensah can play at fullback, center back and in midfield, as well and he will have a crucial role to play if Palace are to have a solid campaign, this season. He has even made it to the senior Dutch national squad and was handed his debut against France, last week. He had been earmarked as one of the best young prospects at United ever since his arrival when he was 15 and with regular first team football at Palace, he may go on to impress many in the coming season.
The other summer recruit Swansea made was Tammy Abraham on loan from Chelsea. Once again, this move could have very well happened because of Paul Clement’s links with Chelsea where he worked as assistant manager under Carlo Ancelotti during his tenure at the West London club. Abraham was linked with the likes of Newcastle, Brighton before his move to Swansea was confirmed. Abraham had an outstanding season at Bristol City last season in the Championship. The young striker scored 27 goals in 46 appearances and for someone still in his teens that was nothing short of astonishing. With the departure of Fernando Llorente to Tottenham, Abraham will have to shoulder the goal scoring responsibilities for Swansea, this season. He has already got off the mark and made a very impressive start to life in the Premier League. Abraham is very talented and his main attributes are his searing pace, his ability to get past defenders and he has the ability to finish chances very capably. Knowing Chelsea’s near absolute disdain towards giving youth an opportunity to flourish, Abraham will probably not make it at Chelsea. But he can be inspired by someone like Romelu Lukaku who wasn’t given chances at Chelsea but proved himself at West Bromwich Albion and Everton before he secured his big move to Manchester United.
The young English midfielder had his breakthrough season at Everton, last season. Ronald Koeman, the Everton boss, seemed to trust Davies a lot and he became a permanent fixture in the first team as the season drew to a close. Although Koeman has signed Davy Klaassen and Gylfi Sigurdsson, Davies can expect to get many an opportunity to impress with Europa league football also on Everton’s platter, this season. Nowadays, it is often said that the problem with modern academies is that they fail to inculcate streetwise wisdom into young upcoming footballers and don’t really look into the rough edges of schoolboy footballers. Everton’s graduate, Tom Davies, is something of a throwback, though. He endearingly balances the progressive new-age and retro old-school with his low-worn socks prompting nostalgic references to earlier times and his style of high intensity, quick natured style of play in midfield seemingly more in alignment with the modern style of football. Davies will have a big role to play for Everton this season and who knows, could he lead his boyhood club to a first trophy since 1995?
Renato Sanches Image via Deviantart
Trent Alexander Arnold Image via Pinterest
Timothy Fosu Mensah Image via Thesun
Tammy Abraham Image via Thesun
Tom Davies Image via SkySports