Sunday morning’s transfer rumblings are decidedly Dutch, with Leicester City apparently ready to make an eye-popping swap at the (deep) expense of Chelsea and Ronald Koeman prepared to offload several veterans at Barcelona to bring in two young talents.
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If Koeman does land his two preferred young stars, there could be a bargain or two for Premier League or Serie A clubs eyeing cut rate deals for the trio he’d send packing.
Van de Beek to Barcelona
Ronald Koeman loves the young talent he’s overseen at Netherlands national team camp, and wants to bring at least two players to join Frenkie de Jong in Blaugrana colors.
Koeman is said to be willing to sell Arturo Vidal, Ivan Rakitic, and Luis Suarez in order to fund a move for Donny van de Beek. The central midfielder was once ticketed for Real Madrid but money issues reportedly opened a door for Manchester United.
Van de Beek is expected to fetch Ajax around $65 million for a player who turned 23 in April and posted has 10 goals and 11 assists in 37 matches this season after registering 17 and 13 in 57 appearances in 2018-19.
Van de Beek has 10 caps for the Dutch, and has been atop the triangle of midfielders in Koeman’s 4-3-3. Koeman would be able to get more out of De Jong with Miralem Pjanic already arriving to settle a midfield which sometimes had problems finding Lionel Messi and Barca’s attackers.
Stengs to Barcelona
The other name Koeman wants could be the first time many have heard it. Fantastic young Dutch right wing Calvin Stengs moving to Barcelona would be a big move for a 21-year-old recently handed his first Netherlands cap by Koeman.
The 21-year-old AZ Alkmaar man had 10 goals and 12 assists in the high-scoring Eredivisie and the Europa League, a breakthrough season after bagging five and four the previous season.
Stengs would join a crowded group of wingers and could signal sales or positional changes in the long-term, with Ousmane Dembele and Trincao among the right-sided talent and Pedri, Ansu Fati, and occasionally Antoine Griezmann flung out left (You may know Lionel Messi and Suarez as forwards, too.
One to watch?
Tagliafico to Leicester City
Simply incredible stuff from Brendan Rodgers and the King Power Stadium set if this one is true.
Leicester City is said to be capable of landing Nicolas Tagliafico from Ajax to replace Ben Chilwell, who is reportedly nearing a massive-money move to Chelsea.
Chilwell is about four years’ Tagliafico’s junior and has experience in the Premier League already, but finding another reason to favor the former of the latter is tough.
Chilwell turns 24 in December and is said to carry a price tag around $65 million, almost $26 million more than the bandied-about price for Tagliafico, who turns 28 at the end of this month.
The Argentine has 16 matches of UCL experience compared to Chilwell’s zero, with goals against Bayern and Lille. Yes he played in a less competitive domestic league but, according to WhoScored’s player comparison tool, he’s also coming off a better season in terms of passing, interceptions, clearances, assists, shots per game, assists, tackles, and fouls drawn.
It’s a no-brainer. Leicester would upgrade or — at the very least — be just as solid by adding Tagliafico for a Europa League season over Chilwell, who has just two European appearances coming back in 2016-17 (though 11 England caps are quite high profile, too).
Frank Lampard has shown a preference for both youth, specifically English youth, but as he enters a second full season without silverware and more youth — specifically English youth — Tagliafico’s age and the fact that Chelsea could buy a very good young left back prospect with the difference in fee seem to cancel each other out.
But you do you, Frank.