We here at Tribal have dissected the paper talk all summer long. There has been storylines that have culminated in world-record transfers and many others that have fallen by the way-side.
But what of the stories that will have every fan checking their phone updates every five minutes as the transfer window draws shut?
Clubs Interested: Manchester United
It’s still hard to believe that United haven’t signed Ivan Perisic.
The two have been linked for the entire summer. So what was happened from then till now?
Well a whole lot of disagreements between United and Inter Milan, that’s what.
Whether it was Inter’s stubbornness or United’s frugality, the agreement over a fee just never eventuated.
Ed Woodward slapped in his highest bid of £44m for the 28-year-old, but Inter felt that £48m was their price. And that was that.
Pre-season has come and gone and rather than do what in the future will be called a ‘Diego Costa’, Perisic has worked his backside off, as his recent two-assist performance in the Nerazzuri’s 3-1 win over Roma attests.
But that does not mean he’s forgot about United’s advances. At his age, he knows this may be his final shot to play at one of the biggest clubs in the world.
As he publicly stated on Friday, Jose Mourinho still wants his fourth signing of the summer. He knows that although United have had a great start to the season, they can be unstoppable with if they get that missing piece.
That piece is Perisic.
Whether Inter are willing to sell at this stage of the window is anyone’s guess, but don’t be surprised if United give them one more offer to think about before Thursday.
Likelihood: It could happen
Alexis Sanchez – Arsenal
Speculation linking Alexis Sanchez with a move away from Arsenal has been flying around everywhere this week. And understandably so.
The Chilean wants to leave the Emirates, which he made obvious with his demeanour in the Gunners 4-0 loss to Liverpool on Sunday.
Arsene Wenger has made it clear all summer that he wants Sanchez to see out the remainder of his contract. One more season to try and change his mind.
So now, at the end of August, should Wenger bite the bullet and sell Sanchez because of the effect his discontent is having on the dressing room?
This is a difficult one, mainly because Arsenal just cannot afford to sell him to their rivals. No matter what. They can’t do it.
Sell to either of the Manchester clubs and you’re drastically improving your closest rivals while simultaneously losing an important, if not the most important, player in your squad.
Sure, Sanchez will sulk for the time being, but how long will that last? He will become a free agent at the end of the season and at 29, he’ll want to earn himself the best move possible.
If that happens then the Gunners should take the money now and try and spend it on somebody who wants to play for the shirt – but they better hurry up.
Likelihood: This one could go either way
If the above combination of names is confusing, that’s because the whole situation is a mess.
Something just isn’t right about Liverpool‘s £65m bid for Thomas Lemar. Reports have suggested that the Reds are going to return with an increased bid that same say could be worth £75m.
For a club that has squabbled over spending this amount of money on their prime targets all summer, doesn’t this kind of behaviour seem suspicious to you?
One explanation is that Coutinho – who has miraculously recovered from his ‘back’ injury in time to play for Brazil – has sealed his move to Barcelona.
The fee, you would expect, would be around £130+m. Liverpool could then immediately use that money to buy both Lemar and van Dijk, which is not that bad of an option for the Reds.
Hypothetically, let’s say Liverpool keep Coutinho beyond Thursday. What about Lemar and van Dijk then?
It’s got to be one or the other, and given Liverpool‘s desperate, and I mean desperate, need for a centre-back, you’d think van Dijk would be prioritised over Lemar.
Likelihood: There’s too much going on here!
The reason why Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain wasn’t included in the shambles listed above, is because Liverpool should purchase the Englishman no matter what happens with the outcome of Philippe Coutinho‘s departure.
He has rejected a move to Chelsea because he knows he’ll be used as a right wing-back, which is (partly) why he wants to leave the Emirates in the first place.
The 24-year old wants the move to Anfield. He wants to play central midfield. Both of these Jurgen Klopp and FSG can make happen.
There is no reason why Liverpool shouldn’t pursue this option. Their squad is still relatively thin and if Coutinho does leave, Oxlade-Chamberlain will be able to fill a hole in central midfield.
Likelihood: Get it done Liverpool
But much like his Croatian peer, Mahrez has given his everything all summer and he has played well in the Foxes first three Premier League games. He even handed in a transfer request and hasn’t sulked.
But let’s not be fooled. He still wants to leave the King Power. Desperately.
The 2015-16 PFA Player of the Year knows he needs a fresh challenge. He knows his play stagnated last season and he doesn’t want to find himself in the same position again when Leicester inevitably end up in mid-table nothingness or worse, in a relegation battle.
But where will he end up by Thursday?
The Giallorossi’s third bid of £32.35m was well off Leicester’s valuation of £50m.
The Gunners need a morale-boosting signing after their horror start to the season, while Chelsea need players in general.
Tottenham are in the most need for a player like Mahrez and they should lodge a bid before the window shuts.
Likelihood: He’s definitely going somewhere