While folks on both sides of the Atlantic get to do some Black Friday shopping, clubs in the English Premier League -- a league that shops like no other -- are left out until the January transfer window opens.
That got me thinking: What if Premier League clubs were allowed use their considerable cash reserves and sign one player on Black Friday? Would they make a signing to cover for an injured player? Invest in the future with a youngster? Shell out big money for a superstar?
So I thought I'd take the top six clubs in the league and make a guess at who they'd sign if they could sign any player right now. (OK, maybe not any player. If I really meant any player this list would be all Messi and Ronaldo. So I limited entries to players who could realistically end up at the club in January or next summer.) Let the Black Friday shopping spree begin!
City sits high atop the Premier League table, looking more and more likely to run away with the title after each passing week. If there is any club that doesn't need reinforcements, it's City. But one area it could use some help in is defense. The Sky Blues aren't bad in defense by any stretch, it just isn't as deep as City's loaded attacking force. And with John Stones going down recently, some extra depth could help them avoid any bumps as the fixtures stack up around the holidays.
My first thought goes to Jonny Evans, who City was linked with last summer. He was a disappointment as a younger man at Manchester United, but he's come in to his own since joining West Brom in 2015. He's an experienced Premier League player who can be rotated in as needed. If you need him to start for a stretch, he can do it. Or, if you're completely healthy, he can come on as an experienced sub.
But this is City we're talking about, and City loves to splash cash, even when it's frivolous. It's been no secret that Pep Guardiola admires Alexis Sanchez and that the Arsenal man could end up at the Etihad in January or the summer. An extra attacker wouldn't do much to strengthen a City attack that's already one of the best in the world, but if you have a chance to sign a player like Sanchez, you do it, and you don't think twice.
While extremely talented, midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan hasn't flourished as expected in the No. 10 role, leaving a giant hole in the middle of the park for Jose Mourinho to deal with. Mourinho's main goal when he's able to sign a player should be to find someone for this role to help link Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic in the midfield to attackers such as Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford.
One player who makes perfect sense for the job is Mesut Ozil of Arsenal. The German World Cup winner is one of the best creative midfielders in the world and would turn United into a more balanced squad overnight. Lukaku is already one of the most difficult players in England to defend. Now imagine the kind of challenge he'd pose if Ozil was supplying him with passes. Ozil is out of contract in the summer and heavily linked with United recently, so this move is well within the realm of possibility.
Another option is Danny Rose of Tottenham, who hasn't seemed content in North London since the summer. With Luke Shaw playing well below his potential, United could use another left back to push him to his best or replace him, whichever comes first.
Chelsea can be a tough nut to crack because of the intricacies of Antonio Conte's system. The reigning Premier League-winning manager has his own way of doing things, and the right players need to be found to achieve maximum efficiency. That's why so many of the players rumored to end up with the Blues come from Conte's old stomping grounds, Serie A.
We're sticking with that line of thought here. Michy Batshuayi is injured, leaving Chelsea with only Alvaro Morata at striker, so even while fully healthy they're short in attack. Reinforcements at forward are needed, and who better than the most in-form striker in Italy, Mauro Icardi of Inter Milan. The Argentinian forward has 13 goals in 13 Serie A matches this season. With him in the squad, Morata would stay fresher, and Conte would even have the option of running two strikers when needed.
Conte could also look to his old club, Juventus, for players. Chelsea is pretty solid at every position, but I've never been overly impressed with Marcos Alonso at left back. If Alex Sandro moved from Juventus, he'd be the perfect fit to play wing back for Conte considering he's already excelling in that role for the Old Lady.
Spurs are a strange case in this scenario because their finances are so much different than the other clubs at the top of the table. City, United, Chelsea and even Arsenal and Liverpool, to an extent, can spend as much as they want and still be fine. Tottenham has to be more bargain-conscious, as pricey contract renegotiations with Harry Kane, Dele Alli and more loom on the horizon. But there are still really good players to be had for a Champions League competitor such as Spurs.
With elite attackers such as Kane, Alli and Christian Eriksen, you'd think Spurs are set on offense. But Tottenham actually has the fewest goals of any top-six team. It needs an attacking spark, and considering the squad has plenty of talent at central and attacking midfielder, it needs that spark to come from the wing. (That means no Ross Barkley.) Real Sociedad 20-year-old Mikel Oyarzabal or Ajax 18-year-old Justin Kluivert would do the trick. Both are talented enough to be steady contributors, but young enough to step up as one of the clubs next stars if/when Kane and Alli leave North London.
Defense, defense, defense. That is the one and only area Jurgen Klopp should concern himself with until the back line is sorted out and not losing matches for the Reds. Trying to sign players at other spots is just a luxury until Klopp signs the players needed to improve the defense.
The first name all Liverpool fans will say when talking about potential defensive signings is Virgil Van Dijk of Southampton, and for good reason. He's been one of the better central defenders in the Premier League since signing with the Saints in 2015 and he's still fairly young at 26. Signing the big Dutchman would also do wonders for the psyche of Liverpool fans, who spent last summer agonizing over a "will he or won't he" saga involving a Van Dijk move to the Merseyside.
If Klopp was, for some reason, looking for non-defensive player to sign, the obvious choice is Julian Draxler of Paris Saint Germain. Klopp will be familiar with him from the time they spent against one another in the Bundesliga. He's a versatile attacker seemingly custom built for Klopp's pressing style and would surely excel at Anfield, but defense has to come first.
Arsene Wenger finally did what no thought he'd ever do and spent a lot of money to bring a striker to Arsenal, landing Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon over the summer. But Arsenal fans now aren't content with one major signing at striker and are clamoring to sign Nabil Fekir, who replaced Lacazette at the tip of Lyon's spear. The Gunners don't need an attacker, though. And even though the defense has struggled at times, they don't need a defender. They need a midfielder. More specifically, they need someone to step into the Santi Cazorla role as the connective tissue between the midfield and attack, something they haven't had since Cazorla went down injured a year ago.
Schalke 22-year-old Leon Goretzka is who they need. He's young, but so young that you don't know what you're getting. He can deliver smart passes forward from deep in midfield or retain possession and charge forward to create the attack with the ball at his boots or shoot from distance. He also possesses one of the most underrated attributes in soccer: height. At 6-foot-2, he's tall enough to leap and win ball against most midfielders and even challengers defenders for balls in the air. That height also makes him a threat to score with his head.
Goretzka would be pretty much the perfect player for Arsenal. So perfect, in fact, that I can't see it ever happening. That's just not the luck Arsenal has in the transfer market. Alternatively, Wenger could look to Porto defensive midfielder Danilo. One thing Arsenal has always lacked in midfield is power, which Danilo possesses in spades. He wouldn't bring the attacking flair of Goretzka, but he'd make the Arsenal midfield more defensively sound.
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Cy Brown writes about football, golf, soccer and other stuff for Sports on Earth. Follow him on Twitter @CEPBrown.