Transfer deadline day is fast approaching and three of the top Premier League clubs have high-profile players that they are desperate to offload this summer.
Man City, Man United and Liverpool have all made some big signings this summer. Both the Manchester clubs begin a new era under new managers, while former Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp takes charge of his first full season as Liverpool manager.
All three clubs have brought in a host of new players. Manchester United have signed Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba, Liverpool have brought in the likes of Sadio Mane, Georginio Wijnaldum, Joel Matip and Loris Karius, while Manchester City have spent the most this summer with the acquisition of John Stones, Nolito, Ilkay Gundogan, Leroy Sane and Claudio Bravo.
The priority of all three clubs will now be to offload some unwanted players on high wages, and each club has one player in particular whom they will be desperate to get rid of before Deadline Day.
1. Mario Balotelli (Liverpool)
Italian striker Mario Balotelli has gone from the most wanted list of many clubs to the top of his current club’s unwanted list in these past few years. Balotelli returned to Anfield from his unsuccessful loan spell at AC Milan earlier this summer, but there is no indication that this has been a happy reunion.
In fact, manager Jurgen Klopp has expressed in no uncertain terms that the 25-year-old striker needs to look elsewhere for regular football. However, finding a club for Balotelli may be the biggest problem. He has been linked with the likes of Ajax, Besiktas and most recently French club OGC Nice.
Balotelli has just one year left on his contract and it is clear that the club have no intention of extending his stay. The Italian is currently training with the U21 team. His legacy of 4 goals in 28 appearances for the Reds will probably not be the stuff history is made of.
2. Joe Hart (Manchester City)
The 29-year-old English goalkeeper has seen it all at Manchester City in his nine seasons at the club. Hart joined at a time when City were still a mid-table team in the Premier League, and has since played an integral role in their meteoric rise to the top after the takeover by the United Arab Emirates based City Football Group.
However, the arrival of Pep Guardiola has made life difficult for the England international as the Catalan manager doesn’t seem to rate Hart very highly. Guardiola dropped the Englishman for City’s opening two Premier League games in favour of Willy Caballero, and has recently signed Claudio Bravo from Barcelona.
This leaves no doubts regarding future of Hart, with many believing that he played his last match in a City shirt in their win over Steaua Bucharest in the UEFA Champions League qualifiers. There were reports that Europa League champions Sevilla and Premier League rivals Everton were both interested in Hart, but City’s hefty asking price believed to be in the region of £25 million makes a permanent transfer a difficult proposition.
3. Bastian Schweinsteiger (Manchester United)
The former German captain was hailed as a massive signing last summer when former manager Louis van Gaal signed him from Bayern Munich for £6.5 million. However, the injury prone 32-year-old was largely anonymous for the Red Devils and new manager Jose Mourinho has made it clear that he has no future at Old Trafford.
The likes of a resurgent Marouane Fellaini, the world’s most expensive player Paul Pogba and club legend Michael Carrick are competing for a place in central midfield, with the talented duo of Ander Herrera and Morgan Schneiderlin. It is hard to imagine that Schweinsteiger can ever claw his way back into the first team fold under Mourinho.
The Portuguese manager has relegated the German midfielder to training with the reserves, drawing criticism from fans and pundits alike for the decision. However, the fact remains that United are eager to offload the player, something which could cost them a hefty amount of money.
Schweinsteiger, on the other hand, is in a position of relative ease as he is making more than £100,000 a week at Old Trafford and has two years left on his contract. He even recently took to social media to state that Man United would be the last European club that he would ever play for. Unless United can do something about it this week, the German could well continue cashing in his paychecks until the end of his contract.