Depending on the country, the summer transfer window opens in June or July, going all the way through August or September, respectively. But that doesn’t mean silly season is not already upon us. So that’s why every week for as long as I deem appropriate, I’ll select my favorite rumor of the week and break down whether it makes sense or not. It can be about any team or player, so long as it’s typically linked within the top five leagues across Europe.
Thanks for coming back, all. If you’re unfamiliar with the gist of this, we’re here to break down some of the latest transfer rumors. Last week we had a little fun with Brazilian midfielder Paulinho and the Bavarian giants, Bayern Munich. So this week, we’re going to get a little more serious. To be honest, there are tons of rumors breaking at all times of day during transfer season—many silly, some feasible—and you can check them out if you’d like over at Goal.com.
But let’s get back to it, shall we?
I wrote about Bats just a couple of weeks ago, shortly after he scored the league-clinching goal on a Friday afternoon against West Brom. At the time, I didn’t think it cemented anything in terms of his status with the Blues. And the latest speculation isn’t helping his case. The tricky thing will be whether or not Chelsea lose Diego Costa this summer. If that becomes a reality, should they be so willing to sell Batshuayi after just one season?
After his goal clinched the league with two games remaining, Batshuayi was granted some additional minutes. Of course, Antonio Conte’s side had nothing to lose at that point. Still, Bats would take full advantage of the opportunity—scoring once in 83 minutes of action against Watford and twice in less than 25 minutes against Sunderland. Two of the lesser Premier League teams, no doubt, and in Sunderland’s case one that has been relegated, but you can only play the teams in front of you. Moreover, you can only take advantage of opportunities once they are given. In limited action, Bats did just that. Better late than ever, right?
The Belgian striker’s future at Stamford Bridge is far from guaranteed, with the likes of West Ham, Newcastle and Monaco all reportedly interested. In deciding which rumor we were going to tackle, we landed on Monaco solely because they are outside of the Premier League. Though as of right now, the Ligue 1 champions may not be able to promise ample playing time either.
Would this make sense for Batshuayi?
On the surface, absolutely—from both a financial standpoint and overall comfort level. Bats just moved to Chelsea from Ligue 1 (Marseille). He’d fit in just fine. But from a playing time position, it gets a little more interesting. Monaco seem hell bent on holding out for the most ridiculous offer imaginable for teenage phenom Kylian Mbappé, as they should. Plus they have no reason to move Radamel Falcao, who simply continues to be so very efficient for them.
If both strikers stay (highly unlikely, Mbappé will leave eventually), where does Bats play? How often does the Belgian start? Monaco just won Ligue 1 for the first time since 1999-00 and made it all the way to the Champions League semi-finals. If anything they will be looking to get stronger rather than sell off all the parts that made this team such a success. But we know how it goes by now. Monaco will be raided.
In the event of that occurring, though, Batshuayi moving to the Ligue 1 side makes perfect sense.
Would this make sense for Monaco?
In every imaginable way, yes. Obviously they can afford him. Last time Batshuayi was in Ligue 1, he netted 17 goals and added seven assists. Think he won’t score even more with a better side? Think again. Of course, Monaco will be looking to repeat as champions while attempting to replicate their most recent Champions League push. They could do a lot worse than Bats.
And no, adding Batshuayi to their ranks doesn’t make them weaker as a club. That will come when they inevitably lose Mbappé. They’re already losing 22-year-old Bernardo Silva to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. It’s just a matter of time.
Is this move likely to happen?
Of the three clubs reported to have interest, I imagine there’s more of a chance of Bats heading to Monaco than there is Chelsea outright selling him to another Premier League side. Then again, West Ham and Newcastle don’t particularly scream “direct rivals,” now do they?
What this genuinely will come down to is playing time. Both Monaco and Chelsea can and will pay Batshuayi buckets of money. That’s not the issue. If Diego Costa leaves, that opens the door for him. But if Antonio Conte doesn’t trust him to lead the line, they’re better off moving him along.
It’s hard to leave a championship-caliber side, but Batshuayi is still just 23 years old. Presumably, he wants to play. Oh, and he’ll have plenty of chances to win trophies with Monaco, too.
BONUS RUMOR: Shout out to defender Benoît Assou-Ekotto, who Birmingham City Manager Harry Redknapp wants to sign… despite his interest in becoming a porn star. Reportedly, of course. I don’t think anything is going to top that this summer—in a manner of speaking.
Previous Rumors of the Week: