The impending financial crisis triggered by the coronavirus crisis could signal a steep decline in football transfer business.
One way around the financial uncertainty caused by the crisis could be an increase in swap deals, where player values are simply assessed based on their comparability to others.
For Manchester United, this has already led to speculation about deals involving the club’s reported targets as well as rumours about how approaches for Paul Pogba will be funded.
One of the former reports has emerged today in Italy, with Gazzetta dello Sport claiming that Barcelona will offer Antoine Griezmann in exchange for Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez.
Both players are or have been on United’s transfer radar for some time. Griezmann has failed to live up to his €120 million (£104 million) price tag following his transfer to Barça from Atletico Madrid in the summer and Martinez is seen by the Blaugrana as the natural successor to 33-year-old Luis Suarez.
For Inter’s part, Griezmann would naturally play off Romelu Lukaku, so the switch would make sense for all parties.
Meanwhile, it has already been reported that Real Madrid would be willing to offer both James Rodriguez and Gareth Bale to United in exchange for Paul Pogba. This seems less of a natural swap as Martinez-Griezmann. United would be getting two players on high salaries who have form and injury problems. It seems intuitively unlikely that the Red Devils would sanction such a move.
Pogba’s other suitors, Juventus, have also reportedly shown interest in offering Dutch centre back Matthijs de Ligt in exchange for Pogba. Another report in February suggested that the Turin side would be willing to trade Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot for the Frenchman.
Of all the Pogba swap deals mooted so far, de Ligt would probably be the most interesting to the Red Devils, but seems the most unlikely.
These will no doubt be just the first few examples of proposed swaps involving the world’s top footballers. With Pogba wanted by a number of clubs, the Frenchman’s name is likely to feature in quite a lot of that speculation.
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