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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Chelsea’s Miralem Pjanic swap deal for Jorginho could spark new Premier League transfer trend

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The warnings have been there for several weeks.

Frank Lampard has said Chelsea’s planning has been altered, a wait-and-see approach taken until the picture becomes clearer.

Manchester United’s Ed Woodward last month told a fans’ forum to expect a very different window.

And the former Tottenham director of football Damian Comolli has claimed swap deals and loan moves are going to become the norm, a theory backed up by Barcelona’s vice-president Jordi Cardone.

Which brings us to the reports, originating in Italy, of Jorginho and Miralem Pjanic trading places and the first signs of this new normal coming to fruition.

An agreement is far from reached and on paper that straight swap seems to benefit Juventus to an extent that it seems unrealistic without a wad of cash or a different player thrown in but it is a glimpse into what the transfer market will become for many clubs.

Even the biggest, those bankrolled by billionaires, are growing anxious.

From expected TV rebates running into hundreds of millions to zero matchday income and a squeeze on advertising, there is a substantial fear that the bubble is about to burst with catastrophic consequences.

That means the transfer market is going to become Americanised as trades replace huge fees.

As a knock-on effect that casts some doubt over moves such as Jadon Sancho coming to Stamford Bridge or Old Trafford should Borussia Dortmund demand £120million in a time of such financial certainty.

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While clubs owned by billionaires are not going to be affected by coronavirus to the same extent as those lower down the food chain, they are still awaiting clarity on potential relaxing of financial fair play rules.

Those businessmen are not going to be foolishly willing to part with exorbitant sums when their other interests in different industries are facing similar uncertainties.

And in one sense swaps are more exciting for fans than parting with huge sums of money – unless the deal sees a favourite depart for someone less fashionable.

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