Swap deals are something that happens very rarely in England, with the most recent example being the deal that took Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United and Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the opposite direction to Arsenal. It’s far to say that deal didn’t work out well for anyone involved in that deal with Sanchez and Mkhitaryan both being allowed to leave their respective clubs in the Summer of 2019.
However, swap deals have been a transfer tool used by clubs in Italy and Spain for years. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Samuel Eto’o were in involved in one of the biggest modern swap deals, with the Swedish superstar moving to Barcelona from Inter Milan in a deal that included Eto’o as well as a reported £59 million.
In general, swap deals might not be the most lucrative way of making money in football and in other sports either. You don’t see Triple Crown winners switching horses before the big races, do you?
There are often winners and losers in swap deals, but with the current financial burden across the footballing world, this summer could see a number of huge swap deals if some of the biggest players are going to get their wish of moving to a new club. But, which deals are more likely than others?
Paul Pogba/Aaron Ramsey
The long-term future of Paul Pogba has been up in the air for the last couple of years now, but a move to take the World Cup winner from Old Trafford could prove too expensive in the current climate. Juventus are one of the clubs that are rumoured to be interested in the Frenchman, and they could use Aaron Ramsey as a possible makeweight in the deal.
Pogba has made just eight appearances in all competitions for United this season after he had to have ankle surgery in the winter. The relationship between Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Mino Raiola is a strained one, and that means that this summer could be the year that he finally ended in four-year association with the club.
Aaron Ramsey would present a player United have been interested in since before the Welshman signed for Arsenal in the summer of 2008. He has failed to make his mark in a competitive Juventus squad, as he has made just 15 Serie A appearances this season.
However, United could demand more than one player if they are to part ways with Pogba. However, any deal to bring the Frenchman to Juventus would see their odds slashed on winning the Champions League in 2020-21.
Joao Cancelo/Nelson Semedo
Joao Cancelo has only been at Manchester City for less than a year, but already it could seem that he may be on his way out. Cancelo was used as part of the deal to take Danilo to Juventus, and now it would seem that Cancelo could be used as part of a deal to bring in Nelson Semedo.
Cancelo hasn’t been able to wrestle the right-back spot away from Kyle Walker this season and has been restricted to just 24 appearances in all competitions.
Pep Guardiola is believed to be a long-time admirer of Semedo and will be willing to offer cash as well as Cancelo in any potential deal.
Semedo was close to leaving Barcelona last summer but instead opted to stay. Talks over a new deal have stalled over recent months, and that means Barcelona could now be about to cash-in on the right-back to ensure that his value doesn’t fall any further.
Recently it also has been rumoured that instead of Cancelo, Barcelona might be interested in Miralem Pjanic. The Bosnian midfielder would definitely increase the options for the Blaugrana midfield, but it probably is not the immediate place where Barcelona most need reinforcements (although it is likely that Rakitic and or Vidal leave this Summer).
Thomas Partey/Alexandre Lacazette
The relationship between Mikel Arteta and Alexandre Lacazette has become strained over the past couple of months, and the Spaniard now looks likely to use the Frenchman as a possible makeweight in a deal to bring in one of his top targets this summer.
Atletico Madrid are asking for a price in the region of £45 million, but the Gunners will not be able to match that asking price, which means it’s incredibly likely that a player will be moving in the opposite direction.
Atletico have struggled in front of goal this season as they have only scored 31 goals. That means that they would likely be happy to accept a swap deal that includes a proven finisher like Lacazette over the summer. Lacazette’s contract also expires in 2022, which means this could be the final chance that the Gunners have to get some value in a deal, including the Frenchman.