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Who Will Panic the Most?

A 2-5 defeat at home, shipping three goals to relegation certainties WBA and with just one win from their opening three matches despite splurging £200m+ on new recruits or requiring a beyond-the-last-minute penalty kick to sneak victory having been battered by Brighton? Who out of Man City, Chelsea or Man Utd will push the panic button first in the remaining week of the English transfer window?

All three are in desperate need of defensive reinforcements, yet with Kalidou Koulibaly seemingly priced beyond even the bottomless pockets of Chelsea and City it would seem Pep Guardiola fancies Benfica starlet Ruben Diaz as his latest attempt to replace the imperious Vincent Kompany. Chelsea have gambled on 67yr old Thiago Silva to marshal their backline, but the Brazilian has been strolling around the French first division for the best years of his career so his ability to adapt immediately to the tempo of the EPL has to be questioned. Antonio Rudiger, arguably Chelsea's best centre back, looks ready to abandon ship, neither of Kurt Zouma or Andreas Christiansen convince while young prospect Fikayo Tomori seems to be surplus to requirements. An increasingly prickly 'Super' Frank Lampard already knows the pressure is altogether more fierce than during his transfer-ban honeymoon period last year....and, club legend or not, Roman Abramovich is not one renowned for his tolerance of under-performing managers at Stamford Bridge. And then there's amiable Ole, with only the thirty-five options at the heart of his defence and trusting none of that extended cast list to prevent further humiliation of David de Gea. Joking aside, Solskjaer has the World's most expensive central defender 'Untouchable' Harry Maguire presumably a guaranteed starter, and then a succession of dubious partners including Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Chris Smalling on his roster. Utd's obsession with Jadon Sancho has blinded their focus on the need for at least one defensive recruit....but that need continues to be exposed on a weekly basis.

So, Koulibaly? Ruben Diaz? Dayot Upamecano? Samuel Umtiti? Milan Skriniar? Suddenly their values have increased by a good £10m-£15m in spite of this COVID dominated window. Who will blink first? It may be the difference between a championship challenge and a desperate scrap for a distant fourth-place. Watch this space....

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