The summer transfer window closes at midnight (CET) on Oct 5 and the final days of the market promise to be hectic, with clubs all over Europe aiming to plug holes in their squads. There are also a growing number of players who are running out of time to kick-start their careers with a move away from difficult situations at their clubs, having either fallen out of favour with their manager or lost their place to a new signing.
With the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic being felt by even the biggest clubs, the financial implications of a move into the transfer market over the coming days will be significant. But necessity will be a driving force for players and clubs between now and Monday, so which unlikely deals could be mutually beneficial for unsettled players and clubs in need?
No major player has left Tottenham for Arsenal since Sol Campbell in 2001, so the prospect of Dele Alli making the same journey across north London is slim. The rivalry is so intense that it would take a huge amount of courage on both sides for a move to happen, but at 24, Alli is at a career crossroads. He's been left out of several match-day squads by Spurs manager Jose Mourinho this season, and Arsenal need an attacking midfielder with flair and goals to take the pressure off striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Mourinho claims to rate Alli, but he has also made it clear to the player that he believes he is lazy. Alli, who lost his England place last season, has not taken the hint and Mourinho has now dropped him completely.
Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain have both been linked with him during this window, but a move to Arsenal might be the best option because there is a clear vacancy in the team at the Emirates. If the move was to happen, it would be the biggest deal of the window by some distance in terms of creating headlines.
Sergio Romero, GK, Man United to Everton
Everton have been the surprise of the Premier League season so far, with Carlo Ancelotti's team going into Saturday's Goodison Park clash with Brighton aiming to extend their 100 percent winning start to the campaign. James Rodriguez, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Brazilian midfielder Allan have been outstanding so far, but keeper Jordan Pickford has emerged as a cause for concern due to mistakes in goal.
If Everton are to make a sustained challenge for Champions League qualification, they will need to upgrade their goalkeeping options and Manchester United keeper Romero would offer proven quality.
The Argentina number one is available for transfer after dropping to third choice at Old Trafford following Dean Henderson's return from loan at Sheffield United. With Premier League and Champions League experience, Romero could be the man to make Everton serious contenders for the top four.
Kalidou Koulibaly, DF, Napoli to Man United
Napoli centre-half Koulibaly has been priced out of a move to Manchester City this summer due to the Italian club wanting more than £75m for the 29-year-old. But Napoli have also made it clear to the Senegal international that he can leave for the right offer, so he remains available going into the final days of the window.
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wanted to sign RB Leipzig's Dayot Upamecano this summer, but the club failed to move quickly enough before the Frenchman signed a new contract with the German outfit. United still need a proven centre-half, especially if Chris Smalling completes a move to Roma, so Koulibaly could be the solution, even if his age and price tag make him an expensive option.
Edinson Cavani, FW, to Man City
Manchester City have short- and long-term concerns over Sergio Aguero, with the striker's fitness the immediate worry and his contract, which expires next summer, the issue that needs addressing in the coming months. When Aguero is not fit and available, the goals still flow from midfield and the wide players, but Pep Guardiola needs another attacking option to put pressure on Gabriel Jesus.
Cavani, who is a free agent after running down his Paris Saint-Germain contract last season, would be a perfect addition to the City squad due to his pedigree as a top-class striker during the past decade. At 33, the Uruguayan may have no more than one or two seasons in him for the Premier League, but as a short-term solution, City could do much worse.
Antonio Rudiger, DF, Chelsea to Liverpool
Liverpool remain the team to beat in the Premier League after winning the title last season, but their early performances in 2020-21 have shown that Jurgen Klopp's team has developed some defensive issues. Even Virgil van Dijk has committed errors that have led to goals for the opposition.
Dejan Lovren has not been replaced since his summer move to Zenit Saint Petersburg, leaving Klopp with just Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip as senior centre-halves, so a move for Chelsea's out-of-favour Antonio Rudiger would boost competition in a key area. Rudiger has fallen behind new signing Thiago Silva at Stamford Bridge and, with Euro 2020 at the end of the season, needs a move to avoid losing his place in the Germany squad.
N'Golo Kante, MF, Chelsea to Man United
Kante's Chelsea future is uncertain following a summer of links with a move away from Stamford Bridge. Inter Milan have pursued the former Leicester midfielder since the end of last season and Manchester United have maintained a watching brief on the 29-year-old French World Cup winner.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs a reliable defensive midfielder at Old Trafford to add quality alongside Nemanja Matic, Scott McTominay and Fred. And while selling Kante to United would seem like strengthening a rival, Chelsea have shown in the past that they are prepared to do that, having offloaded Matic and Juan Mata to United in recent seasons.