On Monday, Mason Mount underwent his medical at Carrington ahead of his £55 million move to Manchester United. Glen Johnson, Chelsea’s former right-back, believes that fans of the Stamford Bridge club would have been a lot more upset about this move if it took place a year ago rather than this summer. Johnson also spoke to Betfred regarding Arsenal’s summer transfer business, the future of Levi Colwill and the prospect of Harry Kane moving to the Bundesliga.
Mason Mount is officially on his way to Old Trafford this summer. Do you believe Chelsea fans will ever forgive him for making this move? Do you expect Mason to be a success at Manchester United?
“Yes, I do think he will be a success at Manchester United. Things didn’t work out for him during his final year at Chelsea and he had his injuries, but he’s still a bloody good player. I’m not sure that he’s the type of player that Manchester United need right now, but I do believe he will get himself into the team and ultimately improve the side.
“Regarding whether Mason will ruin his relationship with the Chelsea fans, then if he made this move a year ago then yes, I believe the club’s fans would have been very angry, but right now, then I don’t think they would be that bothered. I know he was a player that came through the academy, but he hasn’t been playing and he had injuries on top of that, so I think the Chelsea fans would have struggled to accept it more if Mason was their main man.”
Chelsea have sold Mateo Kovačić to Premier League champions Manchester City for £25 million. How much of a loss is Kovacic to Chelsea? Do you believe he will play a pivotal role for Manchester City next season?
“Yes, I think it’s going to be one of the biggest losses for Chelsea this summer. They’ve got decent money for him, but they’ve sold him to a better side that he’s going to improve. It was obviously a tough decision for Chelsea to sell him to City, but he’s going to thrive at Manchester City as he’s going to be surrounded by world-class players and he himself is a world-class player. It’s very good business from Manchester City’s side.”
Since we last spoke to you, Kai Havertz has left Stamford Bridge for Arsenal, for a fee of £65 million. Do you believe he will be a success at the Emirates Stadium?
“I know he can look very good on his day, but considering the way he plays, he’ll probably suit Arsenal more. He would suit their style of play due to how technically gifted he is and he’s clever both on and off the ball. However, if Arsenal are struggling, he’s not the type of player that’s going to roll his sleeves up and still perform. Kai needs everything around him to be working and if it’s not, then I think he’ll struggle.”
Could Chelsea’s decision to sell a number of their players to Premier League rivals this summer come back to bite them?
“They’re certainly allowing some of their big names to go to their rivals. Let’s face it, Chelsea are behind the top four at the moment and they’re selling some of their best players to those teams above them, but they do have to recoup a lot of the money they’ve spent and time will tell if they’re doing the right thing.”
César Azpilicueta is set to join Atletico Madrid from Chelsea this summer on a free transfer. How great a loss will César be for Chelsea?
“It’s been like a revolving door at Chelsea, where there have been a number of new faces that don’t know the Premier League, so by losing César Azpilicueta, you’re losing that vital experience. However, if Azpi wants to play regular football, then he’s going to have to go elsewhere to achieve that. They’ll miss him in the dressing room, but at the same time, Chelsea can’t just sit there and pay him if he’s not going to play. I can only imagine this move is happening because Cesar wants to play and out of respect to him, Chelsea won’t want to command a fee. They will miss him in the dressing room though.”
It’s looking even more likely that Brighton’s Moisés Caicedo will be a Chelsea player by the end of the summer window. If you could have made one realistic midfield signing for Chelsea this summer, would it have been Caicedo?
“Well he wouldn’t have been my first choice as that would have been Declan Rice, but I do like Caicedo. Moisés has been close to a move to Chelsea before, so he’s clearly been on their radar for a long time. It would be a sensible move, but he wouldn’t have been my first choice signing in that area of the team.”
AC Milan have signed Ruben Loftus-Cheek for £16 million plus add-ons, but the Italian giants also reportedly want to sign Ruben’s Chelsea teammate Christian Pulisic. Lyon are also interested. Pulisic is still only 24 years of age, so do you believe it would be hasty of Chelsea to sell the American international on a permanent deal?
“I think it may be time to sell him, purely as the club have to recoup some of the money they’ve spent on other signings over the past year and they also have a lot of wingers already in the squad. He hasn’t hit it off at Chelsea like we were all expecting him to, so because of his age, the club could still get a decent fee for him if he was to be sold. I think he’s a good player and I’m sure many big clubs will want to sign him, but Chelsea just have too many players in his position already.”
Out of all the players that Chelsea have sold this summer, which sale do you believe the club will regret most?
“Either Mateo Kovačić or Mason Mount. Manchester City have top quality players in all positions, so Kovačić doesn’t even need to be an all-round midfielder, he just needs to be a rock for them in midfield and then play it to the fellow world-class player that’s next to him. This move will improve him even more as he doesn’t need to think about getting forward and scoring goals, he can just sit there and focus on that one role.
“Ultimately these sales come down to the boss, which is Todd Boehly, but he will have those around him that are also decision makers. However, for any negative decisions that have to be made, then Todd is going to take the bullet. It will be embarrassing for Chelsea if the players they’ve sold improve at their Premier League rivals and it would be even more embarrassing if the players they’ve signed for big money fail to work out.”
Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez is now linked with a move to Stamford Bridge as a replacement for Édouard Mendy, who’s departed for Al Ahli. Do you believe the World Cup winner would be a superb addition for Chelsea?
“He certainly had a good World Cup with Argentina, but I don’t believe Chelsea need another goalkeeper if I’m being honest. I don’t even know if he’d be Chelsea’s number one if Kepa Arrizabalaga is still at the club. If Kepa can improve his consistency, then Chelsea already have their number one goalkeeper in my opinion. If you’ve just won the World Cup, would you want to go to another club and be their number two? No you wouldn’t.”
Since our last chat, Liverpool have signed attacking midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai from RB Leipzig for around £60 million. Are you excited by this signing? Do you believe Liverpool needed to add an attacking midfielder to their squad this summer?
“To be honest, I’ve never seen him play, but I do believe that Liverpool needed to sign a player in his position. A goalscoring midfielder is certainly something that Liverpool need, but I can’t comment on Szoboszlai as a player.”
Southampton’s Roméo Lavia is currently linked with a move to Anfield this summer. What are your thoughts on this rumour?
“He’s clearly a good footballer, but he’s still relatively inexperienced. As Southampton were relegated, club’s are more likely to get him on a cheaper deal and there’s no reason why Roméo shouldn’t be successful if he made the move to a bigger club.”
Liverpool, as well as Newcastle United, are linked once again with a move for Juventus’ Federico Chiesa. His club are reportedly open to selling the Euro 2020 winner, but do you believe Liverpool need another winger and do you believe your former club can’t pass on this opportunity if he’s available?
“He’s a good player that plays for a huge club and has had success at international level. He’s not just been a member of the squad, but he’s performed when he’s had to and I believe it could be a really sensible deal for Liverpool if they can get him, if they don’t have to break the bank for him. I think he’s a player that would improve Liverpool’s squad and if they can sign him for a reasonable fee, then that’s a transfer I’d really like to see happen.”
Liverpool are reportedly in the race to sign Chelsea defender Levi Colwill, who impressed on loan at Brighton last season. Do you believe he’s got the potential to be one of the Premier League’s best defenders and do you believe Chelsea will actually sell him this summer?
“Chelsea seem to be selling everybody else, but I’d be very surprised if they allowed Levi to leave considering the promise he has. They have a player that could be good enough for the first team or from a business standpoint, a player they can sell for a lot of money in the future. Chelsea need to try and hold onto players that could be starters for the club in a couple of years’ time.
“Mauricio Pochettino is obviously a very good manager and the lads, as well as the young lads, are going to love working with him. You’d be buzzing to work under a manager that’s going to allow you to enjoy your football and is going to help you improve as a centre-back.”
Reports in Spain claim that Liverpool are prepared to make a €90 million bid to sign Real Madrid midfielder Federico Valverde. Do you believe Federico would want to leave Real Madrid for Anfield and do you believe his club would even be open to the prospect of selling him?
“I can’t imagine that Real Madrid are open to the prospect of selling Federico, even though I’d love Liverpool to sign him as he’s a really good player. Would he want to leave Real Madrid, where he’s got a great chance of winning La Liga and the Champions League, to move to a struggling Liverpool side? I don’t think he’d jump at the opportunity. However, he’s certainly a player that I’d love to see Liverpool sign.”
Declan Rice is on the verge of becoming an Arsenal player. Do you believe this is an amazing signing for the Gunners? Do you believe this deal will strike fear into their Premier League rivals?
“Yes. At the start of last season, I don’t believe anybody would have seen this coming. You’d have thought that Manchester City or Bayern Munich would have done whatever they needed to do to sign him, but I know for a fact that when he spoke to Mikel Arteta that the manager impressed him and Mikel was clearly saying the right things and was ultimately the main reason that Declan decided to join them. I’m shocked that he’s ended up at Arsenal, but at the same time, Arsenal were fantastic last season and they’ve made some good signings already in the window, so they’re showing signs that they’re going to compete again next season for sure.”
Have Arsenal overpaid for Declan? Do you believe that Declan is genuinely world-class?
“It’s a lot of money, but all the top players cost a lot of money. It’s not a risky move for Arsenal as we all know he can perform to a high level in the Premier League and I believe that Declan will become world-class in a better team. No disrespect to West Ham United and the players he was playing with, but they weren’t world-class. Declan was trying to do everything at West Ham, so at Arsenal he will have a more defined role and he’ll be able to try and perfect it. At the moment I wouldn’t say he would get into anybody’s world eleven but if he goes to Arsenal and does what he does and focuses on just his game, and doesn’t try to do everything, then I do believe he will be one of the best.”
Harry Kane is reportedly open to joining Bayern Munich this summer. What are your thoughts on Harry potentially making the move to the Bundesliga?
“Everybody gives Harry stick for not winning trophies, so if he leaves Tottenham and doesn’t win anything, then it’s even more embarrassing. It’s a risky one. If Harry does move to Germany, then he is more than likely to win the Bundesliga and go far in the Champions League, so wherever he goes next, he needs to know that he’s going to win something.
“The only reason why Harry would give up on the prospect of becoming the Premier League’s all-time leading goalscorer is to win trophies outside of England, which is a decision everybody would admire. For Harry to move himself and his family to a foreign country wouldn’t be an easy thing to do, but it would be a great sign of ambition from him. He just needs to decide what’s more important to him right now, breaking the Premier League’s goalscoring record, which is something he will do if he stays in England, or go to Bayern and try and win the Bundesliga or the Champions League. He needs to figure out what’s more important.”
Sticking with Harry Kane, Harry is reportedly building a mansion that’s 15 miles from Chelsea’s Cobham training ground, which has led to speculation suggesting that Kane could be reunited with his former manager Mauricio Pochettino, when his contract expires next summer. Do you believe Kane would actually make this move? Surely it would kill his relationship with the Tottenham faithful?
“He was building that house before Mauricio Pochettino was announced as Chelsea’s manager, so that’s definitely not the reason. Would he want to work with Mauricio Pochettino again? 100%. However, if he left Tottenham for Chelsea next summer, when he’s still their main man, then he’s going to upset a lot of people.
“The problem is that if he moves to Chelsea, then he’s not guaranteed to win anything either. I think this move would break a lot of hearts and ruin a lot of relationships. If Chelsea were the Chelsea of old, then I believe some Tottenham fans would believe it’s fair enough for Harry to go somewhere where he’s going to win silverware, but at the minute you can’t guarantee that Chelsea will be winning trophies over the next couple of years. I think a move to Bayern Munich this summer would be the more sensible choice and it would keep a lot of relationships intact.”
Kyle Walker is entering the final year of his contract at Manchester City and could be available for a cut-price fee this summer. Do you believe either of your former club’s, Chelsea or Liverpool, should make the move for Kyle if they can strike a reasonable deal?
“Yes, I think either club could pursue him if he’s available this summer. If it’s a reasonable deal, then either club would be signing a player that’s still got a lot to offer. With Trent Alexander-Arnold being versatile in the way he plays, then both of them could fit into Liverpool’s team at the same time. They should definitely look at doing a deal if it’s possible.”
After the signing of Kai Havertz, Arsenal are also closing in on deals to sign Declan Rice and Ajax defender Jurrien Timber. Do you believe the Gunners are going to be title contenders once again next season?
“This transfer business is a great sign of intent from the club. They want to prove that last season wasn’t a flash in the pan. If they can complete the Timber deal on top of the Havertz and Rice signings, then they’re drastically going to improve their squad.
“I don’t believe that Manchester City are going to be scared by Arsenal’s transfer business, but they’re going to be aware that Arsenal and the other big guys are going to improve. Chelsea and Liverpool won’t be as bad as they were last season and Manchester United are going to improve, so all of a sudden you’re back to having six teams competing for the top four of the Premier League again, but Manchester City won’t be worrying about any team because if they perform, they’re the ones to beat. It does however look as if Arsenal are going to close the gap even more.”