It’s that time of year again – the European leagues have concluded and we’re in the yearly period that consists of equal parts excitement and frustration: the summer transfer window. Most fans enjoy the drama that goes along with (hopefully) signing the player that can change their club’s fortunes, but fans also understand that before they get to that signing they’ll have to endure weeks worth of back and forth and false starts before a signature may appear on the dotted line.
This year’s transfer window will likely be made more exciting due to the 2016 Euros currently under way in France; every ambitious player will be trying their best to put themselves in the shop window to secure a move to greener pastures. We’re going to have a look at some of the more prominent transfers that have already been made, as well as those that are rumoured to be on the cards.
- Renato Sanches: SL Benfica -> FC Bayern Munich (€35m)
- Granit Xhaka: Borussia Monchengladbach -> Arsenal FC (€39m)
- Eric Bailly: Villareal CF -> Manchester United FC (€38m)
- Ilkay Gundogan: Borussia Dortmund -> Manchester City (€26m)
- Nicolas Gaitan: SL Benfica -> Atletico Madrid (€15m)
- Mats Hummels: Borussia Dortmund -> Bayern Munich (€38m)
- Marc Bartra: FC Barcelona -> Borussia Dortmund (€8m)
Due to the lack of established, big name players, there are a lot of young prospects that have been snapped up at slightly bloated prices among the big European teams. Renato Sanches is a very promising Portuguese midfielder and he’s making his move to the Bavarian giants at the tender age of 18. Eric Bailly and Granit Xhaka are both heading for the Premier League and are 22 and 23 respectively. Xhaka is a tough tackler and decent passer, he’ll be the most recent in a slew of signings meant to remedy Arsenal’s fragile midfield. Francis Coquelin didn’t really manage it, neither did Mohamed Elneny, so Arsene Wenger has turned to this Swiss midfielder and made him Arsenal’s third most expensive signing.
There are several other young players busy carving out reputations for themselves at the Euros who have yet to engineer transfers, but who are supposedly on the wish lists of Europe’s elite. The biggest fish in this pond is Paul Pogba, midfield maestro plying his trade with Juventus and Italy. He’s easily been one of the most impressive players of his age for the last two seasons, and big money moves to Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester United or PSG have been thrown around. It’s unlikely there will be any decision until the Euros have concluded, but expect the talk around Pogba to flare up after the 10th of July.
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Free Agent -> Manchester United FC
- Jamie Vardy: Leicester City FC -> Arsenal FC
- Henrikh Mkhitaryan: Borussia Dortmund -> Arsenal FC
- Andros Townsend: Newcastle United FC -> Liverpool FC
- Nolito: Celta de Vigo -> Manchester City FC/FC Barcelona
- Alvaro Morata: Juventus FC -> Real Madrid CF
- Dani Alves: FC Barcelona -> Juventus FC
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has already confirmed he will be leaving Paris Saint Germain, but he’s been deliberately cryptic about his next move as a free agent. Most reports suggest he’s already verbally agreed to join Manchester United, which seems logical since he’s had a good working relationship with Jose Mourinho in the past at Inter Milan. The 34-year-old Swede would be a welcome addition to the Premier League, his physicality and technical ability are infamous and he’s suggested numerous times that he’d like to play in England.
Jamie Vardy’s future is a little more unclear, a confirmed report of Arsenal offering £20m for the Leicester City forward stalled and it seems more likely that he’ll stay with the PL champions as it stands.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s agent brazenly publicised that his client wants a move to Manchester United last week. The Armenian midfielder had a fantastic season with Dortmund; he finished the season with 19 goals and 24 assists across all competitions. This makes Dortmund understandably reluctant to sell since he was their best performer, but with only a year left on his contract they run the risk of him leaving for free if they don’t sell him in this transfer window. Mkhitaryan and his agent are likely to use this to their advantage to engineer a move away while Dortmund will hold out until they can get the highest price possible.
This is usually the media’s favourite pastime during the transfer window, and the bane of every fan’s painful wait for the new season to begin. We’ll have a look at the slightly more outlandish (and probably false) stories, but each transfer window usually has one or two surprises in store that end up being true.
- Paul Pogba: Juventus FC -> ????
- Neymar: FC Barcelona -> PSG
- Juan Mata: Manchester United FC -> ????
- Romelu Lukaku: Everton FC -> Chelsea FC
- Phillipe Coutinho: Liverpool FC -> FC Barcelona
- Alexis Sanchez: Arsenal FC -> ????
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: Borussia Dortmund -> Manchester City
- Mario Gotze: Bayern Munich -> Liverpool FC
Because of his talent Paul Pogba’s future is a hot topic, and he’s been tipped to move for since the 2015/2016 summer window. With large overhauls likely at Chelsea and Manchester United as well as Paris Saint Germain doubling down in their effort to finally win the Champions League a massive offer for the Frenchman might be possible in the coming weeks.
Neymar’s departure from Barcelona seems unimaginable, but the club are allegedly unable to afford the massive salaries for Messi, Suarez, and Neymar simultaneously. This has cast some uncertainty over the future of all three players, but specifically Neymar because he would likely break the transfer record held by Gareth Bale if he were to leave the Catalan giants.
Juan Mata, as well as a few other Manchester United players, may be on Jose Mourinho’s hit list as the Special One looks to overhaul United’s squad. Juan Mata has already been sold once by Mourinho, ironically from Chelsea to United a few seasons ago. Mourinho generally has a very specific physical profile for all his players, and Mata’s reluctance to contribute defensively as well as his suspect suitability to the Premier League’s physicality both mean a likely departure from Old Trafford.
Alexis Sanchez has reportedly been unhappy at Arsenal as they’ve capitulated on title challenges during both his seasons at the Emirates. This supposed unhappiness has prompted stories of interest from Juventus and PSG to crop up, which may have merit to them as Sanchez would easily slot into either team and both clubs are likely to be challenging for both domestic and continental trophies next season.
We’ve already seen a host of transfers among the big clubs, but the transfer window is likely to only hit full speed once the Euros have finished. A few players with standout performances will no doubt be sold at inflated prices, while some stars might disappoint and have their valuations drop. Expect numerous signings at all the clubs welcoming new managers, primarily; Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Everton, Bayern Munich, and potentially PSG as Laurent Blanc looks set to leave the Parisian giants. The mid table teams are also likely to be extremely active as they grab players jumping ship from the relegated clubs or take a chance on a potentially world class unknown.
What do you think of the transfer rumours? Tweet us @MenStuffZA and let us know what you think.