With new managers taking up roles in some of the biggest Premier League and across Europe this summer could not only see a frenzied activity in the number of player moves, but also some of the largest deals – including one or two bank-busting ones – in the history of the game. Here’s the five biggest that really could happen.
Although talk is that their relationship was hardly much more than cordial, with the exit of Jose Mourinho, talk is that the 28 year old is considering is future at the Bernabeu, and whether having now fulfilled ‘his dream’ of playing for Real Madrid, fresh pastures may be calling. Whilst he still of course may decide to stay in Madrid, his apparent reluctance to sign a new contract suggests at least a doubt in his mind.
If he does decide to move on, there will be many interested parties, but perhaps only four with real intent. PSG have been courting the player on the off chance that he will consider a move to Ligue 1. For a player with the avowed aspiration of achieving recognition as the world’s best player, knocking over a few sandcastles in a lesser league probably wouldn’t cut the mustard. The premier League in England however, is an entirely different kettle of fish, and three of the big spenders would be interested. With Mourinho destined for Chelsea, bringing along Ronaldo as hand baggage would be a coup of enormous proportions. As mentioned however, is it likely that the Mourinho-Ronaldo axis is strong enough to carry the move? It’s a moot point. Mega-rich Manchester City would also have to throw their hat into the ring. Flush with oil wealth they could probably outbid any other English team, but that may not be the key element. Across the city, at United, there’s the ‘homecoming’ element to consider, and even with his mentor, Sir Alex Ferguson no longer at the helm, this may be the greatest pull of all.
For a deal to happen there must be a willing buyer and a willing seller. As Luiz has developed this season into one of the most accomplished defenders in the Premier league, would Chelsea be prepared to let him leave; especially if the talk of Abramovich selecting him to succeed John Terry as the team captain has credibility. Back to Mourinho for the answer here, I guess. If the seemingly inevitable happens, and the Special One returns, he’ll certainly want to spend, and recouping £25million or so from selling the 25 year old will come in hand. I know what you’re thinking. Why would Mourinho want to sell Luiz? Well, the question is would the player fit into the style of Mourinho’s play? For a manger that likes the solid defending approach, rather than the added style and inherent danger, there’s a clear logic that he may. Plus selling Abramovich’s favourite would be a statement of intent. But who would buy?
Over in Catalunya, Barcelona are likely to have a bit of rebuilding to do, and with Puyol’s career appearing to be reaching it’s end, defenders are of interest. Further, add to this that the style of Luiz, that may not suit Mourinho, is the very epitome of Barca’s ethos, and the link is there.
When the Uruguayan striker joined Napoli in 2010 for a fee in the region of £14million, few would have predicted that it would take a fee in excess of twice that amount to pry him away from the club, but that very much appears to be the case. Cash-strapped Napoli will be primed to sell this summer, and Manchester City are thought to be a good way down the road to sealing the deal. Although in cash terms the deal may not add up to the amount stated, the prospect of Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko heading the other way, makes this the big deal.
The bright flame of English – or should that be Welsh – football is very much a hot property. Tottenham, despite their failure to secure Champions’ League football, have moved quickly to try and tie up the deal. Talk of a deal being imminent has been leaked – strategically some may think, to dissuade any suitors. Experts at this game of smoke and mirrors however, Real Madrid will not be put off by any such manoeuvre. Neither will talk of Bale being offered in the region of £130,000 per week.
It was widely reported a few months ago that Zinedine Zidane had been singing Bale’s praises in Marco – the organ often utilisied to less than openly publicise Real’s intentions. Rest-assured therefore that there’s interest from Spain’s capital, and should Ronaldo decamp – see above – replacing him with 23 year old Bale even though a fee of some £35million to £40million would probably be required, there’ll still be a profit on the money gained from the Portuguese’s exit. With a reduction in five years of the marque player as well, there’s sound business logic there.
Would Tottenham sell? Clearly they’d be reluctant to do so, if only for the signal that it would inevitably send out, but Daniel levy is nothing if not savvy,and the pile of brass mentioned here would turn anybody’s head, and if a good chunk of it was promised to villas-Boas to buy two or three players, there could be a reluctant nodding of heads all round.
The scouse wunderkind, is now 27 and, if reports are to be believed, this is the second time that he will have submitted a transfer request. You have to wonder whether, with van Persie now in residence and the ‘top striker’ – Ferguson’s words, not mine – might the option be given serious consideration by the club this time. There’s only so many times that you can go to the well before the bucket comes up dry, I guess, plus with Ferguson now somewhat sidelined, the newly arrived manager, David Moyes, is not exactly a bossom buddy of the player. After they fell out over passages in an autobiography that went as far as the courts, relations are somewhat strained. Should a cheque of say £28million or so be waved under the club’s nose therefore, with having Hernandez, and Wellbeck to support the estimable van Persie, plus the brass to buy a further striker, a snatching the hand off motion may be apparent.
The usual suspects would be queuing to gain Rooney’s signature if the above came to pass. The possibility of selling thep layer to Chelsea however, is only less likely than them sending him across to their noisy neighbours, regardless of the brass offered. What may make sense however is a bit of French leave in Paris. PSG, anxious to boost not only their prestige, but also their desire to break into the elite of Europe’s clubs by winning the Champions’ League could be ideal. A marque signing for PSG to keep their profile on the rise, and an uneventful exit from old Trafford, that probably won’t come back and bite them on the backside twice a season.
So there you have it, the five big deals that could happen this summer and why. I’ll be surprised if they all happen, but it’ll be a bigger surprise if none of them do.