14 major transfer stories that are set to dominate the summer
Ah, the transfer market: intense tabloid speculation, weeks of tedious negotiation played out in the full public glare, and incessant Twitter rumour accounts with a ‘world exclusive coming up at 6pm’. We can’t wait for it all to begin again.
Many people behind the scenes already know of players’ intentions and who’s likely to end up where
At this time of year, many moves are already being decided. “Recruitment is an ongoing process and continuous all year round,” one top manager told FourFourTwo recently, meaning that many people behind the scenes already know of players’ intentions and who’s likely to end up where.
It then comes down to negotiations; securing the best deal, waiting for replacements to be found and so on. But enough of the machinations of the insalubrious football transfer industry. Who will be the main protagonists from June to August? Well, in all probability, these men…
1. Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid)
The Frenchman might be the capture of the window for one of Europe’s heavyweights. His future seems inextricably linked to that of Diego Simeone’s after the Argentine super-gaffer curiously reduced the length of his Atletico Madrid deal last summer.
Griezmann reportedly has a buy-out clause in the region of £85m, making him only available to a select few. Meanwhile, his advisor Eric Olhats (Griezmann doesn't have an agent after parting ways with his last year) has revealed that Champions League qualification is a prerequisite for any switch. No pressure then, Jose.
Could go to: Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea.
2. Alexandre Lacazette (Lyon)
The Frenchman is one of the most wanted men in France having scored 24 goals in 27 matches in Ligue 1 so far this term.
Heavily linked with Arsenal last window, some outlets have claimed that Manchester City are also interested in recruiting a player who Lyon supremo Jean-Michel Aulas believes is comparable in price to Griezmann. Despite this, the 10-cap France international is intimating that this summer is the right time for him to finally challenge himself at a new level.
Lyon have sold in the past and might be tempted by a big enough offer.
Could go to: Arsenal, Manchester City, Atletico Madrid
3. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund)
Hans Joachim-Watzke, Borussia Dortmund’s CEO, announced earlier this week that Aubameyang will only leave Thomas Tuchel’s team for either Barcelona or Real Madrid.
The German side will be loathe to sell another of their stars to rivals Bayern Munich, while Auba himself may not fancy the move to the Premier League, leaving the path clear should Zinedine Zidane choose to grab a more pacey attacker to lead the line at the Bernabeu. The Gabonese has made no secret of his desire to play for los Blancos before his time's up.
Could go to: Barcelona, Real Madrid
4. Romelu Lukaku (Everton)
The saga has already begun. Danny Murphy gave his two pennies on how it makes sense for Lukaku to move on now, and other Match of the Day analysts decreed that a move to Chelsea to be too good an opportunity to turn down - seemingly forgetting that Everton have turned down monstrous bids in the past and still hold the attacker to two more years on his contract.
If Rom decides to upsticks and move, Everton will have a straight choice of accepting circa £70-80m this summer or closer to half of that the year after. That, in turn, is likely to be dictated by whether Ronald Koeman feels an adequate replacement can be found for the 23-goal leading Premier League marksman.
Could go to: Chelsea, Manchester United... or simply stay at Everton (signing a new deal)
5. Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal)
Another saga already in full… zzz… sorry, let's start again: the Chelsea sub-plot has actually added an interesting twist to the standard ‘will he stay or go?’ Arsenal chronicle. It seems to be a straight up choice between PSG, Arsenal and Chelsea, with much hinging on whether the Gunners make the Champions League and can be persuaded to sell to a London rival (they wouldn't, of course – it'd be a PR disaster). Juventus could be another possibility.
Could go to: PSG, Chelsea, Juventus or a new deal at Arsenal