9 bold transfer predictions that will DEFINITELY happen this summer
James Rodriguez to Juventus
James is in limbo. Bayern Munich, where he has been on loan, doesn’t seem keen on keeping him – strangely, given their need creativity and control in the final third after saying goodbye to Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery). Meanwhile, his fate at Real Madrid was likely sealed upon Zinedine Zidane’s return to the Bernabeu.
That leaves Juve: A team in desperate need of help to win in Europe during the short Ronaldo window. James can play deeper and do more than Paulo Dybala did to help Miralem Pjanic. Jorge Mendes, James’s agent, could tie the deal together nicely.
Christian Eriksen to Real Madrid
Eriksen plays in Real Madrid’s deepest position – the creative midfielder role where Zidane can put multiple gunslingers: Modric, Kroos, Isco, Asensio, Ceballos and others. But Zidane also has to rejuvenate the midfield with Modric’s natural decline.
Real will look at Pogba, but his salary, along with agent Mino Raiola’s demands, will be a headache for president Florentino Perez. Eriksen would be a natural fit.
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy will have his work cut out to rebuild an already thin midfield. More on that later.
Nicolas Pepe to Liverpool
Pepe has outgrown his role at Lille, and multiple clubs will be looking at him to bolster their attack.
Liverpool makes sense. There won’t be pressure on him to perform as a starter right away at Anfield, and Jurgen Klopp can keep improving his machine. Pepe will give Klopp depth, and allow him to rely on Pepe to rest any of his famed front-three – and at the very least, not have to rely on Xherdan Shaqiri in a big Champions League game. Pepe also fits in Klopp’s scheme well – he’s a versatile attacker who can score goals as a winger.
Philippe Coutinho to Chelsea
Barcelona will be happy if they can shed Coutinho’s contract, and while there are more obvious destinations for the Brazilian than Chelsea, not many will take the gamble on him. With Eden Hazard’s departure, Coutinho will be an attractive proposition for Chelsea.
Coutinho can play on the left side of the front-three where Hazard leaves a massive void, but can also slide into the midfield. Ruben Loftus-Cheek was a revelation as left-sided central midfielder this season, but his injury could see him out for the majority of next season, and Coutinho would help ease his absence.
This is all obviously dependant on Chelsea’s transfer ban appeal, and whether or not it’s accepted.
David Neres to Arsenal
Neres will be one of the casualties of the Ajax exodus, and his destination could be north London.
While the Gunners are linked with Hakim Ziyech, Neres is younger, and would be a bigger asset. Arsenal would be a really fun proposition next season with Neres, Aubameyang, and Lacazette. They’d likely take a leap in Unai Emery’s second year.
Giovani Lo Celso to Tottenham
Tottenham won’t be able to replace Eriksen with a player at the same level, but acquiring Lo Celso from Real Betis will be a steal for them.
Betis signed Lo Celso to a permanent deal after his loan stint from PSG – but they could still flip him for a profit, especially after head coach Quique Setien, the man who got the best out of Lo Celso at Betis, was sacked last month. If Tottenham use some of the Eriksen funds on the Argentine midfielder, Lo Celso would be a great addition.
Isco to Juventus
While the revolution at Real Madrid takes place this summer, Isco will be among the victims. Juve may swoop in for a player who was not far off being one of the best players in the world in the 2016/17 season.
They Juventus simply need to do something Real Madrid could never do consistently: find a scheme for James, Isco, and Ronaldo together.
Timo Werner to Bayern Munich
Bayern are in a rough transition patch. Even despite winning their league – leaving it late and relying on Borussia Dortmund spiralling – their measuring stick for success will always be how well they do in the Champions League. This is an ageing team. Timo Werner will be part of the new cycle, and will help bring some ammo to their attack.
Nicolas Otamendi to Atletico Madrid; Rodrigo Hernandez to Manchester City
This is a huge transition year for Atletico. They’ve lost their entire defensive core, as well as their superstar. They will be dealt another blow as City swoop in for promising defensive midfielder Rodrigo. But if Atletico can hold on to Koke, Saul, and Partey, their midfield should still be ok – and in Otamendi, they receive much needed defensive insurance after losing Lucas Hernandez and Diego Godin.
Rodrigo fits Pep Guardiola’s scheme well, and gives City insurance behind the ageing Fernandinho.
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