So, the day we’ve all been waiting for is finally upon us. July 1 signals the day on which intense speculation on who’s going where begins to really engulf the beautiful game. Of course, since the final whistle was blown on last season, hundreds of names were all linked with big money moves elsewhere, but now it becomes all the more real as clubs put their considerable money where their mouth is. To help us through this week’s bumper edition, English folk rock band and Glastonbury headline act Mumford & Sons lend a hand with ten of the most interesting transfer rumors across the soccer land.
Christian Eriksen, Ajax
RUMOR: Ajax to Liverpool LIKELIHOOD: A long shot, but possible Liverpool’s summer business so far has been astute, with four players added to an already strong squad. Despite that, all Reds fans want one big money marquee signing at Anfield. Mkhitaryan seemed destined to be that man. All of a sudden though, a possible move for Ajax midfielder Christian Eriksen has emerged. Similarly to Mkhitaryan, Eriksen impressed last season in Europe and is likely to move on at some point. The Danish midfielder needs to choose his next step carefully though. Choose wrong and he ends up a hopeless wanderer who could have made the big time, choose right and we’ll be hearing a lot more from him.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Shakhtar
RUMOR: Shakhtar Donetsk to Borussia Dortmund LIKELIHOOD: They’ve moved into pole position He’s one of Europe’s shining lights having burst onto the scene in the Ukrainian side’s impressive Champions League showing, and Liverpool have been keeping tabs on the Armenian for months now. Despite the willing of the club’s supporters though, no offer has been made that we know of. Cue Dortmund, who have given Mkhitaryan the lovers’ eyes in the hope of capturing him. The departure of Mario Gotze to rivals Bayern Munich served as a pretty big blow for the Germans, but replacing him will be the key and Mkhitaryan ticks all of the boxes for Jurgen Klopp’s side. Dortmund have allegedly made a bid of £20m for the much-coveted midfielder, so they’re definitely at the front of the queue on this one.
Thiago Alcantara, Barcelona
RUMOR: Barcelona to Bayern Munich LIKELIHOOD: Guardiola factor the key If you hadn’t heard of the Barcelona superstar before this summer, you certainly have now. Rumors started to surface a little before the summer, but he truly burst onto the scene in June with an excellent Under-21 Championships for a typically-dominant Spain side. There appears to be no calm after the storm either, as links to Manchester United remain constant. He’s not put pen to paper on a deal at Old Trafford quite yet though. In fact, European champions Bayern Munich have begun their interest. The mercurial playmaker is undoubtedly one of Europe’s hottest prospects, and perhaps a move to Munich under the tutelage of former Barca boss and midfielder Pep Guardiola would suit him.
Nani, Manchester United
RUMOR: Manchester United to Monaco LIKELIHOOD: Put your money on it Since their promotion to Ligue 1, bankrolled French club Monaco have burst onto the European scene. Snapping up the likes of James Rodriguez, Joao Moutinho and Radamel Falcao for mega-millions has brought them to the attention of every club in the world, and served as a reminder that money is power. They’ve now earmarked Manchester United stars Nani and Anderson as part of their European domination attempt, and United are likely to want to sell too. At the right price of course, but what price could Monaco not afford after all?
David Villa, Barcelona
RUMOR: Barcelona to Tottenham LIKELIHOOD: Could it finally be? Then again… This is another one of those rumors that just won’t go away, no matter how long the club chases the player. Spurs are known admirers of the Barcelona forward (who isn’t?) but, as of yet, haven’t placed a bid. They look set to finally put some money in front of Barca now however, with the need for a world class striker growing at White Hart Lane. Combining Villa with Welsh wizard Gareth Bale could be the answer to all their problems. Fans of the London club have certainly been vocal in terms of their desire for Villa to make the switch. Perhaps they’ll sigh no more in their desperation for a world class striker and he’ll join, but does he even want to leave? The 31-year-old may not be getting regular game time, but it doesn’t make much sense for him to leave Barca at this point.
Geoffrey Kondogbia, Sevilla
RUMOR: Sevilla to Real Madrid LIKELIHOOD: He’s Madrid-bound La Liga side Sevilla have produced some fine talents over the years. Dani Alves found his way to Barcelona courtesy of the side, Luis Fabiano made his name at the club and Jesus Navas will hope to fare a little better than former Sevillista Jose Antonio Reyes in the Premier League at Manchester City. The next name on the seemingly endless production line however is industrious midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia. As far as we’re concerned, the lad’s future is a white blank page. His decision on his next whereabouts is crucial though. Having been likened to Patrick Vieira in his pomp, the dominating French defensive midfielder has been linked to a number of clubs this summer. Real Madrid are considered to be ahead of the queue however, and it’s the natural step up for many a player in La Liga to make the move to one of the two Spanish giants at some point.
Robert Lewandowski, Dortmund
RUMOR: Borussia Dortmund to Manchester City LIKELIHOOD: Looks a goer Manchester City’s strikeforce at the beginning of last season was something to behold. Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko, Mario Balotelli and Carlos Tevez. Take a look at it now, however, and with the latter two since sold by the club, it’s not quite as inspiring. Who now then for the former Premier League champs? One of Europe’s most potent hitmen of course, Robert Lewandowski. A sterling season last time out for the Pole saw him light up many a pitch for Borussia Dortmund, almost leading them to Champions League glory. After all he’s accomplished and with the club’s future looking extremely bright, will he want to tell Dortmund “I gave you all, but now I’m off?" City’s main pulling power here will be money of course, but Lewandowski will also earn the chance to make his name on a grander stage. Manuel Pellegrini’s gonna want a marquee signing to signal a new era at City too, and Lewandowski perfectly fits that requirement.
Fernando Torres, Chelsea
RUMOR: Chelsea to Arsenal LIKELIHOOD: Maybe, just maybe Ever since the legendary Thierry Henry departed the gates at the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal’s problem has been procuring that one striker who will bag 20 goals a season. Identifying that all-important striker is difficult, but Arsenal may have finally stumbled upon the solution. Funnily enough, he’s only a few miles away too, often found sitting on the bench over at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea striker Fernando Torres has endured a torrid time so far in the capital, and has somewhat of a broken crown after a sharp decline from being King of Liverpool. He seems to be on his way out, and it could be the best for all three parties, so keep your eye on this one.
Wayne Rooney, Manchester United
RUMOR: Manchester United to Barcelona LIKELIHOOD: Hands off, Tito Having been linked with Chelsea and Arsenal this summer, Rooney could be set to depart Old Trafford. A move abroad is a possibility. Barca’s new superstar Neymar can be blamed for this one. In a recent interview the Samba star was quoted as saying, “It would be a dream to play with him." Barcelona is probably one of the only places Rooney could go which would be a step up for the England striker, but could the La Liga champs accommodate him? We’d love to think they could. With a front line of Messi, Neymar and Rooney, Tito Vilanova’s men could reign supreme over Europe once more. A warning to Barcelona though, we would approach not with haste, because we just can’t see this one coming off.
Leandro Damiao, Internacional
RUMOR: Internacional to Southampton LIKELIHOOD: What?! Surely not? This one’s definitely a strange one. The Internacional striker has been courted by Tottenham for what seems like years now, and was on the verge of a move in January but the clubs couldn’t agree a deal. The Brazil goal-getter does seem destined to showcase his talents on British shores however, but could a shock move be on the cards? Southampton’s whispers in the dark could be tempting, and they have emerged as the frontrunners to snatch Damiao’s signature from under the noses of everyone else. The Saints, despite the fact that they’ve only just secured promotion back to the Premier League, do have plenty of financial firepower behind them, but we can’t quite see them pulling off this impressive coup.