By David Shams
Transfers are always fun to watch. One moment something looks a near certainty and the next it’s fallen through. Most of the information spilling out of various sources is really just hearsay and grandstanding by agents, players, or hangers-on who are only interested in driving up the transfer and wage price. No one stops it though, because it’s all part of the game.
One of the more interesting sagas to watch been Eden Hazard. Is he leaving? Is he staying? The answer to either of those questions changes nearly every hour. When I last wrote about his rumored transfer to Real Madrid, it was to say that the deal was done and would be announced within 24 hours. Well, it’s been 10 days and the Belgian star is still a Chelsea player. Now there’s rumors that he’s staying. After this weekend’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United, Hazard was quoted as saying he wanted to be in the Champions League and that he was confident Chelsea would be there. Soccer’s version of Kremlinologists opined over the meaning of Hazard’s words. Most going so far as to suggest that rumored move away from Stamford Bridge could be off. Three years on since the rumors began, we’re still nowhere closer to a resolution.
Serbian striker, and current Eintracht Frankfurt player, Luka Jovic is still sorting out where he’ll land next season. Reports are suggesting that Real Madrid is emerging as the front runner with FC Bayern backing out of any bidding war. But statements from his Jovic’s father suggest he may stick with Frankfurt for another season. Both Madrid and Barcelona have feigned some measure of displeasure at the whole ordeal. They’re upset with how Jovic’s entourage has handled the race to sign the Serbian. They’re concerned the representatives are only concerned with driving up the price of the player. If Jovic leads Frankfurt to a Europa League title, he’s certainly going to be a bit pricier.
There hasn’t been much news on the James Rodriguez front. We’ve known for a while that he was more likely to return to Real Madrid after his two year loan deal ended. After coming on in the 57th minute in FC Bayern’s draw with Nurnberg, James was subbed off lasting 15 minutes due to some sort of muscle injury. There’s likely no space for him at the Bernabeu, but other teams are showing interest. Manchester United and Inter Milan have moved to the front of the line.
When Richarlison arrived at Everton, there were hopes he’d stick around for a few seasons before the Toffies were able to earn a rich return on investment. That may change this summer. As I said ten days ago, the club are looking like they’ll have to fend off offers from bigger clubs this summer. The Brazilian has caught the eye of Barcelona and Manchester United as well as several Italian clubs. Two huge requirements will have to be met before any transfer can take place, though. First, the club making the approach has to be in the Champions League. And Second, Everton likely won’t countenance any offers below €75 million. For Manchester United, though, they’ll likely have to offload several players first—Romelu Lukaku, Paul Pogba, and David De Gea look certain to leave this summer.
Another player gaining interest from the front office at Old Trafford is Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly. I mentioned the interest around him the last time around as well. His move away from Serie A looks more and more likely after his manager Carlo Ancelloti suggested he wouldn’t prevent any of his players leaving. The Senegalese’s price tag could reach as high as €150 million. That maybe too rich for United’s overhaul, especially if they fail to make the Champions League. That leaves only a handful of clubs that could actually close that deal.
Liverpool’s interest in Rueben Neves has remained exactly that. There hasn’t been any forward movement for either club. With Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain back at 100%, there may not be a need for another midfield player. But anything can happen.
After going two transfer windows without any new signings, Spurs will likely make some changes in the off season. Christian Eriksen and Toby Alderweireld look the most likely to leave the North London side. Both are linked with Manchester United, although it remains to be seen if they both end up there. Donny van de Beek, Ryan Sessegnon, and Jack Grealish are favorites to join Tottenham during the summer window. All three are young talents that can be picked up at bargain prices. Mauricio Pochettino is rumored to have roughly £150 million to work with, so offloading players like Eriksen and Alderweireld would likely be necessary.
Like I said before, the build up to any transfer window is never short of rumors and connived narratives. Wading through it all is part of the fun, especially when Real Madrid is concerned. They’re legit connected to every player possible—Pogba, Hazard, Salah, Mane, Mbappe, Neymar just to name a few. Here, I try to pick a few story lines and follow them through the summer. Which ones will you follow? Which team will make the big splash? Will Hazard leave? What will Manchester United do? How does FC Bayern fare in the summer spending window?
David is the founder of DC Soccer Digest. He lives in Washington, DC. You can follow him on twitter at @ShamsWriter.