Club-to-club transfer of top names in the world of soccer is not a common phenomenon, but as and when it happens, it makes a big splash.
Usually, the actual transfer is preceded by a long process, which fuels speculations and gives sleepless nights to fans and club owners alike.
The two-month transfer window is expected to open soon and some of the biggest names like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe and others are likely to move on in search of greener pastures.
COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on the clubs’ earnings, which should reflect on the prices these top guns would command between June and August.
Present club: Barcelona
Likely transfer to: Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain
Reason: The 33-year-old Argentine announced last year that he wants to leave Camp Nou, but will he do it NOW is the question. New Barcelona Club president Joan Laporta has shown his eagerness to retain Messi, but the team captain, without a contract right now, has kept his cards open.
Messi was unhappy with outgoing club president Josep Bartomeu’s project for the club, which strained their ties and started the rumours of the Argentine’s likely exit from the club that built him.
Manchester City had shown interest in taking in Messi last summer, but the move fell through. And now as the English Premier League champions look ahead, Messi looks a bit misfit in England’s top team, considering his age.
With Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero, a fellow Argentine and a close friend of Messi, almost certain to join Barca, Messi is unlikely to move out. Laporta’s come back and Aguero’s likely entry may encourage the team captain to stay back, despite talks of a possible pay cut.
Present Club: Juventus
Likely transfer to: Manchester United
Reason: ‘Mr Champions League’ may leave Juventus midway through his four-year contract if the Turin club fails to qualify for the Champions League this season.
The Serie A giants are struggling under inexperienced manager Andrea Pirlo, who has failed to retain the team’s dominance this season. The Serie A highest goal scorer is practically carrying the burden of keeping the team in the reckoning. These factors may encourage the Portuguese forward to head out.
In the last three seasons, the 36-year-old has practically won every trophy there was for Juventus to grab, except the Champions League. The enigmatic forward may look for new challenges to fulfill as he enters the twilight of his career.
Another probability is that Juventus may let go of Cristiano and build the team around Paulo Dybala, who is at his prime at 27 years of age.
Rumours are rife that he may return to Man United, which gave him fame and where he is still loved and sought after. But the Red Devils may not have any new challenges for the ambitious player. Did anyone say Old Trafford desperately needs a striker?
Present club: Paris Saint-Germain (PSG)
Likely transfer to: Real Madrid
Reason: The young French striker had always aspired to play for the Los Blancos.
Secondly, Real Madrid is managed by the legendary Zinedine Zidane, also a French.
Most importantly, the team needs a young and established goal scorer like him. So, the need is mutual.
The 22-year-old French striker has reportedly rejected four fresh contracts from Paris Saint-Germain, which shows his keenness to join the La Liga giants even if that means taking a pay cut.
Left with few options to hold back Mbappe, PSG might as well cash in on the French striker’s high price tag, which is around 150 million euros.
Present club: Bayern Munich
Likely transfer to: Chelsea
Reason: The glamour of the English Premier League may attract the Pole, who has been a prolific goal scorer for the Bavarians so far.
Chelsea striker Timo Werner failed to be his team’s talisman this season, which has prompted club owner Roman Abramovich to look for a workhorse like Lewandowski.
The London club is known for its high-spending capacity, which should make this transition as smooth as it can get. Adding Lewandowski to their team might make them leading contenders for the English league title.
Present club: Tottenham Hotspur
Likely transfer to: Manchester City, Chelsea
Reason: Kane may leave the Spurs for his ambition to win a team trophy, which is highly unlikely if he stays back, despite being the team and the League’s highest goal scorer.
Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero has declared he is moving out, which has created a vacancy for a striker’s position in the team.
City manager Pep Guardiola is looking for someone like Kane, who is a good link-up player and a prolific goal scorer as well.
Chelsea are already looking for a striker and would go for Kane if the Robert Lewandowski deal doesn’t come through.
Kane may opt for either Manchester City or Chelsea because of his love for the English Premier League. However, fans feel that given a choice between the two big clubs, Kane may opt for City because the team is more likely to win trophies, which is driving Kane’s transfer.
Present club: Borussia Dortmund
Likely transfer to: Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Chelsea and Barcelona
Reason: Haaland’s agent Mino Raiola, with his antics, is generating a buzz that the Norwegian striker is open to leaving Dortmund this season, though the German club has made it amply clear that is not for sale.
Haaland’s ability to strike goals at will has made him a prized catch for the two Manchester clubs while Barcelona too is in the hunt, as suggested by the newly-elected president Laporta. City’s need for a seasoned striker will make it go for either Kane or Haaland.
Present club: Borussia Dortmund
Likely transfer to: Manchester United and Liverpool
Reason: Dortmund may sell Sancho for the right price this time, which could be less than what they quoted last season to United – the team keen on having a right-winger like him.
Liverpool may also try to buy him out, but only if one of their established wingers makes an exit.