The transfer window will close this month. As such, a frenzied orgy of buying, loaning and selling is expected to be the dominant topic for the next 30 days.
The August rush will be even more frantic this month. This is because of the decision of the Premier League (the top buying league) to shut its transfer window on August 10th, 21 full days before the rest of Europe.
This has automatically placed English clubs at a disadvantage as they will be forced to buy high (for desired targets) and sell low (to balance the books) to clubs on the continent.
Given the changes in management that have happened at many European sides: Real Madrid, Chelsea, PSG, Bayern Munich amongst others, these teams are yet to make significant moves in the market.
All that will change as August represents the last chance saloon for everyone.
A deluge of transfers is set to happen with some very tantalizing prospects already being mentioned in the press. Here is a look at 5 big moves that could still happen:
Jerome Boateng to PSG from Bayern
Bayern is a team in need of regeneration and the team’s board knows this better than most. The last couple of easily-won Bundesliga titles have failed to mask the fact that the team has been on a downward slide since the last season with Pep Guardiola at the helm.
Given the team’s refusal to compete with English clubs to pay high prices, there is a need to sell before purchases can be made.
One asset who can still fetch a tidy sum and whose exit won’t be felt so much is Jerome Boateng. The German international has been immensely successful since he joined the Bavarian giants from Manchester City.
However, injuries have contributed to a huge dip in form (his World Cup performance will attest to this). Coupled with the fact that his backup; Niklas Süle is also top-quality; selling Boateng doesn’t look so silly after all.
New PSG manager Thomas Tuchel is a huge admirer of the World Cup winner and ideally sees him as the ball-playing option to partner either Marquinhos or Thiago Silva.
Valued at €50m, the centre-back himself has given feelers that he wouldn’t mind a new challenge and it’s a deal that should be beneficial to all parties involved.
Fullbacks for Manchester United
Manchester United may not win the titles they crave for; Premier League and UEFA Champions League if they do not improve on the personnel manning the fullback positions.
Last season, the first choice fullbacks are converted wingers; captain Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young who are in their thirties.
While both men performed admirably, their quality is not comparable to the players possessed by both Premier League rivals and fellow European giants.
Real Madrid has Dani Carvajal and Marcelo, Manchester City has the trio of Danilo, Benjamin Mendy, and Kyle Walker while Bayern Munich has David Alaba and Joshua Kimmich. These are the types of modern-day fullbacks that clubs who win things have: fast, intelligent and able to perform effectively in different systems.
Mourinho has moaned about this on a number of occasions. While the signing of Portuguese teenager Diogo Dalot from FC Porto is a step in the right direction, much more is needed.
Matteo Darmian and Luke Shaw seem to be on their way out (Daley Blind has already left). This would leave the Red Devils short in both quality and numbers. A number of high quality and high priced options have been linked to the club: Alex Sandro (Juventus) features prominently on the list.
A defensive midfielder for Manchester City
First, it was Fred, then Jorginho. For months on end, the Cityzens had been linked to these two players as the long-term replacements for aging midfielder Fernandinho.
Probably due to the prices they were quoted or over-confidence on their part, Guardiola’s team has lost out to domestic rivals for the duo.
Manchester United and Jose Mourinho got Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk and Jorginho followed Maurizio Sarri to Chelsea from Napoli.
This means Manchester City will go into the new season with the same set of midfielders who broke all records in the Premier League last season. They are also the same set of midfielders who got knocked out of the Champions League by Liverpool.
In football, standing still is the same as going back, something Guardiola knows better than other people. Therefore, a central midfielder to rotate with Fernandinho is still a priority for the Catalan genius.
Young starlet Claudio Gomes (signed from PSG) & Brazilian Douglas Luiz (who spent last season on loan at Girona) are out-of-the-box options.
However, the evidence still points to a last dip into the market before the window is shut with Mario Lemina (Southampton), Marco Kovacic (Real Madrid) and Miralem Pjanic (Juventus) among the options linked to the club.
Luka Modric to Inter Milan
Quality, world-class central midfielders have become precious commodities in world football. Thanks in part to the successes of the Xavi-Sergio Busquets-Andres Iniesta triangle for Spain and FC Barcelona, the central midfielder has been rightfully elevated to god-status in football.
This informs why Inter Milan and manager Luciano Spalleti are very interested in getting a classy midfielder to become the controller the team desperately needs.
The current options with the exception of Borja Valero are either too defensive-minded (Matias Vecino, Roberto Gagliardini), too attack minded (Radja Naingolaan) or not good enough (Joao Mario).
This has necessitated the need for the team to get in a controller who would dictate the tempo, create chances from deep and carry the ball forward.
Madrid’s Modric stands all on his own at this. The classy Croatian has been instrumental in Los Merengues’ 4 UCL triumphs since he joined from Tottenham Hotspurs in 2013.
He was the outstanding player at the last World Cup (won the MVP award) and like Cristiano Ronaldo, might not be averse to switching to a less-pressurized (but still top-level side like Inter Milan).
With Kovacic and Dani Ceballos chomping at the bits for ample game time, Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui might not be averse to a Modric sale. Everything will depend on how much Real supremo Florentino Perez can get from the deal as no figures have been mentioned yet.
Eden Hazard and Thibault Courtois to Real Madrid
That these moves have not happened is surprising given the many news stories that have emerged about them.
Both players had been linked to the reigning European champions for a number of years now. The state of affairs at Chelsea: uncertainty over the future of Antonio Conte and the continued ownership/funding by Roman Abrahmovic added fuel to the rumours.
Even with the appointment of Maurizio Sarri and seeming return to normalcy at Stamford Bridge, these reports have refused to go away.
It is almost certain that Courtois would leave the club. He has one year left on his contract and has never hidden his thoughts about how much he wants to be paid. This has left the Blues scrambling to sign a replacement before authorizing the reported £35m sale.
That of Hazard is less straightforward. With the exit of Ronaldo, the Belgian superstar has been seen as the right replacement for the Portuguese G.O.A.T. However, Chelsea is well aware of Hazard’s abilities and have resisted all overtures so far.
A world-record €225m has been mentioned and while Madrid certainly has the means, the willingness to pay that fee may be an issue.