The deadline for the transfer window in Europe is just under two weeks away and the clubs are busy putting the finishing touches on their squads for the new season.
Though there have been some big moves already (Man City lost £ 100m to win Jack Grealish, Chelsea spent £ 97.5m to sign Romelu Lukaku and Man United split with £ 73m for Jadon Sancho) Even with the financial troubles caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, elite clubs are still struggling to get players to balance the books.
That means a lot of unhappy players, unhappy clubs and, for some, a lot of uncertainty as we go into the closing stages of the window.
Here is a list of some of the top players who could use a change of scenery if they can negotiate an exit to new pastures.
MAN UNITED: Jesse Lingard
Lingard 2.0 had a brilliant four months on loan to West Ham last season, scoring nine goals and providing five assists in 16 games. The problem is that the player in front of him is Bruno Fernandes’ pecking order. Lingard has built his confidence with some outstanding accomplishments, but that will dissipate quickly if he sits on the bench too often. Every big club has to switch players to compete in multiple competitions, but it feels like Lingard’s career will suffer if he stays.
MAN CITY: Bernardo Silva
Man City is well-stocked in attacking midfield and the £ 100million Aston Villas Grealish addition has only widened their options. However, Silva has reportedly made it clear he wants to leave and manager Pep Guardiola took the unusual step of naming him during a press conference earlier this month, saying: “Not just Bernardo, there are two or three players who want to Leaving Man City but they are our players and if they want to make an offer and leave we are open to discussion but it depends on them. ” Silva’s problem is that he wants to move to LaLiga, where Barcelona and Real Madrid are suffering from unprecedented financial constraints. City estimates the transfer for him at around 60 million euros, and at that price there are simply no buyers.
LIVERPOOL: Xherdan Shaqiri
For a Shaqiris quality player, 63 games over three seasons are just not enough to play first-team football. The Swiss midfielder is a wonderful option to replace but wasn’t happy to play behind Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino. It is certainly difficult to break up this trio and with Diogo Jota fully fit again, there is another player in the pecking order in front of him. But in the interests of his career, Shaqiri would do well to move on – especially if Liverpool have a ready-made replacement in young Harvey Elliott – and Lyon are interested. Forward Divock Origi is another to contemplate his future at Anfield after playing just 17 times last season.
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ARSENAL: Hector Bellerin
ESPN first reported in February that Arsenal had reached an agreement with Bellerin that would allow them to find a new club this summer after a decade of service. The right-back is still only 26 years old and the Gunners have reportedly been exploring options for swap deals with both Atletico and Barcelona while talks with Inter have failed but there appear to be few buyers. Arsenal are well-staffed with Calum Chambers, Cedric Soares and Ainsley Maitland-Niles – as well as left-back Nuno Tavares who played there last weekend – but none are of the highest quality and Bellerin deserves more for his loyalty over the years than through to be led out the back door.
CHELSEA: Callum Hudson-Odoi
Chelsea specialize in finding players who can’t get them anywhere: look at the careers of Danny Drinkwater, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Davide Zappacosta, Baba Rahman, Ross Barkley and Michy Batshuayi for proof. But Hudson-Odoi is in a different class and could actually raise some cash if the Blues decide to let him go. Sources told ESPN that Bayern Munich were interested last year, and while that may have cooled, the English winger could see striker Tammy Abraham’s departure this summer for £ 34million as a sign that he might be better off to start over.
TOTTENHAM: Harry Winks
After a groundbreaking 2016/17 season in which the midfielder made his debut for England’s senior team, Winks’ career has stalled a bit. Despite being only 25 years old, he only made 15 Premier League appearances last season and it remains to be seen whether he has the confidence of new coach Nuno Espirito Santo. Winks was an unutilized substitute in the opening win over champions Man City, favoring younger Oliver Skipp instead, and although he has spent his entire career at Tottenham, it may be time to move on if he still has international ambitions.
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BARCELONA: Philippe Coutinho
Where to start With total debt rising to € 1.35 billion despite Lionel Messi’s departure, Barcelona are in a financial mess. Obviously, they would take offers for most of their squad – with the exception of child prodigies Ansu Fati and Pedri – and defender Samuel Umtiti and midfielder Miralem Pjanic are top of the list, but none more than playmaker Coutinho. The Brazilian was signed by Liverpool for € 160m in 2018 but has not impressed and it is noteworthy that he is still at the club. He might get a new life (and the # 10 jersey) after Messi leaves, but Coutinho certainly has had enough of Camp Nou.
REAL MADRID: Lukas Jovic
Real Madrid are no stranger to spending big bucks on a player who flops and his € 60million spend on Jovic in 2019 resulted in him scoring twice in 33 games. He scored four of 18 after returning to old club Frankfurt last season but despite the fact that Madrid have no reinforcements for Karim Benzema, Jovic is likely to move on again. Inter Milan and West Ham have both been linked to a move from the Serbian international who really needs to leave his Bernabeu nightmare behind.
ATLETICO MADRID: Saul Niguez
After signing an incredible NINE-year deal in 2017, Saul always struggled to force an exit whenever his career plans changed. This summer, he appears to be looking to leave the LaLiga champions after falling out of favor under Diego Simeone, but Atletico are sticking to their guns and are demanding over € 50m to make it happen. Sources told ESPN that Barcelona briefly looked into a swap deal with Antoine Griezmann before talks collapsed, while Premier League giants Man United and Liverpool were repeatedly linked to midfielder transfers.
BAYERN MUNICH: Corentin Tolisso
Bayern have been excellent at attracting free transfer players in recent years (Leon Goretzka and Robert Lewandowski, for example). The 27-year-old midfielder doesn’t seem to have a future in Munich but reportedly wants to review his contract and weigh up his options. A swap or loan deal could come into question before the end of the window, but only if it suits the player and club.
DORTMUND: Julian Brandt
Brandt is one of those players who seems to be forever old but is only 25 years old. However, after signing for Dortmund from Bayer Leverkusen in 2019 for 25 million euros, his career has not reached the heights he would have expected, as he would have expected it was overshadowed by young talents like Gio Reyna, Erling Haaland and Jude Bellingham. He has still played over 40 games per season in Dortmund but has been linked with Milan and Arsenal as questions about his future persist.
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PSG: Mauro Icardi
With two goals in three games so far this season, Icardi’s future seemed determined. But after PSG signing Lionel Messi, it suddenly looks like the smaller of the two Argentina internationals could move on. The former Inter Milan striker has always drawn attention to his off-field lifestyle with his wife and agent Wanda Nara, but a return to Italy has been debated for some time. Juventus are reportedly interested in loaning him out and that could help PSG’s efforts to cut their wage bills after joining Messi.
JUVENTUS: Paulo Dybala
One of the reasons Juve are looking at Icardi is because of doubts about Dybala’s future. The Argentine striker has apparently been in contract negotiations for months as his contract expires in 2022, with various moves to Tottenham, Man United, Barcelona and Man City being speculated over the past few years. His class is clear, with 100 goals in 254 games since joining Juve in 2015, but the fact that he couldn’t easily agree on new terms after six years at the club could point to a bigger problem. If he is billed as a star when Cristiano Ronaldo leaves, is that enough to make him stay?
INTER MILAN: Alexis Sanchez
What a strange career Sanchez had. After his European breakthrough with Udinese, he flopped at Barcelona. After resuming his career at Arsenal, he became one of the worst signings in Premier League history at Man United. Now he is approaching something like his old form at Serie A champions Inter Milan, the club is in a financial crisis and has to bring all of its best players to the table. Most recently, in connection with a move to Napoli, staying in Italy appears to be the best choice for the 32-year-old winger’s career.