While European football fans have been busy focusing their attention on Euro 2016, the transfer market will be its usual hub of activity, as clubs seek to improve their fortunes for the upcoming 2016/17 season.
After a shock win for Leicester City, it’s safe to say that the Premier League’s established ‘big teams’ will be splashing the cash in their bid to reclaim the title, while elsewhere in Europe the likes of Real and PSG will be seeking to bolster their already formidable squads.
With this is mind, what are some of the best summer transfer window tips, and which players should be avoided?
After establishing himself as one of the Premier League’s finest players this season, Mahrez has become one of the most sought after players around, with a whole host of top clubs chasing the Leicester winger’s signature.
At 9/4 to join Arsenal, 8/1 to switch to Barcelona and 10/1 for a move to PSG, the bookies are clearly wary of underestimating anything to do with Leicester nowadays. With Champions League football coming to the King Power Stadium, and Ranieri’s passionate rallying call for players to stay one more season, the exodus from Leicester that many predicted may not be coming just yet.
What could Arsenal legitimately offer Mahrez that the Foxes can’t? Would he really prefer to watch from the sidelines at Barcelona as the backup to Messi, Neymar and Suarez, and is he top of PSG’s summer shopping list, considering their other priorities?
Verdict: With title success and CL football on the horizon, the Leicester exodus is not guaranteed.
The subject of Ronaldo’s departure from Madrid has been a fixture in the transfer window gossip for many seasons. With increasing rumours that he was set for a Madrid exit, the iconic forward sealing a historic 11th Champions League trophy for Real may have changed the situation.
While showing hints of the inevitable decline, Ronaldo remains prolific for the club, and his country, and has consistently reiterated his desire to stay there until he retires. However, with Robert Lewandowski repeatedly linked, the decision may be out of his hands.
SkyBet put him at 1/12 to stay in Madrid, while placing him at 6/1 to join Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United, a move that seems unlikely given the pair’s relationship. Meanwhile, the odds of Ronaldo replacing Zlatan at PSG are 16/1 and it would be unlikely that the Paris club would move for him when younger, more suitable options are available.
Verdict: Despite the paper talk, Ronaldo looks less and less likely to move with each passing day.
Once considered to be the “next” Messi or Ronaldo, the Belgian winger suffered a serious dip in form last season and was clearly in need of a move away from Chelsea. However, following a series of exceptional performances for Belgium, the bookies have slashed the odds on him staying at Chelsea.
Despite this, remaining in London is far from a sure thing.
Real Madrid (12/1) and PSG (18/1) are the two most popular potential destinations amongst the leading bookmakers.
With PSG chasing a replacement for Ibrahimovic, it remains to be seen if they will (or can) move for two superstar signings in one summer, as a centre forward will remain their primary objective.
A move to Real Madrid would be more likely, but only if someone from the Real Madrid front line makes way. If Benzema left, Ronaldo might move centrally and Hazard could adopt the left wing. Were Ronaldo himself to leave, he could be replaced by the Chelsea man. This would also rely on Madrid not opting for someone like Marco Reus, who would cost less and has also been heavily linked to the club over the last few seasons.
Verdict: Likely to move, but his next destination depends on how the transfer market shapes up. A spectacular Euro 2016 will have put him right back on the top of many club’s shopping list.
One of the rising stars of world football, Griezmann is one of the most sought after forwards on the continent. Despite recently signing a new contract at Atletico, many commentators believe it was to ensure the Madrid side got his full value in the summer.
With several big teams needing a superstar forward, he will certainly be at the centre of a transfer storm. Premier League giants Man City, Chelsea and Man Utd are the favourites to secure the Frenchman’s signature. With City already boasting Sergio Aguero, and United tipped to bring in Zlatan, the Manchester clubs seem an unlikely destination for Griezmann.
Should he continue to perform well in the Euros, in his native France, then Real Madrid may step up their chase for him, with the freshly crowned European champions currently 18/1 to secure his signature.
Although currently only 20/1 to join PSG, the capital club might well be interesting outsiders to follow. While Griezmann is not a striker in the same mould as departing Zlatan, a fresh style of striker at the heart of the Parisian attack may be the catalyst needed to propel the club to further glories.
Verdict: Despite the bookies focusing on a Premier League switch, a move to Paris or Madrid presents an interesting wager.