Premier League Transfers: 15 Predictions for the Summer Transfer Window
The January transfer window has come and gone, and all eyes are now on the end of the season and who's going to come out on top in the battle for supremacy in the Premier League.
However, just after the Premier League closes its doors for the summer, the transfer window opens, and crazy season restarts. There is plenty of unfinished business from the January transfer window, and even some from last year's summer transfer window.
Will those transfer sagas be resolved? What new sagas might get under way? Who are the big teams going to sign?
These are all questions that football fans will be asking come the summer, so here are a few early predictions for what might go down this summer as the Premier League's clubs battle it out with each other and the rest of the world to build the strongest squads they possibly can.
Carlos Tevez to AC Milan
Carlos Tevez's love-hate relationship with Manchester City has been pretty much focused on the hate part for the last few months, and relations seem to be beyond repair.
Tevez has never lasted more than three years at a club, and this summer will mark three years as a Manchester City player for the Argentinian.
AC Milan have already been linked with the striker but have put their interest on hold due to City's asking price of £25 million, but another few months of Tevez causing problems, and the extended time without game time could be enough for City to drop their asking price.
Roberto Mancini has said that there's a chance that Tevez will play for Manchester City again, but it doesn't seem likely, and the striker could hope for little better than a frosty reception, both from the dressing room and the fans.
A move away from the city where Tevez has spent the last five years seems far more likely.
Frank Lampard to Manchester United
Frank Lampard has endured a tough season so far at Chelsea. The England international has lost his guaranteed starting position and is clearly far from happy with the situation.
According to ESPN, Lampard has netted nine goals so far this season, a tally that almost matches his haul for the whole of last season, and he's also managed four assists, suggesting that he still has a lot to offer.
However, at 33, Super Frank is not getting any younger and may not be prepared to see the final few seasons of his career out on a bench.
Manchester United have shown with players like Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes that they can keep players in shape well into their late 30s and give them a decent amount of playing time, something that might well seem appealing to Lampard as he thinks about the next few years.
Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted in the past that he admires Frank Lampard, and when he said that a move for Lampard would be unsuccessful, he was only talking about a January move.
Didier Drogba to MLS
There is an increasing trend of older big-name players heading to the U.S.A. The pay is good, the football is a bit less demanding, and there isn't the same media frenzy one would face as a top footballer in Europe.
All of this makes Didier Drogba an ideal candidate for a move to MLS. The Ivorian will be 34 by the time the transfer window opens, and like Frank Lampard, he is no longer a guaranteed starter at Chelsea.
He was even linked with a move to Shenhua, and may yet move there, although a move to the U.S.A. seems more desirable, in terms of lifestyle and footballing standards, for a player used to playing with the best players in a very Western nation.
Jose Mourinho to Chelsea
Jose Mourinho doesn't seem to be happy at Real Madrid. His team may be seven points clear of Barcelona at the moment, but the reports that Jose Mourinho is unhappy at Real Madrid will not go away.
The Portuguese manager is one of the world's top managers and has repeatedly said that he would like to return to the Premier League at some point in the future.
Even winning La Liga may not be enough to keep him in his job in Spain; Fabio Capello was shown the door despite winning the league not so long ago.
Chelsea have been underperforming this season, and Roman Abramovich does not have a history of being patient with his managers. The stars could well be perfectly positioned for a return to the club where he became known as "The Special One."
However, with the England managerial post open, it is possible that the Tottenham hot seat could open up as well. Could Mourinho be manning the bench at Spurs next season, or might he even dip his toes into international waters with the English national side?
Fernando Torres to Liverpool
Let's be honest: Fernando Torres has not had a great time at Chelsea since his £50 million move a little over a year ago. In fact, Tim Howard has scored more goals than Torres has in 2012.
Don't get me wrong. Torres is still a fantastic player, and Chelsea fans have experienced the odd flash of brilliance that reveals the real Fernando Torres.
However, Chelsea's patience must be running low. If his form doesn't pick up by the end of the season, the club will have a hard time justifying another season of big wages and few goals.
So, perhaps the best way for Torres to find his form would be for him to head back to the place where he turned defensive legs to jelly, Liverpool.
He would certainly cost a whole lot less than £50 million, and with financial fair play coming into effect, Chelsea may want funds to strengthen their squad after a tough season.
Depending on other transfer activity, Liverpool may have cash to burn, and they'd have a hard time turning down the Spanish striker, even if they—and the fans—were less than impressed with him jumping ship.
Andy Carroll to Newcastle
Much like Fernando Torres, Andy Carroll's big move last January has not gone according to plan. The big striker has struggled to fit in with Liverpool's style of play and has yet to show the sort of form that made him the most expensive English footballer in history.
Newcastle's new-found success (there's a very real possibility that they'll finish above Liverpool) might tempt Carroll to look for a move back to Tyneside.
Demba Ba and Papiss Demba Cissé look to have Newcastle covered for now, but having a striker of Carroll's quality and size would be tempting to say the least.
Carroll would command considerably less than the £35 million he did just over a year ago, but Liverpool might be willing to sell if it were to free up funds for a striker better suited to their game.
Alberto Aquilani to AC Milan
Alberto Aquilani never settled at Liverpool and does not seem to fit in with the club's plan of attack. Two loans back to Italy have been far more productive for the Italian, and AC Milan have the option to buy the midfielder at the end of this season.
He seems to be happier in Italy; the style of football played there suits him better, and he is able to spend more time in the advanced play-making role in which he excels.
Liverpool could use the money that the sale of Aquilani would bring in, and it seems like an obvious buy for AC Milan. Aquilani has already gotten used to playing for the club, would not need time to gel with his teammates and could be relatively cheap.
Even if he doesn't end up at AC Milan, it seems unlikely that the Italian will be spending much more time on Merseyside.
Wesley Sneijder Moves to Manchester United
One of last summer's big transfer sagas was the proposed move of Wesley Sneijder to Manchester United. In the end, nothing happened, and Sneijder stayed put, but speculation is bound to pick up again during the summer months.
Manchester United will be keener than ever to get their hands on the Dutchman by the end of the season. Whoever wins the Premier League, Sir Alex Ferguson will not be happy with the way his side have performed in the first half of the season.
Furthermore, Ryan Giggs can only go on defying biology for so long, Paul Scholes will be retired again, and Manchester will be vulnerable to the same lack of depth issues they have experienced this season.
Sneijder is a fantastic attacking player who could easily play on either side of the pitch, a flexibility that Manchester United require. Furthermore, he has admitted he would be tempted by a move to United.
There are bound to be other clubs interested in the midfielder, but United will be pushing harder than most, and few clubs can match the prestige and quality of the Old Trafford side.
Emmanuel Adebayor to Move to Tottenham Permanently
Emmanuel Adebayor has no future at Manchester City. That much is pretty obvious to most people who watch football and must seem like a fundamental truth to Adebayor himself, as well as to Tottenham Hotspurs.
Adebayor has quickly won over the fans, despite being a former Arsenal player, and has been a real asset to Spurs this season; they would be foolish not to be interested in getting more games out of the Togolese striker.
He would probably be available for a fair amount less than he went for when Manchester City bought him from Arsenal; they clearly don't need him, and quick cash could be needed with tighter spending rules beginning to impact City's ability to spend horrific amounts of money.
Harry Redknapp to Become England Manager
OK, maybe this transfer will happen before the transfer window opens, but it's too big of a prediction to leave out.
Harry Redknapp seems like the obvious choice for the job of England manager. He meets all the criteria; a track record of success, bundles of knowledge about English football, English, not a criminal and popular (for the most part).
Ideally, England would like a new manager as soon as possible. The resignation of Fabio Capello shortly before a major tournament cannot be doing much good for team morale and could prove to be a major distraction for the players if the issue is allowed to drag on.
Maybe appointing Redknapp as interim manager would be a good short-term solution. As Gary Lineker recently said, having Harry Redknapp lead the England squad whilst also continuing at Spurs until the end of the season would be the best solution for all parties.
Keisuki Honda to the Premier League
Keisuki Honda grabbed headlines at the 2010 World Cup and has been a constant catalyst for transfer rumours ever since.
He almost moved to Lazio on deadline day last month, but the deal fell apart, and the Japanese star will now be in Russia until the summer.
As Honda himself pointed out to goal.com, "As my contract with CSKA starts to run out, more clubs will show their interest." As his contract gets shorter, his price will fall, and Premier League clubs may re-enter the race to sign the midfielder.
He has been linked with Liverpool and Arsenal in the past, and Arsenal will certainly still be interested in strengthening their squad, and even Manchester United might like to take a look at the midfielder.
United enjoy huge support in Asia and already boast one of Asia's finest footballing exports in Park Ji-Sung. In terms of footballing ability, as well as in terms of revenue, Honda could be a highly interesting target for the Red Devils.
Tim Krul to Manchester United
Tim Krul has quickly established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League, and his performances have played a major role in Newcastle's sensational season thus far.
Meanwhile, in Manchester, David De Gea is enduring a thoroughly underwhelming start to Premier League life. He has made some important, and highly publicised, errors and is not even a guaranteed starter for the Red Devils.
If Manchester United could pry Krul away from Newcastle, which they will be hard pressed to do, they could get their hands on a goalkeeper who is putting in the type of performances they were expecting from De Gea when he was signed last summer.
United may not be willing to give up on De Gea just yet, however. He was far from cheap, and United never like to admit defeat.
Another real possibility, if United were willing to throw the towel in, would be Michel Vorm, who has had a season at Swansea every bit as impressive as Krul's.
Belgian prodigy Eden Hazard is one of those guys who is dogged by transfer rumours on pretty much a daily basis.
The midfielder has been linked with just about every major club in Europe, but the Premier League clubs have been the most heavily linked with the Belgian.
Chelsea look to be in the driving seat, as far as Premier League clubs are concerned. They have a few Belgian players already and have the financial clout to shift Eden Hazard across the Channel. They have also been underachieving this season but have experience a great deal of success in the last few years.
Arsenal, meanwhile, could really use a player of Hazard's quality, but they don't tend to splash out huge amounts of cash and are in danger of not qualifying for next season's Champions League. Questions are still being asked about Arsene Wenger's future, and a new manager might not have the same interest in the winger that he does.
Mario Balotelli to AC Milan
Mario Balotelli has practically defined controversy since his arrival in Manchester in 2010. The striker has found himself in all sorts of trouble but has also put in some impressive displays.
Unfortunately, high-maintenance players are a bit of an issue at Manchester City, and Roberto Mancini cannot be happy with Mario Balotelli's constant off-field difficulties. Furthermore, according to BBC Sport, Balotelli feels like he is being persecuted, something which may quicken his departure.
Manchester City may well be prepared to deal with Balotelli's baggage for a little longer, but the club would get a lot of money for the striker and could easily attract another high-profile player to fill the gap left by Balotelli.
Luka Modric Not to Move to Chelsea
Luka Modric must be pretty pleased he didn't move across town to Chelsea last summer.
Tottenham look set for a top-four finish, with a great chance of winning a spot in next season's Champions League group stage automatically, whilst Chelsea are in a real fight to maintain their top-four status and have been dogged by rumours over Andre Villas-Boas' future and a row over racism.
Modric has little incentive to move this summer. Tottenham are showing that they can compete, and they have plenty of cash in the bank. There is no reason for them not to become top four regulars and maybe win a Premier League title in the not-too-distant future.
Harry Redknapp's potential departure must be the only dark cloud on the horizon for Modric. However, if the seat becomes vacant, it will come with Champions League football, healthy finances and a squad that plays arguably the best football in the league. The club should have little trouble attracting a high-quality manager.
Tottenham have shown how much they value Modric. They turned down a bid of £40 million, and even a bid from Manchester United worth £50 million might not be enough to pry the Croatian away from North London.