Premier League Transfer Rumors: 10 Big Deals That Might Just Happen
This is poised to be an eventful summer for Premier League transfers.
At the end of this tumultuous season, teams that qualify for the Champions League will look to reinforce their squads for a push in Europe and a drive for the title, while some of the new boys in the top flight will look to add depth to avoid the drop.
And, as the big boys go, the guillotine of Financial Fair Play looms on the horizon, so there will be an impetus to spend on top talent before it is too late.
To give an indication of just how heated things might get this summer, Manchester United chief executive David Gill has already said that the Red Devils will be active in the transfer market, and Arsenal are already looking to tie down their top target, Lukas Podolski.
When one or two sizable deals happen, there is often a domino effect of spending, so here are 10 deals that might be swept through in that wave.
Nicolas Gaitan to Manchester United
There have been whispers of young Benfica winger Nicolas Gaitan moving to Manchester United since the Portuguese club played the Red Devils in the Champions League, but things seem to be moving a bit faster now.
Gaitan was one of the best young players in the Champions League, impressing as much if not more than such globally acclaimed talents as Eden Hazard and Mario Gotze, and shredding the very team that wishes to purchase him on numerous occasions.
Though he has a reported £38 million release clause, United might be able to pay only £20 million and throw in Federico Macheda plus Fabio on a season-long loan.
If he delivers on his massive potential, Gaitan would be a worthy inheritor of the No. 7 shirt at Old Trafford and would return a truly dynamic wing presence to a club that has lacked it in earnest since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Lukas Podolski to Arsenal
This is not a deal that has a good chance of happening: it is as close to done as can be without the player actually signing a contract.
Consistent reports (via The Metro) of a deal worth around £11 million have circulated for months, and the German—who has already been wooed by compatriot Per Mertesacker—would be a perfect fit for Arsene Wenger's system.
Podolski would provide the support that Robin van Persie, who just played in his 50th total match this season, so desperately needs, while also offering a potent threat on the wing if that is where his services are required.
Even better for Arsenal fans, it looks as if the club has finally gotten its act together and is taking care of its transfer business early in the summer instead of waiting until the final few minutes to complete its deals.
Mario Balotelli to AC Milan or Inter Milan
It is quite easy to see why Mario Balotelli is so strongly linked (via the Daily Mail) with a move back to Italy by Roberto Gotta: the combustible forward has self-destructed both on the pitch and in the dressing room over the past few weeks and looks to have worn out his welcome with manager Roberto Mancini.
The more opportunities Balotelli's forgiving manager gives him, the more he squanders them and fails to mature. When Mancini was asked after his striker's meltdown against Arsenal if he would sell him in the summer, the boss responded, "Probably."
His talent is so incredible that if and when Manchester City decide to move him, there will certainly be takers for a player who is simply unstoppable when his head is right.
It would seem that Inter, who need a forward that can replicate Samuel Eto'o's presence and prolificacy, would be a better fit than their intrastadium rivals AC Milan, who already have some guy named Ibrahimovic.
Shinji Kagawa to Anywhere
As John Duerden of The Diplomat writes, Borussia Dortmund midfielder Shinji Kagawa is a superstar. For all the hype that his teammate Mario Gotze receives, Kagawa has arguably been more productive for Borussia Dortmund than the German this season.
And if Kagawa wishes to forgo a new contract and pursue the move to England that he fancies, according to Dortmund's sporting director Michael Zorc (via Duerden), he will easily be able to do so.
As Zorc correctly states, the ball is in Kagawa's court. With only a year remaining on his contract and the talent he has, he can effectively decide his own future this summer.
If Kagawa makes the move to the Premier League, every club with ample resources will be lining up for the Japanese's signature. Such is his ability to both create and score goals.
Clint Dempsey to Arsenal
The Texan is having both his best personal season at Fulham and the best ever for an American player in England: his tally of 16 League goals this year is tied for fourth-best in the Premier League, and he jointly leads his club with five assists.
As anyone who has seen Dempsey play for club or country can attest, he is truly an exceptional player. He relishes a good fight, enjoys aerial duels and will never pass up the opportunity to score when he has even the slightest chance.
His versatility and never-say-die approach would be perfect for an Arsenal side that occasionally lacks that final push to turn one point into three. He would be a very shrewd acquisition by Arsene Wenger.
Gonzalo Higuain to Chelsea
With £50 million man Fernando Torres failing to perform (although he works hard to support his teammates!), Chelsea are reported to be looking into other options to provide attacking depth with Didier Drogba getting older.
And one of the club's main focuses, according to The Metro, is apparently Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain, who has been overshadowed somewhat by the free-scoring Karim Benzema this season for Los Blancos.
Higuain is such a good player that he will not be content to be second choice for much longer, and Chelsea could give him more regular minutes than he is currently getting in the Spanish capital.
With talent comes a price, but Chelsea is among that echelon of clubs for which £20 million and £30 million mean the same thing.
Javi Martinez to Manchester United or Liverpool
If Manchester United or Liverpool want a tough-tackling, uncompromising, no-nonsense and yet technically proficient defensive midfielder, they can stop their search at Athletic Bilbao's Javi Martinez. Both teams are targeting Martinez, according to The Metro.
One of many bright young talents who has shone for Bilbao this season, Martinez has perhaps displayed the most talent, and the Basque club will not want to let one of their best players go for much less than his hefty £34 million release clause.
Liverpool have shown this season that they lack steel in the backbone of their midfield when Lucas is absent, and who other than Michael Carrick can sit in front of the defence for Manchester United on a regular basis is a mystery.
If he goes for between £25 million and £30 million, Martinez would fit more comfortably into United's budget, but he would be a very wise investment for either team, both on the pitch and in the dressing room.
Seydou Keita to Liverpool
This move is perfect for both parties, which is why rumors and a public courtship will not cease (via the Daily Mail).
Keita is not getting many minutes at Barcelona, and why would he? To get in the team, he must earn a place among arguably the three best midfielders in the world in Cesc Fabregas, Andres Iniesta and Xavi.
At 32 years old, he will want to play more while he still can, and Liverpool, whose midfield has been lackluster at times this year due to the stagnation of some key players, could use a player that has the experience and stability of Keita.
This may be one of the more unheralded transfers of the summer, but it may also be one of the most mutually beneficial, depending on what the Reds can wring out of the Malian midfielder.
Jan Vertonghen to Arsenal
Jan Vertonghen to Arsenal would be at least as astute an acquisition as Seydou Keita to Liverpool, and, perhaps not coincidentally, the Belgian defender has been very strongly linked with a move to the Gunners.
Vertonghen himself has even stated (via the Daily Mail) his intention to move to North London at the end of the season.
Cousins and good friends with compatriot Thomas Vermaelen, Vertonghen would fit in seamlessly into an Arsenal side that values technically proficient defenders.
Plus, Vertonghen would be a tremendous asset to Arsene Wenger when the Arsenal injury bug inevitably bites, as he can slot in at left back or defensive midfielder in addition to his preferred position of center-back.
Wesley Sneijder to Manchester United
This deal should have happened a long time ago. Last summer, it was assumed that a deal to bring Sneijder to Old Trafford was essentially done, and United would get the creative fulcrum they so needed.
Once again, the rumors are swirling (via Daily Star). After a disappointing and tumultuous season with Inter Milan, it would make sense for Sneijder to seek a move away from Italy and a new start with the team he should have spent this season with.
The Dutchman would be a perfect fit in the middle of the pitch for the Premier League leaders, and he would provide the stable, reliable creative moxie that is missing whenever Paul Scholes does not play.
Though his transfer fee will surely be massive, it will be well worth both it and Manchester United's years of waiting once Sneijder finally puts pen to paper on a contract.