Premier League Summer Transfer Window: Biggest Rumour for the Biggest Clubs
Transfer season is almost upon us in the Premier League. The summer window will open at midnight on Sunday, May 19, ushering in just over three months of shopping time for the 20 clubs lining up for the 2013-14 campaign.
In the same space last year, we saw deals made that would define the season to come.
Many would argue Manchester United's move for Robin van Persie has won them the title. Tottenham's signing of hugely impressive defender Jan Vertonghen could yet secure Spurs a top-four finish. Where would Arsenal be this season without Santi Cazorla's creative majesty?
In this article, I'm going to take a look at the likely candidates for a top-four finish next season and highlight the one player they have been most hotly linked to in recent weeks.
Are these tantalising deals really possible?
All appearance data sourced from ESPNFC.
Arsenal: Stevan Jovetic
Current club: Fiorentina
Season record: 28 appearances (1 as substitute), 12 goals, 4 assists
It's no secret Arsenal lack a focal point up front. Gervinho is an enigma and may be offloaded, Olivier Giroud is still adapting to the English game, Theo Walcott is best suited to a wide role and Lukas Podolski has been used sparingly by Arsene Wenger this season.
Stevan Jovetic is reportedly a player Wenger wants to sign this summer. The Montenegro international has proved himself capable of scoring regularly in Serie A and at 23 still has a ways to go in his development.
Could the deal happen? Reports vary. Some say it will depend on whether Arsenal qualify for the Champions League (Express). Others wonder if a speculated £25 million price will be enough to dissuade the ever-cautious Wenger from making a splash (Bloomberg).
Jovetic himself has at least acknowledged Arsenal's interest. "It’s a big pleasure for me to be on the radar of such a big club. I am happy about that," he said, as per the Independent.
Estimated likelihood of Jovetic joining Arsenal: 40 percent
Chelsea: Andre Schurrle
Current club: Bayer Leverkusen
Position: Forward/attacking midfielder
Season record: 38 appearances (1 as substitute), 12 goals, 7 assists
When it comes to rumoured Chelsea summer targets, take your pick. Roman Abramovich's propensity to go big in the market means just about every exciting prospect on the planet gets linked to the Blues these days.
One deal that looks very much on, however, concerns Bayer Leverkusen's German international, Andre Schurrle.
For a detailed analysis of what Schurrle would bring to Chelsea, read Sam Tighe's scouting report. The 22-year-old is effectively an attacking player who would operate in the same spaces as Eden Hazard, Oscar, Juan Mata and Marko Marin—in the three behind Chelsea's main striker.
Do Chelsea need another player in that mould? Arguably not, but if they see Schurrle as an improvement on what they have, don't be surprised to see another player shifted on from Stamford Bridge this summer.
Estimated likelihood of Schurrle joining Chelsea: 90 percent
Everton: Scott Sinclair
Current club: Manchester City
Position: Winger/wide midfielder
Season record: City—14 appearances (11 as substitute), 0 goals, 0 assists; Swansea—1 appearance, 1 goal
Scott Sinclair is not the first player to take the cash and join Manchester City, only to find himself warming the bench and wasting away a year of his career.
The 24-year-old has barely got a look in under Roberto Mancini, so it's only natural the rumours are flying of a possible summer exit. Everton are a club that could offer him regular first-team football and are always in the market for a potential bargain or beneficial loan move.
If Sinclair can hit the heights he managed at Swansea, he could prove a shrewd signing for either club.
Estimated likelihood of Sinclair joining Everton: 20 percent
Liverpool: Christian Eriksen
Current club: Ajax
Position: Attacking midfielder
Season record: 24 appearances (1 as substitute), 10 goals, 5 assists
Christian Eriksen appears to be the major summer target for Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers. The Ajax starlet impressed in the Champions League this season and would be seen as a creative attacking player to link with Luis Suarez at Anfield.
Reports on Thursday dismissed claims that a deal has already been done (Daily Mail). Ajax, who have won their last six league matches in a row, are yet to agree to the sale of Eriksen and refuse to be distracted by the Liverpool speculation.
"Whether we negotiate or not, we do not comment on transfer rumours," said their press officer to Dutch television (as per Daily Mail).
Liverpool fans would undoubtedly be excited to see Eriksen in their colours next season. The 21-year-old is one of Europe's most talked about young talents and would deliver goals and attacking inspiration from midfield.
Estimated likelihood of Eriksen joining Liverpool: 55 percent
Manchester City: Edinson Cavani
Current club: Napoli
Season record: 33 appearances (3 as substitute), 31 goals, 4 assists
Edinson Cavani is one of the hottest properties in Europe. The Uruguayan striker has been prolific with Napoli for the third season running and will almost certainly be the subject of some big offers this summer.
"I'm fine in Naples, but in football there are lots of things to consider," Cavani told La Repubblica recently, as per the Express.
Napoli are unsurprisingly reticent to sell. The 26-year-old will reportedly be available for an eye-watering £60 million (MSN), which represents a substantial investment and would clearly have implications in terms of financial fair play rules.
Real Madrid, Chelsea and City are the three big-spending clubs who get mentioned most frequently. For City to make a splash, you would have to think they would need to offload a big name first. Could that be Sergio Aguero?
If Aguero went to Madrid (Mirror), City might very well be favorites to land Cavani.
Estimated likelihood of Cavani joining Manchester City: 20 percent
Manchester United: Radamel Falcao
Current club: Atletico Madrid
Season record: 34 appearances, 30 goals, 1 assist
Falcao is perhaps the most coveted forward outside of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo right now. The Colombian has enjoyed another dominant season for Atletico Madrid and as a result is never out of the transfer gossip columns.
Are Manchester United, with no shortage of forward options already, seriously interested?
According to The Times (via ManUtd.com), United sent their chief scout to watch Falcao score twice against Granada over the weekend, which suggests Sir Alex Ferguson is at least contemplating bringing the striker in alongside Robin van Persie.
Spanish newspaper Marca recently ran a report that had United in pole position. Here's the line that got United fans excited:
"Sources close to both parties (United and Atletico) suggest that a down payment may have already been made as a guarantee for a future transfer."
There's also been the suggestion Javier Hernandez could be used in part-exchange to sweeten the deal.
Will it happen? If so, Ferguson is playing his cards very close to his chest. When asked about the Marca report, the United manager said, "Do you honestly believe that?" (ESPN.co.uk)
Estimated likelihood of Falcao joining United: 15 percent
Tottenham: Leandro Damiao
Current club: Internacional
Season record: 32 games, 17 goals, 5 assists
Tottenham tried to land Brazilian powerhouse striker Damiao in the January window, but their bid of £13 million was turned down (Guardian).
The suggestion from some quarters is Spurs will be back in again this summer and there's no doubting they could use a new forward.
Speculation has been heightened by comments from Internacional's director of football Luis Cesar Souto de Moura, who reportedly told local media that Damiao would be leaving Brazil this summer (as per Sky Sports).
Damiao's physicality suggests he would be a natural fit for the Premier League, and Spurs badly need somebody to help Jermain Defoe out with goalscoring duties. To stand any chance of landing him, it appears Spurs will need to up their offer from January.
Estimated likelihood of Damiao joining Spurs: 30 percent