20 of the Most Talked-About Summer Transfer Targets
We're edging closer to the end of the regular footballing season and into the start of "silly season."
At least, that's what Sir Alex Ferguson calls the long summer period in which no football is played and a lot of talking is done.
Here, we round up 20 of the hottest topics heading into June, so keep your eyes peeled on these deals.
Gareth Bale, Tottenham Hotspur
Gareth Bale will be hounded by exit rumours this summer, whether he likes it or not.
Andre Villas-Boas has suggested not even £60 million could part the Welshman from White Hart Lane this summer (via The Daily Mail), but the pressure kicked up a notch when Spanish daily newspaper MARCA revealed Bale at the top of the fans' wish list in a poll.
Just like the Luka Modric saga, this one won't be comfortable or pretty.
Christian Benteke, Aston Villa
Statistically, Christian Benteke has been the English Premier League's most valuable player this season, having been involved in exactly half (50 percent) of Aston Villa's goals.
Eighteen league goals and four assists have seen him become an instant fan favourite at Villa Park, and his breaking of Dwight Yorke's single-season goal record has not gone unnoticed.
The Daily Mail believe Tottenham are sniffing around, while they've also reported that Villa are willing to double his money to keep him around.
Edinson Cavani, Napoli
According to RMC Radio (France), Paris Saint-Germain have all but sealed a deal with Edinson Cavani in preparation for the summer.
The Daily Mail believe Manchester City have agreed personal terms with the Uruguayan too, but Real Madrid are also waiting to swoop.
Wherever he goes, one lucky club is getting a prolific striker. On Sunday, Cavani scored a hat-trick against Internazionale to reach 101 career goals with the Partenopei, and each of his three seasons have seen him record 30-goal hauls.
Isco will once again be the talk of the papers after another excellent season.
The Malaga playmaker would make an excellent addition as a No. 10 or as a central winger, but he comes at a hefty cost: £27 million (buyout clause), according to The Daily Mail. Thus, clubs will have to think carefully before pursuing him.
Manchester City have been credited with an interest, while fans of Borussia Dortmund believe he's a good replacement for outbound Mario Goetze.
Radamel Falcao, Atletico Madrid
According to The Sun, Chelsea want to pair Jose Mourinho and Radamel Falcao together at Stamford Bridge this summer.
The streaky Colombian, who has scored 26 La Liga goals this season in an effort to ensure Atletico Madrid land UEFA Champions League football next season, has been a wanted man ever since he took the Blues apart in the European Super Cup game in August.
This is set to be another long one, as Falcao has been linked to just about every top Premier League club thus far.
Fernandinho, Shakhtar Donetsk
Fernandinho represents the solution to many top clubs' issues at the deep-lying playmaker position.
The Brazilian has become one of Shakhtar Donetsk's key players this season, providing steely defensive grit with attacking intent. He appears the perfect fit in a 4-2-3-1 formation going forward.
The Daily Mail have suggested strong interest from Manchester City, and Hirnyky boss Mircea Lucescu has told them to pay his release clause if they want him.
It's a staggering €50 million (via Fox Sports).
Robert Lewandowski, Borussia Dortmund
John Cross of The Mirror believes Bayern Munich are in prime position to snag Robert Lewandowski, beating Manchester United and Chelsea to the prize.
Dortmund are said to be far more willing to sanction the Polish striker's sale to a foreign club, though, and The Express have suggested BVB want to sell to the Blues.
Questions remain over whether Man United or Bayern truly need "Lewy," as their striking corps are very much brimming with talent.
Chelsea, you must say, is a good fit.
Stevan Jovetic, Fiorentina
With Fiorentina likely blowing their chances of UEFA Champions League after a devastating 1-0 loss to Roma on Saturday, Stevan Jovetic won't be around much longer.
The links to Arsenal, courtesy of The Mirror, all of a sudden seem that much more believable. For £25 million, this guy is a steal.
The Montenegrin has done well to come back from a horrid injury and perform on a consistent basis, score 12 league goals and become an integral part of Vincenzo Montella's system.
Marouane Fellaini, Everton
The Daily Mail fueled summer exit talk for Marouane Fellaini in April by revealing an apparent £23 million release clause in his contract.
The Everton midfielder has starred this season as a deep-lying forward despite wanting to play as a No. 6, and the same report mentions Chelsea as long-standing suitors.
The afro-haired Belgian has become a big favourite at Goodison Park, but failure to secure UEFA Champions League football could see him move on.
Andre Schuerrle, Bayer Leverkusen
The status of Andre Schuerrle's proposed move to Chelsea is completely unknown, as any number of tabloids can report different happenings on the same day.
Will Kevin De Bruyne be involved in the transfer? What's the up-front fee? There's no point in guessing anymore.
Mario Gomez, Bayern Munich
Where does Mario Gomez's future lie?
His agent, through ESPN, has suggested the German international will stay at Bayern Munich and fight for his place, but the recruitment of Mario Goetze and reported chase of Robert Lewandowski puts his situation in peril.
Manchester City would be a fantastic fit, and anyone signing this man can expect 20 goals per season.
Angelo Ogbonna, Torino
Angelo Ogbonna doesn't know which way to look considering the amount of interest in his services, since:
- Torino are expecting Milan to come calling, and he's widely expected to move to San Siro;
- The Metro claim both Arsenal and Liverpool want him;
- Bayern Munich have shown late interest (via Sports Mole);
- Manchester United have sent scouts to watch him (via Sky Sports).
Quite the complement for a young lad, but his playing skills are superb. Milan have a central defensive chasm, and he's the perfect fit.
Alexis Sanchez, Barcelona
Back in March, Goal.com reported that Alexis Sanchez's agent was set for talks with Juventus over a possible summer move.
The whole Barcelona thing hasn't really happened for the Chilean, and the signing was always a questionable one considering his direct, incisive, dribble-first style of play.
Pairing Alexis with Fernando Llorente could well be the action that pushes Juventus into the elite bracket.
Wayne Rooney, Manchester United
Sir Alex Ferguson has stated that Wayne Rooney will not join Paris Saint-Germain this summer (via The Guardian), but don't think for a second that this one's over.
The arrival of Robin van Persie knocked Rooney off his perch, and the constant rumours surrounding the pursuit of Robert Lewandowski continue to put his position under threat. What position is that, anyway?
Is he a striker, a wide man or a central midfielder at Manchester United now?
Carlos Tevez, Manchester City
Carlos Tevez wants to leave Manchester City and return to his native Argentina.
He's a top-class forward who can change games in an instant, and likely future suitors Boca Juniors are going to get incredibly lucky when he returns.
But the Argentine's announcement that he will run down his contract at the Etihad Stadium might not sit nicely with the upper management in Manchester, and they could look to shift him this summer.
Frank Lampard, Chelsea
Frank Lampard is leaving Chelsea as it stands. This is not news; we know this.
MLS seems like the most likely place Frank will end up given his love for the club he's currently leaving, but this one has plenty of twists and turns to it yet.
Could a Jose Mourinho arrival extend his stay at Stamford Bridge?
Could this finally be the summer that Neymar leaves his native Brazil?
The entire world will breathe a collective sigh of relief—we're absolutely sick of this one—and it appears his destination is all set to be Catalonia.
Goal.com reported that Neymar is headed for talks in July, and Brazilian legend Ronaldo has confirmed he is Camp Nou-bound.
How much will the fee be?
Wilfried Bony, Vitesse
Wilfried Bony is a monster, and after the successes of Christian Benteke and Romelu Lukaku, everyone wants to find the next one.
The Ivory Coast international has averaged more than a goal every two games for Vitesse in the Eredivisie, while his record of 31 goals and eight assists in 29 games is just ridiculous.
The Daily Mail has credited both Chelsea and West Ham with interest. Expect big teams from other leagues to give him more than just a passing glance.
Christian Eriksen, Ajax
Christian Eriksen has told Voetbal International (h/t Crunchsports.com) that he will not move for free next summer.
This means he is certain to switch clubs in the coming months, causing a scramble for his signature from the many interested parties.
Liverpool have long been admirers, but The Mirror believe Manchester City are best-placed to sign him. In a report from talkSPORT, it has also been suggested that Borussia Dortmund have emerged as late contenders for his signature after losing Mario Goetze to Bayern Munich.
James Rodriguez, FC Porto
James Rodriguez will be the next FC Porto player to be jettisoned from Portugal for a ridiculous transfer fee.
You can bet every penny of his reported £36 million release clause will be paid, but Manchester United are doing what they can to lower the fee by offering Anderson in a part-exchange (via The Daily Mail).
The Express believe Atletico Madrid are also interested, though, and they look primed to make a bid.