Premier League Transfer Merry-Go-Round: Striker Edition
Summer, football and a new big-money television deal, what does it all add up to? Premier League teams looking for new strikers in the transfer market, that's what.
The off-season used to be a time of waiting for eternity for the league season to start up again, but the increased coverage in preseason, unprecedented online access to instantaneous transfer rumours and the "now" mentality of the average fan means it has become an even more arduous and demanding couple of months to get through.
And, of course, more exciting.
There's nothing better than waking up to find your team is apparently interested in the 30-goal forward who'll lead you to trophy glory, or perhaps the free transfer bargain signing of the summer or even the proven talent who will hit the back of the net enough times to help avoid relegation.
One in frequently means one out though, so here's how the striker situation could play out at clubs around the Premier League according to the hottest rumours of the day.
Check out the Managerial Merry-go-Round latest here.
The Big Bucks Buy: Cavani to Manchester City
There's going to be at least one massive signing up front in the Premier League, and there's a fair chance it will be at Manchester City.
The departure of Mario Balotelli, a new manager coming in, too few goals scored during the 12-13 campaign and mega-rich owners all adds up to City spending big in the final third during the summer, and Edinson Cavani is one of the most frequently occurring names who pops up linked to the Etihad club (via Sky Sports).
Reports indicate that he might cost as much as £53 million, but if City really want him, they are more than capable of paying it. And, he'll probably turn out to be far lower anyway.
Chelsea Missing Their Man Means Lukaku Returns
City aren't the only Premier League team interested in Cavani; as the Sky Sports report indicates, Chelsea are also heavily linked with the Uruguayan striker.
Failing to land their man will see the incoming Chelsea boss opt to stick with Romelu Lukaku, who has been such a success this season while on loan at West Brom.
Lukaku has scored 14 Premier League goals from 20 starts and 14 sub appearances this term. Along with Demba Ba and Fernando Torres, this will give the blues plenty of firepower, especially since only one of them usually starts.
West Brom Have to Restructure Attack
The loss of loan forward Lukaku, in addition to the expected departure of Peter Odemwingie in the summer (via BBC), means West Bromwich Albion will be looking for a new striker to challenge Shane Long for a place.
The front-runner seems to be Dieumerci Mbokani, playing in Belgium as Anderlecht's main striker. (via Daily Mail). He could potentially cost around £10 million, which might rule the Baggies out of the running unless they are willing to break their own transfer record, but he would certainly provide plenty of the same attributes that Lukaku brought them.
Mbokani scored 17 goals in 19 games during the league season, with another two in six games being scored in the playoff stage.
Lewandowski Leaving, Dortmund Target Cisse
Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund expect to lose striker Robert Lewandowski this summer, and their prime target to replace him is Newcastle United's Papiss Cisse (via Mirror Football).
Cisse has hit 13 goals in all competitions this season for Newcastle despite a season of severe underachievement from the Magpies, and might be one of the stars out the door with Newcastle unable to offer European football next season.
Dortmund might not be the only side after him if he is available, but selling Cisse on would certainly leave a sizeable gap up front for Newcastle...
A Lost Son Returns Home
...which will be filled by former striker Andy Carroll, returning to St. James' Park two-and-a-half years after his initial exit.
Currently on loan at West Ham United from Liverpool, Carroll is being targeted for a permanent deal by the Hammers, but Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle are also both interested (via Mirror Football). Carroll has scored seven league goals this season, but six of them have come since February after he returned from injury.
He is expected to fetch around £15 - £17 million in the transfer market this summer.
Liverpool's Funds Lead to Tello Transfer
Liverpool offloading a high earner and an unrequired front man will leave extra funds for new summer signings, and Barcelona forward Cristian Tello could be one targeted.
The latest rumours surrounding the move have him included as a part-exchange deal for a move for Pepe Reina heading the opposite way (via Mirror Football), but Liverpool could well go after the left-sided attacker even if their goalkeeper stays at the club.
Tello is said to have an £8.5 million release clause in his contract, well within the Reds' means and around half of what they hope to recoup from selling Andy Carroll.
Tottenham to Look Elsewhere
A failure to land Andy Carroll as one of their striking targets will send Tottenham Hotspur back into the market, with a whole host of names linked to the White Hart Lane club.
Rumours continue to see them looking at Christian Benteke of Aston Villa (as per Daily Mail) and Alvaro Negredo of Sevilla (as per talkSPORT), but one of the more interesting targets might be Matej Vydra, currently at Watford on loan from Udinese (via Metro).
Vydra is a 21-year-old Czech Republic international striker and he has scored 22 times in the Championship for Watford this season, but any possible move would likely be off the cards if Watford are promoted to the Premier League via the playoffs. Vydra hit two goals in the semifinal second leg of them to send his team to the final, where they will play against Crystal Palace.