England’s summer months have become infested with rumour since the current system was introduced in 2002, and this close season is no different. Such is the nature of the transfer window.
In reality, beyond the wealth of daily speculation, the Premier League’s biggest clubs are working overtime to bring in exciting new talent and keep hold of their star names.
As usual, there is gossip that simply refuses to go away. And since the end of last term, some players have never been far away from the back pages.
So with the start of the new campaign a matter of weeks away, we take a look at five big-name deals that look most likely to go through before the window closes.
It’s often the case that managers raid their former clubs after starting a new job, and that adage could come to fruition should David Moyes succeed in taking Everton’s Leighton Baines to Manchester United.
The England left-back has had a £20 million price tag slapped on his back by the Toffees, and it is a valuation that has delayed any potential move for the 28-year-old.
Dave Kidd and Steve Bates of Mirror Football have confirmed Moyes’ eagerness to be reunited with the defender, who arrived at Goodison Park from Wigan in August 2007.
With a reported take-it-or-leave-it offer set to be tabled this week, it is hoped Baines’ future will become clearer. But an improved bid, as reported by Andy Hunter in The Guardian, would suggest United are determined to get their man during the current transfer window.
The Montenegro international is expected to fetch a fee of around £28 million, which would make him one of the most expensive arrivals of the summer in the Premier League.
And according to Shaun Custis of The Sun, the transfer could go through sooner than expected after a fee was agreed between the two clubs.
Despite talk of a deal stalling to bring Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain to Arsenal ahead of the new campaign, Arsene Wenger remains confident that an agreement can be reached.
British radio station talkSPORT suggest the Gunners boss remains hopeful of landing the Argentine star, despite some reported discrepancies surrounding the small print of the transfer.
It is fast becoming one of the most drawn-out sagas of the summer window, and the on-off nature of the deal has prompted the North Londoners to issue an ultimatum to the 25-year-old, according to Metro.
But should talks with new Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti not go according to plan, Higuain is fully expected to switch to the Emirates Stadium for a reported fee of £25 million.
It was back at the beginning of June that Everton chairman Bill Kenwright intimated that Marouane Fellaini could switch to Manchester United this summer, as reported by Metro.
The Belgian midfielder has been one of the Toffees' most consistent performers over the past few seasons, but he is understood to have a £23.5 million buyout option in his contract.
That clause, however, expires on Aug. 14, according to Matt Law from Mirror Football, and his asking price is set to soar past the £30 million mark beyond that date.
New United boss David Moyes brought the popular 25-year-old to England back in September 2008 while in charge on Merseyside. He may be tempted to take him to Old Trafford before the end of next month.
But such obvious assumptions have never put off Real Madrid, who have a record of landing marquee signings, season in, season out, as and when they want to.
The Welshman has been the subject of speculation all summer long following an eye-opening campaign for the North Londoners that saw him score 26 goals in all competitions.
Los Blancos will not admit defeat in their pursuit of Bale until the transfer window is firmly closed at the end of August, as reported by Paul Brown in the Daily Star.
And James Dickinson in the Daily Express has even suggested that Real have set aside the number 11 shirt at the Bernabeu in preparation for his eventual arrival.