Predicting the Biggest Transfer Rumours for Summer 2014
There is little over three months to go until the summer transfer window opens, but don't let that stop you from indulging in some early speculation and gossip.
Last time around, the rumour mill was loaded to the hilt with big-name players and this season should be no different.
Over the following slides, we try to predict which players will be the subject of the biggest rumours as the 2013/14 season nears its end.
As always, these predictions are purely speculative. Read on for more!
20. Mateo Musacchio, Villarreal
Sorry Villarreal, but Mateo Musacchio's name will be a fixture in the transfer gossip columns this summer.
The 23-year-old, who has missed only one La Liga game all season, will become a free agent in June when his current contract runs out at El Madrigal.
With so many clubs in need of replacements in central defence, Musacchio will be on the wishlist of many clubs across Europe.
In December, he was already being linked with Chelsea, Barcelona and Manchester City, as reported by Colin Harvey in the Express.
I would add Liverpool and Manchester United to that list, come the end of the 2013/14 campaign.
19. Jackson Martinez, FC Porto
After signing for FC Porto in summer 2012, Jackson Martinez has netted 52 goals in 73 games for the Portuguese side—therefore cementing his place in the rumour mill.
Talk of a new deal at the Estadio do Dragao is in the offing, as this report from the Daily Star's Nick Lustig suggests.
However, Martinez is a wanted man and every side in need of a striker will be attempting to prise him away from Paulo Fonseca's side this summer—think Arsenal, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Borussia Dortmund and Atletico Madrid.
The 27-year-old's recent comments to Colombian newspaper El Tiempo (h/t Football Italia) will surely fan the flames:
I feel good at Porto right now. I'm fine here at the moment, but I would like to play outside Portugal.
The Italian League, for example, fascinates me. But so does the English, Spanish and German Leagues. I'll just have to wait and see what my future holds.
18. Luis Suarez, Liverpool
One of last summer's true transfer sagas was that of Luis Suarez.
It appeared that the striker wanted out of Anfield, after telling Uruguayan radio station 890 Sport (h/t The Guardian's Andy Hunter) that he would not be averse to a move to Real Madrid.
The summer came and went, the Berbabeu did not beckon and, despite a bid from Arsenal, Suarez remained a Liverpool player.
The 2013/14 campaign has seen Brendan Rodgers' side rocket up the table, with Champions League qualification a very real possibility, not to mention a tilt at the Premier League title.
However, don't expect this to affect transfer rumours concerning Suarez as, again, his name will be a mainstay in the gossip pages this summer.
If Liverpool do not qualify for the Champions League, expect those rumours to increase tenfold.
17. David Luiz, Chelsea
Last summer, Barcelona wanted to sign David Luiz and early rumours indicate that, this year, the Catalan club will try again.
As John Gorst wrote in the Mirror earlier this month:
Barcelona believe the 26-year-old is perfect for their squad next season and are likely to try again to test Chelsea's resolve, but fear former employee Mourinho may not want to do business with them.
Luiz is also rumoured to be on Paris Saint-Germain's radar, as reported by Alex Richards in the Mirror.
Expect speculation to intensify, when Luiz represents Brazil at the approaching World Cup.
16. Fernando, FC Porto
Fernando has been attracting interest for some time. As reported by Paul Hetherington in the Daily Star, he 26-year-old defensive midfielder was linked with a move to Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City before extending his deal at FC Porto until 2017.
But the player's agent claims that Fernando could still be signed by City in the summer, reported here by the Daily Mail's Chris Wheeler.
"God willing, Fernando will play in the Premier League," said the player's representative Antonio Araujo. "Manchester City were a strong candidate but were not alone in the race."
15. Robin Van Persie, Manchester United
Could Robin van Persie be set to leave Manchester United this summer?
If David Moyes' team do not qualify for next season's Champions League (which looks increasingly likely), perhaps the Dutchman will be looking for pastures new.
Or a return to former club Arsenal, which is what has been hinted at in the Express by James Dickenson.
No matter how far-fetched it may seem, this rumour will gather plenty of steam as the season goes on.
14. Julian Draxler, Schalke
If the last two transfer windows are anything to go by, Julian Draxler will feature heavily in the summer's transfer talk.
Then in January, the 20-year-old was again linked with a move to the Emirates, until Schalke ruled out a switch, as reported by The Guardian's David Hytner.
Expect Draxler to be linked to a host of clubs, but mainly—you guessed it—Arsenal as the summer approaches.
Bayern Munich are the latest club to be linked with the player, with Draxler quoted as saying in German newspaper WAZ (h/t the Mirror's Alex Richards):
Look at what happened with Manuel Neuer. He was 100 percent convinced that he would never join FC Bayern but, after having played as a pro for five years, time made him change his opinion.
I also can’t say what I will think in five or six or maybe even 10 years. And when you rule something out entirely and you end up playing where most people don’t want you to be, the outcry is huge.
It’s no secret that I have a release clause and therefore have the opportunity to consider what is best for my development every year.
13. Eliaquim Mangala, FC Porto
With a multitude of top-level European clubs on the lookout for reinforcements in central defence, it will come as no surprise to see Eliaquim Mangala's name cropping up in transfer talk this summer.
The 23-year-old centre-back has a market value that is steadily increasing towards the €25 million mark (per Transfermarkt) and his steady performances at the back for Porto have garnered plenty of attention.
Barcelona are interested, as are Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea, claims Jeremy Cross in the Daily Star.
Elsewhere, The Guardian's Jamie Jackson reported this month that, "Manchester United are keeping tabs on Mangala, who came close to joining Manchester City for £37m in the January transfer window."
Mangala's current contract is set to run until summer 2016.
12. Edinson Cavani, Paris Saint-Germain
At the time of writing, Edinson Cavani has been a Paris Saint-Germain player for all of seven months.
Last summer, the striker's name was staple fodder in the rumour mill, before he put an end to the gossip and agreed a five-year deal with Laurent Blanc's side.
However, rumours indicate that the Uruguayan might be on the move this summer. Even if he stays at Parc des Princes, there will be no shortage of stories linking him with a move away from the club.
Indeed, this has already started, with the 27-year-old reportedly "unhappy with his role" at PSG, as reported by John Edwards in the Daily Mail.
Despite his £54 million price tag, Cavani would not be short of suitors this summer.
He'll be linked with a number of clubs but expect most of them to focus on Chelsea.
11. Shinji Kagawa, Manchester United
Shinji Kagawa could be forgiven for wanting to leave Manchester United this summer.
The 24-year-old has struggled to cement a place in United's starting XI, since moving to the Premier League from Borussia Dortmund in 2012.
Played out of position, his confidence low, the Japan international has admitted to feeling "irritated" with his form this season.
He told Skysports.com:
I still haven't scored any goals this season so I've felt very irritated. This is the first time in my career that I haven't been able to produce so it's disappointing.
I pressure myself to score in every game but some days it feels like I just can't win. I know I have to overcome that. Actually, if I can't it really shows that I haven't grown as a player. So because of that I have to really focus on the second half of the season and overcome that mental block.
There's every chance that Kagawa might head for the Old Trafford exits this summer and there will be no shortage of rumours heading into the window.
10. Iker Casillas, Real Madrid
His current contract may run until 2017, but it would not come as much of a surprise to see Iker Casillas heading out of the Bernabeu this summer.
Despite featuring in six Champions League and eight Copa Del Rey matches for Real Madrid this season, the 32-year-old goalkeeper has not made one appearance in La Liga this term.
It's not good enough for Spain's No. 1.
Undoubtedly, he will turn in some fine performances at the World Cup in Brazil, which will attract a number of new suitors, in addition to those who may be tracking him already.
Liverpool are an option, as are Manchester City and (dare I say it) Barcelona could also be a perfect fit.
9. Sergio Aguero, Manchester City
It doesn't matter how happy Sergio Aguero looks in a Manchester City shirt and it doesn't matter how much silverware he wins with the Citizens this season.
It also doesn't matter if City issue 10,000 statements in which they flat-out refuse to sell the striker.
None of it matters, because Aguero will still be one of the biggest transfer rumours of the summer.
The Argentina international will be linked with Real Madrid as he's been linked with the year before.
In fact, it's already started.
As Tom Hopkinson suggested in the Mirror at the weekend, Madrid will target Aguero this summer if they sell Karim Benzema to Paris Saint-Germain.
8. Radamel Falcao, Monaco
The striker was wanted by a number of clubs, on the back of a successful season in which he scored 28 goals in 34 La Liga games.
A hefty price was paid for the Colombian's signature by the French club—who are bankrolled by Russian billionaire Dimitry Rybolovlev—which somewhat explained the move.
Rumours suggesting that the 28-year-old was unhappy at Stade Louis II started circulating in late 2013, as reported by Le10Sport (h/t Ben Jefferson in the Express), before he was sidelined with an anterior cruciate ligament injury in January.
As the summer approaches and his injury heals, Falcao is a nailed-on certainty to be one of the biggest rumours going into the 2014/15 season.
As reported by Jack de Menezes in The Independent (from an interview which originally appeared on French TV channel Canal Football Club), there is already gossip linking the striker with a move to Chelsea.
7. Arturo Vidal, Juventus
"Why am I playing so well? Well that's simple. Because in my role I am the best in the world," Arturo Vidal told Sport Bild, according to Football Italia, last month.
"Many try to imitate my style, but I want to say one thing -- I'm the best in the world. In my role, no one defends like me or scores as many goals as me."
He might have a point.
Which is why Real Madrid continue to show a reported interest in the Juventus player, who has scored 16 goals (in all competitions) so far this season.
As told to Radio Cooperativa (via Skysports.com), Vidal said:
I'm fine in Juventus and I'm working hard to achieve all my goals. The interest of Real Madrid - it flatters me but as I say, I just think to give my best with Juventus and Chile.
Cue a summer of rumours in the European press, as Real Madrid track the 26-year-old Chilean.
6. Mario Balotelli, AC Milan
It's not hard to imagine that, for the next five years at least, Mario Balotelli's name will always crop up in transfer talk.
The 23-year-old is already being linked with a move back to the Premier League, where he spent two and-a-half seasons with Manchester City, before signing for AC Milan in January 2013.
As reported by Jamie Sanderson in Metro, Balotelli has been linked with a summer move to Arsenal.
The Italian striker also appeared to hint towards a reunion with former Inter Milan boss Jose Mourinho at Chelsea, if Simon Mullock's report in the Mirror is to be believed.
Balotelli's current deal with the Rossoneri runs until June 2017, but that means nothing. "Super Mario" will still be one of the biggest names in the rumour mill this summer.
5. Fabio Coentrao, Real Madrid
Fabio Coentrao came close to leaving Real Madrid last summer, until a move to Manchester United broke down on transfer deadline day.
Since then, the left-back has made just five La Liga appearances—a combination of injuries and a drop down the pecking order contributing to his time spent on the sidelines.
Lucky for him, there is no shortage of clubs in need of a new left-back.
In the Premier League alone, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and—if they sell Ashley Cole—Chelsea need a player in this position.
As the summer draws closer, Coentrao will be linked with United once again and perhaps a host of other clubs.
4. Paul Pogba, Juventus
Why Juventus would want to let Paul Pogba leave is anyone's guess and, if reports are correct, the 20-year-old is set to sign a new contract with the club, as reported by the Mirror's Ed Malyon.
But (there's always a but…) Pogba has a £40 million release clause in his current contract, as reported by the Express' Charles Perrin. He used to play for Manchester United, who now desperately need a player in his position and he is having a stellar season for the Old Lady, who currently top Serie A.
All the ingredients you need to be one of the summer's most talked-about players.
3. Victor Valdes, Barcelona
Victor Valdes will be leaving Barcelona at the end of the 2013/14 season, this much we already know.
The goalkeeper announced his decision to leave Camp Nou earlier this season, "I consider that my cycle as a Barcelona player will come to an end when my current contract expires in 2014," he said on BBC Sport.
There should be no shortage of suitors for the 32-year-old Spaniard, who already seems to have attracted interest from a number of clubs.
According to John Cross in the Mirror, Valdes could be on his way to Liverpool, with Manchester City and Monaco also linked with a move.
The three-time Champions League winner will cause a lot of transfer speculation this summer and rightfully so.
2. Toni Kroos, Bayern Munich
We won't have to wait until June to see if Toni Kroos is a fixture in the summer rumour mill. He already is.
The Bayern Munich midfielder has been the subject of reports linking him with Manchester United, despite Bayern's sporting director Matthias Sammer insisting that he will not be allowed to leave the club before 2015.
As The Guardian's Jamie Jackson reports, Kroos has been warned that his contract demands with the Bundesliga club are "going through the roof," by club president Franz Beckenbauer which could see Manchester United manager David Moyes try to sign him in the summer.
According to the Mirror's Simon Austin, United are willing to pay Kroos £250,000 per week, which will triple what he currently earns at the Allianz Arena.
Kroos' deal expires in 2015, which will lead to heightened speculation as the summer approaches.
1. Diego Costa, Atletico Madrid
Atletico Madrid have history when it comes to selling star strikers and, if the right offer is made this summer, Diego Costa will probably be on his way out of the Vicente Calderon.
The La Liga side have already issued a hands-off warning. As reported by Alex Richards in the Mirror this week, club president Enrique Cerezo told reporters at the Complutense University of Madrid:
I do not think Diego Costa is going to leave Atletico at the end of the coming year. Undoubtedly, we do not want to sell him or use him as a bargaining chip for another player.
You can appreciate this because we never sell but other teams come for our players.
But don't let that fool you, it won't stop rumours linking Costa with a move away from Atletico any time soon.
The Premier League is the most likely destination to feature in the summer's gossip concerning the 25-year-old striker, who has 27 goals (in all competitions) so far this season.