10 Summer Transfers Who Will Set the Market on Fire
The rumour mill, its cogs kept oiled and greased with a steady stream of mid-season speculation, is ready to burst back into action upon the season's end. But which transfers will set the market alight?
Over the following slides we look at 10 players who will be the talk of the transfer window. To qualify, they must be signings who appear to be wanted by multiple clubs and would be very likely to cause a bidding war—if a move was in the offing.
Ranked from 10-1, these players have been arranged in an order that reflects the existing hype surrounding a potential summer switch.
Are there any missing players that you would add to the list? Let us know who and why below!
10. Javier Hernandez: Manchester United
A bidding war should ensue this summer, if Javier Hernandez decides to leave Manchester United.
The Mexico international cannot be blamed for wanting to leave Old Trafford, where he has completed just one full 90-minute Premier League outing this term.
The 25-year-old could be the star man at another club and it seems, he is not short on suitors.
According to Ben Jefferson in the Express, Inter Milan are in "advanced negotiations" to bring Hernandez to the San Siro over the summer.
In November, both Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur were rumoured to be keen on signing the striker, as reported by Jason Burt in The Telegraph.
In January, it appeared that La Liga side Valencia were going to offer Hernandez a loan deal at the Mestalla, according to Metro's Jamie Sanderson.
9. Jackson Martinez: FC Porto
Could Jackson Martinez be swapping FC Porto for Arsenal during the summer transfer window?
Yes, if this article by Metro's Jamie Sanderson is to be believed. According to the report, "The Gunners are said to have added Martinez to their list of key transfer targets, with Arsene Wenger ready to spend big at the end of the season."
The Colombian striker has netted 24 goals in all competitions for Luis Castro's side in 2013/14 and, last term, he scored 31 in his first season at the Portuguese club.
In November, it was reported by John Cross in the Mirror that Chelsea were also keen on securing Martinez's services. Juventus were also rumoured to be interested in the 27-year-old at this stage last year, as seen on Goal.com.
With a contract that runs until 2016 and with a hefty buyout fee—said to be in the region of £30 million (h/t ESPN FC)—and with what seems like plenty of interest, FC Porto might be tempted to sell during the summer.
8. Karim Benzema: Real Madrid
The France international, who has 23 goals to his name in all competitions for Los Blancos so far this season, has long been linked with Arsenal, who are in dire need of a new striker. Last winter, Arsene Wenger was said to be "obsessed" with signing Benzema, according to Ben Jefferson in the Express.
It was suggested in Bild (h/t Daily Mail's David Kent) in January that Borussia Dortmund might try to sign the 26-year-old as a possible replacement for the soon-to-be-departing Robert Lewandowski.
In Metro, it seems that Liverpool are also interested, whereas Marca (h/t Francisco Acedo of Sky Sports) claimed Benzema rejected any transfer stories, while simultaneously linking him with Paris Saint-Germain.
In June, the forward will be entering the final 12 months of his current deal at the Bernabeu, which will only serve to up the ante on Madrid exit gossip.
7. Arturo Vidal: Juventus
The 26-year-old has rubbished any rumours linking him with a move away from Turin, telling Corriere dello Sport (h/t FourFourTwo), "Me to Real Madrid or Barcelona? It's ridiculous. It is a non-story. All I want to do is win the league with Juve and have a good World Cup."
However, should an opportunity arise, clubs will be falling over themselves to sign the Chilean, who is one of the most coveted midfielders in Europe.
6. Radamel Falcao: Monaco
It might require breaking the bank to prise him away from the principality, but there will be many clubs willing to shell out for Radamel Falcao's services this summer.
The 28-year-old raised eyebrows last year, when it was announced that he would be joining Monaco. The French side had just been promoted into Ligue 1, were not qualified for Champions League football and draw very small crowds to the Stade Louis II. However, at £53 million, they could afford him.
As Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho said to French TV channel Canal Football Club (h/t Jack De Menezes in The Independent) last month, "I have a team, but no striker. Falcao does not have a team. A player like him can't play in front of 3,000 people. Monaco is a club to end [your career with]."
Currently injured, the Colombian scored 28 goals in 34 games for former club Atletico Madrid last term and put away nine strikes for Monaco before tearing a cruciate ligament in January.
Pre-injury, the striker would have been higher up this list. However, despite his setback and the increasing likelihood that he will be forced to miss the 2014 World Cup, Falcao will still be highly sought-after this summer.
5. Mario Mandzukic: Bayern Munich
It appears that Bayern Munich and Croatia striker Mario Mandzukic could be on the move this summer.
Recent reports suggest that the player's agent has been in London, conducting transfer talks with Arsenal, amid links with Real Madrid and Inter Milan, according to Metro, who claim:
The 27-year-old, who has scored 23 goals in 36 games for Bayern Munich this season, has reportedly been told he can leave the German champions at the end of the campaign when Robert Lewandowski is due to arrive from Borussia Dortmund on a free transfer.
In the Express, James Dickenson suggests that Manchester United and Chelsea's chances of signing the striker have been improved, ever since Wolfsburg admitted that a summer bid is "unlikely."
Elsewhere, Sky Sports reported Bayern—who have just been crowned Bundesliga champions—say they are confident of keeping Mandzukic at the Allianz Arena, despite Lewandowski's impending arrival.
Club chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told Welt am Sonntag (h/t Sky Sports):
Mario Mandzukic is under contract with our club.
I am definitely aware that many clubs have started to show an interest in Mario's services, but I believe he will be with our club way beyond the end of this season.
4. Luke Shaw: Southampton
In January 2012, the Saints' then-manager Nigel Adkins warned clubs off the 17-year-old, telling BBC Radio Solent, "Luke Shaw is a big part of our future plans. We have got no intention believe you me of letting any of our young players move on."
After clocking up 60 appearances in the Premier League over the last two seasons and making his senior England debut earlier this month, Shaw's stock has continued to rise.
Now, Real Madrid's name can be added to his list of potential suitors, according to the Mirror's Darren Lewis, with Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur all said to be chasing his signature.
Current Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino claims that the youngster is one of the best in his position in the world, stating in a press conference this week, per Sky Sports:
He can play at Real Madrid or he can play in the world starting XI.
He really has the quality to do so. I am not sure if he is one (of the best left-backs in the world) already. I think so.
I am not sure if he is already the best one in the world.
3. Eliaquim Mangala: FC Porto
If you are a lover of all things transfer related, you will be very familiar with the name Eliaquim Mangala.
The FC Porto defender has been a mainstay in gossip columns for some time and this summer, it looks like there will be all-out battle to sign the 23-year-old.
In January, Manchester City were trying to sign the France international, according to The Guardian's Jamie Jackson.
In February, Jackson again reported on Mangala in The Guardian, with Manchester United then said to have joined the race to sign him.
Elsewhere, the Mirror's John Cross has suggested that Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal are also interested in signing the highly-rated centre-back.
One thing is for sure, Mangala is going to be in demand when the transfer window opens. With many clubs in need of a top central defender, expect the tussle for his signature to make waves this summer.
2. Edinson Cavani: Paris Saint-Germain
Last year, Edinson Cavani was one of the most talked-about players of the transfer window. As we head into summer 2014, the Uruguayan will find himself in the spotlight once again.
Rumoured to be unhappy at playing second fiddle to Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Parc des Princes, as reported by John Edwards in the Daily Mail, the Paris Saint-Germain striker will be on the wish list of many clubs.
Manchester United are already said to be interested, according to Tom Hopkinson and Steve Bates in the Sunday People.
However, rumours linking Chelsea with a move for the former Napoli man, are incessant. Here, the Daily Mail's Simon Jones and Chris Wheeler suggest that Jose Mourinho's side are willing to go "head-to-head" with United in a battle to bring him to Stamford Bridge. They say, "Cavani's camp are ready to hold preliminary discussions with would-be suitors about what financial figures would be involved."
Meanwhile, last summer, Cavani's father came out and told Futboleros, part of Marca TV (h/t The Guardian) that his son "wanted to play for Real Madrid."
Toward's the season's end, expect many clubs to add their name to the growing list of suitors for Cavani's signature.
1. Diego Costa: Atletico Madrid
Coming in at No. 1—Diego Costa needs little introduction. This season, the Atletico Madrid striker's 31 goals in 40 games have seen him become one of the most coveted strikers in world football.
Further piquing the interest of clubs, already salivating over the idea of signing the 25-year-old, is the fact that Atletico have plenty of history in selling off their star strikers—Diego Forlan, Fernando Torres, Sergio Aguero and Radamel Falcao are just some of the club's biggest exports in recent memory.
Will Costa's name be added to that list this summer?
The Brazilian-born centre forward has been linked most strongly with a move to Chelsea. Just this week it has been reported that the Stamford Bridge outfit have opened talks with Atletico, as reported by The Independent's Gordon Tynan.
A potential move to Jose Mourinho's side could have huge ramifications elsewhere. It has been mooted by The Independent that Fernando Torres could go the other way, to rejoin his former team. A permanent move for goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who is currently on loan at the Vicente Calderon, has also been suggested by Ben Jefferson in the Express.
Should the Spain international join the Blues, it would be likely to cast doubt on the futures of Demba Ba and Samuel Eto'o.
It would also have a bearing on rumours, as reported on ESPN.co.uk, that link Monaco's Radamel Falcao and Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani with a move to the club.
One potential move, plenty of possible sub-plots. Costa to Chelsea really would set the market on fire this summer.