10 Potential Transfers That Make Sense for Both Clubs
With domestic hostilities over for another season, clubs across Europe’s major divisions are ready to reshape their squads before the action starts all over again.
And though the game’s gaze is fixed firmly on Brazil ahead of next week’s World Cup opener, some of the biggest names in football are currently being linked with big-money moves.
Last summer’s window saw clubs in England’s Premier League splash £630 million on new players, while their counterparts from La Liga, Serie A and Ligue 1 spent £985 million between them.
This year looks like it will be no different, so as the transfer merry-go-round gathers momentum, Bleacher Report looks at 10 deals that would make sense for both the buyers and the sellers.
Thomas Muller: Bayern Munich to Manchester United
Pep Guardiola’s debut season in Germany has left Thomas Muller unsure of his immediate future, and Manchester United are ready offer the German a way out of Bayern Munich.
The Guardian’s Jamie Jackson has suggested new Old Trafford boss Louis van Gaal is keen to re-establish ties with the 24-year-old after handing him his debut during a two-year spell in charge at Bayern.
Despite scoring 13 goals in 25 Bundesliga starts during the last campaign, Muller was used in a number of positions, and is thought to be confused about his role within the starting XI.
In an interview with Stern magazine (h/t Sky Sports), he said: “I have reached the point where I want to know if I am an essential component of the Bayern Munich first XI for the new season and if the club has plans for me over the coming years. That’s why I will be out to have a meeting.
“It’s no secret that Louis van Gaal and I have a relationship that goes a little beyond the normal relationship between coaches and players.”
Despite United’s lack of involvement in the Champions League next term, that relationship with Van Gaal could prove decisive should Muller decide to move on.
Remy Cabella: Montpellier to Newcastle United
Newcastle United’s pursuit of Remy Cabella dates back to January, when the Magpies were desperately seeking a replacement for Ligue 1-bound Yohan Cabaye.
Their attempts to prise the 24-year-old away from Montpellier were futile, and the window closed with Cabaye a Paris Saint-Germain player and a gaping hole in the Toon’s midfield.
Fast-forward a few months, and the playmaker has been told he can leave the Stade de la Mosson, with president Louis Nicollin ready to cash in on the French international.
As was the case with Cabaye, who joined Newcastle for a little over £4 million before departing for £19 million just two-and-a-half years later, the switch could be an ideal stepping stone for Cabella.
The player is reportedly keen on the move—according to the Evening Chronicle’s Lee Ryder—and if a fee can be agreed, then it could turn out to be a good deal for all concerned.
Cesc Fabregas: Barcelona to Chelsea
The contest to sign Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas is rapidly becoming a one-horse race, and it is Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea who look like landing the 27-year-old.
Despite Fabregas having been told he can leave the Camp Nou for £30 million, as reported by BBC Sport’s David Ornstein, Arsenal have already dismissed talk of a return to the Emirates Stadium.
And it remains to be seen whether Manchester United will try and secure for the Spanish international’s signature, having failed to sign him on two separate occasions last summer.
All of which leaves the path clear for Chelsea, who are looking to replace Frank Lampard. And they are believed to be close to agreeing a deal with the Catalan giants, as reported by Metro’s Massimo Marioni.
Romelu Lukaku: Chelsea to Atletico Madrid
With Chelsea set to confirm the £32 million signing of Atletico Madrid forward Diego Costa, it seems Romelu Lukaku could be heading in the opposite direction this summer.
Costa’s arrival is imminent following his Stamford Bridge medical, but Atleti boss Diego Simeone may not have to wait too long to land his replacement, according to Mirror Football’s John Cross.
The two clubs already have a history in this department, with Blues goalkeeper Thiabut Courtois having spent the last three seasons on loan at the Vicente Calderon Stadium.
As with the majority of Chelsea’s frontline, Lukaku’s future is up in the air, and the man who spent last term at Everton is a wanted man in La Liga—with Valencia also interested, according to the Guardian.
But a switch to Atletico could be a good fit for the Belgian, and would quash any fears of further exclusion while also solving Simeone’s post-Costa striker shortage, all in one fell swoop.
Fernando Torres: Chelsea to Atletico Madrid
Another striker who could be on the move thanks to Diego Costa’s imminent arrival at Chelsea is Fernando Torres, with a switch back to Atletico Madrid not out of the question.
The Spaniard came through the youth ranks at the Vicente Calderon Stadium, and apologised for scoring against his old club in the Champions League last season.
Back in April, Atleti boss Diego Simeone pointed to a possible homecoming for the forward this summer, telling Mirror Football’s Alex Richards: “Fernando is always with us.
“Of course he would love to come back to the club he grew up in and where he was very happy.”
The 30-year-old has endured a difficult spell at Stamford Bridge since his £50 million arrival from Liverpool in January 2011, and has often failed to reproduce the kind of form that lit up his career at Anfield.
But a move back to his first love—Atletico—could be just what Torres needs at this juncture in his career, and could also work wonders for Simeone in the wake of Costa’s departure.
Fernando: Porto to Manchester City
Manchester City are working overtime to land Porto midfielder Fernando in a deal that would benefit both parties.
The Brazilian-born star was left frustrated this summer when FIFA refused to allow him to switch international allegiances, even though he was granted Portuguese citizenship.
It was hoped that the 26-year-old would form part of Paulo Bento’s squad during the World Cup, but following FIFA’s intervention, he is now free to seal a move to the Etihad Stadium.
City first registered their interest in the holding midfielder in January, but failed to finalise the deal before the transfer window closed.
However, they look ready to rectify things this time around, as reported by David Anderson from Mirror Football.
Ivan Rakitic: Sevilla to Barcelona
With Cesc Fabregas officially up for sale and rumours continuing to circulate about the future of Alex Song at the Camp Nou, Barcelona are in the market for a new midfielder, and Ivan Rakitic fits the bill.
A report from the Daily Mail’s Rik Sharma suggests that the Sevilla man is the subject of a three-way battle between Real Madrid and city rivals Atletico as well as Barca.
But with the Catalans ready to offload Fabregas and Song, as suggested by the Daily Mail’s Sami Mokbel, their need to strengthen could be greater than that of their La Liga rivals.
An emerging playmaker, Rakitic played an integral part in Sevilla’s run to Europa League glory last season, and though they would dearly love to keep the attacking midfielder, a £25 million fee for the Croatian would surely soften the blow.
Mario Balotelli: AC Milan to Chelsea
Chelsea are braced for a mass exodus of strikers over the coming months, and Jose Mourinho could turn to Mario Balotelli as he constructs his new-look strike force for next season.
The AC Milan forward played under the Portuguese manager during his spell in charge of Inter, and Arsenal are also said to be interested as the striker sets his sights on a return to the Premier League.
In a report by Sky Sports’ Simone Bargellini and Nadia Carminati, Rossoneri president Silvio Berlusconi cast doubt on the Italian’s future, saying, “Will Balotelli stay? We have not decided about the market yet, neither for signings or for sales.”
The former Manchester City man arrived at the San Siro in January of last year, but an expected manager change could see a number of names leave after a disappointing campaign that saw Milan finish eighth in Serie A.
Ezequiel Garay: Benfica to Bayern Munich
With just one year remaining on defender Ezequiel Garay's contract, Benfica risk losing their star on a free transfer in just 12 months' time, and need to act fast this summer if they want to get anything in return.
But thankfully for the Portuguese champions, German giants Bayern Munich look set to quash that scenario and pay up to £10 million for the Argentine centre-back.
A report by the Daily Star’s Bruce Archer suggests Manchester United were also interested in the 27-year-old, who is set to star for his country at the World Cup this month.
But they have been beaten to his signature by Bayern, who will look to Garay to provide competition for the likes of Jerome Boateng and Dante.
Eliaquim Mangala: Porto to Manchester United
With Champions League duo Manchester City and Chelsea also interested in landing Porto star Eliaquim Mangala, the chips are stacked against Manchester United as the Red Devils look to sign the French defender themselves.
But with the departures of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand playing on new boss Louis van Gaal’s mind, the needs at Old Trafford could force the issue over the coming weeks.
The Daily Star’s Gary Jones insists the 23-year-old centre-back is biding his time in the midst of a three-way tussle for his services, with current club Porto eager to see his value soar before selling.
A solid World Cup for Les Bleus could see Mangala's estimated £35 million price tag rise even higher, proving he has the quality to cope at the highest level whilst guaranteeing a bumper payday for his existing club.