20 Players Who Deserve More Hype in the Summer Transfer Window
Since the end of the regular season in most continents around the world, only an exciting World Cup in Brazil has been able to shield us from a transfer window frenzy taking place this summer, one involving ever-bigger fees for ever-bigger names.
To be sure, the most high-profile sports tournament in the world has contributed to this, with the likes of James Rodriguez and Juan Cuadrado having their values skyrocket alongside Colombia’s excellent performance. Luis Suarez has also grabbed the headlines for both the right and wrong reasons.
As a few big names and rumors dominate the summer—Liverpool deserve credit for closing out a deal for Adam Lallana when it threatened to turn into one of those never-ending transfer sagas we all love and hate at the same time—there are players who go under the radar and perhaps aren’t quite as appreciated as they should be.
Here are 20 players who we think deserve more hype in the summer transfer window. Let us know your picks and suggestions in the comments below.
First, we head to England and visit a couple of clubs who have just been relegated from the Premier League. Our first find is Gary Medel, who is surely too good to be playing in the Football League Championship next season.
But despite being one of Chile’s most impressive performers in their World Cup campaign, Medel has escaped media attention over the past few weeks when he should arguably be considered one of the most attainable defensive midfielders around.
Cardiff boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has recently said, via BBC Sport, that the Bluebirds have received enquiries for Medel. But a player of his ilk and quality should be one of the hottest names this summer.
Our second name on this list is fellow relegated Premier League player Leroy Fer of Norwich City, who, like Medel, was considered a coup when his signing was announced last summer.
Perhaps it’s because the Netherlands’ World Cup campaign is still running, but it’s quite surprising to us that his name hasn’t been linked with the many clubs that could use a box-to-box midfielder.
One of the Canaries’ few shining lights last season, Fer had arrived in England with an exciting reputation. It would be disappointing to see him ply his trade in the English second division.
Tottenham Hotspur castaway Erik Lamela makes it onto our list simply by being a £30 million player who made just nine Premier League appearances and generally being anonymous for Spurs last season.
Given his previous record with AS Roma, it’s a surprise to see him struggling to cope with the demands of English football and unable to rediscover any semblance of top form.
Previous rumors linking Italian sides with a rescue act on Lamela (such as this from the Daily Express' Anthony Chapman on Internazionale) have all but died down. Time for a resurrection?
Hatem Ben Arfa
It wasn’t very long ago that Hatem Ben Arfa was known as one of Newcastle United’s standout players and even linked with a move to Liverpool (just over a year ago, in fact, via the Daily Mail's John Drayton).
And now Ben Arfa is linked with a lucrative early retirement stint in the Middle East with Lekhwiya SC and Al Sadd (per the Newcastle Chronicle's Lee Ryder) despite his agent insisting that he wants to continue playing in Europe.
We’ve seen Ben Arfa display his mercurial talent in the Premier League over the years. When the similarly problematic Jeremy Menez was released from Paris Saint-Germain, he was instantly snapped up by AC Milan. So why aren’t any clubs seemingly willing to take a chance on Ben Arfa?
Pepe Reina might have been on the decline in his last two seasons at Liverpool, but he still showed moments of quality, especially with his distribution and shot-stopping at Anfield and while on loan at Napoli last year.
So why, apart from a possible return to Napoli, isn’t he being linked with any other club? His agent has suggested that Reina will be spending the coming season back at Liverpool, according to Tuttonapoli (h/t Sky Sports).
Reina used to be one of the world’s best keepers and would be an excellent signing for an up-and-coming side such as AS Monaco, who reneged on a deal for Victor Valdes recently.
As recently as late June, Serge Aurier, who impressed in Ivory Coast’s World Cup campaign this summer, was considered almost nailed on for a switch to Arsenal, with the Daily Express' Alex Harris even claiming that the Gunners had agreed to a five-year deal with the Toulouse right-back.
Since then, Arsene Wenger has apparently switched his target to Newcastle United’s Mathieu Debuchy, who, according to the The Guardian's Louise Taylor, is set to move to the Emirates Stadium for £7.9 million to replace Bacary Sagna.
What happened to the Aurier deal, and why hasn’t the news of Debuchy moving to Arsenal sparked more rumors involving Aurier?
Now we head to the Bundesliga, where the lack of hype surrounding Hoffenheim’s Roberto Firmino really is a head-scratcher.
Yes, we know that Firmino signed a new deal at Hoffenheim back in March, but that same article also suggested that Liverpool and Chelsea were reported suitors for the Brazilian.
With 16 league goals and 12 assists, Firmino could well represent an attainable target with excellent productivity and value for money. That he isn’t one of the most touted names on the market is truly a shock.
Hoffenheim boast a second star on our list, with Kevin Volland another underrated forward player whose performances last season perhaps deserve to culminate in a summer move.
The lack of rumours linking Volland with a move away is strange given his reputation in the Bundesliga.
Perhaps all the young German stars left out by Joachim Low for his World Cup squad have been sidelined in the transfer market due to the impressive exploits of their senior teammates in Brazil this summer. Volland’s name may feature much more actively after the tournament is over.
The last we’ve heard about a potential Max Meyer move was back in mid-June—almost a month ago—when he was rumored to be the subject of an £8 million bid from Liverpool, according to the Metro.
Since then, it’s all gone mysteriously quiet, which is, well, mysterious given the hype that Meyer attracted with his exciting displays for Schalke 04 last season.
He’d be an excellent pickup for any club looking for one of the hottest midfield prospects in Europe at the moment. Perhaps there’s more to the quietness than any of us know?
It’s been a tough summer for Asian football nations given their dismal performances and results at the World Cup in Brazil.
Even having been one of the continent’s only bright stars, Son Heung-min has probably suffered from a lack of spotlight on South Korean players because of their World Cup campaign.
But with Bayer Leverkusen finishing fourth in the Bundesliga last season and just making the Champions League playoff round, Son represents a fine target for any club looking for a dynamic, creative and intelligent forward. Expect his name to pop up more often in the coming months.
Anyone who paid attention to the Bundesliga last season will be just as surprised as us that Wolfsburg’s Ricardo Rodriguez hasn’t become the talk of the summer transfer window on the back of his performances last season.
Rodriguez also impressed with Switzerland in their World Cup campaign, which ended in an extra-time defeat against Argentina in the round of 16.
But there’s been a lack of rumors involving the left-back. The only one that has done the rounds features Manchester United, who have already signed their left-back of the future, Luke Shaw, from Southampton (per the Daily Mail's Simon Jones).
His international teammate Xherdan Shaqiri might be hogging the headlines this summer, but curiously, Switzerland’s midfield talisman Granit Xhaka has had a relatively quiet few months on the rumor front.
It’s been two years since Borussia Monchengladbach signed Xhaka, and he has been a revelation in midfield for the Bundesliga club.
Clubs that need an all-round package in midfield could do much worse than look at Xhaka, and there are many such football clubs scattered across Europe. So why so quiet?
You’d be forgiven for thinking that Mateo Musacchio has been around the block. Such is the reputation he has forged for himself with Villarreal—but in fact, at just 23 years of age, he still belongs very much in that “up-and-coming” category of defensive prospects.
But the last major rumor that’s done the rounds was back in April, when Liverpool were linked with the Argentine defender, according to Talksport (h/t the Mirror's Liam Prenderville).
They’d do well to sign him given their issues in defence last season. But then anyone looking for a high-potential defender would do well to secure his signature.
Gerard Deulofeu has returned to Barcelona after showing glimpses of his undoubted talent during a loan spell with Everton in the Premier League last season and will be setting his sights on establishing a first-team place for himself at Camp Nou.
But with a forward line boasting Lionel Messi, Neymar and the heavily linked Luis Suarez, and Pedro Rodriguez apparently staying at the club (per talkSPORT.com), where will Deulofeu fit in?
Realistically, Deulofeu should probably be looking at spending another season out on loan to get more first-team minutes. But there hasn’t been any sign of that yet.
Over in Italy, Palermo’s Abel Hernandez won rave reviews for his performances in Serie B last season, scoring 14 goals in 28 league games to secure promotion back to Serie A, and he also competed in the World Cup in Uruguay this summer.
Long linked with a move elsewhere in Europe, Hernandez has slipped slightly below the radar, though we suspect it might have something to do with the fact that he wasn’t playing top-flight football last season.
Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini has claimed as much, telling Italian radio station Kiss Kiss that the club haven’t received any offers for the striker (via Sky Sports). But they should be.
Just as we haven’t seen much of Jordy Clasie in the Netherlands’ World Cup run this summer, we also haven’t seen his name appear in transfer rumors.
Given his excellent performances and consistency at club level for Feyenoord, and his playing style and technical ability—he is nicknamed the “Dutch Xavi” after all—both are surprising.
According to the Daily Express' Peter Edwards, only Manchester United, who are to be managed by Dutch boss Louis van Gaal after the World Cup finals, have been whispered in conjunction with Clasie’s name. Far more clubs than that need a player of Clasie’s quality.
As ever when it comes to young talent from the Eredivisie, Arsenal aren’t too far away from any related rumors. Yet according to the Express' Ben Jefferson, the last time the Gunners were linked with Ajax’s Davy Klaassen was back in February.
We named Klaassen in a list of five best talents to watch out for at Ajax and PSV Eindhoven back in January this year, and it’s clear that he has the talent to succeed at the biggest clubs in Europe.
But it seems like Klaassen and Ajax are biding their time. If he doesn’t move this year, expect him to feature more prominently in the transfer headlines in the next few seasons.
Unlike Klaassen, Viktor Fischer found himself less favored at Ajax last season, as he struggled to repeat his scintillating form in his debut season with the Amsterdam club.
Damaged goods? Perhaps, and he does have to find that all-important element of consistency in order to truly find his feet the top level.
But any damaged good that still reportedly commands a fee of £15 million at 19 years of age, per the Metro's Jamie Sanderson, is worth a look. And who knows—perhaps the club willing to take a chance on Fischer might end up with a raw diamond capable of sparkling.
Plying his trade in Switzerland with FC Basel, a real young gem has emerged in the form of Fabian Schar, who also played for his country in the World Cup finals this summer.
Yet all we’ve ever heard about Schar in the mainstream media is the fact that he used to work part-time as an intern at a local Swiss bank, according to the Guardian's Jill Zimmerli.
A defender of his composure, physical stature and calm should be one of hottest names around this summer window. Instead, the club that signs him next will likely be picking up a bargain. Who will it be?
Rounding off our list is Dede, who plays in Brazil with Cruzeiro. He opted to transfer from Vasco da Gama for just £4.2 million than move to Europe despite being hotly linked with Liverpool last April, according to the Metro's Jamie Sanderson.
A move to Cruzeiro shouldn’t, and hasn’t, diminished his ability, form or reputation. He remains a premier defender with the complete package who arguably should have secured a move to Europe years ago.
Yet as the summer rumbles by, Dede is still in Brazil, having failed to make Luiz Felipe Scolari’s World Cup squad. There’s a great defender just waiting to be picked up.