20 Bold Predictions for the Final Week of the Summer Transfer Window

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistAugust 26, 2014

20 Bold Predictions for the Final Week of the Summer Transfer Window

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    The final week of any summer transfer window has an intriguing habit of both uniting and dividing the sport's community, where friends and enemies alike look to share common ground in the hunt for last-minute business.

    Everywhere in Europe, clubs are attempting to thrash out deals as we near the almighty climax on September 1, and a sea of questions will receive their answers over the next seven days.

    In Mystic Meg fashion, predictions have been placed on a raft of the biggest deals said to be taking place, some with more context and reasoning behind them others, which may seem of the shot-in-the-dark variety.

    As has become plain to see in recent summers, football tends to shock in these closing stages, meaning there's not a lot of departures and arrivals that can truly be ruled out.

    Financial constraints and player allegiances are just some of the factors that may give a transfer a status verging on the impossible, but we've gone about foretelling some of those biggest moves and events to materialise in the coming days.

    It should be noted that transfers nearing completion have been omitted, such as Angel Di Maria's proposed move to Manchester United, per BBC Sport, or Mehdi Benatia's switch to Bayern Munich, per James Horncastle.

1. Morgan Schneiderlin Joins Mauricio Pochettino at Spurs

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    A rumour that's gone cold in recent weeks has seen Morgan Schneiderlin's proposed move to White Hart Lane move off the radar as Southampton restrengthen their stance on a summer exodus.

    However, dependent on Napoli's Champions League fate—the Italians are currently engaged with Athletic Bilbao in the play-offs—Rafa Benitez may make a move for Sandro, per the Mirror's Neil McLeman.

    Matt Law of the Telegraph writes that Spurs' most recent £10 million offer is some way off the Saints' £25 million valuation of Schneiderlin.

    That being said, a strong start to the season for Mauricio Pochettino may be the deciding factor he needs to turn his former midfielder's head in the direction of north London.

    It may not be that the final fee is what Southampton are seeking, but rather than have a player around whose loyalties lie elsewhere, the south coast club may settle for a slightly smaller offer.

2. Arsenal Complete Cut-Price Swoop for Adrien Rabiot

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    On the face of things, Adrien Rabiot is a player fitting of the current Arsenal paradigm; he's young, French, available for a reduced fee and can play the deeper-lying midfield role in which Arsene Wenger could use added depth.

    However, logic and what seems like sense to some has never always been enough to push the Gunners into business, and ESPN FC's Jonathan Johnson, along with Nik Postinger of WePlay reveal they aren't the only linked club:

    Tuttosport: Adrien Rabiot's "entourage" (mother) has now rejected a 2-year loan move to AC Milan. Would have required signing new PSG deal.

    — Jonathan Johnson (@Jon_LeGossip) August 25, 2014

    Tuttosport say PSG starlet Adrien Rabiot's eccentric mother Véronique has rejected a bid by Milan despite being wined and dined by Galliani.

    — Nik Postinger (@nikpostinger) August 25, 2014

    PSG manager Laurent Blanc spoke to French newspaper L'Equipe (h/t Sky Sports) last week, admitting that Rabiot, now in the last year of his contract in the capital, could leave this summer: 

    We appreciate the boy. He has a great opportunity at PSG and I believe he has the qualities to play here. But his entourage doesn’t agree and takes advantage of his contractual situation. I know he had a very good offer from PSG. But he doesn’t seem attracted.

    Mikel Arteta's injury uncertainty has placed a greater emphasis on the need for central recruits, and Rabiot would be both a short- and long-term investment, tipped as one of the brightest prospects at Parc des Princes.

    Right now, speculation linking Arsenal with the player is relatively low, but with mention of a fee in the region of €11 million, expect the Gunners to steal in with some cost-effective business late on.

3. Arturo Vidal Ignores Summer Intrigue to Remain with Bianconeri

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    It's been one of the go-to stories of the entire summer, with every comment, autographed jersey and suggestive nod in the wrong direction examined to a microscopic degree.

    However anticlimactic it may be, however, the end result will see Arturo Vidal remain in Turin this season.

    Latest reports see The Independent's Ian Herbert linking the Chilean with a £34 million switch to Manchester United, but there isn't enough progress about the deal to suggest it will go through.

    The money mentioned has remained the same all summer, Louis van Gaal may still harbour concerns about the health of the midfielder's knee, and the Bianconeri are in no rush to sell a player contracted to their cause until 2017.

    At this point, United seem the only likely destination for Vidal if there were to be an exit this summer, and the heavens simply won't open for the Red Devils in this case, no matter how perfect a fit the player seems.

4. Juventus Bail Xherdan Shaqiri out of Bayern Limbo with Season-Long Loan

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    Bayern Munich have held a steel grip on Xherdan Shaqiri in recent years, and though at times the Swiss speedster has looked close to a move away, the Bavarians have retained their grip on his services.

    Again, Shaqiri looks like a fringe player at the Allianz Arena and made a cameo appearance in the 2014-15 opener against Wolfsburg, telling German newspaper Blick (h/t Goal.com's Vaishali Bhardwaj) of his concern:

    The coach has decided it so you have to accept it. I have to deal with it and try to impose myself [on the team]. Clearly you're disappointed if you are not in the starting line-up. We must not talk about transfers; it has been talked about enough. I only answer questions regarding the game.

    The 22-year-old deserves full credit for retaining credibility in not being more active in any potential pursuit of a Bayern departure, but the thirst for first-team minutes has to be frustrating to no end.

    His Bayern ties won't be completely cut this summer, but Anthony Hay of the Daily Mail reports that Juve are interested in his services, and a loan deal looks like it could be the end result in this instance.

    The Turin giants have had previous success with the Swiss, thanks to Stephan Lichtsteiner, and Shaqiri would be a savvy acquisition to satisfy their needs out wide, even on a temporary basis.

    Bayern may not be content with the thought of losing Shaqiri, even is just for a season, but after several seasons of sideline play, this could be the summer that sees the youngster reacquainted with seniority.

5. Inter Spend Big Again to Land Ezequiel Lavezzi

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    PSG's desire to land new faces is likely to see the club cash in on one of their valued stars in the remaining week of the window, and Ezequiel Lavezzi seems to be the man heading for the exit.

    Inter's transfer spending under Erick Thohir has seen a sharp rise in recent windows, and the Serie A giants are now better equipped to deal with the wages and fees that may formerly have been seen as unsustainable.

    The Nerazzurri will hope that Di Maria's move to Old Trafford doesn't lead to PSG's decision not to sell their winger, however, with talkSPORT reporting that Walter Mazzarri's side are still hopeful of landing their man.

    The wings aren't an area in which Inter are particularly strong at present, although Lavezzi could be seen with the potential to play as an inside forward, having shown his scoring potential with nine league goals last term.

6. Juan Cuadrado Opts for Ligue 1 Switch After PSG Free Up Space

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    And should the aforementioned Lavezzi opt for a Serie A move, Juan Cuadrado could be seen as the man to replace him at Parc des Princes, even though links between the two parties are few and far between.

    Fiorentina president Andrea Della Valle has made it clear that should the right offer come in, it will be hard to keep the Colombian around, telling Italian outlet Mediaset (h/t 101GreatGoals) earlier this month:

    I met with Juan (Cuadrado) today, and he asked me if he could leave. I asked him, ”Stay one more year”, but I’m not optimistic. Faced with an important offer, the boy wants to leave. We’ll give ourselves time until the end of August, but even without him we’ll be ultra-competitive.

    Cuadrado has since commented on the chances of a departure himself, per the Daily Mail's Joe Strange, evidently in no rush to tie his allegiances down with La Viola: "My future does not depend on me, there is still time until the market closes, no? I don't know."

    Should Lavezzi leave Paris, PSG will be urged to bring in some form of wing talent, and with Di Maria no longer available, Cuadrado would strike as the next, most readily available option.

    Financial Fair Play dictates that the club must sell to buy again in this window, but the funds should be in place to sanction such a deal.

7. Fernando Torres Remains on Chelsea Fringes for Another Year

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    Given how the last two years of his Stamford Bridge career have gone, it might be unrealistic for some to imagine Fernando Torres' Chelsea ties lingering for much longer.

    However, one can expect the mass scrutiny of the once-prolific figure to drag on for another year as Charlie Skillen of the Daily Mail reports it would take the Blues forking out £16 million of their own funds to cut ties.

    That's the value of Torres' remaining two contracted years at the club, and although there are clubs out there reportedly eager to revive the Spaniard's past successes, his £150,000-a-week wages are proving problematic.

    Therefore, any club looking to sign him will want to do so for a nominal fee, or even better for nothing if his deal can be terminated, but it just won't happen—not this summer at least.

    "Is £16 million all it would take?" may be the attitude for some when mentioning Chelsea's vast riches, but gone are the days when such figures could be thrown about so frivolously, if those days were ever here to begin with.

8. Salomon Kalou Makes Premier League Return with Sunderland

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    It's only been two years since Salomon Kalou left Chelsea for French shores, but the Lille forward has constantly been linked with a move away from the club for almost the entirety of his tenure there.

    In what would be a miniature coup for the Black Cats, Sunderland appear most interested in the Ivorian international, and that could be half the battle in landing his services.

    Kalou has held talks with the north-east outfit, Goal.com's Sacha Pisani confirmed, with manager Gus Poyet confirming the interest while speaking out against club sources leaking information on his transfer targets:

    I am going to have to do research at this football club into who is leaking information every week. It cannot be always the player's agent. A few agents, OK, you can blame them, but there is too much information coming out and I don’t like it. I am not going to comment on any players, sorry.

    What makes this move a bold one is that Kalou has by no means disappointed with Lille and could certainly hold out for a bigger club should he wish.

    However, the Sunderland Echo's Chris Young says the player would court a £4 million figure, well within Sunderland's reach, although wages may be a different matter:

    Sunderland have predominantly been looking at loans. But if fee for Kalou is only £4m, that's not much more than a loan fee these days

    — Chris Young (@YoungSunEcho) August 24, 2014

    With a move for Liverpool's Fabio Borini potentially in tatters, either temporary or permanent, Kalou would be the default choice, and his Premier League past will see him return, this time as a Black Cat.

9. Louis Van Gaal Gets Double Dutch Reunion, Signs Daley Blind and Nigel De Jong

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    All summer long, Van Gaal's arrival at Manchester United has been tipped to bring about a Dutch revolution at Old Trafford, but as of yet no Netherlands national has come.

    Well, when it rains, it pours, and with the club desperate to boost depth in quality, both Daley Blind and Nigel de Jong will come before the deadline has passed.

    Metro reported last week that both players were on Van Gaal's radar, but it may have been difficult to envision that much business when the club has been inactive for a great deal of the summer.

    Ajax's Blind makes a lot of sense, given that he can play a role on the left or in the centre of defence, as well as in midfield should he need to.

    Ian Herbert of The Independent attests that United's board aren't keen on De Jong, however, although the manager is hoping to change their mind on that front.

    When push comes to shove later on in the window, United are as capable of any other team of conducting last-gasp business.

    That being said, both midfield and defence remain positions in need of more options, and after this much waiting, it could be now that the Dutch brigade finally makes its march on Old Trafford.

10. Javier Hernandez Moves to San Siro as Part of Rossoneri Swap

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    Javier Hernandez's Manchester United quagmire is encroaching ever more on his national team involvement, to the point where coach Miguel Herrera omitted the striker from his squad for upcoming friendlies so that he may sort out his club future.

    Speaking to Mediotiempo (h/t Sky Sports), Herrera said:

    I had a word with him and we agreed that the best thing was to wait, most of all so he can stay where he is and decide his future. It's not good for him, and either for me, to have him in the team if he has his mind on what could happen with him. We are both calm, we don't have any hurry. We took the decision together so he can wait and see if there is a transfer or if he will stay there at Manchester.

    It should prove to the final push Chicharito needs to accept that his Red Devils dream is no longer what it once was, and Milan will be the party that benefits. 

    Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t Daily Mail's Sunni Upal) supposes that with Mario Balotelli now at Liverpool, Hernandez is on the shortlist of potential replacements.

    The striker has long been seen as a player capable of more if he were to be given a more senior role, and Van Gaal could be willing to let the player leave is his recent faith in United's youth is anything to go by.

    That's not to say United will allow the Mexican to leave for pennies, but his fee and salary wouldn't be of the astronomical variety, and within the Rossoneri's reach now that Balotelli is off their books.

11. Jonathan Biabiany Makes Long-Anticipated Milan Move

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    Linked to that Hernandez transfer, Milan's next priority would lie closer to the flanks, and an old target will come back into the spotlight in the form of Parma winger Jonathan Biabiany.

    Back in January, the Rossoneri were thought to be closing in on the former Inter speedster, but club chief executive Adriano Galliani explained why a deal never came about, per the club's official website (h/t Goal.com's Stefan Coerts):

    Regarding Biabiany, Parma wanted a loan with an obligation to buy, whereas we only wanted a loan with an option to buy. We tried it, but we couldn’t reach an agreement in the end.

    With a full season now ahead, Milan may be more willing to part with the sum needed to make the transfer permanent, and Biabiany wouldn't be the most expensive of purchases.

    The club's need for an increase in attacking depth doesn't peg the 26-year-old as being a world-class signing by any means, but it would be a deal that fits their more recent pattern in spending.

12. Juventus Bring in Matija Nastasic as Defensive Reinforcement

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    Having been deemed surplus to requirements at the Etihad Stadium, it seems only a matter of when, not if, Matija Nastasic leaves Manchester City this summer.

    Eliaquim Mangala's arrival at the club sees the Serbian move further down Manuel Pellegrini's pecking order, and Juve could offer a Serie A home that's been popular among Eastern Europeans through the years.

    A move to Turin would undoubtedly interest Nastasic given Juve's status as Italian champions, but the main issue in this case would appear the Bianconeri's ability to meet City's price demands.

    It was mooted by the Daily Mail's Sami Mokbel that Roma would see the centre-back as a replacement for Bayern-bound Benatia, but the Press Association (h/t Daily Mail) says that Kostas Manolas looks to have plugged that void.

    Arsenal may yet pose a threat, but Juve's need for cover at the back may seem them splurge on Nastasic, who could cost in the region of £15 million.

    It's a fee the Gunners aren't likely to shed on a player who would likely be their third choice behind Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, and it seems Arsene Wenger has plans for Calum Chambers to offer some cover in the position, too.

13. Premier League Spending Breaks Record £750 Million Mark

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    As things stand, the current record for net spending in a Premier League transfer window sits at £630 million, the figure paid by England's elite as a collective in the summer of 2013.

    A last-minute move from Arsenal saw Mesut Ozil contribute £42.5 million of that sum, and with a week to go, there remains plenty of business to be concluded.

    Last week, Bryan Swanson of Sky Sports revealed that a new record had already been set:

    Premier League clubs have now spent more than £644m this summer - a new transfer record. Previous record was £630m (last summer).

    — Bryan Swanson (@skysports_bryan) August 19, 2014

    When Manchester United's purchase of £59.7 million man Di Maria goes through, the record will firmly go beyond the £700 million mark, and it's not going to stop there either.

    Granted, one can't expect another transfer of such magnitude to go through, but it will only take a few acquisitions of substantial enough sums to take the English top flight into another new realm of extravagance.

14. Wolfsburg Give Lukas Podolski a Bundesliga Comeback

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    Wenger is harbouring a wealth of wide talent at the Emirates Stadium, and if there were one individual seen as a likely departure from the club, it would be 2014 World Cup winner Lukas Podolski.

    Olivier Giroud's injury has seen the manager slam a "not for sale" sign on his attacker, per the Daily Mail, presumably seeing the German as a possible rotation option up front:

    Arsene Wenger announces Lukas Podolski will NOT be leaving Arsenal this summer #afc

    — MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) August 26, 2014

    Despite the statement, Wolfsburg could look to drive a deal for the player's services, the Express' Joe Short reporting the Bundesliga outfit are hoping to cut a £9.5 million deal.

    The Wolves have made some moves in the last year suggesting they're ready to feature among Germany's hierarchy again, last summer's signing of Luiz Gustavo showing that there is intent at the Volkswagen Arena.

    Arsenal may not want to sell, but with other options at Wenger's disposal and a significant offer on the table, Wenger may yet perform another U-turn and see Podolski as an acceptable loss.

15. Marco Reus Pens New Dortmund Deal to End Exit Talk

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    Jurgen Klopp will be as eager as anybody to see the speculation surrounding Marco Reus come to an end, and there's no finer way for a player to do that than by making a concrete commitment to the club they represent.

    Unfortunately, contracts aren't as sacred as they once might have been, but an extension for "Rolls Reus" would nevertheless show that his loyalties remain focused at Signal Iduna Park.

    It's well-founded that Reus' current deal has a release clause activation in 2015, which the Mirror's Eliot Rothwell claims is worth £27 million.

    Klopp is quoted by German television channel ZDF (h/t Daily Mail's Ashley Clements) in saying of his player: "I have a really good feeling about Marco Reus. He will be with us for many years."

    Klopp may have thought the same of Mario Gotze, now of Bayern Munich, at one stage, but Dortmund are a veritable powerhouse in their own right, capable of retaining players and fending off external threats.

    The Black and Yellows' star attacker has been incessantly linked with a move away from Dortmund in the past 18 months, but it's true that he also has a special tie to the club, returning to the location where he grew as a youth.

16. Valencia Round off Busy Summer Window with Big-Money Enzo Perez Deal

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    There's a new power arising in Valencia, it seems, and the takeover of Peter Lim as owner of the club has seen business take an encouraging step in recent months.

    Los Che have already taken Andre Gomes and Rodrigo from Benfica on season-long loan deals, but the Spaniards will return with a move for another of the Eagles' stars in Enzo Perez.

    It's still a difficult deal to orchestrate given that Valencia would need to fork out a fee in excess of €25 million for the South American, but according to Spanish outlet SuperDeporte (h/t Inside Spanish Football), super agent Jorge Mendes has been drafted in to coerce a deal.

    When it comes to matters in his native Portugal, Mendes has a fine track record of getting business done, and it's thought that Benfica could make use of the funds.

    At Valencia, Perez has plenty of Argentina countrymen to keep him company, including Pablo Piatti, Nicolas Otamendi and Ever Banega.

    Lim's ownership of Valencia is already paying dividends for La Liga's sleeping giant, and Perez will be among their ranks before the deadline passes.

17. Barcelona Win CAS Appeal, Transfer Ban Confined to January 2015

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    Many saw it as unfair that Barcelona were permitted to do business this summer, given that their original ban for signing underage players would have seen them prevented from conducting business of any kind.

    However, those angered may wish to prepare themselves for further frustration, as the Camp Nou club could see their punishment reduced even further.

    Per Spanish newspaper Marca (h/t Inside Spanish Football), the Blaugrana recently saw a FIFA appeal rejected in the hopes that their 2015 transfer ban might be lifted, prompting Barca to take their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

    Of the new appeal, Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu said:

    We were aware the ban could be ratified by the appeal and that’s what we wanted, because it was very clear we had to resort to CAS. Hopefully in the coming months it is resolved in CAS in a form more favourable to our interests. We planned the season thinking there would be two windows where we were unable to sign. 

    CAS may choose to uphold the suspension for the entirety of 2015 or lift it altogether, but we predict that the club receive a result somewhere in the middle.

    Barca won't be allowed to conduct any business in the winter transfer period, but like it or not, a shortened ban may well see them back in the market next summer.

18. Petr Cech Sticks with the Blues for Thibaut Courtois Duel

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    Jostling the expectations of two top-class goalkeepers has become something of a trend for elite clubs in recent years, and Chelsea are the latest club to jump on the bandwagon.

    Akin to Iker Casillas' face-off with Diego Lopez at Real Madrid last season and Willy Caballero's current battle with Joe Hart at Manchester City, Thibaut Courtois and Petr Cech will go head-to-head in 2014-15.

    It had been supposed that Cech could be sold in a bid for the Blues to free up space in their foreign player quota, but Jose Mourinho has a long history with the stopper, who can provide Courtois with considerable competition.

    For this season at the very least, Cech will remain at Stamford Bridge, although a season on the sidelines may convince the veteran to cut ties in a year's time.

19. Leicester City Conclude Esteban Cambiasso Coup

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    Against all odds and in what could well be one of the strangest deals to come about this summer, Esteban Cambiasso will play for Leicester City this season.

    I repeat, the current Championship title holders will sign 2009-10 Treble winner and 52-time Argentina international Cambiasso, available as a free transfer following his departure from Inter.

    Nick Mashiter of the Press Association (h/t Daily Mail) reported that the Foxes' negotiations with the veteran are ongoing, and irrespective of how odd it may be, this deal looks to be going ahead.

    Even at 34 years of age, the central anchor can give Leicester a valuable engine presence in their core, not to mention a wealth of European wisdom that Nigel Pearson's squad could undoubtedly do with.

    Admittedly, the progress of talks wouldn't see Cambiasso's moves as the boldest of predictions, per se, but full credit to Leicester for not shirking any confidence in terms of their market targets.

20. Atletico Madrid Win Race for Cruzeiro's Lucas Silva

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    It's nigh impossible to know where Lucas Silva's intentions lie at present, with seemingly every European giant linked with his talents after impressing with Cruzeiro.

    However, Sky Sports mention Atletico Madrid as being among those interested, and Los Rojiblancos fit the criteria for such a move based on their squad requirements and the figures involved.

    Speaking to Brazilian outlets Globo Esporte and Superesportes, per the report, Silva said: 

    I have the dream of playing in Europe, but I don't want to leave Cruzeiro the wrong way. I was developed by Cruzeiro. If it's not something good for me or Cruzeiro, it won't be bad to stay here. My agents make me aware when there is something, when some teams talk or make contact. They assure me they handle this and that I have to worry about what happens on the pitch. I have to do my work well at Cruzeiro so people will still talk about me outside Brazil.

    Despite last season's La Liga triumph, Atleti still aren't a clun that can compete with the financial flair of their continental peers, but the €10 million fee being attached with Silva's name is within their boundaries.

    When value such as that arises, Atletico tend to make their interest felt, knowing that other clubs may be preoccupied with alternative players in their sights.

    Central midfield is one area in which Diego Simeone hasn't focused much of his summer attention, and the loan departure of Josuha Guilavogui to Wolfsburg will have made some room in the engine room.

    That doesn't make central midfield a dire concern for Simeone necessarily, but the chance to sign Silva, currently being tracked by Inter and Manchester United, will be too good to pass up.