The World Cup is over. Soccer gets put on idle, for now.
The summer months means transfer season for most leagues around the world, and the switches and movement provide talking points to hold us over until the upcoming season.
For players and coaches alike, new teams mean new bridges to build and new challenges to conquer.
Negotiations to sell the monster English club are still on the table, with Kenny Huang and the Chinese Investment Corporation, the New York based Rhone Group, and the Al-Kharafi family all said to be interested in acquiring the club.
Liverpool is a storied organization with great fans and a heralded venue at Anfield. New ownership would mean the relief of the team's debt, as well as the go-ahead for construction of a new stadium.
With extra cash to lure in the top talent around Europe, Liverpool could be in prime position to return to the top of the English tables.
After a stunning World Cup performance that was highlighted by some spectacular goals, David Villa transferred from Valencia to Barcelona, joining a star-studded front-line with Zlatan Imbrahimovic and Lionel Messi.
How will manager Pep Guardiola utilize these three elite goal scorers?
Following a disappointing early exit out of the Champions League, adding another proven goal scorer to the front cannot hurt Barcelona’s chances in this year’s cup.
With sights on defending its crown in La Liga, Villa's signing leaves no doubt for another excellent year in Spain.
The scars from Real Madrid’s Champions League defeat at the hands of Olympique Lyonnais last year still sting, but the Spanish giants added young and still talented bodies to replace the veteran stars of old.
Longtime mainstay Raúl is gone, along with Guti.
Incoming players include Ángel Di Maria from Benfica, Sami Khedira from Stuttgart, Pedro León from Getafe, and Sergio Canales from Racing Santander.
Don't forget about José Mourinho coming to the Bernabéu from Inter Milan. Rumors are that Maicon will make the transfer along with his manager.
Can the Special One bring Real Madrid back to the top of the Spanish League?
Is Jose Mourinho’s move from Inter Milan to coach at Real Madrid the key for Real to re-capture Champions League prominence?
Last year, Mourinho was able to secure the coveted treble at Inter in his first season. Does he have the magic to do it in Spain?
With an already stellar squad in Madrid, along with the additions of the transfer season, it is not out of the question that the Spanish giants can challenge for a title in Spain and in Europe.
Mourinho may also get wingback Maicon to follow him to the Bernabéu, who else will come play for the Chosen One?
Turkey is becoming a popular destination for some players willing to play far from home.
Clubs like Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe, and Beşitkaş are dropping some change to bring more international talent to Eastern Europe.
Beşitkaş are linked with moves for Manchester City's Robinho and Aston Villa's John Carew, after completing a deal in June with Inter Milan's Ricardo Quaresma.
Galatasaray had multiple loan deals last season, including budding star Giovanni dos Santos (Tottenham) and Jo (Manchester City). Elano had a good stint with the club, but is likely on his way out. One big name rumored to be on the club's list is Bayern Munich's Hamit Altintop.
Fenerbahçe has already secured a transfer with Chelsea man Miroslav Stoch and are looking at the Ghanaian striker Asamoah Gyan to fill the void up front.
It's no news that some Turkish clubs are set to make some noise in Europe. With the influx of new players this transfer season, expect some more surprises out of Turkey.
Is he staying or is he going?
For weeks now, the courtship of Inter Milan's 19-year old sensation (soon to be 20) Mario Balotelli has been a hot topic.
The striker was rumored to be most interested in Manchester United and their crosstown rivals Manchester City, with City inching closer to landing the talented youngster.
City recently threw £25 million at Inter Milan for Balotelli's services, but his wage demands may end up being a deal-breaker.
In his second year as owner of the club, Sheikh Mansour has put Manchester City through another makeover, arming manager Roberto Mancini with another loaded roster to compete for an English Premier League title.
New additions to the club include Yaya Toure—the younger brother of City’s Kolo Toure—David Silva, Alexandro Kolarov, and Jerome Boateng.
A move for Mario Balotelli still can't be ruled out, potentially marking the end of Emmanuel Adebayor’s stay at Eastlands. However, there has also been talk of pairing the two up front to form a hopefully towering partnership.
Are they finished?
Look for more switches at City as the transfer season rolls on.
Amidst the hot stove that is the first European transfer season, the early stages of the Champions League are mere weeks away.
Here are the draws to secure a spot in group play:
Young Boys v. Tottenham Hotspur
Braga v. Sevilla
Werder Bremen v. Sampdoria
Zenit St. Petersburg v. Auxerre
Dynamo Kiev v. Ajax
Salzburg v. Hapoel Tel-Aviv
Rosenborg v. FC Copenhagen
Basel v. FC Sheriff
Sparta Pragua v. MSK Zilina
Partizan Belgrade v. Anderlecht
With the EPL and La Liga drawing most of the attention during the transfer season, where do the Serie A, the Bundesliga and Ligue 1 match up?
Who are leaving the clubs in England and Spain for the Germany, Italy and France? The rumors seem to be quiet around those parts.
How will these league's hold up to what seems to be the more prominent English and Spanish divisions?
The final weeks of the transfer season should shape up nicely.
For months, soccer fans around the world have chattered about a possible Cesc Fabregas move from Arsenal to his hometown club Barcelona.
The midfielder recently released a statement claiming his intentions are to stay at the Emirates, but stranger things have happened during the transfer season.
He's still young and highly coveted for those clubs that can afford his services. His decision will be followed to the minute.