Transfer Rumours: Robin Van Persie and 15 Top Strikers Still on the Market

Karl Matchett@@karlmatchettFeatured ColumnistJuly 7, 2012

Transfer Rumours: Robin Van Persie and 15 Top Strikers Still on the Market

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    The transfer market is officially open around Europe and top teams everywhere are queuing up to grab the best prizes available.

    For some sides, they need merely alter a few names, add the odd new face and they will think themselves ready to go. Other teams are in a state of renewal and need half a dozen or more signings for their first team as they enter a transition phase.

    Amongst all the signings, a centre forward tends to be the one who excites or disappoints fans the most; when a striker with an Emile Heskey-esque goalscoring rate is eyed up, fans tend to prepare for a season of struggles.

    Robin van Persie on the other hand will have fans dreaming of lifting silverware come May.

    Here are 15 top strikers still available in the transfer market, including the Dutch forward.

Robin Van Persie, Arsenal

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    Fresh from announcing his intention to not renew his Arsenal contract, Robin van Persie has quickly become the hottest available property on the transfer market this summer.

    With just one season left on his contract and the player unhappy at the lack of perceived progress by his side to challenge for major honours, the Dutchman has decided enough is enough and he will be seeking a new club.

    Arsenal might just decide to keep him for the last 12 months of his deal and hope for the best next summer, at the risk of losing him on a free transfer, but too many people will advise against keeping a player at the club who does not want to be there.

    Captain or not, van Persie will very likely be on his way out this summer.

    Possible market value: He's worth a lot more, but his contract situation could see van Persie leave for around £15 million.

    Possible destinations: Not many can attract or afford him. Juventus and Manchester City might be the frontrunners.

Leandro Damiao, Internacional

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    One of Brazil's most sought-after youngsters, striker Leandro Damiao has had admirers from the Premier League, Serie A and the Liga Sagres over the past 24 months.

    The striker has already played and scored for the full national team despite being only 22 years of age, and after hitting close to 70 goals for Internacional, will now be feeling it might be time to try his luck elsewhere.

    Should he choose to leave this summer, there will be no shortage of takers but a lot of expectation placed on his shoulders.

    Possible market value: £20m might sound a lot for a young forward untested in Europe, but Internacional have not been shy about stating he won't go for much less. Likely to be including add-ons though based on future success.

    Possible destinations: Anywhere really. Tottenham, Porto and Arsenal have all been linked, whilst half of Serie A's teams will also see the young man linked with them.

Emmanuel Adebayor, Manchester City

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    One of the trend setters?

    Emmanuel Adebayor left Arsenal for Manchester City several seasons ago; a move which has since been repeated by the likes of Kolo Toure, Gael Clichy, Samir Nasri and potentially  Robin van Persie.

    The Togolese forward has spent time out on loan at Real Madrid and Spurs after falling out of favour at the Etihad Stadium, but his massive wages are a problem with City searching to offload him permanently.

    He is a quality forward, no doubt about it, but there is not much loyalty in the player to any particular team. He'll go where he's offered first team football and a hefty wage.

    Possible market value: Could go for a free transfer, in all honesty, as City look to rid him from their wage bill.

    Possible destinations: Spurs are said to want him back, wages depending. They might be his first choice with lack of alternatives.

Clint Dempsey, Fulham

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    Not technically a striker but Clint Dempsey is certainly a versatile attacker capable of playing in the front line as well as the midfield.

    Fulham's goal machine from last season will be in big demand after proving yet again that he is one of the Premier League's top performers.

    Another with only a year left on his contract, Dempsey will likely either move on this summer or sign a new deal with the Cottagers. With his stock having never been higher, Dempsey will surely want to test himself on a bigger stage.

    Possible market value: Figures of £10 million have been reported but with his age and contract status, half that price is more likely. A bargain.

    Possible destinations: Any of six from the top eight sides in the Premier League would benefit from having Dempsey in their squad. The Manchester clubs being the exception.

Hulk, Porto

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    FC Porto sold one of their two main forwards to Atletico Madrid last summer, with Radamel Falcao proving a massive hit in Spain.

    This time around it is their other superstar, Hulk, who is attracting big interest and looks set to move for a big transfer fee.

    Best playing from the right of a front three where he can cut inside onto his powerful left foot, Hulk is nonetheless capable of playing all the way across the top line.

    Expect this to be a saga which runs on all summer, with interested parties trying to bring the price tag down and Porto holding out for as much as possible.

    Possible market value: Anywhere up to £30 million if reports are to be believed. More likely to be the £20m to £24m range after lengthy discussions, if the player pushes through a move.

    Possible destinations: Chelsea appear the most likely destination but Andre Villas-Boas' arrival at Spurs might see them become interested—if they have that kind of cash.

Oscar Cardozo, Benfica

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    Staying in Portugal, Porto's big rivals Benfica have a striker of their own who might be on his way.

    Paraguayan forward Oscar Cardozo has enjoyed a fruitful stay in the Liga Sagres, but having hit over 125 goals in five seasons, is looking for one last big challenge as he approaches his 30's.

    Benfica have seemingly accepted that Cardozo will be on his way, but the large price tag applied to him will rule out certain interested parties.

    Possible market value: £16 million has been quoted, which seems rather high.

    Possible destinations: Everton have been linked but would do well to come up with the cash. Galatasaray, Fenerbahce and PSG are in the frame too.

Daniel Sturridge, Chelsea

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    Chelsea forward Daniel Sturridge, out of favour at the end of last season under Roberto di Matteo, could be on the way out of Stamford Bridge as he looks to secure first team football.

    The former Manchester City forward started the season in the team under Andre Villas-Boas but a change in manager saw a change in fortunes for the starlet.

    Currently ill with suspected meningitis, Sturridge faces a race to be fit for the Olympic Games and will surely not seal any transfer until after then, leaving time a little short before the transfer window closes.

    Possible market value: Anywhere from £10-£20 million has been mentioned.

    Possible destination: Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester City—the club he left to join Chelsea—have all been mentioned as possible admirers of the forward.

Fabio Borini, Roma

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    Fabio Borini, part of Italy's Euro 2012 runner-up squad, has recently been bought by Roma after they outbid Parma for the remaining 50% of his ownership—under the terms of the Italian "part-ownership" scheme.

    Some media outlets are still reporting that Borini could have been signed by Roma to profit from an even greater sale back out to a third party club.

    The forward had some success at Swansea City in the Championship under Brendan Rodgers who is a known admirer.

    Possible market value: Up to £15 million, netting Roma a cool £8 million profit in a matter of days or weeks.

    Possible destinations: Liverpool have been hot favourites to sign him since the end of the Euros.

Demba Ba, Newcastle United

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    Senegalese striker Demba Ba impressed hugely upon signing for Newcastle on a free transfer from relegated West Ham United last summer, before a barren spell in front of goal befell him in the second half of the season.

    Ironically, this lean streak was partially influenced by the arrival of a second Senegalese striker, Papiss Cisse, and the subsequent positional change that Ba went through.

    With a £7 million release clause in his contract since he signed for the Toon club, transfer rumours on the forward leaving the Premier League side have been non-stop.

    Possible market value: £7 million, according to the clause in his contract.

    Possible destinations: Half the Premier League has been linked with him, including Manchester United and Liverpool.

Fernando Llorete, Athletic Bilbao

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    One of the biggest players with the biggest names in football at the moment, Fernando Llorente is a wanted man after a fantastic season with Athletic Bilbao.

    He helped the Basque side reach the finals of the Copa del Rey and Europa League, ultimately failing to win either but impressing plenty of watching opponents along the way.

    Llorente was also part of the successful Euro 2012 squad, albeit from the sidelines.

    With Marcelo Bielsa currently not sure to be in charge of the team for next season, it could be a real summer of upheaval with Llorente one of those leaving.

    Possible market value: Huge. At least £20 million but possibly up to £30 million, depending on the buyer and Bilbao's resolve.

    Possible destinations: Only the teams with the biggest bank balances need apply. Manchester City don't seem to need him, so PSG, Chelsea, Real Madrid or at a stretch Juventus.

Luuk De Jong, FC Twente

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    Dutch forward Luuk de Jong has impressed at FC Twente but is almost certain to be on his way this summer, despite the club's best intentions of holding onto him.

    de Jong has simply outgrown his team—and the Dutch league—and wants to move on to further his career. It has seemed that the club were resigned to the striker leaving, but recently they feel they might be getting short-changed, much to the disgust of the striker.

    Several teams around the continent will be hoping to convince de Jong to sign for them.

    Possible market value: Around £12-15million seems likely.

    Possible destinations: Borussia Moenchengladback seem the most possible candidates, but other Bundesliga and Premier League sides will be eyeing the situation.

Gonzalo Higuain, Real Madrid

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    Real Madrid forward Gonzalo Higuain has been a regular member of the first team squad for the past five seasons, injury permitting, but has still yet to really nail down a first-name-on-the-teamsheet place for himself or earn the unyielding trust of his coaches.

    Karim Benzema is his main threat for a starting place now, though Los Merengues could well be in the market for another forward this summer.

    Higuain would be a certain starter at plenty of other clubs and, with 91 La Liga goals to his name, would easily attract interest were he to make it known he wanted to move.

    Not any team could lure him though with the promise of first team football; Higuain plays for one of the biggest sides in world football and would require a name of similar stature were he to change clubs.

    Possible market value: £17 million or more. Higuain is under contract until 2016 and at 24 years of age he has his best years ahead of him. Real would have no need to let him go cheaply.

    Possible destinations: The biggest sides in Europe would have to be interested; PSG, the Milan clubs, Arsenal or Chelsea might all be options. Tottenham won't.

Theo Walcott, Arsenal

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    Similar to clubmate Robin van Persie, Theo Walcott has a single season left to run on his Arsenal contract and is said to be considering all options open to him, over whether or not to sign a new deal with the club.

    Capable of playing as a central striker—his favoured position—as well as his more usual Gunners role on the right side, Walcott is a real threat for the Premier League side who just needs to add consistency and composure to his game.

    Pace, directness and something of a penchant for big moments make him a game-changer, though.

    Arsene Wenger will be anxious to tie him down rather than see him go the way of club captain van Persie.

    Possible market value: £10 million might be the limit for a talented forward with plenty of future—but only one year left on his contract.

    Possible destination: Liverpool have been touted as interested, but Chelsea will be interested too. Manchester City usually sign Arsenal's wantaway players but might pass on this occasion.

Matias Suarez, Anderlecht

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    Anderlecht's forward Matias Suarez was reported to be a January transfer window target for the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool in the Premier League, but he opted to stay with his club in Belgium for the remainder of the season.

    This summer he may get a move away anyway, with several clubs said to be still interested in tying up his signature.

    Anderlecht want Suarez to stay until after the Champions League qualifiers to ensure their economic success for the season is boosted by them reaching the group stages, but such a move would render Suarez ineligible for the competition after he gets his move.

    Possible market value: £12 million or so should be enough to prise him out of the Belgian top flight.

    Possible destinations: Bayern Munich were thought to be on his case, but they have since signed Mario Mandzukic. Still, the Bundesliga seems a plausible destination with Dortmund, Wolfsburg and Moenchengladback all in the market for a forward.

Stevan Jovetic, Fiorentina

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    Montenegrin forward Stevan Jovetic concludes our list of strikers, with the Fiorentina forward very much in demand following a string of impressive performances for his club.

    Jovetic has spent four years in Italy, though he missed the entire 2010-11 season through injury. Even so, he bounced back to score 14 times last season.

    Skilful, able to play either from the flank or centrally and with no shortage of confidence, Jovetic will command a high transfer fee if anyone is to wrench him from the Serie A side.

    At just 22 years of age and with 20 international caps and nine goals to his name already, he has a big future for sure and clubs will queue up to ensure he provides his best form for them if Fiorentina let him move on.

    Possible market value: £20 million or more, for sure. Jovetic has four more years on his contract but could still ask for a move with Fiorentina nowhere near the top of the league at present.

    Possible destinations: Chelsea have long been mooted with a move for him, though Arsenal will be keeping tabs too if van Persie takes off as expected.

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