Big Transfer Wars to Expect in Summer 2019

Dean Jones@DeanJonesBRFootball Insider at Bleacher ReportFebruary 8, 2019

Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian forward Neymar (L) vies with Napoli's Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly during the European Champions League football match Napoli vs Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) on November 6, 2018 at San Paolo stadium in Naples. (Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)
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When it comes to Europe's elite, there is never time to stand still. Recruitment staff and scouting teams are constantly working hard to unearth exciting new talent—and also land stellar names.

This summer is going to be a particularly exciting one in terms of transfers, as a host of international stars prepare to make moves that will change the face of football at the highest level, with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich almost certain to make significant signings and sales.

With that in mind, we have begun to speak to people around the potential deals about how the summer transfer window is shaping up.

               

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Neymar

The idea of Neymar moving from PSG to Real Madrid may sound like little more than tabloid fodder, but it should not be completely ruled out.

According to sources in Spain, the La Liga club have made contact and want to be kept in mind if the Brazil international decides to leave Paris at the end of this season, and they would work hard to meet his requirements.

We should bear in mind Neymar joined PSG in a bid to become the best player in the world and also command a staggering financial deal.

However, Kylian Mbappe's incredible rise has somewhat overshadowed his status at the club, and there have been noises from parties around the player that he is beginning to become agitated.

It would take a huge offer from Madrid to take the 27-year-old away from PSG, as the Qatari owners would want their £200 million back on him—and more. They would also need to find an adequate replacement. Madrid will discover all of this information before deciding whether to press ahead with any other signings.

Luis Figo once moved to Madrid as a former Barcelona player, and the prospect of Neymar doing the same is going to become a major talking point ahead of the next transfer window.

               

Kalidou Koulibaly

Manchester United and Chelsea are already hot on the heels of Napoli's star centre-back, Kalidou Koulibaly, but it is believed Manchester City may yet enter the frame as they weigh up where to strengthen their squad.

His value is believed to be in the region of £90 million, but before negotiating on figures, all Premier League clubs are carrying out due diligence to be sure he wants a move to England.

Chelsea's position appears strongest, given they have tried to sign the 27-year-old twice before and now have his former boss Maurizio Sarri in charge. But United are set on strengthening the centre of their defence as a priority and would be willing to match any offer he receives.

Some who watch Napoli regularly reckon Koulibaly's importance can be compared to the great Diego Maradona—and the club knows he is pretty much irreplaceable.

           

Nicolas Pepe

Nicolas Pepe is the hottest new property in Ligue 1, and someone is going to drop big money on Lille to take him away.

His speedy, direct style of play has helped him to 16 goals and 10 assists this term, and clubs from every other major European league now have scouts compiling detailed reports.

A French football source indicated to Bleacher Report that the club would not stand in his way if an offer north of £60 million lands. Arsenal, Chelsea and Bayern Munich are three of the teams that have been tracking him. 

The Gunners are unlikely to have the cash, but Chelsea see him as a possible solution if Eden Hazard moves on, while the Bavarians are eyeing him in case they do not manage to sign Callum Hudson-Odoi.

Pepe, 23, seems open to a switch: "My idea is to end this season in Lille and then, why not, leave for somewhere in Europe," he told French newspaper La Voix du Nord (h/t Sky Sports). "It would be beautiful."

           

Eden Hazard

An interview with French radio station RMC ramped up the momentum behind a potential move to the Santiago Bernabeu, but Hazard's mind has been made up since the start of the season. 

Chelsea have known the 28-year-old is waiting for Real Madrid to make their intent known over a future bid, but they have also shown fans their own ambition to keep him, as a new contract offer remains on the table—one that would make him around £350,000 per week.

There had been hope inside the club that Hazard would publicly state his intentions, and the latest interviewconducted towards the end of 2018is the closest he has come to saying he is ready to move to Spain. 

Chelsea have not given up hope of keeping him but are expected to demand £110 million for the player if Madrid do finally make contact with them about a potential deal.

His desire to make the switch, according to people who know him well, is based around the fact that he wants to win the UEFA Champions League and play on one of the biggest stages in football—it is not about financial gain.

The scenario leaves the Blues in an uncertain situation given Hudson-Odoi has not agreed to stay and is still wanted by Bayern and striker Gonzalo Higuain is only on an initial loan deal. There is also a chance Willian will depart in the summer. 

            

Gareth Bale

Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United will all be linked with Gareth Bale before the end of the season, as intermediaries look to find out where he could land if he did return to the Premier League.

On the face of it, this seems a great time for the Wales international to come back. Injuries have taken a toll at Real Madrid, and after coming off the bench and missing a great chance in Wednesday's Copa del Rey Clasico, you have to wonder where he fits in with the likes of Lucas Vazquez and Vinicius Junior coming of age. They are seen as the future of the club.

Old Trafford has always been earmarked as his landing spot back on English soil, and Manchester United are sure to retain interest if they are able to offload one of their big-name forwards in the summer.

However, there is a twist to this that could mean Bale, 29, sees through another season in La Liga, as sources in Spain claim Madrid president Florentino Perez does not want him to leave and would love to see him play with Hazard.

Some would believe Hazard is seen as his replacement, but that apparently isn't the case, so Madrid might fight harder to keep him than most would expect.

            

Alexis Sanchez

If a spot is to open up in United's front line, then it's almost certain to be the one belonging to Alexis Sanchez.

The 30-year-old has not found his feet since a move from Arsenal in January 2018, and with the club now looking to have found a way to move forward successfully under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, sources say the club's hierarchy is open to the prospect of the Chilean's sale at the end of the season. 

Sanchez is said to have some regret about not opting for a move to Manchester City when he had the chance, but PSG are now seen as his best chance of an escape route. 

The Ligue 1 champions could put together a financial package that includes matching his wages, but it will only happen if they lose Neymar or Mbappe. 

             

Isco

The deteriorating relationship with Real Madrid boss Santiago Solari is starting to bother Isco, as his Twitter post complaining about game time showed.

The 26-year-old has spent more time on the bench than any other player in La Liga this year, and if the trend continues, he will seriously consider a move away.

It's an awkward situation for Isco, who does not want to play for any other club and still believes he could have a meaningful role in the side if given the right opportunities.

If Solari remains in charge beyond this season, though, it will be time to consider the next move.

Barcelona have been linked, though sources at Madrid are almost certain that would not happen, while Manchester City had a long-term interest but no longer list him among their key targets.

Intermediaries are beginning to put out feelers across Europe's top clubs in order to get an idea of where Isco could go next.

          

Tanguy Ndombele

Tanguy Ndombele's emergence at Lyon as one of the most impressive central midfielders in the game has alerted clubs from two of Europe's top leagues.

Manchester City, Tottenham and Juventus have the France international on their radars as a player who is capable of becoming a real force in the game—particularly as he is still just 22.

Lyon have an 80 million (£70 million) valuation on his head, but even representatives of the player believe that figure is probably too high, so expect negotiations to begin towards the end of the season in order to open up a move to an elite club.

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