Assessing the Most Likely Big-Name Signings for Every Elite Club

Dean Jones@DeanJonesBRFootball Insider at Bleacher ReportJune 4, 2020

LEIPZIG, GERMANY - MARCH 10: Timo Werner of RB Leipzig during the UEFA Champions League  match between RB Leipzig v Tottenham Hotspur at the Red Bull Arena on March 10, 2020 in Leipzig Germany (Photo by Erwin Spek/Soccrates/Getty Images)

Judging the legitimacy of transfer rumours is no easy task, so we have produced this guide to realistic scenarios every elite club can hope for.

By using the Bleacher Report app to measure and produce a list of the biggest clubs in Europe, we have outlined 15 teams, waded through all the transfer gossip and used our informed sources across the continent to predict the most likely big-name signing for each.

(Update: An earlier version of this article linked Timo Werner to Liverpool, but developments on Thursday changed things - he is now Chelsea's most high-profile target. These things really can turn around quickly!)


Liverpool: Ousmane Dembele

They were supposed to be signing Werner. They love him. They thought he loved them. Werner has seemed pretty clear he only wants to sign for one club, but needed Liverpool to trigger his €60 million release clause.

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That moment has not arrived and on Thursday Liverpool were still refusing to meet his valuation, while Chelsea progressed with their pursuit.

As it falls through we should not expect too much else, Liverpool had only earmarked him as a player they would pay money for after prioritising current players on big contracts.

Now we should look out for a loan offer for Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele instead. He has been in mind as a back-up option all along.


Manchester City: Houssem Aouar

LILLE, FRANCE - MARCH 8: Benjamin Andre of Lille, Houssem Aouar of Lyon (left) during the Ligue 1 match between Lille OSC (LOSC) and Olympique Lyonnais (Lyon, OL) at Stade Pierre Mauroy on March 8, 2020 in Villeneuve d'Ascq near Lille, France. (Photo by J
Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

City are looking towards a rebuild that could see as many as four new faces arrive this summer.

The 21-year-old midfielder is one of the most aesthetically pleasing players in Ligue 1 and has the technical capabilities that would help him fit into a Pep Guardiola side.

City initially touched base with Lyon over a deal a year ago and are now expected to revisit the French side with a new offer. He is valued at around €50 million and is emerging as one of the most exciting names on City's wanted list.


Chelsea: Timo Werner

LEIPZIG, GERMANY - MARCH 10: Timo Werner of RB Leipzig during the UEFA Champions League  match between RB Leipzig v Tottenham Hotspur at the Red Bull Arena on March 10, 2020 in Leipzig Germany (Photo by Erwin Spek/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

A left-back is high on the priority list for manager Frank Lampard, and Ben Chilwell has been scouted extensively over the past six months.

He's not going to come cheap, but a trusted, homegrown 23-year-old defender is not easy to come by and it is going to be one of their big signings of the year if all goes to plan.

There has been hope though of also signing a big-name forward—with Jadon Sancho, Moussa Dembele and Werner all considered.

On Thursday, a report in Bild revealed the Blues are close to striking a deal for RB Leipzig front man Werner—and that is going to be their most high-profile deal if they pull it off.


Manchester United: Jadon Sancho

Dortmund's English midfielder Jadon Sancho runs with the ball during the German first division Bundesliga football match SC Paderborn 07 and Borussia Dortmund at Benteler Arena in Paderborn on May 31, 2020. (Photo by Lars Baron / POOL / AFP) / DFL REGULAT
LARS BARON/Getty Images

The move from Borussia Dortmund is not nailed-on just yet, but our sources insist the transfer is still alive and that Sancho remains a priority for United.

Negotiations are needed because United are keen to ensure he does not eclipse Paul Pogba to become a new club-record signing.

But with Sancho's valuation continuing to hover around the £100 million mark, it is felt they will find a way to get the deal doneto avoid missing out when other teams show interest in a future transfer window.


Tottenham Hotspur: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - MARCH 07:  Referee Graham Scott is confronted by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg of Southampton following the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Newcastle United at St Mary's Stadium on March 07, 2020 in Southampton, United Kingd
Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

Southampton's central midfielder has been on Tottenham's radar all season, and the club had begun preparing an offer ahead of the coronavirus-enforced break.

Sources have now indicated to B/R that although Spurs are having a major rethink over their summer plans, and will mainly be recruiting free agents and loan players, Hojbjerg remains a key target.

He has one year remaining on his contract at Saints and should fit in with their financing for this summer.

He may turn out to be the only player they pay money for, but his expertise in the centre of the park has convinced recruitment staff he is worth pursuing.


Arsenal: Willian

Chelsea are refusing to give him the new three-year contract he wants, and as a result, Willian is preparing to cross London to find a new club.

Willian, 31, will become a free agent at the end of this season, and that is the sort of deal Arsenal need to pursue with their transfer budget limited.

There are doubts over the futures of both Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and with at least one of those likely to go, Willian is being lined up as part of the club's future attacking line.

And Arsenal would give him the three-year deal he is after.


Barcelona: Lautaro Martinez 

Inter Milan's Argentinian forward Lautaro Martinez gestures during the Italian Serie A football match Lazio Rome vs Inter Milan on February 16, 2020 at the Olympic stadium in Rome. (Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP) (Photo by FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP via G

Talk over this potential deal has been bubbling away for the past couple of months, and sources in Spain are becoming more and more convinced that Inter Milan will eventually agree to sell their star forward.

The terms of the deal are complicated because Barca want to strike a player-plus-cash agreement. Inter would prefer a transfer built around money but are beginning to realise they may eventually have to make this work for them.

Martinez, 22, has scored 16 goals from 31 games this season but wants to move as he dreams of the link-up with fellow Argentinian Lionel Messi.

Expect this deal to drag on a little because of the complications over the feebut everything else should run smoothly as Barca wait for their new star forward.


Real Madrid: Eduardo Camavinga

Before COVID-19 took hold of the world, we were looking at Real signing at least one new Galactico this summer.

But those plans are on hold, so if anyone does sign, we should expect a face that is part of the club's long-term plan.

Rennes are adamant they do not want to lose Camavinga yet, but that does not mean Madrid won't make an offer for the brilliant 17-year-old midfielder.

We might yet see them strike a deal but allow him to stay at Rennes for a season before joining up at the Santiago Bernabeu in the summer of 2021.


Atletico Madrid: Alexandre Lacazette

This move has been considered for some time by Atleti.

Arsenal's interest in Thomas Partey now means Lacazette could become part of a swap deala trend that will kick in this summer because of restricted finances for so many clubs.

Talks over a new contract at Arsenal have stalled for him recently, and this move is one to keep an eye on.


Juventus: Jorginho

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 03: Jorginho of Chelsea FC reacts during the FA Cup Fifth Round match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Stamford Bridge on March 3, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)
Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

Chelsea are going to fight to keep Jorginho because Frank Lampard loves the way he influences the team's play from the centre of the park.

But Jorginho's head has been turned, and a reunion with Juventus manager Maurizio Sarri might happen. Aged 28, his best years may yet be ahead of him, and no coach knows him better. 

Juve's interest is known through intermediaries, and the club now need to touch base formally to discuss what terms would be needed to tempt him away from Stamford Bridge. A deal is possible.


Inter Milan: Edinson Cavani

Inter are already searching for new forward options in case Lautaro moves away, and PSG's Cavani holds plenty of appeal.

He becomes a free agent this summer, and there are suggestions they may even sign him if Martinez doesn't make his move to Barca.

Alexis Sanchez is extremely unlikely to prolong his stay, so Cavani's arrival will bolster the attacking options either way.

His personal terms are reportedly causing some concern, but sources in Italy believe the deal could still happen while the player considers one big move before heading to MLS.  


AC Milan: Luka Jovic

Real Madrid have been weighing up what to do with the striker, who has not found his goalscoring touch since joining from Eintracht Frankfurt, and a good offer could tempt them into a sale.

Milan are looking to land a striker who can fill the boots of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who seems unlikely to continue with them next season.

Jovic would relish the chance to become the main man at one of Europe's most famous clubseven though he does not particularly want to give up on making it at Madrid.

If Milan are going to make a big-name signing, though, this looks like being it.  


Bayern Munich: Leroy Sane

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 28: Leroy Sane of Manchester City battles for possession with Zak Swanson of Arsenal during the Premier League 2 match between Arsenal U23 and Manchester City U23 at Emirates Stadium on February 28, 2020 in London, England. (Pho
Linnea Rheborg/Getty Images

You have read about this transfer rumour a million times for good reason—it is going to happen.

Bayern are the only club Sane is willing to join, and at this stage we are just waiting for the German champions to make an acceptable offer.

Initially this looked like it could be close to a £100 million deal, but since COVID-19 changed the game, we are now looking at different terms.

A player-plus-cash deal is looking likely.


Borussia Dortmund: Thomas Meunier 

Achraf Hakimi's loan spell from Real Madrid will end after this season, and Dortmund have been working on PSG's out-of-contract Meunier as the ready-made replacement.

Spurs have also been pursuing the Belgium international, but sources in Germany seem convinced Dortmund are going to secure his signature as a free agent.


PSG: Alex Telles

PORTO, PORTUGAL - MARCH 07: Alex Telles of FC Porto looks on during the Liga Nos match between FC Porto and Rio Ave FC at Estadio do Dragao on March 07, 2020 in Porto, Portugal. (Photo by Jose Manuel Alvarez/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Their biggest-name purchase is already in the bag as Mauro Icardi has turned his loan deal from Inter into a permanent move with a €50 million agreement, and sources in France say that while PSG will look to recruit in other positions, none of the names will trump Icardi. 

An exciting new goalkeeper could yet arrive, though, with Andre Onana and Gianluigi Donnarumma both linked with some substance behind the rumours. 

But both full-back positions are also being looked at and various contacts in France expect Telles, who was being pursued ahead of the global pandemic, to start to pick up momentum again.

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