With all the Euro 2008 coverage over at our sister site EPL Talk, I’ve decided to focus on club football though I am still actively watching the tournament games. I decided to watch the matches as a fan and leave the punditry to others for that particular competition. There is an ocean of information and opinion being produced about Euro 2008 and I didn’t feel I had anything drastically new to add.
So, focusing on club football, I decided to examine which players are being touted as the most likely to move this summer and where they might end up. For your entertainment (feel free to debate in the comments section), I examine the possible fate of 10 players whoe names you’ll be hearing a lot of this summer.
- Mallorca’s Daniel Guiza is sure to move to another La Liga club after firing in 27 goals for his club this season. Guiza edged Sevilla’s Brazilian Luis Fabiano for the Pichichi (top scorer) crown with his 27 goals. Guiza scored his 10th goal in his last seven matches as Real Mallorca defeated Real Zaragoza 3-2 on Sunday although it was not enough to secure a place in Europe with Racing Santander holding onto the final UEFA Cup berth. Now that he has his wild lifestyle seemingly under control, he’s sure to want to test himself with a team that is either in the UEFA Cup or Champions league and while I don’t see him landing at Real Madrid, Barcelona are in a major rebuilding and could use a strong goal scorer. He could also end up with Sevilla, especially should Luis Fabiano be sold during the summer. Arsenal has also reportedly had some interest in this promising forward.
- Lyon striker Karim Benzema is a name that has been linked to many clubs though he is being a bit coy over his future. Manchester United are known to be interested but United’s chances of signing him look distant after the Lyon forward stated his long-term preference for Real Madrid. “I like Real Madrid,” he said, “but I think I am too young to sign for a club like that.” It’s quite possible that Benzema could stay on at Lyon for another season as he is only 20 and Lyon are guaranteed to play Champions League football again next year.
- Andrei Arshavin, playmaker for UEFA Cup winners Zenit St. Petersburg, has attracted a lot of attention from top clubs around Europe. Everton and Schalke are the names most often mentioned. Schalke seems more likely as their current kit sponsor, Russian oil giant Gazprom, also are majority owners of Zenit St. Petersburg. Arshavin would give Schalke a major boost as they rebuild and look to qualify for next season’s Champions League group stage. They enter the competition at the final round of qualifying and should be able to make it to the group stage.
- Valencia’s disappointing mid-table finish and their financial problems (they are trying to fund a new stadium) mean that we could see a fire sale of sorts at the Mestalla this summer. Star striker David Villa has been on the radar of many big-spending clubs for a couple of seasons now. Both Barcelona and Liverpool are thought to be admirers of Villa but with Barcelona already spending a bundle on 4-5 new faces and Liverpool on a tight budget, I wouldn’t count either of them in for this particular move. He could end up with Arsenal as Arsene Wenger needs to bolster his squad and is at the Euro 2008 tournament to look over potential transfer targets. Villa would fit perfectly into the flowing, high-pace style that Arsenal are so capable of producing.
- The rumours linking Xabi Alonso to Juventus had been persistant enough to make me think there is something in the works. Real Madrid and Barcelona were both reported to be interested in bring the former Real Sociedad star back to La Liga, but Juventus have since emerged as the apparent favourites to snare the 26-year-old midfield marshall. While nothing is confirmed, it is reported that a fee of 12.5 – 16m will be enough to see Alonso leave Anfield. Alonso has said he will not discuss his club future while he is playing for Spain in the Euro 2008 tournament.
- Sporting Lisbon playmaker João Moutinho has already had a turn in the spotlight at Euro 2008 and will have seen his stock rise. Interest in Moutinho is known to be widespread but I don’t see a deal happening before June 15th. That’s the date that the 25 million Euro release clause attached to his contract reportedly expires, after which clubs will be able to negotiate a price for him that they hope will be lower. However, if he continues to play like he did against Turkey then the price is likely to go up, especially if big spenders like Chelsea are in the mix of suitors.
- Deco. The 30-year-old Portugese midfielder had a disappointing season at Camp Nou and will definitely leave the club that much we know. The question had been where would he end up. I would say that with Jose Mourinho now coaching Inter Milan, it would not be shocking to see Deco link up with his former Porto boss.
- Werder Bremen’s playmaker Diego has been talked about as a target for Chelsea and Barcelona. Diego’s Bundesliga goal return stands at 26 in 60 matches which is pretty decent for a player who by his own admission is more of a creator than a finisher. With his dribbling, vision and razor-sharp passing, he would be a good fit in any midfield but I don’t know that Barcelona need some like that as they already have Xavi and Iniesta. Werder Bremen chairman Jurgen Born has said that Diego will only leave “over his dead body” but I suspect that if someone comes in with the right dollar figure his stance will ease up. Where could he go? Juventus are in serious need of a playmaking replacement for the aging Pavel Nedved and their return to Champions League could see some cash being splashed around.
- Ronaldinho. Once thought to be an untouchable at Barcelona, the Brazilian maestro has struggled through the past two campaigns with poor fitness and form. He has been linked to AC Milan and Manchester City. Of those two, I’d have to think that AC Milan would be the more likely destination. A chance to link up in the midfield with Kaka may be too tempting for Ronaldinho to pass up.
- Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who has been linked to Manchester United and well as Real Madrid and others, is the Ajax goal machine who has been on “the verge of moving” for two years now. Is this his summer to move? Ajax are not in the Champions League next season and Huntelaar will be keen to test himself on that stage. Real looks like they would have a good chance of signing him after he admitted that he would jump at the chance to join Real Madrid after hearing a lot about the club from his Dutch national teammates Ruud van Nistelrooy, Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder — all current Real Madrid stars. Real’s president Ramón Calderón has downplayed the rumours, saying that there are very few moves in the works for this summer. I think Real would be a good fit, at least in terms of atmospere, for Huntelaar. The presence of several familiar faces would make settling in much easier.