The summer transfer market is unpredictable. With many major names moving, and plenty more soon to follow, the power dynamic of European soccer is shifting. This is especially true considering all of the top-end talent prepared to be moving this Summer.
Formally opening on June 10, the summer transfer market remains open until September 1. In that span, plenty of surprising moves could shape up across Europe’s elite clubs. Moreover, the needs of these clubs differs. On one hand, major historic clubs are in a rebuild, like Manchester United or Barcelona. Other clubs, like Manchester City or Real Madrid, look to shore up loose ends following successful seasons.
Erling Haaland kicked that fun off with his transfer to Manchester City. City won the Premier League this past season, but made deep runs into each of the cup competitions. The exception was the Carabao Cup where West Ham ended City’s reign over that tournament. Haaland provides the finishing touch on what is an already-elite side.
Same goes for Liverpool’s big signing, Darwin Núñez. While not as much of a headline grabber as Haaland, Núñez serves the same purpose. The Uruguayan and the Norwegian will develop something of a rivalry over the next couple of years as Liverpool and Manchester City continue to race away from their domestic rivals.
However, Liverpool lost a player key to their success in recent years. Sadio Mané departed Anfield in favor of Bayern Munich. The switch from Mané to Núñez is not a direct swap, with the two playing different styles. Consequently, the change up top could cause early issues for the Reds as the front three continue to grow accustomed. The Senegalese played almost 200 games in the red strip of Liverpool. That presence in speed and finishing does not just fade away. His link-up play with Mohamed Salah paid dividends in Liverpool’s recent success.
Summer transfer market moves for Europe’s elite
Mané is in a similar boat going over to Bayern Munich. With no prior experience in the German Bundesliga, he joins a pair of Ajax arrivals as Bayern asserts itself at the top of Germany.
Mané, Noussair Mazraoui and Ryan Gravenberch arrive at the Allianz Arena to improve what was a disappointing season for Bayern Munich. Yes, the side won its 10th-straight Bundesliga. However, a second-round exit in the DFB-Pokal and a massively disappointing quarterfinal loss to Villarreal in the Champions League left a sour taste in the mouth. Bayern is the picture of greatness in Germany, even if it did not show it.
Couple that with the potential departure of Robert Lewandowski, and it could be a summer of turnover in Munich. While nothing is confirmed as of yet, Lewandowski did state his intentions to leave Germany quite clearly. The most likely suitor is Barcelona. Manager Xavi is a fan of the Polish No. 9, with the striker and Barcelona reportedly already agreeing to personal terms.
Lewandowski could join a Barcelona side that could use a reversal of power after a dismal season of its own. However, that could come at a cost. The long-standing financial issues at Camp Nou could see the sale of Frenkie de Jong to Manchester United. However, that transfer seems to be falling through with de Jong wanting to stay in Barcelona.
Manchester United’s most recent season started out with unbounding hope. This upcoming season is one of uncertainty and hushed expectations. Erik ten Hag arrives as the new manager. The former Ajax boss is not one to shy away from clear changes at Old Trafford.
There are big names heading out the door. For example, Paul Pogba, who arrived at Manchester United as the world’s most expensive transfer, is set to return to Juventus on a free. The dynamic French midfielder underperformed greatly in a United jersey. Even then, his performances at the international level show he is capable of improving any midfield of the top European clubs. Pogba’s midfield role in Juventus has precedent of producing success, as seen with a near-treble in 2014/15.
Another United star potentially on his way out could be Cristiano Ronaldo. United’s superstar is unofficially “Mr. Champions League.” The competition’s all-time leading scorer played in every iteration of the competition since 2003. With Manchester United set to play in the Europa League this upcoming season, that competition may just be too low for him.
It would be a signal from Manchester United that the side is not going to be overly competitive for a couple of years. A rebuild of the size needed warrants time and patience, something lacking over recent years from United’s board and supporters.
Given Ronaldo’s desire to continue playing UCL, some speculate a long-awaited partnership between Messi and Ronaldo could potentially arise.
The possibility of a super-team seems possible given Kylian Mbappe’s new contract deal with in Paris. Mbappé’s continued stay at PSG came with the stipulation that Luis Campos came on as sporting director. The Portuguese could provide a path for Ronaldo to end up in Paris. Plus, there appears to be a void that Ronaldo could fit naturally into.
There is heavy speculation of Neymar’s departure from PSG, despite his comments otherwise. Instead, it seems PSG’s board and ownership want the Brazilian. Club President Nasser Al-Khelaifi said he wants something specific out of his players.
“We want players who love the club, who love to fight and who love to win. And we want that mentality to run right the way through the club. What I can say is that we hope that all of the players do a lot more than they did last season – much more. All of them need to be at 100%.”
An available Neymar could be the biggest name of the summer transfer market, and perhaps the most surprising. Furthermore, a potential landing spot for Neymar is actually in the Premier League at Chelsea.
Just like Ronaldo, the power shake up in Europe has a domino effect. Neymar steps in to be the big name up top in lieu of Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian’s departure from the club send him back to Inter Milan on a loan. Inter wants to repeat the successes it had with Lukaku at the helm with Lautaro Martínez. The Nerazzuri conceded their Scudetto to rivals Milan this past season. Lukaku would clearly help provide a touch of strength and finishing for Inter.
World Cup preparation
Not to mention, a big part of the craziness set to unfold this summer revolves around the upcoming FIFA World Cup. Gareth Bale, who put together a statistically remarkable career at Real Madrid, joined MLS side LAFC. While it is easier competition than Los Blancos and LaLiga, the focus for Bale is likely playing time. LAFC provides the opportunity for Bale to stay fully fit ahead of Wales’s second-ever trip to the World Cup.
The competition kicks off in November as opposed to its usual summer timeline. Players on the cusp of international call ups for the tournament seek a standout presence at their clubs. In doing so, they could crack their national side’s roster for Qatar.
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