The transfer window is nearly open and is likely to see all transfer spending records broken, writes WADE PRETORIUS in SoccerClub magazine.
When the transfer window re-opens on 1 July, almost every major club on the planet will be scrambling to ensure they are not outfoxed in the race to land their priority targets after months of scouting and behind-the-scenes negotiations.
Top European clubs like Manchester City, Barcelona and Bayern Munich are unlikely to allow the 2016 European Championships to distract them from the ultimate goal: signing the very best players in the world.
Only a fool would bet against the Premier League’s all-time record spend in a summer transfer window surviving the 2016-17 player scramble with Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and City all set for major changes, through the arrivals and exits of key personnel. The extra financial power of all 20 English clubs, due to the new television rights deal, will make the term ‘bargain buy’ almost an extinct phrase as rivals on the pitch become even more competitive off it.
The Red Devils are desperately lacking creative talent and the prospective managerial change is likely to see a number of players moved on as a result. Again, the future of Spanish goalkeeper David de Gea is likely to hog the headlines, with Real Madrid expected to succeed where they failed last year. Los Blancos will have no issue with matching his £30-million release clause, forcing United to spend big to recruit a new No 1. Cross-town rivals City are likely to bring in a number of new faces as Pep Guardiola looks to implement his tactics at the Etihad.
A number of Barcelona and Bayern Munich players have been linked with a move to England to follow the inspirational manager, but one player not expected to be part of his plans is midfielder Yaya Toure – a move to PSG or even as far afield as China is in the pipeline for the Ivorian superstar.
The Premier League could also bid farewell to Chelsea’s Spaniard, Diego Costa, who in his debut season took England by storm after scoring 20 goals but has struggled for form for most of the 2015-16 season. Joining Costa in the departures lounge could be influential Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil. The German is reportedly reluctant to put pen to paper on a new deal at the Emirates after just three seasons at the London club, with Barca apparently waiting in the wings.
Behind all the potential transfers is the murky territory where football agents thrive as they look to pocket millions of pounds for securing a new destination for their clients. Portuguese businessman Jorge Mendes is the original ‘super agent’. He is considered the most powerful man in football and, according to latest figures in Forbes magazine, he ranks as the second most successful agent in all sport, with $956.4-million worth of contracts negotiated for his approximately 80 clients.
The ‘super agent’ counts Ronaldo as a close friend and is almost certainlythe reason Colombia’s Radamel Falcao, ended up at Chelsea, then managed by another of his clients – Jose Mourinho – despite his woeful loan spell at Old Trafford the year before.
Fans should expect to see Madrid forward James Rodriguez’s name appear most often in the gossip columns as Mendes attempts to work out a mutually beneficial deal for the attacking midfielder, who has fallen down the pecking order at the Santiago Bernabeu in recent months.
– This article first appeared in issue 69 of SoccerClub magazine.