As the season draws to a close, teams and supporters turn their attention to the summer transfer window. The dates of the window differ from country to country, but none can exceed 12 weeks, and the majority begin at the start of June and run until the start of September. In the 2015 summer transfer window, Premier League clubs alone spent £870 million on players, with Man City the biggest spenders, shelling out £150 million.
Some of the biggest transfers included Kevin de Bruyne and Raheem Sterling joining Manchester City, Anthony Martial joining Manchester United, Arturo Vidal joining Juventus and Angel Di Maria signing for PSG. With the finances in football, particularly the Premier League, skyrocketing further, we can expect to see yet more fireworks in this years summer window.
It is worth noting that Renato Sanches and Mats Hummels do not feature on this list, as their moves to Bayern Munich have already been confirmed. This is a list of the biggest players who will almost certainly be on the move this summer, ranked by how influential the deal is likely to be. Other massive moves will happen, but right now these are the biggest within the game that seem nailed-on. Here are the top 20 soccer players likely to be on the move this summer:
Portuguese striker Eder had six months to forget in the Premier League with Swansea City. Eder isn’t the first and certainly won’t be the last to score regularly in another league only to find the goal’s dry up in England’s top flight. Having scored 13 goals for Braga last season, he managed 0 goals in 13 games over the course of 6 months in Wales, before being loaned to Lille in the summer. The Swans are looking to bring in a striker this summer and Eder will be free to leave, with Lille being touted as a possible permanent destination.
19. Ravel Morrison
Blessed with all the skill and guile a player could ask for, Ravel Morrison really hasn’t put his abilities to use over the course of his career to date. Now aged 23, Morrison has played just 11 league games in the last two seasons, not the kind of game time required for a young man with such ability. Off-field issues led to his departures from Manchester United and West Ham, joining Lazio in 2015, but little has changed in Italy and Morrison is keen for a return home. A move this summer seems desirable for both player and club, and all that remains to be seen is what calibrate of club will still be willing to take a chance on him.
18. John Terry
Love him or loathe him, John Terry is one of the finest defenders of his generation, and the greatest captain in Chelsea FC’s history. Yet after 21 years at the club, 18 in the first team and 12 as captain, Terry’s time at Stamford Bridge appears to be drawing to an end. ‘Captain, leader, legend’ is how one banner at the Bridge describes the man who has won 16 trophies with the Blues. The former England captain’s next destination remains to be seen, while the MLS looks likely, Terry could certainly still do a job for someone in the Premier League.
17. Moussa Dembele
Teenage striker Moussa Dembele has long been considered a top prospect by Fulham, but it looks certain he will leave the struggling Championship outfit this summer. Dembele, who spent eight years in the youth set up at PSG prior to joining Fulham, came close to joining Tottenham in January, but Fulham called off the deal as Spurs refused to allow them to take Dembele on loan for the remainder of the season. The young Frenchman’s contract expires this summer, although anyone who signs him will have to pay Fulham a fee decided by a tribunal. Tottenham and Benfica are the reported frontrunners.
16. Francesco Totti
What is there to say about the extraordinary career of Francesco Totti. ‘The King of Rome’, as he is known, joined Roma as a 13-year-old, he is now 39. In that time, Totti has played 757 games for the club, scoring 304 goals and making 190 assists. He is the second highest scorer in Serie A history and both the youngest and longest serving captain in Roma’s history.
Injuries have seen him less involved this season, but 4 goals in his last 4 games show the veteran still has something to offer. It will be a bizarre site, Totti in a club shirt which isn’t Roma’s, but it’s something we may well see in the 2016/17 season.
15. Loic Remy
Since joining Chelsea from QPR in the summer of 2014, Loic Remy has played 31 league games, many coming off the bench as a substitute. This season he has featured in only 12 Premier League games, scoring once, and it seems likely both the player himself and incoming Blues boss Antonio Conte will look to move the Frenchman on. A proven scorer in England and France, Remy has been linked with both Premier League champions Leicester City and the lucrative Chinese Super League this year.
14. Michael Carrick
Out of contract in the summer, Michael Carrick looks set to leave Manchester United after a decade of service to the club, in which time he has won 13 trophies, as well as being named the club’s Players’ Player of the Year in 2013. Aged 34, Carrick would still walk into a number of Premier League teams starting XI’s, but whether he fancies a change of scenery, only he knows. Both Arsenal and Everton have been heavily linked with moves for the England international.
13. Radamel Falcao
Arguably the finest out-and-out striker in world football in the 2012/13 season, Radamel Falcao isn’t even a shadow of the man he was 3 years ago. A surprise big-money move to Monaco, followed by two dreadful loan periods at Manchester United and Chelsea have seen major question marks raised over whether Falcao deserves another chance at the highest level. He is still only 30, and may have one more shot at Champions League level, but some suspect the Colombian forward may take an easier route to a less demanding level. He has been linked with moves to the MLS, China and Atletico Madrid.
12. Mario Balotelli
Another man who is dangerously close to last-chance-saloon is Mario Balotelli. The Italian striker is still only 25 years of age, but is fast running out of opportunities to show he is as good as he believes he is. Wildly inconsistent and often involved in off-field mishaps, Balotelli has scored a paltry one league goal in 16 Serie A outings for AC Milan this season, on-loan from Liverpool. His poor work ethic and sluggish approach at times is unlikely to fit in with the ethos Jurgen Klopp is looking to implement, and a summer move could be on the cards. Watford were linked last year and, yet again, so too was a move to China.
11. Saido Berahino
One of the most drawn-out transfer saga’s in Premier League history, Saido Berahino has – until now at least – remained at West Bromwich Albion. The talented young Englishman seemed on the verge of joining Tottenham on multiple occasions, the player himself keen to make the move happen, but West Brom ultimately holding out for a higher fee. With just 4 Premier League goals this season compared to 14 last season, Berahino’s stock has fallen, but many clubs would still be willing to pay serious money and gamble on the 22-year-old who has undoubted goal scoring abilities.
10. Sandro Ramirez
One man who didn’t make this list is Neymar, the Barcelona forward has been linked with a move away from the Camp Nou as Barca look to fund their stadium redevelopment, but we’re not convinced. Conversely, fellow Barca forward Sandro Ramirez will probably leave the cub during the off-season. The 20-year-old is very talented, but finds himself behind Messi, Suarez, Neymar and Munir in the Barcelona pecking order. Tottenham are the most heavily linked club to the Spanish U-21 international, but will face tough competition for a player who has scored 7 goals in 31 games for Barcelona to date.
9. Andros Townsend
Andros Townsend only joined Newcastle four months ago, but with the Magpies now having been relegated, Townsend will surely be on the move again. Often a favorite of Roy Hodgson’s for the England squad, the Tottenham academy graduate has scored 4 goals in 11 games for Newcastle, and been one of few bright sparks for the Tyneside club. He will surely light-up the Championship if he stays in the North East, but that seems unlikely, and one would expect a handful of Premier League clubs to come sniffing for the 24-year-old winger.
8. Christian Benteke
Christian Benteke was superb for Aston Villa, scoring the goals required to keep them in the Premier League and leaving the club with a record of 49 goals in 101 games. It was that kind of form which saw Liverpool shell out £32.5 million for the big Belgian, but as was the case with Balotelli, Benteke just doesn’t seem to fit in with the way Liverpool want to play. Daniel Sturridge, Danny Ings and Divock Origi have all got the nod ahead of Benteke at times this season, and West Ham have been heavily linked with a transfer in the summer.
7. Yaya Toure
Yaya Toure might have spent his last few games as a Manchester City player lumbering around like an oil tanker, but over his six year period at the club he has been an absolute titan, and comfortably one of the greatest players in the club’s history. The 2013/14 season has to be the highlight, in which Yaya scored 24 goals as Man City won a league and League Cup double. This season though, the Ivorian has looked sluggish and unhappy, and the announcement of Pep Guardiola’s arrival all but sealed his fate.
A whole host of top teams would still want the 32-year-old; Inter Milan reportedly wanted Toure to drop from his current salary of £220,000 a week to less than £100,000 a week, prompting suggestions the former Barcelona midfielder may look to remain in the Premier League, although no English club has been heavily linked as of yet.
6. Wilfried Bony
Another Manchester City player but one who couldn’t be classed among the Citizens all-time greats, Wilfied Bony has had a miserable time at the Etihad. He arrived from Swansea in January 2015, where he had been an absolute monster up front for Wales’ sole Premier League club, scoring 35 goals in 70 games for the Swans, acting as the team’s talisman at all times. Since joining Man City, Bony has just 6 league goals in 18 months, finding himself behind both Aguero and Iheanacho in the pecking order. A summer move seems highly likely, with a return to Swansea for half the price on the cards.
5. Hatem Ben-Arfa
In January 2015 Hatem Ben-Arfa left his loan spell at Hull City and was released by Newcastle United. In May 2016, he is being linked with Barcelona. It is an extraordinary career turnaround, but not a wholly surprising one, with the Frenchman’s talents being well known to the world of football. On his day he is unstoppable; in terms of sheer skill, technique and flair on the ball, he is in the same bracket as Messi, Neymar and Eden Hazard. Whether Ben-Arfa will join Barca is unknown, but it is practically certain he will leave Nice in the summer for a team in the Champions League.
4. Radja Nainggolan
In his second full season at Roma, Radja Nainggolan has shown just what a good player he is. Having been named in the Serie A Team of the Season for the 2014/15 campaign, the Belgian has been even better this season, leading to speculation about his future over the summer. Antonio Conte has reportedly identified the 28-year-old midfielder as his primary target ahead of his first season as Chelsea manager, but the Blues’ initial bid has been turned down by Roma.
3. Mario Gotze
World Cup hero at 21 to Bayern Munich flop at 23. Mario Gotze’s career had been pure fairy tale up until the summer of 2014. He broke into the Dortmund team at 17, was a star player by 18, Bundesliga Young Player of the Year at 19 and he had won a World Cup final for his country at 21. Yet life at Bayern Munich wasn’t always so easy. After an impressive first season, the last two have been disappointments. He was named the second biggest flop in the Bundesliga in 2014/15, and has been even worse this season, albeit having struggled with injuries.
2. Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be 34, but his age has shown no signs of affecting his ability. In fact, the Swede has scored 46 goals this season, the best of his career by some distance. PSG’s all-time highest scorer with 152 goals, despite having only spent four years in the French capital, almost any club on the planet would still be grateful to recruit Zlatan’s services, despite his advancing years. The former Malmo, Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona and AC Milan striker has been linked with Arsenal, Chelsea and West Ham, due to being out of contract this summer, but Manchester United remain the favorites to secure his signature.
1. Romelu Lukaku
Top of this list not only due to his power, pace, ability and goals, but also due to his tender years, Romelu Lukaku will quite possibly be the biggest transfer in world football over the summer. In the last four seasons Lukaku’s goal tallies have read 17, 16, 20, 25. Testament not only to his ability in front of goal, but also his development as a player, those stats dating back to when he was an 18-year-old loanee at West Brom.
Chelsea will surely be ruing their decision to let the Belgian leave, despite receiving £28 million for his services. The former Anderlecht man is probably worth close to that figure now, and Everton would surely demand an astronomical price to let their prized asset go. Having had a poor season finishing in the bottom half, Lukaku has dropped hints he will leave for Champions League football in the summer, and the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal, Real Madrid, PSG, Juventus and even a shocking return to Chelsea have been linked.
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