The football season is almost over. But that doesn’t mean the beautiful game will spend any time outside the sporting zeitgeist. In between the Women’s World Cup, Euro 2024 qualifiers and various leagues around the world, there is still more than enough football to occupy the ardent fan.
But beyond the actual matches themselves there is an ever-growing facet of football that will dominate the summer months. The transfer window will swing open, allowing our feeds to become feverish with all the latest comings and goings.
No transfer window is complete without a true transfer saga. Those long, drawn-out affairs that suck in even the most uninterested neutral. The big-name, big-money moves that sustain the whole cottage industry of transfers. The sort of deals that keep journalists in jobs and catchphrases.
So who will provide this summer’s enduring narratives? Which players will dominate the headlines and be the subject of endless “news?” comments on social media? Read on for The Sportsman’s top five potential transfer sagas.
Why not start with the biggest? It looks like the greatest player of his generation will be moving for the second time in three years. Such movement seemed impossible at one time, with Messi becoming synonymous with Barcelona over the course of nearly 800 appearances for the club. Well now it looks like the World Cup winner could add to that total, with the Camp Nou club in the race to secure his signature when his Paris Saint Germain deal expires this summer. But with the Saudi Pro League reportedly tabling a figure over £800 million for Messi to sign a two-year deal, an emotional Barca return is far from certain.
Frequently linked with a departure, the Borussia Dortmund midfielder looks like he may actually move this summer. Bellingham is still only 19 years old, with 176 games of senior club football behind him, 24 international caps and appearances at two major tournaments under his belt. Real Madrid are understood to be in pole position to sign the star, but then Los Blancos were assumed to be leading the way for Kylian Mbappe last summer before PSG re-signed him. Expect a bit of pushback from Premier League sides, even if Liverpool have officially ruled themselves out.
Another long-expected saga that finally looks set to take place, Rice is expected to be the toast of the Premier League this summer. Manchester United have been after him for a while and former club Chelsea are always mentioned in dispatches. Liverpool are also known to be in the market for a midfielder while there has even been Arsenal links. Should Real miss out on Bellingham, the West Ham United midfielder could even appear on the Bernabeu radar.
The England captain has been here before. His possible exit from Tottenham Hotspur has dominated summer’s past. Kane came within a whisker of a £100 million switch to Manchester City in 2021. Now the red half of the city looks like his likeliest destination, with Manchester United reportedly holding a keen interest. With uncertainty rampant at Spurs, the 29-year-old may see this as his best chance to leave while still young enough to excel elsewhere.
As soon as Leicester City’s relegation from the Premier League was confirmed, teams began to circle. Maddison’s creativity and range of passing makes him an attractive prospect for almost any team in the league. Arsenal, Newcastle United and Spurs are all thought to be interested in the England midfielder. Chelsea may also fancy him if Mason Mount moves on while United are never far away from the conversation surrounding Maddison.
*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject To Change