The Premier League transfer window is now open and the market in the rest of Europe will spark into life soon.
With the transfer rumours growing in pace and volume during this ‘silly season’, it can be difficult and painstaking to separate the stories of some legitimacy from the rest of the noise.
Fortunately, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to do it for you.
Below, you’ll find some of the latest transfer news churned out of the rumour mill broken down and analysed for your benefit along with our calculated predictions.
Barcelona’s stars are pushing the board to bring Alcantara back to his boyhood club from Bayern Munich, according to SPORT.
Why it will happen: Alcantara, Germany centre-back Jerome Boateng and Chile midfielder Arturo Vidal were the surprise names labelled as being made available for transfer by Bild. This follows the fallout from Champions League semi-final elimination to Real Madrid, plus new Bayern head coach Niko Kovac’s plans. These will include Schalke and Germany midfielder Leon Goretzka, who completes his free transfer move this summer.
Why it won’t happen: A price tag of €50-60m (Dh214.3-257.2m) would appear too expensive for Barca during a summer in which France forward Antoine Griezmann is set to arrive for at least €100m (Dh428.7m), plus other upgrades are planned in defence. Alcantara also remains one of Europe’s most accomplished centre midfielders, even though injury restricted him to 19 Bundesliga games in 2017/18.
Prediction: This really is a 50/50 call. Alcantara’s proclivity for injury and the arrival of Goretzka could make him a ready way to raise funds for the new boss. Conversely, no matter how much money you have there are few midfielders as good.
Rating – 5/10
Bayern Munich are facing up to the prospect of losing Robert Lewandowski this summer and RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner is a €100 million-rated (Dh428.6m) lead contender to replace the prolific Poland superstar, according to Bild.
Why it will happen: Munich’s ability to sweep up the best talent in the Bundesliga is there for all to see. They raided Borussia Dortmund previously for the likes of Poland striker Robert Lewandowski and Germany centre-back Mats Hummels. If the former forces through a switch away this summer, Werner is an obvious domestic target after striking 21 times in 45 matches last term plus lavishing home seven goals in 12 Germany displays.
Why it won’t happen: Leipzig are well financed by Red Bull GmbH, meaning they are uniquely positioned in Germany to resist Bayern’s advances for the 22-year-old. The £52.8m (Dh258.9m) sale of Guinea centre midfielder Naby Keita to Liverpool also means they do not need the cash, even if an offer is in the region of nine figures.
Prediction: Werner is a player of real promise. But it would be a gamble to lavish enough cash on him to convince Red Bull to sell. Shelve this one away for the future.
Rating – 3/10
Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham United reign could be about to kick into life with the £17.5m (Dh85.8m) capture of Paris Saint-Germain playmaker Javier Pastore, according to Sky Sports.
Why it will happen: Like all Premier League sides, the Hammers have cash to burn this summer. Pastore would add creativity to an attack already populated by fellow Argentina international Manuel Lanzini, plus invaluable experience of elite football after seven years in Paris. With PSG also desperate to generate funds through sales to avoid Financial Fair Play penalties and Pastore frustrated by a lack of game time, a deal appears eminently doable.
Why it won’t happen: Getting big moves across the line has been a problem for West Ham. Last summer, they thought they’d landed Sporting Lisbon and Portugal defensive midfielder William Carvalho only for last-minute – and explosive – disagreements to appear. PSG need every euro they can scrape together and this bullish position in the winter forced the cancellation of Pastore’s switch back to Serie A with Internazionale.
Prediction: There are plenty of reasons to feel positive if you are a Hammer. PSG’s bargaining position is weakened from the winter after the failure to generate big money apart from Lucas Moura’s switch to Tottenham. A South American connection with Lanzini and new manager Pellegrini could also ease doubts in Pastore’s mind.
Rating – 7/10
Underused Barcelona right-back Aleix Vidal has cleared out his belongings at the club in a clear sign of an impending summer exit, according to reports.
Vidal, 28, has struggled for minutes since he was snapped up from Sevilla for €18 million (Dh77.2m) in June 2015. A paltry total of four La Liga starts in 2017/18 has led to inevitable speculation about his future.
Spanish newspaper AS state that the usual right-back broke off his vacation and returned to the club’s Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper training centre in recent days to take away belongings.
They declare this state of affairs could interest former club Sevilla and Serie A’s Napoli.
Portugal midfielder Gomes has failed to nail down a first-team place since joining the Blaugrana two years ago, with Ivan Rakitic and Sergio Busquets proving two unmovable objects.
Gomes has been shockingly candid about his struggles, admitting earlier this year that on occasion he has not wanted to leave his house.
According to Spanish outlet Sport, head coach Simone Inzaghi, who guided Lazio to fifth place in Serie A last season, views him as an adequate replacement for his wantaway Serbia international.
Gomes’ exclusion from Portugal’s World Cup squad may help him in this regard – with clubs keen to sign players who can complete a full pre-season’s worth of training.
Napoli, who are seemingly resigned to losing their own midfield talisman in Jorginho to Manchester City, are also thought to be interested in Gomes’ signature.