With the World Cup finished, the summer transfer window is now starting to heat up, as managers look to bring in additions to their squads ahead of the start of the 2018/19 campaign.
Plenty of big names have been linked with switches, and with that in mind, we’re taking a closer look at some of Europe’s most in-demand stars.
First up, Chelsea forward Willian…
Linked to: Barcelona and Manchester United
Price tag: £70 million
Could Barcelona be about to raid the Premier League for another Brazilian, or will Jose Mourinho be able to convince another former player of his to join him at Old Trafford?
Willian’s move to Chelsea five years ago was full of twists and turns, with Tottenham Hotspur reportedly close to signing the former Shakhtar Donetsk man, and it’s likely that the chase between Barcelona and Manchester United this summer will be just as intriguing.
Chelsea are understood to have turned down a number of offers from Barcelona already this summer, with the suggestion that the Stamford Bridge outfit are holding out for £70 million for the two-time Chelsea Players’ Player of the Year.
With Eden Hazard also seemingly on the way out, Chelsea risk losing their two most influential attacking outlets. Willian has been a key fixture for the Blues since his move five years ago, racking up 236 appearances, netting 44 goals in that time.
The Brazilian’s change of pace, eye for a pass and excellent set-piece delivery have made him one of the Premier League’s most exciting players to watch in recent seasons.
Wilian would suit Barcelona’s style of play, with an already impressive understanding with Philippe Coutinho shown at the World Cup, and Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez completing a fearsome quartet.
At Old Trafford, with the pace and directness of Alexis Sanchez on one wing and Willian on the other, Mourinho would have exactly what he’s looking for from an attacking sense in wide areas.
The former Chelsea boss knows all about the 29-year-old’s excellent work rate – perhaps another reason he’s so keen to see him make the same move Nemanja Matic did a year ago.
Antoine Griezmann aside, Barcelona always seem to get their man eventually, but will they balk at the idea of paying £70 million for a player who turns 30 next month?
That could pave the way for United to step in, and with Chelsea interested in Anthony Martial, another huge Premier League swap deal could be in the offing.
Nzonzi, who was part of France’s World Cup-winning squad, has previous Premier League experience with Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City, and as such, is thought to be Arsenal’s final transfer target of the summer.
However, the 29-year-old’s high £35 million (Dh120m) release clause could prove problematic in the north London side’s attempts to get the deal over the line.
Uruguay World Cup star Lucas Torreira, goalkeeper Bernd Leno, former FC Lorient midfielder Matteo Guendouzi, ex-Borussia Dortmund ace Sokratis and veteran centre-back Stephan Lichtsteiner make up Arsenal’s summer captures so far.
Whites president Florentino Perez wants the club to continue their transfer policy of signing fledging youth players, like they have done in the summer window with the acquisitions of Brazilian Vinicius Junior and 22-year-old full-back Alvaro Odriozola from Real Sociedad.