Transfer Window Hidden Gems: Players who would fit in perfectly at Man United, Barcelona and more

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The rumour mill is filled with transfer speculation linking household names and high-profile young talents with big-money moves to some of Europe’s top sides.

With the inflated prices being bandied about, clubs would do well to look past the names and identify potential superstars based on encouraging performances that may have been overlooked.

Promising talents often don’t get the attention they deserve because they’re featuring in lesser clubs away from the limelight of a title challenge or the recognition that comes with topping the charts for goals or assists.

A more extensive search though could unearth some hidden gems scattered across the European circuit and we’ve compiled a series to put some of those players in the spotlight.

Here, you can find all five editions neatly packaged for your convenience. Enjoy!

FLORIAN GRILLITSCH – Hoffenheim

Age: 23
Position: Centre Midfield
Strengths: Passing, tackling, interceptions
Similar to: Michael Carrick
Where he could thrive: Manchester United, Ajax

A deep-lying playmaker more by nature than trade, Grillitsch is tailor-made for the role.

Read our complete analysis here.

Florian Grillitsch

MILOT RASHICA – Werder Bremen

Age: 23
Position: Forward
Strengths: Dribbling, work-rate, X-factor
Similar to: Luis Suarez
Where he could thrive: Barcelona, Bayern Munich

He is never stationary. Always running, always thinking and always creating chances.

Read our complete analysis here.

Milot Rashica

JULES KOUNDE – Bordeaux

Age: 20
Position: Centre Back
Strengths: Passing, pace, composure
Similar to: Thomas Vermaelen
Where he could thrive: Arsenal, Sevilla

From how he receives possession to his first touch, Kounde is one of the best ball-playing centre-backs in France.

Read our complete analysis here.

Jules Kounde

JONATHAN IKONE – Lille

Age: 21
Position: Attacking Midfield/Winger
Strengths: Creativity, dribbling, versatility
Similar to: Nabil Fekir
Where he could thrive: Arsenal, Everton

His quick turns and his direct running helps transition play from midfield to attack almost instantly.

Read our complete analysis here.

Jonathan Ikone

BARTLOMIEJ DRAGOWSKI – Fiorentina

Age: 21
Position: Goalkeeper
Strengths: Shot-stopping, punching, rushing out
Similar to: Wojciech Szczesny
Where he could thrive: PSG, Roma

Apart from his exceptional reflexes, Dragowski is proactive and commands the penalty area.

Read our complete analysis here.

Bartlomiej Dragowski

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Transfer predictor: Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan is an 8 while Real Madrid exit for Luka Modric a 6

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Struggling to pick out the facts from the figures? Reality from the rubbish? Sense from the silly season? We’ve got you sorted in our daily dose of the Transfer Predictor, where we round up the latest rumours with an analytical spin.

We sort through the most eye-catching transfer reports of the past 24 hours and give a balanced judgment on whether the move really will happen – and why.

Today’s edition features potential signings for AC MilanInter Milan and Barcelona.

LUKA MODRIC

Luka Modric

Real Madrid -> Unknown -> AC Milan

AC Milan are set to pounce if Real Madrid decide to sell Luka Modric, according to Gianluca Di Marzio.

WHY IT WILL HAPPEN

If Zinedine Zidane is keen on extracting the full potential from the immense attacking talent at his disposal, he may need to tinker with his system. That’s always been easier said than done when trying to include both Toni Kroos and Modric. The Croat is four years older and after winning the Ballon d’Or last year, has been on the wane.

Madrid may be keen to cash in on the star midfielder while he’s still boasts a high value. Recuperating some of the money they’ve splurged this summer must be tempting while in Dani Ceballos they have a ready-made replacement should they decide to keep the sought-after Spaniard long-term.

WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN

While reports have so far failed to included a speculated transfer fee, one would assume Modric will command a fee at least double that of his current valuation of €20 million according to transfermarkt.co.uk. Milan have already spent €48 million this summer and will be reluctant to sink too much on a 33-year-old whose wages – even reduced – would put a dent in their budget as well.

TRANSFER PREDICTOR: 6/10

ROMELU LUKAKU

Romelu Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku

Manchester United ->  £75m -> Inter Milan

Inter Milan will meet Manchester United’s £75 million valuation of Romelu Lukaku upon certain conditions including a £40 million down payment, The Sun says.

WHY IT WILL HAPPEN

It’s become evident that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will not fight to keep Lukaku at Old Trafford as he’s given his full backing to Marcus Rashford, who appears more suited to the style of play being implemented. The Norwegian seems determined to afford Mason Greenwood more game time as well.

Lukaku has been harping on about moving to Serie A for months so all parties clearly want this move to be completed. United are holding out for the best deal and Inter are slowly edging towards that with Antonio Conte desperate to land the Belgian.

WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN

Inter simply don’t have the funds to make a straightforward deal. Beyond the £40 million down payment, they are reportedly also requesting £15 million to be paid as performance-based add-ons and that can’t be satisfactory for United.

TRANSFER PREDICTOR: 8/10

NEYMAR

Neymar

Neymar

PSG->  €40m + players -> Barcelona

Barcelona have offered a package centred around Ivan Rakitic and Philippe Coutinho as they look to sign Neymar, according to L’Equipe.

WHY IT WILL HAPPEN

At the moment, there’s really no other destination for Neymar. He’s burnt bridges with Paris Saint-Germain and will be desperate to return to Barcelona. The club will be keen to part ways with the Brazilian as well, especially with Kylian Mbappe clearly replacing him as their poster boy.

WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN

PSG refuse to accept anything less than what they believe they’re entitled to. Allowing Adrien Rabiot’s contract to run down while he warmed the bench last season rather than let Barcelona have him was a prime example. Unless Ousmane Dembele becomes part of a player-plus-cash deal, the Catalans will need to raise their bid substantially.

TRANSFER PREDICTOR: 5/10

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Matthijs de Ligt jets into Turin to complete €75m Juventus move

Sport360 staff 17/07/2019
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Photo credit: [@juventusfc/Twitter]

Matthijs de Ligt has landed in Turin ahead of his big-money transfer from Ajax to Juventus.

The 19-year-old centre-back was pictured arriving at Caselle airport by private jet on Tuesday evening, with the Netherlands international set to have a medical on Wednesday.

The 19-year-old who led Ajax to the Champions League semi-finals is due to undergo a medical before signing for Juventus for a reported €75 million.

“Here he is!” Juventus announced on Twitter, with a video of the Dutch international disembarking from a private jet at Turin airport.

In a separate clip the teenager says: “Hello Bianconeri, this is Matthijs, I’m really happy to be here.”

The sought-after defender was heavily linked with Barcelona, Manchester United and Manchester City, but he is set to ply his trade in Serie A alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Aaron Ramsey next season.

He has played 117 games for Ajax in all competitions, scoring 13 goals, including three as the club reached the last four of the Champions League last season, only to lose in the final seconds to Tottenham.

De ligt scored the winner in Turin as Ajax eliminated Juventus in the quarter-finals.

He has played 17 times for the Netherlands.

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