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 judgement on whether the move really will happen – and why, or why not.
Today’s edition features a new destination for one of the summer’s most talked about players, A switch to France for a Premier League misfit and pastures new for a Liverpool youngster.
Sporting Lisbon -> €70m -> Real Madrid
AS reports that the Portuguese club are looking to offload the 24-year-old while his value is high.
WHY IT CAN HAPPEN: Fernandes scored 32 goals in 53 games last season and was the top-scoring midfielder in any of the major European leagues. Was linked incessantly with Manchester United and Tottenham throughout the summer but, after rejecting a Spurs bid of €60 million, he has now been offered to Madrid through super agent Jorge Mendes.
WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN: Los Blancos have other priorities, namely Neymar and Paul Pogba. So his arrival at the Bernabeu will depend on what happens in negotiations with Paris Saint-Germain and United over the two megastars.
Transfer predictor: 5/10
Southampton -> Loan to buy -> Monaco
Monaco are close to completing a loan move for Southampton midfielder Mario Lemina, according to RMC via Get French Football News.
WHY IT CAN HAPPEN: The French giants are said to be in advanced negotiations to sign the Gabonese international midfielder on loan with an obligation to buy from Southampton. The player is already believed to have spoken with boss Leonardo Jardim and agreed personal terms with the Principality side, and is actively pushing for the deal to go through.
WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN: This deal makes sense for both parties. Lemina wants to move on and he doesn’t appear to be in Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl’s plans. However, while the player has agreed terms with his prospective new employers, Southampton and Monaco are yet to come to terms.
Transfer predictor: 8/10
Liverpool -> £7m -> Rangers
Rangers are still hopeful of competing a deal with Liverpool to sign winger Ryan Kent, reports the Daily Record.
WHY IT CAN HAPPEN: The winger is out of the reckoning at Anfield after a season-long loan deal in Scotland in which he was crowned SPFA young player of the year. Kent wants to help the Light Blues in their quest for a long-awaited top flight title and feels he has unfinished business in Scotland under Gers boss Steven Gerrard.
WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN: With three years left on his contract and Liverpool asking for £7million it looked like Rangers were out of the reckoning earlier this summer. The Ibrox side can’t match Liverpool’s asking price this summer but remain confident of engineering a deal.
Transfer predictor: 7/10
Real Madrid‘s summer signing Luka Jovic has laughed off reports suggesting he could be heading out of the club in the very same window.
The former Eintracht Frankfurt striker was sidelined for 10 days due to a knock during Madrid’s pre-season involvements. It is believed that coach Zinedine Zidane is not in favour of starting the Bundesliga star in every game.
Some reports even claimed that he could be sent away on loan after failing to impress his new manager. Jovic dismissed these claims on the premise that he enjoys the manager’s support.
“[Zidane] believes in me and his story has not changed during this time as we work together,” he told Novosti.
“I am learning from him day by day, which I am very pleased with, because he, as a player and as a coach, is at the very top of world football.
“I laughed at some of the stories.
“The media will always come up with such stories.
“I have been used to all kinds of comments since the beginning of my career, I have come to terms with the fact that they will always be there.
“Time will tell what is true.
“I try not to read newspaper articles [or] reply to messages of this type, and to concentrate only on my game.
“That was the best thing, and that is why this period has gone through quite successfully, without much tension.”
The new season is here, and so is the hype surrounding fresh signings.
The transfer window is still active but most of the big transfers have already materialised and the teams are slowly shaping into the side they could look like in the 2019/20 season.
We take a look at five of the best signings from each of the top five leagues, judge them based on compatibility and lay expectations ahead of their debut season.
With the help of transfermarkt.com, age, transfer fee, and value, compatibility, and potential are some of the criteria used in the development of this list.
Here’s a look at La Liga…
Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona) – Midfielder
Transfer fee: €75 million
Value: €85 million
The gaping hole Xavi’s departure left in Barcelona’s midfield has finally been filled by one of the most technically gifted youngsters of this generation.
When the Catalan giants announced Frenkie de Jong’s signature in January, the Dutchman’s transfer value was just €60 million. After a series of masterclasses in the Champions League including a sensational performance against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu, his value has risen to €85 million.
De Jong boasts the exact profile Barca have needed for some time now. His incredible press resistance, progressive style of play, ability to link with the forwards and the versatility to play anywhere in midfield enables him to clear the Barcelona DNA test.
The confident midfielder is the type of player Barca require in a high-voltage European away game against a high press.
Expectation: The importance of midfielders in De Jong’s ilk can’t be quantified by goals and assists. De Jong must work on establishing himself as an undisputed starter in midfield and lead the revolution of youngsters driven by grit and desire to win at all costs – a quality that seemed to have been lacking in the side last season.
Luka Jovic (Real Madrid) – Striker
Transfer fee: €60 million
Transfer value: €60 million
Real Madrid were at the heart of a €1 billion-plus transfer window in La Liga. While Eden Hazard has stolen all the glances, Luka Jovic could prove to be the player the Spanish side need and so desperately missed in the past couple of seasons.
One year ago, prolific goal-scorer Cristiano Ronaldo left Los Blancos for Juventus and took all the goals with him. Madrid suffered heavily in Spain and Europe as a result of losing such a vital player.
Zinedine Zidane now requires a young fox in the box to convert his team into a formidable machine that it once was and Jovic fits the bill perfectly.
The 21-year-old, who scored 17 goals and provided five assists for Eintracht Frankfurt last season, is gifted with athleticism, positional awareness, the classic striker’s instinct and could prove to be a bargain for his price.
Expectation: 25 goals in all competitions. Jovic was born to score and he needs to focus slowly on getting the numbers here. Eden Hazard will be the creative hub of the team and Luka Modric could be the workhorse. The Serbia international must show his new team what they missed in Ronaldo’s absence last season.
Nabil Fekir (Real Betis) – Playmaker
Transfer fee: €19.75 million
Transfer value: €60 million
Arguably the bargain of the transfer window, Real Betis achieved the remarkable capture of Lyon playmaker Nabil Fekir for as little as €19.75 million. Liverpool’s interest and attempt to sign him last summer testifies the quality he brings to any team.
The Frenchman should be aware of the fact that he will be stepping into the shoes of their best player from last season, with Giovani Lo Celso at Tottenham.
Lyon’s former captain’s arrival will help Betis’ midfield upgrade directly and indirectly.
Firstly, his dribbling, close control, versatility and playmaking abilities compensate for what the Seville club will miss with Lo Celso’s departure. The 26-year-old’s creativity will help ease the pressure on Sergio Canales and the pair could go on to forge a lethal combination in attacking midfield. Fekir could also cure Betis’ Achilles heel that is born out of inactivity in the final third.
Betis have been performing smart business in the transfer market for a while now and this could be the peak.
Expectation: Contribute to at least 20 goals. Betis are undergoing a transitional phase with Rubi picking up the mantle from Quique Setien. It would be harsh to expect too much from the Frenchman. His combination with Canales could prove to make or break their season, though.
Maxi Gomez (Valencia) – Striker
Transfer fee: €14.5 million
Transfer value: €40 million
With Santi Mina heading to Celta Vigo on a free transfer, Valencia found themselves needing a well-rounded striker to lead their attack.
Known as El Toro (The bull) due to his stocky build and tendency to use his physique to win duels, Maxi Gomez has often been touted as the heir to Luis Suarez in the Uruguayan national team.
The 22-year-old is a well-rounded striker who likes to drop and indulge in build-up play. His eye for key-passes and incredible passing ability makes him the hybrid striker that the current market demands.
The youngster could be the x-factor as Valencia look to build on their late revival from the 2018/19 season.
Expectation: 25+ goals plus assists. With a total of 18 goal involvements, Gomez was one of the few players who clicked for Celta Vigo last season. With quality, potential and La Liga experience on his side, the bar is set pretty high for Gomez as he looks to spearhead the Valencia attack.
Mario Hermoso (Atletico Madrid) – Central defender
Transfer fee: €25 million
Transfer value: €25 million
Replacing Diego Godin – a club legend in his own right – was bound to be a challenging task for Atletico Madrid and a side coached by Diego Simeone just can’t afford to compromise on the quality of defenders.
The Colchoneros deserve massive credit for achieving this at a bargain price of €25 million in a transfer market where Manchester United paid €80 million Harry Maguire.
Mario Hermoso has been the stand-out player for Espanyol in what was a rather bland season and his move to a top European club was inevitable.
The Real Madrid youth academy graduate boasts of a great passing range, accurate cross-field delivery and confident bursts of progressive play. His tackles are clean, perfectly timed and he rarely finds the need to foul any player.
Most importantly, the 24-year-old wears his heart on his sleeve while on the pitch, much like his predecessor Godin.
Expectation: 18+ clean-sheets, 30> goals conceded. Jan Oblak conceded 27 goals and kept 20 clean-sheets in La Liga last season. Despite what the numbers suggest, Simeone’s backline was far from living up to the bar they set for themselves. Hermoso needs to provide a strong supporting act and ensure Oblak finishes with numbers at least close to that of last season.