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Monday, September 25, 2023

Five big transfer storylines to follow in the summer window

The European season is coming to a close, which means the summer transfer window will soon dominate the soccer agenda. Speculation is already swirling over a number of potential transfers, but some transfers will naturally attract more attention than others.

Last summer, Chelsea spent over $300m on new players that took them to their worst Premier League finish since the 1993-4 season. In LaLiga, Real Madrid spent €100m on Aurelian Tchouameni and saw Casemiro depart for Manchester United. With Manchester City getting the better of Madrid, Bayern Munich, and the entirety of the Premier League, the arms race in Europe will assuredly heat up. Here are five storylines that will define this summer’s transfer window.

Five Summer Transfer Stories to Watch

Who will Lionel Messi sign for?

Paris Saint-German manager Christophe Galtier confirmed today that Lionel Messi will be leaving the Parisian club this summer, with the World Cup winner out of contract. The 35-year-old never seemed truly happy in the French capital and has been linked with an emotional return to Barcelona – Xavi Hernandez has publicly talked about his desire to see Messi back at the Catalan club.

However, Messi has other options. Inter Miami have pursued the Argentine for a long time and Messi is believed to be open to a move to Major League Soccer. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal have reportedly tabled a $1 billion offer with Messi’s representatives already agreeing a deal in principle.

Man Utd’s search for a new number nine 

Manchester United have made genuine progress this season, finishing in the top four of the Premier League table, but it’s clear Erik Ten Hag needs a new number nine if the upward trajectory is to continue into next season. By all accounts, the Old Trafford club is prioritising the signing of a centre forward this summer.

Harry Kane is reportedly United’s first-choice with the England captain facing a career crossroads as he enters the final year of his contract at Tottenham Hotspur. Napoli’s Victor Osimhen could also be an option with France international Randal Kolo Muani another name believed to be on the shortlist.

Can Chelsea trim their bloated squad?

Mauricio Pochettino was confirmed as Chelsea’s new manager on Monday and the Argentine’s first job will be to identify which players he wants to use next season and which should be moved on. Chelsea have a terribly bloated squad after spending over $600m over the last two transfer windows and so now is the time for them to do some trimming.

The likes of Christian Pulisic, Hakim Ziyech, Mason Mount, Conor Gallagher, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and N’Golo Kante could be moved on. Pochettino might also need two or three new additions in key positions – a number nine and a new defensive midfielder would help – but the new Chelsea boss must focus on building a tighter, leaner core group.

Is Jude Bellingham destined for Real Madrid?

Jude Bellingham might not have placed his hands on the Bundesliga trophy at Borussia Dortmund, but at merely 19 years old he was the best player in the German top flight this season. The England international has countless admirers, but recent reports claim Real Madrid have jumped to the front of the queue to sign Bellingham.

Real Madrid have already started the process of replenishing their midfield after the capture of Tchouameni and Eduardo Camavinga in back-to-back summer transfer window. The addition of Bellingham would add to the sense Los Blancos are preparing for the future. But might Liverpool or Manchester City make a late bid to land Bellingham?

Will Liverpool find the midfielders they need?

This summer will be a pivotal one for Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp must focus on rebuilding his midfield unit which was the source of many problems for the Reds this season. For many, Bellingham was the ideal player to solve some of those issues, but the England international now appears more likely to sign for Real Madrid instead.

Liverpool don’t have the resources of some of their rivals and so they will have to be imaginative in the transfer market. Gallagher and Mount have both been linked with a switch to Anfield with Wolves’ Matheus Nunes another name on their radar. Whether or not Liverpool rebuild their midfield will have a big bearing on how next season goes for them.

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