With there being just six or seven games left before the depressing end to another fantastic season, pundits and fans alike have already begun to guess the possible upcoming transfers that could get the green light this summer.
With the usual culprits such as Manchester City and Paris St-Germain already being heavily linked to almost every world class, expensive footballer there is, everyone is excited to find out which of the high-profile transfers speculated will be completed and separated from the unrealistic dreams and fantasies that evaporate from the optimistic supporters’ minds.
However, instead of partaking in the standard, near post-season predictions of the obvious transfers, I have decided to take a look at the players which have escaped our darting attentions and the likely destinations they will be arriving at once the transfer window opens and marks the culmination of yet another captivating season in world football.
5. Mario Gomez
Bayern Munich hitman Mario Gomez finished off last season with an incredible 41 goals before taking a strong Germany side to the semi-finals of Euro 2012. He completed the tournament by totaling the highest amount of goals (but he did not win the Golden Boot as Fernando Torres had scored the same amount of goals as him in a shorter time on pitch) recording three goals and one assist in five games. Gomez’s form did not continue through the Summer however, after he was forced to undergo ankle surgery. Shortly after his operation Bayern also announced they had secured the services of former Wolfsburg striker Mario Mandzukic, following his surprising yet eye catching form during his three games in the Euros. Unfortunately for Gomez, this spectacular form continued-meaning he was forced to watch from the sidelines as the Croatian spearheaded the Bavarians’ attack. This season however has seen Gomez only find the back of the net seven times in just 15 appearances, a particularly feeble amount when compared to his 52 appearances for Bayern last year. With the rumour mill at the Bavarians also in full flow as talks of a Lewandowski transfer begin to heat up once more, don’t be shocked if Gomez’s weakest season to date at Bayern is also his last.
Possible Destinations: Man City, Chelsea – both are in the market for a world-class striker this Summer and Gomez is just the man to fit the bill with a strong aerial threat and clinical finishing in front of goal.
4. David Villa
Barcelona striker David Villa is one of the best and most experienced veterans left in world football today, with his resume littered with trophies and personal achievements left, right and centre. His capture of seven trophies during his time with the Blaugrana only cemented his rise to fame, a success that has been equally matched whilst playing in his country’s colours. Having always been a vital part of the clockwork that forms Spain’s golden generation with an European and World Cup each to his name, it is no wonder David Villa has always been tracked by the biggest clubs in the world since his breakthrough in 1999. A player gifted with insane dribbling skills and a potent as ever eye for goal, his threat around the opposition’s box is always a torturing presence. His exceptional talents on the field are further magnified by his dangerous set pieces, most notably an unbelievably accurate and extremely powerful free-kick. However, having made 32 appearances this season, the possibility of a departure from Barcelona looks less likely than it did last season – but if El Guaje finds an emerging prospect of regular football week in, week out, at another club part of the world’s best, we may see one of the game’s biggest stars completing a very big transfer to one fortunate club come this summer.
Possible Destinations: Arsenal, Man City – Both English clubs have expressed some form of interest at the possibility of landing Villa, with the North London club the more likely of the two set to secure his signature as they look to put a stop to their apparent, fading ambition with a stellar signing for the fans, but it all depends on how Villa sees out the end of this season.
Portuguese winger Nani has had a forgettable season this year after making only 23 appearances for the Red Devils. A talented winger who has the potential to terrorise full-backs on both wings with his blistering pace and masked trickery-it has been no surprise he has been compared to his fellow Portugal countryman and former Manchester United teammate Cristiano Ronaldo. However, this season hasn’t quite seen Nani discover the same success he found during his 40 appearances for United last year with him being sidelined with recurring injuries and an ongoing contract dispute with the United board upstairs. Nani’s stats this season have also been disappointing by his standard, notching just seven assists and a poor goal tally of three goals. With United seemingly unwilling to offer him the massive £90,000 a week salary he has been demanding, coupled with the imminent transfer of right-midfielder Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace this summer- it seems further and further likely the Portuguese winger may look elsewhere to ply his trade in the search for regular first team football.
Possible Destinations: Juventus, Arsenal – both clubs have expressed their interest with Juventus looking to increase squad depth and desperate to offer Sebastian Giovinco some competition for a starting spot on the right flank, and North London club Arsenal continue to scour the market for a winger; a position that is a growing worry for the Gunners.
2. Wayne Rooney
Manchester United centre-forward Wayne Rooney burst onto the world stage as a 16 year old living his dream of playing for his beloved boyhood club, Everton. A remarkable player who had to (and still does) bear the weight of England’s diminishing hopes of securing gold on the international stage on his shoulders, Rooney was a striker capable of both scoring some phenomenal goals and assisting others in a beautiful and rampant style. However, these days, Rooney finds himself in a more advanced role in the centre of the pitch whilst playing in a United shirt, forced to help out defensively at times but also allowed some more freedom to inject a new ray of light into the already-incredible United attack. Furthermore, the fact Rooney has adapted so easily to this new role that was recently handed to him not only underlined his sheer brilliance on the pitch but also his capability of continuing his stunning form regardless of where he finds himself on the pitch. However, despite notching 16 goals in 31 games this season, speculation has started to arise over whether the English hitman would find a new club in the Summer. His strained relationship with manager Sir Alex Ferguson has been well documented, and with Ferguson leaving him out of several key encounters this season (most notably the 2nd leg against Real Madrid in the Champions League) Rooney could finally be shown the exit door with rumours of more-apt replacements in the form of Robert Lewandowski and Radamel Falcao begin to mark the end of his plagued final year at Old Trafford.
Possible Destinations: Man City – The “noisy neighbours” have magnified their sole ambition of spending a lot of money this coming summer, and Rooney may find himself signing for the club he was so close to leaving for just two years ago.
1. Robert Lewandowski
Polish centre-forward Robert Lewandowski has broken onto the scene in recent years with an equally developing footballing force in a Borussia Dortmund side under Jurgen Klopp. The 24 year old prospect is known for being gifted with sublime finishing in front of goal whilst also having a knack for creating dangerous chances for the rest of the players in a Die Borussen shirt. Furthermore, his determination and grit when battling shoulder to shoulder with a defender on the opposing side not only highlights the young striker’s influential presence on the field, but also the escalating heights he could achieve effortlessly. With these impressive and almost unmatched credentials evident in the 6″0 hitman, it isn’t anything of a surprise he is being touted by top clubs in the form of Bayern Munich and Manchester United. The Dortmund striker has also underlined his interest to move clubs in the coming summer, publicly stating he favours a move to a different country and ruthlessly telling his club he does not wish to renew his contract with its looming expiration in 2014. Regardless of the rumour mill being in full flow around the Bundesliga, expect Borussia Dortmund to cash in on the steep price that will surely be attached to his head.
Possible Destinations: Manchester United, Bayern Munich – the Manchester club has kept its burning interest in Lewandowski alive since last summer, stemming from their enquiry about him before securing the services of experienced Dutch striker Robin Van Persie before the start of this season. The polish hitman has claimed he would prefer a move abroad, but has not ruled out the possibility of landing a summer switch to Munich.