The Premier League transfer window may have slammed shut, but clubs in European soccer’s other most important leagues still have two weeks to finalize their squads.
While English clubs weigh up how successful their summer business has been, teams from Spain’s La Liga, Italy’s Serie A, Germany’s Bundesliga and France’s Ligue 1 can make signings – and sales – until September 2.
Some clubs will be focused on keeping hold of their biggest assets and others will be eyeing a late star signing.
There have been plenty of big transfers already this summer and, with a couple of weeks to go, here are five stars who could still move before the deadline.
The rumors surrounding Neymar’s next move have filled plenty of newspaper inches this summer, particularly in Spain and France. Two years after leaving Barcelona to join Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record $246 million deal, the Brazilian forward apparently wants to return to Spain.
There are only two clubs Neymar is interested in joining – former side Barcelona or arch-rivals Real Madrid. Both are supposedly keen to bring in the supremely talented (and occasionally petulant) player. PSG have left Neymar out of their first two league matches but have also rejected bids from both Spanish giants. PSG do seem resigned to their star man leaving but are determined to get a good deal, most likely including a player or two. The sensible money seems to be on Neymar re-joining Barcelona to be part of a forward line that already includes Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann.
Should Neymar get the move he desires, it will likely start a merry-go-round of players moving between Europe’s biggest clubs. Real Madrid’s offer for Neymar apparently includes midfielder James as a makeweight in the deal, while the Colombian is also wanted by Atlético Madrid. Before this season, James had spent two seasons on loan at Bayern Munich, with his last appearance for Real in the 2016/17 season.
However, there were signs this weekend that James could be unexpectedly welcomed back into the first team fold at Real. James was on the bench for Real’s opening La Liga fixture yesterday, a 3-1 victory at Celta Vigo, and reports suggest Real boss Zinedine Zidane is ready to give him another chance. But things change fast and with Italian side Napoli another interested in James, it would not be a surprise if he leaves Madrid by September 2.
James leaving would free up a space in the Real squad for a long-term target, Paul Pogba. Zidane is a big fan of his compatriot and clearly feels he could freshen up an ageing midfield at the Santiago Bernabeu. Pogba would be keen on the move.
The problem, for Real, is United are very reluctant to sell. Pogba, when on form, is one of their best players and United’s midfield looks far weaker without him. Also, given the transfer window for English clubs to buy players has closed, United would have to wait until January to recruit a replacement. The latest reports suggest Real will make one more push to land Pogba this summer, but United will probably hang on to him for now.
Spurs’ creator-in-chief Christian Eriksen said he would like “to try something new” at the start of this summer. The statement put plenty of clubs on alert, given Eriksen was a key part of the Spurs side that reached last season’s Champions League final. The Dane though was careful to add that any move away from North London would have to be a “step up”.
Most have taken this to mean Eriksen wishes to join Barcelona or Real Madrid, or possibly Juventus in Italy. The issue, then, is these clubs have apparently not bid for Eriksen, at least not yet. Now in the final year of his contract, Eriksen could leave Spurs for free next summer, something chairman Daniel Levy will be very keen to avoid. Eriksen has played a part in Spurs’ opening two matches of the season, though manager Mauricio Pochettino is well aware he could still leave, saying, “We will see what happens between now and September 2.” If Real are rebuffed in a final attempt to land Pogba, they may well turn to Eriksen as an alternative.
There was plenty of surprise when Italian champions Juventus indicated they were willing to sell Dybala this summer. The Argentine attacker, known as la joya, or the jewel, could have moved to Manchester United but failed to agree personal terms. A move to Spurs was then also lined up, but a failure to agree terms on his image rights again saw the transfer cancelled.
Juve of course have plenty of competition in the attacking areas, with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuain and Mario Mandzukic. And that means Dybala could still be sold, with head coach Maurizio Sarri recently suggesting Dybala might miss out on a place in his Champions League squad. “I could talk to him, but if the market goes a certain way then what I say counts for nothing, because in the end we need to cut six players,” Sarri said, as reported by Sky Sports. If Dybala is to move this summer, his most likely destination seems Paris. PSG are one of the only teams who can afford his big wages and may, to bring the merry-go-round full circle, be looking for a replacement for Neymar.