There’s no doubt that football’s profitability has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
And yet, as we know, in the beautiful game success costs money, and so there is an interesting paradox at play – will Europe’s elite clubs tighten their belts and shop the transfer market within their financial means, or will they spend money they don’t have in order to remain competitive?
There are many questions to be asked and answered ahead of the transfer window, but for those who decide to assemble their metaphorical ‘tanks on their lawn’ who will be the ten hottest properties in world football this summer?
One of the worst-kept secrets in football was confirmed in May when Harry Kane told Tottenham he wanted to leave the club.
Amateur football sleuths set to work and tried to figure out where the England frontman would end up, and most agreed that staying in the Premier League was the likely course of action.
The champions Manchester City are perhaps the likeliest destination – they have spoken of their desire to snap up the 27-year-old, the club needs a successor to Sergio Aguero and Pep Guardiola has confirmed his admiration of Kane’s work ethic and ability to find the net.
Erling Braut Håland
After blasting 27 Bundesliga goals in as many games last season, the stratospheric rise of Erling Braut Håland knows no bounds.
At just 20, he is arguably the hottest property in world football right now – and there is no lack of potential suitors.
However, not many clubs in the game right now have the financial muscle to afford a player that could command a fee in excess of £150 million, and that’s why the English clubs – no strangers to operating in heavy debt – are those being most forecefully linked with the Norwegian.
Håland's Borussia Dortmund teammate Jadon Sancho is set for a big summer.
Gareth Southgate loves him, and so the attacker may just start for England at Euro 2020 – a tournament they are expected to do very well at.
The 21-year-old has long been linked with a move to Manchester United, although he’s another who could cost in excess of £80 million – could Chelsea jump the queue with Roman Abramovich’s billions burning a hole in his pocket?
Unlike Kane, Jack Grealish has never expressed an interest in leaving his beloved Aston Villa.
But soon the vultures will be circling for the midfielder once more, and the Villains may be powerless to resist an offer in excess of £60 million for the England star.
Where will he end up? The 25-year-old could certainly do a job at any of the big clubs, possessing a handy combination of outstanding technical ability and that good old-fashioned British hard work and endeavour.
The hapless 2020/21 campaign of Juventus may precipitate something of a clear out in Turin as new boss Massimiliano Allegri seeks a return to happier days.
Top of the chops could be Paulo Dybala, the talented Argentine who was grossly underused by the failing side last season.
The complication is that Allegri is a known admirer of the 27-year-old, and may even be looking to build his new Juve team around Dybala – new contract talks have been mooted.
One of the forgotten men of European football, Phillipe Coutinho is likely to be one the main casualties after the post mortem into Barcelona’s decline in recent times.
Jurgen Klopp loves the Brazilian and didn’t want to sell him in the first place, so a return to Anfield is not out of the question – particularly if Gini Wijnaldum heads in the opposite direction.
Indeed, it has even been rumoured that Barca are in such dire financial straits that they have even offered Coutinho back to Liverpool to pay off the debt outstanding from his original transfer!
Fully recovered from a potentially career-threatening injury, Memphis Depay has bounced back and just delivered the best season of his career.
A link-up with Dutch compatriot Ronald Koeman at Barcelona is the most likely avenue out of France.
He’s not a showy, megastar, but Jan Oblak is now arguably the finest goalkeeper on the planet.
Consistently the best defensive outfit in LaLiga, Oblak is a key figure for Atletico and is proof that – when it comes to mega money transfers – goalkeepers remain vastly underrated despite what they can bring to a team.
After blasting 28 Bundesliga goals – more than Håland, incidentally – Andre Silva is poised for a career-changing move at the age of 25.
He will likely play a key role in Portugal’s assault on the Euros this summer too, and so by the end of that tournament his stock may have risen even higher.
His current club, Eintracht Frankfurt, are a decent side but have arguably hit their ceiling after finishing fifth last season, and Silva – blessed with the predatory instincts of a classic number nine, will surely be on the wanted list of many.
Long earmarked to be one of the finest Italian talents of his generation, Domenico Berardi came to the party in 2020/21 in a big way.
Perhaps Juventus is the likeliest destination as they seek to radically overhaul their playing squad, and if such a move comes to fruition you can expect Berardi’s career to kick on another level once more.
Euro 2020 begins on June 11, and Gareth Southga...