Neymar to Manchester City
What’s this? Another transfer window with nearly all of the biggest names in LaLiga being linked with a move to the Premier League? It’s an easy link to make, I’ll give you that. Everybody knows the money available to the top sides in England dwarfs even what Real Madrid and Barcelona bring in. In a toe-to-toe battle, LaLiga’s elite are no longer the kingpins of the transfer window.
Yet there’s a misconception when it comes to LaLiga’s star players and what their futures hold. While the English league might have the upper hand when it comes to finances, it’s in Spain where the glory lies. You can attract talent from that pool of sides below the top two but to take a starter from either Madrid or Barcelona is a near impossible task.
‘SPORT’, a Catalan-based newspaper, claims Neymar isn’t entirely happy at Barcelona because he feels he won’t win a Ballon d’Or while he plays alongside Lionel Messi. The flamboyant Brazilian has won everything there is to win at club level but individual recognition is what’s missing. Apparently, while Messi is at the club, Neymar believes he can’t break out on his own.
This story would carry more weight if he hadn’t signed a new contract last October. “He’s (Messi) helped me a lot in these four years at Barcelona. We have a fantastic relationship, we’re friends who help each other on the pitch. I’m happy when he scores or makes a pass.” But what about the Ballon d’Or? “The only player I want to surpass is myself, every day, not be better than somebody else.”
Neymar is the heir to Messi’s throne. It’d take an army stronger than Daenerys Targaryen’s to prise away the Brazilian from Barcelona.
Chances of it happening: 0/5
Diego Costa to Atletico Madrid
Another week, another Diego Costa update. The Brazilian divides opinion but the one thing you must admire is his honesty. Well, maybe not always on the pitch but certainly off it. In a time where footballers leave more and more in the hands of their PAs, Costa is 100% genuine. Love or hate him, you know what you get. He’s the Ronseal of football.
Last night he was on Instagram, as you do, randomly filming himself celebrating. Now that might not strike you as strange but he did this while wearing an Atletico Madrid shirt. It’s no secret the Spanish forward is desperate for a return to Madrid, even if it means sitting on the bench for six months, but openly wearing another team’s shirt just goes to show how far out the door Diego is at Chelsea.
Costa made it clear to Chelsea officials he didn’t want to return for preseason training and the club quickly responded by saying he was given permission to arrive later. The one thing both sides agree on is a move is the perfect solution. During the video his current teammate Cesc Fabregas appeared in the comments and Costa replied with: “Give Conte a hug (from me).”
Chances of it happening: 4/5
Danilo to Chelsea
From a player who wants to leave London for Madrid, here’s one likely to be heading in the opposite direction. Danilo hasn’t settled at Real Madrid despite being someone both Rafa Benitez and Zinedine Zidane have counted on regularly. His mistakes were picked apart by rival fans, and even a section of the Santiago Bernabeu, and it’s made the Brazilian international feel unwelcome.
Chelsea spent last season using Victor Moses as a makeshift wing back but Danilo would offer a more natural solution to Conte’s system.
The over-the-top criticism of Danilo’s performances in the last couple of years shouldn’t detract from what’s been a very successful stint in Madrid. Two Champions League titles, a LaLiga crown as well as winning both the FIFA Club World Cup and UEFA Supercup is a fantastic return. Losing your place to Dani Carvajal is hardly a sign of incompetence either with very few better right backs around at the minute.
A move, as in the case of Costa, suits all parties. Danilo needs a more defensive-first structure around him to truly shine and Madrid will pocket a sizeable fee for their second choice fullback.
Chances of it happening: 4/5
Mateo Kovacic to Spurs
Yep, another Real Madrid player. And so is the next one too, so buckle up.
Mateo Kovacic is a wanted man because, as predicted here last week, there’s a concern Madrid’s midfield is overbooked. Last season the young Croatian played a considerable – and significant – part in Madrid’s dominant campaign. He replaced his injured fellow countryman, Luka Modric, and kept the Madrid juggernaut ploughing forward.
For Tottenham he would be the first person who could replace the Modric-shaped hole in their midfield. That’s not to say Spurs’ midfield is weak, far from it, but there’s an over reliance on an injury-prone Mousa Dembele and perhaps unfair expectations of young Harry Winks. Kovacic could see the North London outfit as the perfect platform to showcase his true talent.
However any move won’t be easy. ‘AS’ reported this morning that Spurs had a €25m bid rejected and the stance of Los Blancos remains one of defiance. Zidane doesn’t want to let anyone go unless the offer is too good to turn down. It’s why Morata’s asking price is so high (more on him later). Kovacic isn’t pushing to leave but could if he doesn’t feature during preseason. This one might go to the wire.
Chances of it happening: 2.5/5
Alvaro Morata to AC Milan
This was supposed to be a special summer for the young Spaniard but it hasn’t gone according to plan. Morata returned from Italy last summer to establish himself as the main striker at Real Madrid. Despite his fine goal return and goal to game ratio, he’s still firmly behind Karim Benzema in the pecking order – and he wants out, again.
After marrying his Italian girlfriend, Morata looked set to join Manchester United for a huge fee. However Madrid’s reluctance to let him go for anything below €90m scuppered the move and United picked up Romelu Lukaku instead. Chelsea were considered favourites to sign him but they want Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or Sergio Aguero, not the Madrid man.
There is still hope for Morata in the shape of Milan. The fallen Italian giants are constructing an entirely new squad for next season and are the stars of the transfer window so far. To take Morata from Madrid would be the jewel in their crown, alongside Leonardo Bonucci of course. Key in all of this is the player’s desire to move ahead of next summer’s World Cup.