By any measure, Euro 2012 was a huge success, rightly earning praise as the most entertaining major tournament of the past 20 years. Now that the dust has settled on Spain’s historic victory, the spotlight returns to the domestic club scene, where players and teams alike are fighting for perfect deals.
Plenty of transfer targets enhanced their reputation in Poland/Ukraine this summer, while others saw their stock plummet faster that Usain Bolt in full flight. Inside Futbol looks at ten transfer targets that will see plenty of attention and could be on the move over the days and weeks ahead.
Robin van Persie (Arsenal)
Linked with: Manchester City, Juventus, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain
The Dutchman’s stunning 30-goal Premier League haul for Arsenal last season put him among Europe’s most prolific strikers, as he led the Gunners to a top four finish. But Van Persie sees his future away from the Emirates, announcing that he will not sign a new contract at the club. Arsene Wenger is left in a tough spot, with the prospect of watching the Dutchman walk away for nothing in the summer of 2013. Van Persie was a disappointment at Euro 2012, but that will not deter Manchester City and Juventus who are the favourites to land the striker if Arsenal are forced to cash in this summer. Manchester United are making a late push too.
Alan Dzagoev (CSKA Moscow)
Linked with: Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur
Dzagoev arrived at Euro 2012 with a reputation as one of the world’s emerging attackers – and the 22-year-old did not disappoint. Despite Russia’s surprising failure to qualify from Group A, the CSKA Moscow starlet netted three goals, including a double against the Czech Republic. His value will only have gone up after those performances and a move to England is a real possibility. Both Arsenal and Tottenham might well show an interest in the promising young Russian, as well as other top European sides including Chelsea.
Demba Ba (Newcastle United)
Linked with: Liverpool, Paris Saint-Germain, Galatasaray
The Senegal striker was the find of last season in the Premier League as he helped Newcastle surpass all expectations in finishing in the top six. Newcastle boss Alan Pardew would love to keep Ba at St. James’ Park, but a £7M release clause has alerted numerous clubs. Ba has already demonstrated how devastating his pace and power – and eye for goal – can be in English football, and Liverpool are rumoured to be among the interested clubs.
Joao Moutinho (FC Porto)
Linked with: Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, Inter, Real Madrid
Moutinho established himself as Portugal’s second best player at Euro 2012, making him a perfect fit for clubs in need of a composed and technically sound midfield creator. The Porto man is destined for a move to either the Premier League, Serie A or La Liga – and it is easy to imagine him fitting in well at Old Trafford. At just 25 years of age, the Portuguese schemer has a big future and will continue to improve.
Lucas Moura (Sao Paulo)
Linked with: Chelsea, Real Madrid, Manchester City
The 19-year-old Sao Paulo midfielder has shot to the top of many clubs’ wishlists as he looks to be a big part of Brazil’s future. Moura has reportedly earned interest from Chelsea and Real Madrid, but Manchester United are seemingly also joining the fray. A price tag of upwards of £30M may prove an obstacle but Moura, with his quick feet and ability to play in a creative number 10 role, is one to keep an eye on over the weeks ahead. A player with a big future, it is no wonder Europe’s elite are scrambling to secure his services.
Rafael van der Vaart (Tottenham Hotspur)
Linked with: Hamburg
Not so long ago, the Dutchman was an untouchable piece of the Tottenham puzzle, but injuries have slowed him down and his form has suffered. Van der Vaart is thought to be available this summer for as little as a £10M as new manager Andre Villas-Boas looks to reshape the North Londoners. The midfield schemer turns 30 next year, though he still has plenty left to offer. Former club Hamburg are among a string of clubs linked with Van der Vaart.
Mathieu Debuchy (Lille)
Linked with: Newcastle United, Inter, Chelsea
The French full-back caught the eye at Euro 2012 as he stepped in for Arsenal’s Bacary Sagna. Debuchy’s willingness to bomb forward was a major asset for France and he also showed his versatility in a midfield role in the loss to Spain. Newcastle appear to be leading the pack in the pursuit for his signature, but Chelsea and Inter have also been linked with the Lille star. How much he will go for is unclear, with Newcastle already have had a €5M bid turned down.
Fernando Llorente (Athletic Bilbao)
Linked with: Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Manchester City
After an impressive year for Athletic Bilbao, Llorente was a mere spectator as Spain surged to their Euro 2012 triumph. But don’t expect that to affect the level of interest in him this summer. Manchester United have long been linked with the big striker, while Real Madrid and Manchester City are also thought to be weighing up bids. Llorente’s employers are likely to hold out for a £30M fee, which is the striker’s release clause, but suitors know they would land a proven goal machine.
Axel Witsel (Benfica)
Linked with: Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid
The Benfica starlet, still just 23, is rightly considered among Europe’s brightest midfield talents. He has ground to make up on the likes of Xavi and Andres Iniesta, of course, but the Belgian’s potential has already alerted some of Europe’s elite. Both Manchester clubs and Chelsea are among Witsel’s admirers while the powerhouses of La Liga are also tracking the youngster. Witsel would likely cost £20M.
Hulk (FC Porto)
Linked with: Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Paris Saint-Germain, Anzhi Makhachkala
Porto’s powerhouse striker has a €100M release clause, though the Portuguese champions have adopted a more realistic approach of late and a transfer fee of around £40M is likely to be enough to snare him. Chelsea are known to have an interest, while big spending Anzhi Makhachkala and Paris Saint-Germain can afford to tempt the Brazilian. Tottenham meanwhile, under new boss and big Hulk admirer Villas-Boas, are also likely to be circling the 25-year-old Brazilian if Porto decide to cash in.
Luka Modric (Tottenham Hotspur)
Linked with: Chelsea, Real Madrid
Modric appears to want out of White Hart Lane with a lack of Champions League football taking its toll on the Croatian. Real Madrid look to have set their heart on taking the playmaker to the Bernabeu, despite it not being immediately clear just where Jose Mourinho will deploy him. Chelsea meanwhile have a more pressing need for Modric and made two bids to sign him last summer; the Blues could rekindle their interest, but Modric will not come cheap, with a price of around £50M being mooted.