Transfer deadline primer: Names on the block, need areas for big clubs
- A number of big names could change addresses in the final hours before the transfer windows in Europe's major leagues shut until January.
With just over 24 hours left of the most expensive transfer window ever, we can expect some more late twists regarding the futures of many players across Europe.
While there isn't likely to be another saga as salacious and confounding as the FaxGate that kept David de Gea from leaving Manchester United for Real Madrid last summer, and a lot of the major names have already made their moves, there could yet be some headline-grabbing buys by clubs with trophy aspirations this season.
Here are some of the players that could be packing their bags very soon, either for a permanent move or a season loaned away from the places they currently call home, along with five big-name clubs who have some loose ends to tie up before the window shuts until the winter.
(The window shuts at midnight in England, Spain and France, 6 p.m. local time in Germany and 11 p.m. local time in Italy on August 31. Players can be transferred out to leagues whose window is still open passed those designated times, but once the window shuts, no in-bound transfers may take place.)
Names to watch leading to the deadline
Julian Draxler (Wolfsburg)
Linked to: PSG, Arsenal, Juventus
Fee: €75 million
This could be the biggest move of the week if it happens. Draxler went public with his wish to leave Wolfsburg before the season began, and his agent has reportedly been in Paris for the last three days. On top of that, Wolfsburg is being linked with a move for Spurs winger Heung-Min Son. Would PSG be the best move for his career? He has a few more hours to think about it.
Jack Wilshere (Arsenal)
Linked to: Middlesbrough, Juventus, Crystal Palace
Fee: Loan deal
The Arsenal midfielder made only three appearances last season–14 the season before–and it seems that coach Arsene Wenger is prepared to let him leave on loan given the midfield options that are ahead of him. Boro heads the queue for a talented, if not always available, player.
Islam Slimani (Sporting)
Linked to: Leicester City, Crystal Palace, West Brom
Fee: €40 million
The Algerian forward left the field in tears Sunday after steering his side to victory over FC Porto, an indicator that he's on the way out. Slimani has scored 57 goals in 109 matches for the Lisbon side, who could make a massive profit on the forward, who cost €300,000 from Belouizdad three years ago. Leicester is prepared to break its transfer record–again–for him.
Yacine Brahimi (FC Porto)
Linked to: Arsenal, Everton
Fee: €35 million
Like another Algerian winger with experience in France, Brahimi could be the next Riyad Mahrez in the Premier League. He has already impressed in the Champions League, and Porto rejected a €30 million offer from Everton for him. A bigger bid could see him end up in Merseyside this week.
Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool)
Linked to: West Brom, Porto, Leicester, Stoke
Fee: Loan deal
It’s hard not to feel some sympathy for Sakho, whose ban for using banned substances was overturned only after he missed playing in the Europa League final and Euro 2016. Jurgen Klopp sent him home early from Liverpool's preseason camp in the United States, and the player has been told he needs a move elsewhere to prove his professionalism. Sakho has great potential, but right now Liverpool cannot unlock it (sounds like another out-of-favor Liverpool player, Mario Balotelli). Will someone else be able to?
Juan Iturbe (AS Roma)
Linked to: Malaga, Villarreal, Lyon, Sassuolo
Fee: Loan deal
A six-month spell at Bournemouth did not go well for the talented but inconsistent Paraguayan international, who was once dubbed "the new Messi" when he came up in the Argentina youth system before swapping allegiances. He is a target for French club Lyon but looks closer to a short-term deal with Sassuolo. How he gets on will be down to his mindset. as his talent has never been in doubt.
Saido Berahino (West Brom)
Linked to: Spurs, Stoke, Crystal Palace
Fee: €30 million
Berahino is another player whose value has increased despite performance levels going in the opposite direction. The striker had a transfer standoff with his club 12 months ago–when he was close to joining Spurs–and this time around, little has changed. Stoke is hoping a deal can be struck before Thursday, but once again it will go down to the wire.
Jose Fonte (Southampton)
Linked to: Manchester United
Fee: €16 million
The Saints skipper is in a tricky position: his club doesn’t want to sell him, and even the United board is torn over backing coach Mourinho in his desire to sign his 32-year-old compatriot. The impasse will be resolved soon: either Fonte will sign a new bumper contract at St. Mary’s, or will he be on the move.
Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle)
Linked to: Spurs, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus, Crystal Palace, Everton
Fee: €40 million
The Sissoko saga feels almost as long as that of his French teammate Paul Pogba. The midfielder looks certain to leave Championship side Newcastle, but his destination is anyone’s guess. It could depend on other deals: whether Spurs sign Wilfred Zaha or if Everton signs Brahimi.
Bastian Schweinsteiger (Manchester United)
Linked to: Chicago Fire, PSG
Fee: Loan deal
United coach Jose Mourinho has said there is no place for the former Germany captain in his team–though German newspaper reports say that stance comes from the club and not the coach–but Schweinsteiger’s annual salary of around €10 million could be a stumbling block to any move this week. Any move to MLS wouldn't be able to take place until the winter, though SI's Grant Wahl has confirmed that the Fire have expressed interest in signing him.
Five big clubs and their needs
Chelsea: Tied atop of the Premier League, it has bought N’Golo Kante and Michy Batshuayi, both of whom have settled impressively into their new team. But there are problems in defense, where a center back and a left back is needed. With Loic Remy off to Crystal Palace on loan, a backup striker is also required.
Manchester United: Jose Mourinho has enjoyed a great start to life at Old Trafford and said that he was only after four new faces, which he got. But a new center back remains a possibility, and while ex-winger Antonio Valencia is at right back, another fullback is on the list.
Tottenham: Linked with a winger all summer, Tottenham's deal to sign Marseille's Georges-Kevin Nkoudou remains in limbo. Wilfred Zaha, Moussa Sissoko and even Isco have been linked as chairman Daniel Levy looks to leave it late yet again.
Juventus: After missing out on Blaise Matuidi, who stayed at PSG, Juventus is keen to pick up a dynamic midfielder. It has been linked with Draxler, Sissoko and even Wilshere, but looks likely to sign Axel Witsel from Zenit St. Petersburg and wants to bring Juan Cuadrado back from Chelsea after last season's successful loan spell.
AC Milan: Vincenzo Montella needs a center back but might not have the funds to spend the €10 million that Sao Paulo wants for Brazilian Olympic gold medalist Rodrigo Caio. Villarreal’s Mateo Musacchio is also a target. In midfield, Hernanes (Juventus) and Milan Badelj (Fiorentina) have been linked.