At some point, life in Europe will get back to something resembling “normal.” Matches will be played. Fans will eventually be let back into the stands.
However, the coronavirus’ impact on clubs and transfers may reverberate for years.
We looked at leagues and clubs that may be on the rise or fall post-corona. Now, let’s look at how some of the top transfer targets are affected.
Top 2020 summer transfer targets
Jadon Sanch0, 20, Borussia Dortmund ($128.7M)
Leading contenders: Manchester United, BVB, Bayern Munich, Chelsea
Sancho is the top target this summer. At 20, a purchasing club could easily get 10 years of production from him. As wingers increase in value, he’s one of the few players with a legitimate shot at breaking a $100M fee this summer.
Man U have been heavily linked all season. If they’re smart, they focus solely on Sancho and not on the Harry Kane’s of the world. Bayern Munich will always be a threat to snag any top Bundesliga player. Chelsea should have the funds and the profile (young, up-and-coming) to slot Sancho in.
However, don’t rule out BVB keeping him. Paired with ERLING BRAUT HAALAND, BVB would be a legitimate Champions League contender next year. With its new ESPN deal, the overall status of the Bundesliga is on the rise. German clubs may be in better financial footage than any country outside of England. It’s not a given Sancho bounces yet.
Prediction: Manchester United (70%), BVB (20%), Others (10%)
Timo Werner, 24, RB Leipzig ($70M)
Leading contenders: Liverpool, RB Leipzig, Bayern Munich, Chelsea
Werner-to-Liverpool was basically a done deal before coronavirus. Will it still be?
He’s the classic Klopp Liverpool attacking acquisition: wildly productive entering the prime of his career.
There are issues with Werner to Liverpool though. Specifically: where will he play? The frontline at Anfield has been the most productive in Europe for three seasons.
More on that in a minute…
Prediction: Liverpool (65%), RB Leipzig (10%), Others (25%)
Sadio Mane / Mohamed Salah, 28/27, Liverpool ($132M)
Leading contenders: Liverpool, Real Madrid, PSG
That’s right, we’re going there.
The most likely scenario is both Mane and Salah stay put. However, Liverpool are the smartest club in Europe. Both pacey wingers are close to exiting their prime. Squads like Liverpool need refreshing every few years. Both of their price tags will never be higher.
Real Madrid has shown interest in both Mane and Salah. PSG has shown some in Salah as well. If Werner comes in, it would be very surprising that one of these two do not go out.
Given his age and where-theres-smoke-theres-fire interest, our money is on Mane to Madrid.
Prediction: Mane to Madrid (50%), Salah to Madrid or PSG (40%), both stay at Liverpool (35%)
Leroy Sane, 24, Manchester City ($88M)
Leading contenders: Bayern Munich, Manchester City
If City’s Champions League ban sticks, they’ll need to sell assets. All of the talk has surrounded Raheem Sterling and Kevin de Bruyne. However, the most obvious candidate is rehabbing behind-the-scenes.
Sane is absolutely terrifying when he’s on. But he’s squarely been in Pep’s doghouse for seasons now. Bayern wants him. Sane’s only got a year left on his contract and he’s coming back from an ACL. City may need the funds and may not want to risk Sane getting injured again. This feels like an almost certainty.
Prediction: Bayern (80%), City (20%)
Paul Pogba, 27, Manchester United ($88M)
Leading contenders: Juventus, Real Madrid, Manchester United
It’s starting to feel like Pogba’s going to have a wasted career. That he’s more potential than reality.
If United bring in Sancho, they’ll have plenty of talent to compete in England and Europe. Would Pogba be so inclined to leave if so?
Juventus and Real Madrid have had eyes for him for two seasons. Juventus, his former home, may want him more. He makes sense there. His agent is a hero there. Real Madrid may have more money though.
Prediction: Juventus (40%), Real Madrid (40%), Manchester United (20%).
Kai Havertz, 20, Bayer Leverkusen ($89M)
Leading contenders: Leverkusen, Barcelona, Bayern, Liverpool
It may be one year too soon for Havertz. Don’t expect Bayern Munich to make more than one major purchase. If that is Sane, then Havertz is left out. He’s been linked to Liverpool, but again, only expect one major purchase from the Reds. That’s likely to be Werner.
Barcelona seems like the right fit–but can they afford to buy anyone?
Havertz may have to wait one more year to make his big move.
Prediction: Leverkusen (65%), Barcelona (15%), Bayern (10%), Liverpool (10%)
Raheem Sterling, 25, Manchester City ($140M)
Leading contenders: Real Madrid, Manchester City
The flirting with Sterling and Madrid is real.
The impact of COVID-19 though will likely keep transfer activity to a minimum. Don’t expect major clubs to make more than one splashy signing.
If City off-load Sane to Bayern, they won’t need to sell Raheem. If they don’t, he could be on the move. This will be an interesting one to watch.
Prediction: Real Madrid (50%), Manchester City (50%)
Donny van de Beek, 22, Ajax ($48.4M)
Leading contenders: Ajax, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Barcelona, Juventus
A depressed transfer market may actually be what ends up keeping a talented Ajax team (mostly) in tact for another season.
DvdB has interest aplenty. But who will have funds? If he does move, it’ll be because a top club missed out on a higher priced target.
Juventus is an unlinked darkhorse here. He’d be a perfect fit with that squad.
Prediction: Ajax (25%), Real Madrid (25%), Manchester United (25%), Barcelona & Juventus (25%)
ERLING BRAUT HAALAND, 19, Borussia Dortmund ($79.2M)
Leading contenders: BVB, Manchester United
ERLING BRAUT HAALAND is on the heater of all heaters. He’s going to be an elite goal scorer for 10-15 years.
Because Manchester United are literally linked to errrrrrybody, Haaland’s name will keep coming up. But keep in mind: 1) his agent, Mino Raiola, is Pogba’s agent and just spent the past year bashing Old Trafford to pieces, and 2) BVB is in no rush to sell him.
Haaland has managed his career carefully. Another year of seasoning in Germany before making the next “leap” makes sense. Plus, Raiola will get more $$$ for Haaland after the market recovers.
Prediction: BVB (90%), Man U (10%)
Other names you’ll hear but aren’t going anywhere…
- Kalidou Koulibaly, 28, Napoli ($68M): Has a €150m release clause and the top potential buyer–Man City–isn’t likely buying this year.
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 30, Arsenal ($61.6M): Arsenal trending up and the main potential suitor–Barca–isn’t likely buying this year.
- Harry Kane, 26, Tottenham ($132M): Linked to Manchester United, is Spurs really blowing up the team in under a year with Mouriho? How will he respond to that? And Sancho is the target.
- Kylian Mbappe, 21, PSG ($198M): Let’s see, most expensive player in the world in the most down economy soccer will see for ages already playing for one of maybe 4 clubs who could afford his fee? Not going anywhere.
- Neymar, 28, PSG ($140.8M): Nobody can afford him this year. Noticing a trend?
- Lionel Messi, 32, Barcelona ($123M): Yep, we’re going there. If Barcelona can’t bring in Neymar and is forced to sell players, will Messi stick? He is in the last year of his contract. However, nobody is buying anyone this year.