The summer transfer window is a time of relentless rumours and feverish speculation, a period of media frenzy as the rumour mill reaches overdrive.
Clubs might be concentrated on a strong end to the current campaign at present, but there will no doubt be background work underway to secure star signings this summer. The coming transfer window promises to be another fascinating period of dealings and we’ve decided to look at some of the big names who look set to dominate the headlines.
Here are eight players who are set to dominate the transfer headlines this summer.
Jude Bellingham might just be the most in-demand footballer in Europe right now, with the continent’s leading clubs queuing up to sign the Borussia Dortmund teenager. Bellingham has evolved into one of the most exciting talents in world football in the Bundesliga and impressed for England at the World Cup in Qatar.
Still just 19, he has shown an impressive level of maturity in handling big occasions and offers a well-rounded skillset that can be developed further. This season the midfielder ranks among the Bundesliga leaders for progressive passes (2nd), passes into the final third (3rd), shot-creating actions (7th), tackles (6th) and successful take-ons (4th).
The next UCL game Jude Bellingham plays, he will be playing for _____. pic.twitter.com/KBSzoX0yVk
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) March 7, 2023
It is a completeness that means clubs are prepared to spend big to land Bellingham, with Dortmund – who are not expected to stand in his way should suitable offers arrive – set to demand a fee of around €150m (£132m).
Real Madrid, Manchester City and Liverpool are understood to be the frontrunners, with the latter having made Bellingham their number one target as Jurgen Klopp looks to rebuild his midfield. An absence of Champions League football – Liverpool are sixth in the Premier League at present – could hinder hopes, however, of a deal that would smash the club’s transfer record.
If Bellingham is the most coveted player in the Bundesliga right now, then Josko Gvardiol is a close second. Gvardiol was the subject of an approach from Chelsea last summer, with interest again expected to be high in a defender whose reputation has risen this season.
The 20-year-old was outstanding as Croatia finished third at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and has had another impressive season in Germany with RB Leipzig, where his comfortability in stepping forward in possession is evidenced with a league-leading 92.8% take-on success. Last season the defender completed more take-ons than any other centre-back in Europe’s top five leagues and led all Bundesliga centre-backs for passes into the final third.
His ability to break lines with passes or drive in possession – in addition to being left footed – has led to a usual queue of suspects forming. Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool are all among his suitors, though each face challenges in concluding a deal.
Gvardiol signed a new contract at Leipzig in September and while it contains a release clause of £97m, that will not become active until summer 2024. Any deal for the centre-back could set a new record fee for a defender.
Harry Kane faces a huge decision on his future this summer as the Tottenham forward enters the final 12 months of his deal in north London. Despite the goal records and individual accolades, Kane has failed to win silverware since coming through the ranks at Spurs and time is running out to collect team honours.
Kane will turn 30 this summer and the coming transfer window shapes as a pivotal moment for both the forward and Spurs. The club are desperate to secure Kane to a new contract and are prepared to continue those efforts into next season – despite the risk of losing Kane on a free transfer in 2024 – if required. That would represent a high-risk strategy from Daniel Levy and Manchester United are understood to be prepared to test Spurs’ resolve in the summer.
Top four isn't enough for Harry Kane 💔 pic.twitter.com/aFsID7YzN2
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) March 10, 2023
Erik ten Hag wants to add a centre-forward to his squad and Kane could prove the missing piece as the Red Devils look to challenge for the title next season. There are few more proven goalscorers than Kane, who this season has become Spurs’ all-time record goalscorer and just the third player to reach 200 Premier League goals. A move to Manchester would echo past deals for Teddy Sheringham and Robin van Persie, who each left north London sides for Old Trafford in search of elusive silverware.
Much could depend on Spurs’ managerial situation and willingness to invest this summer, with Antonio Conte expected to exit at the end of the season.
Alexis Mac Allister
Interest is high in Alexis Mac Allister, who has seen his profile rise following an excellent season for club and country.
Mac Allister has shone for a Brighton side pushing for European football this season and has scored seven goals in 21 league appearances for the Seagulls. It is on the international stage that Mac Allister has enjoyed his greatest success however, as part of Argentina’s victorious side in Qatar.
— Brighton & Hove Albion (@OfficialBHAFC) December 13, 2022
The 24-year-old started six of Argentina’s seven games as the La Albiceleste won the World Cup, performances which have enhanced his list of suitors. Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool and Newcastle have all been linked, but Brighton are in a strong position after Mac Allister signed a new deal with the club in October.
Mac Allister has insisted that his focus is on a strong end to the season with Brighton, but hinted at a potential move to an English rival.
Speaking to Argentinian outlet TyC Sports, he said: “At the moment I’m enjoying my present at Brighton and I’m not thinking about the future. But I would like my next team to be in the Premier League.”
Victor Osimhen has become a top target for Europe’s top clubs after his role in a stunning season for Napoli, who have shone in the Champions League and are on course for a first Scudetto in 33 years.
Osimhen’s goals have fired Luciano Spalletti’s impressive outfit, who sit 18 points clear at the top of Serie A and have emerged as dark horses in Europe. The Nigerian has been in fantastic form this season and leads Serie A’s goal chart with 19 goals in 22 appearances, with only Erling Haaland and Harry Kane having outscored the 24-year-old across Europe’s major leagues.
Victor Osimhen does it once again! 🎯
Chest, knee, volley, BOOM!
Incredible stuff from Napoli's striker to open the scoring 🙌 pic.twitter.com/0aV0Bdm9Sk
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) January 29, 2023
A powerful presence with pace and instinctive finishing, Osimhen shapes as the complete centre-forward package and his performances are said to have alerted Chelsea, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain. Having been named as Serie A’s Best Young Player last season, he has elevated his game once again and a devastating understanding with Khvicha Kvaratskhelia has inspired Napoli’s success this season.
Napoli spent a club record €70m to sign Osimhen from Lille in 2020 and would expect to make a significant profit on the forward should interested clubs firm up an approach.
Is Mason Mount set to leave Chelsea this summer?
Few would have envisaged such a situation at the end of last season, as the academy graduate celebrated a second successive Chelsea Player of the Year accolade. Mount has been an influential presence since breaking into the senior side and was one of the Premier League’s most productive players last term, with only Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen matching the midfielder’s feat of 10+ goals and 10+ assists in the division.
There’s still big gap in the negotiations between Chelsea and Mason Mount, as new deal is again far from being agreed 🚨🔵 #CFC
No final decision yet but chances of MM leaving Chelsea are increasing — Mount will be on the market if new deal is not agreed before the summer. pic.twitter.com/FQySU5gxh9
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) March 13, 2023
Contract talks have reached a stand-off however, with Mount in search of a deal that recognises his recent contribution. Chelsea have invested huge sums on new talent in recent windows and the 24-year-old has demanded a deal reflective of his proven status in the squad. Should an agreement not be reached before the summer however, Mount will become available as Chelsea look to avoid losing the England international on a free.
Liverpool have been heavily linked as Jurgen Klopp’s looks to rebuild his midfield at Anfield, while both Manchester United and Newcastle could enter the race.
Mount is not the only England international who could move on to pastures new this summer. Declan Rice’s future is again set to dominate headlines with the West Ham captain having turned down several offers of a new contract at the London Stadium.
Rice has made no secret of his desire to test himself at the highest level and spoke of his Champions League ambitions while representing England at the World Cup in Qatar.
“One hundred per cent I want to play in the Champions League,” Rice said at a press conference.
“For the last two or three years I’ve been saying that. I’ve been playing consistently well for my club and I feel like I really want to keep pushing. I see my friends here (England) who are playing Champions League and for big trophies. You only get one career and at the end you want to look back at what you’ve won and the biggest games you’ve played in.”
💪 Declan Rice has made more ball recoveries (228) than any other outfield player in the Premier League this season pic.twitter.com/uhcU0LHvXY
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) March 7, 2023
Rice has 18 months remaining on his current contract, though West Ham have the option to extend his deal for a further season. However, there is an expectation that the Hammers will allow the club captain to depart this summer, should a suitable offer arrive.
West Ham’s momentum after successive European campaigns has slowed, with David Moyes’ side dragged into a relegation dogfight this season. Rice’s desire to test himself could lead to an exit, with Arsenal having emerged as potential suitors. Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United have previously registered an interest in the midfielder, who Moyes has insisted will cost a British record fee.
James Maddison continues to be linked with leaving Leicester at the end of the season, following a consistent run of form which has moved the midfielder back into the England squad.
Maddison has been the shining light in an otherwise ordinary period for the Foxes and has followed up a career-best campaign in 2021/22 with another productive season. The 26-year-old has been directly involved in 14 league goals in just 18 starts this season, while he ranks fifth in the Premier League for shot-creating actions per 90 minutes.
— Leicester City (@LCFC) October 4, 2022
Given Leicester’s difficult season, the numbers are impressive from Maddison who was subject of an approach from Newcastle last summer. Eddie Howe is understood to remain keen on the midfielder, while Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham have been tentatively linked.