Who will be the summer’s big signings?

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July 5, 2021
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    All eyes might be on the climax to Euro 2020, but with the new season little more than a month away, clubs are busy looking at summer transfers.

    Manchester United made the first big move with a £73m deal for Jadon Sancho, but who else could be switching clubs? Will a star of the Euros be coming to the Premier League? And how is the coronavirus pandemic affecting things?

    BBC Sport takes a look at how this transfer window could pan out.

    Who will be the big transfers?

    Not many deals this summer will exceed Sancho's move to United.

    Two players who might attract bigger fees, though, are England's Harry Kane and Jack Grealish, both wanted by Manchester City.

    Kane, 27, has made clear he wants to leave Tottenham, who have shown no inclination to release a player who has three years left on his contract. Indeed, they told new boss Nuno Espirito Santo that they expect the England captain to stay.

    Aston Villa are talking up their chances of keeping midfielder Grealish, 25, but few expect them to succeed. It has been denied by all parties but speculation will not go away that a deal to take Grealish to City is already agreed.

    England centre-back Ben White, 23, could move on to Arsenal – with Brighton able to command a decent fee after tying him to a new contract last summer.

    West Ham have made it known they don't wish to sell 22-year-old England midfielder Declan Rice – but that doesn't mean they won't.

    And if West Ham are vulnerable to losing Rice, aren't Leeds in the same situation with their England midfielder Kalvin Phillips, 25, who is also excelling on a higher stage than the one available to him at club level?

    Given he missed out on the Euros because of a lack of playing time, midfielder Harry Winks, 25, may leave Tottenham. And if Kane and Grealish arrive at Manchester City, there will be departures from Etihad Stadium as well, with the futures of Brazil striker Gabriel Jesus, 24, and Portugal midfielder Bernardo Silva, 26, open to question.

    As has been the case virtually every summer since he rejoined Manchester United in 2016, there is speculation about Paul Pogba's future.

    The France midfielder, 28, has held talks with United over extending a contract that expires in 2022. If he doesn't sign, United risk losing him for nothing in 12 months or trying to sell him in a depressed market for significantly less than the £89m they paid for him. But if he does sign, he would almost certainly get a pay rise at a time when many are questioning whether he is worth one.

    In the meantime, United have made contact with Real Madrid about France World Cup-winning defender Raphael Varane.

    The 28-year-old's contract expires next summer and there are doubts over whether he will be offered an extension that would meet his demands, with Real believed to be willing to sell him for around £50m.

    Away from the Premier League, Lionel Messi, 34, is expected to stay at Barcelona, despite becoming a free agent after allowing his contract to expire. Talk of Cristiano Ronaldo returning to Manchester United continues to ebb and flow, but it would cost an eye-watering amount of money to get the Portugal captain, 36, out of Juventus a year before his contract ends.

    Who actually has any money?

    Manchester City and Paris St-Germain do have some flexibility with their spending, with their financial muscle having shielded them from the worst of the pandemic.

    For others, it is a question of manipulating finances. That could either be through obtaining a rolling credit facility, as Manchester United have done, launching a share sale, as Juventus said last Wednesday they intended to do, straightforward loans or realising assets – which could mean selling players, land or buildings.

    What about the stars of the Euros?

    It is a well-known saying that clubs should not buy players based purely on their performances at major tournaments. It does happen, though – and there is talent out there to be pursued.

    Given how well Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal did at West Ham last season – and the impact the Czech Republic made at Euro 2020 in reaching the quarter-finals – don't be surprised if a few of their team-mates come to the Premier League.

    Striker Patrik Schick, 25, is only 12 months into a five-year contract at Bayer Leverkusen – but they missed out on next season's Champions League and may listen to offers.

    Belgium winger Jeremy Doku, 19, caught the eye during the quarter-final defeat by Italy. Signed by French club Rennes from Anderlecht last year, he has a contract until 2025.

    Italy's progress will see many of their star men in demand – although one of their standouts, Roma wing-back Leonardo Spinazzola, 28, is set for a long spell out of action after rupturing his Achilles tendon against Belgium. His deal at Roma runs until 2024.

    Sassuolo midfielder Manuel Locatelli, 23, who has scored twice so far at the tournament, has been linked with Juventus and Arsenal.

    A player linked with a move to Italy to join Roma is Switzerland's Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka, 28.

    Xhaka has divided opinion during his five years in north London but was a key factor in his country's run to the quarter-finals, before suspension ruled him out of the defeat by Spain.

    Netherlands and PSV Eindhoven wing-back Denzel Dumfries, 25, impressed as his side reached the last 16. Bayern Munich, Everton, AC Milan and Inter Milan are all reported to be interested.

    Portugal midfielder Renato Sanches flopped on loan at Swansea in 2017-18, but the 23-year-old won the French title at Lille last season and impressed at Euro 2020. He has been linked with Liverpool and Arsenal.

    Denmark midfielder Mikkel Damsgaard, 21, arrived at the Euros as back-up to Christian Eriksen. But having been called upon after Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest in their opening game, he has performed admirably.

    It means interest is growing in Damsgaard, who has a contract with Sampdoria until 2024.

    What about Covid?

    It is impossible to understate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on club finances.

    Chairman Daniel Levy estimates Tottenham have lost £200m – a huge amount for a club trying to pay for a £1bn stadium that was supposed to generate more in matchday revenue than any of their Premier League rivals could bring in.

    In fact, the smaller top-flight clubs have suffered less because television money – which has continued to come in – forms a greater portion of their income, as opposed to revenue generated on matchdays. It remains to be seen if those clubs are therefore in a stronger position to resist offers for their best players.

    The impact of non-matchday revenue is likely to be felt in England's second tier too, which may have an impact on transfer activity. Six clubs in next season's Championship will receive parachute payments – Fulham, West Brom, Sheffield United, Bournemouth, Cardiff and Huddersfield – which will give them a major advantage, in theory. Huddersfield, though, are using theirs to pay off debt, which has reduced their spending.

    In Europe, there is an additional problem. Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus, among others, had already stretched themselves trying to compete with English rivals, whose TV income is so much greater. The impact of Covid-19 has increased those problems.

    Barcelona's debt, for instance, is more than €1bn, which explains why they are bringing in free transfers, such as Sergio Aguero and Memphis Depay.

    It means that while other clubs are weighing up significant purchases, Barca's biggest signing is likely to involve keeping hold of their star player. Signing Messi up to a new contract may just feel, for them, as big a triumph as any blockbuster deals announced elsewhere this summer.

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    827 commentsShowLatestOldestHighest RatedMost Replied

    • R

      Comment posted by Roger That, at 16:22 4 Jul

      A club like Bury go bust for the sake of £1m

      Robbed by successive so called “owners”

      Sold down the river by the EFL and it’s board

      A club where the Neville brothers parents devoted the majority of their lives

      A club who have a stand named Neville Neville

      Why didn’t/ don’t Gary or Phil step in?

      Don’t talk of Kane for £100m or Pogba earning £500k a week

      The real stories are ignored42330

      • L

        Reply posted by Lirrix, at 16:38 4 Jul

        "A club like Bury go bust for the sake of £1mRobbed by successive so called “owners”Sold down the river by the EFL and it’s boardA club where the Neville brothers parents devoted the majority of their livesA club who have a stand named Neville Neville Why didn’t/ don’t Gary or Phil step in?Don’t talk of Kane for £100m or Pogba earning £500k a weekThe real stories are ignored"Lirrix replied: Too right, well said.

        The distribution of funds across pro football is sickeningly wrong.

        Money talks these days, not a fair sporting contest.

        All the money at MU and MC, yet Manchester is so poor.
        Millionaire Andy Burnham said so.17021

      More replies (48)

    • C

      Comment posted by conradk, at 16:39 4 Jul

      The rich have gotten richer during the pandemic. Utd have spent over £70m on Sancho and do you think it means City won’t spend well over £100m to get Kane? Arsenal sacked 55 non-playing staff because of “financial difficulties” during Covid but still were able to offer Aubameyang a huge wage increase at exactly the same time.

      Nothing has changed. Nothing will change.2628

      • T

        Reply posted by Tony Di Wonderful, at 16:49 4 Jul

        "The rich have gotten richer during the pandemic. Utd have spent over £70m on Sancho and do you think it means City won’t spend well over £100m to get Kane? Arsenal sacked 55 non-playing staff because of “financial difficulties” during Covid but still were able to offer Aubameyang a huge wage increase at exactly the same time. Nothing has changed. Nothing will change."Tony Di Wonderful replied: Sancho was valued at over £100million last summer.

        Transfer fees have gone down , though that won’t remain the case for long once crowds are back in the stadiums.4711

      More replies (23)

    • J

      Comment posted by Jiminy_Glick, at 16:14 4 Jul

      Barnet just completed the signing of Josh Doherty from Crawley on a free.1284

      • F

        Reply posted by Fan Of Whoever Plays Man Utd, at 17:45 4 Jul

        "Barnet just completed the signing of Josh Doherty from Crawley on a free."Fan Of Whoever Plays Man Utd replied: Not only did the BBC over look this move, worse they didn’t even have a HYS on this story. 😉895

      More replies (5)

    • T

      Comment posted by Tony Di Wonderful, at 16:48 4 Jul

      Pogba is capable of world class moments but he’s not world class.
      And I’d be wary of buying a player based on four or five games in an international tournament.11410

      • V

        Reply posted by Vox Populi, at 16:54 4 Jul

        "Pogba is capable of world class moments but he’s not world class.And I’d be wary of buying a player based on four or five games in an international tournament."Vox Populi replied: Pogba has proven he is a world class player. He’s a World Cup winner and Scudetto winner. He’s won trophies with Man Utd and won a European final. For some reason people like to forget his career and just focus on the last 12 months, or that Utd haven’t won the league while he’s been there. Utd have had issues at the club before and since he joined, that aren’t down to him.47135

      More replies (23)

    • R

      Comment posted by Robert, at 15:50 4 Jul

      It is essential that the chequebook clubs like City cannot be allowed to hoover up all the best players. There has to be a way of stopping that happening by bringing in salary and transfer fee caps. Otherwise football will just die, if one or two clubs are winning everything.11435

      • P

        Reply posted by PenchestVAR Cheaty Penited fan, at 15:56 4 Jul

        "It is essential that the chequebook clubs like City cannot be allowed to hoover up all the best players. There has to be a way of stopping that happening by bringing in salary and transfer fee caps. Otherwise football will just die, if one or two clubs are winning everything."PenchestVAR Cheaty Penited fan replied: Agree. Stopping the Super League is the first step. But UEFA and FIFA are very corrupt. Cheaty flouted the FFP rules and they were not punished.
        If these were to continue then the match tickets and TV subscriptions gonna get more expensive just to feed the arrogant player salaries and astronomical transfer fees7528

      More replies (56)

    • B

      Comment posted by Bellisimo, at 16:40 4 Jul

      why is the world obsessed with Pogba? get rid-he has been nowhere near the standard of previous utd midfielders. Fed up of hearing about him every minute-fed up with the pundit debate whether he is good for utd or not blah blah!8215

      • V

        Reply posted by Vox Populi, at 16:51 4 Jul

        "why is the world obsessed with Pogba? get rid-he has been nowhere near the standard of previous utd midfielders. Fed up of hearing about him every minute-fed up with the pundit debate whether he is good for utd or not blah blah!"Vox Populi replied: He is good enough. He gets scapegoated each year because the team hasn’t been good enough. When he was injured last season it cost Man Utd a genuine title challenge, you can look at the points they dropped and the periods they dropped them. Maguire’s lack of fitness at the start of the season and him missing the Euro final, and Pogba’s injuries, were when Utd dropped points/lost/drew games.2963

      More replies (6)

    • C

      Comment posted by CountVlad, at 16:01 4 Jul

      Are the BBC selling Pogba again, oh well here we go again, season 4 starts748

      • U

        Reply posted by Uncle, at 18:13 4 Jul

        "Are the BBC selling Pogba again, oh well here we go again, season 4 starts"Uncle replied: Laughable isnt it..I wouldnt have him at West Ham5313

      More replies (18)

    • Y

      Comment posted by yasuaki, at 17:55 4 Jul

      The thing with Jack is that last year he was nailed on to go to Man Utd, the year before he was nailed on to go to Spurs. It’s not that I don’t think he might go to City, it’s just that media speculation fuelled by pundits’ assumptions isn’t evidence of a deal. It’s these dangerous ideas of the ‘big six’ that led to the ESL plan and inflated ideas of teams’ importance. We should just wait & see.652

      • W

        Reply posted by WSV, at 22:17 4 Jul

        "The thing with Jack is that last year he was nailed on to go to Man Utd, the year before he was nailed on to go to Spurs. It’s not that I don’t think he might go to City, it’s just that media speculation fuelled by pundits’ assumptions isn’t evidence of a deal. It’s these dangerous ideas of the ‘big six’ that led to the ESL plan and inflated ideas of teams’ importance. We should just wait & see."WSV replied: Jack is supposedly close to agreeing a new deal at Villa (fast becoming an annual event). Big things are happening there. If either Emile Smith Rowe or James Ward-Prowse (it won’t be both) join Emi Buendia in signing, then that will be one hell of an attack in front of one of the meanest defences in the league last season. Villa could be on for a top four spot in 2021/22.3417

      More replies (12)

    • R

      Comment posted by Roger That, at 16:01 4 Jul

      I’ve heard the deal for Grealish and Kane to City is done. Next they’re looking at signing Federer, Tom Brady, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Tyson Fury, just in case anyone else starts with any daft ideas8018

      • R

        Reply posted by Rick, at 18:13 4 Jul

        "I’ve heard the deal for Grealish and Kane to City is done. Next they’re looking at signing Federer, Tom Brady, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Tyson Fury, just in case anyone else starts with any daft ideas"Rick replied: Tyson Fury up front? 😁314

      More replies (9)

    • M

      Comment posted by Mordor Tourism Board, at 19:04 4 Jul

      Sutton United achieved league status for the first time in their 123 year history, surely one of the smallest clubs to make it to the 4th tier. They will need a few reinforcements to stay up. Perhaps Messi, Pogba and Ronaldo would be good options?634

      • R

        Reply posted by R812, today at 01:26

        "Sutton United achieved league status for the first time in their 123 year history, surely one of the smallest clubs to make it to the 4th tier. They will need a few reinforcements to stay up. Perhaps Messi, Pogba and Ronaldo would be good options?"R812 replied: best post so far79

      More replies (1)

    • R

      Comment posted by Rick, at 16:22 4 Jul

      Grealish would grace any team in Europe. I’m hoping he will give Villa one more season then I’ll wave him of. Deserves trophies a player of his quality. 👍7117

      • R

        Reply posted by Rick, at 16:24 4 Jul

        "Grealish would grace any team in Europe. I’m hoping he will give Villa one more season then I’ll wave him of. Deserves trophies a player of his quality. 👍"Rick replied: *off309

      More replies (7)

    • S

      Comment posted by Sportisfun, at 16:06 4 Jul

      As much as Kane is a class act, is he really worth the risk consodering the huge fee Levy will demand?

      Prone to injury and will be 28 by the start of the season. If Haaland is available and a comparable price then it’s surely a no-brainer.576

      • P

        Reply posted by Percy, today at 08:40

        "As much as Kane is a class act, is he really worth the risk consodering the huge fee Levy will demand?Prone to injury and will be 28 by the start of the season. If Haaland is available and a comparable price then it’s surely a no-brainer."Percy replied: Harland isn’t proven in the PL, there is a risk with him. Utd should go back to Dortmund and try and get him, pair him up with Sancho and that will help both of them settle in quickly to the PL.
        Utd are apparantly paying around £19million a year for Sancho over four years, so I’m sure with their sponsorship deals they could afford it, especially if they get rid of Pogba.62

      More replies (6)

    • B

      Comment posted by badgermeat, at 18:15 4 Jul

      Pogba only tries when it suits him, long overdue time to sell. Sell him at a loss, waste of space and massive ego to boot525

      • K

        Reply posted by King Flippy Nips, today at 01:54

        "Pogba only tries when it suits him, long overdue time to sell. Sell him at a loss, waste of space and massive ego to boot"King Flippy Nips replied: That goal celebration against the Swiss was awful. Really cringing. Players with amazing ability but act that way frustrates the hell out of me. What a player but what a numpty273

      More replies (5)

    • S

      Comment posted by steed, at 17:27 4 Jul

      Last chance for Utd to offload Pogba for a fee. Now’s the time.525

      • D

        Reply posted by DCG1987, at 18:22 4 Jul

        "Last chance for Utd to offload Pogba for a fee. Now’s the time."DCG1987 replied: Or get him to extend his contract…..920

      More replies (4)

    • D

      Comment posted by Django, at 19:12 4 Jul

      No one at the BBC seems to have noticed that Villa now have the 3rd richest club owners in the UK and I think fourth richest in Europe. It’s why Grealish moving is in no way certain to happen.393

      • S

        Reply posted by Steel Falcon, at 19:15 4 Jul

        "No one at the BBC seems to have noticed that Villa now have the 3rd richest club owners in the UK and I think fourth richest in Europe. It’s why Grealish moving is in no way certain to happen."Steel Falcon replied: Another reason is because he’s massively overrated and it’s only really the media who are talking him up. No serious interest from clubs that count.2161

      More replies (13)

    • V

      Comment posted by villa till i die, at 16:30 4 Jul

      Once again the BBC are missing the point. Villa do not have to sell Grealish. They have wealthy owners to match the likes of City. I would noy blame him for going to City, but I don’t think it will happen this window.4611

      • R

        Reply posted by Rutland3, at 17:08 4 Jul

        "Once again the BBC are missing the point. Villa do not have to sell Grealish. They have wealthy owners to match the likes of City. I would noy blame him for going to City, but I don’t think it will happen this window."Rutland3 replied: Could be Liverpool, might happen249

      More replies (11)

    • D

      Comment posted by David McManus, at 16:02 4 Jul

      Whilst the rest of the country is broke recovering from the pandemic football at the highest level remains awash with money374

      • R

        Reply posted by Roger That, at 16:13 4 Jul

        "Whilst the rest of the country is broke recovering from the pandemic football at the highest level remains awash with money"Roger That replied: As long as you keep putting petroleum in your car and subscribing to pay tv it will continue455

      More replies (5)

    • U

      Comment posted by Uncle, at 18:16 4 Jul

      Are articles such as this – esp when referencing Pogba – written by noisy agents and just subject to cut ‘n paste?254

      • P

        Reply posted by Potsie, at 20:14 4 Jul

        "Are articles such as this – esp when referencing Pogba – written by noisy agents and just subject to cut ‘n paste?"Potsie replied: Agree. It’s lazy journalism filling up space on the page as nothing else to write about at the moment.203

      More replies (3)

    • R

      Comment posted by rotter82, at 16:04 4 Jul

      Grealish won’t be going anywhere as much as this Manchester based BBC journalist would like to encourage !3414

      • Y

        Reply posted by yasuaki, at 18:04 4 Jul

        "Grealish won’t be going anywhere as much as this Manchester based BBC journalist would like to encourage !"yasuaki replied: The article should probably read ‘few pundits’ not ‘few people’. When the Man Utd Liverpool game was called off, the pundits spent a good 10 minutes discussing how Grealish would fit into those two teams…

        If we want to crush the ESL mentality, the media have to stop allowing those attitudes to dominate their football reporting.371

    • K

      Comment posted by Kev, at 20:54 4 Jul

      I have noticed quite a few posts banging on about Chelsea and Man City spending sh**t loadz on all they have won, (which is true).

      However. Man U have been doing this throughout Prem era! Fergy was near fired, before Prem, But instead was given the money to dismantle the previous winners team by buying their backbone, (Cantona)206

      • K

        Reply posted by keeping it real 2016, at 22:31 4 Jul

        "I have noticed quite a few posts banging on about Chelsea and Man City spending sh**t loadz on all they have won, (which is true).However. Man U have been doing this throughout Prem era! Fergy was near fired, before Prem, But instead was given the money to dismantle the previous winners team by buying their backbone, (Cantona)"keeping it real 2016 replied: Given the money to dismantle the previous champions?
        Cantona cost 1.2m.
        Shearer had already cost Blackburn 3m at that point.
        Hardly the evil United empire there.1113

      More replies (9)

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