COVID-19 massively influenced transfer spending in 2020, and whilst the economic impacts of the pandemic are still being felt in both football and the wider world, the summer of 2021 is likely to see much more movement, with six players in particular set to define the upcoming window.
Not only will certain transfers make a massive impact on the two clubs involved, but could also lead to a knock-on effect for some of Europe’s elite clubs.
Never before has the Argentine leaving Barcelona been such a concrete possibility. Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City are the only two clubs who could afford his astronomical salary and both are interested in signing him.
However, Joan Laporta’s election as president will open the dialogue between the club and player with regards to an extension. In addition to this, there are already rumours about Sergio Aguero arriving to construct a sporting project to convince Messi to stay.
Ronaldo’s time at Juventus will be remembered for individual goalscoring and little else. He was brought to the Bianconeri to win the Champions League and, in his three seasons in Italy, the club has failed to get past the quarter final. Being eliminated by Ajax, Lyon and Porto.
Criticism of the Portuguese icon has been rampant in the days since Juventus’ two-legged defeat to Porto, and the financial situation at the Italian club could well dictate Ronaldo’s future.
If he still has the option to join a club that can win the Champions League, he will take it, and this leaves PSG if Kylian Mbappe leaves and Messi doesn’t go to the Parc des Princes.
However, if PSG go in another direction, could Manchester United bring one of their favourite sons’ home? They are one of the clubs who can still pay a high salary despite the pandemic.
Mbappe has the potential to redefine how transfers work in football. He has won everything there is to win aside from the Champions League and has infinite natural talent. However, his contract with PSG is up in June 2022 and he has shown no appetite to renew thus far.
Rather like the stars of American sports, the most talented players aren’t attainable on the market under normal circumstances. PSG paid 180 million euros for him and would demand maybe even double that to sell him. So being a high-profile free-agent at 23 with his choice of clubs would be incredibly unique, and a sign of where the football transfer market is going.
With that being said, PSG could move to avoid this by selling him this summer and Real Madrid are incredibly interested if that is the case.
Joan Laporta has identified Haaland as a player who can excel at the Camp Nou for the next decade. His goalscoring ability is almost superhuman, although there remains a degree of confusion about a potential buyout clause within his Borussia Dortmund contract.
Given the likelihood his value won’t be close to Mbappe, for a multitude of reasons, there will be serious competition for the Norwegian’s signature.
The veteran defender hasn’t yet signed a renewal with Real Madrid, although the Cold War between himself and president Florentino Perez appears to be thawing after a difficult winter.
Negotiations over an extension are likely to be more open in the coming weeks, although there are options for Ramos if he won’t acquiesce to Perez’s terms. PSG would like his defensive experience to replace that lost in Thiago Silva, whilst you could make a case for Manchester United needing such a defensive leader.
Alaba has already confirmed he will be leaving Bayern Munich in the summer, and the even money bet is that he will sign for Real Madrid.
However, it’s difficult to see how Los Blancos would fit the Austrian into the same team as Ramos and Raphael Varane, so it’s possible he may only arrive if one of those players should leave.
If this is the case, there will be plenty of other alternate destinations for Alaba, with Laporta also keen on bringing him to Catalonia.