The 25-year-old Diaz cost Madrid more than $22 million to buy back from Lyon last summer after an 18-goal Ligue 1 season in his only season away from Real. He scored three times in limited minutes last season, and has said he wants to prove himself at Real despite a link to Fenerbahce.
Odegaard’s recruitment was an exhaustive journey that ultimately landed him at Real. Now 20 with 18 Norway caps, Odegaard has made just one senior appearance for Real since choosing the Madrid side after his time at Stromsgodset. He posted eight goals and 11 assists for Vitesse in the Eredivisie last season.
Ceballos turns 23 in August, and scored a career-high three goals this season. His best position is unclear, but the six-times capped Spanish international has a Champions League crown and a U-21 EURO Player of the Tournament award.
The trio could earn Real somewhere in the neighborhood of $80 million, though, and Ceballos has been linked with Spurs while Odegaard linked with another loan (Bayer Leverkusen, another step in his progression).
Below is a look at the top 10 names who could be moving, and why, with some huge transfer fees involved.
1. Paul Pogba (Man United) Transfer fee: $150 million Reason: Pogba wants a new challenge and his inconsistent displays and fact he has an initial two years left on his current contract means United can now make a profit on him. United have said that want to keep him, but that is probably just to keep his transfer value high. Things haven’t worked out for Pogba at United, and everybody should now go their separate ways. Possible destination(s): Real Madrid, Juventus Will it happen? 90 percent chance
2. Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Crystal Palace) Transfer fee: $70 million Reason: Wan-Bissaka has told Palace he wants to move on, and at 21 years of age he will see this move as being a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity. Palace will loathe to sell him, but realize that after a stunning first full season in the PL, his value may never be higher than it is right now. A future England international, Wan-Bissaka’s pace and power make him the perfect modern full back. Possible destination(s): Manchester United Will it happen? 90 percent chance
3. Christian Eriksen (Tottenham) Transfer fee: $60 million Reason: Eriksen is another player who has come out and said now feels like the right time for a change. And he has excelled at Spurs over the past six seasons, with many believing he is underrated when it comes to Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Son getting the plaudits at Spurs. A move to Spain beckons as he has just one year left on his current contract, hence the relatively low transfer value. Possible destination(s): Real Madrid, Barcelona Will it happen? 95 percent chance
4. WilfriedZaha (Crystal Palace) Transfer fee: $100 million Reason: Like Pogba and Eriksen, Zaha gave an interview after Palace’s season saying he wants to win trophies and play in the Champions League. That will alert plenty of clubs across England and Europe. Palace won’t want to lose both Zaha and Wan-Bissaka, but it seems likely both could force away moves. The Eagles weren’t as over-reliant on Zaha last season as they have been previously, but losing his pace and power to their counter-attacking play would be a huge blow. Possible destination(s): Tottenham, Liverpool Will it happen? 60 percent chance
5. Harry Maguire (Leicester City) Transfer fee: $112 million Reason: At the age of 26, Maguire is about to enter his prime and has been loyal to Leicester as Man United chased him last summer. The England international has enjoyed another stellar season for club and country and his marauding runs have continued. Both City and United want to sign him but Leicester have put a $100 million price tag on his head to try and put off potential suitors. After seeing the impact Virgil Van Dijk had at Liverpool, both Man City and Man United will be thinking Maguire could do the same for them. Possible destination(s): Man United, Man City Will it happen? 70 percent chance
6. Romelu Lukaku (Man United) Transfer fee: $75 million Reason: Not a regular starter at United anymore despite 42 goals in 96 games for them. Lukaku has been overtaken by Rashford and Martial, and he has been speaking positively about Serie A and Inter Milan’s new coach Antonio Conte. Is that a coincidence? Nope. His game would suit the Italian top-flight well, and if United want to get back the majority of the $90 million they paid Everton for him in 2017, now is the time to sell as Lukaku will spend most of next season on the bench under Solskjaer. Possible destination(s): Inter Milan Will it happen? 90 percent chance
7. James Maddison (Leicester City) Transfer fee: $75 million Reason: He flourished in his first full season in the PL after joining Leicester from Norwich for $25 million last summer, and no player created more goalscoring opportunities than Maddison. Currently with the England U21 side, Maddison’s future will be sorted out later in the summer. He may spend one more season at Leicester under Rodgers, and with Maguire a wanted man too, Leicester are unlikely to sell two of their stars this summer. Maddison, 22, will be playing for one of the top six teams very soon though. Possible destination(s): Man City, Man United, Tottenham Will it happen? 60 percent chance
8. Issa Diop (West Ham) Transfer fee: $75 million Reason: At just 22 years of age Diop’s first season in the PL went very well indeed. West Ham’s previously porous defense was shored up largely thanks to his partnership with Fabian Balbuena and Diop is now a man in demand. The French center back joined West Ham from Toulouse for $27.5 million last summer and they could be looking at a huge profit, but are under no pressure to sell. Diop knows he would be a guaranteed starter at United, which could turn his head, and his turn of pace and supreme aerial ability set him apart. Possible destination(s): Man United, PSG, Barcelona Will it happen? 60 percent chance
9. Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham) Transfer fee: $32.1 million Reason: Spurs handed him a one-year contract extension last summer, but that meant Alderweireld could leave for just $32.1 million this summer. A clause inserted into his deal stacked the cards in his favor, and at the age of 30 the Belgian international has one more big move left in his career. With Davinson Sanchez and Juan Foyth around, there could be a changing of the guard in Spurs’ defense this summer. Pochettino will not want to lose Alderweireld, but Spurs can’t pay him what other clubs can. Possible destination(s): Barcelona, Man United Will it happen? 80 percent chance
10. Mesut Ozil (Arsenal) Transfer fee: Loan Reason: This just isn’t going to work, is it? Mesut Ozil doesn’t fit into Unai Emery‘s system at Arsenal and unless Emery goes, Ozil’s future with the Gunners isn’t looking bright. The best he can hope for next season is regular run outs in the Europa League on a Thursday night. He’s the highest-earner at the club, so getting somebody else to pay all of his $440,000 per week wage is going to be tough. The best Arsenal can do is to pay a chunk of Ozil’s wages and loan him out for this season. He still has another two seasons on the monster contract he signed in January 2018 and seems happy to stay at Arsenal. On his day his talent is undoubted, but he just doesn’t fit into Arsenal’s new system at all. Possible destination(s): Besiktas, Fenerbache, Galatasaray Will it happen? 50 percent chance
Other notable PL players to keep an eye on this summer:
Tottenham could look a whole lot different next year as the team’s playmaker hinted he was ready to “try something new.”
Speaking to Danish publication Ekstra Bladet at Denmark National Team camp, midfielder Christian Eriksen stated, with just one year remaining on his contract at Spurs, that he could be set for a move away from London this summer.
“I have the wildest and deepest respect for everything that has happened in Tottenham, it will not be negative,” Eriksen told Ekstra Bladet. “But I have also said that I would like to try something new. I hope there will be a clarification during the summer. That’s the plan. In football you do not know when a clarification comes. It can happen anytime. Everyone wants it best if it happens as soon as possible, but in football things take time.”
Eriksen, who has appeared more than 200 times for Spurs since joining in 2013, helped the North London side maneuver through nearly two seasons playing away from home at Wembley Stadium, as well as helping lead Tottenham to the UEFA Champions League final.
Losing the creative Danish playmaker would be a big blow to a team with an already small squad, one who wasn’t allowed, or able, to make a single signing in each of the last two transfer windows.
Surely this summer there will be more money to spent on bringing in reinforcements, but it’s hard to see Tottenham as successful if Eriksen leaves, unless they use that money to bring in the next Eriksen from Ajax — Donny van de Beek anybody? — or Erik Lamela finally overcomes his injury problems and becomes the playmaking star he was in Argentina and Italy.
What next for Eriksen? Real Madrid are of course looking to improve their squad, and a player of Eriksen’s quality will be on the radar of just about all the big stars. Would he accept a move to Manchester United if given a salary raise, even if it means a season back in the Europa League? Would Bayern Munich replace James’ place in the squad with Eriksen.
Its sure to be an interesting summer ahead…
Virgil van Dijk should be serious contender for Ballon d’Or
The Dutch defender was named Man of the Match as he led the back line for Liverpool in a 2-0 win over Tottenham in the Champions League final to secure the club’s sixth European crown. The game was punctuated by bad passing, poor build-up play, and a general lack of attacking quality, but van Dijk was at the thick of all that, locking down the Tottenham attack and leaving Christian Eriksen, Heung-Min Son, and Harry Kane firmly in his pocket.
Van Dijk donned the Champions League winner’s medal having led the Liverpool defense in one of the most spectacular individual defensive seasons you’ll see. Liverpool conceded just 27 goals across the 38 Premier League matches – not only the best in the English top flight, but the best domestic defensive record in Europe’s top five leagues. The Reds conceded just five goals in the Champions League knockout stages against the likes of Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Porto, and Tottenham Hotspur, with three of those coming in the first-leg defeat at the Camp Nou.
Through it all, van Dijk was a model of consistency and durability, accumulating an enormous 4,465 minutes across all competitions. He missed just three matches all year, sitting out the first leg against Bayern Munich due to yellow card accumulation and resting for the pair of domestic Cup losses to Wolves and Chelsea. Otherwise, van Dijk played every single minute of every single match throughout the entire season, racking up 26 clean sheets in his 50 appearances on the pitch – over half the games he played Liverpool did not concede.
Nevertheless, those are team achievements. That’s where the most unbelievable stat comes into play, proof of van Dijk’s dominance on the season. The 27-year-old did has not been dribbled past in a staggering 64 straight matches, completing 52 straight tackles this season without fail, a perfect personal defensive record.
0 – No opposition player has completed a dribble past Virgil van Dijk in any of his last 64 appearances in all competitions for Liverpool. Rock. #UCLFinalpic.twitter.com/VlviY2ohRH
In fact, as Opta confirms, van Dijk has not been dribbled past since a 5-0 win over Porto in February of 2018, his first Champions League appearance for the club.
All these glittering facts and figures culminate together to make one glaringly blatant argument that might not seem so blatant after all: Virgil van Dijk should be a serious contender for the Ballon d’Or come December, with a real chance to be the first defender to win the award since Fabio Cannavaro in 2006 and only the fourth defender to win the award in its history.
Obviously there’s plenty of time to go. Van Dijk will likely be in the lineup for the Netherlands as they take on England in just five days in the Nations League semifinals, and should he lock it down in Portugal, a solid performance on a short turnaround would be yet another feather in his cap this season. If Liverpool starts next Premier League as expected title contenders, van Dijk could even be the frontrunner for the prestigious award headed into the fall.
Still, a modest van Dijk just minutes off winning the Champions League doesn’t think he is the best player in the world. “I think [Barcelona striker Lionel] Messi is the best player in the world,” van Dijk said in his post-match press conference. “I think he deserves [the Ballon d’Or] as long as he plays. The Ballon d’Or isn’t something I think about. But if it happens by any chance then obviously I will take it. I don’t think there is any case. I think he is still the best player in the world. Whether he’s in the final or not.”
Luka Modric won last year’s Ballon d’Or essentially on the back of a fabulous World Cup performance, despite the fact Real Madrid suffered through a dismal October of La Liga play, dropping to ninth in the table and falling out of the La Liga title race. Van Dijk may not have that much room for error in the calendar year, given his status as a defender always puts him behind the curve of the flashier goalscorers and even midfield maestros like Modric. Still, the Dutchman merits serious consideration and potentially even the trophy should he continue to plod along on this stellar pace.
A controversial penalty given just 21 seconds into the match had the potential to spark the Champions League final in Madrid towards a potential shootout between two Premier League teams with attacking firepower.
Instead, the game devolved into a sloppy mess, with neither side able to grab the match by the scruff of the neck. At halftime, the game featured the second-lowest pass completion rate of any Champions League match this entire season, with Liverpool completing the fewest passes of any half this season for the club.
At the full-time whistle, as Liverpool stood atop the mountain with a 2-0 victory on goals from Mohamed Salah and Divock Origi, the combined expected goals stood at just a measly 1.6 for the full match. Tottenham managed eight shots on target, but seven of those came in the final 15 minutes as desperation crept in. Liverpool, meanwhile, finished with just three shots on target, including the two goals, one of which came from the penalty spot.
The first-minute penalty seemed to give the match a nervy feel, with both teams reeling from the shocking and controversial start. It felt almost disappointing, with the Reds handed a goal harsh on the opponents and giving Spurs an uphill task against one of the best-drilled defenses in the world. Attacking talents Christian Eriksen and Heung-Min Son were dismal up front, and as a result Harry Kane suffered up front.
Twitter reacted throughout the match at the excessively boring passages of play, showcasing how staccato the massive game was flowing.
my daughter slept the first 65 minutes of this game then filled her diaper, so she’s done a better job recapping it than any dumb thing I write on my website
Others came to give credit to the defensive players who were making sure the attacking talent was locked down, and to celebrate with the winners as Liverpool won its sixth European crown, twice as many as any other English club.