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Top 10 Premier League stars set for summer transfers

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With the Premier League transfer window open until August 8, there will be plenty of big deals between now and then as teams rejig their squads for the 2019-20 campaign.

But which current PL superstars could be on the move this summer?

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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

(AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

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. Wilfried Zaha (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

(Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

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

(Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

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

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Other notable PL players to keep an eye on this summer:

Declan Rice
Kurt Zouma
David De Gea
Shkodran Mustafi
Xherdan Shaqiri
Alexis Sanchez
Sean Longstaff
Javier Hernandez

Report: Sterling to be named England captain for match against Netherlands

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On the occasion of his 50th cap, Raheem Sterling is set to be bestowed with a major honor.

The Guardian in England reports that England manager Gareth Southgate is planning to hand Sterling the captain’s armband for England’s first match of the UEFA Nations League finals in Portugal, with England set to face the Netherlands in Guimaraes, Portugal on Thursday. Sterling is coming off a terrific season with Manchester City, winning the domestic treble of the Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup.

[READ: FIFA U-20 World Cup roundup]

While this is a terrific achievement for Sterling, reading between the lines, it could also hint that both Harry Kane and Jordan Henderson, previous England captains under Southgate, may be rested or at least be on the bench for the match. Both Kane and Henderson played in last Saturday’s UEFA Champions League final and despite having a three-week break prior to that match, Kane is clearly still working back to fitness. Both players went the full 90 in the match and with two games scheduled this week regardless of Thursday’s outcome for Southgate, he could decide that both should be rested until Sunday’s match.

If Kane is rested, we could see Marcus Rashford starting up top, while Fabian Delph or Declan Rice could slot into midfield.

Pochettino aims to follow Liverpool lead; no regrets on Kane

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Mauricio Pochettino doesn’t need to look too far to see Spurs’ example in overcoming the accompanying grief from losing a UEFA Champions League final.

There, inside the same stadium, was Liverpool celebrating a European Cup win just 12 months removed from falling 3-1 to Real Madrid.

[ MORE: 3 things we learned from Madrid ] 

“It is about to learn, live the experience and with Liverpool last year were in our position today and now they are in the position that were Real Madrid,” Pochettino said. “The standards are so high, that wasn’t enough today that is a bit of a shame when you live this experience you want to repeat and you want to live again… I hope we can repeat in the future.”

There are steps Tottenham can take to achieve that, and one will certainly be more activity in the transfer market.

That sort of thing would give Pochettino more leeway in multiple competitions, plus maybe more to digest when deciding whether to give Harry Kane his first start in months.

That, by the way, is something Pochettino doesn’t regret, as the statistics led him there. From The London Evening Standard:

“He didn’t score like other players. It’s not a point to talk too much. My decision I promise was about analytics and thinking with all the information. I don’t regret my decision.”

Pochettino’s job is to make the difficult calls, and the Kane call was going to “backfire” in any scenario short of upsetting Liverpool. Had he kept his star on the bench into the second half and Spurs lost, the same columns would’ve been penned. Heavy is the head.

Virgil van Dijk should be serious contender for Ballon d’Or

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The game was boring, they’ll say. The game was dull. The game was putrid. The game was sloppy.

Boring is just the way Virgil Van Dijk likes it.

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.

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.

Twitter reacts to dull Champions League final

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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.

[ MORE: Recap | Ratings | 3 Things | Celebration ]

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.

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.