While domestic leagues around Europe have now completed their stop-start 2019/20 campaigns, the world’s premier club competition – the Champions League, resumes this week as they look to find a successor to Liverpool as European Champions.
Formalities are to be decided in the last 16 with four of the eight ties still having one leg remaining which all take place on Friday evening before embarking on the quarter-finals next week. In 17 days time, we will have a long-awaited winner of the 2019/20 Champions League.
For the first time ever, the transfer window is open while the latter stages of the Champions League remain unresolved. While clubs can’t register players they sign now in the tournament until next season, they can certainly still offload players from their books. With that in mind, we at Grosvenor Sport have taken a look at one player from each Champions League club still left in the competition that could be playing elsewhere next season. All market values sourced from transfermarkt.co.uk.
Player: Eric Garcia, centre-back
Interested Clubs: Barcelona
Market Value: £14.4m
The 19-year-old defender signed for Manchester City in the summer of 2017 from Barcelona for a reported £1.5m and has grown in stature at the club before making his real first-team breakthrough this season, making 19 appearances in total, including six starts in the final 10 Premier League games of the season post-Lockdown.
Under contract until the end of next season, Garcia is wanted again by Barcelona who want a long-term heir to Gerard Pique, and the young Spaniard is said to be considering the move as City sign Nathan Ake from Bournemouth for £41m, remain strongly linked with Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly and still have Aymeric Laporte, John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi as options at the heart of the defence.
Player: Luka Jovic, striker
Interested Clubs: Arsenal, AS Monaco, Napoli, AC Milan
Market Value: £28.8m
The Serbian international striker earned a huge £54m move to Real Madrid last summer off the back of a 2018/19 campaign with Eintracht Frankfurt where he scored 27 goals in 48 games but has failed to impress at the Bernabeu, netting just twice in La Liga and falling out of favour with Zinedine Zidane.
Still only 22, Jovic has time on his side and could be moved on as Madrid look elsewhere. The likes of Arsenal, AS Monaco, Napoli and AC Milan have all been linked with moves for the striker.
Player: Daniele Rugani, centre-back
Interested Clubs: Leicester, Wolves
Market Value: £10.8m
Rugani has spent the last five seasons with Juventus, winning eight major trophies including the Serie A in every season with the club, but has failed to really cement a place in the starting XI. In his five seasons with Juventus, Rugani has only appeared in more than half of all league games once, making just 10 Serie A appearances last season.
Now 25, Rugani may feel like it’s time for a new challenge and Juventus are seemingly ready to let the Italy international leave the club for the right offer. Wolves and Leicester are both said to be interested in bringing him to the Premier League.
Player: Memphis Depay, left-wing
Interested Clubs: Arsenal, Everton, AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund
Market Value: £39.6m
Things didn’t really happen for Memphis Depay at Manchester United, but he’s rebuilt his stock during his three-and-a-half years at Lyon, recording 96 goal contributions (53 goals, 43 assists) in 135 games for the Ligue 1 side.
A much more mature and polished player than the one we saw at Old Trafford for 18 months, 26-year-old Depay is one of Europe’s most sought-after attackers despite only just returning from a serious knee injury which curtailed his 2019/20 season. The likes of Arsenal, Everton, AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund are being connected with the move, with Dortmund especially keen as they see the Dutchman as a like-for-like replacement for Jadon Sancho.
Player: Philippe Coutinho, attacking midfield
Interested Clubs: None
Market Value: £50.4m
A mass overhaul of the squad is expected at Barcelona this summer, with the marquee name expected to be on the move being Philippe Coutinho – the £130m man. In January 2018, Barcelona made Coutinho one of the most expensive signings in football history but he failed to make his mark at the Nou Camp despite scoring 21 goals and laying on a further 11 assists in 76 games for the club.
He was shipped out on loan to Bayern Munich this past season where he started just 15 Bundesliga games and scored nine goals in total in his 34 appearances for the club, but it doesn’t appear as if he will be staying beyond the end of this Champions League campaign. Arsenal recently turned down a deal to sign the Brazilian as his future looks uncertain.
Player: Kalidou Koulibaly, centre-back
Interested Clubs: Manchester City
Market Value: £50.4m
For several seasons now, Kalidou Koulibaly has been regarded as one of Europe’s elite centre-backs, but no club has been able to prise him away from Napoli’s clutches.
A poor domestic season for Napoli saw them finish seventh in Serie A, good enough for a spot in next season’s Europa League but there’s an expectation that Kouliably will leave for Champions League football. Despite having just signed Nathan Ake, Manchester City are also eyeing a move for the 29-year-old Senegalese defender who could cost in excess of £70m.
Player: Thiago Alcantara, centre midfield
Interested Clubs: Liverpool
Market Value: £43.2m
Bayern Munich have already made one of the biggest splashes of the summer so far, prising winger Leroy Sane away from Manchester City, but could lose one of their midfield maestros in the coming weeks.
Spanish midfielder Thiago is under contract until the end of next season and is reportedly uninterested in signing an extension with the Bundesliga giants as he eyes a lucrative move abroad, with Premier League champions Liverpool strongly linked with a move for the former Barcelona academy graduate.
Player: Kepa Arrizabalaga, goalkeeper
Interested Clubs: None
Market Value: £25.2m
You’ll struggle to find a worse goalkeeper this season, statistically speaking, than Chelsea’s Kepa Arrizabalaga. The Spaniard put up a save percentage this season of just 53% which ranks him among the worst stoppers in Europe’s top five leagues and was dropped by Frank Lampard for the FA Cup final earlier this month.
The Spaniard has the weight of being the most expensive goalkeeper in history on his shoulders and has failed to impress during his two years at Chelsea so far. The Blues are open to offloading him in the summer, whether they find a taker is another thing all together.
Player: Duvan Zapata, striker
Interested Clubs: Juventus
Market Value: £32.4m
Atalanta are one of the surprise packages of the season in European football. They followed up a third-place campaign in Serie A in 2018/19 with another this past season, finishing just five points back of eventual champions Juventus and netting 98 goals in the process.
Duvan Zapata contributed 18 of those 98 goals leading the line for Atalanta, and is being targeted for a big summer move after two seasons and 47 goals with the club. Juventus are among those keen.
Player: Idrissa Gueye, central midfield
Interested Clubs: Wolves
Market Value: £21.6m
Idrissa Gueye left Everton for PSG last summer for a reported £27m and enjoyed a decent first season back in Ligue 1, making 33 appearances for PSG including 19 league starts before the domestic season was curtailed by COVID-19.
That being said, Gueye will be competing for minutes next season alongside Leandro Paredes, Ander Herrera and Marco Verratti – and possibly some new arrivals as well – which could see PSG make the Senegalese available for transfer, with Wolves said to be interested.
Player: Emil Forsberg, attacking midfield
Interested Clubs: Tottenham
Market Value: £20.25m
Emil Forsberg was a mainstay in the Leipzig side that broke into Germany’s elite tier of clubs a few years ago but has seen his playing time diminish in recent times. The 28-year-old struggled for form and fitness last season, making just 14 Bundesliga starts, scoring only five times in the league as Leipzig finished third again.
The Swede is said to be unhappy with his playing time and would consider a transfer this summer. Tottenham were linked with a January move for the attacking midfielder who could be used in a similar role to Christian Eriksen who left for Inter Milan in the last transfer window.
Player: Thomas Partey, defensive midfield
Interested Clubs: Arsenal
Market Value: £36m
Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid side are one of the most structured and disciplined sides in Europe, with his regimented side anchored in midfield by Thomas Partey. The 27-year-old came through the ranks at Atletico and has been a mainstay in the side for several years.
A release clause in his current contract has made him a potential transfer target this summer, with Arsenal leading the race for his signature if he does call time on his spell in La Liga.
What player are you hopeful your club signs this summer? Let us know in the comments below!