The summer transfer window has already featured fireworks galore, with the biggest one of them all popping two hours before a World Cup semifinal.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s sensational move from Real Madrid to Juventus that was completed just before the France-Belgium showdown in Russia won’t be topped, but it could set off a domino effect across Europe, with the three-time reigning Champions League winner surely in the market for a big star to replace its departed legend.
Ronaldo isn’t the only big name to move thus far, either, with Manchester City finally landing star winger Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City; Liverpool adding Brazilians Alisson and Fabinho to a summer class that also includes Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri; Barcelona quietly going about its business landing Clement Lenglet and Arthur before reportedly swooping to pip Roma to Bordeaux winger Malcom; and Atletico Madrid agreeing to a deal with Thomas Lemar, pairing the Frenchman with Antoine Griezmann, who stayed put when a move to Barcelona looked likely.
That said, there are still plenty of other names in the shop window. Here are 10 of the biggest ones who could still be earmarked for new destinations prior to the start of the new seasons–and prior to the start of the new Premier League transfer deadline, which was bumped back to precede opening day.
Eden Hazard, MF, Chelsea
Neymar and Kylian Mbappe have both claimed that they’re staying put at PSG, which would bump Hazard firmly to the top of Real Madrid’s wish list. The three have been targeted as Ronaldo’s heir apparent, according to SI’s Grant Wahl, and if Real Madrid’s public denials about bidding for Neymar and Mbappe–and the players’ words themselves–are to be believed, then it’s on to Plan C. Hazard, naturally, is not too shabby of a backup plan, and he is coming off a Silver Ball-winning showing at the World Cup, where he thrived for Belgium. He hasn’t minced words in claiming he is eyeing the Stamford Bridge exit, putting out a signal for all suitors–especially Madrid–to come calling.
Paul Pogba, MF, Manchester United
Could Pogba return to Juventus and link up with Ronaldo? That’s the latest scuttlebutt after a World Cup in which Pogba starred for France and scored in the final. It’s no secret that his relationship with Jose Mourinho has been contentious, with Pogba a lightning rod for criticism since returning to Old Trafford. His agent, Mino Raiola, was shopping him around last winter, with Real Madrid one of the clubs included in the mix. Manchester United would have to feel compelled to sell and Juventus would have to offload talent and move around some money, of course, which would be the most important hurdles to clear in any move.
Gareth Bale, F, Real Madrid
Just because Ronaldo left Real Madrid doesn’t mean it’s now Bale’s team. Like Cristiano, Bale, too, hinted at a potential summer exit in the moments after the club won another Champions League title. Bale’s role in the latest triumph was essential, but he hasn’t always received the respect he should at the Bernabeu, and there are no shortage of clubs who would love to land the 29-year-old Welshman. If incoming manager Julen Lopetegui can show him the love that Zinedine Zidane so often did not, though, then staying put could be come Bale’s preferred course of action.
Thibaut Courtois, GK, Chelsea
Like his countryman Hazard, the Belgian goalkeeper could be on the move to Real Madrid, too. Keylor Navas seemingly always has a transfer threat to ward off, and this summer it comes in the form of Courtois, who won Golden Glove honors for his play at the World Cup. Chelsea would need to line up a replacement before green-lighting a transfer, with Leicester’s Kasper Schemichel and Stoke’s Jack Butland reportedly the top targets after Alisson signed with Liverpool.
Robert Lewandowski, F, Bayern Munich
Lewandowski’s summer hasn’t gone as hoped. He hired agent Pini Zahavi to orchestrate a move away from Bayern, but the club has been adamant that it won’t sell, and it’s looking like his desired move to Real Madrid won’t materialize–even with the club in need of a new leading man. Manchester United and Chelsea have also been linked on the periphery to moves for Lewandowski, but given he’s under contract until 2020-2021 at Bayern, it’d have to take some serious convincing or an otherworldly offer to get the German champions to budge on their stance.
Christian Pulisic, MF, Borussia Dortmund
It’s been expected for some time that this may be the summer in which Pulisic makes the move away from Dortmund. Liverpool was the most likely landing spot, given his past connection to Jurgen Klopp and the seemingly ideal fit for system and player, but with the Reds spending so heavily already and adding Shaqiri as an attacking option, is there room–and the financial means–at Anfield for a move? Tottenham, Chelsea and, most sensationally, Real Madrid have been mooted as suitors recently as well. For Pulisic, who is under contract through 2019-2020 at Dortmund, the best bet may well be staying put.
Aleksandr Golovin, MF, CSKA Moscow
Russia’s 22-year-old breakout star at the World Cup has been heavily linked to Chelsea, and one of his club teammates has apparently lifted the lid on such a move. Sergey Chepchugov’s recent, congratulatory Instagram post would suggest a move is imminent, and it could also make the club more willing to part ways with Hazard or Willian, who was reportedly the subject of a lucrative Barcelona offer.
Hirving Lozano, MF, PSV
Chucky proved his worth at the World Cup with Mexico, opening eyes with his play in the group stage that included a game-winning goal against Germany. With former PSV sporting director Marcel Brands now at Everton, there have been reports of a reunion between the two at Goodison Park. Manchester United is also said to be interested in the winger, but the latest reports out of the Netherlands suggest Lozano could remain despite his breakout in Russia. He returned to training with the club after a post-World Cup break this week.
Steven N’Zonzi, MF, Sevilla
The World Cup winner, who entered in place of N’Golo Kante for the final 35 minutes of the final to help shut down Croatia, has been linked to Arsenal and also to a reunion with former Sevilla sporting director Monchi, who now pulls the strings at Roma. He’s long been an underrated talent and could help fortify the central midfield for a contender.
Yerry Mina, D, Barcelona
Anyone who watched the 23-year-old Mina at the World Cup would think that he should be a centerpiece defender for years to come for Barcelona, but the Colombian remains in the shop window despite just arriving at the club last winter. Barcelona’s center back corps includes World Cup winner Samuel Umtiti, new signing Clement Lenglet and veteran Gerard Pique, so there’s depth there, but an Umtiti-Mina pairing could be dominant for years to come. Nevertheless, a move away from Barcelona–with Everton and Lyon being among the reported destinations–could be in the offing.