It is not yet April but, with clubs already working hard on securing their main transfer targets for the summer, we look at some of the players who are likely to move when the window opens.
Kasper Dolberg (Ajax)
Ajax’s production line of Danish talent shows no sign of abating, with Dolberg looking like being the latest to follow in the footsteps of such luminaries as Jesper Olsen, Jan Molby and Christian Eriksen. Manchester City have been monitoring the 19-year-old’s progress for some time and have seen him blossom into a brilliant finisher who is capable of leading the line or playing in a deeper role. Dolberg has also been linked with several other English clubs, including Liverpool, Manchester United and Everton but City look like favourites, especially if Sergio Agüero departs.
Possibility of moving to Manchester City: 5/10
Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)
Mauricio Pochettino has made no secret he covets attacking reinforcements this summer and Zaha – the standout performer in Palace’s relegation battle with five goals and six assists – is a primary target. Talks over improving his contract at Selhurst Park stalled last year amid Tottenham’s interest but the Palace chairman, Steve Parish, will not allow his prized asset to leave on the cheap. A fee of £30m may be enough to secure the Ivory Coast international given his current deal expires in 2020, although Daniel Levy is unlikely to offer that up front.
Possibility of moving to Tottenham Hotspur: 7/10
Naby Keïta (RB Leipzig)
The all-action Guinea midfielder – outstanding in RB Leipzig’s surge to the brink of Champions League qualification – has been scouted by Arsenal extensively this season, although the same can be said of most big clubs in Europe, including Leipzig’s Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich. Player of the season in Austria last year, Keïta’s current club is understandably keen to tie him down to a new contract and the prospect of playing in Europe’s premier club competition could persuade him to stay. But if Arsenal are serious about finding someone to take on the dominant N’Golo Kanté, Keïta may be their man.
Possibility of moving to Arsenal: 3/10
Romelu Lukaku (Everton)
Three years after he was allowed to move to Goodison Park for £28m, Chelsea may have to pay double that to bring back Lukaku despite his decision to reject a new contract. It was always going to be tough for Ronald Koeman to persuade the Belgium international to commit his future on Merseyside but another season that has seen the 23-year compete at the top of the Premier League’s goalscoring charts will have convinced suitors he will be worth the investment. Manchester United’s close relationship with agent Mino Raiola may give them a chance, although José Mourinho will find it hard to compete if they cannot offer Champions League football. Barcelona, too, could be an option.
Possibility of moving to Chelsea: 6/10
Antoine Griezmann (Atlético Madrid)
For the best part of a year, the France international’s brother has been dropping cryptic hints on social media that his next destination could be Old Trafford and, with Atlético keen to bring back Diego Costa, this could be the summer it happens. United have made inquiries over the price for a player who has scored 57 goals in La Liga in the last three seasons, with reports in Spain that his release clause is worth £94m. Whether United are willing to fork out that kind of fee once again after Paul Pogba’s struggles remains to be seen but Griezmann looks like he could be worth taking the risk for.
Possibility of moving to Manchester United: 6/10
Moussa Dembélé (Celtic)
With Lukaku now expected to leave Everton this summer, Koeman will be desperate to bring in a suitable replacement and has made the 20-year-old his priority. A fee somewhere north of £40m may be required, however, with Celtic having rejected approaches from Chelsea during the January transfer window and keen to make as big a profit as possible on the France international who joined from Fulham last year. Real Madrid are among the other clubs to have been linked with him, however, so it will be far from straightforward.
Possibility of moving to Everton: 3/10
Mahmoud Dahoud (Borussia Mönchengladbach)
The Germany midfielder’s representatives have been inundated with offers over the past few months after Dahoud rejected a new contract offer at the end of last year, with Borussia Dortmund the favourites to land him as they continue to assemble some of Europe’s best young players at the Westfalenstadion. Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City have also registered their interest, while Juventus consider themselves in the frame when the decision is finally made. If he moves to Dortmund, Dahoud could form a formidable partnership with Julian Weigl for club and country.
Possibility of moving to Borussia Dortmund: 8/10
Julian Brandt (Bayer Leverkusen)
The versatile attacking midfielder has long been earmarked as a future star of German football and it’s therefore no surprise that Jürgen Klopp is keen to bring him to Anfield next season. The only problem is that, just like during his days at Borussia Dortmund, there is a rather large rival to contend with in the form of Bayern Munich. Carlo Ancelotti’s side are already understood to have opened talks with the 20-year-old’s representatives so Klopp will have to act quickly if he wants to get his man.
Possibility of moving to Bayern Munich: 8/10
Kylian Mbappé (Monaco)
The 18-year-old has turned heads all over Europe with his scintillating displays in the Champions League, with Monaco braced for some sizeable bids this summer for the forward with a Cameroonian father and Algerian mother. Real Madrid appear frontrunners at this stage having watched Mbappé several times in recent weeks, but José Mourinho has made an inquiry too. But would United be able to sign both him and Griezmann? Unlikely. Either way, a pricetag in excess of £50m will be needed to make Monaco even think about it.
Possibility of moving to Real Madrid: 3/10
Alexandre Lacazette (Lyon)
After the thunderbolt shot that helped Lyon beat Roma 4-2 in the first leg of their Europa League tie, Lacazette admitted his time in France’s second city may be coming to an end. Barcelona appears to be his preferred choice and there is every chance the France international will end up in Catalonia given his prolific statistics since returning from a hamstring injury in October. Much will depend on who replaces Luis Enrique in the dugout, with Arsenal potentially waiting in the wings as well should Alexis Sánchez depart.
Possibility of moving to Arsenal: 3/10
Franck Kessié (Atalanta)
Chelsea appeared to be hot favourites to sign the Ivorian midfielder until Kessié surprisingly admitted last month that he “dreams” of joining Manchester United. Now the race is on to secure a player who has also attracted attention from Juventus this season thanks to his starring role for Atalanta. Antonio Conte and several other Premier League managers remain keen on the 20-year-old who only moved to Italy in 2015.
Possibility of moving to Chelsea: 5/10
Faouzi Ghoulam (Napoli)
Disappointing for Algeria in the Africa Cup of Nations, Ghoulam still appears to have done enough to convince Pep Guardiola he can help fill the problem left-back role at Manchester City with talks with Napoli understood to be at an advanced stage over a potential £11m move. Chelsea are also in the market for a left-back despite spending more than £20m on Baba Rahman and then Marcos Alonso in the two previous summers, with Alex Sandro and David Alaba possible targets, but Guardiola and City are confident they can secure the 26-year-old early in what could be a busy summer at the Etihad.
Possibility of moving to Manchester City: 7/10