June 6th, 2011
07:52 PM ET

Who will be football's top transfer targets?

Wesley Sneijder may be looking for a new challenge after two seasons at Internazionale. (Getty Images)
Wesley Sneijder may be looking for a new challenge after two seasons at Internazionale. (Getty Images)

Any day now I will wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. It has been a week since I last watched a football game and the withdrawal symptoms will surely manifest themselves soon enough.

There is only one cure. Keep the mind busy until the Copa America kicks off on July 1. And what better way to do that than to start speculating on what major players may be moving this European summer?

Let’s do it. Below is a list of the top 10 transfer targets and where they may be going.

Wesley Sneijder (Inter Milan) Attacking midfielder, 26 years old

The hottest property on the market. One of the most influential creative midfielders on the planet, Wesley can run a game with his dribbling or his passing. After two seasons in Italy where he won it all with Inter, I get the feeling he is ready for a new challenge - and there are plenty of interested parties. Reportedly he was in Manchester last week and a move to United could be on the cards. Personally I feel he would fit in better at Chelsea, but he will be a hit wherever he decides to go.

Luka Modric (Tottenham) Attacking midfielder, 25

The most consistent performer at Spurs in what was a historic season for the English club. The Croatian was fantastic during the side’s debut Champions League campaign and will surely not want to miss out on Europe’s top club competition next season. A move to Manchester United and Chelsea has been discussed, and he would be a great addition to either team. Luka could improve on his finishing, but his playmaking skills are second to none in the Premier League at the moment and the top title contenders have not let that go unnoticed.

Nani (Manchester United) Winger, 24

Failed to get the salary raise he was looking for, and had to play second fiddle to Antonio Valencia at the business end of last season at Old Trafford - two reasons why I think he will not be at United for 2011-12. The fact Alex Ferguson is also looking to bring in Ashley Young is another indication that Nani will have to go elsewhere to get regular first-team football. The Portugal winger is a fantastic dribbler and can score fantastic goals, but is not known to enjoy defending and needs to play in a system where he has more freedom. Has been linked with Real Madrid and would fit in well at the Bernabeu, but don’t rule out a move to Italy where both AC Milan and Inter would be interested.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (AC Milan) Striker, 29

One of the most traveled strikers on the planet, and one whose name is synonymous with success, he has won the last eight league titles with the last five teams he has played for (though two at Juventus were lost off the pitch due to Serie A's corruption scandal). After helping AC Milan win the scudetto this past season, the temperamental Swede could be on the move again. Real Madrid or Manchester City could be two possible destinations for Zlatan, considering the managers there know him well and have proven they can get the best out of him. Wherever he goes, expect spectacular goals and tempestuous tantrums.

Fabio Coentrao (Benfica) Left-back, 23

He burst onto the scene at last year’s World Cup but I had already seen this wing-back in action in my hometown Lisbon, where he has played for Benfica for the last three seasons. Coentrao is as impressive attacking as he is defending, and is ready to make the leap to one of Europe’s top clubs. Bayern Munich and Real Madrid have both made offers for the Portugal international, and those are two possible destinations. Personally, I don’t think Real would be a good option considering Marcelo has been fantastic at the Bernabeu over the last couple of years. However, considering the fact Jorge Mendes is his agent and Jose Mourinho is the manager at Real, he will probably be playing for Los Blancos next season.

Giuseppe Rossi (Villarreal) Forward, 24

One of the most underrated forwards in Europe in my book. He scored a whopping 32 goals in all competitions this past season, and he did it playing for a team that did not challenge for honors in Spain. Villarreal had a great run in the Europa League, reaching the semifinals, but they aren’t close to having the firepower of most of the top teams on the continent. He has been linked with Barcelona and would fit in well there, but he may prefer a move to Italy considering his roots and the fact he has never played in Serie A. Napoli and Juventus could be possible destinations if the Italy international doesn’t move to Camp Nou.

Eden Hazard (Lille) Attacking midfielder, 20

The Belgian playmaker was probably the most important player in a Lille team that won the French league for the first time in over 50 years. His vision and creativity make him one of the most wanted players of the summer, and there is no question he will be moving to one of the top leagues in Europe. Chances are he could end up in England given that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is a fan and Samir Nasri has shown a desire to leave the club.

Jan Vertonghen (Ajax) Center-back, 24

The only defender that makes this list, Vertonghen is the latest in a long line of talented young players that Belgium has produced over the past three years. He was instrumental in Ajax’s title-winning run in Holland, playing with a level of maturity well beyond his age. He has been linked with Arsenal, but a better move would be to a team that has an established stopper he could play next to and learn from. With Rio Ferdinand reaching the end of his career, Manchester United could be a good destination, or maybe Liverpool where he could play next to Jamie Carragher.

Samir Nasri (Arsenal) Attacking midfielder, 23

The France international created waves this past weekend when he said he would consider a move to Manchester United. I understand him because he has failed to win any silverware since moving to Arsenal, and Arsene Wenger has refused to support his creative players with the kind of physical presence they would need to excel in midfield. Nasri may be temperamental and inconsistent but he is still one of the most talented attacking players in Europe - and would be even better if he were moved to the center rather than be forced to play on the wing. If he doesn’t go to Old Trafford, a move to Chelsea or Inter Milan could be on the cards.

Neymar (Santos) Forward, 19

Brazil’s most talented teenager has no shortage of suitors. He has been tracked by some of the top clubs in Europe, and it is a matter of time before he makes the move. Will it happen this summer? It could. For his sake, though, I hope he doesn’t move to England. With his slight frame and flamboyant dribbling skills, Neymar would be kicked off the park. I honestly don’t know how long he would last before one of the Premier League’s ruffians imposed their wrath on his dancing feet. The perfect move for Neymar would be to Barcelona or AC Milan, where he would have the space and the support to shine.

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soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. Craig

    Awful report. The author fails to identify the teams which have been heavily linked with these players....and he is clearly a Man Utd fan. Vertonghen to Man Utd....? Nothing of the sort has been in the papers, if anything, he'd go to Man City or Arsenal to play with his friends (Kompany or Vermaelen). Poor form...next

    June 6, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Reply
  2. Phil

    Ibra is with Milan for good now

    June 6, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Reply
  3. brian kuira

    Manchester United's first priority should be Wesley Schneider, they need a midfielder that is all rounded, at the moment they only have either defensive or attacking midfielders. Nani can go, his flamboyancy has surely got the better of him- always putting his needs for goal scoring before the team's

    June 6, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Reply
  4. Killian Donnellan

    Very good article, but you failed to mention Goetze, the midfielder who plays for Borussia Dortmund and was excellent in helping them win the bundesliga. How about Jose Enrique at Newcastle United, who was very good in saving Newcastle in the EPL and there is a shortage of decent left backs out there and teams like Liverpool and Barcelona need one badly. And finally how about Juan Mata at Valencia who has been one of the better players for Valencia, who have had a decent season just gone by and a team like Arsenal, Inter Milan or Chelsea need some one like this player to give their teams a different dimension as their style of play is too predictable.

    June 6, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Reply
  5. Horacio

    Pedro has included the clubs where the players are linked to, he just gives his opinions on where they should go. Pay attention when you read Craig!

    June 6, 2011 at 11:56 pm | Reply
  6. Fernando Barra

    Neymar is a GREAT player, he is just amazing...

    June 7, 2011 at 12:49 am | Reply
  7. kasonde

    nani is staying, if he leaves they only place he should go and play many games is Italy or at at bayern

    Zlatan Ibrahimovic is going to the epl or remain in serie a, Real have higuain and benzema and just bought a striker a few weeks ago.

    Fabio Coentrao maybe going to REAL, but I'm also a marcelo fan would like him to continue improving, real need to get central defenders instead, pepe is a red card away in most big games and ricardo carvolo is is 33.

    Giuseppe Rossi going to barca is a mistake they bought vila last year unless vila is sold or pedro is benched or he will be bench warmer. he needs to go to italy or bayern munich since klose is going,

    Samir Nasri should stay arsenal with cesc likely to leave for barca or city any time in the either this year or 3 years at the very least arsenal must keep nasri at all costs.

    Neymar should stay at santos or go to serie a mostly ac milan, pato and robinho would help him settle in and if they sell zlatan he can play many games there.

    Neymar may go to arsenal if they pay for him which is unlikely but that's the only club with maybe Manchester united that can develop him in the epl and he would suit their style.

    Real also maybe good place to go with kaka and marcelo there and they have Portuguese coach and a number Portuguese players. But barca would be a problem with the team they have so many players and rossi and possibly cesc on his way Barcelona would sell him. bayern maybe a good place for him also

    Neymar stay Brazil at the very least or go to Serie as his second choice, then Epl only if Arsenal or Man U and third Bayern Munich and last place he should consider is Real.

    1)Chelsea is bad destination because of the style of football they play and there is no coach and its not a stable club right now he would not last there.

    2)Mancity is a joke, he wouldn't last there they don't develop players there and they buy 2 or more forwards a year and their style may not suit him also his young player whose he coaching. mancity is simply a buying club

    3)barca team full with so much talent and they are buying rossi and they have bojan and other would are rotting on the bench he would not survive there

    June 7, 2011 at 3:11 am | Reply
  8. Bernard onyango ochieng otieno.

    Neymar iz linked to joining Chelsea.Pedro seems to be giving his personal opinions.

    June 7, 2011 at 6:03 am | Reply
  9. Duarte Mendonca

    Well said Horacio! You should think before you speak Craig. Like Horacio said, this is more of Pedro's personal view than a report stating what newspaper and media all around have been stating.

    June 7, 2011 at 10:19 am | Reply
  10. Nightcirque

    Hmm, what about Gold Cup, isn't that a tournament? And in the very US of A – of all places... so stop talking and start watching...

    June 7, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Reply
  11. Alberto

    I think..., you are missing some Argentinians...(Aguero, Tevez, Pastore....) It's a partial report

    June 7, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Reply
  12. Nildey

    What about Miro Klose?

    June 7, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Reply
  13. upkar singh

    i will be so pleased if the Wesley Sneijder go to Chelsea. Chelsea is the best option for him. He will get the best opportunity and enhance his carrier with Didier and Lampard..
    ER.Upkar Singh

    June 7, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Reply
  14. steve

    for me..neymar will be disappointing.....very talented but wrong mentality to make it in big club where you need to fight for selection in a deep pool of talent.

    a lack of grit , size and working in a team where your not the only "jewel" and i see him struggling.......last time I saw this much dribbling and diving at his age was robinho

    June 7, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Reply
  15. mulenga

    Nasri,wesley and luka are most welcome at manchester united

    June 7, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Reply
  16. Bidson smith

    Chelsea is d right destination for sneijder,he is the man chelsea has been looking for all this year to help them with their champions league trauma.you didn't include kaka in your list

    June 7, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Reply
  17. Carlos

    What about Falcao García? One of Europe's most successful striker last season, winning all titles except for the Champions League. Arsenal has clearly expressed interest in his services for next season and surely will be one of most rumored transfers the next season.

    June 7, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Reply
  18. CT

    How about Sergio "KUN" Aguero?
    Massive 23 yrs old player that would fit really well in BARCA....shame that BARCA´s priority is Cesc Fabregas!

    June 7, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Reply
  19. chuphi

    he he, premier league ruffians, !

    June 7, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Reply
  20. jimbo

    Hahaha, this joker is clearly a Manc. Every time he mentions Arsenal he sneaks in a jibe. No mention Aguero, Defour, Falcao, or Honda either.

    June 7, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Reply
  21. manolo

    Really, who writes these articles, leaving out a key Barcelona reinforcement like Alexis Sanchez, going from Udinese going to Barcelona for around 30 million Euro and Bojan on top.

    June 7, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Reply
  22. kennedy

    I wish I could be afootballer

    June 7, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Reply
  23. T.SkY

    Hello ER. Upkar Singh,

    I prefer Wesley Sneijder to go to Manchester United. So that Sir Alex, will have a good creative midfider.

    June 7, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Reply
  24. Colombian people

    Hugo Rollega and Crsitian Nazarith could passed the Wigan and Santa Fe respectively to the European team Real Madrid according the Colombian press

    June 7, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Reply
  25. Chris

    nevermind, there it is

    June 7, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Reply
  26. bush

    i dnt tink realmadrid needs a player lyk nani,cus his pattern of play will not suit mourinho..............

    June 7, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Reply
  27. Sam

    Rossi HAS played in Serie A... Man Utd loaned him to Parma.

    June 7, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Reply
  28. Marco

    G. Rossi "has never played in Serie A" ?...He has played in Parma FC before playing Villareal, with his goals (in only 5 months, from january to may) the team is not relegated to serie B

    June 7, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Reply
  29. Babs

    Man u need a creative midfielder like wesley sneijder and a good winger like c.ronldon,dat is all we need.

    June 7, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Reply
  30. Eddy Ekpenyong

    Chelsea is a team i cherish most,so i want them to focus on a very good coach like jose mourinho

    June 8, 2011 at 12:09 am | Reply
  31. coolguy13

    sneijder!!!!! go to chelsea!!!!!! why didn't they talk about Lukaku? he might go to chelsea......

    June 8, 2011 at 1:52 am | Reply
  32. Andres

    And what about Alexis Sanchez ? I am most surprised this most talented italian league chilean player was not even considered on this list. Wait and see !!!

    June 8, 2011 at 4:05 am | Reply
  33. David Peña

    How could you not write about Falcao García form Porto?

    June 8, 2011 at 5:20 am | Reply
  34. Mauricio Perez

    What about Alexis Sanchez done deal to Barcelona????

    June 8, 2011 at 5:54 am | Reply
  35. D cha-cho

    we need wesley at chelsea

    June 8, 2011 at 6:01 am | Reply
  36. Efe Dave

    Pedro, no comment about Udinese's Sanchez

    June 8, 2011 at 6:37 am | Reply
  37. Miguel

    A Nani / Sneijder trade would benefit both clubs and bring great PR.... simple ,, tax free.. and both fan bases would be happy.... Not to forget both players.

    June 8, 2011 at 9:24 am | Reply
  38. Akins

    Neymar,modric,lukaku & sneider will be good for chesea along side guss hidding as their manager

    June 8, 2011 at 9:40 am | Reply

    i think pedro didn't do justice.what about the amazing samuel inkoom of ghana who plays in..is it switzerland.he's one of the best rightback in europe.he may not be playing for a big club now,but he's formidable...

    June 8, 2011 at 9:51 am | Reply
  40. Anuwar Lemos

    Neymar has a bright future if he was tuffer and hard working like messi, if he doesn develop these two qualities he is worthless.

    Modric is an amazing star, joining Man U will make him grow and stablish himself.

    Nasri and Coentrao they just don convince me at all i think Nasri´s inconsistency makes him very vulnerable, and just another player on the pitch, Coentrao its seriously just a bluff, just another Paulo Ferreira from Chelsea good sprinter but no technique at all

    Wesley is a born fighter an impressive team work player, very influent and an amazing passer guess any club would be dying to have him

    June 8, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Reply
  41. hamza

    the kind of wages sneidjer wants doesnt allow either arsenal or unitd.so chelsea suits him and neymar himself declared his dream to play in stamford bridge....so pedro missed that point..........good article though

    June 8, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Reply
  42. arsfc

    how about Cesc ??? 6 big club want him

    June 8, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Reply
  43. Ibifubara koko

    Wesley is what chelsea needs at the moment,because of his creativity in the field of play.roman should go for the dutch star right now.lampard isn't and can never be a creative midfielder hence my choosing snidjer,to fill that vaccum in the chelsea team.my choice of coach for the chelsea team,is frank rijkaard.

    June 8, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Reply
  44. mi

    who said barca dont have a gud left back.

    June 8, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Reply
  45. NaNaK

    Fabio Coentrao is 1 of the outstanding player ive seen in the recent World Cup. This guy can really run & plays good football at the same time. I was totally impressed with him! Its about time some1 mentions him, talk of his credibilities & he deserves so much more exposure with his young age, his drives when he was playing at the World Cup. I see great potentials. With very 'marketable' HOT looks too!

    June 9, 2011 at 10:04 am | Reply
  46. Scott Parker

    With Chelsea having three world class forwards amongst whom, no one wants to be left at the bench, i think one of them will hae to go. And with a new coach coming their way,and ultimately new players comin in, chelsea is surely gonna sell one of them, drogba being the main option. So, i think he's gonna go to serie a or maybe la liga, nd if he's on sale europe's biggest clubs will want him for sure. So, surely look forward for his transfer.

    June 9, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Reply
  47. Dr. Cajetan Coelho

    Upcoming youngsters like Romelu Lukaku, Witsel, Defour, Courtois and such other emerging names are being discussed in top footballing circles.

    June 10, 2011 at 6:36 am | Reply
  48. austin simasiku simasiku

    nani is not going anywhere......united 4 lyf

    June 10, 2011 at 10:33 am | Reply
  49. timothy

    no news about african stars in the coming transfer market?this report is not complete.

    June 10, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Reply

    we don need parker, we need a coach

    June 14, 2011 at 4:24 am | Reply
  51. felixMANCHA

    dig more details on SANCHEZ and NEYMARs move
    to BARCELONA. U r doing a great job

    June 14, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Reply
  52. Johnny P

    I'm surprised Hulk or Falcao didn't make the list. They had great runs in the Europa League.

    June 14, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Reply
  53. Akinmola taiwo

    Its good for a chelsea to av a prolific player like wesley, naymar, and hidek

    June 15, 2011 at 2:11 am | Reply
  54. moamen

    i think cesc fabregas should be there zlatan may go to real madrid and in the other hand higuin and kaka will leave the royal court to rossonairi

    June 16, 2011 at 12:35 am | Reply
  55. Brij

    he forgot to mention the clubs linked withe the players and the asking price ....

    June 16, 2011 at 7:22 am | Reply
  56. Ayeni Tope Olasunkanmi

    Let chelsea buy a good creative midfilder like sneidjer,swanschger,javier pastore.they should offload some players like Lampard,drogba,malouda,

    July 14, 2011 at 5:48 am | Reply
  57. Alex

    Maybe someone can slip Pedro FIFA sorry Pinto a note calling his attention to there are actually more international sports and stores other than COPA America, Argentina, Blatter, unimportant transfers and life stories of managers.

    July 28, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Reply

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