Europe’s 50 top transfer targets this summer, featuring Sergio Ramos and Mbappe

Carlo Garganese
Carlo Garganese Updated: 5 Jul 2021 11:32 BST 21 min read
Sergio Ramos celebrates scoring for Real Madrid against Atalanta in the Champions League

The world of football is undoubtedly fixated on the European Championship and the four remaining contenders for the international crown.

But, on the domestic front clubs around Europe will be aiming to improve their squads for the 2021/22 campaign with some new recruits.

The summer of 2021 is predicted to be quieter than usual due to the financial effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.

However, the same thing was predicted in the summer of 2020 and the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City still embarked on a spending spree. No surprise, then, that the two highest spending teams in Europe ended up going all the way to the Champions League final come May!

So expect there to be many huge transfers again this time around.

Furthermore, with a host of world-class players either available on a Bosman transfer or at a cut-price as their deals expire in 12 months, expect numerous world-class players to switch clubs.

Below, Carlo Garganese, Martin Macdonald, Stefan Bienkowski, Robin Bairner and Emmet Gates have compiled 50 players from Europe’s top five leagues to watch out for in this summer’s transfer market.

Who are the top Premier League transfer targets this summer?

Paul Pogba (Man Utd)

It seems that Paul Pogba is never too far away from transfer speculation. Even after becoming the world’s most expensive player in history at the time of his move from Juventus to Manchester United, there has always been the spectre of Real Madrid lurking in the background.

Paul Pogba, Man Utd

Paul Pogba, Man Utd

Pogba himself risked the wrath of the Man Utd fans earlier in the season by admitting it was a dream of his to one day play for Real Madrid, so if he has his way the move would happen.

Furthermore, although the Frenchman has played well this year under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, his contract at Old Trafford expires next year and there is no sign of a renewal. Juventus and PSG are also monitoring developments.

Harry Kane (Tottenham) 

Harry Kane rocked the Premier League in the middle of May when he reportedly informed Tottenham of his desire to leave at the end of the 2020/21 campaign.

He was again one of the best players in the league in 2020/21, scoring a brilliant 32 goals and recording 16 assists in all competitions for Spurs.

However, despite his continued excellence, he is yet to win a major trophy in his career, and adding medals to his empty collection is something the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain can provide.

Jack Grealish (Villa) 

Jack Grealish missed 12 games in the Premier League in 2020/21 but he remains one of the most creative players, having assisted 10 times in 23 starts. That tally is only bettered by Kane, Kevin De Bruyne and Bruno Fernandes.

The Englishman seems destined for greatness, but any move to the likes of Man Utd or Man City will be made difficult by the fact that he signed a new contract with Aston Villa in October.

The Villans, therefore, can basically name their price, no matter how exorbitant.

DONE DEAL: Sergio Aguero (Man City) 

Sergio Aguero has already confirmed he is leaving Man City at the expiration of his contract in June in order to join Barcelona on a Bosman.

After becoming the club’s leading goalscorer and helping them win multiple trophies, he has slowed down significantly due to injuries over the last 18 months, which led to no agreed contract extension.

Nevertheless, there is no doubting the class of the Argentine and expect many more goals in Barcelona.

DONE DEAL: Gini Wijnaldum (Liverpool

Gini Wijnaldum also decided to quit the Premier League after believing he had achieved all he could at Liverpool. A Premier League and Champions League winner with the Reds, the Dutchman will be remembered fondly.

It had seemed certain that Wijnaldum would join Aguero at Barcelona on a Bosman, but PSG hijacked the move at the final hour and the Dutchman signed for the Ligue 1 giants instead.

Tammy Abraham (Chelsea) 

When Chelsea spent over £200m on new recruits last summer there was always going to be casualties among those already at the club.

Though Abraham did play more under Frank Lampard, he has barely featured under Thomas Tuchel, who prefers the likes of Timo Werner and Kai Havertz for the centre-forward role at Stamford Bridge.

Tammy Abraham, Chelsea

Tammy Abraham, Chelsea

Chelsea may indeed decide to sign yet another striker in the summer, too, but even if they don’t Abraham should be on his way. He will not be short on suitors if the Blues decide to sell.

Jesse Lingard (Man Utd) 

Despite not playing a minute of Premier League football this season at Man Utd prior to his loan move to West Ham, Lingard was sensational in the second half of the season for the Hammers.

In 15 appearances he scored nine goals and recorded four assists, with his performances leading to suggestions that Man Utd may even want him back.

However, a transfer away is the most likely scenario, with West Ham keen to make the loan move permanent. A move to Dortmund has also been mentioned in reports from Germany.

Matheus Pereira (West Brom) 

West Brom have had a dismal campaign and were eventually relegated before the end of the season under Sam Allardyce.

One of the shining lights has been the performances of Matheus Pereira, their summer acquisition from Sporting CP.

He was always going to be too good for the Baggies, and has earned a move away despite being unable to halt their relegation.

Raphinha (Leeds) 

It took Leeds until late in the transfer window to sign Raphinha from Rennes, leading to suggestions it was a bit of a panic purchase.

However, the Brazilian alleviated those fears quickly and went on to have an excellent season at Elland Road, displaying an instant cohesion with his team-mates and a trick or two as well.

Though it is perhaps too early to suggest a move away from Leeds after only a year, Liverpool are interested if they can get him for a good price.

Yves Bissouma (Brighton) 

One of the standout midfielders of the Premier League season was Brighton’s Yves Bissouma.

The Malian excelled for the Seasiders and is a key reason why they managed to avoid the drop again, with his combination of aggression, athleticism, and eye for a pass in the middle of the park making him a wanted man.

Jurgen Klopp apparently views Bissouma as the perfect replacement for Wijnaldum, though Arsenal are also interested.

Who are the top La Liga transfer targets this summer?

Lionel Messi (Barcelona) 

The Argentine genius wanted to leave the beleaguered Catalans a year ago, but was forced to stay due to legal issues in his contract.

Messi produced a satisfactory year by his extremely high standards, and lifted the Copa del Rey.

Ronald Koeman Lionel Messi Barcelona 2020-21

Ronald Koeman Lionel Messi Barcelona 2020-21

Yet it remains to be seen if he will extend his contract at Barcelona.

His current deal has now expired in Spain, meaning Messi is now technically a free agent.

That means Manchester City and PSG are likely still interested in signing him on a Bosman but it remains to be seen which option he will pick.

Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)

Sergio Ramos’ has tearfully announced that he is leaving Real Madrid this summer after a glorious 16 years at the club, having failed to agree terms on a new contract.

Ramos, who was left out of Spain’s squad for the Euros, now needs to find a new club.

Two potential destinations are Manchester United and PSG, who both could do with his immense wealth of experience.

The latest update on this is that Jose Mourinho wants the pair to reunite at Roma.

Raphael Varane (Real Madrid)

Another defender at Real Madrid with an uncertain future.

The Frenchman has been long linked with a move to England, with Liverpool and Manchester United long-term admirers of the 28-year-old.

With Zinedine Zidane now gone from the Madrid dugout, Varane may decide the time is right for a new challenge.

He has been offered a new contract by Madrid but has yet to sign it.

Pau Torres (Villarreal)

The Spanish defender, who just starred for Villarreal as they defeated Manchester United in the Europa League final, has since been linked with a move to Old Trafford.

It seems Villarreal president Fernando Roig has given the green light for the deal – as long as the English side stump up the cash for the defender.

Although it’s unknown what Torres’ value is, his performance in the final will have no doubt convinced United to make a bid for the player.

Gareth Bale (Real Madrid)

The Welshman is likely to be returned to sender at the end of the month by Tottenham. Bale’s loan move wasn’t a hit, but the 31-year-old showed glimpses of his former self during the latter stages of the campaign.

Any suitor for Bale will likely be put off by his staggering salary, which works out at around £610,000-per-week.

Another loan move will be the most probable course of action for Bale, with Real Madrid likely subsidising half the bill, just as they did this season.

However, returning Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has hinted that he may be given a second chance at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Gerard Moreno (Villarreal)

Another Villarreal player who could make a move this summer. Moreno scored in the European showpiece final against Manchester United, and could make a transfer to the Premier League for next season.

Gerard Moreno Villarreal 2020/21

Gerard Moreno Villarreal 2020/21

The 29-year-old had his breakout season in La Liga this year: only Messi scored more goals than the Spaniard, with 30.

DONE DEAL: Aissa Mandi (Real Betis)

The right-back enjoyed another outstanding season at Betis as the Andalusians clinched qualification for Europe.

However, he opted to leave the club on a free transfer this summer.

Despite being heavily linked with a number of Premier League clubs, including Liverpool and Everton, he has signed a four-year contract with Villarreal.

Jules Kounde (Sevilla)

The young centre-back is quickly earning a reputation as one of the finest to emerge from La Liga, due to his impressive displays for the southern Spanish side this season.

Kounde has been called up to Didier Deschamps’ French squad for Euro 2020.

Man United have been linked with a move for Kounde, but it’s believed that both Varane and Pau Torres are ahead of the 22-year-old in the defensive pecking order.

Still, it’s only a matter of time before someone snaps up the youngster. Tottenham and Arsenal are also reportedly interested.

Alexander Isak (Real Sociedad)

The Swedish youngster had a breakout season with Real Sociedad, scoring 17 league goals as they finished fifth in La Liga in 2020/21.

Isak’s form has seen him linked with a big move to Barcelona ahead of next season.

Isak may be a cheaper alternative than other Barcelona targets, such as Erling Haaland.

However, the 21-year-old's contract was recently extended and could now see Isak stay at the Basque side until 2026.

Miralem Pjanic (Barcelona)

The Bosnian midfielder moved to Camp Nou last year in a wildly over-inflated swap deal with Arthur Melo, as Barcelona and Juventus attempted to ease their financial woes.

However, Pjanic has been nothing short of a disaster with Barca as he failed to gain the trust of coach Ronald Koeman.

The 31-year-old scored no goals and registered no assists as he made just 13 starts in all competitions.

Unfortunately, there is not much of a market for the ex-Roma and Lyon star right now.

Barca have reportedly offered to cancel the player's contract, which would allow him to leave for free this summer. But it remains to be seen whether the player will give up his deal and move elsewhere.

Who are the top Serie A transfer targets this summer?

Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)

The Portuguese superstar’s future in Turin is very much in doubt after a disastrous season by Juventus’ high standards. The Bianconeri won the Coppa Italia and Italian Super Cup – and Ronaldo finished top-scorer in Serie A – but they only qualified for the Champions League on the final day.

With Juve €400m in debt, the club needs to make sacrifices and Ronaldo’s salary costs them around €60m a year.

The 36-year-old’s contract expires in 2022 and he is open to a move away.

Manchester United, Real Madrid and Sporting Lisbon have all been heavily linked, but Ronaldo's wages are an obstacle to any buying club.

Paulo Dybala (Juventus)

Dybala endured his worst-ever season in Turin, as he was plagued by injuries and poor form. He made just 20 Serie A appearances, scoring a paltry four goals.

The Argentine’s contract expires in 2022 and there has been little progress over the last year in talks over a renewal.

The return of Max Allegri as coach has given Dybala hope that he could prolong his stay in Turin, although the Argentine remains one of the few players who can be sold for a big profit this summer.

So far, though, there has been precious little interest from the big clubs in someone who has been a shadow of the player who wowed global audiences as recently as the 2019-20 season.

Gigi Donnarumma (AC Milan)

Still only 22, Donnarumma has incredibly already made over 250 appearances for Milan and is tipped by many to become the best goalkeeper in the world.

Gigi Donnarumma, Milan

Gigi Donnarumma, Milan

But he won't make any more after refusing to extend his contract that expires this summer. As a result, Milan signed Mike Maignan from Lille to replace him.

Juventus, Barcelona, Chelsea and PSG were all in the frame to snap up the giant shot-stopper on a free transfer, but it is the Ligue 1 giants who appear to have won the race.

Manuel Locatelli (Sassuolo)

Locatelli has emerged as one of Europe’s most-admired young midfielders over the past 18 months and he seems almost certain to move to a big club this summer.

A cultured central midfielder with excellent technique and passing, he is Juventus’ main transfer target but is also very much admired by PSG, Manchester City and Real Madrid.

He was valued at €40m before Euro 2020 but his fantastic group stage - which included two goals against Switzerland - means that his price will have increased.

Rodrigo De Paul (Udinese)

De Paul was arguably the best midfielder in Serie A in 2020/21, registering nine goals and nine assists, as well as the most key passes and dribbles in the whole division. All this for a struggling Udinese side.

The Argentine, valued at €30-40m, has been promised a move to a major club this summer and he is not short of admirers.

PSG, Liverpool, Inter and Juventus have all watched the midfielder, Leeds United tried to sign him in January, while AC Milan were also interested.

However, it appears as if Atletico Madrid have won the race to sign the Argentina star.

Nikola Milenkovic (Fiorentina)

The giant Serbian defender, standing at 6ft 5in, won a higher percentage of aerial challenges than any other first-team player in Serie A in 2020/21.

With his contract expiring in 2022, he will be allowed to leave Fiorentina this summer should the club’s valuation of between €30-40m be met.

Man Utd have been targeting Milinkovic for a couple of seasons now and will consider him again this summer when they sign a new centre-back. Juventus have also been linked.

Dusan Vlahovic (Fiorentina)

The Serbian striker was the breakout star of the 2020/21 Serie A season, emerging as one of the best young strikers in Europe.

Dusan Vlahovic, Fiorentina

Dusan Vlahovic, Fiorentina

He scored a brilliant 21 goals in 36 Serie A matches, with most of these coming after the turn of the year. The 21-year-old has been compared to Erling Braut Haaland and, like the Dortmund wonderkid, is now being followed by virtually every top club in Europe.

Already valued at over €60m, Fiorentina would like him to stay for one more year. But will they be able to resist a big-money bid?

Robin Gosens (Atalanta)

One of the stars of this wonderful Atalanta team that all of Europe have fallen in love with, Gosens was the best left wing-back in Italy for the second year in a row.

He is admired by Leicester City, who may wish to team him up with his former Atalanta team-mate Timothy Castagne, but bigger fishes are also swimming about – including Juventus and Inter. Gosens has also said he would like to play in the Bundesliga.

A starring role in a German win versus Portugal at Euro 2020 has put him on the map even more.

DONE DEAL: Hakan Calhanoglu (Milan)

The Turkey attacking midfielder was perhaps the best player in Serie A during the 2020 calendar year, although his form fell away in the new year.

This was perhaps due to the breakdown in talks to renew his Milan contract which expires this summer.

That means Calhanoglu was available on a free this summer and none other than Milan's cross-city rivals, Inter, were more than happy to snap up the midfield talent by offering him a better deak.

Achraf Hakimi (Inter)

Inter are in a financial crisis as the club’s Chinese owners, Suning, have been hit particularly hard by the Coronavirus pandemic.

As a result, Suning need to raise around €100m in player sales this summer and there are a string of top players who will be considered to raise the cash.

Hakimi is one such player, and Inter realise they can make around €70-80m on the player. Both PSG and Chelsea have made €60m-plus bids for the star, though PSG are expected to win the race for his signature.

Who are the top Bundesliga transfer targets this summer?

Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)

As undoubtedly one of the most sought-after players in the sport this summer, Borussia Dortmund will likely be preparing themselves for a number of big offers for Erling Haaland.

However, the player has a long-term contract in Germany and while reports have suggested there may be a minimum-fee release clause inserted in it, that isn’t expected to take effect until next year.

For now, Haaland is staying put at Dortmund unless a club is willing to part with a serious amount of money. Chelsea and Man City are both especially interested.

DONE DEAL: Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund)

Like Haaland, Jadon Sancho is coming off the back of an exceptional season in Germany and will be one of the most talked about players in the transfer window.

However, it now seems as though Man Utd have done their work early this year with Dortmund confirming that they have received and accepted a £72 million offer for the player.

Jadon Sancho, Dortmund

Jadon Sancho, Dortmund

Neither club have officially confirmed that the player has made the move to Old Trafford, but once Euro 2020 and plenty of paperwork is put to bed we can expect to see Sancho posing in the famous red and black of Man Utd before too long.

DONE DEAL: Andre Silva (Eintracht Frankfurt)

In a league dominated by Haaland and Robert Lewandowski, it’s easy to forget that other great strikers exist. And in Andre Silva Eintracht Frankfurt had a remarkable goal scorer that most top clubs around Europe would loved to have signed.

However, despite interest from the likes of Real Madrid and Man Utd, Silva ended up making a move to RB Leipzig.

The Saxony side have been in desperate need of a new striker since selling Timo Werner and Silva's form in the Bundesliga may be exactly what they're after.

Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich)

After winning his ninth Bundesliga title after joining the club 10 years ago, Jerome Boateng departs Bayern Munich as an experienced and proven central defender.

And while he’s beginning to look his age at 32, there’s no doubt that the former German international still has plenty to offer a new club. 

Having previously suggested that he would like to go somewhere “exciting”, Boateng will seemingly gravitate towards a European capital like Paris or London, where a host of clubs have been linked with signing him for free this summer. 

DONE DEAL: Ibrahima Konate (RB Leipzig) 

After Dayot Upamecano announced his Bayern Munich move a few months ago, Europe’s biggest clubs subsequently moved on to RB Leipzig’s other impressive central defender Ibrahima Konate. 

And it was Liverpool who won the race for his signature as they triggered the stopper's release clause in order to sign the highly-rated player.

Konate is nowhere near as experienced as Upamecano and has suffered from a number of injuries since joining the German club in 2017. But he’s still an exceptionally gifted player and an exciting talent. 

Julian Brandt (Borussia Dortmund)

While Julian Brandt may not have the same profile as Haaland or Sancho, the German midfielder could still attract plenty of interest from Arsenal in this summer’s window. And he may be tempted to take them up on any offer. 

While Brandt has featured for Dortmund this season, he has often been limited to substitute appearances and there’s no guarantee that incoming head coach Marco Rose will likely change that. Having missed out on this summer’s German national team squad, Brandt may now be looking for a change of scenery and Arsenal may be the perfect fit. 

Niklas Sule (Bayern Munich)

With Julian Nagelsmann arriving in the summer as the new Bayern Munich head coach, there are likely to be a number of big changes at the club. One of them may come in the form of Niklas Sule leaving the club. 

There’s every chance that Sule will be assured of first team action under Nagelsmann, but after an unconvincing season and the arrival of Upamecano, Sule may also be forced to consider his options. And if the interest from Chelsea is genuine, he may find more joy making the move to Stamford Bridge. 

Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

Having overcome Gerd Muller’s record of 40 goals in a single Bundesliga season in the final league match of the campaign, Robert Lewandowski is now officially the best striker in German football history. 

Europe’s 50 top transfer targets this summer

That, apparently, has attracted interest from elsewhere in Europe with some clubs in England being linked with the Poland international. However, Bayern would have absolutely no interest in selling their prized striker and with a contract at the club until 2023 it would take a monumental figure to prise the player from their grasp.

Marcel Sabitzer (RB Leipzig)

Although RB Leipzig have already appointed a successor to Nagelsman in Jesse Marsch, it remains to be seen whether the incoming head coach can convince some of the club’s biggest stars to stay. Marcel Sabitzer is undoubtedly the most challenging in that respect. 

With a contract that expires next summer, the Bundesliga side will need assurances of the player’s intention to extend his deal or may quickly consider offers from the likes of Tottenham Hotspur this summer, rather than risk losing the midfielder for free 12 months later. 

Edmond Tapsoba (Bayer Leverkusen)

While Bayer Leverkusen have had an inconsistent season, Edmond Tapsoba has been a dependable and reassuring asset in the centre of defence and will undoubtedly be one of the foundations new head coach Gerardo Seoane will hope to build his squad on next season. 

However, it remains to be seen whether Tapsoba still believes Leverkusen can match his own ambitions of being a Champions League player. If not, the Bundesliga side may have to consider cashing in on the central defender if a big offer from England comes in. 

Who are the top Ligue 1 transfer targets this summer?

Kylian Mbappe (PSG) 

With a contract winding down in 2022, the future of one of the world’s outstanding players is very much up for debate. Mbappe, of course, holds a long-term ambition to move to Real Madrid, although the timing of such a switch appears questionable.

Kylian Mbappe PSG 2020/21

Kylian Mbappe PSG 2020/21

Not only have Madrid lost head coach Zinedine Zidane, himself an attractive reason for Mbappe to go to Spain, but they look less competitive than they have done for a decade due to their financial issues.

PSG have also been clear that they have no intention of letting Mbappe go, either now or next year.

DONE DEAL: Memphis Depay (Lyon)  

Memphis Depay will be a free agent at the end of June, and there is now no doubt that he will leave Lyon, where sporting director Juninho aimed a rather unfair parting shot at him by suggesting he did not work enough for the team.

Nevertheless, Memphis managed to accrue 20 goals and 12 assists in Ligue 1 this season, making him one of Ligue 1’s most valuable assets.

He was always expected to join Barcelona due to the presence of Ronald Koeman at the club, and the deal has now been confirmed.

Sven Botman (Lille)

Liverpool’s signing of Ibrahima Konate almost certainly means that Sven Botman’s mooted move to Anfield is off the cards, but after a stellar campaign, the Lille centre-back is a figure who will be wanted around Europe.

He was outstanding at the centre of one of the meanest defences anywhere in the Big Five leagues, aided by the experienced figure of Jose Fonte beside him. Showed maturity beyond his years and is a very attractive proposition.

DONE DEAL: Boubakary Soumare (Lille) 

It always seemed as though Boubakary Soumare's proposed move to the Premier League was a quesetion of when, rather than if.

And that has since been confirmed with Leicester City beating Man Utd to the signing of the Lille talent in a deal worth a reported £17 million.

Once touted as a potential replacement for Paul Pogba, he is a more defensive and more consistent presence than the World Cup winner.

Mauro Icardi (PSG)

Mauro Icardi’s future at Paris Saint-Germain does not look at all secure. The Parisians overpaid Inter for him last summer, and while he has a habit of scoring goals, this is not regular enough to justify the lack of input otherwise.

Icardi is unlikely to be sold outright, but a loan deal back to Serie A seems a likely proposition for a player who knows where the net is, but contributes little more than his goals. For a team with ambitions of winning the Champions League, it is not enough.

Houssem Aouar (Lyon) 

Houssem Aouar seems to have been linked with a move away from Lyon every summer for the last four years, yet the midfielder remains. He is arguably coming off his poorest season as a professional yet, and there have certainly been signs of stagnation as he has lacked motivation and drive this season.

Aouar Lyon 2020/21

Aouar Lyon 2020/21

A transfer could reinvigorate a classy but sometimes inconsistent performer. Juventus are thought to be interested in him, while Arsenal have been long-term admirers, although seem to have found other solutions in the form of Emile Smith-Rowe and, hopefully for them, Martin Odegaard.

Eduardo Camavinga (Rennes) 

Perhaps the best teenage midfielder in the world, Eduardo Camavinga’s deal with Rennes is up in 2022, meaning that the probability of a move this summer is high.

It has been a complicated season for the 18-year-old, who has struggled to find his best level amid a packed calendar of games, but he has been by no means poor and will benefit from a summer out of the spotlight.

Real Madrid and PSG are the sides most closely linked with him.

Arek Milik (Marseille) 

Will he stay or will he go? That is the question that Marseille fans have been asking about Arkadiusz Milik almost since he arrived from Napoli on a loan deal in January. Of course, OM will acquire the player on a permanent basis, but while they want him to stay, there are no guarantees.

Indeed, Milik has already taken to social media to post something that appears to be a goodbye, with Juventus interested in the Poland centre forward, who scored nine goals in 15 Ligue 1 games at OM.

Boubacar Kamara (Marseille) 

Another young talent who has long been linked with a move away from Ligue 1 only for those rumours to never quite materialise into anything concrete. OM will not be in the Champions League next season, though, and that could see Kamara move on.

A physically robust defensive midfielder or centre-back, it is expected that he will move to the Premier League when he eventually goes.

Romain Faivre (Brest) 

Graduated from Monaco’s youth team to move to Brest last summer and impressed so much with his classy left foot that a move to one of France’s giants looks on the cards.

Indeed, Lyon and PSG are both linked with the versatile attacking midfielder, who can play in any role just off a central forward. His form dipped towards the end of the season, and if he were to move, it would likely be into a back-up role at either of these clubs.

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