The No. 1 Transfer Target for 15 of Europe's Biggest Clubs
Money can't buy you happiness, they say. Unless your team manages to snag their top target during the transfer window—then, we're not so sure.
But which names currently head the shopping lists of some of Europe's biggest clubs? Over the following slides, we pick out the main target for 15 of these squads.
To be considered for inclusion, these players must have been linked with a move to the teams in question. Slides have been arranged in alphabetical order by club.
Anyone you feel deserves to be on this list? Let us know below!
AC Milan: Alessio Cerci
AC Milan did not enjoy the best of seasons in 2013/14. After finishing the previous campaign in third, last term, the Rossoneri's slide was huge, and they fell to an eventual eighth-place finish in Serie A.
After Massimiliano Allegri's January departure, Clarence Seedorf took over and lasted just four months. The side's new head coach is former club hero Pippo Inzaghi, who will be tasked with getting the club back to their former position among Europe's elite.
First of all, Inzaghi has to find new recruits. It's been a dismal pre-season for the Italian side, who have lost 3-0, 5-1 and 2-0 to Olympiakos, Manchester City and Liverpool, respectively.
Atop the side's shopping list is a new attacking player who can play on the right wing and also act as a second striker. Step forward, Alessio Cerci.
The Torino player, who scored 13 and assisted 10 last season, has been linked with Milan, as per Ben Gladwell of ESPN FC.
Inzaghi's side are in need of new faces upfront, and they need an injection of confidence ahead of the new Serie A campaign. Perhaps the 27-year-old Cerci is an excellent place to start.
Arsenal: William Carvalho
So far, it's been a positive transfer window for Arsenal. However, after bringing in marquee signing Alexis Sanchez, goalkeeper cover in David Ospina, right-back Mathieu Debuchy and versatile youngster Calum Chambers, the Gunners' remaining need is a pressing one.
As has been widely discussed, Arsene Wenger needs to sign a new defensive midfielder, and if he can pull off this signing, it will cap a successful summer in the transfer market.
Real Madrid's Sami Khedira has been linked with the role, but highly rated Sporting Lisbon academy product William Carvalho now looks like he is topping Arsenal's wishlist, as Matt Law has reported in The Telegraph.
Carvalho may not yet have experience or the trophies for club and country like Khedira, but he is younger, cheaper and less of an injury risk than the Real Madrid man, who spent large portions of last season on the sideline with a ruptured cruciate ligament.
Atletico Madrid: Javier Hernandez and Shinji Kagawa
As Steve Brenner reported in The Guardian this week, "Diego Simeone wants Kagawa and Hernandez in a deal which would total in excess of £25m."
Diego Simeone has already spent wisely in the transfer window this summer. The arrivals of Mario Mandzukic, Antoine Griezmann and Angel Correa have softened the blow from Diego Costa and David Villa's departure. Tiago Mendes and Saul Niguez have both returned to the club, which goes some way to adding depth in midfield, whereas the additions of Guilherme Siqueira and Cristian Ansaldi will ease worries at the back following Filipe Luis' sale to Chelsea. In goal, Jan Oblak looks to be a sound, if expensive, replacement for Thibaut Courtois.
However, much of last season's success was down to Costa's prolific strike rate. No matter who you sign, 36 goals (in all competitions) do not come easily.
Adding Hernandez would add another option upfront, and bringing a No. 10 into the fold in the shape of Kagawa would give the club an excellent shot at replicating or even bettering last season's successes.
Barcelona: Thomas Vermaelen
He might not be the dream defender that Barcelona fans would hope for, but it looks like Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen is currently topping the club's summer shopping list.
The La Liga side have already brought in Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Ivan Rakitic, Jeremy Mathieu and—you may have heard—Luis Suarez. However, one box still needs ticking in central defence, a position they have needed to address for some time.
There have been rumours linking Borussia Dortmund's Mats Hummels and Paris Saint-Germain's Marquinhos to the club, as reported by Bruce Archer of the Daily Star. Roma's Mehdi Benatia was also rumoured to be of interest, according to Simon Jones of the Daily Mail. But now, as reported by Pete O'Rourke of Sky Sports, it seems that Vermaelen is most likely to be arriving at the Nou Camp.
Bayern Munich: Sami Khedira (in 2015)
What do you buy for the club that has everything? Forty-eight hours ago, it would have been a back-up keeper for Manuel Neuer, but it looks like that has already been sewn up with the arrival of Pepe Reina, as reported by BBC Sport.
Robert Lewandowski joined the Bundesliga champions on a free transfer earlier this summer, as did Sebastian Rode from Eintracht Frankfurt, with Juan Bernat the only other arrival—the left-back switching from Valencia on July 7.
Now, it seems that World Cup winner Khedira could be in Pep Guardiola's plans, and if rumours in Spanish newspaper Marca (h/t James Orr of The Independent) are to be believed, he could be on his way to the Allianz Arena next summer, when his Real Madrid contract runs out.
Benfica: A New Goalkeeper
When Benfica sold 21-year-old goalkeeper Jan Oblak to Atletico Madrid last month, he became the most expensive goalkeeper in La Liga history.
The reigning Primeira Liga champions may have pocketed a tidy €16 million for the Slovenian, but they have left themselves in a much-weakened position at the back.
Anyone who witnessed Benfica's 3-1 Emirates Cup defeat against Valencia this week saw that Artur Moraes is not fit for the job, with the 33-year-old conceding three howlers in the space of 15 minutes. Benfica's only other option, currently, is 36-year-old Paulo Lopes, who appeared in just two games (in all competitions) during the 2013/14 campaign.
There does not seem to be one standout transfer target for Jorge Jesus' side. However, there are lots of keepers who are rumoured to be on their way to the Estadio da Luz.
According to Gavin Berry of the Daily Record, Celtic's Fraser Forster was being linked with Benfica last month.
Elsewhere, in Record (in Portuguese), Greek stopper Orestis Karnezis is also mentioned as a possibility, with former Benfica and Panathinaikos manager Jesualdo Ferreira telling the Portuguese newspaper he has the quality to play for Benfica.
Or perhaps we will see the arrival of Sergio Romero before the summer is out. The 27-year-old Sampdoria keeper was on loan last season with Monaco, where he spent most of his time on the bench. However, Romero shone at the World Cup with Argentina, and it looks like he could be on his way to Benfica.
It's a move that is yet to be confirmed by either player or club, but according to Sport Italia (h/t Forzaitalianfootball.com), Sampdoria sporting director Carlo Osti claimed on July 25 that Romero was on the verge of joining the Portuguese champions.
Chelsea: Raphael Varane
Chelsea have an embarrassment of riches throughout their squad, and their dealings in the current transfer window will have been the envy of many.
The departures of David Luiz, Romelu Lukaku, Demba Ba, Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard, among others, have freed up space and funds to bring in the likes of Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas, Filipe Luis and Didier Drogba, to name a few.
Should the club manage to offload Fernando Torres and perhaps bid farewell to Petr Cech, as suggested by Martin Lipton of the Daily Mirror, we could see another arrival at Stamford Bridge before the summer is out.
With John Terry nearing the end of his career, Jose Mourinho could be keen on bringing in another central defender to partner with Gary Cahill. Who better than Real Madrid's Raphael Varane? The 21-year-old has been linked with a move to Chelsea to join up with his former manager, as suggested by Ben Jefferson of the Daily Express.
File this rumour into the "unlikely" folder, yet it's easy to understand why the former Lens defender would top Mourinho's wishlist. Already a Champions League winner, the composed and wise-beyond-his-years Frenchman is poised to become one of the best in the world.
Inter Milan: A Striker (Any Striker)
After saying goodbye to the likes of Esteban Cambiasso, Javier Zanetti and Diego Milito this summer, Inter Milan have already considerably lowered their average age. They have also lost a great deal of experienced players with a wealth of titles between them.
In the signing of Nemanja Vidic from Manchester United, Yann M'Vila from Rubin Kazan and the loan of Dodo from Roma, Inter have taken steps to shore up in defence and in midfield during the summer window.
But more is needed. With just 32-year-old Rodrigo Palacio and Mauro Icardi upfront, Walter Mazzarri's side are looking incredibly light in attack.
Inter have been linked with a raft of names, including Edin Dzeko and Fernando Torres, as reported in Italian paper La Gazzetta dello Sport (via John Drayton of the Daily Mail) in April. Real Madrid's Alvaro Morata was also linked with a loan move to the San Siro before opting to join Juventus, claimed the Daily Mail's Simon Jones.
More recently, it seems that the Nerazzurri are interested in Manchester United's Javier Hernandez, writes Drayton.
In other news, it appears that Southampton's Italian striker Pablo "Dani" Osvaldo could be on the verge of securing personal terms with Inter, according to talkSPORT. Osvaldo played 11 times in Serie A last season when on loan with Juventus.
Juventus: Javier Hernandez
It seems that Hernandez has many suitors across Europe. Not only has he been linked to Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan in this slideshow, but he's also in rumours with Juventus, who appear to be keen on bringing his talents to Turin.
The 26-year-old striker made just six Premier League starts for United last term, and according to Mark Ogden in the Daily Telegraph, new manager Louis van Gaal "is ready to sanction the departures of out-of-favour players to reshape his squad ahead of his first campaign in charge."
Whether this concerns Hernandez, we do not yet know.
But if the Mexico international does leave the club, Juventus appear to have him within their sights. In the Daily Express, Alex Harris even claims that the reigning Serie A champions "have emerged as the leading contenders in the race to sign Javier Hernandez from Manchester United but are only willing to take the striker on loan."
Liverpool: Wilfried Bony
With Suarez's goals no longer there to paper over the cracks in defence, Liverpool's transfer targets have been numerous this summer.
It seems that the club are poised to announce the signing of Spanish left-back Alberto Moreno before the week is out, as seen in Spanish paper Estadio Deportivo (h/t Alex Harris of the Daily Express). A player to start ahead of Glen Johnson also seems to have been found in Atletico Madrid right-back Javier Manquillo, who should be arriving on loan—subject to a medical—according to Simon Jones of the Daily Mail.
It appears that Swansea City forward Wilfried Bony is also wanted by the Anfield side, and he would seem to top their list. This follows an attempted move for Loic Remy, which broke down after the striker was reported to have failed a medical, as seen on BBC Sport. Remy's proposed £8.5 million move would have been one of the signings of the summer, but it wasn't to be.
According to Darren Lewis of the Daily Mirror, Bony wants to move to another club, and the Swans are prepared to scrap Bony's £19 million release clause to let him leave.
Bony scored 27 goals (in all competitions) for Swansea last season.
Manchester City: Eliaquim Mangala
Manchester City, by their own standards, have had a very quiet summer. Last season's spend was upward of £90 million, which makes the £12 million and £4.4 million signings of Fernando (FC Porto) and Willy Caballero (Malaga), respectively, seem thrifty.
But there is likely to be one more arrival before the transfer window closes on September 1, in the shape of French central defender Eliaquim Mangala.
Long linked with a move to the Premier League, the 23-year-old has attracted interest from a number of English top-flight clubs, including Arsenal, as well as Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain, as reported by Jack De Menezes of The Independent in February.
Now, it looks like Mangala could be announced as a City player this week, according to Simon Jones of the Daily Mail. As Jones writes, the "Premier League champions have chased the Porto player all summer."
The Etihad side recently claimed that their club website had been hacked, after a video—which appeared to show Mangala signing for the club—was broadcast on City TV.
As reported by Mike Keegan of BBC Sport:
The footage ... shows a private jet touching down at Manchester Airport accompanied by the caption '9am: French international defender Eliaquim Mangala arrives in Manchester.'
The player then disembarks and is met by club officials. 'City's newest signing en route to his medical,' proclaims the next caption.
Manchester United: Arturo Vidal
In January 2014, Arturo Vidal spoke to German newspaper Bild (h/t Football Italia). This is what he told them: "Why am I playing so well? Well that’s simple. Because in my role I am the best in the world. Many try to imitate my style, but I want to say one thing – I'm the best in the world. In my role, no one defends like me or scores as many goals as me."
The 27-year-old, who has won three consecutive Serie A titles with Juventus, has a point. He really is one of the best, if not the best, central midfielders in world football. No wonder Manchester United want to sign him.
It's been one of the most protracted transfer stories of the summer, but the Chile international is United's top target, according to an endless flow of speculation that shows no sign of slowing.
As Matt Morlidge of the Daily Mail wrote this week, reports have been suggesting that a move is close all summer, with the latest "snag" said to be down to doubts over Vidal's fitness.
United desperately need a new central midfielder, but this story (fast becoming a saga) is likely to run all the way until deadline day.
Monaco: A James Rodriguez Replacement
This time last year, Monaco paid £38 million to bring James Rodriguez to the Stade Louis II. Twelve months and one World Cup later, the 23-year-old was sold to Real Madrid for almost double that fee.
With 12 assists and nine goals registered in Ligue 1 in 2013/14 and his best years still ahead of him, the attacking midfielder will be very hard to replace.
Linked with head coach Leonardo Jardim's side are a number of names, with none standing out as a clear-cut favourite at the time of writing.
As seen in French outlet L'Equipe (h/t talkSPORT), Shakhtar Donetsk's Douglas Costa is a target, as is his 24-year-old teammate Alex Teixeira. The former's natural position is on the right wing, although he is comfortable playing in a more central attacking role and also on the left. The latter is an attacking midfielder and can play on either wing, and he put away nine goals (in all competitions) last season, with five assists.
Elsewhere, there is speculation that Benfica's Nicolas Gaitan could be on his way to the principality. After Portuguese international and Monaco midfielder Joao Moutinho recommended the club to Gaitan, via Goal.com, Jardim said, "We are seeking an attacking midfielder and Gaitan meets those characteristics. His name is on the table."
Paris Saint-Germain: Angel Di Maria
Strongly linked to Paris Saint-Germain this summer, Angel Di Maria's move to the Parc des Princes may not happen unless the French champions sell other players, to keep in line with Financial Fair Play.
As reported by Owen Gibson of The Guardian, UEFA warned PSG about their spending in May. They obviously hadn't gotten the memo when they spent £50 million on David Luiz in June.
Reports seem to indicate that Laurent Blanc's side are on the verge of completing a signing for the former Benfica winger. Manu Sainz of AS.com (h/t ESPN FC) claimed last month that, "PSG are the favourites to sign the Argentina international for a fee in the region of 60 million euros."
According to Nicholas Rigg of The Independent, "Di Maria looks destined for Paris after his agent Jorge Mendes and Madrid president Florentino Perez thrashed out the details of his departure this week. A one-year loan move with a permanent transfer taking place next summer has been reported."
Rigg also claims that, "Edinson Cavani is the man most likely to leave to allow Di Maria's move to go through."
Real Madrid: Radamel Falcao
Real Madrid have already signed World Cup star James Rodriguez and snapped up former Bayern Munich man Toni Kroos, not to mention adding Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas to their ranks this summer.
They are a club with a wealth of riches, yet there may still be room for one more new face at the Bernabeu, and if Madrid have their way, it would likely be Radamel Falcao.
The Colombian striker scored 11 goals (in all competitions) for Monaco last season, before his season was cut short through injury. The previous campaign at Atletico Madrid saw the 28-year-old notch 34 goals in 41 La Liga and cup games.
He's an out-and-out striker—one of the best—and he'd be nothing but an asset to Carlo Ancelotti's side.
Sami Mokbel wrote in the Daily Mail last month, "Once Rodriguez is secured, his compatriot and Monaco team-mate Radamel Falcao is expected to follow."
However, this week, Falcao insisted that he is unaware of interest coming from La Liga. He told the French media (h/t Sky Sports), "I don't know anything. I am only focused on the sporting project of my team. I am not thinking about any team other than Monaco so far."
All transfer information in this slideshow (correct at the time of writing) is from Transfermarkt.com.