Looking Ahead: Transfers Beyond the Big Names

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Paul Pogba. Neymar. Erling Haaland.

The big names get the big headlines, but there is a world of transfer activity bubbling underneath too.

And as the big prizes start getting handed out following the resumption of Europe’s domestic leagues, attention will slowly turn to a delayed transfer window.

The impact of the coronavirus crisis will be keenly felt by many clubs, but there will still be financial workarounds to be found and deals to be done.

And we’ve had a look at five under-the-radar transfers that could go ahead this summer.

Sardar Azmoun (£0.84)

Zenit St Petersburg

25 years old

Liverpool, Arsenal, West Ham and Wolves have all shown their interest in ‘the Iranian Messi’ in recent times.

But with Gunners old boy and now Zenit director Andrey Arshavin said to be playing a role in negotiations, the Emirates appears Sardar Azmoun‘s likeliest destination.

It might be that Mikel Arteta will have to sell before he can buy – with the high-wage pair of returning loanees Mohamed Elneny (£0.25) and Henrikh Mkhitaryan (£0.57) candidates for the exit door – but if there is room for Azmoun, expect the unexpected.

The 25-year-old is not just about goals, with his skilful all-round game – high on acceleration and creativity – conducive to a flowing attack that Arteta undoubtedly wants to create.

And with Azmoun in the best form of his career – he has 26 goals in 40 games since joining Zenit just over a year ago – his arrival could be just what the Gunners need to get back into the top four next term.

John McGinn (£1.83)

Aston Villa

25 years old

Back in April, The Daily Record reported that John McGinn’s former boss at Villa, Steve Bruce, was looking to bring the 25-year-old back under his wing at Newcastle in a £30m raid.

At that point, McGinn hadn’t featured in the Premier League since 21 December, when he suffered a bad ankle injury against Southampton.

The midfielder had been a positive influence on the Villans’ campaign to that point, registering three goals and two assists to boot.

In his 10-game absence, a greater creative burden fell to Jack Grealish (£5.41), but with McGinn now back to full fitness, his contribution will be crucial as his men battle to avoid the drop.

Whether they do or not will have a large influence on whether McGinn stays at Villa Park next year, or departs for big money to stay in the top flight.

Thomas Partey (£1.30)

Atletico Madrid

27 years old

In late September last year, Thomas Partey was valued at just £0.60 on the Index.

Fast forward nine months, and the 27-year-old is now valued 117% higher at £1.30.

And if that is thanks in some part to his performances for Los Rojiblancos, it’s also the result of speculation surrounding his future, with links to English clubs increasingly prevalent.

Arsenal have been front of the queue, but it is unclear whether they would be able to afford the player’s €50m (£45m) release clause.

If they can, they will be getting something most Gunners fans would agree they have needed for years – a high-class central midfielder around whom a team can be built.

Ryan Fraser (£1.32)


26 years old

In turning down a short-term contract extension, Ryan Fraser is due to leave Bournemouth when his contract expires at the end of this month.

It’s not a move that’s gone down well with Cherries fans, who were hoping to have the skilful winger committed and available to help stave off relegation.

However, Fraser is understood to be unwilling to risk an injury that could jeopardise the big-club move he has craved for over a year.

It was his 2018/19 season – in which he returned seven goals and 14 assists in the league – that properly alerted the Premier League’s top sides to his abilities, and he could well surpass those stats if given opportunities at a higher level.

In such uncertain economic times in football, Fraser’s free-agent status will make him an attractive signing.

And at just £1.33 on the Index, he could be an attractive hold too.

Daniele Rugani (£0.60)


25 years old

It looked like the ideal timing.

Daniele Rugani has lived in the shadow of Giorgio Chiellini (£0.33) , Leonardo Bonucci (£0.42) et. al. in Juventus colours, but having previously been a trusted lieutenant of new coach Maurizio Sarri at Empoli, the 25-year-old might have been expected to become a key part of the Old Lady’s defence.

But with the season nearing its end, it has not panned out that way at all.

Rugani has just three Serie A appearances to his name this campaign, with Matthijs de Ligt (£2.00) adding to the players in front of him this term.

And it looks like Rugani may have decided his future lies away from Italy.

Tuttosport have claimed that Wolves tabled an £18m bid for the centre-back, but with Juve holding out for a figure nearer £25m, it remains to be seen whether an agreement will be reached.

At just £0.60, the Italian international’s Share Price would surely see an increase if a move to England did materialise.


About Author

Rob is a football writer who has featured on MARCA, Crystal Palace and Mundial.

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