The Hard Tackle takes a look at five of the most highly sought-after midfielders in Europe in this summer’s transfer window.
We are slowly heading towards a new season in Europe, and the clubs have already started their respective homework in the transfer market.
We have already seen a lot of high-profile moves reaching their completion in the ongoing summer transfer window, with the likes of Eden Hazard and Luka Jovic moving to Real Madrid while Borussia Dortmund landed the sensational trio of Julian Brandt, Nico Schulz and Thorgan Hazard as well as former club captain Mats Hummels.
But, there is a lot of business still left to be done, and The Hard Tackle Transfer Watch is bringing you a list of the top five of most wanted players in Europe in each department of the pitch. We have already covered the goalkeepers as well as the defenders. And this time around, we will be covering the midfielders.
Current Club: Barcelona
Suitor(s): West Ham United, Everton, Tottenham Hotspur, Wolverhampton Wanderers
Expected Transfer Fee: £25 million
Most Likely Destination: Everton
Following a dreadful spell with Barcelona, Andre Gomes turned his career upside down, thanks to a remarkable 2018-19 campaign on-loan at Everton. The Portuguese international played a pivotal role in Marco Silva’s tactical setup at Goodison Park, making 27 appearances in the Premier League.
Gomes built a formidable partnership with Idrissa Gueye in midfield that not only made Everton much more vigilant but also offered them some much-needed stability in the middle of the park, which allowed Gylfi Sigurdsson to become more productive in the final third. Hence, he played a critical role in Everton’s excellent campaign that saw them finish eighth on the league table.
Gomes has now returned to Barcelona. But, his future has become one of the most talked about subjects in the ongoing summer transfer window. Everton, West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur are all keen on bringing the Portuguese back to the Premier League.
Tottenham are focusing on a more well-established playmaker amid speculations linking Christian Eriksen to a move to Real Madrid. This could have put West Ham United in the driving seat to secure the services of Gomes this summer.
But, the Hammers have already signed Pablo Fornals, paving the way for Everton to make a reported £22 million swoop for the Portuguese midfielder. The Toffees have lacked substance in midfield and his return to Goodison Park will be a boon for coach Marco Silva.
Current Club: Leicester City
Suitor(s): Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur
Expected Transfer Fee: £60 million
Most Likely Destination: Leicester City
From being one of the most talented up and coming players in the Championship last season, James Maddison has become one of Premier League’s most effective playmakers and a vital asset to the England national team, thanks to an incredible debut campaign at Leicester City.
Indeed, the ex-Norwich City prodigy was one of the best performing central midfielders in the recently concluded edition of the Premier League. He was involved in 14 goals for Leicester, and his performances in the final third helped the Foxes finish ninth in the league table.
Maddison also provided the highest number of key passes during the 2018-19 campaign, even more than the likes of Christian Eriksen and Eden Hazard. As a result, Maddison’s value has skyrocketed this summer, and the English international could be available for around £60 million.
The likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City have continuously been linked with a move for the playmaker in the ongoing summer transfer window. And although the player, earlier this month, claimed that he is happy at Leicester, a transfer away from King Power Stadium could still be on the horizon.
A recent report claims that Maddison is willing to move to Manchester United if he can find regular game-time at Old Trafford. However, he will likely remain at Leicester for at least another season before taking the next big step in his career.
Current Club: Sporting CP
Suitor(s): Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, Manchester City
Expected Transfer Fee: £60 million
Most Likely Destination: Unknown
The Portuguese international has arguably been the most talked about midfielder in the transfer market this June, especially after starring for Portugal in their UEFA Nations League triumph earlier this month. But, what has piqued the interest of several top clubs across Europe in Fernandes is his remarkable season with Sporting Lisbon during the 2018-19 campaign.
Indeed, the Sporting club captain scored a whopping 20 goals and provided 13 assists in just 33 matches in Primeira Liga, helping his club finish third on the league table. He was involved in as many as 50 goals in 53 games in all competitions, making him the most productive midfielder in Europe’s top seven leagues.
Liverpool reportedly submitted a £40 million bid for the Portuguese international a few days ago. But, his potential move to Anfield hasn’t gathered any pace while clubs like Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United have been continuously linked with a move for the Portuguese international.
In fact, recent reports claim that Manchester United are ready to better Liverpool’s offer and table a £49 million bid for Fernandes. But, it is unlikely Sporting will accept those terms given their high valuation for their prized midfielder. Hence, his future still remains unclear.
Current Club: Paris Saint-Germain
Suitor(s): Everton, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United, Juventus among many others
Expected Transfer Fee: Free (Contract Expiring)
Most Likely Destination: Unknown
Rabiot is rated as one of Europe’s most talented midfielders, having enjoyed immense success with PSG ever since his breakthrough in the 2013-14 season. He has already made 227 appearances in all competitions for Les Parisiens, which is quite impressive for a player of his age.
However, Rabiot was believed to be leaving the French capital for a free transfer this summer after rejecting a contract extension back in December of last year. His high wage demands even led to his exile from the club, with the midfielder not featuring in a single game for PSG during the second half of the 2018-19 campaign.
Rabiot is probably the only player in this list who qualifies for being included in last summer’s top five most wanted list as well given how much he has been linked with a move away from Paris Saint-Germain. Indeed, the Frenchman has remained a long-term subject of interest from a host of Premier League clubs.
The 24-year-old was heavily linked with a move to Barcelona in the winter transfer window. But, the Catalans opted to sign Ajax sensation Frenkie de Jong instead. And that has served as a massive boost for the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Juventus. Even Everton were linked with a move for the PSG midfielder earlier this summer.
That being said, recent reports claim that Rabiot is set to pen a new five-year deal with PSG thanks to the arrival of Leonardo Araujo as the club’s new sporting director. But at the same time, he has also been linked with a move to Juventus, and it will be interesting to see how this transfer saga takes shape in the coming weeks.
Current Club: AS Monaco
Suitor(s): Manchester United, Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal
Expected Transfer Fee: £40 million
Most Likely Destination: Manchester United
Youri Tielemans is another player who has impressed in the Premier League after initially moving to England on a loan deal, much like Gomes. The Belgian international joined Leicester City in January on loan till the end of the season, and he didn’t take much time in settling into life at his new club, after initially failing to make a mark at his parent club AS Monaco.
Tielemans built a formidable midfield partnership with Wilfred Ndidi, which allowed the likes of Maddison to play with more freedom. He ended the campaign making 13 league appearances, during which he was involved in eight goals, helping the Foxes make a brilliant turnaround under Brendan Rodgers.
As a result, Tielemans has garnered interest from several top clubs across England, with Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur all vying for the services of the AS Monaco midfielder. The French outfit are expected to cash in on their prized midfielder this summer, meaning a move to Premier League is virtually guaranteed for Tielemans.
Manchester United reportedly fancy the Belgian as their desired replacement for Paul Pogba, who, in turn, has been linked with a move to Real Madrid while a return to Juventus is also on the cards.
Tielemans has the quality to thrive under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United, and it won’t be surprising to see him moving to Old Trafford this summer. The Red Devils are lacking depth in central midfield, especially with Ander Herrera leaving the club.
The Belgian, therefore, is expected to receive regular game time and will be presented with the opportunity of showcasing his talents at one of Europe’s biggest clubs.