Reports suggest that there will be significant transfer activity in the football world this summer. However, several players appear likely to continue with their current clubs.
Real Madrid’s long-serving trio of Karim Benzema, Luka Modric, and Toni Kroos are reportedly on the verge of agreeing to extend their contracts for another year, while forward Marco Asensio is set to commit for another four years.
Meanwhile, the future of Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante and Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus is expected to be resolved in the near future.
Here is the list of three key players of world football who are likely to transfer this summer:
Lionel Messi (35, forward, Paris Saint-Germain)
The most high-profile of them all, Messi looks set to leave PSG as the option to extend into a third year of his contract is reportedly required to have the consent of both club and player. Sources have a football website that the Argentina World Cup winner is not prepared to reduce his salary, despite a disappointing season in Paris, and is awaiting offers.
MLS side Inter Miami are keen, as are his former club Barcelona if they can work out the financial aspect, while there remains interest from Saudi Arabia club Al Ittihad. A return to his first club, Newell’s Old Boys, has been mooted, but its unlikely Messi will want to head back to Argentina just now.
Roberto Firmino (31, forward, Liverpool)
Though no longer one of the first names on Jurgen Klopp’s team sheet, the 31-year-old has been one of the few Liverpool players to have performed close to expectations this season. When it comes to link-up play, pressing and creating space in the final third, the energetic Brazilian can still be relied upon and his 11 goals this season saw him reach a century for the club.
Firmino still has plenty to offer Europe’s top sides, but his age and desire for a long-term contract indicates that the next step of his career could be played out further afield, with recent reports linking him with a move to Saudi Arabia or MLS.
Ilkay Gundogan (32, central midfielder, Manchester City)
The first signing by manager Pep Guardiola at Manchester City in the summer of 2016, Gundogan has been instrumental to the club’s recent success and is captain of the team. Yet the midfielder’s future is still up in the air.
Given Gundogan’s intelligence, spatial awareness, end product (1.5 shots and 1.4 key passes per 90 minutes) and proficiency in one-touch football, it’s no surprise that Barcelona are reported to be keen to sign him.
One does wonder why City won’t go the extra mile to keep such an influential player, who’s still very much performing at the top of his game, for another couple of seasons. Showing restraint in offering extended deals to players over the age of 30 might be a sensible policy in general, but an exception surely applies to such a fine player whose impact extends beyond the pitch.