Manuel Neuer to Manchester United (7/10)
Manchester United are known to be on the search for a new goalkeeper with Edwin van der Saar retiring at the end of the season. Given the club’s attempts to replace Peter Schmeichel a decade ago, which led them into the arms of the likes of Massimo Taibi, Sir Alex Ferguson will know all about the things which can go wrong. Which is why there is some credibility in the rumour linking them with Manuel Neuer, a player United are known to admire and who fits the profile of the type of player the club are looking to sign given the debts placed on them by the Glazers. Neuer is proven at the highest level and young, but the sticking point would be if his club Schalke 04 ask for too much money, given United’s inability to spend the huge transfer fees they have in the past.
Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United (6/10)
The same goes for Alexis Sanchez, another player on Ferguson’s radar. The Udinese forward inflated his transfer fee last weekend when he struck four times in the 7-0 thrashing of Palermo, and his skills have long been admired by some of the biggest clubs in Europe. And the Chilean is not averse to making this known, stating in his biography on his Twitter feed that “currently Inter, Chelsea, Zenit and Manchester United are after me.” Like Neuer he fits the profile of the type of player United are looking for, and Ferguson will be keen to add some creativity to his ranks given the uncharacteristic lack of skilful wide players in the current squad, Nani apart. But Udinese are unlikely to part with Sanchez without demanding a huge transfer fee, and this could place an intractable obstacle to any move.
Thiago Silva to Real Madrid (5/10)
The powerful Brazilian has been a rock at the heart of AC Milan’s defence, enabling the Serie A giants to threaten to break city rival Inter’s domestic hegemony in Italy this season. But Real Madrid are looking likely to allow Pepe to leave this summer, which will create a void that the club will need to fill defensively. They will be prepared to spend big to secure the right man, and could afford the 25 million euros that Silva would be likely to cost, and the Spaniards are known admirers of the player, having approached Milan about him before. But the biggest obstacle to this move could be the Brazilian’s wife, according to the player himself who explained his reasons for rejecting a move to the club last year.
“She was the one to first say ‘no’ to Real. She definitely prefers Milan to Madrid. I like Milan too and so does my son.”
Alex Hleb to Krasnodar (8/10)
The former Arsenal midfielder may head straight to Russia when his loan deal with Birmingham City ends. On loan from Barcelona, the Spaniards have run into financial difficulties and are looking to trim their wage bills and raise money to finance a big money signing, possibly Cesc Fabregas. Selling Hleb to Krasnodar in the wealthy Russian league is looking more and more likely as the newly promoted side look to make their presence known in a competition increasingly crowded by big money foreign signings. And Hleb would be keen to move back to closer his homeland, though with his stock still high enough to play for a top European club, he may be tempted to stay in the West of the continent.
Hugo Lloris to Arsenal (4/10)
Arsene Wenger is a known admirer of his fellow countryman and the chances of him moving to the club would be quite high were it not for the impressive recent form of Wojciech Szczesny. The Pole has taken the reins in goal for the club and has impressed in the absence of the injured Lucasz Fabianski and the sub par performances of Manuel Almunia. But Lloris had a three year plan which involved moving to Arsenal at the end of this season, according to his father, and Wenger has the money to afford the player. But given Arsenal’s reluctance to spend large money on players, particularly when such a talented youngster as Szczesny is coming through, the chances of this move are less likely than they were a few months ago.
Eden Hazard to Chelsea (2/10)
Hazard has been linked with a string of top clubs across Europe in recent weeks as his sparkling displays propelled Lille to the top of Ligue 1. But the Belgian is only 18 and likely to get better, and has signed a new contract with the Northern side which will keep him at the club until 2015, supposedly. More likely is that the contract is designed to ward off suitors this summer and protect his value for when he does finally leave. A more likely move could be to Arsenal the year when Fabregas finally leaves for Barcelona.