European transfer window preview: Mbappe to Real Madrid? Osimhen to PSG?


While the English Premier League started on June 14 (read our preview here), the transfer window opens on July 1 across the rest of Europe and clubs have been planning their business after a long season interrupted by the 2022 World Cup in November and December.

ESPN writers have everything you need to know about the top teams’ hopes and delve into deals that might be in the cards. Who will come in? Who will depart?

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Budget? Barca start with a budget of zero and will only be able to spend 40% of any savings they make through reducing the wage bill or raising in transfer fees. LaLiga’s updated financial fair play regulations mean there can be no palancas — selling off more club assets to generate spending room — pulled this summer.

What does the team need? Xavi Hernandez’s team are coming off the back of a first league title since 2019 but the coach has been clear improvements are needed if they are to compete in the Champions League. A replacement for midfielder Sergio Busquets has been deemed essential by Xavi, who also wants to add creativity in midfield. A right-back, an understudy to Robert Lewandowski up front and, depending on outgoings, a left winger are all on Barca’s wishlist, too.

Who are the major targets? Both Xavi’s preferred options to replace Busquets — Real Sociedad‘s Martin Zubimendi and Bayern Munich‘s Joshua Kimmich — appear unattainable within Barca’s budget. Other alternatives do not convince everyone at the club, with president Joan Laporta and sporting directors Mateu Alemany and Deco also involved in the recruitment process.

Ilkay Gundogan will join once his Manchester City contract expires this month and should add goals from midfield, with Villarreal‘s Alex Baena also being tracked, among others.

At €40m, Brazilian youngster Vitor Roque is the player lined up to play backup — and eventually replace — Lewandowski, while Barca also have an option of between €15m-€20m to sign Atletico Madrid winger Yannick Carrasco.

There are countless other players being considered, but it all depends on how much money Barca can generate. At right-back, Man City’s Joao Cancelo, Real Valladolid‘s Ivan Fresneda and Villarreal’s Juan Foyth are all liked.

Who could be leaving? Veterans Busquets and Jordi Alba will both leave the club at the end of the month. Clement Lenglet, Samuel Umtiti, Sergino Dest, Abde Ezzalzouli and Nico Gonzalez, all players returning from loan, will also be allowed to leave if offers arrive. From there, it gets more complicated, but Barca are encouraging offers for Franck Kessie, Ferran Torres and even Ansu Fati, although none of them want to leave. Eric Garcia is in a similar position.

Any new contracts? Left-back Alejandro Balde, 19, who was the revelation of the past season, will be handed a new deal once Barca can guarantee the terms can be registered with LaLiga. Winger Ousmane Dembele is also in talks over a new contract. His deal expires in 2024. Beyond the first-team, Barca are desperate to get 15-year-old forward Lamine Yamal, who made his senior debut in April, to sign his first professional contract. — Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens


Budget? Atletico’s spending will be limited, and they will first focus on moving on several high-earning senior players before looking at making any further signings.

What does the team need? A central defender, especially given that coach Diego Simeone often favours playing three at the back. There would also be room for an extra central midfielder and a full-back, depending on those departures.

Who are the major targets? A deal has already been agreed with Leicester City centre-back Caglar Soyuncu, who arrives on a free transfer, as well as young Uruguayan defender Santiago Mourino, who will be assessed in preseason to determine if he’s ready for the first team. As for that midfielder, names linked in recent days include Spurs’ Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Fiorentina‘s Sofyan Amrabat.

Who could be leaving? A new home must be found for wantaway Joao Felix, after his inconsistent loan spell at Chelsea. Winger Yannick Carrasco is waiting to see if Barcelona choose to exercise their option of between €15m-€20m to sign him, agreed as part of the Memphis Depay deal. Atletico would like to move on midfield trio Saul Niguez, Thomas Lemar and Geoffrey Kondogbia — although the first two may be difficult to shift, given their high salaries and slump in value — while full-back Renan Lodi could leave after his loan at Nottingham Forest. Forward Alvaro Morata is another player who has reportedly turned down an approach from Saudi Arabia to sign a new deal.

Any new contracts? An agreement to extend Morata’s deal until 2026 — on a reduced wage — is close to being made official. Otherwise, senior players Koke, Stefan Savic and Mario Hermoso all have contracts which expire in 2024, and extensions will need to be sorted. There will be no issues with captain Koke or Savic, while Hermoso went from being transferable to essential as his form improved in the second half of last season. — Alex Kirkland and Rodri Faez.



Will Joselu be the starting striker for Real Madrid next season?

Julien Laurens and Gabriele Marcotti talk about Joselu, Real Madrid’s new signing, the 33 year-old is joining the club on loan for one year.


Budget? Madrid have already spent big this summer, splashing out €103m plus €30m in variables to sign England midfielder Jude Bellingham, but there’s more money available for the right player. Last year’s accounts showed a cash balance of €425m.

What does the team need? A world-class centre-forward. Karim Benzema has gone, and while Spain international Joselu — who has arrived on loan from Espanyol — is an excellent plan B, he’s not a Benzema-level replacement. Madrid’s No. 9 shirt has been left vacant for a reason.

Who are the major targets? Kylian Mbappe, if Paris Saint-Germain are willing to let him go for €150m this summer and the 24-year-old is happy to leave a year early. Otherwise, a number of forward options have been looked at — notably Tottenham’s Harry Kane — but all of them have drawbacks, Kane’s being his age (29) and €100m-plus transfer fee. The signings of Bellingham, Joselu, winger Brahim Diaz and left-back Fran Garcia have already been confirmed.

Who could be leaving? Benzema, Marco Asensio, Eden Hazard and Mariano Diaz have left already. Midfielder Dani Ceballos has been weighing up whether to accept Madrid’s new contract offer, with a decision imminent. Alvaro Odriozola, Jesus Vallejo and Andriy Lunin would be allowed to leave if the right destination can be found.

Any new contracts? Defender — and now club captain — Nacho Fernandez and veteran midfielder Toni Kroos have already signed one-year contract extensions until June 2024. Luka Modric has said that he wants to stay, but there’s been no official confirmation of a deal yet, and he’s also received interest from Saudi Arabia. — Alex Kirkland and Rodri Faez.



What would Kyle Walker bring to Tuchel’s Bayern Munich?

Gab Marcotti and Julien Laurens discuss the rumour linking the Manchester City treble winner Kyle Walker with a transfer to Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.


Budget? The group of decision-makers around new chief executive Jan-Christian Dreesen are willing to spend €150m, plus any income from player exits.

What does the team need? Bayern need reinforcements at the back, a holding midfielder and at least one striker. But it is likely that the club address almost every area of the squad. Two centre-backs and a right-back are needed, as Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez are expected to depart and Cancelo’s loan spell from Man City will not lead to a €70m permanent transfer.

Manager Thomas Tuchel has also made clear that he wants a defensive midfielder who can play the No. 6 role instead of Joshua Kimmich. The interest in West Ham’s Declan Rice has underlined Tuchel’s intention, as the manager personally spoke to the England international before Bayern decided against engaging in a €100m-plus bidding war with Arsenal.

The Bundesliga champions are also adamant about signing a No. 9 striker, as Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is the only current squad member who can serve that role effectively.

Who are the major targets? Bayern have targeted Villarreal’s Pau Torres and Napoli‘s Kim Min-Jae as potential additions to the back four, while the club have already started talks with Man City right-back Kyle Walker, as his contract runs out in 2024.

Brighton’s Moises Caicedo and Fiorentina’s Amrabat have been the major targets for the holding midfield role, though both may end up at other clubs. Bayern have already signed midfielder Konrad Laimer from RB Leipzig and are also close to signing left-back Raphaël Guerreiro whose contract with Borussia Dortmund expires this summer.

The major targets for the striker department are Eintracht Frankfurt‘s Randal Kolo Muani and JuventusDusan Vlahovic. Bayern might even try to sign both if enough income is generated through exits.

Who could be leaving? Pavard and Hernandez are both expected to go; the latter is likely to join Paris Saint-Germain, while the former has been linked to a host of top clubs.

Forward Sadio Mane might leave after only one year at the club, as Tuchel has not put his trust in the former Liverpool star. Also, 21-year-old midfielder Ryan Gravenberch is likely to depart after a disappointing year in which he voiced his disappointment about his limited playing time. Liverpool’s scouting department have watched him closely.

Any new contracts? Other than two veterans, goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and forward Thomas Muller, all key players possess contracts that run beyond the summer of 2024. — Constantin Eckner



Real Madrid complete signing of Jude Bellingham from Dortmund

Rodrigo Faez reports on Real Madrid confirming the signing of England star Jude Bellingham on a six-year contract.


Budget? Dortmund had drawn up two transfer plans — one with little to no budget in case Bellingham stayed; one with the €103m brought in from his move to Real Madrid.

What does the team need? Dortmund are not trying to find a like-for-like replacement for the world-class Bellingham. Instead, they are looking for potential additions who could increase the quality of the midfield in different ways. The club have already reached out to numerous high-quality prospects, intending to follow the formula of previous years that have forged their reputation as Europe’s best talent production factory.

Who are the major targets? Ajax’s Edson Álvarez has been the major target since it became clear that Bellingham was going to leave. A first offer over €30m has been submitted to Ajax, but they are reportedly demanding €50m plus add-ons. The alternative target is Lecce‘s Morten Hjulmand.

Dortmund have also considered approaching other midfielders, including PSG teenager Warren Zaïre-Emery and Lyon‘s Maxence Caqueret. Even the potential return of Man City’s Gundogan and the signing of Bayern’s Leon Goretzka have been rumoured.

Left-back Ramy Bensebaini has already signed on a free from Borussia Monchengladbach.

Who could be leaving? Guerreiro rejected a contract renewal and will join Bayern Munich on a free transfer, while midfielder Mahmoud Dahoud is joining Brighton for nothing, too. Winger Ansgar Knauff, who has been on loan at Eintracht Frankfurt, has agreed a €5m permanent move. Right-back Thomas Meunier has been linked with Juventus and Barcelona.

Any new contracts? Veterans Marco Reus and Mats Hummels have each agreed to one-year extensions. — Constantin Eckner.



Could Mbappe be Benzema’s heir if he goes to Real Madrid?

Julien Laurens talks about Kylian Mbappe’s letter to PSG and what that means for his future and a potential move to Real Madrid.


Budget: PSG sporting director Luis Campos will have money to spend, probably around the €250m mark, not including any incoming fees for departing players.

What team needs? First and foremost, the team need a new manager. Christophe Galtier was sacked with a year left on his contract, although his compensation has not been agreed yet. Former Bayern boss Julian Nagelsmann was the first choice to replace him, but talks broke down. Ex-Spain and Barcelona manager Luis Enrique is now in a great position to take over, but no new signings will arrive until he is confirmed. Once a deal is done, PSG need a No. 9, a centre-back, a winger and one or two midfielders.

Who are the major targets? Sporting CP‘s defensive midfielder Manuel Ugarte was a priority, and PSG beat Chelsea to recruit him for €60m. On the No. 9 shortlist are Napoli’s Victor Osimhen and Tottenham’s Kane, with free agent Marcus Thuram behind them. At centre-back, Bayern’s Lucas Hernandez is the preferred option, and he wants to move, with Inter Milan defender Milan Skriniar linked with a free transfer as well.

As well as Ugarte, another new midfielder could be Gladbach’s Manu Kone or Nice‘s Khephren Thuram, while Luis Enrique likes Celta Vigo teenager Gabri Veiga a lot.

It’s no secret which wide player the club wants. Bernardo Silva is already in talks with PSG and is keen on joining them if they can find an agreement with Manchester City. But he could cost around €70m.

Who could be leaving? Messi and Sergio Ramos will leave the end of their contracts, freeing up a lot of space on the wage bill. But the big question mark is over Kylian Mbappé’s future.

The 24-year-old superstar has announced that he will not extend his contract and will be a free agent in June 2024. He wants to stay, but PSG don’t want to lose him for nothing in a year’s time. So either they will find him a new club this summer (at a €150m fee) or hope they can convince him to sign a new deal in the coming months. Real Madrid is the most likely destination if he departs.

The club were keen to let Neymar and Marco Verratti go this summer, but the imminent arrival of Luis Enrique, who loves both players, has changed that and they will stay. However, midfielders Fabian Ruiz, Carlos Soler and striker Hugo Ekitike could leave.

Any new contracts? Club captain Marquinhos has officially extended his contract. Presnel Kimpembe, currently injured, has a year left on his deal, but his future is unclear and there are no discussions at the moment over a new one. El Chadaille Bitshiabu, a highly rated 18-year-old centre-back who will be a free agent in June 2024, is in talks over an extension, and talks are positive. — Julien Laurens.


Budget? The reigning Serie A champions might well have the biggest budget in the league largely due to the expected departures from the club. Even before that, Napoli can count on around €60m to €80m available. There’s a new coach, of course, with Rudi Garcia appointed after the departure of Luciano Spalletti, who is taking a much-needed break from football.

What does the team need? Much will depend on the futures of their key men. Both defender Kim Min-Jae and striker Victor Osimhen are being strongly linked with exits, so replacements will be needed. Even if Osimhen remains, some cover could be needed, plus more depth in wide areas.

Who are the major targets? Garcia is reportedly looking back to France for reinforcements, with Lens defender Kevin Danso and Lille striker Jonathan David both linked recently. A move for the latter would likely heavily depend on Osimhen’s departure, but the Canada international could be an ideal replacement. Closer to home, Bologna winger Riccardo Orsolini has also been tracked.

Who could be leaving? Kim seems certain to depart, with Manchester United and Bayern Munich heavily linked. A €50m release clause in his contract, which is actionable this summer, is certainly a key factor as it’s a relatively small fee attractive for a player who has developed well in his year in Italy. An exit for Osimhen will occur only if his massive €100m+ price tag is met.

Any new contracts? Osimhen, despite the talk of an exit, is still in contract talks with the club and could put off his dream of playing in the Premier League. — David Cartlidge.


Budget? A highly successful season that culminated in a Champions League final spot means the pressure on Inter’s finances has been lifted slightly. It will allow a bit more wiggle room when it comes to adding players with the idea of improving the squad, but they will still have to rely largely on exits. Over €100m could well be generated, depending on whom they let go, but it’s not guaranteed that coach Simone Inzaghi will see half that amount to bring in new faces.

What does the team need? With Romelu Lukaku‘s future up in the air and him likely to head back to Chelsea after his loan expires, Inter will need to add a striker. Then there is defence, where key centre-back Milan Skriniar is departing for free (possibly to PSG.) Further departures in defence and midfield are expected too, so Inter feasibly could be looking at adding to every area of the squad.

Who are the major targets? There was strong interest in Chelsea’s Kalidou Koulibaly, but he appears close to a move to Saudi Arabia. Lukaku remains a huge favourite at the club but any deal would require the player and Chelsea to lower their financial demands, having moved to London for €115m in 2021. Priorities will be securing various loans, including 35-year-old centre-back Francesco Acerbi and right-back Raoul Bellanova. They are also closing in on the highly rated German defender Yann Aurel Bisseck from Danish outfit Aarhus for around €7m. Two interesting players could be Lens striker Lois Openda (if he doesn’t join RB Leipzig) and Arsenal’s Folarin Balogun.

Who could be leaving? Who might not? It seems as though every Inter player has been linked with a move away despite it being so early in the summer. In terms of realistic departure, goalkeeper Andre Onana seems certain to depart with much interest from the Premier league and beyond. Midfielder Nicolo Barella has been the subject of a bid from Newcastle United, while defender Federico Dimarco has also caught the eye of various clubs. Skriniar is definitely leaving on a free, meanwhile, in what will be one of the most significant losses, while Edin Dzeko has joined Fenerbahce.

Any new contracts? Dimarco has been a sensation, so there has been plenty of interest, but Inter are apparently planning to offer him a new deal. — David Cartlidge.



Laurens has no sympathy for Allegri at faltering Juventus

Gab Marcotti and Julien Laurens discuss Juventus manager Max Allegri’s comments about the club’s failure to make the Champions League.


Budget? As will be the case across all of Serie A, with few exceptions, clubs will be scrambling to make savings and raise money from exits before incomings are even considered. Juventus top that pile with a remit to make significant gains before entering into the market. Only €20m or so will be initially available, though there are some high-profile departures they could sanction. Latest reports out of Italy have suggested the club will need to raise over €100m to balance the books.

What does the team need? Quite frankly all areas of the team could do with a face-lift, though much will depend on who leaves before replacements come in. If someone goes, then a replacement will be sought out.

Who are the major targets? As usual, plenty of names have been linked. Those appearing more frequently seem to be Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Empoli left-back Fabiano Parisi. Another interesting link has emerged in ex-Roma star Nicolo Zaniolo, too, who is eyeing a return to Italy after his Turkish adventure with Galatasaray. Poland striker Arkadiusz Milik could be the first through the door, though, with his permanent arrival from Marseille set to be announced once his loan expires.

Who could be leaving? The list might well end up being very long. At the top of it could be striker Dusan Vlahovic, who signed for only €70m in January 2022 but can generate the most money with an exit, potentially to the Premier League. Plenty of others could follow with goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and midfielders Weston McKennie and Adrien Rabiot all strongly rumoured to be leaving. It’s going to be a real overhaul this summer for the Bianconeri.

Any new contracts? Although it seems Rabiot will depart when his contract expires this summer, a stay can’t be ruled out as Juventus continue to insist during talks. — David Cartlidge.


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