This is a summer when the transfer window will take some unpredictable twists, with the gap between the haves and have-nots set to be exposed like never before.
With the financial fall-out from the Covid-19 crisis still unravelling at all levels of society, English football’s elite clubs are being stretched to breaking point, with a host of star names waiting to see if their hopes of a dream move to the Premier League will become reality.
Manchester City have already stated their intention to spend big after investing more than £60m to sign defender Nathan Ake from Bournemouth and Spanish winger Ferran Torres, but the financial firepower available to City boss Pep Guardiola is sadly lacking for most of his Premier League touchline rivals.
We have read the stories about the big names in the mix for a move this summer, but some headline-grabbing tales are destined to be consigned to the football history books as unfounded gossip.
Here is your guide to the transfer tales that will rumble on until October 5th, when the window will slam shut across Europe a day before club need to confirm their final squads ahead of the start of the Champions League and Europa League.
JADON SANCHO (Borussia Dortmund)
Linked with: Manchester United
Sources close to Manchester United have confirmed that personal terms have been agreed on a deal to bring Sancho to Old Trafford, but Dortmund are refusing to sell unless their their €120m asking price is met.
Dortmund’s deadline to do the deal passed last Monday and their director Michael Zorc stated his club will not sell Sancho in this transfer window now, but he has made similar promises before and United can still get their man if they up their offer and pay the asking price.
Verdict: This deal could still happen despite Dortmund’s expired deadline, but it looks like United will have to break the bank to get their man.
KAI HAVERTZ (Bayer Leverkusen)
Linked with: Chelsea
Chelsea are believed to have an agreement in place with Havertz’s advisers over his personal terms, but the transfer fee has yet to be finalised with Leverkusen.
The Bundesliga club have confirmed that they are open to selling their prized asset in a summer when they need to raise funds and with Havertz making it clear he wants to join Chelsea, this move should go through sooner rather than later.
Verdict: Havertz will join Chelsea.
THIAGO ALCANTARA (Bayern Munich)
Linked with Liverpool and Manchester City
Liverpool have constantly denied reports in the German media that they are closing in on a deal to sign Thiago, but this is a story that will not go away.
This 29-year-old midfielder is a class act who would add to the Liverpool squad and they should move to get the transfer done amid rumours that Man City have entered the race to sign the Spanish international.
Verdict: If Liverpool stall on a move, Thiago could end up at City.
HARRY KANE (Tottenham)
Linked with: Manchester United, Real Madrid
Kane expressed his doubts over whether he could realise his ambitions at Tottenham during the Covid-19 lockdown, but this does not look likely to be the summer when he severs his ties with the club.
Only a handful of teams could afford to sign the England captain and Spurs have made it clear that they will not sell their talisman.
Verdict: Expect Kane to leave Spurs next summer if manager Jose Mourinho fails to end their trophy drought.
PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMAYANG (Arsenal)
Linked with: Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona
With one year left on his Arsenal contract, the Gunners are sweating over the future of the striker whose goals won them the FA Cup earlier this month.
Aubamayang has refused to discuss his plans for the future and the longer his contracts talks continue, the more it becomes clear he is keeping his options open.
Verdict: Arsenal have offered Aubamayang a new deal and he has yet to sign and this is a transfer tale could rumble on for a few weeks yet.
JACK GREALISH (Aston Villa)
Linked with: Manchester United and Manchester City
Manchester United have prioritised their chase for Jadon Sancho ahead of a move for former Ireland under-21 star Grealish and they may only revive their interest in the Aston Villa captain if that deal falls through.
Grealish has admitted he may have played his last game for his beloved Villa and with Man City boss Pep Guardiola a confirmed admirer, he could end up at the Etihad Stadium.
Verdict: Grealish may leave Villa, but his destination is hard to predict at this point.
DECLAN RICE (West Ham)
Linked with: Chelsea
Chelsea will look to seal a deal for Kai Havertz and off-load their fringe squad players before turning their attention to defensive reinforcements and Rice is at the top of manager Frank Lampard’s wanted list.
Rice is a Chelsea fan who has spoken of his adoration for childhood hero John Terry and this could be the summer when he gets the chance to follow in his footsteps.
Verdict: If Chelsea can generate enough cash from player sales, Rice could become a Chelsea player.