From Paul Pogba to Eden Hazard: Who will stay and who will leave in the summer transfer window?
The window is open and clubs are beginning the thankless task of doing their business early enough to give their managers a full season with their new squads.
But as has been the case for years, players and clubs hold on for just the right deal, dragging out negotiations over months.
The truncated window to fall in line with the start of the Premier League season may help to some extent, yet nobody is expecting the biggest deals to be neatly packaged together before July comes.
Eden Hazard and Paul Pogba look to be the biggest dominos to fall, and once Real Madrid strike a deal, or not, others will follow.
It promises to be a busy few weeks, with the groundwork well underway before the Champions League final has even been played.
Stay or go? Transfer verdict 2019
Jack Pitt-Brook runs down the biggest transfer sagas awaiting us this summer and whether they will actually happen or not
David De Gea
This has been the worst season in years for the best goalkeeper in the world. He struggled at the World Cup then his form declined over the end of a difficult season. Now he wants a pay-rise to get parity with Alexis Sanchez. United have not offered him that, but De Gea knows that PSG would give him the money that he wants. Juventus are interested too. He has one year left and so if United cannot make him an acceptable offer then his long association with the club could be about to end.
Always linked with a move to a top club, and this summer Zaha is keen to make that big step again. But having been rewarded with new long-term contracts from Crystal Palace in the past to ward off interest, his club have the upper hand over his future. So while there are plenty of clubs - like Arsenal - who might like Zaha if he was available for £40m, there is less appetite to pay the £80m it would cost to get him out of Selhurst Park. And with four years left on his deal there, Zaha is unlikely to get the move that he wants.
One of the great unanswered questions of the Unai Emery era has been the role of Mesut Ozil. Arsenal's best paid and most famous player has been pushed out to the fringes this season, with Emery only appreciating in games where he will not have to do too much physical work. Over the season he started just 20 of Arsenal's 38 league games. The problem is the ludicrous contract he was given in January 2018, a decision that Arsene Wenger soon came to regret and that has hamstrung Emery too. It means there are no takers for him, and he has no interest to leave. Verdict: stay
Pep Guardiola's first signing at Manchester City finished the season in the best form of his time at the club, instrumental in City's 14-game winning streak that secured them the title. But his future is not clear. He only has one year left on his contract and has dragged his heels on signing a new one, knowing that at 28 years old this could be the last big contract of his career. Guardiola said at Wembley on Saturday night that if he does not sign then he will be sold, with Barcelona interested in signing him. There will need to be a breakthrough in negotiations to keep him at the club.
Like Pogba, a man United were delighted to sign but who has not quite delivered on that promise during his time at Old Trafford. Like Ozil, a player who has proven difficult to move because of the contract he negotiated 18 months ago. Sanchez earns more than £500,000 per week and not many other clubs want to pay that. Only now from Inter Milan is there serious interest, with talks now open on a move, with Untied keen to write off a badly-judged investment.
It was only Maddison's first season in the Premier League but he created more chances than anyone, finishing up with over 100, split evenly between set pieces and open play. He has played with the same confidence and ability he showed all the way through his young career so far, at Coventry City, Aberdeen and Norwich City. The only question is what next. Manchester City, Liverpool and Spurs have been following Maddison his whole career but he has always put football first. And while that interest is still there, he is not expected to leave Leicester yet. Especially given the recent arrival of Brendan Rodgers.
For most of this year the presumption at Spurs was that this would be Christian Eriksen's last season. Because he had one year left on his deal and was not signing a new one. Real Madrid would be his destination and Spurs were already lining up replacements. But there have been plenty of changes at Madrid recently, with Zinedine Zidane coming in and changing their transfer plans. Now the transfer is less certain and there are is even talk of fresh transfer negotiations. His departure is not inevitable yet.
With Vincent Kompany off to Anderlecht, and Nicolas Otamendi likely to leave too, Manchester City want a new centre-back. According to the Mail, they have identified Leicester's Harry Maguire. He knows the league and would also help them with their home-grown quota for their Champions League squad. But as a 26-year-old England international at an established Premier League side, he is not going to be cheap.
The best player in the league over the last seven years is now desperate to leave it, to get the dream move to Real Madrid he has been coveting since last year. With just one year left on his Chelsea contract, a sale this summer is the obvious solution. But so far there has been no agreement between Real Madrid and Chelsea. Especially with Roman Abramovich in no mood to give up his star asset on the cheap. One report in France last week, that a deal was done for €100million, was premature, and has only left negotiations even more fraught. A deal is still likely, but it will take time.
Manchester United made Sancho their top transfer target for this summer and were willing to pay £100million to get the teenager out of Borussia Dortmund. But that move will now not be happening, Sancho and his advisers having decided that Old Trafford would not be the right environment for his development. While a move is still theoretically possible - if PSG or Real Madrid pay the asking price - it is far more likely that the 19-year-old Sancho will stay at Dortmund for another season of development now.
It speaks volumes to Mauricio Pochettino's motivational powers that he has got such a good season out of Alderweireld when it looked last summer as if player and club were set to part ways. Alderweireld wanted a move to Manchester United last summer but there was never an agreement on price so he had to stay. Spurs have taken the option in his contract, which means he will be available this summer to any team who pays £25million for him. This will surely be the point when his four-year spell at the club ends, with one of the richer teams likely to see him as a perfect short-term defensive solution.
When Zinedine Zidane return to the Real Madrid's manager's job he made Paul Pogba a priority and now it depends on how much Madrid want to back him. Pogba himself is interested in a move to Madrid, and has been for years. And while Pogba's form did improve after Jose Mourinho's departure at Christmas, there is also a view at Old Trafford that they would be better off without a player who is so inconsistent, and who some view as a negative dressing room influence. United would still need to recoup most of the £89m fee for him to sell, however.
Independent News Service