Transfer window: Will more free transfers take place than big-money signings?

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Free transfers XI

Players who are out of contract this summer

Football across the globe has been halted but it has not stopped European clubs from planning for next season.

Last summer, Portuguese Joao Felix’s £114m move from Benfica to Atletico Madrid was the biggest deal of the window but because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the uncertainty around the sport, it seems that free transfers may be the way forward.

“Clubs are already trying to build up some contacts to see if players are interested,” said European football expert Kristof Terreur on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Euro Leagues Show. “I think it will be the window of the free transfers and they will be the new expensive.”

Guillem Balague added: “When you hear Ed Woodward saying in a meeting that even they are affected by it – and Manchester United are considered by agents as the ones they can do with what they want – it means not much will happen.

“There has been talk about Paul Pogba and Neymar to Real Madrid: forget about the big transfers, they will not happen.”

Belgium boys on the move?

Belgium defender Jan Vertonghen has made more than 300 appearances for Tottenham since joining from Ajax in 2012 and the 33-year-old’s contract expires in the summer. Compatriot Thomas Meunier is another whose deal is coming to an end at Paris St-Germain.

Terreur said: “Meunier’s contract is running out with PSG at the end of the season and has been approached by [Tottenham manager] Jose Mourinho who made a phone call to him.

“Those free players will be in a lot of demand and even Vertonghen mentioned in an interview that his contract is running out and I feel he is not staying at Spurs; that was the hint he was giving and he wants to learn a new language.

“You know, then, he is thinking of a move away to Italy or to Spain. They are all starting to look out for opportunities. The players whose contracts are running out are in demand.”

Barca and Real have problems too

Barcelona have been heavily linked with Inter Milan’s 22-year-old Argentine striker Lautaro Martinez, who has a £97m release clause in his contract.

But it seems that transfer activity for La Liga rivals Real Madrid will be much quieter this summer having spent a hefty £300m on new players, including Eden Hazard, last year.

“There will be loan deals and a lot of swap deals but they are so difficult to put together,” said Balague. “Barcelona and Real Madrid will each lose around 120m euros because they will not be able to open their redeveloped stadiums next season. You have to add to that bars, merchandising and VIP boxes.

“Barcelona have got an agreement with Lautaro Martinez of Inter Milan, now the thing is how do you convince the club to let him go? Inter will be happy to let him go if they get the right players so maybe Ivan Rakitic, Arthur, Nelson Semedo, Samuel Umtiti – those are the kind of guys Barca will happily let go.

“Bayern Munich are talking about getting a forward, possibly, because they have a deal with Leroy Sane or Timo Werner but when you hear Cristiano Ronaldo going to Manchester United or Real Madrid, it is pure fantasy.

“Having said that, Juventus would not be so unhappy if they let Ronaldo go because of the amount of wages that they have to pay for him and somebody made a call to Real Madrid. Real answered ‘Sorry, no. That is not the kind of player we are after.’

“They won’t get anybody I don’t think, it will be about bringing back the loan deals, perhaps Martin Odegaard or Achraf Hakimi.”

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By Famous Reporters

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