Wherever you look right now, one of the hottest stories in the world of football is the very real possibility of Cristiano Ronaldo leaving Real Madrid this summer.
Pretty much any and all news outlets – such as the usually reliable duo of The Guardian and Sky Sports – are reporting that CR7 is about to bring an end to his Los Blancos career, with Juventus seemingly his likely destination right now. And should Ronaldo swap Madrid for Turin, that could well spark a hugely fascinating summer of transfer activity for some of European football’s biggest names.
Here, we take a look at five transfers that could well play out should Ronaldo indeed end up playing for the Old Lady of Juventus next season.
Gonzalo Higuaín to Chelsea
Currently, any major transfer business for Chelsea seems to be on hold while their managerial situation sorts itself out. It appears only a matter of time before manager Antonio Conte departs Stamford Bridge, and former Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri seems destined to replace his countryman in the Chelsea dugout.
According to The Daily Mail, a deal has already been agreed in principle for Juventus’ Gonzalo Higuaín to be one of Sarri’s first signings. The Argentinian forward has been prolific wherever he’s played over recent years – be that Real Madrid, Napoli, or Juventus – and he’s seen by the Chelsea higher-ups as the perfect fit to fire them to glory in 2018/2019, particularly with Alvaro Morata enduring a frustrating campaign leading the Chelsea frontline last season.
In addition to the Chelsea brass being keen on Higuaín, Sarri himself is a huge admirer of the striker from their time together at Napoli; a time in which the forward broke the Serie A club’s record for most goals in a season – bagging 36 goals during the 2015/2016 season.
With the continuing emergence of Paulo Dybala and the potential arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo, it would seem that Higuaín and fellow striker Mario Mandžukić could soon be departing the Old Lady – and Higuaín moving to Stamford Bridge certainly seems a logical fit.
N’Golo Kante to PSG
When it comes to defensive midfielders, there are very few in the world better than Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante. Essentially doing the job of two men, Kante covers ground, is a constant thorn in the opposition’s side, and is adept at maintaining possession. But after two years at Stamford Bridge, Kante could well be heading for a return to France this summer with Paris Saint-Germain.
While Chelsea are keen to keep hold of the two-time Premier League winner, it’s reported by Goal.com that they’d find it hard to refuse an offer of £100 million for the 27-year-old. Throw in the fact that PSG are believed to be prepared to offer the Paris-born Kante a wage of £220,000 per week – £100,000 per week more than he currently receives at Chelsea – and it could be that the Ligue 1 champions have enough financial power to please both Chelsea and the player himself.
At this point in time, there is still some uncertainty over PSG’s ability to sign players, with UEFA currently investigating whether their proposed signing of Kylian Mbappé would break Financial Fair Play rules.
Should Neymar indeed depart the Parc des Princes this summer as reported, though, that would certainly help balance the books and allow the Paris club to make their move to bring N’Golo Kante back to his home city.
Neymar to Real Madrid
For the past several months, Neymar has been regularly linked with a move back to Spain with Los Blancos. This despite the Brazilian forward only having signed with Paris St-Germain last summer.
Having cost a world record €222 million upon joining the Paris club from Barcelona, it looked as if it was only a matter of time before Neymar would again be on the move. And again, with a frankly ludicrous transfer fee to be involved once more. Now, Real Madrid have certainly got the skillful forward on their radar as they weigh up their options should Cristiano Ronaldo decide to call an end to this time in Madrid.
So intense are the rumors of Neymar signing with Real Madrid for a reported €310 million, the club have actually had to come out and publicly state that they have not made any sort of official bid for the player whatsoever.
Of course, just because they’ve not made an official bid at this stage, doesn’t rule out some sort of contact between Neymar’s representatives and Real Madrid, and it also doesn’t rule out an official bid before the summer is out. After all, should the legendary Ronaldo depart the Bernabeu, the Champions League winners will be after a huge name to replace CR7.
Kylian Mbappé to Manchester United
For all accounts and purposes, Kylian Mbappé was due to become a fully-fledged, contracted Paris St-Germain player for the 2018/2019 season and beyond. But now, it seems as if the exciting teenager’s imminent future may not be at the Parc des Princes after all.
If you remember, Mbappé joined PSG on loan last season with a view for his transfer becoming permanent this summer. That was before Paris St-Germain came under investigation for potentially breaking UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules. Despite a fee of €180 million being agreed for this summer, PSG may now have to pull out of the deal as they frantically look to appease European football’s governing body.
According to The Guardian, it could well be Manchester United who end up becoming the biggest winners in this situation. With Mbappé having impressed for France at the 2018 World Cup, he’s been rightly linked with the who’s who of world football should his permanent move to Paris St-Germain now not happen, and Jose Mourinho’s Red Devils may well have an ace up their sleeve.
Which brings us nicely to our next big-money transfer move of the summer…
Anthony Martial to Monaco
Should, as mentioned, Kylian Mbappé’s move to Paris St-Germain have to be called off by the Ligue 1 champions, that could well lead to the hugely talented youngster heading for Old Trafford.
The Guardian reports that Manchester United may have an edge over any rivals for Mbappé’s signature, largely due to Anthony Martial. Martial’s agent has already gone public with his client’s wish to leave United this summer, and a return to Monaco could well be on the cards.
Martial joined United from the French club back in 2015, and it could be that he’ll be plying his trade at the Stade Louis II once more by the time the 2018/2019 season begins. With the electric forward eyeing an exit from Manchester, it’s believed Mourinho’s men would be prepared to offer Martial and £86 million to bring Mbappé to Old Trafford. This, of course, all depends on whether or not PSG are able to somehow get the all-clear to sign Mbappé, though.