Thanks to the newspapers, TV channels and countless websites, we have all been kept updated on the major transfers and (mostly) rumours of the summer transfer window. Superstars such as Falcao, Neymar, Suarez, Rooney, Gotze and Cavani have captured our attention over the past few weeks and, in some cases, even months. There is no doubt that these are the kind of footballers that have fans salivating at the thought of one (or more) of them appearing in their team’s shirt come the first game of the season. Meanwhile, there are some relatively unsung but highly talented players who will probably also be making moves this summer and these names have also started appearing in gossip columns across the globe. We at TKTG have taken a look at these lesser-known players and dug up information about them.
1. Wilfried Bony
The 24-year old Ivorian forward who plays for Vitesse in the Eredivisie appears to be a major target for some of the Premier League clubs, namely Arsenal & Swansea. He has fired in 46 goals in 63 appearances for the Dutch side indicating that he is a prolific scorer and the fact that he is physically strong means that the “pundits” are surely lining up the cliche that “he is well suited for the English Game”. Rumours have it that he is on the market for around 12 million euros.
Latest: Swansea have completed the transfer of Bony at a fee understood be around 14 million euros.
2. Henrik Mkhitaryan
The Armenian midfielder was first linked to Liverpool and recently Dortmund have also shown their interest. Jonathan Wilson of The Guardian chimes in with his analysis of the player, “His first 14 league games of last season brought 16 goals and he went on to amass 25 for the season. He is not, though, he insists, a forward: rather, he is a midfielder who can operate either as a deep-lying distributor or behind a striker.” Wilson goes on to say that “Mkhitaryan has the ability to find and generate space that is vital to possession-based teams – and he also has a ruthlessness in front of goal that Liverpool have lacked over the past couple of seasons.” Somewhat surprisingly, the Shakhtar man is currently valued around 25 million euros – most probably because he is 24 and probably has the best years of his career ahead of him.
Latest: Dortmund have snapped up Mkhitaryan from under the noses of Liverpool for a reported 25 million euros.
Tottenham Hotspur are the front-runners to sign the Brazilian despite the fact that Real Madrid have shown late interest in the player in light of his starring role for the Samba Boys in the Confederations Cup. His international teammate, David Luiz, is full of praise, “”Paulinho is a fantastic player, both defending and attacking. He is complete, so he can come to England. It’s a great moment for him.” Yet another 24-year old, the Corinthians midfielder has over 15 caps for his country since he was called up in 2011 and is a talisman for his club side. The Sao Paulo native is thought to be worth around 2o million euros, with Spurs rumoured to have made a similar bid.
Latest: Paulinho has signed for Tottenham on a deal worth nearly 20 millions euros (17 million pounds).
4. Andre Schurrle
The German international is already headed to Chelsea for a significant sum of 21 million euros. Win Soon of Backpage Football has this to say about the midfielder, “Schurrle has many special qualities that make him a frightening prospect. Firstly, his pace sets him apart from most of the players in the Chelsea squad. In his time at Leverkusen, Schurrle tormented right backs with his turn of pace and stamina. One that has seen him shuttle from attack to defence relentlessly. He is the perfect winger to start counter attacks from defensive positions, and also has the ability to maintain that level of intensity throughout the game. Furthermore, Schurrle has the uncanny ability to shoot and score from range.” In fact, in 34 league games for Dortmund last season, he scored 11 goals and set up 7 goals.
5. Thiago Alcantara
Barcelona fans know him well – 22-year old Thiago has been associated with the club since 2005 and, from 2009 onwards, he has appeared for the first team over 100 times. This promising youngster has risen to prominence in the recent European under-21 championship in which he captained Spain to a resounding victory. It was only a matter of time before Thiago would explode onto the global stage and he did so in style through a brilliant hat-trick in the tournament’s final, scoring a goal each with his head, left and right feet. After naming him the MVP of the competition, UEFA described the midfielder as “an influential figure in his team’s performance with impressive box-to-box work; exceptional ball control even in the tightest of situations; ability to dictate the tempo of play; intelligent ball-winning based on anticipation rather than tackling; and outstanding playmaking skills based on a wide variety of short and long passing.” If the tabloids are to be believed, Man United, Chelsea, Madrid and Bayern are all after the Barca starlet, who may be available for a bargain price of around 25 million euros, due to a low release clause in his contract.
Latest: The Spaniard has joined Bayern Munich in a deal worth upto 25 million euros.
6. Alvaro Negredo
Negredo currently plies his goal-scoring trade at Sevilla but has asked for a move, which has sparked the interest of Manchester City, who are looking for a suitable replacement for Carlos Tevez. Meanwhile, Athletico Madrid are also linked with the 27 year-old Spanish international who is rated at around 25 million euros. Negredo scored a combined 31 goals in 42 appearances in La Liga & Copa Del Rey last season and has also notched up 14 goals for his country since 2009. Upon studying the player, it does appear that Negredo is more like Dzeko rather than a like-for-like replacement of Tevez. In fact, at 6ft 1in, the Spaniard is a genuine threat in the air, “is strong in his link up play, [and] he also tends to excel from aerial or counter-attacking situations”, as analyzed by talkSPORT magazine. It is interesting that Pellegrini, the new City manager, is going for this type of player when he has the powerful Edin Dzeko in his squad already, which indicates that the Serbian may be on his way out of the club.
Latest: Man City have dished out a hefty amount believed to be 24 million euros in exchange for the former Sevilla man.
Do you think any of these players deserve as much praise and attention as superstars such as Tevez and Neymar? Are there any other transfer targets that you can think of who should make this list? Let us know below, on Twitter or Facebook.