Summer’s the season of transfers and rumors with several players moving places and switching sides. Many signings could be the key to a title or a Champions League spots. It could win you the Champions League, or it could absolutely sink you. Millions of dollars down the drain because one player couldn’t perform. It’s the most chaotic and crucial time for football off the field. Almost every player is up for grabs and is getting linked with someone, somewhere. Featured in this piece in particular are some of the best in the world being courted by teams in other leagues. Neymar has been in some interesting talks with Paris Saint-Germain in France, for a switch to the French capital. Rumblings from Neymar’s camp is that he’s tired of living in Messi’s shadow, and wants to join his Brazilian compatriots (Lucas, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, and Dani Alves) in Paris. Over in England, another Brazilian is being linked to different lands, and that’s Philippe Coutinho. The little magician has been rumored away from Anfield to Barcelona for some time, but could he make a move to the Nou Camp this Summer? And speaking of a player being linked for some time, David De Gea is once again being asked for by Real Madrid for a move away from Manchester United. Could this summer finally be the summer where De Gea returns to his homeland as a Galactico? It’s a new series on The Early Sub for the rest of summer, and perhaps forever. It’s the RumorMeter.
Neymar from Barcelona to PSG
I thought this was a joke when it was first brought up. PSG just poking the waters, and see the ridiculous figure that Barcelona would throw at them. This figure happened to be Neymar’s buyout clause of 220m Euros. Sheeesh. That’s some serious currency right there. Total joke right? But then there was reports that Neymar himself was in talks with PSG and would have his father (who’s his agent) speak to the PSG board and maybe workout numbers for a contract. Okay, it seemed to start getting real but I just thought that it was a play from Neymar to demand a new contract with Barca. “Look Barca, I’ll leave if you don’t pay me more,” even though Neymar doesn’t want to leave. So I just sat back and waited for Barcelona to give him his contract, but then reports a few days ago came out that Neymar agreed to a 6 year deal with PSG and Paris were willing to trigger Neymar’s buyout clause. Oh man, now it’s getting real, surely Neymar isn’t bluffing. Maybe he REALLY IS sick of living in Messi’s shadow. Maybe he REALLY DOES want to reunite with his friend and compatriot Dani Alves in a beautiful city that competes for European Cups. Maybe he WOULD RATHER take on glory from a different angle instead of the typical path through the Spanish giants or in England. And maybe PSG are willing to lay the world at the Brazilian’s feet, we don’t know the figure PSG are offering. Maybe it really is an absurd number like 450k Euros a week or something. Would he leave his incredible attacking trident colleagues, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi for Paris? Yeah maybe! Neymar teaming up with the likes of Edinson Cavani and Angel Di Maria doesn’t sound like a bad deal either. Cavani with his 30 goals and Di Maria with his brilliant creativity. If Verratti stays he could have Julian Draxler and Marco Verratti feeding him on the left wing as he tears France apart and attempts to lead them past the Quarterfinals in the Champions League for the first time in their history. Neymar could leave Barcelona for Paris and bring France their first Champions League winner since 1994. Doesn’t sound too bad now, does it? I thought it was really happening, but then I watched the Barca/Juventus preseason game this past week, and I knew it. He isn’t going anywhere. The outlets were all shooting out to Neymar on the left, with Messi tucking in from the right wing to receive the ball at the middle of the field. With those moves, Neymar could feed Messi and burst for a run with Messi hitting him on a brilliant ball, all night long. Messi had no problem feeding the Brazilian artist, and allowing him to paint his own picture. 2 goals in 25 minutes (10 minutes apart) later, and Neymar had the Meadowlands at their feet as they watched in amazement every time the ball made contact with his feet. He was at his unstoppable best as Barcelona allowed him to control the game, and leaving Stephen Lichtsteiner for dead at every chance. How can Neymar leave this? No matter where he’d go in the world, he would never be adored at the level he is adored now by the Nou Camp faithful. Barcelona is arguably 1 of the 3 best clubs on the planet right now, and why would he leave for a club that isn’t in that top 3 list? I am a firm believer that Neymar will overtake Leo Messi as the world’s best this season as he enters his age 25 season. Messi will be flipping the page to 30 as he enters the latter stages of his prime. Messi will still be among the world’s best, top 3 player, but it’s time for Neymar to take over. He showed those gimpses when he took the initiative against PSG in the Round of 16 of the Champions League and he showed it time and time again in La Liga as well. He even scored a higher Average Rating then Messi, in fact Neymar scored the highest Average Rating according to WhoScored.com, then anyone else on the planet. He would never leave the club that has already brought him a couple La Liga titles, a couple Copa Del Rey titles and a Champions League, including achieving the Treble in 2015. He’s staying at the Nou Camp, probably for the entirety of his career. RumorMeter: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool to Barcelona
This one is interesting because it’s all depending on if Neymar leaves for PSG. Thus far, manager Jurgen Klopp has been asserting that Liverpool wasn’t selling anyone at the moment, especially Coutinho. That all seems nice and good now, but if Neymar leaves, Barcelona will need a world class replacement quickly. They would be forced to offer Liverpool a deal that they couldn’t refuse. The figure appears to be about 80m pounds at the moment, which is absolutely insane. But if Neymar leaves, they could be forced to push for 90m or even 100m pounds for the Brazilian’s services. The little magician possesses just about every trait that Neymar boasts, except for Neymar’s incredible burst of pace. Coutinho has some legs on him but because he doesn’t have the world’s most blinding pace, he tends to drift towards the middle and receive the ball while cutting inside. This allows him to look for a wonderful ball into the box which he is capable of producing time and time again, or he could look to rip off a missile of a shot on goal. Coutinho’s incredible efforts from outside of the box have become a trademark of his as Coutinho has netted 15 goals from outside of the box since 2012/2013. But like I said in the previous section with Neymar. I don’t see Neymar leaving Barcelona and I don’t see Coutinho leaving Liverpool, yet. Liverpool are just now entering the exciting stages of Jurgen Klopp’s development as the German’s Reds play the most attractive football in all of the land. Their pressing and quick recovery of the ball higher up the field, puts pressure on opposition to turn the ball over at critical points on the pitch. They play with pace and creativity as they enjoy passing the ball and getting the ball up the field quickly. And the key man to all of it is Philippe Coutinho. Every recovery of the ball, almost always leads to a quick recycle of the ball before passing it to Coutinho for him to direct the attack. 13 goals, 7 assists and 8 Man of the Match performances later and Liverpool are in the Champions League and contending for a Premier League title as early as last season. It’s no wonder Neymar desires to unite with his compatriot at one of the top clubs in the world. And Coutinho would fit into the Barca system, just as easily as he fit into Klopp’s system. Like a glove, because he’s world class and can play in any system, and still be a creator and catalyst for the attack. If, he was to join the Catalan club, he would most likely take Iniesta/Gomes’ spot in the midfield as he’d be the chief creator at the middle of the park. With the likes of compatriot Neymar, former teammate Suarez, and the best player on the planet Messi, to pass too, I’m sure he wouldn’t need too much time to fit in. In all honesty, I think Coutinho will join Barcelona at some point in his career. Maybe when in 2 seasons when he’s 27, he’ll choose to embark on that adventure. Everybody knows his eyes glitter when the thought of Barcelona is brought up. But not before he writes his own glory with the Reds first. Liverpool are getting close to something special, almost winning a League Cup and the Europa League in Klopp’s first season. In his 2nd season he had his club near the top of the Premier League by Christmas, until the Reds’ demise from Mane leaving for the African Cup of Nations, and Coutinho’s injury, AND Jordan Henderson’s injury, AND THEN the later injury of Sadio Mane (plus their losses to Bournemouth, Burnley, Crystal Palace, etc.). Something’s coming to Anfield, Klopp is the assuring key, and Coutinho wants to be front and center for it, before riding off into the sunset at Barcelona in a few years. RumorMeter: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
David De Gea from Manchester United to Real Madrid
It seems like this link is brought up every single summer. And to be honest, it’s because this deal makes so much sense. David De Gea is one of the best goalkeepers on Planet Earth, and the Spaniard more then likely has a dream to play for the best team in the world, Real Madrid. Madrid just happen to need a goalkeeper as they probably feel the need to improve on Keylor Navas there (even though he’s a 2 time Champions League winner as starter). De Gea has always been seen as the heir to Iker Casillas’ throne, except Casillas has been gone for two years and De Gea still sits in Manchester and Madrid have captured 2 more Champions Leagues. A fax machine kept De Gea from leaving 2 summers ago, and Mourinho remains adamant that he’s staying at Old Trafford. But you can see the desire for De Gea to meet his destiny at the Santiago Bernabeu. He has loftier dreams then just the Premier League. He wants Champions League titles, La Liga titles, El Clasicos, Copa del Reys. He wants the glitz and glamor from Spain and all the flair that comes with it, and it sure does sound tasty I have to admit. De Gea must be growing ever more impatient with United as well due to his lack of a strong trophy cabinet that was perhaps promised to him when he switched from Atletico Madrid. United haven’t even been able to replicate Atletico’s success. Since De Gea’s departure from Atletico, Los Rojiblancos have won La Liga, the Copa Del Rey, the Europa League and have been to two Champions League finals. De Gea meanwhile has a Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup, and Europa League under his belt but certainly nothing close to a Champions League Final. Madrid have also won two Champions League titles and a La Liga title since that fax machine circus in the summer of 2015. Which trophy cabinet would you rather have? Many would take Madrid’s and especially because it seems like Madrid’s going to build on that La Liga number and perhaps build on that Champions League number too. De Gea could fulfill his destiny as Casillas’ heir with the Spaniard still only being 26. Keylor will be turning 31 in December so perhaps it could be time for De Gea to step in and step up for Madrid. But Real haven’t been going for the shotstopper too hard this summer, instead electing to make things difficult for United as they attempted to sign Alvaro Morata. De Gea could leave for the Bernabeu at some point, and I think he will, but not this summer. Mourinho wants him to stay and build on the project that he’s creating at the Theater of Dreams. Always keep an eye on this one though, it could happen at any time. RumorMeter: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10