The £30 million transfer shortlist

With the end of the season upon us, the transfer window re-opens in June and the biggest clubs in European football will look to strengthen their playing squads for the forthcoming campaign. The continued investment in the world game has resulted in transfer fees rising, and there are a number of players that this summer could conceivably cost £30 million and up.

1) Javier Pastore
The Palermo playmaker has had another sparkling season and has led the Sicilan side to the Coppa Italia final; ‘El Flaco’ or ‘the skinny one’ is one of world football’s hottest properties. Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, AC Milan and Roma are all ready to part with £30 million to secure the services of the 21 year old, however this may not be enough as controversial Palermo president Maurizio Zamperini has been quoted as saying he feels the player is worth €100 million.

2) Kaka
With Real Madrid in the hunt for Pastore and already signed creative midfielder Nuri Sahin from Borussia Dortmund, first team opportunities for Kaka may be limited. Since his world record £56 million move from Milan to Los Blancos in 2009 the Brazilian has failed to make the required impact, and is currently playing second fiddle to Bernabeu main-man Cristiano Ronaldo. I Rossoneri president Silvio Berlusconi has ruled out a return to the San Siro, so England looks the most likely destination, with long term admirers Manchester City and Chelsea battling it out for his signature.

3) Alexis Sanchez
The Chilean left sided midfielder has been one of the main reasons for Udinese’s charge towards Champions League football, with pundits raving over the 22 year old’s performances. Both Milan and Inter are believed to want the ex-River Plate attacker, but Manchester City again seem to be the frontrunners, with a £30 million summer transfer touted in the Italian press.

4) Cesc Fabregas
Arsenal’s captain has been linked with a move back to Barcelona for a number of seasons, and the move may happen this summer as The Gunners may look to cash in on the 24 year old whilst he is out of form. With Jack Wilshere emerging this season to potentially take Fabregas’ place as Arsenal’s go to midfield man, a move back to the Nou Camp for £30 million or more could be on the cards.

5) Gareth Bale
The PFA Player of the Year has had a strong season domestically and in Europe, and shot to worldwide acclaim with a hat-trick against Inter at the San Siro in the Champions League Group Stages. Due to Tottenham missing out on the competition for next season, Bale may be tempted by the bright lights of Italy or Spain, with Inter and Barcelona linked with the player. United and City are also thought to want the Welshman to come to Manchester, and given his performances the fee would exceed £30 million.

6) Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Carlos Tevez
Big spending City may find a change of personnel in attack, with any big name departures or arrivals costing more than £30 million. The club have been linked with an audacious move for Milan’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic, whilst club captain Carlos Tevez’s future at Eastlands is under scrutiny, with Inter the reported chosen destination for the Argentine forward.

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Europe’s biggest clubs wait as Palermo’s Javier Pastore decides where he will play next season

At 21 years old Palermo’s Javier Pastore has the footballing world at his feet. ‘El Flaco’ or ‘the skinny one’ has delighted crowds across Italy with his ability with the ball, grace and vision, and excellent performances internationally for Sergio Batista’s Albiceleste have made the Argentinian one of the hottest prospects in the game.

The South American moved to Palermo for a fee of around €6 million after impressing with Argentine Primera Division side Huracan in 2008-09, and the 6″ 2′ midfielder has not looked back, making over 60 appearances for the Serie A club, improving week on week and regularly making sports news headlines for his excellent performances.
It appears that his time at the Sicilian club may be up this summer, as club president Maurizio Zamparini has admitted that he cannot stand in the young starlet’s way should one of the big clubs come knocking, which they inevitably will if the deluge of transfer rumours are anything to go by.. The Renzo Barbera club will not let their prize asset go for peanuts though; a fee of at least €35 million is the realistic value of one of world football’s brightest stars.
So what are Pastore’s options? If he decides to stay in Italy the most likely destination is either Roma or Juventus, with both clubs being linked with a summer move for the creative player. Despite being two of Italian football’s biggest clubs, the sizeable transfer fee may be a stumbling block for both sides. I Giallorossi have recently been taken over by American business tycoon Thomas DiBenedetto, who may inject transfer funds into the club to try and get them back amongst Italy’s elite. Juve have had well publicised financial difficulties over the last two seasons, and despite the club planning a squad revamp in the summer, a large chunk, if not all of La Vecchia Signora’s transfer kitty would need to splurged to bring Pastore to Turin. The key fact that may force the Argentinian to shun both clubs: neither are likely to be playing Champions League football next season.
If El Flaco decides to leave Italian shores, Spain or England will be the only destination. Both sides at either end of El Clasico have been linked with a move for the rangy midfielder, with Pastore having adequate quality to fit into either squad. Los Blancos already have their fair share of attacking midfielders in the shape of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and the very impressive Mesut Oezil, but this is unlikely to deter Florentino Perez, as the club are known for overindulging in attacking luxuries. The Camp Nou would seem a more logical home for Pastore however, who is friends with international team-mate Lionel Messi. The Catalan giants will look to bring in only the best to bolster their squad in the summer, with the Palermo man high on their wishlist.
In England only Manchester City or Chelsea have the resources to tempt Palermo to sell, and it is unlikely that the Argentinian would move to Eastlands. Stamford Bridge would hold more appeal however, and Pastore could be the creative shot in the arm The Blues need to reignite their misfiring strikeforce and lead them to the all-elusive Champions League title.
I Rosanero fans will be sad to see their darling leave in the summer but Signor Zamparini will be a wealthy man come his exit. Every club in Europe would like to have him at their disposal, but for the latest exciting Argentinian playmaker, Barcelona or Chelsea seem the most plausible destinations.

Slovenian Ilicic on Chelsea’s Radar

Chelsea head a growing list of English and European clubs hot on the heels of Slovenian midfielder Josip Illicic, according to the Palermo players agent. The 22 year old has impressed in this debut season in Serie A, scoring 8 goals in 21 appearances for the Sicilian club and receiving applaud both in Italy and further afield.

The players agent Amir Ruznic claims that both Liverpool and Tottenham are interested in Ilicic, but that Chelsea are his biggest suitors and will make a move for the player in the summer. “Clubs from England are going crazy for him” Ruznic told Sportal, “But Chelsea wants him the most. There is also an interest from Spain, other Italian clubs and Russia”.

The Italian side signed the midfielder after he impressed appearing against them for previous club NK Maribor in the UEFA Europa League, for a fee believed to be around £2 million – a record transfer fee in Slovenian football. Ruznic believes that the cost to Chelsea would be considerably higher however should Palermo wish to cash in on their prize asset. “Clubs are ready to pay €15millon for Ilicic but that is not enough. If somebody is ready to pay €20, €25 million, than something could happen” the agent mused. ”But he won’t leave for less than 20 million euros, that is for sure.”

The Slovenian midfield man’s quality is there to see, and if his excellent performances for Palermo continue the Stamford Bridge faithful could be treated to a new face when the transfer window re-opens in the summer.

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