The soccer season is slowly returning across the globe with four of Europe’s big five leagues either underway or due to restart in the coming weeks – the exception being France’s Ligue 1, who took an early decision to cancel.
The return brings with it a lot of variables including form books being thrown out the window, home advantage essentially becoming null and void with games behind closed doors and then there are question marks over the fitness of the players who have been under some form of lockdown for several weeks.
Instead of trying to bring value to the match betting, we’ve turned our attention to the transfer window and here we look at five players who could be on the move and, more importantly, assess where they might end up.
Number 5. Lautaro Martinez
22-year-old Argentine striker Martinez only took his first steps into European soccer in 2018 when Inter Milan bought him from Superliga side Racing Club for $28m. His first season saw a modest goal return with nine goals in 35 matches across all competitions. 2019/20 has been a different story though.
He has bagged five in six Champions League outings with a further 11 in 22 Serie A appearances giving him an average of one goal every 1.5 matches. Real Madrid and Chelsea still feature in the betting but are rank outsiders if truth be told. Barcelona looks set to be his destination with odds of 1.67 still offering some semblance of value.
Number 4. Gareth Bale
Ah, yes, another window, another Gareth Bale saga. 12 months ago Bale was set to be heading to China before Real pulled the plug. Bale might not have the pace of a horse in the Kentucky Derby odds anymore, but he is still fast enough to shine in some of the teams of the world. Surely this is the year he finally leaves Madrid?
The betting doesn’t necessarily suggest so with the shortest odds on offer 5.00 and given the destination in question is Newcastle United, that would seem to hinge on their takeover being completed too. Beyond that, several English sides are linked with Manchester United and Bale’s former club Tottenham the best priced at 8.00 and 11.00 respectively.
Then it’s into the Italian duo of Juventus and Inter who are both available at 13.00 and French champions PSG at 15.00. Given Bale displayed evidence that money talks last year, a move to the Chinese Super League shouldn’t be ruled out and odds as long as 34.00 make that attractive. Alternatively, if you think he could be heading stateside then a move to any MLS club can be wagered for 6.00.
Number 3. Kai Havertz
Havertz is a star in the making. He’s been in the Bayer Leverkusen system since the age of just 10 and made his senior breakthrough at 17-years-old as he contributed four goals and six assists in 24 Bundesliga games and three Champions League appearances in the 2015/16 campaign. Since then, he’s been an integral part of their set up with an involvement in a total of 59 goals (35 goals and 24 assists) in 114 appearances.
Consider his seven senior international caps and you have a 20-year-old with serious experience under his belt and the ability that could make him a world beater. All of that has seen him linked to the biggest clubs around the globe with Liverpool, Man United and Barcelona all keen on the attacking midfielder. They might have to turn their attentions elsewhere though as it is German giants Bayern Munich heading the betting with odds of 2.25.
Number 2. Phillipe Coutinho
After a blockbuster move from Liverpool to Barcelona it’s fair to say things haven’t gone to plan for Coutinho. He’s only made 76 appearances for the Catalan club and he spent last season on loan with Bayern Munich. Despite a hand in 17 goals across 32 games – and the likelihood of a Bundesliga winners medal – the Bayern fans have never truly warmed to the Brazil international and the club have passed on an opportunity to make the move permanent.
It feels inevitable that he’ll leave Spain in the coming months and there are plenty of takers at Europe’s top table. PSG are interested at 12.00 as the shortest priced non-English team. When it comes to the Premier League, Man United are available at the same level as PSG whilst Arsenal, Tottenham, Newcastle and even Liverpool are all available under 11.00. The favourites?
Chelsea, who are managed by former New York City midfielder Frank Lampard, at 2.25. Given they lost Eden Hazard in the last summer window and Willian also looks set to leave it’s hard to believe they won’t pursue Coutinho with all they can muster.
Number 1. James Rodriguez
Rodriguez truly announced himself on the world stage during the 2014 World Cup where he shone for Colombia and earned a move to Real Madrid. He’s never held down a regular spot in their line-up though and, like Bale, is clearly surplus to requirement under Zinedine Zidane.
A two year loan with Bayern Munich didn’t yield a move as injuries hampered his game time and this year – back with Real – has only seen him play 650 minutes of soccer. He is only 28 so still has plenty to offer if he can find some consistent game time. A move across Madrid to join Diego Simeone at Atletico is one transfer that’s been muted with odds at 1.83.
Again, a number of England’s better sides have been linked with the Red Devils the shortest price at 7.00 and Tottenham perhaps the longest price of the more realistic destinations at 13.00. David Beckham’s Inter Miami are on the lookout for a star name and James fits the bill; a move to any MLS club is available at 12.00. That looks to carry some real value.
There you have it, five players who will almost definitely feature in transfer gossip throughout the summer months. Regardless of whether you place a wager or not it will be interesting to see which club picks up the best deal.