The summer transfer window will open on June 10, with clubs across Europe afforded 12 weeks to do their business before the market closes on the first day of September.
The window may have been shut since the end of January, but teams all over the continent have still been working on recruitment in recent months. Agents have also been drumming up interest in their clients, while many players will have spent time considering their futures – even if they tend to insist they are fully focused on the football while the season is going on.
Premier League clubs spent a total of €1.3 billion on new players last summer. The equivalent figure for Serie A, the next highest-spending league, was €550m, followed by the Bundesliga on €415m, Ligue 1 on €375m and La Liga on €295m.
We can expect huge sums to be spent on transfers again in 2022. Several high-profile players have been linked with moves, and some of Europe’s biggest clubs are on the lookout for fresh talent.
Let’s take a look at some of those footballers hoping to seek pastures new, before analysing what some of Europe’s biggest clubs will be looking to do in the upcoming transfer window.
The Frenchman has played his last game for Manchester United, with both parties having already announced that he will depart when his contract expires on June 30.
We can expect news of his next move before then, with Juventus, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain all thought to be in the hunt for his signature. Pogba has already turned down an approach from Manchester City because he would prefer a move away from England.
Juve are the favourites at present. Pogba was tempted to return for a second spell at United in 2016, and he appears to now favour a return to the Allianz Stadium. That was where he played his best football at club level, but the Bianconeri are not the force they were when Pogba departed six years ago.
A stalwart of the Liverpool team for most of Jurgen Klopp’s tenure, Mane looks set to seek pastures new this summer. His contract at Anfield will expire in 2023 and he has reportedly told the club he has no intention of putting pen to paper on an extension. For both parties, a sale before the start of next season makes sense.
Mane has spent the vast majority of his professional career in the Premier League, so it would be completely understandable if he wants a new challenge. Bayern Munich are at the front of the queue as things stand, with the likely fee rumoured to be in the region of €35m. Liverpool will sorely miss his goals, work ethic and link-up play.
Mane is not the same type of player as Lewandowski, but he could end up being the Poland international’s replacement at the Allianz Arena. Bayern face an uphill battle to keep hold of their most prized asset, who has publicly announced his intention to leave the club this summer.
Lewandowski would be a huge loss for the German champions. He has scored an astonishing 98 goals in all competitions in the last two seasons. Bayern’s domestic rivals would certainly be heartened if Lewandowski bade farewell to Munich in the coming weeks.
Barcelona are said to have agreed a three-year deal with the striker, but much will depend on how much money Bayern demand in the form of a transfer fee.
Suarez has won six league titles and a Champions League since moving to Europe in 2006, but he is not done with the continent yet. Many expected the Uruguay international to head back to South America when his Atletico Madrid contract expired this summer, but reports suggest the 35-year-old is not ready to turn his back on football on this side of the Atlantic just yet.
Suarez’s peak years are behind him and he may therefore struggle for offers from the top tier of the European game.
There will still be plenty of clubs across the continent interested in him, though. Aston Villa, now managed by Suarez’s former Liverpool team-mate Steven Gerrard, are currently the leading contenders to sign him, but AC Milan, Marseille and Inter have been linked too.
Ousmane Dembele is another player who is out of contract on June 30, but he has not yet decided what he will do. Barcelona still have an outside chance of keeping the man they paid an initial €105m for in 2017, although at this point a move looks more likely before the transfer market closes on September 1.
Having finally seen Todd Boehly complete his takeover at the end of May, Chelsea are supposedly in pole position to land the Frenchman. However, Liverpool could renew their interest in a player they have been linked with in the past, and Paris Saint-Germain is another possible destination.
For almost a year, Real Madrid thought this was the summer they would sign Kylian Mbappe. They even had a verbal agreement with the France international, who had long dreamed of pulling on the famous white shirt at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. But Mbappe performed a last-gasp U-turn, signing a new deal with Paris Saint-Germain instead.
This hardly represents a crisis for Madrid, who recently won the Champions League without Mbappe. It does change their plans for the summer transfer window, though. Their principal target now is Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni, while Antonio Rudiger has already signed a deal with the European champions.
Erik ten Hag, the new Manchester United manager, has been promised money to spend ahead of next season. He is most interested in strengthening the midfield department, which will be further weakened by the impending exits of Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic.
Frenkie de Jong sits at the top of United’s wish list, but the Netherlands international wants to stay at Barcelona. The Red Devils have not given up hope of reaching an agreement with the La Liga side, but the wisdom of signing a player who does not particularly want to join your club is questionable.
United’s other rumoured targets include Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres and West Ham United talisman Declan Rice.
Second place is not usually good enough for Barcelona, but the club was content enough with finishing as runners-up last season given how far adrift of top spot they were when Xavi Hernandez took charge in November. Next term, though, Barcelona want to challenge for the major prizes again.
To do so they will need to revamp several areas of their squad. Robert Lewandowski is not the only attacking player they are looking at: Barcelona are hoping to bring Raphinha of Leeds United to the Camp Nou, while they are also thought to be monitoring Chelsea’s forward-thinking wing-back Marcos Alonso.
Losing only Lewandowski would be a major blow for Bayern, but Serge Gnabry seems to want out too. The Germany international has rejected the club’s offer of a new contract, potentially paving the way for a departure during the upcoming transfer window.
The arrival of Mane would provide some welcome news for Julian Nagelsmann’s side, but significant work will still be required even if the Liverpool forward does sign on the dotted line.
A move for RB Leipzig midfielder Konrad Laimer has been mooted in recent weeks, while the Stuttgart forward Sasa Kalajdzic is also on Bayern’s radar. A deal for Victor Osimhen is unlikely, though, unless Napoli lower their demands from €100m.
As mentioned above, the completion of Todd Boehly’s takeover means it will soon be all systems go for Chelsea in the transfer market. It could be a busy one for the Blues, who will need to replace Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen – plus, potentially, Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta.
As well as defensive reinforcements, Chelsea could look to bolster their attacking options. They have still not decided whether to keep or sell Romelu Lukaku, but Lautaro Martinez has been suggested as a possible replacement for the burly Belgian. Chelsea are also keeping close tabs on PSV winger Cody Gakpo and Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde.