Sensible transfers for Europe’s top clubs

Transfer targets that won't break the bank for Man United, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and more this summer 🤑

With 43 goals and 15 assists in all competitions this season, Sporting’s Viktor Gyökeres is Europe’s most wanted striker

In 1893, Jack Southworth was transferred from Blackburn Rovers to Everton for the eye-watering fee of for £400. It is widely agreed upon that this deal was the first time that money had exchanged hands between clubs for a professional player, effectively making it the first transfer.

Since then, transfers have become just as big a part of soccer as the game itself. With that has come the rise of transfer rumors, typically wildly unrealistic, overly simplified, and more delusional than your friend who swears Drake won the rap beef.

Julian Draxler to Arsenal? Should happen any day now.

Wesley Sneijder to Man United? Paperwork’s almost done.

Diego Maradona to Sheffield United? Just waiting on the ACH payment.

For every €150 million transfer that would “totally transform our club, dude,” there’s a Leandro Trossard: an affordable option that flies under the radar, and, although might not move the needle like a Mykhailo Mudryk, represents a tidy piece of business that lays the foundation for any successful club.

Here are ten such sensible transfers for some of Europe’s top teams this offseason:

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Arsenal: Marcus Rashford (Man United, €60m market value) If Mikel Arteta did it with Kai Havertz, then why can’t he with Rashford? The 26-year-old is coming off of the worst season of his professional career, having provided only seven goals and five assists in 33 Premier League appearances for the eighth-place Red Devils. Capable of playing anywhere across the front three, Rashford would provide Arteta with a versatile rotational option for a fraction of an Alexander Isak or Victor Osimhen.

🇪🇸 Barcelona: Martín Zubimendi (Real Sociedad, €50m) The 25 year-old defensive midfielder has been linked with Barça for years now, and with Frenkie de Jong already having one foot out the door it’s time for the Blaugrana to snatch him up. The Sergio Busquets-regen would thrive in new Barcelona manager Hansi Flick’s attack-minded system, where he would sweep up everything in the midfield and ping passes far up the pitch to more skilled players. A match made in heaven, as long as Barça can get their finances in order.

🇩🇪 Bayer Leverkusen: Aleix García (Girona, €25m) Xabi Alonso has identified the Spanish midfielder as one of his key targets this summer and for good reason. The Bundesliga champions are likely to get plundered by wealthier clubs over the next few years, and will need stability in the midfield to achieve Alonso’s goal of “sustainable success.” At 26 years old, the “best right foot in Spanish soccer” could be Leverkusen’s starting no. 6 for the next five years, and is expected to go for just around €20 million highway robbery, if you ask me. 🤷‍♂️

🇩🇪 Bayern Munich: Ben Chilwell (Chelsea, €28m) It appears Chilwell’s time at Chelsea is coming to an end. Plagued by injuries during his tenure at Stamford Bridge, the 27-year-old made only 13 league appearances last season, playing second fiddle to Marc Cucurella and even CB Levi Colwill at times. With Alphonso Davies likely to leave for Real Madrid, Bayern need another left-back to rotate with Raphaël Guerreiro, who is going on 31 years old and is oft-injured himself. Chilwell would be a perfect stop-gap for Die Roten, and would likely jump at the opportunity to join his compatriots Harry Kane and Eric Dier in Bavaria.

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Man City: Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich, €120m) Sensible has a different meaning for the four-time reigning Premier League champions. Musiala is one of (if not the) best U21 players in the world, and would be a suitable understudy in the attacking midfield to Kevin De Bruyne, who is 32 years old, missed the first half of last season with a hamstring injury, and has expressed interest in a move to Saudi Arabia. Especially precocious for 21 years old, Musiala could become an instant starter for the club and a central figure to build around for the next decade alongside Phil Foden, who is already a big fan of the German international:

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Man United: Adrien Rabiot (Juventus, €40m) Casemiro was rubbish last season and is almost certainly bound for a lucrative move to Saudi Arabia. Rabiot, on the other hand, is quietly coming off of the best season of his roller-coaster career, averaging a club best 7.07 match rating per WhoScored? across 31 Serie A appearances. The French international thinks very highly of himself, so would likely jump at the opportunity to move to Old Trafford, even if it’s just for a couple of seasons.

🇮🇹 Milan: Viktor Gyökeres (Sporting CP, €55m) While the Swede’s €100m release clause could be a bit much for Milan, this move makes sense on so many levels. Olivier Giroud has left the club for LAFC, but Gyökeres – who boasts similar physicality and aerial ability – would be a like-for-like upgrade to the Frenchman, who finished 17 of Milan’s attacks last season.

Then there’s the Zlatan Ibrahimović connection. The legendary Swedish striker is Gyökeres’ idol and has become a senior advisor to Milan following his retirement last year. Lastly, the 26-year-old has already thanked Sportinguistas for their support, all but confirming last season was his final with the club.

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Liverpool: Joshua Zirkzee (Bologna, €40m) Darwin Núñez does not appear to be the long-term solution at striker for the Reds. Zirkzee, who recorded 11 goals and five assists in 34 league appearances for fifth-place Bologna last season, ticks the box on so many levels for new manager Arne Slot: Fast . Entering his prime at 23 years old . Affordable . Dutch . Enough hair for the both of them .

🇫🇷 PSG: Désiré Doué (Stade Rennais, €30m) PSG and sensible transfers go together like khakis and urinals, but it’s time that the club got smarter in the post Kylian Mbappé era. The club did not make a dime on the World Cup winner’s transfer to Real Madrid, so will not be able to pursue a like-for-like replacement – oil money be damned. Doué, who recorded ten goal contributions across all competitions last season at just 19 years old, is a highly regarded prospect in France capable of playing anywhere across the front three and even dropping deeper in the midfield.

His versatility, Ligue 1 experience, and price tag should make his transfer a no-brainer for France’s biggest club.

🇪🇸 Real Madrid: Rodrygo (Real Madrid, €100m) How on Earth do you improve this team?

While adding Rodri or William Saliba come to mind, Los Blancos’ biggest offseason priority should now be to hold onto Rodrygo, who has been heavily linked with Man City and Liverpool. Why? Real Madrid are loaded in attack, but the 23-year-old Brazilian is really the only player comfortable playing from the right; else their lineup might look like this: