It only seems like yesterday that the door of the January transfer window was closed firmly shut, yet as we near ever closer to the end of the season, clubs will be making a shortlist of potential buys ahead of the end of the season. Therefore with the summer transfer window just around the corner, not just in Europe but also around the world, clubs will already be looking to improve their team for the following season. And with contracts running out throughout Europe this Summer as players see out the rest of their time at their individual clubs, there are inevitably a number of highly rated players available for nothing and here’s my pick of the bunch in a 3-4-3 formation.
Goalkeeper: Sergio Romero (Sampdoria)
In between the sticks has to be Sergio Romero, the Argentinean number one that has been struggling for game time at the in-form Sampdoria this season. Despite impressing in the World Cup most notably in the semi-final against Netherlands where he saved two penalties to send Louis van Gaal’s side packing, both player and club seem satisfied to allow Romero’s contract to run its course meaning a tried and tested Internationally proven goal-keeper is up for grabs at a cut-price deal. And in modern-day football where experienced goalkeepers can sometimes cost excessive amounts, Romero could perhaps solve a lot of problems for many teams with their goalkeeper.
Defence: Dani Alves (FC Barcelona)
From his name and reputation alone, you often start to wonder why somebody with so much talent and silverware could possibly without a club in a couple of months time. The 31 year old may be classed as a veteran nowadays, but even at what is considered an older age for a right-back in the modern game, Dani Alves remains one of the best right backs in football. Not only is the FC Barcelona defender a two times UEFA Champions League winner, with Brazil caps in an abundance, Dani Alves may sporadically produce moments of magic from time to time but one thing you definitely can rely on a consistent basis are his world-class performances for both club and country. Several reports suggest the Brazilian is odds-on to join Paris Saint Germain, but it’s fair there’ll be more than just the French giants fighting to secure his signature this Summer.
Defence: Andrea Ranocchia (Internazionale)
Although Internazionale’s season has attracted the wrong type of headlines during the 2014/15 Serie A season, with more events of note taking place off the field with the arrival of Roberto Mancini for his second spell at the club, a glimmer of light through a sea of grey has been Andrea Ronocchia in the heart of the Internazionale defence. His performances continue to attract the elite sides in European football, with attention most notably coming from Manchester United in recent times. In the last year, the Italian centre-back has grown into his previous reputation of being more than just a ‘hot-prospect’ and become more of the player everybody hoped he would be when he came into the scene, with a series of impressive performances despite Internazionale’s turbulent season. And clearly with central defenders in high demand Ranocchia will be one to keep an eye on this summer due to him being a Bosman free-transfer.
Defence: Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa)
Ron Vlaar impressed massively last Summer during the 2014 World Cup as a central part of Netherlands three-man back line and his quality both in the tournament and with hindsight from his time at Aston Villa both this season and previously. Therefore, it doesn’t come as a surprise that throughout the season, the press have linked the big centre-half with a reunion with former Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal in Manchester, and many would probably not bet against such a move considering United’s lack of depth in defensive areas. The Dutchman has been impressive for Aston Villa in the last two years, however at times Vlaar has struggled this season due to injuries but could still prove to be an inspired signing for a club both needing a central defender and low on funds to spend.
Midfield: Sami Khedira (Real Madrid)
The world-cup winner is undeniably one of the best holding midfielders in the world, therefore it seems strange that Real Madrid are willing to let the German’s contract run out this summer. Nobody can deny his talent and his expression of said qualities at the highest level, but it must be remembered that Sami Khedira has struggled with injury problems of late. However as shown so often during his career, if kept fit his talent will no doubt shine through to potential suitors. Whether it be Paris Saint Germain, Arsenal or Chelsea, these three among others have all been linked with the 28 year-old and this transfer saga is certainly one to keep an eye on.
Midfield: Nigel De Jong (AC Milan)
Like the previously mentioned Ron Vlaar, former Manchester City man Nigel De Jong was another Dutchman who impressed in Brazil and once again like his fellow compatriot, De Jong has also been linked heavily with Manchester United in the past months; obviously the Louis Van Gaal factor has an inevitable influence with any available Dutch star it seems. For me, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him at Old Trafford although his background at City could scupper any possible move. Part of the 2012/12 title winning side, the 30 year-old already has a Premier League medal to his name from his time at Manchester City and on this basis alone, he would quite clearly be a massive asset to any side in the centre of midfield.
Midfield: Yevhen Konoplanka (Dnipro)
Linked with a move to the Premier League for several seasons now, the Ukrainian put in an impressive display against Everton during this seasons Europa League and showed why pundits and journalists are excited about him. If you cast your mind back several years, both Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool failed in their individual attempts to sign him last season due to issues over an agreement on a transfer fee. However being a Bosman, who knows where the talented attacking threat could move to? Either way, both Spurs fans and the Anfield faithful would surely welcome the Dnipro man.
Midfield: James Milner (Manchester City)
If there is someone in football who works as hard as James Milner then I’m yet to be notified of him. The former Leeds United and Aston Villa Milner has proven this season moreso than previous league campaigns at the reigning league champions that he is not simply a consistent and versatile midfielder, but adaptable too. The English-man has excelled in central midfield, blossomed out on the wing in a much wider position and has also adjusted to a severe change in position after appearing at right-back. Evidently such versatility and flexibility are admirable and a massive benefit to acquiring his signature.
Forward: Danny Ings (Burnley)
After making the successful transition from scoring for fun in the Championship to the top tier of English football, it’s not just the Burnley fans this season who have been pleading with Roy Hodgson for Danny Ings to get a call-up to the senior national side. And with his clear goal-scoring ability, many have questioned why such a call-up hasn’t already happened! At the age of 22, the youngster has plenty of years ahead of him and after rumours circulated regarding a move away in January, Ings looks even more set to be leaving this Summer. Real Sociedad manager David Moyes is an admirer of Ings as well as Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, but aside from both these, I can see Danny Ings being a fantastic addition to any club looking for a regular goal scorer.
Forward: Andre-Pierre Gignac (Olympique Marseille)
The Frenchman has been in red-hot goal scoring form this season in Ligue 1 and Andre-Pierre Gignac has been key to Marcelo Bielsa’s side in the quest for league title glory. Although his agent has insisted his client Gignac will wait for a ‘clear signal’ from Marseille before he decided his future, currently only Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette has scored more goals in Ligue 1 this season and his goal-scoring prowess in for a side challenging at the top of the charts at the height of French domestic football, you can see why there are several suitors in the Premier League, with both West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle United proving to be just a few of the clubs battling for his signature this summer.
Forward: Emmanuel Adebayor (Tottenham Hotspur)
Emmanuel Adebayor is certainly an enigma but love him or hate him, nobody can argue with his goal-scoring record over the years. With the confidence and full backing of a manager behind him, has proven time and time again, even against the odds that he can be fantastic. However as shown throughout his career, his form and consistency in front of goal can be problematic. Purely due to his ability alone, there will be plenty of suitors trying to secure the forwards signature, especially considering West Ham failed with a transfer earlier this season. Although he comes with an attitude and negative press he has played for Europe’s elite including; Arsenal, Manchester City and Real Madrid. All in all, it will certainly be intriguing to see where the Togo international ends up.
Article written by: @callumread