As the season comes to a climax, questions around the future of some players have had fans guessing.
Spoiler alert, Haaland isn’t leaving Man City, and every player is linked with Newcastle United.
Here’s a look at some of the big names and where they might go.
Where better to start than with one of the GOATs of football, if not “the GOAT”.
PSG have offered a renewed contract to Messi on a few occasions, which the Argentinian maestro has repeatedly rejected.
Since then, the relationship between PSG and Messi has reached an impasse.
PSG recently suspended Messi for two weeks, citing an unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia. The truth of the matter is that PSG knew about the trip – which Messi had delayed on a few occasions for the club – and it was accepted based on the travel rules the club had set.
The trip was organised on a rest day, and all players were allowed two trip days during the season.
The trip was the day after a game, which is always a scheduled rest day, but the management changed the schedule citing poor results as an excuse. The alteration to the schedule was after Messi had already boarded the plane.
It is believed the club wanted to make it look like they were in control, and that Messi would be leaving because they weren’t going to renew his contract, rather than Messi deciding to leave.
Being broken up with is always tough, isn’t that right PSG?
Messi wants Barcelona, and they want him, but the chances of that are slim to none. Barca are under huge financial stress, and have to reduce their wage bill drastically. This was a major factor in Gerard Pique retiring from football at the end of last season. The Spaniard said he “never wanted to play for another team” and they couldn’t afford to keep him on…
So, with Barca out, Messi is very likely to follow in the footsteps of his biggest rival in football, Cristiano Ronaldo. Al Hilal is throwing money at Messi, and there’s only so many times you can say no. Although he won’t be in Saudi Arabia for longer than a couple of years, it will likely be his next step before a move to America, and then back to his home club in Rosario, Newell’s Old Boys.
Especially if Al Hilal are able to secure the signing of Luis Enrique as coach.
Likely club in 2023/24 season: Al Hilal (more than likely)
CR7 wants to leave Al Nassr, and we are not shocked.
What may shock you is that a return to Real Madrid may be on the cards for the Portuguese star.
Amidst the confusion surrounding Ronaldo’s future, Real Madrid Chairman, Florentino Perez, stated that Ronaldo would be back at Real at some point in the future, despite not taking him in 2022.
Alternatively, a move to America is possible. It is no secret that Inter Miami, co-owned by David Beckham, wants both Messi and Ronaldo to play at the club. Maybe CR7 comes first, and Messi after that.
Truth be told, with Messi’s arrival in Saudi Arabia all but certain, Ronaldo may stay for another year just to lock horns with the Argentine one more time.
You never know, they may even sit down and have that dinner they’ve always talked about having together.
Likely club in 2023/24 season: Al Nassr
The Brazilian is also set to leave PSG after a poor season. To be honest, once Killian Mbappe was given more control at the club, this was expected to happen. However, Mbappe isn’t at complete fault for what’s happened.
Neymar, who is expecting his second child, has had enough of the politics at PSG.
The fans have turned on him (and Messi), and he has stopped giving as much for the club.
It’s no surprise that the player has been linked with a return to Barcelona, but the same issues that existed for Messi, also does for Neymar.
As a result, he is very likely to end up in one of two places, America or Newcastle United. The latter can afford to pay his wages, and he will get a chance to play in the best league in the world, but Newcastle is no Paris or Barcelona.
The likes of Bruno Guimaraes and Joelington playing for Newcastle will definitely help make the decision to join the club easier.
Likely club in 2023/24 season: Newcastle United
Arguably the best dead ball specialist in history has a decision to make at the end of the season. With Southampton all but down, the midfielder has to leave the club, or play at a level that is, well, beneath him.
The 28-year-old still has aspirations of being an England regular, and a move to a top Premiership club can make that happen.
The players and staff will have a meeting this week at Southampton to decide the agenda once relegation is confirmed, and the likelihood is that JWP will go to Newcastle United or Tottenham, both of who are desperate for the player’s signature.
Tottenham need a more creative midfielder as Pierre-Emile Hojberg is just not good enough to do that. So, going there may be the better option for him, especially if he is not too worried about never winning a trophy.
However, at Newcastle, he will likely displace Jacob Murphy or Sean Longstaff, and have a chance at winning silverware.
Likely club in 2023/24 season: Newcastle United
Roberto “Bobby” Firmino has been a huge hit at Liverpool, and rightfully so. Despite Jurgen Klopp’s best efforts, the striker is ready for a new challenge, and has plenty of suitors.
As it stands, he has all but agreed to go to Barcelona on a free.
Hold on a sec…I thought Barca had to cut their wages…
Yes, they do, but believe it or not, Firmino isn’t going to be offered the kind of money it would require to get Messi or Neymar back at the club.
Another possible destination for the Brazilian striker is Napoli, or maybe even Real Madrid.
He is unlikely to go to either of the latter two teams unless a major change happens to their playing staff. At Napoli, Osimhen will remain the main star, and Real Madrid have Benzema.
If Osimen moves away from Naples, there is a chance Firmino will fill the space on the team sheet left behind. Benzema isn’t going anywhere.
Likely club in 2023/24 season: Barcelona
Harry Kane has just surpassed Wayne Rooney to take second place in the all-time top Premier League scorers list behind Alan Shearer.
Great achievement for the Spurs and England captain.
So it’s no surprise that his name is being linked with moves away from the North London club as failure continues to be part of Tottenham’s make up.
Manchester United are interested, and they have made sure the player is fully aware of it. In fact, they tested the waters a little at the start of the season, but Daniel Levy wasn’t willing to let his star player leave.
It seems Levy is once again trying to do his best to convince Kane to stay by bringing in a coach his captain wants – maybe a return for Pochettino – or sign a few new players the club needs to reach the heights of a few years ago, when they reached the Champions League final.
One thing in Levy’s favour is the unlikelihood of Harry Kane forcing a move away from Spurs. The player has had talks with Levy about a move away from the club, but never formally put in a transfer request, or refused to boycott the club.
With this in mind, it is hard to see Kane being allowed to move to a league rival.
However, Spurs, who are somehow in a Champions League spot, have to make sure they finish top four. Failure to do so may be the final straw for Spurs’ and England’s top scorer.
Likely club in 2023/24 season: Spurs
Mason Mount has another year on his contract, but may end up leaving the club at the end of the season to replenish some of the £300m spent/wasted by the club this year.
The midfielder, like his club, has had a massive dip in form. Mount had won the Chelsea player of the season for two consecutive years, but his performances this year have been nothing close to good enough. In fact, he is having the worst season of his career for goals, scoring just three times in all competitions.
Although it is unlikely that he will leave, a move to Germany is possible.
Likely club in 2023/24 season: Bayern Munich
For anyone who hasn’t seen the Nigerian striker play this season, you have missed out!
Pace, power, perfection, pclinical pfinishing – ok, I wanted another word or two to complete the list, and I like alliteration.
Osimhen has been the star – along with Khvicha Kvaratskhelia – in a season that has seen Napoli claim the Serie A title after 33 long years. He has scored 28 goals in all competitions, and even seems like breaking the Serie A jinx by winning both the top scorer and league titles in the same season.
The last time the top goalscorer in the league played for the champions was at the end of the 2008/09 season. Then again, not sure if that counts, as the Inter striker to claim the golden boot isn’t a human, but a Swedish lion.
Yep, you’ve got it, Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
With four games left:
Victor Osimhen: 23 goals
Lautaro Martinez: 19 (Inter)
Boulaye Dia: 15 (Salernitana)
Osimhen was very likely to move to Chelsea for next year, which is no longer likely with the Blues failing to qualify for European competition. Alternatively, Bayern Munich need a striker, so Osimhen might head there. Man Utd have also shown interest, but there’s a major possibility the moody striker will clash with Erik Ten Haag.
Osimhen still has another two years to run on a five-year contract signed in 2020. For any team willing to end that contract early, it will cost them in the region of £150m.
Likely club in 2023/24 season: Napoli
Another highly sought after Englishman is West Ham’s Declan Rice.
The battling midfielder is a leader far beyond his years, and a more skilful version of legendary Roy Keane. Although Roy Keane had a more vicious side to him, Rice’s abilities on the ball are far superior.
Rice loves playing for West Ham, but his aspirations to play Champions League football is likely to take him away from the London team.
Chelsea, Man Utd, and Arsenal are desperate to sign the midfielder, with the latter closest to prising him away. If they are to get Rice, it will have to be by smashing the club transfer record of £72m paid to Lille for Nicolas Pepe, in 2019.
The truth is that all three teams need Declan Rice.
Arsenal have an unpredictable Granit Xhaka – who may be leaving on a swap deal with Leverkusen’s Moussa Diaby – who’s temperament has cost the Gunners on a few occasions.
Chelsea need some consistency in midfield, which Rice would provide.
Man Utd have average players such as Scott McTominay and Fred, who are just not good enough. Rice, along with Casemiro, would be the best midfield pairing Man Utd would have for what seems an eternity.
West Ham have set the price at £120m.
Likely club in 2023/24 season: Arsenal
I know many of you may not have ever heard of the name, but you will.
The Turkish teenager has been a star for Fenerbahce this year, and broken into the Turkish national team as well.
Although his six goals in 35 appearances don’t make him sound special, his ability on the ball, willingness to take on players, and fearless play has made European giants take notice.
Valued at a meagre £6m, his signature would be a steal. Fenerbahce will be expecting something more in the region of £25m, though.
Arsenal, Barcelona, PSG, and Man City have all shown interest, seeing the potential in the future star.
The likelihood is that the youngster will stay at Fenerbahce for another season to fully establish himself in the first team before making the move to England, Spain, or France.
Likely club in 2023/24 season: Fenerbahce