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Kane? Schick? Pogba? Grealish? Who will be the summer's big signings?


All eyes might be on the climax to Euro 2020, but with the new season little more than a month away, clubs are busy looking at summer transfers.

Manchester United made the first big move with a £73m deal for Jadon Sancho, but who else could be switching clubs? Will a star of the Euros be coming to the Premier League? And how is the coronavirus pandemic affecting things?

BBC Sport takes a look at how this transfer window could pan out.

Who will be the big transfers?

Not many deals this summer will exceed Sancho’s move to United.

Two players who might attract bigger fees, though, are England’s Harry Kane and Jack Grealish, both wanted by Manchester City.

Kane, 27, has made clear he wants to leave Tottenham, who have shown no inclination to release a player who has three years left on his contract. Indeed, they told new boss Nuno Espirito Santo that they expect the England captain to stay.

Aston Villa are talking up their chances of keeping midfielder Grealish, 25, but few expect them to succeed. It has been denied by all parties but speculation will not go away that a deal to take Grealish to City is already agreed.

England centre-back Ben White, 23, could move on to Arsenal – with Brighton able to command a decent fee after tying him to a new contract last summer.

West Ham have made it known they don’t wish to sell 22-year-old England midfielder Declan Rice – but that doesn’t mean they won’t.

And if West Ham are vulnerable to losing Rice, aren’t Leeds in the same situation with their England midfielder Kalvin Phillips, 25, who is also excelling on a higher stage than the one available to him at club level?

Given he missed out on the Euros because of a lack of playing time, midfielder Harry Winks, 25, may leave Tottenham. And if Kane and Grealish arrive at Manchester City, there will be departures from Etihad Stadium as well, with the futures of Brazil striker Gabriel Jesus, 24, and Portugal midfielder Bernardo Silva, 26, open to question.

As has been the case virtually every summer since he rejoined Manchester United in 2016, there is speculation about Paul Pogba’s future.

The France midfielder, 28, has held talks with United over extending a contract that expires in 2022. If he doesn’t sign, United risk losing him for nothing in 12 months or trying to sell him in a depressed market for significantly less than the £89m they paid for him. But if he does sign, he would almost certainly get a pay rise at a time when many are questioning whether he is worth one.

In the meantime, United have made contact with Real Madrid about France World Cup-winning defender Raphael Varane.

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The 28-year-old’s contract expires next summer and there are doubts over whether he will be offered an extension that would meet his demands, with Real believed to be willing to sell him for around £50m.

Away from the Premier League, Lionel Messi, 34, is expected to stay at Barcelona, despite becoming a free agent after allowing his contract to expire. Talk of Cristiano Ronaldo returning to Manchester United continues to ebb and flow, but it would cost an eye-watering amount of money to get the Portugal captain, 36, out of Juventus a year before his contract ends.

Who actually has any money?

Manchester City and Paris St-Germain do have some flexibility with their spending, with their financial muscle having shielded them from the worst of the pandemic.

For others, it is a question of manipulating finances. That could either be through obtaining a rolling credit facility, as Manchester United have done, launching a share sale, as Juventus said last Wednesday they intended to do, straightforward loans or realising assets – which could mean selling players, land or buildings.

What about the stars of the Euros?

It is a well-known saying that clubs should not buy players based purely on their performances at major tournaments. It does happen, though – and there is talent out there to be pursued.

Given how well Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal did at West Ham last season – and the impact the Czech Republic made at Euro 2020 in reaching the quarter-finals – don’t be surprised if a few of their team-mates come to the Premier League.

Striker Patrik Schick, 25, is only 12 months into a five-year contract at Bayer Leverkusen – but they missed out on next season’s Champions League and may listen to offers.

Belgium winger Jeremy Doku, 19, caught the eye during the quarter-final defeat by Italy. Signed by French club Rennes from Anderlecht last year, he has a contract until 2025.

Italy’s progress will see many of their star men in demand – although one of their standouts, Roma wing-back Leonardo Spinazzola, 28, is set for a long spell out of action after rupturing his Achilles tendon against Belgium. His deal at Roma runs until 2024.

Sassuolo midfielder Manuel Locatelli, 23, who has scored twice so far at the tournament, has been linked with Juventus and Arsenal.

A player linked with a move to Italy to join Roma is Switzerland’s Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka, 28.

Xhaka has divided opinion during his five years in north London but was a key factor in his country’s run to the quarter-finals, before suspension ruled him out of the defeat by Spain.

Netherlands and PSV Eindhoven wing-back Denzel Dumfries, 25, impressed as his side reached the last 16. Bayern Munich, Everton, AC Milan and Inter Milan are all reported to be interested.

Portugal midfielder Renato Sanches flopped on loan at Swansea in 2017-18, but the 23-year-old won the French title at Lille last season and impressed at Euro 2020. He has been linked with Liverpool and Arsenal.

Denmark midfielder Mikkel Damsgaard, 21, arrived at the Euros as back-up to Christian Eriksen. But having been called upon after Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest in their opening game, he has performed admirably.

It means interest is growing in Damsgaard, who has a contract with Sampdoria until 2024.

What about Covid?

It is impossible to understate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on club finances.

Chairman Daniel Levy estimates Tottenham have lost £200m – a huge amount for a club trying to pay for a £1bn stadium that was supposed to generate more in matchday revenue than any of their Premier League rivals could bring in.

In fact, the smaller top-flight clubs have suffered less because television money – which has continued to come in – forms a greater portion of their income, as opposed to revenue generated on matchdays. It remains to be seen if those clubs are therefore in a stronger position to resist offers for their best players.

The impact of non-matchday revenue is likely to be felt in England’s second tier too, which may have an impact on transfer activity. Six clubs in next season’s Championship will receive parachute payments – Fulham, West Brom, Sheffield United, Bournemouth, Cardiff and Huddersfield – which will give them a major advantage, in theory. Huddersfield, though, are using theirs to pay off debt, which has reduced their spending.

In Europe, there is an additional problem. Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus, among others, had already stretched themselves trying to compete with English rivals, whose TV income is so much greater. The impact of Covid-19 has increased those problems.

Barcelona’s debt, for instance, is more than €1bn, which explains why they are bringing in free transfers, such as Sergio Aguero and Memphis Depay.

It means that while other clubs are weighing up significant purchases, Barca’s biggest signing is likely to involve keeping hold of their star player. Signing Messi up to a new contract may just feel, for them, as big a triumph as any blockbuster deals announced elsewhere this summer.

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