Haaland and Nunez transfers set the tone for an intriguing 2022 summer transfer window
The big boys predictably stormed the doors.
The 2022 summer transfer window has only been open for five days, but already what will likely be his two biggest transfers have been announced: Manchester City’s long-talked-about signing of Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund and the capture by Benfica’s Darwin Nunez Liverpool.
The two high-profile transfers are expected to spark a series of other moves among Europe’s elite clubs before the window closes on August 31.
Although the market is very dynamic, with daily rumors and transfers, some will get more attention than others.
I’m mainly referring to the future of Sadio Mane, Robert Lewandowski, Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku and, surprisingly, Christian Eriksen.
Even Mohamed Salah, who appears to be staying at Liverpool for another season, will be in the spotlight. The Egyptian star will enter the final 12 months of his contract with Liverpool and there is feverish speculation over his near future.
According to reports, as well as sources close to the player, Salah’s preference is to stay in the Premier League should he become a free agent next summer if the Reds don’t present a better contract offer. Player and club representatives have not met since December and there appears to be a disparity of interests between the parties. Barcelona have already sent a message that the Liverpool striker can join their galaxy of stars at Camp Nou next summer with a hefty signing fee.
I am now convinced that the player and the representatives will wait until the summer of 2023 to make their decision.
The case of Sadio Mane is more worrying in the immediate future. Bayern Munich are the favorites to land the Senegalese star, and it is indeed their preferred destination, but the German club have yet to offer the fee demanded by Liverpool.
The Reds want around $50m for the player, well above the amount Bayern seem willing to spend so far. A deal, however, should be done, especially now that his replacement at Anfield, Nunez, has been secured.
Mane’s move to Bavaria will pave the way for what seems like an inevitable move for Lewandowski away from the Allianz Arena.
He was briefly linked with Liverpool, but it’s believed Lewandowski and Barcelona are hopeful of a deal. It is common knowledge that Barcelona offered 32m euros (£27.8m) to Bayern Munich for the player but this offer fell short of the German club’s expectations. On Friday June 3, it emerged that the Polish striker was ready to trigger clause 17 of the FIFA rules, which allows a player over 28 to repay the final year of his contract.
Faced with this eventuality, the 33-year-old Polish striker will have to pay nearly 23 million dollars to terminate his contract with Bayern, not to mention a drop in salary at his new club.
Lewandowski, the striker who has registered 50 goals and six assists in 46 games this season, winning an eighth successive Bundesliga title, seems determined to do everything in his power to move to Barcelona.
Pogba, on the other hand, is no longer a Manchester United player. Last week, the English club made the 29-year-old Frenchman’s departure official and wished him luck with his future, although some fans will quit before then after six disappointing years at the club.
Juventus and Pogba are set to sign a four-year deal for the midfielder to return to the club where he played 178 games between 2012 and 2016, winning the Serie A title four times and the Coppa Italia twice occasions.
In my opinion, if the late Mino Raiola was still with us today, it’s a transfer that would have already been resolved for one of his closest clients. Now it seems that sooner or later this transfer will take place.
Then there’s Lukaku, whose return to Stamford Bridge last summer was nothing short of disastrous, with the player and Chelsea set to divorce this summer. His clear preference is a return to Inter Milan, although there have been rumors that a move to Tottenham and Antonio Conte, under whom he enjoyed his best season at Inter, could also be on the cards.
Although Conte has shown interest in Lukaku, it’s worth remembering that the London side already boast two of the Premier League’s best strikers in Harry Kane and Son Heung-min. Lukaku’s arrival would give the team unprecedented offensive firepower.
Add Tottenham’s capture of Ivan Perisic from Inter and the impending transfer of Yves Bissouma from Brighton, among others, and it looks like Conte is leading one of the best transfer windows in recent years.
Perhaps the most surprising transfer story of the summer is that of Eriksen, who less than a year ago appeared to have given up on football after suffering cardiac arrest during the delayed Euro 2020.
New Manchester United boss Erik Ten Hag has added the Dane to his revamped squad on a free transfer. The Dutch manager is on the hunt for midfield reinforcements – with several players starting alongside Pogba – and Eriksen has now emerged as an option for United after a stellar campaign for Brentford since returning to the Premier League in January. It would be the most heartwarming ending for a player loved by all football fans.
There will be many more offers from now until the end of August. But it’s arguably those at the top of football’s food chain that will have the biggest knock-on effect on the rest of the transfer window.