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A LOOK AT LA LIGA

The transfer merry-go-round

Bale, Neymar and Griezmann will surely be on the move.
Bale, Neymar and Griezmann will surely be on the move. / Agencies
  • Big names are being linked with big moves; it only takes one to send the market into overdrive

Roll up, roll up... Get ready to jump on board the most star-studded football merry-go-round in the history of football.

This summer is going to be a headline writer's dream, with superstar names screaming out from the front pages of the sports dailies almost every day.

Antoine Griezmann will head to Barcelona, possibly Neymar too. Gareth Bale is expected to depart Real Madrid with a 'Galáctico' taking his place (it could be Paul Pogba), and Atlético Madrid are also splashing the cash.

It's all gone quiet on the Griezmann front. It's clear he's moving and a press conference will be pencilled in once 1 July is reached, his buy-out clause drops and the accountants are happy.

The big question is will Neymar also join him at Barcelona? There's lots of newspaper inches discussing his future. Here I'm guilty of joining in with the charade!

It's clear that he's become too high maintenance for PSG who would be very happy to let him take his circus elsewhere and recoup most of the ludicrous 222 million euros they invested in his signature.

The Brazilian wants the highest profile move possible. It's been leaked that he'd quite fancy 'going home' to Barcelona. There seems to be a dignified silence from the Nou Camp. It's in their interest to be linked with a world class talent but I'm sure there are reservations about the baggage he brings. In fact, when he left he still wanted his loyalty bonus paying and the legal arguments continue.

Ousmane Dembélé still has to fully flourish at Barça and there are stories that Alexandre Lacazette could be on the recruitment radar. The French striker could be a more likely prospect given the complexities of FFP and the knock-on signing Neymar would have on balancing the books.

I'm not sure that too many people actually understand FFP but there must be somebody at Real Madrid who has got a handle on it and has told the president how many players he must shed.

It's obvious that Zinedine Zidane won't be pinning his faith in Gareth Bale and he needs to reduce his senior squad which is currently close to forty players. With the arrival of Eden Hazard's and Luka Jović there needs to be a couple of big sales. It's feasible that Isco may interest Manchester City, a club that's been linked with him in the past.

Bale's future is less certain. There's a limited number of clubs who could afford the expected transfer fee of around 80 million euros and only a finite list who could afford his wages. If we were all putting two and two together it would make sense for some deal to be bashed out with Manchester United where Pogba seems to be in a similar predicament as an expensive spare part.

The trend so far has been for clubs to invest in emerging young talent. Barcelona spent 75 million euros on Frenkie de Jong who was outstanding for Ajax last season; Real have invested 60 million in Luka Jović whose goalscoring record at Eintracht Frankfurt was impressive - although he looked like a young man with a million things on his mind at the European Under-21 Championships.

Atlético are se t to invest 100 million to get João Félix from Benfica before any other club could swoop for the 19-year-old Portuguese wonderkid. It appears they have manoeuvred the market intelligently to invest the Griezmann money in Félix and Marcos Llorente from Real Madrid. Llorente cost 32 million from Real but he's replacing Rodri who seems to be heading to Manchester City for 72.

So by now I trust you are getting my drift? Every multi-million-euro move triggers the next multi-million-euro - or even pound - move. The transfer market is about to go into overdrive.