Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Paul Pogba linked with Premier League transfers


The transfer window may not re-open for another three months but Premier League clubs continue to be linked with some of the biggest names in world football.

Here, we take a look at the players who could  be on their way to England this summer, according to media speculation...

Cristiano Ronaldo

Has Sir Alex Ferguson been trying to persuade Cristiano Ronaldo to return to Manchester United? The Sun’s Antony Kastrinakis has the latest.

Cristiano Ronaldo has previously said he would be happy to end his playing days at Real Madrid. However, Sky Sports News reporter James Cooper suggested in January Manchester United were set for a spectacular summer in the transfer market – could they tempt one of Old Trafford’s favourite sons back to the Premier League?

Our Spanish football expert Guillem Balague reckons Ronaldo will stay at Real until the end of the 2015/16 season at least. However, fellow Spanish football journalist Graham Hunter told Revista de La Liga that Ronaldo is uncertain on his future - and Manchester City could make a sensational move for the Ballon d’Or winner.  

"I know that the players at Manchester City were talking very, very firmly that they believed there was a successful move coming from that club over the last couple of weeks," Hunter said.

"Whether that makes it true or not, I wouldn't like to say. What we know is [for] the mega clubs, with petrodollars, there's never been a better time to say: 'Well, would you like to cash in on your chips?'"

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Gareth Bale

MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 15:  Gareth Bale of Real Madrid celebrates after scoring Real's opening goal during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Leva
Image: Gareth Bale has been jeered by the Real Madrid fans this term

It’s safe to say Gareth Bale’s second season at Real Madrid hasn’t gone as smoothly as his first. The Welsh wonder – who scored winning goals in Real’s Champions League and Copa del Rey victories - has been jeered by his own supporters, labelled a ball-hog and allegedly annoyed Real’s main man Ronaldo at times this term.

It’s no secret Manchester United made a substantial bid for Gareth Bale’s services before the forward signed a world-record breaking deal with Real in 2013, and there’s no question the former Tottenham man would still be welcomed at Old Trafford.

The man himself has insisted he’s happy in Spain – but it remains to be seen how a mega-bid from United would be dealt with by the powers that be at the Bernabeu.

Mats Hummels

The Sunday Times' Jonathan Northcroft told the Sunday Supplement about the transfer funds available to Louis van Gaal this summer

Mats Hummels has said previously: “I am not really known as a globetrotter. I have been with two clubs in 26 years. Loyalty is important to me.” That commitment to Borussia Dortmund has been put to the test this season, as Jurgen Klopp’s side have endured a woeful season in the Bundesliga. After flirting with the prospect of relegation earlier in the campaign, they now seem likely to miss out on Champions League qualification.

Arsenal and Manchester United have both been linked in the press with Germany’s World Cup-winning defender and, should both club’s book a place in Europe’s premier club competition next season, could offer Hummels something Dortmund can’t: Champions League football.   

Sami Khedira

Sami Khedira of Real Madrid
Image: Sami Khedira: On his way out of Real Madrid

Sami Khedira has confirmed he will leave Real Madrid when his contract expires in the summer, but says he is not yet sure where he will go next. Guillem Balague has suggested Bayern Munich and Schalke have been strongly linked with the Germany international - but Arsene Wenger is also reportedly interested. 

Khedira has spoken of his desire for a new challenge and Arsenal would provide the midfielder - who joined Real from Stuttgart in 2010 - the chance to link up with former Bernabeu team-mate and countryman Mesut Ozil.   

Mario Mandzukic

Mario Mandzukic: Celebrates after scoring his second goal
Image: Mario Mandzukic has had a rumoured spat with Diego Simeone

Media speculation suggested Arsenal were set to make a move for Atletico Madrid striker Mario Mandzukic in January, however, fresh from a summer 2014 switch from Bayern Munich, there seemed little chance of the Croatian uprooting again so soon after swapping the Bundesliga for Spain’s top flight.

However, there were rumours of a spat between the striker and Atletico boss Diego Simeone when Mandzukic was benched for a crucial game with Sevilla. “I hope that gets resolved, but I am not so sure it will be,” Spanish football expert Terry Gibson told Revista de La Liga.

Dani Alves

Image: Who will call on the services of Dani Alves next season?

Dani Alves’ contract at Barcelona is up in the summer – and remarkably the Catalans are yet to tie the Brazil right-back down with another offer. The 31-year-old has made 32 appearances for Luis Enrique’s men this term, yet his future remains unclear.

Catalan-based newspaper Sport have speculated Manchester United are one of seven clubs set to table an offer for Alves this summer, while PSG have also been linked with a move for the two-time Champions League winner.

Paul Pogba

Image: Paul Pogba has been linked with a return to Man Utd

“Pogba is master of his own destiny and if he chooses to leave then it will be hard for the club to keep him,” Juventus director general Giuseppe Marotta conceded this week. That statement may well have caught the attention of key figures at Manchester United, given the club are reportedly keen on a reunion with the France midfielder.

The 21-year-old has gone on to win two Serie A titles and the 2013 U20 World Cup (where he claimed the Golden Ball as best player) since leaving United in 2012. Voted best young player at the 2014 World Cup, Pogba has said “I love the club” when asked about United – but Chelsea are also rumoured to be in the hunt to bring him back to the Premier League.  

Luiz Adriano

Image: Luiz Adriano bagged nine goals in the Champions League group phase

Luiz Adriano was top scorer in the Champions League after the group phase, having fired five past BATE Borisov in a 7-0 win - and Shakhtar Donetsk’s Brazilian striker this week suggested he could be on the move soon. “My plan is to respect the contract, which has not been renewed and will expire in December 2015. With my contract set to expire and many good performances, it'll be difficult to stay in Ukraine.”

Whether Arsenal and Liverpool will have to wait until next winter to follow up on their reported interest, or whether they can tempt Donetsk to part with their player early, will be a talking point this summer.

Nicolas Otamendi

Valencia's Argentinian defender Nicolas Otamendi (L) celebrates his goal
Image: What's on the horizon for Valencia's Nicolas Otamendi?

Guillem Balague wrote on Twitter in January that Manchester United had a 35m euro bid rejected by Valencia for defender Nicolas Otamendi. Since then the two parties have continued to be linked, with speculation about a follow-up move in the summer gathering pace in the English press.

The 26-year-old Argentina centre-back, who won three league titles with Porto before moving to Spain in February 2014 for 12m euros, has a £38m buy-out clause.

Alexandre Lacazette

Lyon forward Alexandre Lacazette celebrates
Image: Lyon ace Alexandre Lacazette has had a breakthrough year

France international Alexandre Lacazette has had a breakthrough season for Ligue 1 title-chasers Lyon. The 23-year-old has scored 23 in 26 appearances this term and, although the club’s president has voiced his desperation to keep Lacazette at the club this summer, the player has conceded there are no guarantees he’ll remain with Lyon, with Liverpool among the clubs supposedly chasing his signature.

“If the president wants me to leave for the good of the club or for other reasons, I will be forced to leave,” he said. “We know that in football, everyone can go every summer. This is not an open door, just reality. For now, I’m at Lyon and contracted, but you never know what may happen this summer. There will be a discussion between the president and myself. We will see if I continue at Lyon or not.”

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