The 2015 UEFA Champions League final was last weekend but the football season is not finished just yet. The Copa América is underway in South America which will feature some of the world’s greatest footballers, including Lionel Messi, Sergio Agüero and Neymar.
Argentina are the favourites to go all the way in Chile and win the tournament for the first time since 1993. Their football odds are 2/1 with most bookmakers to lift the trophy – with Brazil, Chile and Colombia the next three favourites.
With the number of stars on show comes a number of players who will be linked to the Premier League this summer and here are 12 names you may want to look out for as they could be playing in England next summer:
Carlos Bacca (Sevilla & Colombia)
With few top quality strikers seemingly available in this summer’s transfer market, Sevilla’s hitman could be one of the top names thrown around. The Colombian is 28-years-old now, but reminds us of a young Michael Owen – a frequent goalscorer who is good at running off the shoulder of the last centre-back and a poacher inside the penalty area.
Bacca scored 20 goals in La Liga this season and a further six in the UEFA Europa League including a brace in the final in which his side beat Dnipro 3-2 to win the tournament for a second successive season. That result means Sevilla will play Champions League football next season which in turn raises his value even higher, meaning clubs may be priced out of a move considering his age.
Edinson Cavani (Paris Saint-Germain & Uruguay)
The Paris Saint-Germain forward has long been linked with a move away from the French Ligue 1 champions. Despite a nice wage, beautiful city, a trophy-laden season and regular Champions League football, reports in the media suggest Edinson Cavani is not happy because Zlatan Ibrahimović in the central man at PSG.
Cavani has been a regular goalscorer wherever he’s played in Europe – Palermo, Napoli and PSG. Chelsea and Manchester United have been strongly linked with a move for the Uruguayan over the past 12 months and should any club be able to lure him away from the French capital this summer they will have invested in a top player.
Jesús Manuel Corona (FC Twente & Mexico)
Two seasons into his career at FC Twente and Jesús Manuel Corona is attracting attention from some big clubs around Europe. A versatile forward who has played across the front three in the Eredivisie but is primarily a right forward.
Some are dubbing him the next big thing in Mexican football, but we’ve heard that a few times before for the likes of Carlos Vela and Javier Hernández. We believe Corona could certainly make the step up into one of Europe’s top three leagues – a great dribbler, works hard off the ball and scored nine goals in the Dutch league last season. Could improve on the number of assists he makes but certainly a player to look out for this summer.
Douglas Costa (Shakhtar Donetsk & Brazil)
Brazil are looking to restore pride in their nation following their 7-1 hammering at home to Germany in last summer’s World Cup, nearly 12 months ago. One of those players who could help them go all the way in Chile is Shakhtar Donetsk forward Douglas Costa.
Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool have all been linked with the 24-year-old who has spent more than five years with Shakhtar Donetsk winning league title after league title. It was reported last summer he wanted a move away from the club following trouble in the country – maybe he will finally get his move this summer?
Ángel Di María (Manchester United & Argentina)
What does the future have in store for Ángel Di María? 12 months ago he was coming off the best season of his career which included winning the Champions League. He has having an excellent World Cup too until his injury in the quarter-final ruled him out of the final two matches.
A British record transfer move to Manchester United and it didn’t happen for him in his first season in England. Completing 90 minutes on only seven occasions in the Premier League, Di María looked like he lacked fitness, and on occasions, effort. Does the arrival of Memphis Depay and the contract renewal for Ashley Young mean the Argentine will get his move to PSG who have been strongly linked with Di María for more than 12 months now.
Roberto Firmino (1899 Hoffenheim & Brazil)
A quality player who seems to fall under the radar time and time again, it’s a bit of a mystery why Roberto Firmino doesn’t get the attention he deserves. The attacking midfielder has been involved in goal after goal in the German Bundesliga for the past two seasons and has looked a promising player ever since he joined the side back in 2010.
Though 1899 Hoffenheim are well invested financially, yoyoing around the top flight without ever making much of an impact at the end of the season could see Roberto Firmino move to a Champions League club this summer. The attacking midfielder has been linked to clubs as big as Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United, with an £18 million price tag often thrown around – that’s good value for the 23-year-old. It may increase with a good performance this summer, if he gets his chance in the Brazil team as he believe he will.
Gonzalo Higuaín (Napoli & Argentina)
Napoli’s failure to qualify for next season’s Champions League has led to strong suggestions that Gonzalo Higuaín will leave the Italian side this summer. His agent has suggested just that earlier this week too.
A former Real Madrid striker who is lethal inside the penalty area, has attracted the attention of both Arsenal and Manchester United this summer. 27 years old, a proven striker could prove to be a great asset for either side, but he wouldn’t come cheaply.
Ezequiel Lavezzi (Paris Saint-Germain & Argentina)
Another player at the French champions who is reportedly unhappy due to Zlatan Ibrahimović being the focal point at Paris Saint-Germain. Ezequiel Lavezzi has been a dependable player during his many seasons in Europe at Napoli and in France. Now 30 years old, the Argentine forward is running out of time to get a move to another top club.
With Lucas Moura and Javier Pastore available to take his role, Laurent Blanc’s side could let Lavezzi go this summer, but would a club be willing to match PSG’s asking price given his age?
Jackson Martínez (FC Porto & Colombia)
Three blistering years in the Portuguese league, it’s only really FC Porto’s asking price that has prevented Jackson Martínez from moving to a bigger league. Now 28 years old, it may be a bit of a gamble for any club to match their demands, but he proved himself with seven goals in eight Champions League appearances this past season.
Martínez has scored 20+ goals in each of his three Portuguese Primeira Liga seasons and there are plenty of clubs willing to take a chance on him if his current club would accept an offer less than his buy-out clause. Though his agent has said earlier this week a move will be announced shortly…
Miranda (Atlético Madrid & Brazil)
Surprisingly overlooked for last summer’s World Cup, the 30-year-old centre-back is getting his chance at this summer’s Copa América under Dunga. After a couple of excellent seasons in Spain, Miranda is being strongly linked with a move to either Chelsea or Manchester United this summer.
He’s been dependable at the back for the surprise 2013-14 La Liga champions and heading into the final 12 months of his contract could see Atléti cash in on the centre-back this summer, especially with youngster José Giménez breaking through impressively.
Fernando Muslera (Galatasaray & Uruguay)
He got a nice paycheck when leaving Lazio for the Turkish league in 2011, now Fernando Muslera should be looking to join a top club to prove himself once again. Now 28 years old, he could be heading into the peak of his career.
Arsenal and Manchester United are both expected to sign a new goalkeeper this summer – if they can’t land their top two targets, Muslera could certainly be a fall back option. A great shot stopper but prone to the odd howler may see him overlooked by Arsène Wenger and Louis van Gaal.
Arturo Vidal (Juventus & Chile)
The first goalscorer at the 2015 Copa América, Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal was strongly linked with a move to Manchester United after last summer’s World Cup. It didn’t happen, but after winning the double with the Italian side and playing in the Champions League final, he’s essentially done all he can in Turin and this may now be the summer to move on.
Juventus’ capture of Sami Khedira this week could certainly spark up the rumours of either Vidal or Paul Pogba leaving the Serie A champions this summer. Vidal is an aggressive player in the centre of midfield who is a great passer, creates goals and has a lethal long range shot. Can be let down by his discipline sometimes though. Has an expensive price tag on him which seemingly blocked his move to United 12 months ago.