Here are some of the biggest prospective moves to watch out for from the world of football, with the summer transfer market in England having opened on June 14.
Kylian Mbappe has informed Paris Saint-Germain that he will not sign a 12-month contract extension. This is expected to result in an auction for the France striker, with Real Madrid likely to be first in line.
Following Benzema’s transfer to Saudi Arabia’s champion Al-Ittihad, the Spanish club is in need of a center forward.
Harry Kane, who has a year left on his Tottenham contract, has also been linked to Madrid and Manchester United.
In addition, United is attempting to get Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount.
• Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)
Mbappe is widely expected to to succeed Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as football’s biggest superstar, and his refusal to sign a new contract with PSG has alerted Europe’s top clubs.
He will be a free agent after the end of his contract next year. PSG does not want to risk losing him for free, which might lead to him being sold shortly if a new contract cannot be reached.
Madrid had a $190 million bid rejected in 2021, and the timing would appear to be perfect to launch a new bid after Benzema’s departure.
Mbappe, however, says he will see out the final year of his deal.
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• Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)
Kane could eventually depart Tottenham after years of uncertainty regarding his future. With a year left on his contract, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is under pressure to either sign him to a new contract or cash out.
Both of those clubs are looking for a new striker. Madrid must replace Benzema, while Manchester United has yet to fill the vacuum created by Cristiano Ronaldo‘s departure last year.
If Mbappe leaves this year, PSG may be added to the list of potential suitors.
Kane has never won a major championship and will turn 30 before the start of the next season, so the timing could be right.
• Declan Rice (West Ham)
Rice is now the most sought-after midfielder in Europe with the departure of Jude Bellingham to Real Madrid.
He led West Ham to victory in the Europa Conference League, often regarded as his final act for the London club.
Following the departure of Gundogan to Barcelona, City is looking for a top midfielder, while Arsenal has made that position a priority after finishing second in the Premier League last season.
• Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain)
Messi and Mbappe have dominated the headlines in PSG ahead of the transfer season, but Neymar’s future is also questionable.
The French champions are preparing a strategy shift that will emphasize youthful and home-grown players. Neymar does not appear to suit that shift in orientation, thus he could join Messi as the next big figure to depart.
Much depends on who wants him, with Saudi Arabia being linked with a move for him as part of the country’s aggressive recruitment effort.
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• Mason Mount (Chelsea)
Chelsea has already turned down a proposal of around $51 million from Manchester United for Mount, and two more have supposedly been submitted without success.
United’s first attempt is to sign a great striker, although Erik ten Hag may also be looking for a goalkeeper with David de Gea out of contract.
Mount is a dynamic midfielder who can also play in a three-man attack. The England international would provide depth to United’s squad as the club prepares to return to the Champions League next season.
• Moises Caicedo (Brighton and Hove Albion)
Arsenal attempted to sign Moises Caicedo in January but were unable to persuade Brighton to sell.
Despite signing a new deal in March, Caicedo is set to leave this season, with Arsenal and Chelsea among the clubs interested.
Rice appears to be Arsenal’s top target in midfield, and it is unclear whether manager Mikel Arteta will try to recruit Caicedo in addition to the England international.
• Victor Osimhen (Napoli)
Napoli could see a number of its star players targeted following the departure of inspirational coach Luciano Spalletti.
Osimhen established himself as one of the most exciting strikers in the world when Napoli won the Serie A title, and United is reported to be among his fans.
Napoli may also have to contend with interest in Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Kim Min-jae.