- La Liga leaders Barcelona are favored to pick up a whole host of attacking options this summer
- Lautaro Martinez and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang both have short odds of moving to Camp Nou
- Odds and picks of three possible summer transfers are below
The COVID-19 pandemic may have brought global sports leagues to a virtual standstill, but nothing can stop the rumor mill from turning, particularly when it comes to Europe’s biggest soccer clubs. While Barcelona may be on top of La Liga, two points in front of Real Madrid, the team seemingly never stops planning ahead.
Coupled with some recent criticism from star player Lionel Messi, who has been unhappy with seeing the club fail to upgrade its squad at times, and the 26-time Spanish champions could be in for an interesting off-season, highlighted by the possible acquisition of the following three players.
Odds Where Neymar Signs Before Sept. 1st
|Any MLS club||+2000|
Odds taken on April 3
The Brazilian superstar needs little introduction to anyone, especially soccer fans in Barcelona. Having already played for the Catalan club for four seasons previously, during which time he scored 68 goals. The striker’s possible reunion will bring back fond memories of the fearsome attacking trio he formed alongside Messi and fellow South American Luis Suarez.
He’s been thriving at Paris Saint-Germain since departing from Camp Nou, averaging almost a goal a game, and Barcelona have been trying to bring him back for much of the last 12 months, making a considerable effort to reunite him with Messi last summer that fell just short.
"Neymar is in the top three in the world for me" ? pic.twitter.com/McD6gPDRIM
— Goal (@goal) April 2, 2020
Sky Sports reported this week that Barcelona are even prepared to offer up French international Antoine Griezmann, who joined Barca just last summer, as a makeweight in the deal to lighten the financial load. PSG apparently value Neymar at €150-million ($162-million), with Barca valuing Griezmann at €100-million ($108-million).
Pick: Barcelona (+225)
Odds Where Lautaro Martinez Signs Before Sept. 1st
Alongside Neymar, Internazionale striker Lautaro Martinez is Barcelona’s other main transfer target for the 2020 off-season. The Italian club has set his release clause at €111-million ($120-million), so it could be an expensive summer for Barca if they are fully able to execute their transfer strategy.
Lautaro Martinez ?? 2020
Skills & Goals ?pic.twitter.com/LdSijPZEIt
— Turn The Light On ? (@TurnTheLightOn_) February 2, 2020
Under contract until the end of the 2022-23 season, the 22-year-old Martinez has enjoyed a solid season with the Milan club, scoring 16 goals and setting up four more in 31 appearances. And while Barcelona are favored to land the Argentine, their progress may have been helped with the rumor that Real Madrid, who the player rejected as an 18-year-old, have withdrawn from the race for his signature on Friday, as they are unwilling to free up a non-European Union player spot to land him.
Pick: Barcelona (+165)
Odds Where Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Signs Before Sept. 1st
While world-class players may be in short supply at the Emirate Stadium these days, striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and his 49 Premier League goals in just 75 appearances is certainly one of them.
— Arsenal Revealed✪ (@ArsenalRevealed) February 26, 2020
However, with the Gabon forward appearing reluctant to commit his future to Arsenal, and with his contract expiring in 2021, it’s starting to look like the Gunners might have to cash in on their free-scoring striker before he leaves for nothing. Certainly, that is the opinion of one of his predecessors in the red-and-white shirt, with former Arsenal attacker Kevin Campbell predicting that both Aubameyang and fellow striker Alexandre Lacazette will leave this summer.
"If Barcelona come calling it is hard to say no…"
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 27, 2020
But if he departs, where to? The 30-year-old likely won’t be short of suitors given his impressive strike rate, but he likely won’t come cheap. That likely won’t scare off the likes of Real Madrid, who have highlighted Aubameyang as their Plan B if neither of Sadio Mane or Erling Haaland are available.
However, English rivals Manchester United are sitting in the wings, with the Old Trafford club prepared to raid the Emirates of Arsenal’s principal attacker, much as they did with Robin van Persie some years ago.
Pick: Manchester United (+450)
Let's have fun and keep it civil.