The La Liga season is coming to a close and the title race is headed for a photo finish. Barcelona and Real Madrid are tied on points with only a couple league games to go (though Real Madrid have a game in hand).
The Copa del Rey final (Barcelona vs. Alaves) is also a couple of weeks away, and there’s a Madrid spot in the Champions League final.
After that comes the transfer window. There are a lot of rumors floating around so let’s try to separate the truth from the noise and look at the odds the biggest names in Spanish soccer find themselves in new colors next season.
La Liga Transfer Odds
Theo Hernandez to Real Madrid: 1/10
Antoine Griezmann to Manchester United: 5/6
Diego Costa to Atletico Madrid: 7/1
Alvaro Morata to Atletico Madrid: 10/1
With Zlatan Ibrahimovic out with a potentially career-ending knee injury, Manchester United are in desperate need of a world-class striker. Atleti will be reluctant to let Griezmann go, but the 26-year-old assassin looks ready to leave. Real Madrid has also expressed interest in him, and if it’s a choice between the Red Devils and Los Blancos, you know Atletico would much rather ship him off to England.
Who could replace the striker on the Atletico roster? Maybe their former standout Diego Costa, who has been open about his interest in returning. Alvaro Morata, who is looking to leave Real Madrid to grow his own star, is another option.
Real Madrid is on the verge of snapping up defender Theo Hernandez, Atletico’s 19-year-old prodigy. The buyout may prove to be pretty ugly depending on how Real Madrid go about it. But at the end of the day, they’re the bigger and wealthier club, so there’s not that much Atletico can do to retaliate.
Odds Diego Simeone starts the 2017-18 season as manager of …
Atletico Madrid: 1/1
Inter Milan: 3/2
Inter Milan just sacked Stefano Pioli, making him the club’s second managerial casualty of the season. The ailing Italian side is having a woeful season, currently in seventh place in Serie A behind rivals AC Milan.
Diego Simeone spent his best playing years at Inter and has openly admitted that he would like to return to the club as a manager. The question is really a matter of when. Atletico have come within inches of a Champions League trophy on two occasions under Simeone, and I don’t know if he’s ready to leave yet, especially with Inter in relative shambles.
David De Gea to Real Madrid: 1/1
Sergio Aguero to Real Madrid: 4/1
If it weren’t for administrative incompetence, De Gea would already be at Real Madrid. Given Manchester United’s string of poor performances, it makes sense that their star keeper is eager to leave. Real Madrid has been ready to ditch Keylor Navas for some time now, so a move is looking pretty likely.
Sergio Aguero looks like he may be leaving Man City, and Real Madrid seems ready to snap him up. There’s talk that he may replace Gareth Bale in the line-up. But, of course, it’s all just rumors at this point.
Neymar leaves Barcelona: 9/1
Lionel Messi leaves Barcelona: 40/1
Transfer rumors about Lionel Messi and Neymar always catch the eye, but I wouldn’t give them much thought. Barca has the money to keep them and it would take something huge for them to leave arguably the best club in the world.
Odds to be the next Barcelona manager
Ernesto Valverde: 3/5
Juan Carlos Unzue: 6/1
Laurent Blanc: 9/1
Diego Simeone: 30/1
Arsene Wenger: 30/1
The race to replace Luis Enrique is being led by former Athletic Bilbao manager Ernesto Valverde. Like many former Barca managers, Valverde spent part of his playing days at Camp Nou.
Juan Carlos Unzué, Barca’s assistant manager, is another favorite for the role. He’s also a Barca man, having played part of his career at the club.
Former PSG manager Laurent Blanc is also in the running. The Frenchman led Paris Saint-Germain to three straight Ligue 1 titles before resigning. Like the other frontrunners, he also spent part of his playing career at Barca.
Atletico’s Diego Simeone and Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger are more interesting conversation topics than actual possibilities.