Yeah, it’s a Football Manager article. I love Football Manager. I won’t bore you with my stats, but safe to say, I’m pretty much the greatest manager that has ever lived. One thing that I love about Football Manager is when you start seeing a player play in real life and you either sit there telling your friends that “I discovered him as a 16 year old playing in Estonia”, or you say “Why the hell hasn’t he scored 20 goals from corners before Christmas?” Either way, it’s fun. Once I even drunkenly tried to add a lower league Polish player who starred for me in FM 2010 on Facebook only for them to message me saying “Do I know you?” Sorry about that, Maciej Rogalski.
Not long after the end of this season, it was rumoured that Arsenal had all but signed Yaya Sanogo. This pricked the ear up of every ardent FM player. The conversation would go one of two ways; both “Yeah I got him for £10m and he scored 500 goals in 550 appearances” or “I hate the bastard, he always scored against me and I never won the title because of him” (luckily I was the first one, remember that bit about not telling you my stats). The fact that Sanogo does not exist on the latest version of the game is a source of much sadness for me, so I went with John Guidetti instead, same outcome. However, the possibly signing of Sanogo got me thinking of other Football Manager stars that are rumoured to make a move to England this summer and their chances of doing well.
1. Sebastien Corchia
A French right-back currently playing for Sochaux and heavily linked with Arsenal this summer. He fits the Wenger mould as he is only 22 and is French (although Newcastle are of course interested as well). Rumours abound that he could command a fee of up to £10m, which is telling considering first choice French full-back Mathieu Debuchy went for just over half of that last January. On FM, Corchia is a rampaging right-back or wing-back with a vicious shot on him, while in real life, he looks quick and agile. In typical Wenger fashion, it’s unlikely he’d pay the current asking price. I signed him on FM in around 2016 for £22m. Get in now, Arsene, for God’s sake.
2. Lazar Markovic
Serbian right winger Markovic was signed by Liverpool on my game for about £25m, but Partizan Belgrade expect to offload him this summer, and Sky Sports suggest Chelsea are in the driving seat, though Benfica have also been linked, with the player apparently having a medical there this week. Apart from the fact that Chelsea do not need Markovic and the likelihood is he will rust on the bench, it would still be a great young signing. The Serb is extremely quick and looks to have a trick or two in his locker. Could well be a star for a top team if given the chance to development over the next five years.
Up there with Robert Lewandowski as the football hipster’s wet dream right now, Isco looks certain to leave Malaga this summer with his destination supposedly either Madrid or Manchester (to Real or City respectively). The media reports bids going in from Real; however Isco has been quoted as saying he wishes to continue to play under Manuel Pellegrini, and City would happily oblige Malaga and pay a handsome (but probably not excessive) fee for the little Spaniard. He could also be perhaps what City are lacking. A front four of Silva, Isco and Navas behind Aguero (welcome to PSG, Nasri) looks tasty, as does the idea of Isco playing deeper alongside Yaya Toure, though this would negate Toure’s natural forward thinking.
Currently known for tearing Brazilian defenders new arseholes with his tricks, Bernard Anício Caldeira Duarte is another of an endless crop of talented Brazilians linked with moves to Europe. Similar in stature to Oscar, the small, skinny attacker has been linked with Chelsea, whilst his club Atletico Mineiro rejected a £10m-ish bid from Spartak Moscow for the player last December. Rumours on Bernard have cooled over the last few months, so it looks less likely that he’ll be playing in Europe this year; however, keep an eye on YouTube as he continues to just out-Neymar everyone on there right now, including Neymar.
5. Thiago Alcantara
Possibly the biggest decision Barcelona have to make this summer is whether or not to begin to dismantle their supreme midfield to allow Thiago some more playing time, or cash in on another incredible looking Spanish midfielder. Right now, neither looks particularly likely as Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets and Fabregas are just immoveable; however, an interesting line of rumour this summer has come from the apparent existence of a release clause in his contract. Figures from £10m to about £25m have been quoted for this release clause, the latter being much more likely but that is still not much to pay for a player who would be a first team starter in most top European teams. Manchester United have been heavily linked, but it looks like Moyes is going to spend this summer rubbing his hands over the ass print left by Fergie in the manager’s seat rather than buying anyone. Let’s face it, they’ve got Tom Cleverley.
Some that already got away:
A few players you should keep an eye on that have already moved clubs this summer:
Jan Kirchoff – Big German centre back signed by Bayern on a free. Almost certain to reach beast status within five years.
Nicolas Isimat-Mirin – Another promising centre back but he has joined the party at Monaco. Yachts and tax breaks must be his thing.
Fede Vico – Signed for Anderlecht for little over £1m. Nippy Spanish winger who could be a dark horse for super stardom in the next few years.