For the first time in over a couple of years, football is set for a monumental summer ahead with the much-anticipated UEFA Euro 2020 as well as the 47th edition of the Copa America, both set to kick off this June. The two iconic continental tournaments have long served as showpiece events for supporters all over the globe, with many players etching their names into football's history books with their heroics.
Another interesting dynamic of the tournaments is the number of players who have been able to seal big-money moves with their superb displays for their nations.
With the summer transfer window set to open on June 9, which is before both tournaments kick-off, clubs will surely have a watchful eye on players they have kept tabs on ahead of potential moves.
Impressive displays in competitions such as these have been known to inflate players' asking prices in the past, and much of the same can be expected this summer despite the COVID-inflicted financial crises.
Here, we take a look at some of the most high-profile transfers that football could potentially witness this summer that could break the €100m barrier.
The factors taken into consideration for players on this list are the players' contract length, age, and how coveted they are in the current football transfer climate. Players such as Paul Pogba and Raphael Varane have been linked with high-profile moves, but they will not feature here as they are set to enter the final year of their deals and are unlikely to be worth as much.
The list also consists of outliers — who won't appear in either of the two tournaments, such as Liverpool and Egyptian superstar Mo Salah — although it is dominated by these players.
#10 Jack Grealish | Aston Villa | Age: 25
After a relegation scrap in the 2019/20 campaign, Aston Villa have returned to the new season as one of the most impressive sides in the Premier League, and much of that has to do with their charismatic captain, Jack Grealish. The English star has been one of the best English players in the world in recent months without a shadow of a doubt.
Grealish has registered six goals, and a Premier League career-best tally of ten assists in 22 appearances so far — a figure matched or bettered only by Bruno Fernandes, Kevin De Bruyne, and Harry Kane. His ability to carry the ball for long distances and take defenders on has been particularly eye-catching and makes him a unique threat to deal with, with Jamie Carragher even comparing his season to that of Eden Hazard's final one in England.
Although currently sidelined with injury, his brilliant displays since last year cannot be discredited by any means. The Villa captain is someone who can improve any of the Premier League's elite and beyond. With a contract until 2025 and a potential Euro starting berth for England, Grealish will certainly not come cheap should Manchester United, Manchester City, or anyone else want to sign him.
#9 Lautaro Martinez | Internazionale | Age: 23
Lautaro 'El Toro' Martinez was one of the poster boys of last summer's transfer window, with nearly every Spanish outlet claiming Barcelona were mighty keen on bringing him to the Nou Camp. The Internazionale striker has been one of the most integral players to Antonio Conte's side, forming a deadly partnership with Romelu Lukaku at the tip of their attack.
Having smashed 14 goals and set up a further five last year in an impressive Serie A campaign last year, Lautaro has already bettered that tally this season with 14 goals and eight assists, having played eight fewer games. The Argentine has established himself as one of the most interesting attackers in Europe with a combination of strength on the ball, close control, great finishing, and the ability to link play up well.
Although Barcelona are already known to have a strong interest in the forward, it could be a herculean task to lure him away from the San Siro should the Nerazzurri win Serie A. With Manchester United also mentioned as a potential destination, there will be no shortage of suitors if he wants to depart from Milan. El Toro is believed to have a release clause of €111m in his contract.
#8 Son Heung-Min | Tottenham Hotspur | Age: 28
Tottenham Hotspur superstar Son Heung-Min is one of the many Premier League players — the second of four on this list — tipped for a move away in the near future. The South Korean forward has long been an impressive player, but his last couple of campaigns, in particular, have elevated his status to being one of the best forwards in the league.
Son hit double digits for both league goals (eleven) and assists (ten) last season in what was a thoroughly underwhelming campaign for Spurs. Under Jose Mourinho, Son is already at 13 goals with nine assists and could go onto better those numbers in the remaining fixtures. Out of all the attributes that Son possesses, it is his versatility that makes him a unique acquisition for any club. He can perform well across all attacking positions, as he's shown for Spurs.
With the North London club struggling to fight for trophies and appearing unlikely to qualify for next year's UEFA Champions League, Son could be on the move — with the likes of Juventus reportedly keen on him. Son's current contract ends in the summer of 2023, and given that he's at his peak, Daniel Levy would certainly ask his suitors to part with a small fortune for the 28-year-old.
#7 Romelu Lukaku | Internazionale | Age: 27
It's a bit odd for a player who recently moved for €75m to be tipped for an even bigger move this summer. Such is the incredible rise of Belgian frontman Romelu Lukaku, who is in the midst of another smashing season at Internazionale, leading Conte's men to a title charge from the front.
The former Manchester United man scored 23 goals and set up two more in 36 games last season in Serie A, which in itself was an impressive feat given that it was his first campaign in Italy. With a staggering 19 goals and eight assists already this year in ten fewer games, the Belgian is currently on course for a career-best goal and assist return in a league campaign.
Being a sureshot starter for his nation in the upcoming Euro 2020, Belgium's record goalscorer could add even more goals to his name in the quadrennial competition. With rumours of Manchester City eyeing a move for the striker gathering momentum, Pep Guardiola's side would have to break the bank to sign him. A recent study valued Lukaku at a staggering league-high €104.6m, bettering Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.
#6 Harry Kane | Tottenham Hotspur | Age: 27
A player who needs little to no introduction, Harry Kane has undoubtedly been one of the best players in world football this season, let alone the best strikers. Kane had already forged a brilliant reputation for himself with a ridiculous tally of 159 Premier League goals to his name, and he is tipped to be the man to break Alan Shearer's longstanding record of 260 goals.
This year, however, Kane has added another dimension to his game under Jose Mourinho by dropping deeper than usual and carrying out a unique playmaking role as well. This has led to the Spurs superstar picking up a whopping 13 assists in the league alone, the most of any player. Overall, Kane has 26 goals and 16 assists across all competitions, the most of any Premier League player in both departments.
Much like Son Heung-Min, Tottenham Hotspur's poor campaign and failure to qualify for UCL football could be detrimental to their hopes of keeping Kane in the long run. The 27-year-old is in the prime of his career and could improve practically any starting lineup in the world. Kane could move to a more ambitious club to compete for top honours such as the UCL and league titles, as opposed to Carabao Cups and pre-season trophies.
However, if Daniel Levy could ask Son's suitors for a small fortune to sign the South Korean, one can only imagine what he could demand for the services of the English captain.
#5 Mohamed Salah | Liverpool | Age: 28
Mohamed Salah has seen a rise like few players in world football have over the last few years. The Egyptian forward's stock has risen monumentally since his move to Liverpool where he's been a success from the very first time he took to the pitch. Salah fired the Reds to their first-ever Premier League title and was instrumental in helping them achieve European glory under Jurgen Klopp.
Having already won two Golden Boots in three years, Salah could potentially win his third in four years as he currently leads the Premier League's scoring charts with 17 goals to his name. With Liverpool still alive and in the last eight of the UCL, a second European title could see his stock rise even further.
Rumours of a move to Real Madrid or Barcelona for Salah have been going around ever since he revealed he was unhappy at the captaincy snub in Jordan Henderson's absence. These were then fuelled even further by Mohamed Aboutrika — his former teammate — who claimed Liverpool could sell him for financial reasons. With a contract until 2023 and both Los Blancos and the Blaugrana looking for attacking reinforcements, Salah is sure to cost over €100m should either want to sign him.
#4 Jules Kounde | Sevilla | Age: 22
In a summer where many of the world's top clubs will be on the lookout for central defenders, it comes as no surprise that Jules Kounde is set to become one of the most coveted players in the transfer window. The French star is undoubtedly one of the most impressive defenders in LaLiga Santander and is another player whose stock has risen significantly in recent seasons, particularly 2019/20.
Helping Julen Lopetegui's men win their record sixth UEFA Europa League title and a top-four finish, Kounde has established himself as one of the most exciting prospects in defence. He's not the tallest player in Sevilla's backline, but Kounde more than makes up for his height with an incredible leap and excellent reading of the game. Having filled in at right-back as well for Lopetegui's men, Kounde has much more to his game, and his aggressive approach makes him a difficult player to come up against.
With the likes of Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United, and several other European elites linked with big-money moves for Kounde, the Frenchman's stay in Seville could come to an end very soon. He is said to have a €90m release clause, but with the stature of clubs queuing up for him, Sevilla could fuel a bidding war for their star asset. He could see his value rise even further should he break into Didier Deschamps' Euro plans, although it's unlikely as he is yet to make his senior bow for Les Bleus at the time of writing.
#3 Jadon Sancho | Borussia Dortmund | Age: 20
Jadon Sancho is a name that perhaps brings back haunting memories of the 2020 summer window for the Manchester United faithful. The Red Devils were reportedly in advanced talks to sign the English star for months as per reliable football insider Fabrizio Romano and other sources but, ultimately, were priced out of a move for him due to the financial implications of COVID-19. Borussia Dortmund were adamant on the €120m price tag they slapped on him.
After spending another campaign in Germany, Sancho — who is believed to be keen on a return to his homeland — could be set for a move to England this summer. While he began the season in a very poor vein of form, the former Manchester City star began 2021 with a blast and currently has eight goals and 12 assists in the Bundesliga and UCL combined.
While several reports have claimed that Manchester United will revert to Borussia Dortmund with a very low offer, there is a real possibility of them needing to put together a big sum to sign Sancho. The 20-year-old's form since the turn of the year, Dortmund's involvement in the last eight of the UCL and Sancho potentially starring for England at the Euro could ensure that the Germans make a healthy nine-figure profit from his sale.
#2 Kylian Mbappe | Paris Saint-Germain | Age: 22
After everything he's achieved over the last few years, little needs to be said about Kylian Mbappe. The French superstar is already one of the best players in the world at the age of 22 and has proven that to be the case time and again for Paris Saint-Germain and France. Mbappe was instrumental this year as well for the Parisiens, helping them qualify for the knockout stage from a tricky group.
The former AS Monaco man then went on to send a timely reminder of his sublime ability to his detractors by becoming the first-ever player to score a hat-trick against Barcelona in the UCL knockout stages, and did so in stunning fashion at the Nou Camp. Mbappe tore a hapless Blaugrana side apart and helped his side progress to the last eight of the competition. The 22-year-old is already at 24 goals and nine assists in the Ligue 1 and UCL.
The World Cup winner is set to enter the final year of his contract at PSG this summer, leading to much speculation regarding a potential move to Real Madrid. Reports from France have claimed Los Blancos will have to pay upwards of €160m should they want to sign him this summer. Should the Spanish champions end their campaign trophyless, they could go all out to sign the man they've targeted for over half a decade now.
#1 Erling Haaland | Borussia Dortmund | Age: 20
Borussia Dortmund superstar Erling Haaland is undoubtedly going to be the most coveted player of the summer transfer window. The Norwegian took European football by storm after a breakthrough campaign that saw him score over 40 competitive goals across all competitions and has quickly gone on to establish himself as one of the most unique talents the sport has seen in years.
Combining an incredible physique, speed, and a sense of positioning that belie his age, Haaland has undoubtedly been one of the best centre-forwards in world football since he made his debut. After a fantastic debut season, Haaland has upped the ante this year with 19 Bundesliga goals in as many starts, and more impressively, a whopping ten UCL goals in just six appearances.
With Haaland practically shattering defences and goalscoring records at will, he has made himself the next big thing in football and could be set for a blockbuster move away from Borussia Dortmund. Manchester United, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Liverpool, Chelsea, and Juventus have all registered their interest in signing Haaland come summer, and being represented by notorious super-agent Mino Raiola, it remains to be seen where he ends up.
Although he reportedly has a €75m release clause that becomes active in 2022, Dortmund could spur on a bidding war for their striker this summer for a fee much greater than that amount to sign Haaland.