Making predictions is always a risky game. And in football it’s almost impossible given the ever changing variables attached to the sport. For example, last month several papers speculated that Barcelona would spend heavily in the summer with a variety of new faces arriving. One week later they were hit with a transfer ban meaning that their summer spending plans were axed. Whilst no one could have predicted this outcome, it is possible to make calculated guesses on what is about to happen in the short term based on information available. For example, Chelsea are likely to buy a striker this summer. Why? Well because Jose Mourinho has said so and won’t shut up about his lack of faith in his existing ones. Whether Chelsea actually does or not will depend on other factors but it’s a fairly strong assumption that they will. So on that note, we have decided to pull together some predictions of our own based on information available to the general public added in with some pure gut feelings. All the predictions are around things that will happen over the summer so come 1st September we will see how many we got right and how many were wildly wrong. Enjoy!
Managerial Changes Galore
It’s a World Cup summer so that means only one thing – managerial changes. The pre conceived notion about footballs biggest tournament is it is the place for players to shine, but the same can be said for managers who want to put themselves in line for a lucrative club contract. Already confirmed departures include Holland boss Louis Van Gaal, Greece’s Fernando Santos and Spain’s Vicente Del Bosque whilst there are persistent rumours around the futures of Italy’s Cesare Prandelli, Brazil’s Luis Felipe Scolari and France’s Didier Deschamps. Roy Hodgson could also depart but it will be dependent on how well England fare. All these departures will spark a feeding frenzy amongst the clubs and a series of changes will happen. Van Gaal is already linked with the soon to be vacant seat at Spurs but what other changes will happen. Here are our predictions:
- Prandelli to AC Milan: His time as Italy coach has helped grow his reputation both domestically and abroad. Whilst clubs across Europe will be interested, Prandelli is unlikely to depart his native land as he wants to remain close to his family. Given the chance to rescue AC Milan after their failed Clarence Seedorf project could be too hard to resist.
- Deschamps to PSG: Replacing Laurent Blanc at PSG would make it 2 from 2 for Deschamps who succeeded him as French national manager in 2012. Whilst still under contract until after France 2016, an early exit at the hands of either Bosnia or Argentina in the round of 16 of the World Cup would be deemed a failure and would make it difficult for him to remain in charge. However still well liked back home, PSG could end Blanc’s stay at the club if the former French captain became available.
- Klopp to Barcelona – Not a great season so far for Barca who under Martino have won little and lost ground to both Madrid clubs. A change is coming and likely to be in the form of Jurgen Klopp, who after six successful years at Dortmund needs a new challenge. It’s a shame for Martino but don’t feel bad for him as he will take over from Alejandro Sabella as Argentina manager, that is unless Argentina can pull off a shock and win the World Cup
- Other moves: Neil Lennon to Norwich, Martinez to Arsenal (Wenger to leave after lifting FA Cup), Tim Sherwood to Blackburn (after failing to get promoted)
Striker moves set the pace
Where Diego Costa will end up after the World Cup will depend on who pays the most. Chelsea are favourites to land him but face competition from wealthy Monaco who have fans drooling over a potential Costa/Falcao partnership. Monaco are struggling with several teams In Ligue 1 who feel that Monaco shouldn’t be allowed to compete due to lower taxes so adding Costa to the mix will pour more salt into the wound. Chelsea should secure him but what other deals will happen:
- Jordan Rhodes to leave Blackburn for the Premiership – Having scored another barrel load of goals this season in the Championship, it’s hard to see Rhodes sticking around with several Premiership clubs hovering nearby.
- Fernando Torres to Atletico Madrid – Inter has made noises but a return to the club where he is held in high regard is more appealing to Torres. His troubled time at Chelsea will end with a whimper rather than a bang.
- Josip Drmic to the Premiership – The Swiss youngster has been on fire in the Bundesliga this season and is destined to leave Numberg with the Premiership his likely destination. West Ham are interested but with Arsenal now engaged, they could miss out to the North London side.
- Edinson Cavani to Manchester United – Missing out on a host of players last summer has taught Moyes a valuable lesson, get them early. That’s why he will snap up PSG’s Cavani as soon as the season has finished and then turn his focus elsewhere.
Big bets always have the highest returns but also run the biggest risk in terms of getting it wrong. That’s why caution is always best to be used in these cases. But we say no to that and throw it to the wind with these audacious bets:
- Spain to make it four in a row – Not everyone’s favourite but never one to discount in a major tournament. With Del Bosque on the way out and many of his dream team on their finals legs, it may be the last time that this group is together. They have a lot to prove and winning back to back World Cups is the goal.
- Newcastle to sack Pardew – After the first half of the season, Pardew looked like things were starting to go right again for him at Newcastle. That was until he landed a headbutt and received a lengthy ban for it. Newcastle are going tired of Pardew and he will be dismissed in the summer in favour of fresh ideas.
- More revelations about bribery and vote fixing attached to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups – As the focus of the footballing world turns away from Brazil, it’s likely that more will surface around the FBI’s investigation into illegal payments with several key figures either resigning or being arrested. That will make it an interesting summer to watch!