Another name has been added to the already crowded list of Liverpool strikers. On Wednesday, the team’s Twitter feed confirmed reports that Hoffenheim’s Brazilian striker Roberto Firmino had officially joined the club. Firmino had reportedly been a target for fellow Premier League clubs Manchester United and City. The 23-year-old striker was Hoffenheim’s joint-top scorer last season with ten goals in all competitions, and is considered one of the hottest young strikers in European competition. Firmino is the second striker to join the Merseyside club this summer after Burnley’s Danny Ings, and he will be competing for time with the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Mario Balotelli, Fabio Borini and Rickie Lambert. Will the Brazilian finally be able to fill the void left by Luis Suárez last summer?
After finishing last year a disappointing eighth in Serie A, and continuation of a five-year streak finishing outside the Champions League, Inter Milan made a big name signing in an attempt to push back into Europe’s elite. The famous Italian club brought in AS Monaco’s Geoffrey Kondogbia for a reported fee of €35 million. Kondogbia is a holding midfielder and became a near household name after his impressive display in Monaco’s Champions League run. The 22-year-old will likely link up with the likes of Gary Medel and Hernanes in the midfield, but Inter will need a solid supporting cast around Kondogbia if they hope to return to Europe’s elite competition.
The travels of Mario Mandzukic found another home this week as the Atlético Madrid striker joined Serie A Champions Juventus. Mandzukic spent just one season in La Liga, after joining Atlético from Bayern Munich. The Croatian striker was Atlético’s second-best goal scorer in the league with 12. Juventus will be the 29-year-old’s fourth club in five years, and in the last three seasons Mandzukic’s squad has managed to bring home silverware. Up front for Juve will be Mandzukic and Alvaro Morata, but it’s unsure whether or not Carlos Tevez will reprise his role as the team’s leading striker.
It looks like Petr Cech’s 11-year tenure at Stamford Bridge may be coming to an end this month. With the emergence of Thibault Courtois as the team’s favored number one keeper, the big Czech keeper had to look for a different kit if he wanted to consistently see playing time. That new kit may be the Puma red of Arsenal. With a lack of an experienced goalkeeper in their ranks, Cech would instantly step into the starting role of a Champions League quality side. I am a bit surprised that Jose Mourinho would allow a player of Cech’s quality to join a rival Premier League side, let alone one that is challenging for the title. If the move does go through, Arsenal’s title hopes definitely move closer to reality.
In the latest turn of David De Gea’s prolonged transfer saga to Real Madrid, it’s being reported that Manchester United are demanding that Sergio Ramos come the other way in return. Some United fans would argue that the team’s biggest need during this transfer window would be a center back, as the current situation has a rotation of Chris Smalling, Johnny Evans, and Marcos Rojo manning the ship. The addition of a player of Ramos’ caliber would be ideal for Louis Van Gaal’s squad, but it looks as if it will cost David De Gea plus some cash to bring in the Spanish international. Sergio Ramos would help lessen the blow of a player like De Gea leaving, but the pain will still be there.
NYCFC could have the classiest, most experienced midfield in the league by the end of this summer’s transfer window. Widespread reports of Andrea Pirlo’s arrival from Juventus to the Big Apple have sparked dreams of the famed Italian pairing up with Frank Lampard and David Villa in the MLS, and that trio couldn’t start soon enough for a team that just recently climbed out from the bottom spot in the Eastern Conference. Pirlo would provide unmatched experience to any team that he joined this summer, and a player of his caliber would immediately add star power to a growing MLS.
Yes, the same Sergio Ramos that I just talked about. According to Jodri Majo, a presidential candidate for Barcelona, the Catalan club has been offered the Real Madrid veteran this summer. This would be the equivalent of Manchester United offering Wayne Rooney up to Manchester City. A player of any level switching from Real Madrid to Barcelona would be a monumental occasion, but a player like Sergio Ramos switching allegiances hasn’t been seen since Luis Figo traded the striped kit of Barcelona for the white of Real Madrid 15 years ago. I think that it’s more likely that Ramos retires than joins Barcelona.