Christian Eriksen, Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski all veterans eyeing moves
There are clubs across Europe that look at players aged 30 and older with a general degree of scepticism.
Where is the value? Is there any re-sale ability? What are the chances of injury compared to a player in their prime?
But there are also those clubs that are desperate for the razzmatazz that established older players bring and right now there are a number of Europe’s elder statesmen that have tongues wagging on the continent.
Cristiano Ronaldo is seeking a way out of his Manchester United contract this summer
Cristiano Ronaldo is the latest to cause a stir after the 37-year-old told Manchester United at the weekend that he wants to leave.
There is Robert Lewandowski, 33, at Bayern Munich that also wants out, desperately seeking a big final move to Barcelona.
And let’s not forget a 34-year-old Angel Di Maria appearing to play Juventus and Barcelona off against each other for his signature.
With all that in mind, Sportsmail looks at seven players over the age of 30 who have been the talk of the summer window so far…
Status: Off to Manchester United
Unlike a few others on this list, Eriksen appears to be edging ever closer to his next landing spot: Manchester United.
Eriksen verbally agreed in principle to join United as a free agent on Monday and he is now expected to finalise everything in time to fly out on their pre-season tour later this week.
Eriksen had been weighing up offers from United and Brentford – where he spent the second half of last season – but has decided to sign for United on a deal through until 2025.
Christian Eriksen (left) is bound for Manchester United after verbally agreeing to a deal
It makes for a remarkable comeback for the 30-year-old playmaker.
Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch playing for Denmark at the European Championships just 13 months ago in a match against Finland but that did not deter him from making a comeback at the top level.
Due to his heart condition he was unable to continue with Inter Milan and departed for England once more, getting his chance with Brentford.
Eriksen scored one and assisted four in 11 games during the second-half of last season with the Bees.
He will arrive as one of United boss Erik ten Hag’s first signings since taking over and they are familiar given the Dutch coach allowed Eriksen to train with his then-Ajax side as he continued his comeback to fitness.
Boss Erik ten Hag took the reigns in training at Manchester United for the first time last week
United badly missed creativity from midfield last season and Eriksen is likely to see plenty of minutes as Ten Hag looks to recreate the side and plug in more ball-carrying midfielders into his central area.
Given what happened at Euro 2020 there will always be some questions around Eriksen but the Dane will undergo rigorous medical tests before any deal is completed.
And lest we forget that clamour for United to sign Eriksen gathered pace after Brentford came to Old Trafford back in May, in a match where Eriksen made a case to be the best player on the park on the day – even with United winning.
His vision and ability to dictate from the middle of the pitch is a valuable asset for Ten Hag as he adds some foundation to a team resplendent of a polo mint last season with a big hole through the middle.
Status: Wants out of Manchester United
So, one solution in Eriksen and now a fresh problem in the form of Ronaldo.
The 37-year-old Portuguese stunned bosses on Saturday when he expressed his desire to exit Old Trafford should a suitable offer arrive for him.
Follow that with the fact the the Portuguese forward, owing to an accepted ‘family reason’, missed his first day of pre-season under Ten Hag on Monday.
The crux of this is that Ronaldo has played 19 consecutive season in the Champions League and has no desire to see that run end with Thursday night football in the Europa League this forthcoming season.
The big frustration is that United have been out of Champions League contention for months and only now, the week they are due to jet off for their pre-season tour abroad, does this desire to leave emerge.
Ronaldo wants to play Champions League football, something United cannot offer next season
United’s squad is due to fly out to Thailand and Australia for their pre-season tour on Friday and should Ronaldo not find himself nestled into a seat on that aircraft questions will swirl.
Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Napoli are monitoring the iconic No 7’s situation as they plot their summer business before the transfer window shuts – all with an eye on the goals he can provide, even in the twilight of his career.
New Chelsea owner Todd Boehly reportedly met with Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes last month, where a move to Stamford Bridge was among the subjects they discussed.
United have no wish to sell Ronaldo, who has a year to run on his contract, and have yet to receive an enquiry.
But stranger things have happened and even if he is not the player he was in his prime with Real Madrid, any Ronaldo move would be among the most eye-catching of the entire window.
Ten Hag (centre) had planned for Ronaldo to be part of his squad next season before this news
Status: Wants out of Bayern Munich
Part II in ‘player who makes it plain they want out’ series.
Lewandowski has been even more curt than Ronaldo when it comes to his next move. The Poland international has zero interest in ever playing for Bayern again, which may be why the German champions are the bookies’ favourites for Ronaldo.
Like Ronaldo, Lewandowski has 12 months left to run on his deal but he is growing antsy that his future continues to be unresolved as we stand a week away from when he is due to report back for Bayern Munich training.
Speaking prior to Poland’s Nations League clash with Wales earlier this month, Lewandowski, 33, left no room for doubt that his career with the German club was ‘over’.
‘My era at Bayern is over. I don’t see any possibility to continue playing for this club,’ he said.
‘Bayern’s a serious club and I believe they won’t keep me – I don’t want to play there any more.’
But since then, aside from the minutest of updates in the Spanish press, there has been little movement in any deal to take him to Barcelona. It is the equivalent of motorway gridlock.
Robert Lewandowski made it clear he does not see himself playing for Bayern Munich again
There is a growing sense that Barcelona is the Pole’s only landing spot and that cash-strapped Barcelona have got their hands tied until they can shift Frenkie de Jong to Manchester United.
Should that domino fall, coupled with Barcelona rapidly selling off portions of their TV rights, it is expected that Xavi should then be able to add to his squad, with Lewandowski, Jules Kounde and Raphinha their primary targets.
Barcelona need attacking reinforcements and Lewandowski needs a new challenge after destroying every brick on the bridge taking him to Bayern.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been leading the line for Barca since joining the five-time Champions League winners from Arsenal in February.
But LaLiga champions Real Madrid finished 13 points ahead of Xavi’s second-placed side in 2021-22, scoring 12 more league goals than their closest rivals, and so reinforcements are required.
This one has stalled but should De Jong’s deal go through, expect Barcelona to act quickly.
Barcelona boss Xavi is plotting to overhaul his attack in a bid to chase down the LaLiga title
Status: PSG offering him to clubs
Firstly, Neymar is on PSG’s books for years to come.
Unlike Ronaldo and Lewandowski, this is not a scenario that is down to its final 12 months and so compared to those two, this one feels more unlikely.
But all the noises out of France around the future of the Brazilian attacker are, in a word, ominous.
According to RMC Sport, PSG are keen to rebuild the squad without Neymar next campaign.
The French outlet previously claimed that the Brazilian, who arrived in Paris for a world-record transfer fee of £199.8m in 2017, has been told he is no longer wanted at the club next season as PSG pursue a fresh start, led by Kylian Mbappe following the ink drying on his new £650,000-a-week contract.
Neymar reportedly felt targeted by Al-Khelaifi earlier this summer as the club president spoke out to address PSG’s shortcoming last season.
Neymar is on a lengthy contract but all the noises are in France are that PSG want him moved
The winger ‘is said to have been offered to some of Europe’s top clubs by Paris Saint-Germain’
‘A possible departure of Neymar this summer? What I can tell you is that we expect all players to do a lot more than last season. A lot more!’ Al Khelaifi told Le Parisien.
‘They all have to to be 100 per cent. Obviously, we weren’t good enough to go far. For next season, the objective is clear: to work every day at 200 per cent. To give everything we have for this jersey, give the maximum and we will see the result.
‘You have to become humble again. You have to change to avoid injuries, suspensions and fouls that change a game.’
Look, most likely scenario is PSG run it back with both Neymar and Mbappe, but that hasn’t stopped Chelsea defender Thiago Silva talking up the prospect of his international team-mate joining him at Stamford Bridge.
‘He has to go to Chelsea,’ the 37-year-old told JC via SportWitness. ‘If it happens, it will be for the best. He needs no comments… So far, I don’t know anything, but I hope it comes to fruition’.
ANGEL DI MARIA
Status: Signed for Juventus
This one has been wrapped up now but boy has it dragged out.
After seven years in Paris, PSG cut ties with Angel Di Maria when his contract expired and it quickly emerged to be a straight fight between Juventus and Barcelona for his signature.
But with Barcelona dithering as they raise some much-needed capital, primarily to get Lewandowski, Di Maria has now has grown tired of waiting for the Catalans and decided to join Juventus.
Even at the age of 34 he remains a supreme talent as a winger in European football and should walk into Juventus’ first team next season.
He made 294 appearances for PSG, scoring 92 goals and managing 118 assists during his stay.
Ageing like a fine wine is Di Maria.
Angel Di Maria has signed for Juventus and remains a high-level player aged 34
Status: Joined Bayern Munich
This threatened to become a real saga but thankfully for 30-year-old Sadio Mane his future has been sorted as he headed for Bayern Munich.
The German giants signed the 30-year-old for £35.1m after he informed Liverpool of his desire to pursue a fresh challenge this summer.
‘Biggest dream? Today it’s winning every possible trophy with FC Bayern,’ Mane told Bayern TV.
‘When I heard about Bayern’s interest I was really happy of course. I knew I could come and push myself to achieve something special with this club.
Sadio Mane finally put his future to bed by penning a three-year contract to join Bayern Munich
The Senegalese international lifted the Champions League trophy with Liverpool in 2019
‘That means winning every possible trophy, the Bundesliga and of course the Champions League.
‘The Champions League is the dream of every player in the world. We have a great team and very talented players. I think together we can make it.’
During his six year stint at Anfield, Mane netted 120 goals in 269 appearances to help Liverpool win a Champions League, FA Cup, League Cup, Premier League and Club World Cup.
He has inked a three-year contract worth £250,000 a week at the Allianz Arena and will likely look to see out his career cleaning up trophies with the German giants.
Status: Joined Tottenham
One more then and here is a player that, at the age of 33, will be getting his first taste of English football.
What a player Ivan Perisic has been through the years. Dortmund. Wolfsburg. Inter Milan. Bayern Munich on loan and now Tottenham.
While his signing seemed out of sorts from Spurs’ normal approach to the market, he seems a perfect addition under a coach like Antonio Conte.
‘I’m really excited to start with the Spurs family,’ he said.
A 33-year-old Ivan Perisic was Tottenham’s first signing of the summer, joining from Inter Milan
‘When I got a call from the coach and sporting director, I said I really wanted to play in the Premier League since 2009 when I starting to play professional football in Belgium.
‘This is the moment and I can’t wait.
‘It was always my dream to play in the best five leagues in the world and the Premier League was a missing puzzle [piece]. Now I’m here and my hope is it’s going to be perfect.’
Tottenham have made a number of moves but few will fascinate as much as how Perisic will handle the Premier League.