The soccer season is just getting into gear, and 20+ clubs across the world are in the midst of their preseason preparations. The 2022 season will be here before we know it, and with that in mind we’ve put together a list of players we think will be playing in 2022. Mbappe will be the big name in the French league, and if he can repeat his record-breaking 2017/2018 season he’ll probably be sniffing the top-flight in England. Kane and Haaland will be in England, Pogba will be in Italy.
It’s been a busy week for the FIFA World Cup. Several of the players from the 2018 tournament have signed with new clubs, and on Monday, Kylian Mbappe committed his future to the French national team on the eve of his 21st birthday. But while some of the top players might be certain of their futures, some teams will regret their decisions to keep some of the older players who helped their teams win the World Cup in Russia.
As the 2022 FIFA World Cup approaches, there is no shortage of questions about who will be playing in the tournament. The answers vary depending on the source of the question. Some feel France will win the World Cup for a record sixth time, others predict Spain will get their second victory, while some believe that England will finally get the monkey off their backs.
While the summer transfer window of 2021 was full of excitement and mystery as the biggest teams splashed their cash, it did leave several great players on the sidelines.
According to ESPN, Real Madrid submitted a €200 million bid to PSG to acquire Mbappe, Kylian, despite his contract ending in 2022, but got no response and so put their attempts to get the France striker on hold for the time being. But, with Manchester United, Manchester City, and Liverpool all interested in the 22-year-old, will anybody be able to convince him to choose them over Real Madrid?
Spurs’ Harry Kane is an English footballer who plays for Tottenham Hot made it obvious that he wanted to leave the club, but his €175 million transfer to Man City fell through because Spurs refused to discuss a lesser price. In his statement, the England striker said that he will be “staying with Tottenham this summer,” implying that he might leave the club in the future.
Every club wants Borussia Dortmund striker Haaland, Erling, and the 21-year-old will be available for around €75 million due to a release clause that kicks in in 2022. Meanwhile, some big names, such as Manchester United’s Paul Pogba is a French footballer who plays for Manchester United., Juventus’ Dybala, Paulo, and Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale is a Welsh actor., are ready to leave their clubs on free transfers when their contracts expire.
On September 1, 2022, where do our writers believe these stars will be performing?
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Real Madrid, Tor-Kristian Karlsen. Mbappe has my support to join Real Madrid, but I believe there’s a chance he’ll remain at Paris Saint-Germain for another year or two, or until after the 2022 World Cup. Sure, the striker wants to play for Real Madrid, and he has four months to talk with any club outside of France; but, PSG are the most powerful financial force in global football right now, and that comes with enormous persuasive power.
Real Madrid, according to Mark Ogden. This season, Mbappe will have a final tour of Ligue 1 before pursuing his ambition of playing for Real Madrid. Mbappe is on his way to the Santiago Bernabeu, barring a catastrophic injury.
Real Madrid, according to Rob Dawson. The Frenchman has many fans, especially at Manchester United, but it is widely assumed that he only wants to leave PSG for Real Madrid. The Spanish giants were unable to sign him this summer, but it seems that he will soon be in Madrid. It may happen as soon as January.
Real Madrid, according to James Olley. The unsuccessful offers this summer seemed like a gesture to Mbappe’s family, indicating that Real still wants to fulfill his goal of playing at the Bernabeu despite their financial problems, as well as posturing to bring out the ridiculousness of PSG being able to turn down €200 million for a single player. He’s unlikely to sign a new contract, therefore he’ll remain in Spain next year.
Real Madrid, Tom Hamilton. He’ll almost certainly be in Madrid. Real Madrid have already begun their charm attack for the French star, whose contract expires in June, and are the favorites to sign him.
Real Madrid, according to Julien Laurens. It’s not going to happen, as much as I’d want him to extend his contract at PSG and remain for another season. As a result, he will become a free agent next summer and join Real Madrid. It has always been his ambition to play for them, and now he will be able to do so.
PSG wants to watch Kylian Mbappe, Neymar, and Lionel Messi play together before making a decision on Mbappe’s future, according to Craig Burley.
PSG, Hamilton. Bayern Munich is expected to pursue Haaland, with sports director Hasan Salihamidzic recently stating that the club would be “amateurs” if they did not pursue the Borussia Dortmund striker. However, they are on a tight budget and would have to let some of its top earners go in order to avoid being surpassed. If Mbappe leaves for Madrid, PSG will almost certainly turn to Haaland to fill the gap. I believe Kane will join City, therefore PSG will pay Haaland’s €75 million release clause and pull off yet another spectacular transfer coup.
Manchester City, according to Dawson. This summer, Kane was City’s first choice, but Tottenham’s attitude made a trade difficult to complete. The city may believe that the Norway international is better value for money because of Haaland’s age and release clause. City has a special place in Haaland’s heart since his father, Alfie, was a City player, and Pep Guardiola’s side offers a chance to compete for the Premier League and Champions League right away.
Laurens: Manchester City, of course. I doubt he would turn down the chance to play under Pep Guardiola, even if it was just for a season before the manager’s departure in 2023. The club and the Haaland family have a strong bond, and City are capable of outbidding any other financial offer from competitors to ensure that agent Mino Raiola gets the finest deal possible.
Manchester City, according to Karlsen. Although he may not yet match Guardiola’s ideal centre-forward, Haaland is improving his link-up play and is becoming less unpredictable than a year ago. Given that Guardiola’s contract expires in 2023 and Mbappe is out of reach, City would want to sign a promising young player like Haaland. Bayern would have been in the race if it weren’t for the estimated €40 million agency fee for Raiola, but I can’t imagine them paying such large sums to agents.
Manchester United, according to Ogden. United also have the financial means and the will to complete the deal, having watched Chelsea drop out with the €115 million acquisition of Romelu Lukaku. City is still interested in Kane, and Real Madrid, although always capable of finding funds, will need reinforcements elsewhere if they acquire Mbappe. PSG and Bayern Munich are also interested in Haaland, although United are in the lead.
Manchester United, Olley. There may be a release clause, but it will erupt into a bidding battle on personal terms and agency fees, perhaps pricing Bayern Munich out. What happens this season is the unknown element. For the Premier League, United must push City close in order to convince Haaland that the gap can be closed. Then there are other things to consider, such as his love for Cristiano Ronaldo and his close bonds with former boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and former colleague Jadon Sancho. Kane is clearly wanted by City, and another year without a trophy in north London may drive the England captain to pursue a transfer elsewhere.
Jan Aage Fjortoft discusses Erling Haaland’s future when his Borussia Dortmund contract ends.
Tottenham, according to Karlsen. While I was certain that he’d be relocated this summer, I believe the window of opportunity has passed. I doubt Man City would offer Spurs anything close to the €175 million they demanded this summer, particularly because he will be 29 next summer. Even though United has long admired him, it’s difficult to imagine them spending more than €150 million for a striker given their current alternatives.
Laurens: Tottenham Hotspurs. He was anxious to go this summer and will be desperate again next summer, but I don’t believe anybody, not even City, will come for him this time. That’s because the striker market will be crowded with Mbappe, Haaland, and a few others. Sorry, but I believe Kane will still be a Spurs player in September 2022.
Manchester United, according to Dawson. When it became apparent that Kane intended to leave Tottenham this summer, they registered an interest, along with Chelsea and City, but their objectives were always a winger (Jadon Sancho) and a centre-back (Raphael Varane). Even if Cristiano Ronaldo has returned, a striker will be among the top objectives next year. Kane is still on the list. Other possibilities for United are Haaland and Mbappe, although Manchester City and Real Madrid will also be searching for proven goal scorers.
Manchester City, according to Ogden. It’s possible that it’ll happen as early as January. Kane’s remark last month that “I’m staying this summer” was nothing more than a band-aid solution to a long-standing problem, and I see no reason why he won’t end up at City sooner or later if he remains healthy. Because of the way he plays, I believe he is a better fit for a Guardiola club than Haaland, but both City and Kane need to work on their plan for working with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy.
Manchester City vs. Hamilton Despite the possibility of a new deal at Tottenham, I believe he will join one of Manchester’s two teams. Much will depend on how Haaland and Mbappe’s merry-go-round ends, but Kane is a great match for what Guardiola wants in a striker. United will also seek to improve their offensive options, but I believe Kane will join Guardiola’s team.
Manchester City, Olley. Kane’s motivation is to win trophies. Despite all of the talk this summer, he did not go for the nuclear option of submitting a formal transfer request or refusing to play for Spurs, but a season without silverware may alter that. Given that Kane’s contract has just two years remaining on it, City chairman Daniel Levy may be more willing to let him leave, but City will still have to pay around €120 million. They may deem it beneficial for Guardiola’s probable last season at the club.
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Gab Marcotti and Julien Laurens explore the possibility of Harry Kane moving from Tottenham to Manchester City.
Laurens: I’m a Real Madrid fan. Pogba, like Mbappe, will be a free agent in the summer of 2022 if he does not extend his deal with United, which seems improbable. So either they let him go in January when they may still get a good price for him, or he will join Real Madrid for free (which is also his desire).
Real Madrid, Olley. Pogba has always appeared to have one eye on a future away from Old Trafford, and a transfer to Spain has always sounded appealing to him. Because they share an agent in Raiola, the issue is connected to Haaland. Could United afford to pay Raiola two large sums in one summer? Possibly, but considering their relative ages, signing Haaland over renewing Pogba is likely to be more appealing (28 vs. 21). United’s main weakness has always been central midfield, and losing Pogba would be a major blow there, but Donny van de Beek may be the long-term solution.
Karlsen: Real Madrid, of course. Madrid is doing an excellent job of rebuilding their midfield, but a free transfer for a world-class player would be difficult to pass up. Manchester United definitely has the financial means to keep Pogba on competitive terms, but unless he can lead the club to a good season, which he is capable of, he may need to leave Old Trafford in order to play his best game regularly.
Manchester United, according to Dawson. United has until the end of the month to extend Pogba’s contract, but they may still give him a lucrative salary package. He has made no secret of his ambition to win major trophies, and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has put together a team capable of doing so.
Manchester United, according to Ogden. Pogba has no clear destination due to the financial realities of a failing sport and the big teams’ other interests, so don’t be shocked if he finishes his contract at Old Trafford and then signs a new one as a free agent. Few teams can now compete with United in terms of salaries, and Pogba is well aware of this.
Hamilton: Toss a coin to see who will win: Real Madrid or Manchester United. Pogba will have many of fans when his contract expires in June, but United have the financial power to retain him. If Real Madrid makes a bid for Mbappe, as anticipated, it would eat into their budget, therefore Pogba may be a step too far for them. And, despite PSG’s apparent love for free moves, United will want to retain their man.
Julien Laurens portrays Paul Pogba’s agent, offering the player his best advise.
Laurens: Juventus, of course. Now that Massimiliano Allegri is back, I anticipate him to extend his contract. Dybala is obviously a vital member for the club now that Ronaldo has gone, which was not the case last season under Andrea Pirlo. This club still has a lot more to give the Argentina forward.
Hamilton is a Juventus player. They must put Dybala’s contract first. With Ronaldo’s salary no longer on the books, signing Dybala to a new contract is critical to their short- and long-term success. If contract negotiations fall through, expect some of LaLiga’s biggest clubs to step in for him.
Karlsen: Juventus, of course. Now that Ronaldo has left the club and Allegri has returned to the bench, his significance to Juventus will grow. If he can repeat his early-season effect in Turin, he may attract interest from Barcelona, PSG, or Bayern Munich, but I anticipate Juventus to sign him to a long-term contract as soon as he reaches that level of performance.
Dawson: Juventus, of course. After allowing Ronaldo to go, they are trying to rebuild, and guys like Dybala, who is still just 27, should be a vital part of their core group. Over the next several months, extending Dybala’s contract should be a top focus.
Juventus, Olley. According to reports in Italy, Dybala wants to take over Ronaldo’s talismanic position. Wages are said to be the sticking point in his contract talks, but it seems that his desire to remain in Italy is important. Despite the fact that time is running out, Allegri may be able to persuade Dybala to remain put.
Barcelona, Ogden. Money is tight at Camp Nou, but they might replace Lionel Messi, a brilliant Argentine striker, in a year after losing him for free this summer. Dybala would be a decent choice given that free transfers are likely to remain Barca’s focus for the foreseeable future.
Gab Marcotti and Julien Laurens examine the possibility of a Paul Pogba-Paulo Dybala trade.
Olley: He wants to play at the World Cup next year. Wales has a difficult task in qualifying, but if they do, Bale will have to find a new club when his Real Madrid contract ends next summer, since the finals in Qatar do not begin until November. If the financials work out, a short-term loan at Cardiff makes sense to keep him afloat. Although Major League Soccer is an apparent choice, he may decide to retire after the World Cup. Bale will be 33 at the time, but his desire to play into his mid-to-late 30s is debatable.
Bale will be 33 years old and a free agent next summer, so anything is conceivable, according to Ogden. It wouldn’t be surprising if he chose to play for his local club Cardiff City if they were promoted back to the Premier League. Another alternative is to switch to MLS.
Dawson: Bale’s final destination will be determined mainly by his desire and salary demands. Even at his age, the Premier League and perhaps Serie A will be interested in him, but a few of seasons in Cardiff would be a suitable conclusion to his career.
Laurens: Even if Cardiff is still in the Championship, I’d want to see him end his career there. However, he is most likely to join MLS, most likely Inter Miami or one of the LA clubs.
Hamilton: It would be fantastic to see him in Cardiff. He seemed to be happier in the Wales national team shirt this summer than he has been in club colors lately, so Cardiff would be the best of both worlds. However, I believe he will join the MLS.
Karlsen: Either he embarks on a long and successful career in Major League Soccer (MLS) or he joins a nouveau riche Premier League team… maybe the Newcastle takeover will have finally been completed by then?
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