Thursday , April 18 2024
Vinicius Jnr

Racism victim Vinicius Jnr among five who could be next £100m footballer

Moises Caicedo and Declan Rice joined the £100m club last summer but who will be the next £100m footballer? They’re likely to come from this list…

Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid)

The most-abused player in elite football? Quite possibly. Vinicius Jnr has been the target of horrendous racist abuse across Spain, a country ill-equipped and ill-motivated to deal with such abuse. Add to that the consistent stream of stories of his lack of discipline both on and off the field, and you could forgive the Brazilian for wanting out of Madrid.

Take into account the notion that Vinicius is a ‘necessary sacrifice’ for the imminent arrival of Kylian Mbappe (and the inevitable future pursuit of Erling Haaland) and even a player starting and scoring for a team fighting for a Champions League and La Liga double might start getting antsy.

Probably not antsy enough to join Manchester United in a £172m deal, but any offer of massive wages and star status from PSG might turn his head. Until he remembers it didn’t work out brilliantly for Neymar.

Bruno Guimaraes (Newcastle United)

“He is an exceptional holding midfielder. He is aggressive, with the ball or without the ball,” said Pep Guardiola last week. And he knows a thing or two about holding midfielders. It’s worth remembering that City made a late, doomed and ultimately fruitless move for Declan Rice, who has been the player of this Premier League season so far.

City lost Ilkay Gundogan last summer and neither Mateo Kovacic (10 Premier League starts) nor Matheus Nunes (six Premier League starts) has made a compelling case to be Rodri’s long-term partner – and certainly not his replacement – in that City midfield. Step forward Bruno Guimaraes, reportedly pin-pointed by Newcastle as their most valuable asset as they eye a summer re-build after a disastrous season.

The price will be £100m, which makes the list of potential suitors a very short one indeed. Joining City in showing interest are Barcelona and PSG. Obviously.

Victor Osimhen (Napoli)

You might reasonably expect a striker with a £113m release clause likely to be triggered in the summer of 2024 to figure on the top goalscorers of 2024 list. But injuries and Africa have hampered his season; he has still scored a pretty impressive 11 Serie A goals in just 17 games as champions Napoli have floundered.

But you can certainly see why Arsenal, Chelsea and any other club with the horn for a new striker would look towards the more tempting, sub-£100m release clauses of Viktor Gyokeres and Evanilson.

 

Florian Wirtz (Bayer Leverkusen)

“I always wanted to be the best, as a child I dreamed of playing for Barça and that has not changed,” he said in 2022, but we can presume he still feels the same way in 2024, with recent reports suggesting that Wirtz would resist any urge to follow Xabi Alonso to Liverpool to be the long-term replacement for Mo Salah and would wait for Barcelona instead.

The slight problem is that 20-year-old Wirtz is having the kind of season (20 assists in all competitions is a looming landmark) that has propelled him into the £100m bracket and Barcelona no longer have those kind of levers to pull. Bayern Munich could afford Wirtz but his father and agent seems content to leave him at Leverkusen. That might change if Alonso goes to either Munich or Liverpool.

Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich)

There are two debates surrounding Musiala in Germany: 1) Can he play in the same Germany team as Wirtz? and 2) Should they push the boat out to keep him at Bayern or take the considerable profit and sell to the Premier League this summer? The answers are probably ‘yes’ and ‘yes’.

Musiala is a German international but he was brought up in England and seemingly craves a return to play in the Premier League. His old club Chelsea are said to be interested (but he’s about as likely to join them as Joshua Kimmich) along with Manchester City and Liverpool. City seems like the obvious option, with reports suggesting that Guardiola eyes him as the long-term replacement for Kevin de Bruyne.

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