The summer 2021 transfer window is likely to be similar to that of January, when clubs had to contend with the financial impact of the COWID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, some big names could be on their way out, even if the days of transfers of over 100 million euros are (for now) over.

Here are five things we want to take out when the window opens again.

Sancho has been connected to a big movement for years. He has made a name for himself in Germany in recent years after leaving Manchester City’s academy and coming to Dortmund for €10 million in 2017. He is now an England international, scored 46 goals in 130 appearances for his club and has been repeatedly linked with a move to Manchester United.

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United had almost brought him in this summer, but Dortmund refused to accept a bid below the reported €120m price tag and Sancho lost his form at the start of the season. Indeed, Dortmund general manager Hans-Joachim Watzke said: Perhaps Jadon had subconsciously prepared himself to take a small step. I think he’s thought about it enough to lose some of its lightness.

But now that he is fit and can shoot, Sancho is back in the picture and will be United’s main target again. We’ll ignore the fact that United don’t really need the winger, as they have far greater deficiencies up front and in defensive midfield, but a move for Sancho could persuade his Dortmund teammate Erling Haaland to come to Old Trafford in the coming years.

The summer transfer market needs something big to breathe new life into him, and even at a reduced price of €80 million, this could be exactly what is needed.

Barcelona legend Lionel Messi could make his move this summer. Matteo Ciambelli/NoorPhoto via Getty Images

If the 33-year-old Barcelona legend’s contract does not expire in 2021, the transfer of the greatest player of all time could cost more than €100 million. Manchester City were no doubt considering making a bid this summer when Messi sent his turbo-fax to announce his intention to leave, before ultimately deciding to stay at Camp Nou rather than sue the club over a controversial exit clause in his contract.

Today he will almost certainly leave, even in light of Joan Laporta’s victory in Barcelona’s presidential election on the 7th. March – and there are only two clubs that can afford his salary: Man City and PSG. A reunion with Pep Guardiola at City is appealing, but we’d rather see him in Paris for a few more years, assuming the French champions keep Neymar and Kylian Mbappé around a little longer to form the M ‘n’ M trio up front.

Such zeal would, of course, end the long wait for PSG to win the Champions League.

What would Sergio Ramos think of former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola? Alejandro Rios/DeFody Images via Getty Images

If City can’t get Messi, they can console themselves by getting another La Liga superstar for free. Ramos, a centre-back for Real Madrid, has been with the club since 2005, but at 34 is trying to convince the club that he deserves a new contract.

That’s where City comes in. They need a new central defender now that 20-year-old Erik Garcia is leaving for Barcelona after his contract expires this summer, and Ramos would be the perfect replacement. He still has a few years to go at the top of his game, and wouldn’t it be incredible to see him working under his old enemy Guardiola at the Etihad?

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Casey Keller and Steve Cerundolo wonder if his hat-trick is a sign that Matthew Hopp is expected.

Matthäus Hoppe, Schalke – Bayern Munich – €20 million

Schalke are a mess, with huge debts and the spectacular sacking of the entire coaching staff, and they will struggle to avoid relegation to the 2nd division. Bundesliga this season. They’ve already received €18.5 million from Juventus for the acquisition of American midfielder Weston McKenney, and it’s possible they’re also looking to cash in on letting their star striker Hopp go this summer.

The 19-year-old American made headlines in January with a hat-trick against Hoffenheim, so much so that every club in Europe knew his name. He was recently linked with Liverpool and Tottenham, and Bayern Munich have certainly taken note in their search for a long-term replacement for 32-year-old Robert Lewandowski.

So assuming they can’t afford Haaland (although Dortmund are unlikely to allow a player to leave for their bitter rivals unless forced to), Hoppe could be an excellent replacement. Since I’ve been in Germany, I’ve tried to model my game after Haaland and Lewandowski, he told OneGoal in 2020.

It looks like a match made in heaven.

Gianluigi Donnarumma is one of the best young talents in the world Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

Sometimes a good free transfer to a rival can really shake up the transfer window. Think Sol Campbell, who moved from Tottenham to Arsenal in 2001, or Lewandowski, who came from Dortmund to Bayern in 2014. It’s not like Donnarumma is coming from AC Milan to Inter, but it would still be incredible.

The 22-year-old goalkeeper is one of the best young players in Europe and if Juventus want to return to the Italian league next season, there is no better way than to sign Donnarumma to one of their title rivals for nothing.

Unfortunately, this is unlikely as Donnarumma is close to signing a new contract with Milan. But the move would baffle Italy, and comes on top of replacing the legendary Gianluigi Buffon, who retires this summer at the age of 43 for both club and country.

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