1) Yevhan Konoplyanka
This 24-year-old Ukraine international has made an impression over at Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk since graduating from the youth ranks in 2007. The versatile winger however managed eight goals in 26 appearances in the Ukrainian Premier League and is being heavily linked with a move to Liverpool and now Manchester United.
Reportedly rated around £12m, with some reports suggesting he has a £16m buyout clause, Konoplyanka has yet to feature at any finals on the international stage, or the Champions League, and when he has been tested against English Premier League opposition, he failed to make a major impact in Dnipro’s 3-2 defeat on aggregate to Tottenham this term, in which he managed to score just one goal from a penalty.
2) Juan Manuel Iturbe
20-year-old Porto winger Iturbe has also made waves this term with Serie A outfit Hellas Verona who gained promotion just last summer. He scored eight goals across 33 appearances for Verona this term after a fairly underwhelming spell at Argentine giants River Plate last year in his homeland and he has yet to be included in the Argentina squad at either U21 level or senior level.
He has yet to score a goal for Porto (in 6 appearances) but is reportedly being targeted by Liverpool for a £24m move, which is roughly what the Reds paid for Luis Suarez.
3) Mehdi Benatia
The 27-year-old Morocco international has been applying his trade at Roma this season after moving from Udinese in 2013. The centre-back was a graduate of the academy at Ligue 1 outfit Marseille in 2005 where he broke through the ranks until being sold to Ligue 2 side Clermont in 2008.
However, it seems the defender is being headhunted by Premier League champions Manchester City this summer who are reportedly preparing a £12m deal for Benatia, with others suggesting he is worth £25m which Barcelona are willing to pay, despite the fact he has never been tested at Champions League level and was signed for around £10m just ten months ago.
4) Maxime Gonalons
This 25-year-old defensive midfielder has played his entire career to date for Ligue 1 outfit Lyon, making 140 appearances over the last five years since his senior debut. He received his first cap for France in a friendly against the USA back in 2011 but has not featured for his country at a tournament.
At present he is on standby for Didier Deschamps ahead of the World Cup in Brazil this summer, behind the likes of £9.3m-rated Etienne Capoue. There is no doubt the player has quality which he has proven this term for Lyon who came third in Ligue 1 but the club failed to qualify for the Champions League against Real Sociedad last year and subsequently missed out, leaving me wondering why exactly reports suggest Arsenal and Manchester United are ‘eyeing’ him in a €17mn deal.
Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin is also on standby in Gonalons’ position for France this summer and is 24 years old, has Premier League experience with the Saints after arriving for just £1.2m.
5) William Carvalho
This 22-year-old Portugal international undoubtedly has a big future after an impressive season with Sporting CP this term in his homeland. The defensive midfielder is presently linked with Manchester United who, it is claimed, are set to offer €45m to trigger his release clause.
Whilst he is certainly one to watch out for in the future, Sporting placed second in the Primeira Liga this term which is still some distance behind the intensity of the Premier League, and were not involved in any continental competitions, which means the youngster has yet to be tested at the highest level. Carvalho was only promoted to the Portugal senior team last year and has yet to feature in a finals at international level.
6) Eliaquim Mangala
Similarly, this 23-year-old central defender won promoted to the France senior team last year and the Porto centre-back is in Didier Deschamps squad for the World Cup, he made just 20 appearances in the Primeira Liga for the Portuguese outfit who finished out the season in third place. Like Carvalho, I struggle to see how the Frenchman is worth the reported valuation of £35m as Manchester City are reportedly willing to pay.
He did feature in the Champions League with Porto this term, before being dumped into the Europa League, which they exited at the quarterfinals to Sevilla. £35m is more expensive than the likes of Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and is roughly the price City paid for Sergio Aguero and yet that is what we’re supposed to believe the Porto defender is worth this summer.