The streamlining of the summer transfer window has made little difference to the hype, rumour and insinuation that the media reports matters.
Mind you, it seems to have caused a change with the slick manner in which clubs do their business; Ronaldo to Juve went from media gossip to completed transfer in less than 48 hours.
There’s about a fortnight of the window left, and you sense there will be some big money moves made in the coming days.
According to the bookies, here are the most likely involving Premier League sides:
Eden Hazard (Chelsea to Real Madrid)
There is a rather large hole at Real Madrid now that Cristiano Ronaldo has left for Turin, and you just know the Galacticos will want to make a headline-inducing signing to appease their fans and shareholders.
New boss Julen Lopetegui may just have his heart set on a right-footed left winger with worldwide appeal then, and from that perspective Hazard would be high up on his shopping list.
The Belgian has spoken of his unhappiness at Chelsea in the past, and he often cut a forlorn figure when made to play up front on his own at times last season under the conservative Antonio Conte.
The Italian may be gone, but will Sarri’s appointment be enough to convince Hazard to give it one more year? The bookies have made the Belgian 8/13 to leave this summer, and it looks all but a done deal.
Likelihood: The odds don’t lie; Hazard will likely be heading off to Spain.
Willian (Chelsea to Barcelona)
It could be a double-whammy for Chelsea, with The Sun reporting today that Chelsea will sell Willian to Barcelona if they meet their £70m valuation of the winger.
How much truth there is in that remains to be seen, and the appointment of Maurizio Sarri could well be a factor. Is he looking to bring Dries Mertens to Stamford Bridge from former club Napoli? If he is, that would presumably be as a straight swap for the Brazilian.
A new twist came on Tuesday afternoon with the news that Bordeaux man Malcom looks set to join the Catalan giants; a move which could leave Willian’s Barca dream dead in the water.
He’s as short as 2/5 to leave the Blues this summer, so are Barcelona just playing a waiting game?
Likelihood: It’s almost a given.
Harry Maguire (Leicester City to Manchester United)
After a stellar World Cup 2018, it was always likely that interest in Harry Maguire would intensify, and it would appear a couple of English clubs are readying bids for the defender.
The England man is the subject of red hot interest from Jose Mourinho at Manchester United, according to the tabloids, and they are said to be preparing a £25m raid for the Leicester man.
It’s the kind of signing that ticks the boxes – we see post World Cup deals like this happening all the time, and with the sense that Leicester are regressing to their mean now that Mahrez has departed, perhaps Maguire’s head will be turned.
’Slabhead’ is best price 4/6 to stay with Leicester, but as short as 11/10 to head north to Old Trafford.
Likelihood: It’s a distinct possibility.
Anthony Martial (Manchester United to Juventus)
He can barely get a look in at United, and now the papers are reporting that Anthony Martial wants out.
The Daily Express has reported that the Frenchman will be allowed to leave the club by Jose Mourinho, but only if he doesn’t join another English club.
That might just rule Chelsea and Tottenham out of the running, as will Martial’s wish to play as a central striker for whomever he joins.
That could see him head to Juventus to replace Mario Mandzukic, return to France or even try his luck at Bayern Munich, should wantaway Robert Lewandowski have his transfer request accepted.
Likelihood: Expect Martial to leave, but to where? Who knows.