Casemiro looks to be closing in on a move to Manchester United from Real Madrid.
Per Fabrizio Romano, United are working to get a deal worth up to €70 million approved by Real, with medicals expected to take place imminently and a contract agreed with the Brazilian.
He looks likely to become United’s fourth signing of the summer and their first in midfield despite a long, drawn out saga around Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong, which could now be over with Casemiro’s potential signing.
It’s a huge coup for United after a massively disappointing summer in the transfer market that has bled into their first two Premier League games of the season.
Casemiro would become Erik ten Hag’s fourth signing of the summer, but joins a squad that still needs major revisions in the eyes of many. And in doing so, he crucially leaves behind Champions League football, mere months after lifting the trophy for a fifth time with Real.
The 30-year-old has established himself as quite possibly the best defensive midfielder in the world since heading to Madrid in 2013, forging a legendary trio with Toni Kroos and Luka Modric in the heart of Los Blancos’ midfield.
But, in heading to Old Trafford, Casemiro will say goodbye to iconic Champions League nights and hello to the more wild world of Europa League nights, at least for one season, following United’s sixth place finish last season.
Considering his abilities and status in the game, that’s pretty absurd. He must be rather keen to head to Old Trafford, for one reason or another.
The Brazilian isn’t the only player to abandon Champions League nights to make the jump for pastures new this summer, however, with a surprising amount of players seemingly open to taking the hit in search of a fresh start.
A graphic has surfaced on Reddit which details the top players who have moved from clubs competing in the Champions League this or last season, to Premier League sides who are without Champions League football this season.
Some of the players included are seriously surprising, so be sure to take a look below.
The first thing to note is the absence of Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko.
With the graphic not considering transfers across Premier League sides, the pair miss out, but also qualify and are two huge names, having moved from Manchester City to Arsenal this summer.
Even with those absences, there are some huge names in the graphic. Alphonse Areola has returned to West Ham from Paris Saint-Germain following last season’s loan and been joined by Thilo Kehrer – both players were part of the squad that reached the final in 2020.
Philippe Coutinho has left Barcelona to join Aston Villa on a permanent basis, while Diego Carlos has also joined the Villans, from Sevilla. Steven Gerrard has pulled off two major signings in convincing them to leave behind Champions League nights, and now has to get the best out of them to ensure Villa secure European football themselves.
Aubameyang CLOSE (Football Terrace)
Not to be forgotten among their business is the signing of Boubacar Kamara on a free transfer from Marseille. Kamara had been linked to a host of top clubs and is absolutely a Champions League calibre midfielder, but has opted to head to Villa Park.
Fabio Vieira has also headed to Arsenal to join the exciting project Mikel Arteta has put together, while Matheus Nunes and Joao Palhinha have both waved goodbye to Sporting CP in order to get a move to the English top flight.
Nunes has just completed a move to Wolves and could be key in the race to secure European football, but Palhinha has joined Fulham, who’s sole objective is to avoid relegation back to the Championship. That is extraordinary.
Even Leeds United, who avoided relegation at the death last season, have managed to pry away players from Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig this summer.
It’s testament to the immense pulling power that the Premier League has over players, with just about everyone desperate for the chance to prove themselves in the English top flight, aware of the financial and footballing reward that follows that.