Bayer Leverkusen are a little bit like the Arsenal of the Bundesliga. They have talented players, who tend to show a lot of promise, and could really push for a second place finish but ultimately settle for a place in the top four.
You can usually rely on them alongside Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich to make up three of the top four positions in the German league. But something has gone awry this year. There are just nine games left of the season and Bayer languish in 11th position.
They sacked manager Roger Schmidt and dropped out of the Champions League in the round of 16. The season has gone completely off script and the club are in real danger of having no European football next season. This will more than likely have an impact on their summer plans.
The club might not have to sell but that doesn’t mean their players won’t be itching for a move to join a club playing in Europe.
We’ve taken a look at seven Bayer Leverkusen stars who could leave the BayArena this summer and where they could end up.
— Football Whispers (@FB_WHISPERS) March 19, 2017
Los Blancos are in the market for a goalkeeper. The current custodian between the sticks, Kaylor Navas, is on borrowed time and the La Liga giants are reportedly once again eyeing up Manchester United’s David De Gea. There have also been links to Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois.
However, Bernd Leno, who was a target for RB Leipzig last summer, is a surprise target for Zinedine Zidane’s men. He was tipped to be the heir to Manuel Neuer but he appears to have stagnated.
A change of scenery may see him step up his game and fulfil his potential.
— City Watch (@City_Watch) March 23, 2017
Barcelona are in the market for a right-back having failed to replace the now departed Dani Alves. Sergi Roberto and Aleix Vidal have both played the role at times this season but after the latter picked up an injury Luis Enrique changed the formation.
The team now play 3-4-3 and while it’s working it’s not really a sustainable long-term plan.
Los Cules have been linked with Southampton right-back Cedric but they could turn their attention to Bayer’s converted full-back, Benjamin Henrichs.
The versatile German started life as a midfielder but has excelled as a right-back and was even called up to the national team. His ability on the ball makes him ideal for the Barcelona style of play.
#Chelsea are set to trigger Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu's €38million release clause this summer. [Ajansspor]
— Chelsea HQ ? (@Chelsea_HQ) March 16, 2017
Çalhanoğlu may be currently suspended from football but his reputation hasn’t taken a hit. He’s still being linked with a move away and Antonio Conte’s Chelsea are front runners for his signature.
The Turkish international was linked with a move to Stamford Bridge in January but a move never materialised, perhaps due to the fact he was about to be hit with a ban.
Chelsea are in the market for playmaker with the future of Cesc Fàbregas still up in the air. On top of that, the club still haven’t replaced Oscar after selling him for an astonishing £60million.
— Anfield HQ (@AnfieldHQ) March 15, 2017
It’s now looking unlikely that Bayer will be able to keep hold of Brandt. The 20-year-old has attracted interest from Bayern Munich as well as Liverpool and recent reports suggest he has a clause in his contract which enables him to leave for as little as £12million from June 2018.
If true, this summer represents the last opportunity for the club to sell their talented attacker for close to his real value.
Jürgen Klopp is thought to be a long-term admirer of the versatile forward. He’s not likely to cost a fortune and has all the raw traits for the former Borussia Dortmund manager to mould him into a star, just like he did with Robert Lewandowksi and Mario Götze.
— Man United News (@ManUtdMEN) March 24, 2017
Javier Hernández has been linked with moves away from the Bundesliga ever since he arrived in the summer of 2015. He adapted to life in Germany seamlessly and scored 26 goals during his debut campaign.
He was linked with moves to Spurs, Liverpool and Chelsea in January and has recently been lined up as the latest star to head to the MLS. However, there are now reports linking him with a return to Manchester United.
The links are possibly fuelled by the fact Jose Mourinho revealed he was a fan of the Mexican’s: “I would have never sold [Ángel] di María, Chicharito [Javier Hernández], Danny Welbeck. Never. No chance.”
With Wayne Rooney set to be moving on in the summer could the 28-year-old swap the BayArena for Old Trafford as cover for Zlatan Ibrahimović?
Kevin Kampl's game by number vs. Atletico:
90% pass accuracy
4 tackles won
3 chances created
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 15, 2017
Mauricio Pochettino seemed to be set in midfield after signing Victor Wanyama to partner Mousa Dembélé. With Harry Winks getting more minutes it appeared, to outsiders at least, that the club were in a healthy position in that area of the pitch.
However, Spurs have recently been linked with a summer move for Las Palmas midfielder Roque Mesa. Is the Argentine looking for midfield reinforcements with yet another campaign in the Champions League on the horizon?
If that’s the case they could do a lot worse than signing Kevin Kampl. The former Borussia Dortmund winger has evolved into a centre-midfielder capable of breaking the lines. He’s used to playing in a pressing system too which makes him ideal, at least on paper, for the Spurs profile.
Story of a goal
Bellarabi made great striker movements before scoring, great example of manipulating a deep block. pic.twitter.com/kX0Emm8gAH
— Faja (@AndrasFajkusz) February 21, 2017
Arsenal have been linked with a summer move for Lorenzo Insigne over recent days as the Italian’s representatives looks to thrash out a new contract with Napoli.
If they do manage to keep Alexis Sanchez at the club in the summer, and want to build around him as their main man in attack, then they need players in wide areas who can offer what he does.
Karim Bellarabi could tick a few of those boxes. The 26-year-old is explosively quick, a goal threat and he creates chances for others.
An attacking trio of Sanchez, Bellarabi and Theo Walcott would be frightening.