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Eight world stars still searching for their big summer transfers

With the transfer window entering its final fortnight, RealSport takes a look at eight stars that are still holding out for a big move.

As we enter late August, you would be forgiven for believing that the majority of the big transfers have already been signed and sealed. However, as with the nature of modern-day football, every deal is a saga, and many big-name players have been held to ransom by their current clubs.

As agents sweat, players cut ties and club executives sharpen their pencils to accurately update their books, a sport becomes a big-budget Netflix drama in the space of a few weeks. The players are the main characters and their fates are less predictable than that of Michael Schofield or Walter White. 

Here are the eight biggest stars that are still awaiting their big move before the window slams shut in September… 

  1. 1 Kylian Mbappé

    The 18-year-old looked set to become the most expensive player of all time, when reports emerged of a £161m move from Real Madrid in July. However, a combination of Neymar's spotlight-stealing move to PSG, along with the start of the French season, has taken the attention off Mbappé for the time being. 

    Yet the teenage sensation, who scored 26 goals in all competitions last season, has been left out of Leonardo Jardim's Monaco squad to face Metz this weekend. With talk circling of a move to French rivals PSG, Mbappé's exclusion from the squad could be a sign that the talent's head is elsewhere. 

    If a move is to happen, the fee will be in the region of £163m, and football will have officially lost its mind.

  2. 2 Philippe Coutinho

    In the trail of falling dominoes, triggered by Neymar's move to PSG, Liverpool are desperately resisting the flow by attempting to keep Philippe Coutinho at the club. Barcelona have made it very clear that the Brazilian is their main target this summer, and are reportedly prepared to pay over £120m to get their man. 

    Liverpool have rejected three bids to date, and are standing firm to resist the heat of Barça's interest and Coutinho's personal transfer request. Jurgen Klopp has claimed that his star player is not for sale, and has no intention to weaken his own squad.

    In the past, Barcelona have very rarely been unable to buy a player that they specifically want, and it will be very interesting to see if Liverpool can hold out or whether they will buckle under the pressure f the Spanish giants. 

  3. 3 Riyad Mahrez

    Riyad Mahrez declared his intentions to leave Leicester City almost as soon as the referee had blown the final whistle of the season. Whether this was pre-agreed by player or club is not my place to speculate, yet it was obvious to see last season that the Algerian wanted to be elsewhere. 

    AS Roma have been the front-runners in the race to sign the 2016 PFA Player of the Year, but appear to have cooled their interest after the Foxes rejected two bids. Craig Shakespeare selected Mahrez for the first game of the season - against Arsenal - and the winger put in a solid performance, with an assist in the 4-3 loss. 

    There's no doubt that Mahrez would prefer to leave the East Midlands as soon as possible, but there are signs that if no suitable offer came in, then he would be prepared to stay.

  4. 4 Alexis Sanchez

    One of the predicted sagas of the summer has never really kicked-off, as contract rebel Alexis Sanchez remains an Arsenal player. At the end of last season, it seemed inevitable that the Chilean international would be saying farewell to the Emirates faithful. 

    However, a post-Confederations Cup holiday has passed and Sanchez has returned to England without any concrete bids coming in. Arsene Wenger has claimed that he would be prepared to see last season's top-scorer leave for free at the end of next season, but that seems to be a risky approach with the value that the star holds.

    Manchester City and PSG are reportedly still monitoring Sanchez's situation, but you get the feeling that the longer they wait, the tougher it will be to prise the Chilean winger from North London.  

  5. 5 Diego Costa

    In one of the most bizarre stories of the summer, we're currently in a situation where Diego Costa is in north-eastern Brazil - at his parents house - firing threatening quotes at Chelsea. 

    To put a long story short, Chelsea told Costa he could leave; the Spaniard only wants to go back to Atletico Madrid; Madrid can't afford Chelsea's asking price; and Costa is refusing to come back to London. 

    It's one of the least-concealed dramas in transfer history, and you feel like it is only a matter of time before someone cracks and gives in to the other's demands. 

    In all likelihood, that looks like it will be Chelsea as the club will not want to be bogged down with this saga as they get their season going. Watch this space!

  6. 6 Fabinho

    One of the more understated players on this list is AS Monaco's Fabinho. The defender-cum-midfielder was one of the French sides most important players last season, earning plaudits from all over Europe. 

    However, the Brazilian has been forced to watch a number of his teammates leave the Stade Louis II this summer and has been relied on to stay on with the fragile ship.

    Manchester United and PSG have been credited with interest, yet with Mbappé potentially heading out the door, Monaco will be even more inclined to cling onto Fabinho and his teammate, Thomas Lemar. 

  7. 7 Ousmane Dembele

    In the next domino in the Barcelona train, Dortmund are clinging onto their own teenage sensation, as Ousmane Dembele desperately tries to escape Germany. 

    The French winger has been tipped as the most capable replacement for Neymar, and has had his head turned, as he missed training this week and temporarily went AWOL. The 20-year-old has since been suspended by his club, as ties between the individual and Dortmund have started to snap. 

    Like Liverpool, Dortmund are holding out for a fee north of £100m, but if they do keep Dembele beyond the deadline, then they face having a player that is clearly capable of taking matters into his own hands if necessary; he's a rebel with a cause. 

  8. 8 Virgil Van Dijk

    Another deal that seemed so inevitable at the start of the window is starting to appear more and more doubtful by the day. Whether it be Liverpool's warning for tapping-up, Virgil van Dijk's transfer request, or Southampton's insistence that he trains on his own, every box in transfer saga bingo has been ticked off.

    With Chelsea and Manchester City also circling, the Saints are shrugging off their status as a selling club and refusing to budge on their stance over their captain. After the Premier League's awful defensive showing this weekend, a centre-back appears even more essential for certain clubs. 

    This one could go down to the very wire, and unless somebody is prepared to pay close to £80m for the Dutch international, Van Dijk will be staying put on the south coast. 

  1. Who would you most like to sign for your club?

    1. Kylian Mbappé
    2. Philippe Coutinho
    3. Riyad Mahrez
    4. Alexis Sanchez
    5. Diego Costa
    6. Fabinho
    7. Ousmane Dembele
    8. Virgil van Dijk
    39 votes
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Jack Colman

I'm a 22-year-old Chelsea fan (since 2000, before you ask...) with a strong love of both Cesar Azpilicueta and Isco. I'm a student at University of Nottingham, studying English, Spanish and Portuguese, and spent last year living in Argentina and Brazil.

Eight world stars still searching for their big summer transfers

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