Rakitic, Garay & the Europa League final stars who could transfer this summer

Players from both Sevilla and Benfica have the chance to put themselves in the shop window when they face each other in Turin on Wednesday

By Enis Koylu

To play in the final of a major European final is a massive opportunity for any player, whether it be the Champions League or the less presitgious Europa League and the star players of both Benfica and Sevilla will be no different.

When the two sides step onto the Juventus Stadium pitch on Wedensday to contest the final, history will be there for the making. The Andalusians are looking to add to the two Uefa Cups they won in 2006 and 2007 after only qualifying thanks to a technicalaity last season, while their opponents want to put five decades of pain in contiental finals behind them once and for all.

But, every player has a personal agenda and strong performances on the big stage - particularly for a team outside of Europe's tradtional giants - can lead to lucrative summer transfers. Here, Goal lists some of the Sevilla and Benfica stars who could be using the big match to put themselves in the shop window.


Reports linking Ezequiel Garay with a transfer away from Benfica seem to be as old as time itself but the talented centre-back could finally be on the move this summer after another accomplished season in Lisbon.

Now 27, the Argentine is entering the prime of his career and could seek a move away from the Portuguese giants, whom he has represented for three years, for another shot at the big time after failing to shine during a three-year stint at Real Madrid.

Manchester United are a potential destination for the former Newell's Old Boys man as the Red Devils look to prepare for life after Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic. Their interest in the centre-back has only intensified since being told that Porto's Eliaquim Mangala is likely to move Man City. His contract expires in 2016, though, and Benfica are likely to fight to keep hold of their man.


Another Argentine who could leave the Estadio Da Luz for Manchester this summer is Nico Gaitan, who has enjoyed another solid year pulling the strings in the Eagles' midfield.

But he could be a rival of his compatriot next year as rumours of interest from Man City has surfaced in Portugal of late and the Premier League champions have certainly been watching the 26-year-old with a view to bringing him to the Etihad this summer.

Like Garay, Gaitan has been at Benfica for a considerable amount of time and has just a year left to run on his contract, so this summer could be the perfect time for a big move away.


The star of Sevilla's run to the Europa League final, 2013-14 has been the season in which Ivan Rakitic truly came of age after always failing to fulfill his potential, first at Schalke, then at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

And the Andalusians could pay a heavy price for the midfielder's rise to fame. His current deal expires next summer and his entourage has been sounding out other clubs to maximise his earning potential. Rakitic, for his part, would like to extend his contract at a better salary as his family is settled in Seville.

Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid are both known to be interested but the Santiago Bernabeu would be a more likely destination as Sevilla do not wish to sell him to a potential Liga rival. Further afield, Lazio have sounded out his agent.


Another Sevilla star catapulted into the public eye this season has been Carlos Bacca, a Colombian striker who has netted 21 goals in all competitions in his maiden year in Spain, including seven in his side's unlikely Europa League run.

His current contract runs for another four seasons, meaning a summer exit is unlikely, but the 27-year-old's performances have not gone unnoticed both at home and abroad.

With Everton likely to lose Romelu Lukaku after his brilliant loan spell at Goodison Park, the Toffees have been looking to the Colombian as a potential replacement for the burly Belgian. Atletico Madrid are also interested in case Diego Costa leaves this summer, but Sevilla will refuse to negotiate with suitors, meaning they will have to exercise his release clause.


A young left-back, who has come through the Sevilla ranks, Alberto Moreno has made huge strides in the Sevilla first-team this season and even emerged as competition for Jordi Alba in the Spain team, making his debut in a World Cup qualifier against Georgia back in October.

Just 21, Moreno has been touted with a big future away from the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. Chelsea have sent scouts to watch him and he has a good relationship with Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos and would like to join the former Sevilla man at the Santiago Bernabeu.

However, his performances this term have been inconsistent, putting off come interested parties and he missed out on a call-up to the Spain squad for the World Cup.