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Our brave, wild predictions for football in the coming years: Pep to leave City, Ronaldo Juve's burden

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Who can really tell what's in the future? ESPN FC, that's who.

Things happen so quickly in football that making predictions is an extremely tricky business, but we have never shied away from the big calls. So here are 20 things that will absolutely, positively, definitely happen in European football in the next three years. Maybe ...

Neymar will sign for Man United

At the time of writing, the unending saga that is Neymar's potential return to Barcelona is dragging on to the point that it doesn't really feel like it will happen. But he has to leave Paris Saint-Germain, so where will he go? He needs a club that has money, has no discernible plan and is desperate. Step forward, Manchester United.

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Klopp will walk away from Liverpool in 2022

By the time Jurgen Klopp's contract with Liverpool ends in 2022, he will have been at Anfield for seven years. It might just be a coincidence that it's the same amount of time he spent in charge of both Mainz and Borussia Dortmund, but this is a man who doesn't overstay his welcome. He left both of those clubs a hero and will want to do that a third time. In fact, the only reason he might stay longer is if Liverpool haven't won the league yet. But ...

Liverpool will win the Premier League at least once

... Because ...

Guardiola will leave City when they're banned from Europe

Manchester City appear to be constantly under suspicion of breaching financial fair play regulations, and if UEFA find them guilty of one of their charges, a Champions League ban is inevitable. Pep Guardiola tends to manage only in the most optimal situations, so one suspects he won't stick around if his team can't compete at the top level.

Mourinho will manage Bayern

Despite once deriding Guardiola's achievements with Bayern Munich on the basis that the Bundesliga is a monopoly, Germany is the notch missing from Jose Mourinho's metaphorical bedpost. Despite winning the title last season, Niko Kovac wasn't convincing, so it wouldn't be a huge shock to see him dismissed in the next year or so. And if he is, Mourinho will be waiting.

Inter will be the team to stop Juve

Juventus have won eight Serie A titles in a row, but their run has to stop soon, and it might be this season if Maurizio Sarri's methods don't take hold quickly. Theoretically Napoli are the next in line to challenge, but Inter have just appointed Antonio Conte, a steel-eyed winner. Would you bet against him? Would you dare?

Pochettino and Kane will move to Madrid

Understandably, Tottenham fans are not keen to entertain the possibility of the two most important figures in their recent history leaving, but it's inevitable at some point. Both Mauricio Pochettino and Harry Kane will need to take a considerable step up in money and prospects to go, and considering the chances are neither would go elsewhere in England, Real Madrid seem like the obvious destination.

Suarez will leave Barca in 2020

The decline has started, and for much of last season, there was talk that Barcelona had decided they needed to move on from Luis Suarez. It seems unlikely that will be reversed, and with the arrival of Antoine Griezmann, by the second half of next season Barca might feel comfortable letting Suarez go.

Arsenal's Champions League absence will continue

When Unai Emery arrived at Arsenal, he faced a big task even if he could get them moving forward just a little bit. However, they have arguably stepped back given the loss of Aaron Ramsey and the probable departure of Laurent Koscielny. It's simply tough to see them have the defensive stability required to make the top four anytime soon. As a consequence ...

Lacazette will be the next to grow weary of it all and leave

Arsenal's only saving grace is that they have two strikers who are the envy of most other top clubs, but how long will those strikers put up with playing in front of mediocrity? Alexandre Lacazette is 28, and at some point he might decide that it isn't worth the bother and seek somewhere with better prospects. See also Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Hector Bellerin.

Newcastle will be relegated

OK, not the most outrageous prediction in the world. Newcastle have already gone down twice under the calamitous Mike Ashley regime, and with scant investment in the team and the apparent conviction that former Sheffield Wednesday manager Steve Bruce is the right man to see them forward, a third feels inevitable.

Lampard will win at least one trophy with Chelsea

The managerial career of Frank Lampard is, very obviously, a work in progress, but there were enough promising signs at Derby that he has a managerial brain and could be a success. He may have to get through his first, transferless year at Stamford Bridge on goodwill, but that might prove to be a perfect season for his apprenticeship, learning at the sharp end but with a degree of job security. Given the strength of Manchester City and Liverpool, the league title might be a stretch, but he will win something.

Ronaldo will become a burden for Juventus

At the moment, Cristiano Ronaldo is still so powerful that he will basically decide when, where and for how long he plays at Juventus. However, he'll turn 35 in February and doesn't strike you as the sort of man who will gracefully step away as his powers diminish. Maurizio Sarri's main job will be figuring how to accommodate the man, the player and the ego while still winning. Not an easy task.

Someone will break the world transfer record for Mbappe

At the time, the €222 million that PSG paid for Neymar felt like an absurd outlier, the sort of figure that someone would make up to sound ridiculous and unattainable. Not so much two years on, though. Of course, someone else might emerge as the most prominent young talent in the game, but at the moment it's Kylian Mbappe, who has already started to yearn for a life away from Paris. For him, someone will pay the money.

Lloris will become a liability for Spurs

You could make an argument that this has already happened to the Tottenham captain, but the rare mistakes from Hugo Lloris have become increasingly common, to the point that his natural authority has eroded. For years Spurs haven't had to worry about who's in goal, but that concern is increasing and is now very much there.

Wolves will break into the Premier League top six

It's become common to predict that Leicester City will crack the hitherto uncrackable top six this summer. But while they have enjoyed a fine transfer window, they are playing catch-up to another side from the Midlands who were incredibly impressive last season, and Wolves have the capacity to improve further. A secondary prediction: Nuno is the most likely manager from the Premier League's other 14 clubs to get a top-six job.

Raiola will take over a club at some point

You may have seen and despaired at Mino Raiola accepting the acclaim of some Juventus fans recently after his client Matthijs de Ligt signed for them, but it just underlines his power in the game that even supporters hanging around outside a stadium know who he is. The next step after controlling players is controlling a club, so while he might not be an official part of a takeover, he may well be the guiding hand behind one.

Alonso will take a big job somewhere

His beginnings are relatively humble, having recently taken the Real Sociedad B job, but Xabi Alonso is simply too smart, erudite and respected not to land a pretty sizable job when a big club feels like it needs a new start soon. This is not to necessarily say he'll be any good -- sometimes even the most cast-iron theories don't work out -- but someone will take a chance.

Sancho won't move anywhere

There will inevitably be a constant trickle of stories linking Jadon Sancho with a move away from Borussia Dortmund, possibly to England, in the next couple of years. But why would he move? He's already very nearly the main man at one of Europe's biggest clubs and, if Bayern have a wobble, is in with a strong chance of silverware. He'll move and get his big payday at some point, but it won't be soon.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer won't last the season at Man United

Well, obviously.