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Europe's big spenders looking to lure foreign stars away from Bundesliga

While German World Cup stars seem to be this summer’s hottest transfer targets, a number of foreign stars currently plying their trade in the Bundesliga are among those whom Europe’s top clubs are hoping to entice away.

Edin Dzeko with his top scorer award

Top gun: Goal machine Edin Dzeko is a wanted man

The Bundesliga's profile has never been so high thanks to Germany's exploits in South Africa this summer, Bayern Munich's charge to the Champions League final last season and high-profile stars such as Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and Ruud van Nistelrooy choosing to play their soccer with Germany's top teams. However, despite its best efforts, the German league continues to struggle to hang on to big names when wealthier clubs come calling.

Once again, check books are being waved in the direction of players who have lit up the Bundesliga since arriving in Germany, and with some clubs bucking the financial trend of austerity thanks to the deep pockets of benevolent billionaire owners, it looks like the league could lose a few of its shining lights before the new season starts.

Edin Dzeko

Big clubs have been tracking Dzeko for the past two seasons

Unsurprisingly, the name on the top of most lists is that of Edin Dzeko. The 24-year-old Wolfsburg hotshot has been linked with a move away from the Bundesliga since he helped shoot the Wolves to title glory almost two years ago. The Bosnian international has long been linked with a move to AC Milan but the Rossoneri may regret not pouncing sooner because Dzeko's second season as top scorer in the Bundesliga has alerted Manchester City.

The Arab-owned Manchester club is swimming through the transfer waters this summer like a ravenous Great White and has caught Dzeko's scent - which could mean bad news for Milan, Chelsea, Juventus and anyone else not put off by his 40 million-euro ($51million) release clause. The big spending Mancunians still remain interested in the man who scored 23 league goals in Germany last season despite Dzeko favouring a move to Italy. If his preferred club AC Milan can find the money - or if Manchester suddenly appeals - this may be the season that the Bosnian hit-man finally moves on to pastures new.

Dortmund bracing for bids on trio of top stars

Another striker who may be following him out of the Bundesliga is Lucas Barrios. After enjoying a great season with Borussia Dortmund and featuring in Paraguay's World Cup campaign in South Africa, the Brazilian-born forward is apparently attracting interest from AC Milan, Fiorentina, Manchester City and Napoli. Barrios has four years left on his current contract at BVB but could still move on for a fee of around 10 million euros. Dortmund will be eager to hang on to the striker who helped them finish in their best position in years last season but could be tempted to sell if the price is right.

Dortmund's Mohamed Zidan, challenges for the ball with Leverkusen's Arturo Vidal, Sami Hyypiae, Gonzalo Castro during the Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen in Dortmund on March 20, 2010.

Mohamed Zidan's muscular performances for Dortmund and Egypt have alerted Europe's top clubs

Dortmund will do well to hang on to another of their best performers this summer, with crafty Egyptian striker Mohamed Zidan in the sights of big names such as Manchester United, Arsenal and Barcelona. Rumours of his unhappiness in Dortmund surfaced during last season's winter transfer window and the 28-year-old has done little to scotch the now deafening chatter that he could be ready to take a step up after two years and 15 goals.

Dortmund could be looking at quite a depleted squad should another much sought-after player finally move on after months of speculation. Serbian defender Nevan Subotic has been touted as a potential replacement for fellow countryman and international defensive partner Nemanja Vidic, should the current Manchester United hard man move to Real Madrid.

Man United have moved to the head of the queue for Subotic since Vidic made it clear that he fancies a switch to Spain but Premiership rivals Chelsea and Arsenal, who have been sniffing around for some time, won't give up so easily. However, BVB's asking price of 29 million euros for the 21-year-old center-back could prove a stumbling block to any move.

Altintop to earn final big pay day with free transfer

Hamit Altintop

After many years service in the Bundesliga, Hamit Altintop may be on the move to pastures new

One player who won't cost a cent in transfer fees is Hamit Altintop. The versatile Turkish midfielder has been a stalwart of the Bundesliga with Schalke 04, and more recently Bayern Munich. but as younger players have come through, Altintop has slowly begun his descent through the pecking order at the German champions.

With a wealth of experience and no huge price tag on his head, Altintop could be one of the free transfers of the season for a club looking for a wise old head to conduct things from midfield. In turn, a new challenge may get a few more years service out of a player who has given his all in the Bundesliga. English Premiership sides Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur are said to be interested.

Author: Nick Amies

Editor: Susan Houlton

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