TOP STORY: Man United expect Sancho battle with Real and Barca
Dortmund are adamant that the forward is not going anywhere this summer, and extended his contract by a year until 2023 a few months ago.
The report states that “La Liga rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona will enter the race for him next year. That would leave United battling it out in a bidding war with Spanish giants for Sancho — unless they up their offer this summer and meet Dortmund’s valuation.”
Though it also suggests that talk of interest could be “a ploy by Dortmund to force their hand and pressure them into bidding what the German club want this summer.”
12.29 BST: Sky Sport Italia says that AC Milan are in talks to sign Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic.
Milan are looking to include Lucas Paqueta, who has only been at the club since January 2019, as part of the deal, but Fiorentina want €40m in full.
12.08 BST: Reports in Spain that Dani Ceballos will return to Real Madrid this summer came as a surprise to those familiar with his frosty relationship with coach Zinedine Zidane, sources have told ESPN’s Alex Kirkland and Rodrigo Faez.
The pair haven’t seen eye-to-eye in the past, and another season on loan at Arsenal was looking most likely before claims this week that the midfielder will rejoin Madrid for preseason training.
11.27 BST: RB Leipzig are through to the Champions League semifinals and star defender Dayot Upamecano has attracted plenty of attention in the transfer window.
Steve Nicol and Don Hutchison heap praise on Dayot Upamecano’s stellar UCL performance vs. Atletico.
11.02 BST: Chelsea are willing to sell Tiemoue Bakayoko to AC Milan but are aiming to recoup almost all of the £40m they spent to sign the midfielder in 2017, sources have told ESPN’s James Olley.
The 25-year-old has been deemed surplus to requirements as Chelsea look to help finance a summer spending spree that has already seen Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner arrive at the club while talks are set to continue with Bayer Leverkusen over a deal worth at least £70m for Kai Havertz.
Bakayoko has two years remaining on his £100,000-a-week contract.
City are not looking to add a holding midfielder to their squad this summer with Pep Guardiola and director of football Txiki Begiristain happy with the options in that area — particularly after signing Rodri a year ago.
🆕 New club. New colours. New beginnings.
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) August 14, 2020
09.30 BST: ESPN’s Insider Notebook is out, with some juicy bits of transfer news including:
– Arsenal’s efforts to streamline and improve their operations has extended to an internal investigation into whether they overpaid for £72m club-record signing Nicolas Pepe. Sources have told ESPN’s James Olley that the deal has been re-examined as part of the wider recruitment overhaul which led to the departures of a host of scouts including Francis Cagigao, Brian McDermott and Brian Clark as well as several more senior employees based throughout Europe.
– Barcelona coach Quique Setien will lead the team in Friday’s Champions League quarterfinal against Bayern Munich but the club have already begun sounding out possible replacements, sources have told ESPN’s Samuel Marsden and Moises Llorens.
– It felt inevitable from the moment Jose Mourinho was appointed Tottenham head coach that he would clash with chairman Daniel Levy given their contrasting approaches to the transfer market, yet both are giving ground to make things work so far. Sources have told ESPN’s James Olley that while Levy was excited by the prospect of academy graduates Kyle Walker-Peters and Troy Parrott breaking into the first team next season, Mourinho did not rate either player. Walker-Peters has now left for Southampton and Parrott is already out on a season-long loan at Championship side Millwall.
– A string of Premier League clubs want to sign former Barcelona defender Xavier Mbuyamba, various sources have told ESPN, with Chelsea among those keen to land him.
08.57 BST: This is no way to treat a €126m signing, is it?
Don Hutchison lays into Diego Simeone’s tactics, in particular his decision to leave Joao Felix on the bench to start.
Vertonghen underwent a medical in Lisbon on Thursday and is expected to sign a contract with Benfica. The Belgium defender, who made over 300 appearances for Tottenham before his contract expired last month, wass also a target of Napoli, Inter Milan and Roma.
If completed, Vertonghen, 33, will become Benfica’s fourth reinforcement following the arrivals of Pedrinho, Helton Leite and Gilberto. Benfica are also expected to announce the signings of Everton and Luca Waldschmidt.
Tottenham coach Jose Mourinho spoke about Vertonghen’s potential move to Benfica and told Record: “I don’t know if he will become a Benfica player or not but if confirmed, a great gentleman will play in the Portuguese league. He is a great professional, a silent leader and an example of team work.”
Reguilon has enjoyed a strong campaign while on loan at Sevilla this season. The 23-year-old has scored three goals and set up four more in 36 appearances, 33 as a starter, to attract interest of big European clubs.
Discussions with Chelsea are already at an advanced stage, sources have told ESPN’s Rodrigo Faez and Alex Kirkland. Arsenal and Napoli are also interested in signing the defender, while Sevilla would also like him to continue at the club beyond this summer. Reguilon’s wish is to return to Real Madrid this summer but according to Diario AS, that will not happen with Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane unable to offer the player regular playing time.
Napoli sporting director Cristiano Giuntoli admitted his club’s interest in Reguilon.
“We want Reguilon on loan but Real Madrid’s demands are high and there is also competition from the Premier League,” he told Cadena Cope radio.
Sid Lowe says Gareth Bale choosing money over playing time is sad to see for football.
PAPER TALK: (by James Capps)
Real desperate to offload Rodriguez, Bale
Real Madrid are set to dramatically lower their asking prices for wantaway pair Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez, according to Sport.
Boss Zinedine Zidane is particularly keen to sell Bale, who continues to be ostracised from the playing squad amid a backdrop of unusual behavior from the 31-year-old, as he watched on from the stands while his side secured the La Liga title last month.
Sport claims that a fee of just €17m would be enough to prize the former Spurs man away from the Bernabeu, as long as the buyer can compete with the £600,000-a-week wages he picks up with Los Blancos.
Rodriguez, meanwhile, is available for a cut-price €8.5m, and the 29-year-old has reportedly attracted interest from clubs in Serie A and the Premier League.
Pirlo eyes deal for Zapata
Calciomercato claims new Juventus boss Andrea Pirlo has identified Atalanta striker Duvan Zapata as one of his main transfer targets, as the Serie A champions look to rebuild following an underwhelming season in Europe.
The 29-year-old has had an excellent season, notching 18 goals and providing a further seven assists in just 28 appearances in all competitions, including two strikes in his side’s excellent Champions League campaign.
That form hasn’t gone unnoticed by Pirlo, who is hoping to lure the Colombia international to Turin for a fee of around €30m.
Interest in a number of Atalanta players is expected over the coming weeks following their run to the quarterfinals of the Champions League, where they were denied a place in the semis in cruel fashion via a late comeback from Paris Saint-Germain in midweek.
Napoli line up double Roma raid
Napoli are preparing for the departures of two of their key players, with Jose Callejon and Allan set to leave the club in the coming days, and Gazzetta dello Sport claims Gennaro Gattuso’s side have lined up moves for Roma’s Cengiz Under and Jordan Veretout of Fiorentina as their replacements.
Callejon, 33, is departing Naples on a free transfer following the expiry of his contract, while midfielder Allan is close to securing a move to Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton in a deal worth around €25m. A chunk of that fee is set to be spent on Veretout, who enjoyed a successful loan spell in Rome during the 2019-20 season, making 37 appearances in all competitions
Turkey international winger Under, meanwhile, is considered Napoli’s No. 1 target, and they haven’t been put off by Roma’s €30m asking price.
– New Monaco boss Niko Kovac has told a dozen of his players to find new clubs by the end of the summer transfer window on Oct. 5, according to L’Equipe. The most high-profile casualties look set to be Brazilian centre-back Jemerson and winger Keita Balde, who scored just four league goals in the 2019-20 season.
– Sky Sports claims Ligue 2 side Amiens have made a loan move for Celtic outcast Boli Bolingoli. The Belgian recently broke coronavirus rules in Scotland following his side’s win over Hamilton on Aug. 2, with boss Neil Lennon saying it would be “very difficult” to welcome the player back into his squad as a result.
– Championship side Stoke City have reportedly slashed the asking price for their England international goalkeeper, Jack Butland. Sky Sports claims the Potters were looking for at least £30m for the 27-year-old last year, but as the stopper enters the final 12 months of his contract, the price has now been dropped to around £10m.