The summer transfer window is here, and there’s plenty of gossip swirling about who’s moving where. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz on rumours, comings and goings and, of course, done deals!
TOP STORY: De Ligt on Man Utd’s radar
Having worked with the 22-year-old Netherlands international during his time at Ajax Amsterdam, United manager Erik ten Hag is hopeful of being able to persuade de Ligt to Old Trafford, though the player has also been linked with Chelsea and Bayern Munich.
The Bundesliga side have recently stepped up their pursuit of him, having been aware of his desire to go in search of a new challenge this summer, but they are still yet to reach an agreement over a fee with the Bianconeri, who are reported to have set a €70 million valuation.
The Red Devils would be able to present an official contract offer to De Ligt if they meet those demands, but whether he accepts terms at Old Trafford would depend on whether Bayern decide to match their offer.
De Ligt joined Juventus from Ajax in 2019 for an initial €75m fee, and has two years left on his current deal.
14.58 BST: Barcelona have made a final offer worth €55m for Leeds United forward Raphinha but may have to choose between the Brazilian and Ousmane Dembele in the end, according to different reports in Spain.
Diario Sport claims Barca have presented what will be their last bid to Leeds as they attempt to get close to the €60m fee Chelsea have already agreed with their Premier League rivals. Barca’s latest offer is around €55m in total, but that includes add-ons and is heavily installment based.
The report adds that Raphinha’s desire to move to Camp Nou could see Leeds willing to accept Barca’s lower bid. Leeds want the situation resolved as soon as possible.
Mundo Deportivo, meanwhile, reports that Barca may now only sign one of Raphinha or Dembele, who became a free agent last week when his contract with the Catalan club expired.
Previous reports have claimed Barca wanted both, but they have apparently changed their minds. They already have Ansu Fati, Ferran Torres and Memphis Depay at the club, with Robert Lewandowski a target to compete with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang through the middle, and there may not be room for Raphinha and Dembele.
Leeds may leave Raphinha out of their preseason trip to Australia due to situation around his future, The Athletic reports, and the club will decide if he makes the trip in the next 48 hours.
“There’s urgency from his end, I think, to come up with a solution,” Leeds manager Jesse Marsch said. “We have to, in the next couple of days, see how things stand and see how we go.”
Asensio, 26, has a year left on his contract but has not been offered an extension at the Bernabeu and recently switched agents to be represented by Jorge Mendes in what was interpreted as laying the groundwork for a move.
According to AS, Newcastle want the forward to be “the corner stone” of their new project.
Asensio scored 10 goals in 31 LaLiga appearances last season — his best ever return — but was eclipsed by Rodrygo and Fede Valverde as the campaign went on, with manager Carlo Ancelotti preferring both in the right-wing spot.
13.44 BST: Manchester United are pushing to agree a fee with Ajax for Lisandro Martinez as fears grow that they are facing an uphill task to close a deal for Frenkie de Jong, sources have told ESPN’s Rob Dawson.
United have told Ajax they are willing to pay €50m for the 24-year-old, although they are holding out for more amid further interest from Arsenal.
Negotiations with the Dutch side are being played out against a backdrop of uncertainty over the move for De Jong. Sources have told ESPN that dialogue remains ongoing despite public claims from Barcelona that the midfielder is not available for a transfer but there remains uncertainty at Old Trafford about whether a deal is possible.
United have agreed to an initial fee of around €65m for De Jong but sources have told ESPN that are still significant hurdles to overcome.
13.09 BST: Former Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman says Frenkie de Jong wants to stay at Camp Nou and urged the Catalan club to think twice before getting rid of their best players.
Barca and Manchester United have been negotiating a deal for De Jong all summer, while Chelsea also maintain an interest in the Dutch midfielder.
“I have a lot of contact with Frenkie and I know his situation,” Koeman told reporters. “He has said it himself. He wants to stay, it’s his intention to remain at Barca, nothing else. That’s all I know.
“From my point of view, there are a lot of rumours, but I think Barca should always keep and sign the best players. To improve, you can’t sell players like Frenkie de Jong.”
New United coach Erik ten Hag has been pushing for the arrival of De Jong as he looks to strengthen in midfield.
Chelsea, meanwhile, are also monitoring the former Ajax player’s situation. The English club’s new co-owner, Todd Boehly, was in Barcelona on Thursday, where he met with Barca president Joan Laporta and other members of the Catalan club’s hierarchy (see 10.53 BST).
Sources at Barca described the meeting as “an institutional visit,” although it is likely to have served to discuss the futures of De Jong, Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso, among others. ESPN have previously revealed that Barca are keen to sign Spain internationals Azpilicueta and Alonso from Chelsea this summer.
12.34 BST: Chelsea are pursuing a deal to re-sign Nathan Ake as head coach Thomas Tuchel looks to reshape his defence, sources have told ESPN’s James Olley.
Chelsea are in the market for at least two centre-backs having lost Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger on free transfers to Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively. The Stamford Bridge club hold an interest in Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt and Sevilla’s Jules Kounde but are furthest advanced in negotiations with Manchester City over Ake.
Sources have told ESPN that the 27-year-old is open to returning to Chelsea, where he came through the ranks after joining the club as a 15-year-old from Feyenoord. Ake only made 17 appearances for Chelsea after temporary spells at Reading and Watford before a third loan at Bournemouth ended in a permanent move to the south coast in 2017. The Netherlands international started just 19 matches in all competitions for City last season and is thought to be seeking more regular first-team action.
Ake is under contract until 2025 and the two clubs are yet to agree a fee but sources have told ESPN that talks are progressing with City ready to let the player leave. One source suggested City are seeking around £50m for Ake.
12.02 BST: Atletico Madrid have plenty of work to do as they begin preparations for next season, Marca reports, with recruiting a back-up goalkeeper, signing a right-back and resolving the futures of Mario Hermoso, Saul Niguez, Thomas Lemar and Alvaro Morata all on the agenda of sporting director Andrea Berta.
According to the newspaper, current number two Ivo Grbic doesn’t want to spend another season on the bench behind Jan Oblak, so Atletico may need to look to bring in another keeper.
A right-back is the club’s number one priority in the transfer market, with Udinese’s Nahuel Molina their preferred option.
Offers were expected for centre-back Hermoso — Atletico need to bring in €40m to meet their LaLiga salary cap and be able to register new players — but have not been forthcoming, while the next steps for Saul, back from his loan at Chelsea, and Lemar, who has one year left on his deal, also need to be clarified.
There’s more uncertainty over Alvaro Morata, who will join up with Atletico for pre-season after Juventus decided not to exercise their option to make his loan permanent, despite not having initially been in Diego Simeone’s plans for this season.
11.28 BST: Manchester United are set to sign Arsenal’s Nikita Parris after reaching an agreement for the England women’s forward, according to The Athletic.
Parris, 28, signed for Arsenal from Lyon for €80,000 last year but didn’t have the expected impact for the north London side last season, scoring one goal in 18 Women’s Super League appearances.
The winger, who played for Manchester City from 2016 to 2019 and who is part of England’s Euro 2022 squad, is said to have agreed personal terms with United.
– Euro 2022: Watch every game LIVE on ESPN in the U.S.)
Giorgio Chiellini is excited by the idea of Christian Pulisic joining his former team Juventus.
11.02 BST: Los Angeles FC centre-back Giorgio Chiellini has said his old team Juventus need a winger like Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic.
In an interview with ESPN’s Futbol Americas show Chiellini, 37, said that Pulisic, 23, could be a “fantastic third winger” for Juventus along with Federico Chiesa and Angel Di Maria, who is widely expected to join the Italian club from Paris Saint-Germain.
Chiesa, 24, suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury in January, and Chiellini said that the United States’ Pulisic could provide the perfect solution for Juventus while the Italy winger gets back to full fitness.
“Honestly, it’s the first time I heard it, but I think Juventus needs some winger as Pulisic,” Chiellini said. “Pulisic is very good, I think, when he starts from the side and comes inside, and with the injury of Chiesa — he [will] surely still return, but not before September… in the first months, surely he can play every game.
“With the [arrival] of Angel Di Maria, Pulisic could be the fantastic third winger for Juventus.”
10.53 BST: Chelsea’s new co-owner Todd Boehly has been spotted in Barcelona as Chelsea look to sign United States full-back Sergino Dest and Netherlands winger Memphis Depay, the Daily Mail has reported.
The report states that the two players could be included as part of a swap deal for the Chelsea pair of Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso, who are both wanted by Barcelona. Boehly and Behdad Eghbali, owner of private equity firm Clearlake Capital, are said to have met with Barca director Mateu Alemany, consultant Jordi Cruyff and president Joan Laporta to discuss the deals on Thursday.
According to Sport, however, Barca midfielder Frenkie de Jong is Chelsea’s main target. Manchester United have been strongly linked with De Jong, but sources told ESPN this week that their €85m deal for the Holland international had stalled over personal terms and his desire to move.
Sport say that Chelsea could take advantage of that by making a €60m offer for De Jong, with Azpilicueta and Alonso included in the deal. Barca are said to prefer a cash deal for the midfielder, who has made 140 appearances for the club since signing from Ajax for an initial €75m in 2019.
10.32 BST: Manchester City have announced the arrival of Julian Alvarez from River Plate.
Alvarez signed for City on a five-a-half-year deal in January for a fee of €17m, but remained with River Plate until the summer.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) July 8, 2022
10.17 BST: Real Madrid need to trim their 27-man first team squad as they begin preseason training, Diario AS reports, with imminent departures expected for returning loanees Reinier Jesus and Takefusa Kubo.
Of four players who spent last year out on loan — Alvaro Odriozola, Borja Mayoral, Reinier and Kubo — only right-back Odriozola and forward Mayoral have a place in Carlo Ancelotti’s plans this season as back-ups to the first team.
Kubo, 21, has been linked with Real Sociedad, and Reinier, 20, is likely to join Benfica, with both unable to form a part of Madrid’s squad as the club’s quota of non-EU players is currently filled by Vinicius Junior, Eder Militao and Rodrygo.
09.45 BST: Chelsea are set to open talks with Reece James over a new contract in the coming weeks, the i reports.
James, 22, still has three years left to run on a five-and-a-half-year deal he signed in January 2020. However, the club’s new co-owner and interim sporting director, Todd Boehly, is keen to secure the England right-back’s long-term future at Stamford Bridge.
The Chelsea youth product was still a teenager when he signed that contract, worth £80,000 a week, and since then he has become a first-team regular and helped them win the Champions League in 2020-21.
The I reports that Manchester City and Real Madrid are both monitoring James’ contract situation.
09.07 BST: Ajax have completed the signing of winger Steven Bergwijn from Tottenham Hotspur, it was announced on Friday.
The 24-year-old completed a medical at the Dutch champions on Wednesday before completing the deal, which sources have told ESPN is worth around €30m.
The move marks a return to the Eredivise for Bergwijn, who lifted the Dutch title three times with PSV Eindhoven before making a €35m switch to Spurs in January 2019.
Bergwijn scored eight goals in 83 games for Spurs in all competitions, playing under three managers — Jose Mourinho, Nuno Espirito Santo and Antonio Conte.
The Netherlands international joins Ajax amid a turnover at the club. Striker Sebastien Haller has joined Borussia Dortmund in a €36m deal, while midfielder Ryan Gravenberch left the club for Bayern Munich. Head coach Erik ten Hag also left this summer to join Manchester United and has been replaced by Alfred Schreuder.
The one thing missing… pic.twitter.com/wrpiaHHsQC
— AFC Ajax (@AFCAjax) July 8, 2022
08.38 BST: Manchester City are yet to make a bid for Brighton & Hove Albion left-back Marc Cucurella, according to the club’s owner.
Cucurella impressed in his debut season with the Seagulls, helping Graham Potter’s side finish ninth in the Premier League, their highest-ever league finish.
“Marc is a tremendous player, a tremendous person,” Bloom said. “He’s brilliant for the dressing room. The players love him, Graham and the coaches, love him, I love him, the fans love him.
“He was unbelievably good last season, his first season in the Premier League. We’re hoping for more to come and we haven’t had a bid for him.”
The 23-year-old, who came through Barcelona’s academy, has a contract with Brighton that runs until 2026 following his £15m move from Getafe last summer.
“The fact that there is speculation and there is interest in our players, I always view that as a positive. It hasn’t always been like that,” Bloom added. “There’s less than three or four clubs where some of the players are not for sale.
“We’ve got to be realistic if a certain bid comes in and the player wants to move, the player will move, but we are not anticipating, we’re not looking for our best players to move on.
“If it happens and we get a bid then we have to consider it, but until that point, we carry on.”
08.00 BST: Cristiano Ronaldo will not be part of the Manchester United squad which travels to Thailand on Friday to begin their preseason tour, sources have told ESPN’s Rob Dawson.
The Portugal forward has been granted more time to deal with a “family issue” and will not be on the flight to Bangkok, scheduled to leave Manchester at 4.30 p.m. U.K. time on Friday. Sources have told ESPN there is no timeframe for Ronaldo to rejoin the squad.
After playing Liverpool in Thailand on July 12, United head to Australia for games against Melbourne Victory, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa. They are due to return to Manchester on July 25.
Ronaldo wants to leave Old Trafford this summer to join a club playing Champions League football next season. United, however, insist the 37-year-old, who has a year left on his contract, is not for sale.
Ronaldo was due to return to Carrington on Monday but was given permission by the club to take an extended break for personal reasons. He was still missing from training on Thursday and will not fly to Bangkok on Friday.
PAPER GOSSIP (by Adam Brown)
– Chelsea have contacted the representatives of Robert Lewandowski as their new owners continue to look for a marquee signing this summer, writes TalkSport. The Blues are keen to sign a striker, but aware of the 33-year-old forward’s desire to join Barcelona, they are also considering Napoli star Victor Osimhen as an option. Osimhen, 23, scored 18 goals across all competitions last season, and reports have suggested that a fee of around €100m would be required to persuade Napoli to part ways with him.
– Manchester City are plotting talks over a new contract for Riyad Mahrez, reveals Fabrizio Romano. As Raheem Sterling nears a move to Chelsea, it looks as though Pep Guardiola is looking to secure Mahrez to a new long-term deal. The 31-year-old winger was a key player for the Premier League champions last season, contributing to 16 goals in 28 games.
– Chelsea are interested in joining the race for Frenkie de Jong, understands Sport. The 25-year-old midfielder has been heavily linked with an exit away from the Camp Nou this summer as Manchester United continue to try to work towards reaching an agreement with Barcelona, though the latest indicates that they could now face competition from Thomas Tuchel’s side, who are also looking to add to their midfield depth. De Jong is reported to be available for a total fee of around £73m.
– Internazionale have met with Torino as they try to conclude a deal to bring Bremer to the San Siro, according to Gianluca Di Marzio. The 25-year-old centre-back is reported to be prioritising a move to the Nerazzurri despite interest from England, and the Serie A sides have been discussing the possibility of including Inter midfielder Cesare Casadei as part of a player exchange deal.
– Newcastle United are interested in landing Marco Asensio, reports Sport. With Real Madrid looking to move the 26-year-old Spain international winger this summer, the Magpies have emerged as the latest candidates open to acquiring him on a permanent transfer. Asensio has previously been reported to be keen to get a move away from the Santiago Bernabeu as he looks to earn regular minutes before the start of the World Cup later this year.