Spurs, Aston Villa eye Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse
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The summer transfer window is into its final month for the major European leagues, which means the biggest clubs are looking to make a splash in the market before the new season begins. Check out the latest gossip below, and see all official deals here.
TOP STORY: Spurs, Villa eye Saints’ Ward-Prowse
Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa are both preparing moves for Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse, according to The Telegraph.
The 26-year-old Saints captain has long been linked with a move to Villa Park however it is believed that Spurs are long-time admirers of the England international and will make a move for him next week.
The midfielder currently has four years left on his current deal and has made over 260 Premier League appearances since coming through the club’s academy. The Saints are believed to be keen on keeping a hold of him this summer.
Aston Villa have looked to add Ward-Prowse to an already hectic summer for the Villa Park outfit. Following an English transfer record received in moving on Jack Grealish for £100 million, they have bolstered with Emiliano Buendia, Leon Bailey and a former teammate of Ward-Prowse in Danny Ings.
As for Tottenham, they are looking to make a second signing under new boss Nuno Espirito Santo, having already brought in Atalanta centre-back Cristian Romero this summer.
Ward-Prowse put in an impressive season last time out for Southampton, making 38 appearances with 8 goals and 7 assists, often causing issues with his work-rate, passing and his ability from set-pieces. It all culminated to an England call up in the lead up to the European Championships.
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12.50 BST: Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman wants the club to sign a striker before the transfer window closes on Aug. 31, according to Mundo Deportivo.
Koeman wants to add a No. 9 after the departure of Barca’s all-time top scorer Lionel Messi and with Sergio Aguero out until November through injury. Spanish teenage sensation Ansu Fati is expected to return from injury in mid-September while Danish striker Martin Braithwaite is set to leave this summer in search of regular playing time.
Barca signed Memphis Depay this summer and have Antoine Griezmann in good form.
Koeman is reportedly aware of the delicate financial situation of the club and of the club’s need to reduce their wage bill. The Dutchman is hopeful that several players will leave in this transfer window to be able to sign a striker.
12.23 BST: Atletico Madrid have received no offers for Saul Niguez, AS reports, with coach Diego Simeone planning to use him as a makeshift left-back when LaLiga kicks off this weekend.
The arrival of Rodrigo de Paul makes it “very difficult” for Saul, 26, to play a central midfield role for Atletico this season, according to the newspaper.
Simeone has picked him at left-back in training this week ahead of their opening game away at Celta Vigo, valuing his versatility.
AS claims that any departure — with rumoured interest from Manchester United and Liverpool — would be a “very last minute” deal at the end of the transfer window.
11.47 BST: Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has spoken about the future of young forward Joe Willock as the Gunners prepare for their Premier League opener against Brentford on Friday.
Willock, 21, had a successful spell on loan at Newcastle United last season, rounding off the 2020-21 campaign by scoring in seven consecutive games. Newcastle are now working on a deal to bring the England U21 international back to St James’ Park on a permanent basis, with sources telling ESPN’s James Olley that the two clubs have agreed on a transfer fee but personal terms yet to be settled.
“The situation is that he is our player. We hold some conversations because this is not about only what we want to do, it is the player’s interest, the role that a player can fit within a squad, a club.
“What he has done is a put himself in a strong position where he can choose a little bit with more options what his future could look like. This is what we’re trying to define right now.”
When pressed on whether he thinks Willock will be at Arsenal come the end of the transfer window, Arteta said: “I do not know.”
11.15 BST: As if the arrival of Lionel Messi weren’t enough, Paris Saint-Germain are already planning a move for Cristiano Ronaldo next year to replace the Real Madrid-bound Kylian Mbappe, according to AS.
The newspaper’s Real Madrid columnist Tomas Roncero claims that PSG “have accepted the departure of Mbappe to the Bernabeu at the end of this season, absolutely free” and will replace him with Ronaldo, whose Juventus deal also expires next summer.
PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi “has always wanted to unite [Messi, Neymar and Ronaldo] in Paris” according to Roncero, with agent Jorge Mendes already aware of the plans.
Ronaldo would sign a two-year contract in Paris, which would see him remain at PSG until the age of 39.
10.41 BST: Sevilla have received “no concrete offer” for in-demand centre-back Jules Kounde, the club’s sporting director Monchi has told the club’s website.
Kounde has been linked with Chelsea and Real Madrid for much of the summer.
“There has been no real offer,” Monchi said. “A lot of clubs have asked about him. Kounde, [Youssef] En-Nesyri, Jesus Navas … They’re all at a club with a business model that won’t change.
“When we think there’s an important offer, with the circumstances we’re in now, we’ll accept it. If there isn’t an offer we think we can reinvest well, we won’t. Jules knows it.”
10.03 BST: Another big transfer that is close to completion is that of Romelu Lukaku to Chelsea, according to The Times.
Sources told ESPN’s James Olley at the weekend that the European champions are on the verge of sealing a transfer worth €115m for the Inter Milan striker.
The Times reports that Lukaku, 28, flew in to the UK on Wednesday evening after waiting 48 hours for permission to travel.
The Belgium international is set to sign a five-year contract for his second spell at Stamford Bridge, where he first arrived as an 18-year-old from Anderlecht in 2011.
09.39 BST: Manchester United could finally unveil defender Raphael Varane later today, The Sun reports.
United announced two weeks ago that they had agreed a deal with Real Madrid for the France international.
The Sun reports that, after completing his medical, the 28-year-old is expected to sign a four-year contract with the option of an additional year.
United are set to pay an initial €41m for the defender with another €8.2m in add-ons. Madrid have agreed to cover a solidarity payment due to Varane’s previous club Lens.
09.12 BST: Takefusa Kubo will continue his development away from Real Madrid for a third consecutive year, after the LaLiga giants agreed to loan him to Mallorca for the 2021-22 season.
The move will see the 20-year-old ply his trade with Mallorca for a second time, following a successful loan spell back in 2019-20 which saw him make 35 league appearances and score four goals.
Kubo starred for the Japan side that reached the semifinals of the men’s football competition at the Tokyo Olympics, netting three goals in six matches to finish as the tournament’s joint-third highest scorer.
08.41 BST: Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou insists he is “not concerned” over the future of striker Odsonne Edouard.
Edouard, 23, has scored 86 goals for Celtic since joining them from Paris Saint-Germain four years ago, initially on loan before completing a £10m transfer in 2018.
The Frenchman’s contract is due to expire next season, while Premier League club Leicester City held talks with Celtic over a deal earlier in the summer.
“I think you are in right in saying that is a club concern rather than my concern right now,” Postecoglou said. “No, [I’m] not concerned at all. If it means he stays here and contributes then so be it, but again that is stuff that I am not really spending too much time thinking about.
The former Australia national team coach added: “I have left outgoings totally to other people, that’s other people’s concerns. You are probably right, there is a concern there around cashing him in, but those are probably questions for other people.”
08.00 BST: Lionel Messi may have been officially unveiled as a Paris Saint-Germain player on Wednesday, but the effects of his sudden exit from Spain are still being felt — Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has denied claims he had “any influence” on Messi’s exit from Barcelona.
Jaume Llopis, a member of Joan Laporta’s board at Barcelona who resigned following Messi’s departure, claimed that both Perez and Barcelona CEO Ferran Reverter convinced Laporta to let Messi go and not accept LaLiga selling 10% of €2.7 billion of its business to investment fund CVC Capital Partners.
The investment from the fund would increase Barca’s league-imposed spending limit and would have allowed the club to register their summer signings as well as complete the new contract it had agreed with Messi last month.
Perez, whose club is against the LaLiga agreement with CVC, has demanded a rectification from Llopis and said in a statement on Wednesday: “It is impossible that I have had any influence neither on the departure of Messi nor on any other decision of F.C. Barcelona.
“It is completely false that I have been friends for a long time with FC Barcelona CEO Ferran Reverter, since I have only met him twice in my life, four months ago and on Saturday in the meeting that took place in Barcelona with president Joan Laporta and [Juventus] president Andrea Agnelli, when the official communication on Messi had already taken place.”
– Marsden, Laurens: Inside Messi’s final days at Barca
PAPER GOSSIP (by Luke Thrower)
– Kylian Mbappe is hoping to leave Paris Saint-Germain either this summer or next year following the club’s signing of Lionel Messi. According to French journalist Thibaud Vezirian, Mbappe has asked the club to let him go and expressed that he doesn’t want to play alongside Messi. Mbappe has long been linked with a move to Real Madrid, and previous reports have said that PSG would demand at least €180m for Mbappe’s transfer if they listen to offers at all. Mbappe’s contract expires in 2022, and he could expect €20m-per-year in wages.
– Arsenal are close to sealing a move for Sheffield United goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, according to Football London. The 23-year-old England international has been linked with a move to the Emirates as the Gunners are in search of a deputy to Bernd Leno. It is believed a deal with around £30m has been struck, with an upfront value of £24m to be paid to the Blades.
– Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger is weighing up his options for the future with PSG and Real Madrid said to be interested in the centre-back according to Sky Sports. The 28-year-old has a year left on his current contract but is yet to settle on an agreement with the Blues, knowing he can sign for foreign clubs on a pre-contract deal in January. It is believed Chelsea and Thomas Tuchel see him as a part of their plans and will continue to play this season, despite knowing his next move could be big for his career.
– Fiorentina have set a deadline in offers for striker Dusan Vlahovic with Arsenal and Tottenham said to be interested in the forward. Corriere dello Sport reports that the Serie A club are only willing to entertain offers until the 15th of August before they reject any further proposals and continue as planned. The 21-year-old has been subject to much transfer speculation due to his contract starting to dwindle and discussion surrounding a possible extension. It is believed that the movement of other strikers, such as Harry Kane or Romelu Lukaku, could start a transfer domino effect that would end up in a side making an offer for Vlahovic.
– Newcastle United are heating up in the pursuit of AS Roma winger Carles Perez, according to Calciomercato. It is said that Jose Mourinho’s side need to move some players on in order to see some transfer incoming. Steve Bruce’s squad believes that it can make a low value offer for the Spaniard who may struggle to fit at Roma.
– Internazionale are pushing for a move for right-back Denzel Dumfries to replace Achraf Hakimi, who left for PSG earlier in the window. That is according to Fabrizio Romano, who claims that the Nezazzuri have put in an opening valuation of €12m to Dutch club PSV Eindhoven. Everton were also linked with the Netherlands international, who had an impressive European Championships with his nation in the summer. It is believed that PSV will hold out for a higher valuation before letting the player go.