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: Inter reconsider Lukaku to Chelsea
Just hours ago it looked like a deal was almost done. After Inter Milan turned down Chelsea‘s offer of €100 million plus Marcos Alonso earlier this week, an outright cash bid of €130m looked to be enough to take Romelu Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge.
But the news didn’t go down well internally at Inter, with CEO Beppe Marotta and coach Simone Inzaghi angry that the offer was accepted against their wishes by the club’s owners, Suning.
Corriere dello Sport reported that Inzaghi is “furious,” as he thought he would only have to sell Achraf Hakimi to balance the books. The story also suggests that Marotta and fellow directors Piero Ausilio and Dario Baccin were ready to resign, while 29-year-old centre-back Stefan de Vrij could ask to leave.
It was unclear if any of the Lukaku money would be made available to Inzaghi to sign a replacement, while supporters have already started protesting about broken promises on transfers.
Has all this pressure started to tell? Gazzetta dello Sport now reports that president Steven Zhang, who represents Suning on the Inter board, has been taken aback by the reaction to the sale of Lukaku and could reconsider his position.
Lukaku has scored 64 goals in 95 games in all competitions in the past two seasons for Inter, and helped them to win the Scudetto last season. But the report says he has told Inter he wants to return to Chelsea.
Suning told Inter bosses they must make €80m from player sales this year, and cut the wage bill by 20%. Hakimi moved to PSG for €71m, but the Lukaku sale was sanctioned with no other cost-cutting transfers in the pipeline.
The 28-year-old spent three seasons on the books of Chelsea after signing from Anderlecht for an initial fee of €12m in 2011. But he made just 15 appearances in all competitions, failing to score a goal, and instead enjoyed productive loan spells at West Bromwich Albion and Everton before moving to Goodison Park permanently. Lukaku feels he has unfinished business at Chelsea, and wants to go back and prove himself there.
16.06 BST: Sky Sports is reporting that Jack Grealish has completed his medical ahead of a £100m move from Aston Villa to Manchester City, and the transfer could be announced in a matter of hours.
ESPN sources revealed on Wednesday that City were hopeful of signing Grealish before they face Leicester in the Community Shield on Saturday evening, and the deal is now almost over the line.
15.20 BST: Manchester United have loaned winger Facundo Pellistri to Alaves on a season-long loan. Pellistri, 19, also spent the second half of last season with Alaves, making 12 appearances.
He scored the winner in United’s pre-season victory at Derby County last month, but has not made a competitive first-team appearance for the Red Devils.
✅ Facundo Pellistri regresa al Deportivo Alavés cedido por el @ManUtd hasta final de temporada ?
— Deportivo Alavés (@Alaves) August 5, 2021
14.37 BST: Real Madrid starlet Takefusa Kubo is expected to go out on loan again when he returns to Spain following the Olympic Games, and he will have plenty of options. Hosts Japan will take on Mexico for the bronze medal on Friday, then the 20-year-old winger will look to sort out his club future.
Kubo has spent the last two seasons on loan at Mallorca, Villarreal and Getafe.
Marca reports that Real Sociedad are leading the chase to sign him for 2021-22, but Mallorca and clubs outside of Spain have also expressed an interest.
13.50 BST: Renato Sanches enjoyed something of a renaissance with Portugal at Euro 2020, on the back of helping Lille to a shock Ligue 1 title success. Now Sportmediaset reports that agent Jorge Mendes has offered the player to Juventus, with a transfer fee of around €35m suggested.
Sanches, who is 24 next week, is not top of Juve’s wanted list. Sassuolo’s Manuel Locatelli, Barcelona’s Miralem Pjanic and Chelsea’s Tiemoue Bakayoko are all preferred options to strengthen in midfield. But that could change if Lille lower their price.
13.02 BST: Granada are on the verge of signing former Manchester United goalkeeper Sergio Romero. The Argentina international, 34, left Old Trafford last month when his contract expired after spending the 2020-21 season omitted from United’s official squad lists.
Local newspaper Ideal reports that he will sign a two-year deal.
12.15 BST: Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira is hopeful that Wilfried Zaha will still be at the club when the transfer window closes. Zaha, 28, has been linked with a move away from Selhurst Park, but Vieira believes the forward will see what he is trying to build in south London.
“I’m aware about Wilfried [Zaha, his situation] in the last couple of years but we had a really good conversation and I’m looking forward to working with him,” Vieira told Sky Sports News. “He’s one of the most talented players in this league and we don’t want to lose one of our best players.
“All the players are smart enough to see what the club is trying to build and where the club want to go. We’ve made some really exciting young player signings and I think that shows the direction the football club wants to take.
“I hope Wilfried will be part of that and I am looking forward to working with him and trying to take Palace as high as we can.”
Zaha has been linked with both Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur this summer.
11.33 BST: Tottenham Hotspur are expected to confirm the €55 million signing of Atalanta defender Cristian Romero within the next 48 hours, sources have told ESPN.
The 23-year-old underwent the final part of his medical on Thursday and assuming no complications, he is then expected to fly to London to finalise the paperwork.
Spurs have agreed a deal believed to worth €50m with €5m in add-ons in a transfer that will rank as the second most expensive in the club’s history after Tanguy Ndombele’s €60m arrival from Lyon in July 2019.
It would also be the third signing of new head coach Nuno Espirito Santo’s tenure after goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini arrived on loan also from Atalanta and Bryan Gil joined the club from Sevilla in a move which saw Erik Lamela travel in the opposite direction.
10.51 BST: Tottenham Hotspur boss Nuno Espirito Santo has yet to speak with Harry Kane and admitted the club have to “solve the problem” of the striker’s future as he continues to seek a record-breaking move to Manchester City.
Kane missed Wednesday’s 2-2 friendly draw at Chelsea after failing to report for preseason training at the start of the week as planned, but is expected back at the weekend presuming he tests negative for COVID-19 following his holiday in the Caribbean.
“It is not that I don’t want to comment — all this issue related to Harry, I believe we should discuss internally among us and try to avoid any kind of public argument or discussion about it,” Nuno said. “Us, we have to focus on what is important. We have to solve the situation but first between us. We solve the situation internally with the club. Speaking and trying to reach a better solution and conclusion to this situation.”
Pushed on whether he had spoken with Kane, Nuno added: “The answer I will give you is I expect to speak with Harry soon and I haven’t had the chance yet. Anything in relation to Harry is internal so first of all we have to first of all solve the problems ourselves and then I will speak with you.”
10.05 BST: Lionel Messi could finally sign his new contract with Barcelona later today. Messi, 34, is officially a free agent after his Barca contract expired at the end of June, though ESPN sources have revealed that there is agreement for over a new five-year deal. Sources added that Messi has accepted a significant wage reduction to prolong his stay.
However, Barca have been struggling to fit Messi into their wage structure amid strict spending controls imposed by LaLiga. But Barca were handed a boost on Wednesday when the league announced a cash injection of €2.7 billion ($3.2B), which would filter down to clubs.
Messi and his father are due at the club’s training ground at around 4 p.m. CET and announcement could come within hours.
09.19 BST: Paul Pogba‘s future seems to have featured in Transfer Talk for the best part of a decade, and it isn’t going away any time soon. The Daily Telegraph reports that Pogba plans to make a decision on his future by the time the transfer window closes on Aug. 31 — when the France international will have only 10 months remaining on his Manchester United contract.
Pogba, 28, is being tracked by Paris Saint-Germain, and they could bide their time before making a late move.
08.30 BST: Sky Sports reports that Aston Villa are ready to step up their interest in Norwich City midfielder Todd Cantwell, with Jack Grealish on the verge of sealing a £100m switch to Manchester City.
Cantwell, 23, has moved into the final year of his contract and the Canaries will have to cash in or risk losing him for free next summer.
Villa have already signed Emiliano Buendia from Norwich, along with Danny Ings from Southampton and Leon Bailey of Bayer Leverkusen.
– Atalanta are planning a move for Tammy Abraham, with the Serie A side confident that Internazionale will come calling for hitman Duvan Zapata if Romelu Lukaku heads to Chelsea. Fabrizio Romano says that La Dea will meet with the Premier League club over the coming days for the 23-year-old who has been cast out of first-team opportunities by Thomas Tuchel.
– Barcelona goalkeeper Neto is attracting interest from the Premier League with Arsenal and Everton both interested in the player’s services. Sport says that both clubs have been monitoring the 32-year-old, who is also on the shortlist of Villarreal. A deal is rumoured to cost around €15m with the player keen to leave for regular first-team football.
– The Daily Mail says that Newcastle United are keen on a move for Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Oliver Skipp. Steve Bruce was reportedly impressed with the 20-year-old’s performances in the Championship last season which helped Norwich City gain promotion to the Premier League. Nuno Espirito Santo is expected to make a late call on whether the midfielder will be sent out on loan or kept in and around the Spurs first team squad.
– Houssem Aouar is holding out for a move to the Emirates, writes the Sun. Arsenal’s lack of progress in a deal for James Maddison has seen the clubs unable to compromise on Leicester City’s £60m asking price. With the Lyon star available for a lower price after the Ligue 1 side missed out on the Champions League, it is reported that the North London club could set their sights on the 23-year-old who is keen on a move to the Premier League.