Transfer Talk: Man United turn to Milinkovic-Savic in midfielder search
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, goings and, of course, done deals!
TOP STORY: Milinkovic-Savic on Man United list
The Premier League side have been unable to land a priority midfield target this summer, having failed to agree personal terms with Barcelona‘s Frenkie de Jong, but the latest indicates that they will now step up their approach for the 27-year-old Lazio star as an alternative.
Sources have told ESPN that United have also made contact with Juventus about signing midfielder Adrien Rabiot. United believe that Juve are willing to let 27-year-old Rabiot leave and the France international would be keen to move to Old Trafford and play in the Premier League. Rabiot’s mother and agent Veronique has started preliminary talks.
Milinkovic-Savic registered 11 goals and 11 assists for Lazio last season, with form that has seen him previously linked to several Premier League sides. The Serbia star could now be tempted away from the Estadio Olimpico where he is now inside the final 12 months of his contract.
Corriere dello Sport has suggested that Maurizio Sarri’s side would be willing to consider offers in the region of €50 million to part ways with him. Among other clubs who have previously expressed interest in Milinkovic-Savic include Newcastle United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain.
19.50 BST: Chelsea are readying a third offer to sign Leicester City centre-back Wesley Fofana, reports the Evening Standard.
It is understood that the 21-year-old is keen to make the switch to Stamford Bridge, and could be prepared to help force through a move, though Brendan Rodgers’ side are unsatisfied with the little time left in the transfer window they would have left to acquire a replacement. The Blues previously had an offer in the region of £70m rejected.
19.15 BST: In more LaLiga and Arsenal news, the representatives of Hector Bellerin are understood to be in talks with the Gunners over terminating his contract with the club, reveals El Chiringuito TV.
The player is keen to return to Real Betis where he enjoyed a loan spell with last season, and they are prepared to offer the 27-year-old right-back a deal between three and four years.
18.39 BST: Yeremi Pino has been attracting plenty of interest this week, and reports now suggest that Villarreal are preparing to receive an offer of up to €50m.
That’s according to AS, who write that Arsenal and Liverpool have both been keeping tabs on the 19-year-old right-winger, who contributed to 10 goals in 31 LaLiga appearances last season.
He’s back! 💪 pic.twitter.com/aRIhgSK8OV
— RB Leipzig English (@RBLeipzig_EN) August 9, 2022
17.46 BST: RB Leipzig have confirmed the signing of Timo Werner from Chelsea on a permanent deal. After failing to meet expectations during his stint at Stamford Bridge, the Germany international will return to the club he left to join the Blues in 2020.
Werner scored 23 goals in 89 appearances for Chelsea and only started 15 league games last season. Meanwhile, Thomas Tuchel will look to Raheem Sterling, Armando Broja and Kai Havertz to lead the Chelsea attack this season.
17.28 BST: Talks over a move for Fabian Ruiz are entering the final stages, understands Foot Mercato.
Paris Saint-Germain have stepped up their interest in the 26-year-old midfielder who has just one year left on his current deal, and the latest indicates that they are close to reaching full agreement over a transfer fee with Napoli.
The Ligue 1 club’s opening offer is believed to be €25m, while Gli Azzurri have been negotiating to receive closer to €28m.
17.09 BST: Nikola Vlasic is close to joining Torino on a loan with an option to make the move permanent, reports Gianluca Di Marzio.
The Serie A club can activate the clause for a fee of €15m if he impresses this season, and having pursued the 24-year-old West Ham attacking midfielder since the opening of the summer transfer window, it looks as though they are set to finally secure his signature.
16.05 BST: Liverpool are unlikely to go into the transfer market to sign cover for Thiago Alcantara despite the midfielder being ruled out for up to six weeks through injury on Tuesday.
The Spain international limped off the pitch early in the second half with a suspected hamstring strain during Saturday’s 2-2 Premier League draw at Fulham.
Thiago’s injury comes at a bad time for Liverpool, who are still without midfielders Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Curtis Jones.
“This isn’t a good situation. I don’t like it at all. We have to see how we react on that, but for sure not panic,” Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp said.
The transfer window closes on Sept. 1 but Klopp indicated Liverpool will not make a rash decision regarding signing new players.
“A transfer must make sense now and in the long-term,” he said. “We have eight midfielders. We still have enough midfielders. It’s not that we lack midfielders, it’s just some of them are injured.”
15.17 BST: Monaco are interested in signing out-of-favour Manchester United defender Eric Bailly, L’Equipe reports.
Bailly, 28, has endured mixed fortunes since arriving at United from Villarreal in 2016. The Ivory Coast international won the Europa League and League Cup in his first season at Old Trafford but has dropped down the pecking order under subsequent managers.
With Chelsea centre-back Malang Sarr reportedly set to join Monaco on loan, the principality club could bolster their defence further with the signing of Bailly. L’Equipe says they are seeking a loan deal for the 28-year-old with an option to buy.
14.35 BST: Graham Hunter takes a look at how European champions Real Madrid are cruising into the new season while their main rivals across the continent are playing catch-up:
As Real Madrid begin their quest to win six trophies in a single season, it’s remarkable how serene and untroubled their panorama is compared to the turbulence facing almost every domestic and European rival. Their daunting challenge begins with the UEFA Supercup here in Helsinki, against Europa League winners Eintracht Frankfurt, takes flight with the first LaLiga game (at newly-promoted Almeria this weekend) and marches onward through the Champions League, Copa del Rey, Spanish Supercopa and the FIFA World Club Championship, the journey finally ending next June.
Oh, and there’s the “small” matter of a World Cup for most of Los Blancos‘ players neatly tucked in during November and December.
But the minimum one can ask before a ball is kicked in anger is for the club, squad, first team and staff to be in a state of harmony, hunger and happiness. So it has been. There have been departures (Marcelo, Gareth Bale, Luka Jovic, Isco), but not a single important player has left the squad that conquered Spain and Europe last season. Two important, intelligent and potentially impactful signings have been added in Aurelien Tchouameni (a first-choice central midfielder for world champions France) and, as a free agent, Antonio Rudiger, a ferociously competitive defender who is in the habit of winning things for club and country.
This bucolic vista for their club will appear still more attractive to Madrid and Madridistas alike as soon as they take a lateral view at their competitors at home and around Europe.
13.51 BST: Manchester United have withdrawn their interest in Marko Arnautovic, sources have told ESPN’s Rob Dawson.
The club were in talks with Bologna about a deal for the former Stoke and West Ham striker but sources have told ESPN the Italian side’s demands scuppered any hope of an agreement.
United were also made aware of increasing fan backlash against the move, stemming from accusations Arnautovic used racist language during Austria’s game against North Macedonia at Euro 2020. Arnautovic, who is of Serbian descent, later apologised and insisted he is not racist although he was banned by UEFA for one game for his on-field outburst.
Sources have told ESPN that United initially targeted Arnautovic because of a belief the 33-year-old could be signed for a relatively low fee but Bologna’s valuation has increased since initial conversations took place. Ten Hag is keen to add a physical back-up striker to his squad and has worked with Arnautovic during his time as a coach at FC Twente in the Netherlands.
13.35 BST: Everton have announced the signing of midfielder Amadou Onana from Lille.
The 20-year-old has signed a five-year contract at Goodison Park after joining for an undisclosed fee. West Ham United had previously been linked with the Belgium international.
Onana becomes the Toffees’ fifth summer signing after James Tarkowski, Ruben Vinagre, Dwight McNeil and Conor Coady.
— Everton (@Everton) August 9, 2022
13.14 BST: Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid are battling it out for the signing of Bayer Leverkusen starlet Iker Bravo, sources have told ESPN’s Adriana Garcia and Rodrigo Faez.
Atletico were the first to show an interest in the Spain U19 and U17 forward. Madrid monitored the 17-year-old’s progress last season and have decided to join the race for his signature.
Sources have told ESPN that both clubs see Bravo as a prospect for the future and will not rush him, thus allowing him to go step-by-step and play for the reserves at first before joining up with the first team.
Madrid are confident Bravo will choose them ahead of Atletico, although the player’s entourage appreciate the effort made by Atletico after the club increased their offer for the striker. Whatever the outcome, all parties expect the deal to be finalised in the coming days.
12.35 BST: A move to Chelsea would be Frenkie de Jong‘s preferred choice if he were to leave Barcelona this summer, Mundo Deportivo reports.
Barca reached a preliminary agreement with Manchester United to sell De Jong for a total of €85m and needed the money in order to register their new signings without breaching LaLiga’s wage limits, but De Jong has so far been adamant that he wants to stay at Camp Nou.
Barca want De Jong, who is one of the highest paid players at the club, to accept a wage cut if he remains, and sources have told ESPN’s Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens that the club sent him a letter in July warning the player that the renewal contract he signed in 2020 under the previous board had alleged irregularities.
When contacted by ESPN, sources close to the player said the contract is legal and claim the letter that Barca sent was intended to put pressure on the Netherlands midfielder to either accept a move away from the Camp Nou or to accept a wage reduction.
Meanwhile, COPE radio reports that Chelsea left-back Marcos Alonso will not accept a transfer to Barcelona this summer until the Catalan club registers their new players.
Alonso’s contract at Chelsea expires in June 2023 and the Spain international is keen to play in LaLiga. The 31-year-old was close to joining Barca on loan in January 2021 but the deal did not materialise.
COPE also reports that Gerard Pique has agreed to a drastic wage cut with Barcelona to help the club register new players.
Pique, one of the highest-paid players at the club, is under contract with Barca until June 2024. The 35-year-old deferred his salary several times in the past three years to help Barca cope with the adverse financial impact of COVID.
12.11 BST: Tottenham Hotspur are closing in on a deal worth around £21m for Udinese defender Destiny Udogie, sources have told ESPN’s James Olley.
Spurs will loan the left-back back to the Serie A club for this season before he joins up with his new team in the summer of 2023.
Sources have told ESPN that Tottenham will pay an initial £15m with a series of performance-related add-ons worth in the region of £6m. A medical is expected to take place in Italy this week.
Should Udogie’s transfer be completed, he will become Tottenham’s seventh summer signing following Ivan Perisic, Richarlison, Fraser Forster, Djed Spence, Yves Bissouma and Clement Lenglet.
11.55 BST: Manchester United have registered their interest in PSV Eindhoven winger Cody Gakpo, sources have told ESPN’s Rob Dawson.
Gakpo’s representatives have been alerted to United’s interest by recruitment staff at Old Trafford but the club have yet to submit a bid.
Gakpo is valued at around £35 million by PSV, who are managed by former United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy, and sources have told ESPN they are unlikely to accept anything less for one of their star players.
The 23-year-old came through the club’s academy and scored 21 goals in 47 games last season. He has been capped seven times by the Netherlands, scoring twice.
Sources added there is interest from other Premier League clubs in Gakpo, who scored twice in PSV’s 4-1 opening-day win against FC Emmen on Saturday, but that he would be keen to move to United if terms are agreed.
11.41 BST: Eintracht Frankfurt have said that Filip Kostic will not play in the UEFA Super Cup against Real Madrid on Wednesday as he is “in final talks with a new club.”
The Bundesliga club announced the news after Sky Sports reported that Kostic was set to join Juventus in a deal worth up to €18m. Those reports also stated that Juve did not want Kostic to play in the Super Cup against Madrid.
Kostic can play as a winger or a wing-back and has made 172 appearances for Eintracht since initially joining on loan from Hamburg in 2018. The Serbia international played a key role in Eintracht’s Europa League win last season and was named the tournament’s player of the season.
11.17 BST: RB Leipzig have announced that Slovenia international forward Benjamin Sesko will join them from FC Salzburg next summer.
Sources told ESPN’s Rob Dawson earlier this week that Manchester United had been in talks to sign the 19-year-old, with Chelsea also interested, but instead he will move to the Bundesliga for the 2023-24 season.
Leipzig added in a club statement that Sesko will sign a five-year contract at Leipzig when he makes the move at the end of the season.
10.46 BST: Manchester United have contacted Real Betis about a potential deal for midfielder Guido Rodriguez, according to AS.
Rodriguez, 28, joined Betis from Club America two years ago and has made 100 appearances since then, helping them to lift the Copa del Rey last season.
The Argentina international is reportedly seen as an alternative to Juventus’ Adrien Rabiot if United miss out on his signing — sources told ESPN on Monday that United had made contact with the Serie A club about the France midfielder.
10.17 BST: Leeds United have signed goalkeeper Joel Robles on a free transfer from LaLiga club Real Betis.
The 32-year-old has Premier League experience having played for Wigan Athletic — where he won the FA Cup in 2013 — and Everton.
Robles has signed a one-year contract at Elland Road.
✍️ #LUFC is pleased to announce the signing of goalkeeper Joel Robles
— Leeds United (@LUFC) August 9, 2022
09.58 BST: FC Copenhagen have signed Australia goalkeeper Mat Ryan from Real Sociedad on a two-year contract, the Danish Superliga champions said on Tuesday.
The 30-year-old, who played for Club Brugge, Valencia, Genk, Brighton & Hove Albion and Arsenal before his move to Sociedad, is keen to get as much game time as he can ahead of the World Cup in Qatar, which starts in November.
Australia captain Ryan, who has 73 caps, said in a statement he was looking forward to playing at Copenhangen, a club which has a “fantastic reputation throughout Europe.”
“The team has great quality and the ambitions for the club are high in terms of winning titles and competing in the biggest tournaments in Europe,” he said. “I will work hard to contribute to that.”
Ryan made only nine appearances in all competitions last season and is set to replace Copenhagen’s first-choice Kamil Grabara, who is sidelined with injury. Copenhagen won their 14th Superliga title last season.
09.28 BST: Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard says he is waiting until Tyrone Mings “looks me in the eye and shows that he’s ready to play” before selecting the defender again.
England defender Mings captained for Villa last season, but Gerrard has given it to midfielder John McGinn this term. Asked if Mings was an unused substitute in the 2-0 loss to Bournemouth on Saturday because of his reaction to losing the armband, Gerrard told the BBC: “It’s a little bit of that.
“He’s also missed some training time with an injury and there’s a niggle in the background as well.
“When Tyrone is back at his best and looks me in the eye and shows that he’s ready to play, he’ll get opportunities.”
08.44 BST: Barcelona midfielder Nico Gonzalez wants to join Valencia in search of playing time, according to Mundo Deportivo.
Nico, 20, gained promotion to Barca’s first team last summer and made 27 league appearances for Barca last season, but the arrival of Ivorian midfielder Franck Kessie in this transfer window means Nico’s playing time will likely be reduced.
Barca coach Xavi Hernandez recently said Nico could help the team this season but the player has reportedly asked Xavi to be allowed to leave on loan to get regular playing time.
Valencia are eager to strengthen their midfield line and have made a request to Barca to take Nico on a season-long loan.
08.00 BST: Timo Werner is on the brink of leaving Chelsea to rejoin RB Leipzig, sources have told ESPN James Olley.
The 26-year-old is expected to arrive in Germany for a medical ahead of a permanent move thought to be worth in the region of €30m, although various performance-related add-ons are yet to be finalised.
Werner is keen to kick-start his career ahead of the World Cup in Qatar after a disappointing two-year spell at Stamford Bridge.
The Germany international joined Chelsea in 2020 for €50m, opting not to take part in Leipzig’s rescheduled Champions League quarterfinal against Atletico Madrid — delayed due to COVID-19 — to give himself more time to adapt to English football.
Werner started well, scoring eight goals in his first 12 games up to mid-November, but managed just four more for the rest of the campaign as a loss of form and confidence set in.
PAPER GOSSIP (by Adam Brown)
– Luis Muriel is the latest player to be added to Newcastle United’s shortlist, according to Tuttosport. The 31-year-old versatile forward contributed to 17 goals in 27 appearances for Atalanta last season, and he is also understood to be on the radar of Juventus. Atalanta are reported to be considering potential alternatives if they receive an acceptable offer from the Magpies.
– Talks over a new contract have begun between Chelsea and goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, reveals the Daily Mail. While he still has three years remaining on his current deal, it is understood that the 30-year-old goalkeeper has one of the lowest salaries at Stamford Bridge, despite being deemed one of the squad’s most important players. It is expected that he will receive an increase after his impressive performances since joining from Rennes in 2020.
– Boca Juniors are set to sign former Manchester United goalkeeper Sergio Romero, reveals TYC Sports journalist Leandro Aguilera. The 35-year-old will sign a two-year deal with the club, and that will become official after he completes his medical. Romero spent last season in Serie A with Venezia, where he made 16 league appearances for the since relegated side.
– Juventus are considering moving on Moise Kean before the transfer window closes, according to Calciomercato. He made 32 Serie A appearances last season, but he is understood to have upset Massimiliano Allegri after he missed a team meeting. Atletico Madrid and PSG have both been linked with the 22-year-old forward, and the Bianconeri are hopeful that Ligue 1 side may be willing to make a move for him after his previous successful loan spell at the Parc des Princes. Kean enters the second season of a two-year loan deal with Juventus from Everton.
– Lucas Torreira has joined Galatasaray on a four-year contract from Arsenal, the clubs said on Monday. Torreira joined Arsenal in July 2018 from Sampdoria and made nearly 90 appearances for the Premier League club. He spent the last two seasons on loan — firstly at Atletico Madrid, helping them to their 2020-21 LaLiga title, and then with a return to Serie A by joining Fiorentina. The Turkish side have also completed the signing of Dries Mertens from Napoli, on a deal through 2023.
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.