10 of the biggest transfers sagas that need to be resolved this summer
With the transfer window set to stay open until the end of August, the twists and turns have only just begun...
After a two-year experiment in which the Premier League transfer window closed before the start of the season, England's top flight has aligned with Europe for the second season running.
That means transfers will be permitted until the end of August, by which time three rounds of Premier League fixtures will have been played.
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The upshot is that the will-he-won't-he transfer sagas reverberating around Europe still have up to five-and-a-half weeks left to run. Here are 10 such stories awaiting a resolution...
1. Harry Kane
Despite having the Premier League's chief goal-getter and leading assist-provider in their ranks, Tottenham only managed a seventh-place finish last term. Harry Kane promptly made clear that he wasn't overly enamoured by the prospect of competing in the Europa Conference League, and duly announced his desire to seek pastures new.
Manchester City have already had a £100m offer turned down but could return with an improved bid. Spurs continue to insist Kane is going nowhere, with Daniel Levy able to take comfort from the fact that Tottenham's talisman is under contract until 2024.
Having refuted all previous suggestions that Kane could be sold, it's hard to see Tottenham accepting any offers this summer.
2. Raphael Varane
Manchester United have long been linked with a swoop for Sergio Ramos, but it's his erstwhile centre-back partner who looks to be on the way to Old Trafford.
With Raphael Varane now into the final 12 months of his contract, Real Madrid have reportedly accepted that he will leave the club before the end of next month. Personal terms between the Frenchman and United are not expected to be an issues, but the Red Devils have yet to agree a fee with Madrid.
The deal does look set to go through at some point, though, leaving United fans to look forward to a partnership between Varane and Harry Maguire at the heart of the backline.
3. Erling Haaland
It's an open secret by now that Erling Haaland's contract contains a £70m release clause that will kick in next summer. In qualifying for the Champions League in May, Borussia Dortmund had seemingly ensured that the Norwegian would be sticking around for another year.
Chelsea don't seem to have got the message, though. The European champions are attempting to steal a march on rival suitors by prising Haaland away from Westfalenstadion this summer.
Thomas Tuchel clearly needs a new striker, with Olivier Giroud having joined AC Milan and Tammy Abraham surplus to requirements (see below). But with Dortmund holding out for £150m, it remains to be seen how deep into his pocket Roman Abramovich is willing to dig.
4. Houssem Aouar
Arsenal were heavily linked with Houssem Aouar last summer, only to opt for Thomas Partey instead. Mikel Arteta is said to have revived his interest in the Frenchman, but several other clubs have also cast admiring glances in Aouar's direction.
PSG, Tottenham and Atletico Madrid have all been mentioned as possible destinations for the 23-year-old, who could be available for as little as £22m.
Yet it's not a foregone conclusion that Aouar will leave Lyon. Under contract until 2023, the midfielder doesn't appear to be in a rush to leave his boyhood club.
5. Jack Grealish
Reports in June suggesting Jack Grealish was on the verge of moving to Manchester City seem to have been premature. The Premier League champions do want to sign the Aston Villa playmaker, but Grealish could yet decide to stay where he is.
It's a tough decision for the England international. On the one hand, the City team wouldn't be built around him as it is at Villa. With fierce competition for places, he might not even make Pep Guardiola's strongest XI.
Yet Grealish should be mindful that opportunities like this won't necessarily be around forever. A dip in form or series of injuries would make him a less attractive proposition next summer. If Grealish wants to test himself at the highest level, now might be the time to make the leap.
6. Eduardo Camavinga
Rennes' teen sensation is one of the most in-demand players in world football right now. Still only 18 years old, Eduardo Camavinga has already racked up close to 100 senior appearances for les Rouge et Noir, who will struggle to keep hold of him for much longer.
PSG, Manchester United, Chelsea and Real Madrid are just some of the heavyweight sides battling it out for Camavinga's signature. A precociously gifted central midfielder, the teenage starlet is reportedly available for £25m ahead of his Rennes contract expiring next summer.
7. Antoine Griezmann
In case you haven't heard, Barcelona are in dire financial straits. Before they can register any new players (including Lionel Messi, who's currently a free agent), the Blaugrana need to significantly reduce their wage bill in order to meet La Liga's economic controls.
Attempts to offload Philippe Coutinho, Miralem Pjanic and Samuel Umtiti have so far proved fruitless, so Barcelona are now desperately seeing a buyer for Antoine Griezmann.
A mooted swap deal with Atletico Madrid's Saul Niguez appears to be more complicated than Barca had hoped for. The Catalans have reportedly sounded out Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham, but Premier League clubs are as aware as anyone of Barcelona's desperation - which means any deal for Griezmann is unlikely to take place on their terms.
8. Tammy Abraham
Tammy Abraham started only three Premier League games under Thomas Tuchel last term, and was left out of the matchday squad for several crunch clashes in the run-in. The Chelsea boss seems to have made Abraham available for transfer, although Borussia Dortmund have already ruled out a part-exchange deal for Erling Haaland.
Arsenal are said to be weighing up a move for the boyhood Gooner, while Tottenham and West Ham are also keeping tabs on the situation. Chelsea want around £40m for their academy product, but The Athletic has reported that Arsenal would prefer an initial loan deal.
This feels like a transfer saga that could run and run right up until August 31.
9. Paul Pogba
Paul Pogba had barely touched down in Manchester in 2016 before he was being linked with a move away. Speculation has abounded for much of his United career, but we do finally seem to be approaching make-or-break time.
Pogba's current contract expires in 2022. United have been working on an extension, and the France international may yet decide to commit his future to the club. But if Pogba breaks off negotiations in the coming weeks, United could cash in on the player they once paid a world-record fee for.
PSG have been linked with a swoop in recent weeks, while Real Madrid and Juventus are no doubt keeping abreast of developments. If Pogba is to be sold, United will reportedly demand upwards of £50m.
10. Xherdan Shaqiri
Xherdan Shaqiri is about to enter his fourth season as a Liverpool player, but he's still only made 63 competitive appearances for the club. Now 29 years old, the Swiss schemer could be forgiven for wanting more regular action in 2021/22.
With Liverpool needing to sell before they can buy this summer, Shaqiri has been identified as an expendable member of Jurgen Klopp's squad. The Reds are thought to want around £13m for the former Inter and Bayern Munich man, with Lazio among the sides sniffing around.
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Greg Lea is a freelance football journalist who's filled in wherever FourFourTwo needs him since 2014. He became a Crystal Palace fan after watching a 1-0 loss to Port Vale in 1998, and once got on the scoresheet in a primary school game against Wilfried Zaha's Whitehorse Manor (an own goal in an 8-0 defeat).
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