Current club: Borussia Dortmund • Could join: Barcelona
Barcelona are newly wealthy, or at least wealthier, so the rest of the continent should look out. They’re hunting for a new left-sided forward and are used to getting what they want.
Neymar has left some big shoes to fill, though, and although Dembele will almost certainly climb to a similar level one day, he perhaps isn’t quite ready for the challenge yet. But the rumours persist: both L’Equipe and Marca are reporting that Barcelona bigwigs will head to Dortmund next week to land the 20-year-old.
Current club: Monaco • Could join: Real Madrid, Barcelona
So, Mbappe is leaving (according to, er, everyone). Real Madrid’s Florentino Perez is a known admirer and Barcelona are also thought to be keen. The lingering suspicion is that, were he to move, Mbappe would be jumping too high, too soon, but that’s never stopped anyone before and is unlikely to deter him now.
Particularly as pitting one Spanish giant against another equates to creating an auction for his services, and the respective club presidents would relish the PR boost of seeing off the other. Like Barça did to get Neymar in the first place, for example.
Jean Michael Seri
Current club: Nice • Could join: Arsenal, Tottenham
Supposedly, Arsene Wenger has been watching Nice’s Champions League progress with interest and, had the French side been eliminated by Ajax this week, would have formalised his interest in defensive midfielder Seri.
But not so fast: Nice progressed on away goals. Still, Wenger has a deficiency in that area of the pitch and Seri, on the basis of last season at least, would seem to be a better long-term prospect than Francis Coquelin. One to watch, although perhaps not with too much expectation. Tottenham have also been linked with his services all summer.
Current club: Everton • Could join: Tottenham, Chelsea, Manchester United
Can anybody remember a time when this wasn’t a thing? Probably not. The weeks go by, the rumours persist, but the deal isn’t obviously any closer to happening. Daniel Levy likes to do them late and wants Everton to drop their asking price, but Barkley himself is part of the problem: demanding wages in excess of £100,000 per week from Levy is only going to end badly (even Harry Kane agreed to that).
Ronald Koeman has resigned himself to the player’s departure, so the odds are still on him leaving Goodison Park – but for where? A big contract and a seat on a monied team’s substitutes’ bench seems a good bet.
Current club: Arsenal • Could join: Newcastle
Perez is going somewhere. Arsenal have set an asking price, given away his squad number and are more than happy for him to leave. They’re well staffed in the forward department.
Newcastle, however, are not. They missed out on loaning Tammy Abraham earlier in the summer and Rafa Benitez is rumoured to be dismayed by the lack of support he’s received in the transfer market. A deal for Perez, which would probably total around £13m, would ease those tensions and prevent the goalscoring burden at St. James’ Park from falling entirely on Dwight Gayle’s shoulders.
Current club: Liverpool • Could join: Barcelona
Liverpool are another side who need to batten down the hatches. Barcelona have already made one firm enquiry about Coutinho and, though their interest in the Brazilian is reported to have ended, they seem certain to return with another bid.
The consensus seems to be that a sale would damage Liverpool, and while Coutinho is a very fine player who they’d ideally like to keep, the figures quoted should make them pause for thought. If Brazilian journalist Marcelo Belcher is to be believed – the man who originally broke the Neymar to PSG story – then Barça are in “advanced talks” with Liverpool about this one.
Virgil van Dijk
Current club: Southampton • Could join: Liverpool, Chelsea
One of the reasons Liverpool might want to consider allowing Coutinho to leave is that his sale would help fund a move for a long-term target: Southampton’s Van Dijk.
For obvious reason, Jurgen Klopp and the club’s transfer committee have had to tread very softly as of late, having been caught with their hand in the cookie jar earlier in the window, but Van Dijk is still training away from the first-team squad at St Mary’s and is determined to leave. Southampton are still furious with the Reds, though, according to the Evening Standard, and Chelsea are waiting to make their move.
Current club: Dynamo Kiev • Could join: Tottenham, Stoke
Unexpectedly, Dynamo have been eliminated early from the Champions League qualifiers, meaning that – finally, after years of speculation – he could be set for a move away from Ukraine.
Stoke have been linked for the past few weeks and have cash to spend after Marko Arnautovic’s sale, while Tottenham could soothe their raging fanbase with a quick swoop.
Current club: Swansea • Could join: Everton
Another saga which rumbles on and on. Swansea manager Paul Clement has promised an imminent conclusion, one way or another, with Everton having already seen bids of up to £45m rejected.
Even within the context of recent inflation, any completed deal for Sigurdsson would have to be vast and, valuable though he is, it’s hard to see a scenario where Everton receive anything like value for money on a player who will turn 28 next month. But it looks to be nearing completion: Clement revealed that a deal – possibly involving Toffees youngster Callum Connolly – could happen in “the next couple of days”.
Current club: Chelsea • Could join: Atletico Madrid
Yes, he’s still at Chelsea. No, the relationship between him and Antonio Conte hasn’t warmed. The complication, obviously, is Atletico’s transfer ban, but Costa is looking down the barrel of six months in purgatory one way or another; Chelsea have already signed Alvaro Morata as his replacement, so there’s no way back at Stamford Bridge.
The Chinese Super League remains a theoretical option, although the tightening of laws governing foreign players makes a move to Asia far less likely (there’s effectively a 100% tax on players now). The option for Costa seems relatively simple: limbo in Spain or limbo in England.
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