Transfer breakdown: Which positions Man United, Barcelona and rest of Europe's elite are still chasing

Chris Bailey 14:35 21/07/2019
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More than a billion euros worth of transfer fees have exchanged hands across Europe this summer, but we haven’t even reached crunch time yet.

Many of the continent’s elite clubs are still entrenched in negotiations for their top transfer targets and, with the Premier League’s August 8 deadline looming ever larger, expect frantic movement soon.

Which team is looking at which position? We’ve provided you with a handy breakdown of the key storylines ….


Most of Europe’s elite are set for options between the sticks, but PSG have been dithering over a long-term option for a number of seasons.

With Gianluigi Buffon back in Turin, and Alphonse Areola seemingly unloved at Parc des Princes, a deal for Gianluigi Donnarumma – Buffon’s Italian heir – remains a distinct possibility.

The 20-year-old’s relationship with the AC Milan tifosi has been fractured ever since the infamous contract wrangle two years ago, and his performances last season did little to erase those bitter memories.


The blink-and-you’ll-miss-it sale of Kieran Trippier to Atletico Madrid has left Tottenham in urgent need of a right-back. Kyle Walker-Peters has played just 19 times for the club and if Serge Aurier is the answer, what exactly is the question? Apart from Dani Alves speculation, there have been no concrete links yet.

From Walker-Peters to Walker, there are susurrations that Pep Guardiola would not have extended his Kyle’s contract if he had had his way. A Manchester City move for Juventus right-back Joao Cancelo is still very much on the cards, though it is understood they need to shift Danilo out of the door first.


Most of the bigger European clubs are set here, but Liverpool and Barcelona are in dire need of back-ups.

Sure, Alberto Moreno made just five appearances all season for the Reds in 2018/19, but Andy Robertson is probably not indestructible. Adam Lewis, a 19-year-old out of the academy, can put his name in the hat but for a team who are so desperate to end their Premier League duck this year, why leave the position to chance?

Ditto Barcelona. Jordi Alba has been remarkably robust of late as well, but he currently has no understudy after Barca sold Marc Cucurella almost as quickly as they (re-)bought him. The excellent Junior Firpo of Real Betis is in the Blaugrana’s sights and they hope he proves the 30-year-old Alba’s long-term successor.

Arsenal, despite possessing Nacho Monreal and Sead Kolasinac, feel they need to dedicate a portion of their meagre funds to pursuing Celtic’s Kieran Tierney, who has certainly got the potential to flourish at a higher level. The Gunners have bid £25m, Celtic want £40m. Meet in the middle?


Manchester United are the headline – some would say circus – act in this department, given they have force-fed their support a combination of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones for the best part of a decade. With Leicester taking stubborn to a whole new level over Harry Maguire, United may have to move on and quickly before the August 8 transfer deadline.

Manchester City‘s stocks, all of a sudden, lack quality and quantity. Vincent Kompany is cutting his managerial teeth in Belgium and John Stones’ form has been a real kick in the teeth for quite some time now. With Nicolas Otamendi’s future also uncertain, just who will partner Aymeric Laporte?

Arsenal are also in desperate need of someone who isn’t Shkodran Mustafi and who wants to play for them (unlike Laurent Koscielny). They are reportedly close to signing St Etienne’s William Saliba, but the 18-year-old is hardly going to solve their problems right now with plans to loan him straight back.


Line up, then wait your turn. Man United have been linked with 37,061 midfielders this summer alone but so far don’t appear to have lodged a bid for a single one. Sporting have been told to brace themselves for a bid for Bruno Fernandes by his agent – finally – while United are genuinely interested in Newcastle’s Sean Longstaff. But not £50m interested.

Arsenal and Tottenham are also jostling for position here. Spurs, who reportedly tried to pinch Saliba from under Arsenal’s noses, wanted Real Madrid man Dani Ceballos on a permanent transfer – but Los Blancos have refused to let him go for anything but a loan, which the cash-strapped Gunners are far more willing to compromise on.

Spurs don’t have such money problems, however, and having already broken their 18-month transfer exile with the record signing of Tanguy Ndombele, are poised to swoop for Betis midfielder Giovani Lo Celso if Christian Eriksen does indeed get snapped up by Real Madrid.

Zinedine Zidane, of course, is red-hot on Paul Pogba and rather lukewarm on Eriksen. Should Ceballos and the unwanted James Rodriguez join Marcos Llorente and leave the Bernabeu, Real Madrid would need, rather than just desire, another body.

Then there is Liverpool, who have been flirting with the idea of buying a genuine playmaker for their midfield for some time now. Unless you subscribe to the idea that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is ‘like a new signing’ – which he may well prove to be – the Reds clearly have a room for a different type of player in the engine room. Who that’ll be, having cooled their interest in Lyon’s Nabil Fekir to sub-zero, remains to be seen.


Arsenal would love to fill a number of holes – it’s just a shame about the holes in their pockets. Wilfried Zaha has clearly been target No1 this summer but a quite frankly derisory £40m bid was rightfully swatted away by Crystal Palace.


A Neymar merry-go-round has been threatening to jump-start all summer. PSG want cash, but Barca want to make up the bulk of the €200m through offering players. The Parisians will have little problem flatly rejecting any bids of a similar ilk, given how they were comfortable letting Adrien Rabiot’s contract run out.

Should there be a breakthrough in negotiations, PSG will likely want Ousmane Dembele as a replacement or even Philippe Coutinho. They’ll have enough capital to play with, despite their FFP frustrations.

A saga that has been simmering all summer is that of Leroy Sane’s purported move to Bayern Munich. It’s believed that Man City want £100m and, despite parting with £68m for France defender Lucas Hernandez, that price is giving the powers-that-be in Bavaria a nosebleed. With both Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery gone, though, they need to work out a plan of action soon.


Very few elite clubs are currently in the market for a striker. In fact, the obvious one is trying to shift theirs.

Mauro Icardi’s transfer value has plunged after a year of dissension and the interference of his wife/agent Wanda Nara. What’s the likelihood of them seeing eye-to-eye with Antonio Conte? For his part, the new Inter Milan boss is desperate for Romelu Lukaku, but his club’s recently rejected £54m bid for the Belgian – when United want at least £80m – shows the relatively little cash they have to play with.

1707 Transfers XI(2) (1)

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