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

Chris Bailey 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 ….

GOALKEEPER

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.

RIGHT-BACK

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.

LEFT-BACK

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?

CENTRE-BACK

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.

CENTRE MIDFIELD

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.

RIGHT WING

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.

LEFT WING

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.

STRIKER

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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Man Utd step up interest in Danny Rose again, Man City target free transfer signing of Alexis Sanchez

David Cooper 13/10/2017
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Rose is currently on the sidelines through injury.

Here, we take a look at the transfer gossip dominating the headlines on Friday.

Jose Mourinho appears to be on the lookout for a left-back with Luke Shaw still recovering from injury – and DANNY ROSE could be the player to fill that spot, The Sun reports.

Manchester United are said to poised to make a £50million offer to bring the Spurs player to Old Trafford in January.

But with a possible Champions League triumph on the horizon for Tottenham, it could be hard to complete the deal in the new year.

A number of clubs seem to be interested in signing Arsenal’s ALEXIS SANCHEZ, and none more so than Manchester City.

But it looks like a January deal will not reach the heights of the club’s previous summer offer of £60million, The Daily Mirror reports.

With six months left on the 29-year-old’s Emirates contract, new year offers are more likely to be in the region of £20million, the paper says.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 01: Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal looks on during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Brighton and Hove Albion at Emirates Stadium on October 1, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Sanchez’s deal is up at the end of the season.

Following reports of interest from Real Madrid, Manchester United now appear ready to battle the Spanish giants for the signature of HARRY KANE, according to The Sun.

Jose Mourinho has long been impressed by the England striker and is willing to offer a record £170million for the Spurs player, the paper reports.

But Tottenham seem reluctant to lose their star man and are likely to offer him a new contract of their own come the summer.

Free agent BACARY SAGNA is on the radar of Leicester City, the Leicester Mercury reports.

The Foxes have been linked with the 34-year-old before but no discussions have taken place recently.

However, Craig Shakespeare has told the paper he may be ready to review the situation with the player remaining unsigned since the summer.

STEVEN BERGWIJN could well be targeted by three Premier League clubs in the near future, the Daily Mirror reports.

Tottenham, West Ham and Bournemouth have all shown an interest in the 19-year-old PSV Eindhoven player, who has shown impressive form since joining the club’s first team, the paper says.

France's defender Bacary Sagna arrives at the French national football team training base in Clairefontaine near Paris, on March 20, 2017, as part of the team's preparation for the upcoming World Cup 2018 qualifiers. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)

Sagna is currently without a club.

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PLAYERS TO WATCH

Red Star Belgrade striker RICHMOND BOAKYE, 24, will have Chelsea scouts watching his performance against Arsenal next week, according to The Daily Mail. The Europa League tie looks likely to be the 24-year-old’s chance to impress Antonio Conte, who briefly managed the star while at Juventus.

THOMAS LEMAR, 21, is is high demand by the Premier League with both Liverpool and Arsenal are looking to bring the Monaco midfielder to England next summer, The Daily Mirror reports. The Gunners just lost out on securing a deal for the 21-year-old during last summer’s transfer window and the Reds were also said to be interested. But a January transfer would possibly not be the right time for the French star to move with the World Cup approaching, the paper suggests.

Monaco's French midfielder Thomas Lemar reacts during the French L1 football match Monaco vs Montpellier on september 29, 2017 at the "Louis II" Stadium in Monaco. / AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHE (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

Lemar is one of European football’s hottest properties.

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Arsene Wenger concedes Arsenal could lose Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez in January

Sport360 staff 12/10/2017
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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger conceded on Thursday he may have no option but to sell star players Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil in the January transfer window.

The pair are both out of contract at the end of the season and are yet to agree new deals.

As things stand, they will be able to leave the Emirates Stadium for free, meaning January will be Arsenal’s last opportunity to cash in on their two most high-profile players.

“It is possible,” Wenger told a press conference ahead of his side’s trip to Watford on Saturday. “Once you’re in our kind of situation, we have envisaged every solution, yes.”

Asked if Arsenal had set a deadline for contract negotiations with the pair to conclude, Wenger replied: “No. Not at the moment.”

Chile forward Sanchez, 28, joined Arsenal from Barcelona in July 2014, a year after 28-year-old Germany playmaker Ozil’s arrival from Real Madrid.

The signings electrified Arsenal’s fan base, but for all their quality, the duo have thus far been unable to end the club’s 14-year wait for the Premier League title.

Sanchez has been linked with a number of major clubs, among them Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.

Ozil, meanwhile, is reported to have attracted interest from Manchester United, who are managed by his former Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho.

Earlier this week, Ozil’s agent, Erkut Sogut, indicated talks with Arsenal were progressing positively.

“That’s my understanding, yes,” said Wenger.

“I always said the fact that we didn’t find an agreement last year doesn’t mean the player will necessarily leave. Both players look happy here and overall I hope the situation can be turned around.”

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