Manchester United’s desperate bid to bring in a defender before the transfer window shuts could see them turn to Bayern Munich’s Jerome Boateng.
According to Sky Sports News, Jose Mourinho has indicated the Germany centre-half is his No1 target but there are concerns from within the corridors of power over the World Cup winner’s injury record.
The 29-year-old has seen his Bayern career punctured by several injury issues with Boateng almost missing out on Germany’s disastrous campaign in Russia due to a hamstring complaint last season.
And while the funds are available for a defender – United are said to have had two bids, the second of which was worth around £60million, for Leicester City’s Harry Maguire turned down – they are instead trying to pursue a loan deal.
Boateng has three years remaining on his current deal and with the window closing for Premier League clubs at 20:00 (UAE time), time is of the essence.
If the deal goes through, depending on the agreement of personal terms and a medical, Kovacic will join Chelsea on a season-long loan, the Premier League club announced.
Both players were unhappy with their situations and skipping training sessions.
For Real Madrid, the addition of Courtois gives them another strong option in net as the Belgium international joins Keylor Navas.
We have tonight agreed terms with Real Madrid for the transfer of Thibaut Courtois, subject to the agreement of personal terms and a medical. As part of the deal, Mateo Kovacic will join Chelsea on a season-long loan.https://t.co/WXhHzEdf6D— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) August 8, 2018
The Premier League returns on Friday with Manchester United and Leicester kicking off the 2018/19 campaign.
As the new season rears its head, our writers have the opportunity to get their crystal balls out for some Premier League predictions.
Alex Rea, Chris Bailey, Brendon Netto, Matt Jones and Aditya Devavrat put their heads together to decide on topics such as the champions and who will be the biggest flop.
AR: Liverpool – Bold? The Reds bet big in the market and whether he likes it or not, Jurgen Klopp has to show return on that investment. They have the style and squad to challenge Manchester City, now they just need the mentality to overtake them.
CB: Manchester City – They could do with a rival for Fernandinho but apart from that, City have almost bottomless depth. Bernardo is set to take a huge leap, Phil Foden is coming through, Benjamin Mendy is fit. The rich get richer.
BN: Manchester City – Quiet in the transfer window but apart from losing out on Jorginho, there’s little you’d change of this City side. Their convincing Community Shield victory points to another domineering campaign.
MJ: Manchester City – There was a 19-point gap to second last season and I can’t see that being made up by the rest. Liverpool are the next best team but City are special under Pep Guardiola.
AD: Manchester United – An unpopular pick given Man City’s pedigree and Liverpool’s transfer business – not to mention United’s turbulent summer. But the squad is packed with talented players. If Jose Mourinho can get the best out of Paul Pogba, the title will head back to Old Trafford.
AR: Liverpool, Man City, Arsenal, Man United – Unai Emery’s direct style should freshen an Arsenal team intact from the World Cup. City, although quiet in the market, are still miles ahead of the rest, particularly United who will just sneak in ahead of a Chelsea in transition and a spent Spurs.
CB: Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal – Liverpool’s recruitment would see them champions in any other year but they’re up against an incredible City. Unai Emery was installed early at Arsenal while Maurizio Sarri wasn’t at Chelsea, and has acquired reinforcements whereas Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham haven’t.
BN: Man City, Liverpool, Man United, Chelsea – The north London sides are capable of scoring freely but also likely to drop too many points. Expect more disjointed displays from United while Liverpool will push City. A lack of goals up front leaves Chelsea trailing.
MJ: Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal – Liverpool are City’s biggest threat but I still don’t think it’s their year. United will be hard to beat again but moody Mourinho lacks magic. Unai Emery will get Gunners firing.
AD: United, City, Liverpool, Spurs – Chelsea and Arsenal haven’t done enough to return to the top four. Even though Tottenham are yet to make a signing this summer, their squad remains better than that of their London rivals, while United, City, and Liverpool are far ahead.
AR: Huddersfield, Watford, Cardiff – The bottom will be more competitive than the top. Huddersfield haven’t solved their chronic issues in front of goal while Watford’s best player joined Everton. Cardiff were not even considered promotion challengers last season and are the league’s worst side.
CB: Watford, Huddersfield, Newcastle – Watford have left it too late to reinvest the Richarlison money, Huddersfield lack the seasoned campaigners to survive a second year, and not even Rafa Benitez can drag Newcastle out of their Ashley-induced nightmare this time.
BN: Southampton, Watford, Cardiff – Southampton narrowly escaped the drop last time and haven’t strengthened. Watford have been uninspiring under Javi Gracia and are seriously lacking quality while Cardiff are being led by serial Premier League failure Neil Warnock.
MJ: Cardiff, Huddersfield, Southampton – Cardiff will be gritty but completely lack quality, Southampton were lucky to stay up and have been unimpressive in the market while losing their best player. The Terriers lack bite.
AD: Brighton, Huddersfield, Cardiff City – Survival was a supreme achievement for Brighton and Huddersfield last season, but this year’s race will be even tougher given how strong newly-promoted Fulham and Wolves look. Cardiff’s failure to match those two will see them head straight back down.
AR: Jean Michael Seri – Fulham’s ambition is best epitomised in the signing of Seri. The 27-year-old moves the ball superbly and is a highly intelligent, dynamic midfielder. It’s the season of midfield maestros and Seri can be an instant hit.
CB: Lucas Torreira – For years and years Arsene Wenger neglected to add a blood-and-guts midfielder to his side. He won’t win awards for style but the 22-year-old’s tenacity may well bring substance back to the Emirates.
BN: Jorginho – In terms of influence, Jorginho is likely to offer the most. The Italian is poised to become the Premier League’s new pass master and usher in a new brand of football at Chelsea.
MJ: Naby Keita – Adds steel and energy to Liverpool and has an engine to rival N’Golo Kante. Will be a massive help to Jordan Henderson and knows where the goal is, bagging nine for Leipzig last year.
AD: Felipe Anderson – West Ham have made a habit of making a splash in the transfer market – often with little pay-off on the pitch. But Anderson is supremely talented, blessed with pace, technical ability, and vision. He should thrive under Manuel Pellegrini.
AR: Mohamed Salah – Liverpool have added to their armoury over the summer and with extra weapons pointed at them, teams will struggle even more to contain the Egyptian King. Expect Romelu Lukaku to run him close, though.
CB: Mohamed Salah – Given his form in pre-season he’s surely going to hit the ground at break-neck speed. With Lukaku and Harry Kane feeling the after-effects of a longer World Cup campaign, it’ll be difficult to play catch-up.
BN: Mohamed Salah – Last season may seem like a freak campaign for the Egyptian but over the summer, both at the World Cup and in pre-season, he’s continued to be a standout goal threat. Liverpool will play to his strengths.
MJ: Harry Kane – Hotshot Harry is a pure goal scorer. Salah was unbelievable last year but it’s impossible for him to hit the same heights plus Liverpool have other threats.
AD: Harry Kane – Losing out to Salah last season will have hurt. Coming off the back of winning the World Cup Golden Boot, however, Kane should keep going from strength to strength, holding everyone else off to regain his crown.
AR: Maurizio Sarri – The Italian is under enormous pressure at Chelsea. His style requires hours on the training pitch and his late arrival coupled with the World Cup and transfer chaos has sliced through his available time with the squad.
CB: Jack Wilshere – A lot of fanfare has surrounded West Ham’s transfer window, not least the free transfer of Irons-supporting Wilshere. But expectations are far too high and they are woefully short deeper in midfield. Besides, remember his Bournemouth stint?
BN: Dele Alli – He didn’t quite maintain his lofty standards last season and was guilty of inconsistency. Following a challenging World Cup campaign, the young midfielder may find it difficult to get going again.
MJ: Tottenham – Mauricio Pochettino did very little business last summer and none this year. Kane and Christian Eriksen can only do so much carrying. Rivals are improving as they stand still.
AD: Marco Silva – Everton have had another strange transfer window, and don’t look much stronger than before. Silva, whose reputation is based on flirting with survival at Hull City, making a quick start with Watford, and not much else, may struggle to improve the Toffees.