Neymar has once again denied reports suggesting he could move to Real Madrid this summer.
When questioned about stories in Spanish media linking the Paris Saint-Germain forward to a Santiago Bernabeu switch, he dismissed them as mere “speculation from the press.”
“The guys who come up with these stories seem to know more about my life than I do,” the 26-year-old told AFP.
“I won’t respond to this type of question because nothing happened,” he scoffed.
Neymar moved to PSG from Barcelona for a world record €222 million last year and links to Madrid have gathered pace this month since Cristiano Ronaldo left the Spanish capital for Juventus.
The Brazilian star was talking at his Neymar Praia Grande institute where the Red Bull Neymar Jr 5’s (five-a-side-soccer) tournament was being played.
Recent reports claim that Bayern Munich have agreed personal terms with Stuttgart defender Benjamin Pavard.
The Frenchman scored one of the goals of the tournament during Les Bleus’ triumphant World Cup campaign.
The versatile defender who is a centre-back by trade but feature at right-back for France, has a €35 million release clause in his contract.
Watch the video below which profiles the 22-year-old also linked with Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund.
The summer transfer window for all international deals is well and truly open.
With the transfer rumours growing in pace and volume during this ‘silly season’, it can be difficult and painstaking to separate the stories of some legitimacy from the rest of the noise.
Fortunately, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to do it for you.
Below, you’ll find some of the latest transfer news churned out of the Rumour Mill broken down and analysed for your benefit along with our calculated predictions.
The hype is heating up as Barcelona have reportedly offered a third improved bid for Brazil forward Willian in the region of £55 million, according to Sky Sports.
Why it will happen: It’s an odd move on for the face of it – but there’s no smoke without fire as there has been speculation all summer surrounding Willian. Could Barca even be trying to buy him to stop Chelsea from selling Eden Hazard to Real Madrid? The Catalan club also need depth and versatility in attacking positions.
Why it won’t happen: Willian, while a success at Chelsea and one of their best players as they went down to Barca in the Champions League last year, is hardly a top-tier talent – and at 29 is unlikely to get any better. There’s also a question whether he’d even make the starting line-up for most games, given that Ousmane Dembele is set to be handed more of a chance this season.
Prediction: A lot seemingly depends on whether Chelsea will allow Hazard to go to Real for double the money. But Willian is surely the more expendable option and Barca have been undeterred in their pursuit.
Rating – 8/10
Real have a real fondness for right-backs, apparently.
After signing Spain starlet Alvaro Odriozola just a week ago, The Sun say they now want to add even more competition and bring England’s World Cup hero Kieran Trippier to the Bernabeu.
Why it will happen: Perhaps this one isn’t as crazy as you think. First-choice right-back Dani Carvajal has had to content with a multitude of injury problems and Odriozola is also capable of playing on the wing. Achraf Hakimi clearly isn’t ready, either. Trippier could take free-kicks instead of Cristiano Ronaldo …
Why it won’t happen: Madrid have a few holes to fill and they’re on the hunt for a Galactico – despite Trippier’s World Cup form, a 27-year-old right-back doesn’t really hit the mark on that front. A £50m price tag is no small change for a position they are well-stocked in.
Prediction: ‘Sources close’ to Trippier are more than likely trying to coax a better contract out of notorious penny-pinching Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, rather than holding out any hope that he’ll be donning the whites in Spain.
Rating – 2/10
With Chelsea set to lose Thibaut Courtois to Madrid, The Sun claim that the Blues are foraging in the bargain basement and would be willing to end Joe Hart’s Man City nightmare for just 5m.
Why it will happen: Liverpool acted fast on Alisson when news of Courtois’ likely departure broke. The lack of quality options, allied to how much the best ones would cost, could lead Chelsea to take a punt on a keeper who was very good once upon a time. Maybe all Hart needs is a team that has confidence in him?
Why it won’t happen: Hart’s star has fallen so dramatically that it could lead to a supporters’ revolt – the former England No1 would be replacing the man who won the World Cup’s Golden Gloves. There are also other options, like Barcelona back-up Jasper Cillessen, who wouldn’t come as cheaply but would surely be a safer bet.
Prediction: Maurizio Sarri will have had a close-up look at Hart when he spent the season on loan at Torino in 2016/17 and the move depends on whether he believes his best is not permanently behind him.
Hart is still only 31. But it would be a high-risk move by Sarri within weeks of his appointment at Stamford Bridge.
Rating – 5/10