The transfer window across Europe is now open with teams scrambling to get their business done before their respected seasons start.
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 white 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.
ARTURO VIDAL – FROM BAYERN MUNICH TO BARCELONA
According to Spanish publication Sport, a fee of around €30m has been agreed between the German and Spanish giants for Chile midfielder Arturo Vidal.
Why it will happen: Barcelona have already been busy in the transfer market this summer, bringing in exciting Brazilians Malcom and Arthur, as well as centre-back Clement Lenglet. But they are all 23 and under, with 31-year-old Vidal offering incomparable experience of both playing at big clubs and the top level.
Plus, with the workload taking its toll on Sergio Busquets last season and Paulinho going back to China, Barca need bodies in the middle of the park.
Why it won’t happen: This one seems pretty much sewn up, so there seem very few complications. The only hiccup might be Vidal’s medical, as the Chilean has had his fair share of knee and muscle problems throughout his career.
Prediction: With the deal virtually across the line, it seems only Mother Nature herself could stop the transfer from getting done.
Rating – 9/10
AARON RAMSEY – ARSENAL TO LIVERPOOL
Liverpool could be interested in signing Aaron Ramsey from Arsenal, it has sensationally been claimed by English football transfer expert Ian McGarry on the Transfer Window podcast.
Why it will happen: Welsh midfield wizard Ramsey is entering the final year of his contract at Arsenal and, at 27, is approaching his prime. Having been at the Emirates for a decade already, with three FA Cups but no hint of league or Champions League success in that time, he may feel the time is right to move on. Likewise, Liverpool may well be keen to add a quality midfielder to their ranks.
Why it won’t happen: Have you seen Liverpool’s squad depth and options in midfield this season? Naby Keita and Fabinho have been brought in, joining a talented corps that includes skipper Jordan Henderson, veteran James Milner and Dutchman Georginio Wijnaldum. That’s without mentioning Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who is out for the new season.
After years of underachievement at the Gunners, meanwhile, Unai Emery is ushering in sweeping change following Arsene Wenger’s departure and Ramsey will surely be keen to stick around to see what fresh ideas and opportunities await.
Prediction: Although the prospect of more success could lure Ramsey away, the path to being a first-team regular at Anfield would prove more problematic. He’ll feel he’s got a good chance of adding to his FA Cup medals this season at the Emirates.
Rating – 2/10
WILFRIED ZAHA – FROM CRYSTAL PALACE TO CHELSEA
Chelsea, Everton and Tottenham are said to be chasing Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha, and the Blues are in the driving seat, according to the Daily Mirror.
Why it will happen: Zaha undoubtedly has the quality to shine at a big club and is desperate to prove that having failed to take advantage of his previous opportunity at Manchester United. New Blues boss Maurizio Sarri relies heavily on wingers in his favoured 4-3-3 formation – with Lorenzo Insigne and Dries Mertens key players during his Napoli reign – so Zaha could be a viable option, especially if Eden Hazard departs.
Why it won’t happen: Zaha signed a new five-year deal with the Eagles a little over a year ago so they are in a strong position to resist any bid. Chelsea, as it stands, have quality options in wide areas – including Hazard, Willian and Pedro. Victor Moses can also contribute in attack and 17-year-old Callum Hudson-Odoi was electric in Wednesday’s pre-season friendly with Arsenal and may see minutes this season. So Sarri may be content with what he has – providing Hazard and Willian stay at Stamford Bridge of course.
Prediction: There’s definitely a possibility of this one happening. Zaha is settled in London and, now at 25, has added depth and consistency to his game. It might take some offer from Chelsea to even tempt Palace to do business though.
Rating – 6/10
The Belgian has his heart set on a transfer switch to Real and asked Chelsea after the World Cup to sanction the sale as he wants to return to Madrid to be closer to his family and experience a new challenge after four years at Stamford Bridge.
The Daily Express claim Chelsea have weighed up their options, and although the club were once open to the sale, Courtois will now not be departing.
Chelsea are not happy with Real’s offer, thought to be around £31million, considering Liverpool forked out £67m on Roma goalkeeper Alisson last month.
The Blues were also unable to secure a top class replacement for Courtois, having failed in an attempt to sign Alisson themselves.
Approaches for stoppers Kevin Trapp and Jan Oblak were turned down by their respective clubs, but the latest set-back was Everton’s refusal to consider an offer for England keeper Jordan Pickford.
The failed Pickford move means Chelsea believe they have exhausted their options in terms of a replacement for Courtois and the club will inform the stopper of their decision, with the 26-year-old now set to see out the final year of his contract.
Courtois is yet to link up with Chelsea for pre-season after being given extra time off for his World Cup exploits.
Chelsea kick off their Premier League season against Huddersfield, but the FA Cup holders will first take on Manchester City in the Community Shield on Sunday.
The 25-year-old Ivory Coast international bagged nine goals and three assists last term, despite missing five weeks of the season injured.
That prompted Palace to offer Zaha a new deal worth £125,000-a-week — although he only signed one for £100,000-a-week 15 months ago – but Zaha has rejected it in a bid to force a move.
He has already snubbed interest from Everton as he is reluctant to move north again, after a failed stint with Manchester United.
Everton turned to Watford wideman Richarlison instead, and now Zaha is up for a move across London, where he is settled.
He could even consider lodging an official transfer request after Palace told him they would only consider an irresistibly huge offer.