Struggling to pick out the facts from the figures? Reality from the rubbish? Sense from the silly season? We’ve got you sorted in our daily dose of the Transfer Predictor, where we round up the latest rumours with an analytical spin.
We sort through the most eye-catching transfer reports of the past 24 hours and give a balanced judgment on whether the move really will happen – and why.
Today’s edition features potential signings for Inter Milan, Manchester United and PSG.
RUMOUR: Manchester United -> £75million -> Inter Milan
Romelu Lukaku has dropped a massive hint that he is set to leave Manchester United, according to Manchester Evening News. The Belgian international posted a picture on his Twitter account alongside his agent Federico Pastorello with the caption “Soon to be continued”.
WHY IT WILL HAPPEN: With Lukaku very much out of favour at Old Trafford, a move to the Serie A would be an ideal change for a player who looks low on confidence. And with Mauro Icardi out of Antonio Conte’s plans at the San Siro, Lukaku would be the ideal marquee signing.
WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN: Juventus are also monitoring Lukaku’s situation and could join the race for his signature. If a deal is on the table from the Turin side, the 26-year-old may opt to sign with them instead, because of the lure to win trophies and playing alongside Cristiano Ronaldo.
RUMOUR: Sporting Lisbon -> €70m -> Manchester United
Manchester United are very close to signing Sporting Lisbon star Bruno Fernandes, according to Sport.
WHY IT WILL HAPPEN: Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has targeted the 24-year-old to strengthen his midfield, especially with Paul Pogba looking intent on a move away from Old Trafford. Fernandes is believed to have already agreed personal terms with the Red Devils, but Sporting are continuing to hold out for a fee closer to €70m before anything is confirmed.
WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN: Only something drastic breaking down at the last minute can see this deal not getting over the line.
RUMOUR: Everton -> €31m -> PSG
Everton boss Marco Silva has insisted that club have not reached an agreement with PSG for midfielder Idrisse Gueya, according to the Liverpool Echo.
WHY IT WILL HAPPEN: The French giants have been chasing the Senegal international since the January transfer window and are increasingly confident they will get their man, with Gueye set to undergo a medical as early as next week.
WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN: Although Silva is primed to losing Gueye, PSG are unlikely to offer much more than €31 million for a 30-year-old. And Everton aren’t going to let him go on the cheap.
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Kevin De Bruyne feels ready for the new campaign after playing a full part in Manchester City’s pre-season tour of Asia.
The Belgium midfielder, the key player in City’s 2018 title victory, played only a bit-part in last season’s treble success due to knee and muscular injuries.
But the 28-year-old now hopes those issues are behind him after proving to be one of the stand-out players of the four games City have played in the Far East over the past fortnight.
De Bruyne, who scored a goal and set up another in Saturday’s 3-1 win over sister club Yokohama F Marinos in Japan, said: “I’m fine. What happened last year happens to everybody. I have been a professional for 11 years now and had one season where I had some injuries.
“But by the end of the year I still played 32 games while a lot of players only do that every year. I just get on with it.
“Now I feel good. I’m happy I could play a whole pre-season. I’ve played four games.”
City faced familiar opposition in West Ham and Wolves in the Premier League Asia Trophy in China but both games lacked intensity and they then enjoyed a comfortable 6-1 win over Hong Kong side Kitchee.
The Yokohama clash was different, with the side currently second in the J-League providing more of a test in a vibrant atmosphere at the Nissan Stadium, the venue which hosted the 2002 World Cup final.
“It was a really good game,” said De Bruyne, who opened the scoring in the 19th minute. “I was very impressed how Yokohama played.
“They’re right in the middle of their season so physically they are much better than us and they gave us a good game.
“I’m happy with the way we performed here. We’ve had a tough schedule the past two weeks. We needed this game to get more rhythm and it was a good game to end the pre-season.”
De Bruyne’s strike was quickly cancelled out by Keita Endo but the Belgian played in Sterling to put City back ahead before half-time. Lukas Nmecha bundled in a third late on.
City now return home to prepare for the Community Shield against Liverpool at Wembley next Sunday.
The tour started badly with the initial flight to China delayed by two days but De Bruyne feels the trip has been beneficial.
He said: “It is always a tough ask because obviously you travel a lot and you need to do a lot of commercial activities, and in another sense you need to prepare yourself physically.
“Obviously August is a bit more quiet. I think it starts really in September for us when all the European games come but obviously next week is a game where you can win a trophy, so we want to be ready to play a good game against Liverpool. We’ll see what happens.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
The two-week trip to the Far East may have had a troubled start with City’s initial flight to China being delayed by two days, but Guardiola was pleased with how things finished in Japan.
City ran out 3-1 winners in front of a lively crowd of 65,052 at the Nissan Stadium after a strong test both from their J-League opponents and the hot and humid conditions.
City now fly straight home to continue preparations for next Sunday’s Community Shield against Liverpool and their Premier League opener at West Ham the following week.
“The game was incredibly tough and it was an incredible test for preparing, not just for Liverpool, but the beginning of the season,” said Guardiola, who cut a tired figure at his post-match press conference.
“It was perfect for us to play this kind of game because if you don’t do what you have to do they have incredible quality and they took a lot of risks. They played so quick and so good and we were in real trouble.”
City were the dominant side in the game and took a deserved lead through Kevin De Bruyne in the 19th minute.
Keita Endo replied quickly for the hosts but City restored their advantage before the break as De Bruyne set up Raheem Sterling with a superb throughball.
Sterling had a second ruled out for offside by the Video Assistant Referee and Claudio Bravo made a fine save to deny Takuya Kida but substitute Lukas Nmecha secured victory by bundling home in injury time.
City have been without Sergio Aguero, Nicolas Otamendi, Fernandinho, Ederson, Gabriel Jesus and Riyad Mahrez on tour due to international commitments, although Guardiola is happy with the levels being reached despite their absence.
He is confident there will be no resting on laurels following last season’s domestic treble success.
The Spaniard said: “I know them better so now I don’t have doubts about what they can do.
“I’m not talking about winning or losing but about today, for example, against a team second in the (J-League) table with incredible dynamic, and with our lack of physical condition.
“We made mistakes but that’s good in this period. We are going to solve it and I have no doubts that the team will be ready again to try it.”
De Bruyne, whose 2018-19 season was ravaged by injury, has particularly impressed throughout the tour yet Guardiola felt a number of his team-mates deserved praise.
He said: “Kevin made another great game. It’s important to have his quality for the vision to make the last pass when the opponent defends in a high line.
“Rodri was incredible today. We knew it but today I can assure you we have an incredible holding midfielder for the next decade, or at least the years he will be here with a contract.
“Bernardo (Silva) is back too at his normal level, Sterling continued and John Stones and Ayme (Laporte) are back. These guys played incredibly well in the game here. In general our tour was nice.”
Provided by Press Association Sport