Transfer Predictor: Man United start negotiations for €120m Joao Felix, Arsenal prepare Wilfried Zaha bid

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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 the most sought-after centre-back in Europe, a proven Premier League forward and a potential superstar in the making.

MATTHIJS DE LIGT


Matthijs De Ligt

Ajax -> €70m -> Liverpool

Liverpool are definitely interested in Matthijs de Ligt and have “been talking to him”, football journalist Guillem Balague has been quoted saying on BBC Radio 5 Live’s podcast by Liverpool Echo.

WHY IT CAN HAPPEN: The Reds are one of the strongest forces in Europe at the moment and with a near-perfect squad already, certainly have the financial power to sign De Ligt. The Dutchman would be an asset to any side and is reportedly eager to develop alongside compatriot Virgil van Dijk.

WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN: On the flip side, De Ligt may suffer from always being measured against the world’s best centre-back in Van Dijk. He may decide he’s better served to grow outside of the Liverpool defender’s shadow at a club where he would be the leader in defence.

With Joe Gomez returning to the fold next season, one of England’s brightest prospects, the Reds may decide spending €70m on another young, and potentially world class, centre-back wouldn’t be in their best interests.

Transfer predictor: 5/10

WILFRIED ZAHA

Wilfried Zaha

Crystal Palace -> €45m -> Arsenal

Arsenal are preparing a €45m bid for Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha, according to The Sun.

WHY IT CAN HAPPEN: Zaha has reportedly told the Eagles that he is determined to leave for a club competing in the Champions League. A move to the Emirates Stadium would see him remain in London while joining a pacey attack that includes Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could pay off for both club and player.

WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN: Palace are reluctant to sell and have set Zaha’s asking price at €91m. They could leave the decision until late in the summer to hold out for a better deal and Arsenal might move on to someone else by then. The Gunners are unlikely to even come close to the asking fee.

Transfer predictor: 6/10

JOAO FELIX

Joao Felix

Benfica -> €120m -> Manchester United

Manchester United have begun negotiations with Benfica for Joao Felix and are prepared to trigger the youngster’s €120m release clause, Portuguese outlet Record report.

WHY IT CAN HAPPEN: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made it clear United will target young and hungry players this summer. In Felix, they could acquire a global superstar in the making, one that would also appeal to their marketing ambitions.

With the ability to play anywhere in the final third, the 19-year-old should be a superb option for United as they have struggled for creativity and goal threat this season.

WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN: A major overhaul could be on Solskjaer’s hands this summer and spending €120m on a new talent is a big risk. From Felix’s point of view as well, Atletico Madrid – who are also in the race for his signature – would provide a more stable environment and he could take over from the departing Antoine Griezmann.

Transfer predictor: 7/10

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