What the papers say
Manchester United could be left disappointed as striker target Joao Felix reportedly nears completing a deal with Atletico Madrid. According to the Evening Standard, the 19-year-old is close to finalising a £106.7m deal with the Spanish side, putting United – who were apparently unwilling to pay over £100million – out of the race.
Sticking with United, and the Red Devils look set to cash in on star man Paul Pogba. The Star says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is prepared to lose the midfielder to raise funds in the summer transfer window. The news could fuel Pogba’s reported desire to join Juventus for the 2019/20 campaign.
Meanwhile, United may not be able to dwell over a move for Bruno Fernandes, with Tottenham said to have opened talks with the midfielder’s agent. The Telegraph says United were making Crystal Palace right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka their main priority, but many have to turn their attention to the Sporting Lisbon star if they want to ward off Spurs’ interest.
At Everton, the Toffees are targeting loanee Kurt Zouma, the Telegraph reports. It comes after Andre Gomes, on loan from Barcelona, is understood to have committed to Everton on a four-year contract – and now Marco Silva is hopeful of signing 24-year-old Zouma from Chelsea on a permanent basis, the paper says.
Players to watch
Matt Clarke: Brighton are on the verge of signing Portsmouth’s Matt Clarke, with the 22-year soon to undergo a medical, The Sun says.
Joachim Andersen: The Sampdoria defender is being watched by London rivals Tottenham and Arsenal, according to the Star, but may face competition from Lyon if the French side are willing to up their previous £16million bid.
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Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s head is “bound to” have been turned by Manchester United’s interest, according to England Under-21s boss Aidy Boothroyd.
The Crystal Palace defender appears to be closing in on a move to Old Trafford but suffered a nightmare against France on Tuesday.
The 21-year-old’s injury-time own goal condemned the Young Lions to an opening Euro 2019 defeat in Italy as he failed to impress in the 2-1 loss.
Talks between United and Palace over a deal, likely to be over £50million, are reportedly ongoing and Boothroyd admitted the speculation may have affected Wan-Bissaka.
“For a young player who all he knows is Crystal Palace academy and Crystal Palace it would be daft not to say that in some way he must think about it,” said Boothroyd, ahead of Friday’s must-win game against Romania.
“I would not be truthful if I told you anything other than that. What I will say is because he doesn’t say too much you don’t get to find out too much. Aaron keeps things to himself.
“He is a very private guy. When that speculation is flying around it is bound to turn your head. But having said all of that had he not scored the own goal we probably wouldn’t be having this conversation.”
Boothroyd also hinted he was happier with the way Everton conducted themselves when Jordan Pickford joined the Toffees from Sunderland for £30million just two days before England’s Euro 2017 opener.
“In Poland last time we had a similar situation with Jordan, a lot of speculation,” he said.
“Everton agreed the deal, they worked very closely with us and were very respectful in terms of not getting involved in our build-up.
“In the end it was done in a hotel down the road away from everything else, all the medicals got done.
“If that was to happen we certainly wouldn’t be blocking anybody, we’d be talking to people and seeing if we could help out – provided both clubs were happy with it.
“If that happens we’ll oblige and if it doesn’t suit us we’ll find a time when it does.”
The boss offered few hints over whether Wan-Bissaka would start on Friday, with England third in Group C after Romania thumped Croatia 4-1 in their opener.
Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin will start up front in Cesena with England needing three points to stand a chance of reaching the semi-finals.
But Boothroyd refused to discuss what the Young Lions may need to do to qualify.
He said: “There could be all sorts of connotations by the end of it. There are tight margins. If we had stopped our game on 86 minutes we’d be saying what a good performance it was.
“Incidents happen and you have to deal with them. You recognise the time to go in and get things moving and other times where you say nothing and let the group do it themselves. The focus this week has been very good.”
Ajax sensation Matthijs de Ligt has reportedly rejected a move to Barcelona, despite the two clubs reaching an agreement for a transfer worth €75 million.
The Spanish giants were said to be the front-runners in what is turning out to be one of the most interesting transfer sagas of the window.
But if reports from Cadena Ser are to be believed, the Dutch defender has decided against joining the Catalan club. It is believed that De Ligt’s agent, Mino Raiola played a crucial role in making this happen.
Barcelona president Jose Bartomeu travelled to Amsterdam to finish the deal, like he did during Barcelona’s capture of Frenkie de Jong a few months ago. But this time, the Spaniard was unsuccessful in his attempt.
As things stand French side Paris Saint-Germain are said to be the favourites to acquire the services of the highly sought-after 19-year-old. PSG, Bayern Munich and Juventus have made lucrative offers but the player has maintained that playing time is a priority.