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.
Fiorentina -> €50m -> Manchester United
Manchester United have made an enquiry with Fiorentina over the transfer of Nikola Milenkovic, according to the Gianluca Di Marzio.
WHY IT WILL HAPPEN: United have so far failed in their efforts to lure more high profile centre-backs to Old Trafford and with pre season training already underway, they’re in a race against time. Milenkovic is someone they’ve watched for a while. Given his age and potential, he fits the profile as someone who could develop into a star. It would be a huge step up in wages and platform for the defender.
WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN: United reportedly had a €40m bid for the Serbian rejected in January. The €50m asking price then may even be hiked now. That could prove to be a stumbling block with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insisting that United won’t “overpay” for signings.
TRANSFER PREDICTOR: 6/10
MATTHIJS DE LIGT
Ajax -> €67m -> Juventus
WHY IT WILL HAPPEN: De Ligt as well as super agent Mino Raiola appear to be set on a move to Juventus. With Andrea Bargazli retired, the Dutchman will be competing with Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini for a starting role. He will no doubt eventually take over from the two aging centre-backs as the main figure in the back-line.
WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN: If Liverpool decide they do want in, De Ligt could be tempted to join Virgil van Dijk at Anfield. Alternatively, United could get desperate and throw silly money at Ajax and Raiola for the youngster’s services. Ajax digging their heels in and refusing to sell if the asking price is not met remains a possibility too.
TRANSFER PREDICTOR: 8/10
Real Madrid -> €42m -> Napoli
WHY IT WILL HAPPEN: The primary reason for James wanting to join Napoli is the appointment of Carlo Ancelotti at the Serie A club. The Colombian has played his best football under the Italian be it at Madrid or while on loan with Bayern Munich. There aren’t many offers for the attacking midfielder at the moment and Real need to recuperate some of the money they splashed in this window.
WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN: Napoli’s bid is well below Madrid’s valuation of the player and should they manage to offload another star like Gareth Bale, they may not be under any pressure to move James on for a lower fee.
TRANSFER PREDICTOR: 7/10
What the papers say
The Mirror says Arsenal are refusing to give up on signing Wilfried Zaha and are preparing a player-plus-cash bid. Unai Emery has already seen the club’s opening £40milion approach rejected with Crystal Palace demanding twice that. The Gunners will get nowhere near that figure but are now discussing putting players into the deal, with Calum Chambers, Carl Jenkinson and Mohamed Elneny all possible makeweights.
In related news, Arsenal are looking to hijack Everton’s £31.5million move for Barcelona winger Malcom, according to The Sun. Arsenal boss Unai Emery has reportedly identified the player as a possible alternative to signing Zaha.
Newcastle offered Sam Allardyce a surprise return as manager last week, the Mail says, but the former England boss rejected the chance. Now the Magpies appear focused on recruiting Steve Bruce from Sheffield Wednesday, it adds.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has warned Paul Pogba that Manchester United will not be pressured into selling him, according to the Telegraph. “We are Man United, we don’t have to sell players,” Solskjaer reportedly said.
Roma want Tottenham’s £25million-rated centre-back Toby Alderweireld, says the Mirror. The Italians are hunting two new defenders and have approached Spurs but are understood not to have made a formal offer. Alderweireld is available at that bargain price only until July 26, when a clause in his contract expires. Roma are reportedly the only club to have expressed an interest in the 30-year-old Belgium international, who has just 12 months left on his contract.
Players to watch
Daniel Sturridge: The former Liverpool player may currently be without a club, but at least he has been reunited with his stolen dog, the Guardian reports. The 29-year-old posted a video on Instagram on Tuesday showing a broken glass door, which he said was where thieves broke in and took his dog as well as a number of bags from his Los Angeles home.
Dani Ceballos: Tottenham are stepping up their bid to land Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos on loan. the Daily Star reports.
Manchester United are still in the hunt for a centre-back and have made an enquiry with Fiorentina for Nikola Milenkovic.
The Red Devils have shown interest in the 21-year-old defender previously and have made another approach for him this week, according to Gianluca di Marzio.
United reportedly made a bid for Milenkovic in January but their €40 million offer was turned down with the Italian outfit holding out for €50m.
Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer’s side have returned to training without a new centre-back which was thought to be the top priority this summer.
Advances for the likes of Mathijs de Ligt, Issa Diop and Harry Maguire have so far been unsuccessful but in Milenkovic they face a real possibility of prying him away from La Viola.
However, the Serbian has been growing in stature in recent months and has attracted interest from other clubs too though no concrete links have been made.