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.
Real Betis -> €40m -> Barcelona
RAC1 suggest that Barcelona could sign proven Real Betis left-back Junior Firpo as a back-up to Jordi Alba. The Catalan club could pay the player’s release clause of €40m.
WHY IT WILL HAPPEN
Barcelona just played out one full season without a back-up left-back. Academy player Juan Miranda was hardly utilised and Ernesto Valverde preferred playing Nelson Semedo out of position when needed. The cracks were visible towards the end of the season and it looks like Barcelona have realised that a back-up at the left-back position is absolutely necessary.
Firpo is a proven player who can bring a lot to any top team. Barcelona and Betis enjoy a healthy relationship. There are reports that Barcelona will only trigger the release clause if their bid for the player is not met positively and prefer that it does not have to come to that.
WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN
Firpo has the quality to start every game and may find it absolutely necessary to do so during his developmental phase. Alba has at least 2-3 years as an undisputed starter and the Betis full-back would not want to play second fiddle for so long.
Antoine Griezmann has proved to be heavy on Barcelona’s pockets and if Neymar is indeed close to signing a deal with the club, they could run out of funds to complete this move.
TRANSFER PREDICTOR: 6/10
Gremio -> €28m -> Arsenal
Fox Sports Brazil report that Everton Soares will soon swap his Gremio colours for Arsenal’s red, as he completes a move to the London side. A transfer fee of €28m plus performance-based bonuses of up to €12m has been agreed upon and his announcement is imminent.
WHY IT WILL HAPPEN
In Everton, Arsenal have found a player who could prove to be their best value-for-money buy amid the budget constraints.
The Brazil forward first attracted interest from AC Milan but the move never materialised. After a terrific Copa America outing, the 23-year-old has once again made himself a hot prospect and Arsenal are well poised to get their man. He may be viewed as a cheaper alternative to Wilfried Zaha.
Reports suggest that the Premier League side have sent doctors to Brazil for medicals and the official announcement could happen very soon.
WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN
Several reports have suggested that the deal is done and only minor details remain. It’s very unlikely that things derail from where they stand at the moment.
TRANSFER PREDICTOR: 9/10
Real Madrid-> €60m -> Tottenham
Tottenham are ready to shell out up to €60m for Real Madrid attacker and former Spurs player Gareth Bale according to Marca.
WHY IT WILL HAPPEN
It’s clear as day that the Welshman has no future at Madrid and postponing his inevitable departure could only decrease the player’s market value.
Both Bale and Madrid are desperate to part ways and Spurs might just have provided them a way out. The winger will be returning to a club and league he is familiar with. A return to Spurs could very well be his last shot at redemption.
WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN
Spurs are unwilling to pay his wages in entirety and expect the Spanish giants to chip in with half the amount. The wage structure at Madrid could get messy with all the star arrivals and it remains to be seen if they will accept Spurs’ proposal.
Will Madrid agree to pay the wages of a player who is no longer at the club? Will Spurs sign the player even if their condition are not met by Madrid? Will Bale take a salary cut to be reunited with his former club? Well, someone has to compromise.
TRANSFER PREDICTOR: 5/10
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has told Manchester United’s centre-backs they need to step up or face being shipped out as the club look to bolster an already bloated area.
PA understands Leicester’s Harry Maguire is in the Old Trafford giants’ crosshairs, just as he was last summer when former manager Jose Mourinho made his desire to sign a central defender clear.
United are hoping to bring in a top-level centre-back before the transfer window shuts next month – a move that would only intensify the competition for a role that already has six contenders.
Sweden international Victor Lindelof reaffirmed his commitment to the club on Tuesday in Perth, while Phil Jones and Chris Smalling signed new and improved contracts last season.
Eric Bailly, Marcos Rojo and Axel Tuanzebe are other options at the heart of the backline for Solskjaer.
“Yeah, of course, there’s a limit of players,” Solskjaer said, when asked about his options and the potential of someone like Maguire coming in.
“Whoever performs will be part of the team and whoever doesn’t they have got a fight to get back in.
“There’s been loads of speculation, but I can’t really say anything. But we will work to find a relationship with the ones we’ve got.
“Axel has got a great chance of staying here and playing. He had a great season last year.
“It was a stop-start season with injuries, but he’s really proven that he is capable of playing at that level, he got promoted with Villa and he’s come back very strong, focused.
“He did well in the first game here, so he’s one of the young, exciting players that I can’t wait to see more.”
United kicked off pre-season with a 2-0 win against Perth Glory at Optus Stadium, where the team return on Wednesday evening to take on old foes Leeds.
Luke Shaw may not be risked due to a hamstring complaint and Lee Grant remains unavailable, but Lindelof, Bailly and Romelu Lukaku are pushing to be involved after missing the first friendly.
The latter is understood to be eyeing a move to Inter Milan this summer and told reporters at the weekend “you guys will know something next week”.
Asked if he believed Lukaku would be happy at United if a move did not come to fruition, Solskjaer said: “You know, the day we start the league I’m sure everyone who’s here will give absolutely everything for Manchester United.
“We are going to have a strong team with players who want to give everything.
“There’s always rumours, speculation about Man United players but when the league starts we batten the hatches down and we stick together as a team.”
Solskjaer ignored a question about Matteo Darmian, although the United manager confirmed the Italy international would be linking up with the rest of the group in Singapore.
The squad head to Asia from Australia on Thursday, when Fred and, somewhat surprisingly, Dean Henderson – a player that had looked set to return to Sheffield United on loan – will also fly in.
“After they’ve been given some leave, they’ll come to Singapore,” he said. “So, we expect Dean, Fred and Matteo to join us there.”
First up, though, is the match against Leeds in Perth.
Solskjaer enjoyed many a battle with the Yorkshire club during his playing day and is looking forward to renewing hostilities.
“I’ve got quite a few good memories,” he said. “Probably the 4-3 win, I scored two at Elland Road and seeing David Beckham and Ian Harte probably having the slowest race ever for a 50-yard long pass from Scholesy [Paul Scholes].
“We’ve had some great games against them.
“They had a fantastic team around the late 90s, 2000s, with a friend of mine Eirik Bakke.
“So there were quite a few fierce tackles in those games and hopefully it will be a good, competitive game tomorrow.”
Everton have signed midfielder Fabian Delph from Manchester City on a three-year deal.
The 29-year-old England international, who joined City from Aston Villa in 2015, joins for an undisclosed fee.
He told Everton’s website: “Every time I have played against Everton, whether it was home or away, straight away the first thing that comes to mind when you see the fans is passion.
“You are always going to hear Evertonians and I’m excited to play at home and hear them when I am playing.”
Delph added: “I’m really happy to be here, I’m going to give absolutely everything – nothing less than 100 per cent.
“Hopefully we can push together, fans and players, to do something special.”
The midfielder, who has been utilised at left-back by Pep Guardiola during his time at City, began his career at Leeds before spending six years with Aston Villa.
Delph has been part of the Manchester City squad that has won successive Premier League titles in the past two seasons and Everton manager Marco Silva hopes he can bring some of that experience to the Toffees’ dressing room.
“When I look to bring a new player into our squad, the first thing I look for above all the other things is quality and Fabian is a player with high quality,” Silva said.
“But what they can bring to our dressing room is also important and if you can put those two things together then that can only be good for the club.”
Provided by Press Association Sport