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 Madrid -> Unknown -> AC Milan
AC Milan are set to pounce if Real Madrid decide to sell Luka Modric, according to Gianluca Di Marzio.
WHY IT WILL HAPPEN
If Zinedine Zidane is keen on extracting the full potential from the immense attacking talent at his disposal, he may need to tinker with his system. That’s always been easier said than done when trying to include both Toni Kroos and Modric. The Croat is four years older and after winning the Ballon d’Or last year, has been on the wane.
Madrid may be keen to cash in on the star midfielder while he’s still boasts a high value. Recuperating some of the money they’ve splurged this summer must be tempting while in Dani Ceballos they have a ready-made replacement should they decide to keep the sought-after Spaniard long-term.
WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN
While reports have so far failed to included a speculated transfer fee, one would assume Modric will command a fee at least double that of his current valuation of €20 million according to transfermarkt.co.uk. Milan have already spent €48 million this summer and will be reluctant to sink too much on a 33-year-old whose wages – even reduced – would put a dent in their budget as well.
TRANSFER PREDICTOR: 6/10
Manchester United -> £75m -> Inter Milan
Inter Milan will meet Manchester United’s £75 million valuation of Romelu Lukaku upon certain conditions including a £40 million down payment, The Sun says.
WHY IT WILL HAPPEN
It’s become evident that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will not fight to keep Lukaku at Old Trafford as he’s given his full backing to Marcus Rashford, who appears more suited to the style of play being implemented. The Norwegian seems determined to afford Mason Greenwood more game time as well.
Lukaku has been harping on about moving to Serie A for months so all parties clearly want this move to be completed. United are holding out for the best deal and Inter are slowly edging towards that with Antonio Conte desperate to land the Belgian.
WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN
Inter simply don’t have the funds to make a straightforward deal. Beyond the £40 million down payment, they are reportedly also requesting £15 million to be paid as performance-based add-ons and that can’t be satisfactory for United.
TRANSFER PREDICTOR: 8/10
PSG-> €40m + players -> Barcelona
Barcelona have offered a package centred around Ivan Rakitic and Philippe Coutinho as they look to sign Neymar, according to L’Equipe.
WHY IT WILL HAPPEN
At the moment, there’s really no other destination for Neymar. He’s burnt bridges with Paris Saint-Germain and will be desperate to return to Barcelona. The club will be keen to part ways with the Brazilian as well, especially with Kylian Mbappe clearly replacing him as their poster boy.
WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN
PSG refuse to accept anything less than what they believe they’re entitled to. Allowing Adrien Rabiot’s contract to run down while he warmed the bench last season rather than let Barcelona have him was a prime example. Unless Ousmane Dembele becomes part of a player-plus-cash deal, the Catalans will need to raise their bid substantially.
TRANSFER PREDICTOR: 5/10
Matthijs de Ligt has landed in Turin ahead of his big-money transfer from Ajax to Juventus.
The 19-year-old centre-back was pictured arriving at Caselle airport by private jet on Tuesday evening, with the Netherlands international set to have a medical on Wednesday.
The 19-year-old who led Ajax to the Champions League semi-finals is due to undergo a medical before signing for Juventus for a reported €75 million.
“Here he is!” Juventus announced on Twitter, with a video of the Dutch international disembarking from a private jet at Turin airport.
HE'S HERE! Matthijs de Ligt arrives in Turin! 🛬 pic.twitter.com/3AGkoQMKcN— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) July 16, 2019
In a separate clip the teenager says: “Hello Bianconeri, this is Matthijs, I’m really happy to be here.”
The sought-after defender was heavily linked with Barcelona, Manchester United and Manchester City, but he is set to ply his trade in Serie A alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Aaron Ramsey next season.
He has played 117 games for Ajax in all competitions, scoring 13 goals, including three as the club reached the last four of the Champions League last season, only to lose in the final seconds to Tottenham.
De ligt scored the winner in Turin as Ajax eliminated Juventus in the quarter-finals.
He has played 17 times for the Netherlands.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer still believes in building the Manchester United team around wantaway midfielder Paul Pogba – and remains confident Alexis Sanchez will finally come good.
As the disappointment of a turbulent 2018-19 season finally begins to subside, attention turns to the future and returning the 20-time league champions back to the top of the English game.
Questions over key players’ happiness have provided an unwanted backdrop to their preparations for the new season.
Club-record signing Pogba is chief among them after publicly speaking about the possibility of leaving for a new challenge away from the north-west, with his comments compounded by agent Mino Raiola’s remarks.
Solskjaer, though, remains hopeful of keeping the midfielder and stands by comments made when he was Molde manager shortly before taking the Old Trafford reins.
“Paul is a fantastic player, a fantastic human being, always been a great professional,” the Norwegian told PA.
“I’ve had a great relationship with him. Of course, I had him in the reserves a few years back.
“And I said, ‘If he’s in your squad, you’d build a team around him’ – and, of course, I haven’t changed that much since then, so I would say the same now.”
Pogba has kept his head down and worked diligently, despite the spotlight during the pre-season trip to Australia, where Solskjaer even suggested there was an agenda against him.
Asked whether the player was simply misunderstood, he said: “Man United fans, they know football.
“Man United fans have been through a successful period, some supported us way before the successful times with Sir Alex (Ferguson) as well.
“But they don’t have the social media. We know Paul has been criticised by a few, but he’s loved loads more.”
With Sanchez, however, the scale is definitely slanted towards negativity. The highest-paid player in United’s history, the Chile international has faltered since his high-profile switch from Arsenal to Old Trafford 18 months ago.
“For me, as a coach and a manager, (his stature and track record) gives me great belief because we know what he’s capable of,” Solskjaer said.
“We have to find that way – me with Alexis, with the team – because there’s a top, top player there.
“And if we get him firing, he can get us 20 goals easily if he gets on a good run, and that’s the thing.
“I don’t like to talk about individuals too much but Alexis, of course, has made headlines since he’s come here, and he had such a fantastic time at Arsenal.
“We want to find him scoring goals at Old Trafford again, and that can give us an extra boost.”
Believing injuries have played a part in Sanchez’s inconsistency, Solskjaer added: “You see the quality, of course you do, and then you just hope that he’s going to get that consistency back in his game.
“He’s got a good chance now. Obviously, he’s got three weeks off since Copa America finished.
“Hopefully, his hamstring injury wasn’t too bad, I think it was just a precaution, so he’ll be up and running when he comes back.”
While a rejuvenated Sanchez – as the cliche goes – would be like a new signing, Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka have been United’s only acquisitions so far, although Solskjaer has more in his sights.
“There won’t be any players here I don’t want,” when asked about the club’s transfer strategy.
“We’re still looking at one or two options, yeah,” he added.” But it depends on outgoings as well.
“It might be more because if suddenly two or three will go, then you will have to replace players.”
As for those that would be keen to leave United this summer, Solskjaer, a United fan favourite and treble hero, cannot understand that mindset.
“No, I was there,” he said. “You know, the ones that might want to leave now haven’t been here when it’s been successful.
“It’s the best feeling you can ever have as a footballer, to be at this club when we’re successful, and hopefully they want to be part of that – and I want to be part of that.”