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, or why not.
Today’s edition features two Real Madrid outcasts and the potential move of one of the most promising German midfielders to a top European Club.
Real Madrid -> Swap plus cash deal -> Paris Saint-Germain
Two of the biggest transfer stories of the summer could face an unlikely cross-over as Gareth Bale and Neymar stare at a swap deal that could end their collective miseries at clubs they clearly don’t want to play for anymore. The Independent claims that PSG could offer Neymar and demand cash from Madrid in an attempt to sign Bale.
WHY IT WILL HAPPEN:
PSG could sign a world-class player in Bale without letting it affect their wage structure much as they look to offload the nuisance that is Neymar. The French club could also receive a good amount of cash which can be utilised in their pursuit of a permanent solution in the attacking department.
At the same time, Madrid president Florentino Perez will fulfill his dream of having Neymar at the Santiago Bernabeu after several failed attempts.
In theory, this deal could stand to benefit all parties.
WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN:
The Spanish giants could be forced to pay an unusually huge amount for Neymar despite involving the Welshman in the deal. This is evidenced by PSG’s reported refusal to sell the player to Barcelona in a deal involving Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele.
This points to the fact that the French club rate the Brazilian close to €300 million. This fee could come down to €180-200 million if Bale is involved, a price that is still too high for the overspending Madrid side.
Besides, it is believed that manager Zinedine Zidane is not in favour of having the PSG star at the club.
TRANSFER RATING: 2/10
Real Madrid -> Loan -> Arsenal
The Daily Mirror claims Arsenal are close to signing Dani Ceballos from Madrid on a loan deal. The former Real Betis man has not enjoyed the best of fortunes after his switch to Los Blancos and is desperate for a move that guarantees him more minutes.
WHY IT WILL HAPPEN:
Madrid need to discard as many as six players before the transfer window closes. Ceballos is likely to be one of the first names on the departure list and the formal announcement of his loan deal to Arsenal could happen anytime.
The London club are struggling in the transfer market, mainly due to their reported low budget. But a loan deal is very much on the cards as Unai Emery looks to add quality in the midfield.
WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN:
Arsenal’s rivals Tottenham are also keen to add the Spaniard to their ranks and could push hard for him if they fail to sign Giovani Lo Celso. However, it’s unlikely that they will act faster than Arsenal, who look set to complete the loan move soon.
TRANSFER RATING: 9/10
Bayer Leverkusen -> £90 million -> Liverpool
Although no formal bid has been placed yet, Liverpool are said to be frontrunners to land one of the best young midfielders in the world. Kai Havertz has been heavily linked to Bayern, but he admitted his interest to play abroad in an interview with Bild. Leverkusen value the player at £90 million.
WHY IT WILL HAPPEN:
The Champions League winners will soon find themselves needing a top midfielder, given the centre of their pitch is still the weakest link in their otherwise well-stacked team.
Havertz has the quality to play for a top European club and by ruling out Bayern Munich, the 20-year-old has invited a plethora of possibilities, most interestingly the prospect of lighting up Anfield with his magical feet.
The £90m tag is a fair price for the midfielder in the current transfer market and the Premier League club could hence advance talks without much hesitation.
WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN:
Liverpool are yet to place an official bid. Leverkusen could postpone the player’s sale to the next window or the one after that. While Liverpool are in pole position now, a lot can happen in one season and the Merseyside club could be forced to enter a tussle with other top clubs. They need to advance the purchase and finish the deal in this window if they’re interested.
Also, despite midfield being the weakest link of their squad, it’s still a pretty strong unit. Fabinho had a breakout 2018/19, Georginio Wijnaldum made further progression, while James Milner and Jordan Henderson can always be counted upon to perform.
Naby Keita had and continues to have his injury woes, while Adam Lallana’s future is up for debate, but the Reds are welcoming back the dynamic Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain this season.
TRANSFER RATING 5/10
What the papers say
Hopes of a return to the Premier League for Gareth Bale appear to be fading amid reports Manchester United and Tottenham have both closed the door on a big-money move for the Wales international.
The Daily Mail reports that a combination of his age and injury problems has put both clubs off signing a player who earns £600,000-a-week before tax. The Telegraph claims the 29-year-old could instead be heading to China, reporting that Beijing Guoan are interested in making Bale the highest-paid player in Chinese football history.
The Independent, meanwhile, suggests Paris Saint-Germain could be preparing a swap deal for Bale that would send Neymar to the Bernabeu.
Laurent Koscielny has reportedly agreed terms with Ligue 1 side Rennes. The Sun says reports in France suggest the Arsenal captain is to meet Gunners officials in the next two days to seek a termination of his current contract. It is thought the defender will cost around £10million, the paper adds.
Man United are reportedly on the verge of signing £80million-rated Harry Maguire. The Metro says the side have made a breakthrough in talks with Leicester after struggling to reach an agreement.
Arsenal are confident of completing a loan deal for Real Madrid’s Dani Ceballos, according to the Daily Mirror. The Gunners have held lengthy talks with the Spanish side and are very hopeful of getting the deal over the line, the paper reports. Tottenham have also been linked with a move for the 22-year-old.
Social media round-up
Players to watch
Mykola Shaparenko: Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal have reportedly all joined the race for the Dynamo Kiev midfielder. The Sun says the Ukrainian’s impressive season has attracted the attentions of a host of Premier League sides, with West Ham also said to be interested.
Ademola Lookman: The 21-year-old is to have a medical in the next two days ahead of his return to RB Leipzig, according to the Daily Mail. Leipzig have agreed a £22.5million deal for the Everton winger and are on the verge of signing the player they have been keen to land since his successful loan spell in the 2017/18 season, the paper adds.
Zinedine Zidane pulled no punches earlier in the day when he called for the Welshman’s departure to be expedited.
Speaking after a 3-1 defeat to Bayern Munich in Houston, Zidane said: “We hope he leaves soon. It would be best for everyone. We are working on his transfer to a new team.”
Pochettino refused to rule out a move for Bale but admitted that he is not privy to any work being done by the club to launch a bid for the winger.
“At the moment I don’t have any information from my chairman, I don’t know if we are or some other club, you know, it’s not my job, it’s the job of my chairman that is trying to build the best squad as possible,” he said following a 3-2 win over Juventus in a pre-season friendly.
As well as four Champions Leagues, Bale has won one La Liga title, a Copa del Rey and three UEFA Super Cups and Club World Cups since joining Madrid in 2013.