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.
AS Roma -> Undisclosed -> Inter Milan
Inter Milan are set to sign Edin Dzeko as an alternative to Romelu Lukaku, according to the Gazzetta dello Sport.
WHY IT CAN HAPPEN: With Mauro Icardi an outcast at Inter, it’s no secret that they need a striker to lead their line and neither is the fact that Lukaku is Antonio Conte’s first choice. However, Manchester United are reportedly unwilling to settle for any less than €83m which Inter would struggle to pay. In Dzeko they could attain a quality striker with plenty of experience and proven pedigree in Serie A.
WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN: Lukaku clearly doesn’t fit into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s plans or at least not prominently. Closer to deadline day, they may be willing to accept Inter’s offer despite falling short of their valuation. The Italian side would have no use for Dzeko then.
Transfer predictor: 6/10
Juventus -> €78m -> Manchester United
Solskjaer could turn to Paulo Dybala in his attempts to inject some creativity into his Manchester United side, claim the Daily Mail.
WHY IT CAN HAPPEN: United are understandably focused on plugging other holes in their first XI but the right wing remains an issue despite Daniel James’ arrival, while the attack as a whole seems to lack a bit of star quality. Dybala would certainly provide that along with a boost in creativity. At 25, he fits the profile of player Solskjaer is looking to recruit. There’s potential of a promising link-up with former team-mate and friend Paul Pogba as well.
WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN: United can’t offer Dybala Champions League football this season and the Argentine seems fairly settled in Turin despite his lack of playing time over the last couple of years.
Transfer predictor: 5/10
OGC Nice -> €25m -> Newcastle United
Newcastle are targeting Nice attacker Allan Saint-Maximin, according to L’Equipe.
WHY IT CAN HAPPEN: The Magpies could definitely use more quality up front. Following the departures of Ayoze Perez and Salomon Rondon, Newcastle have been left with just Yoshinori Muto to lead their line. Saint-Maximin would be a huge step up and also a quick way for owner Mike Ashley to pacify the fans following Rafa Benitez’s exit. Nice reducing the asking price from €40m to €25m also helps.
WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN: The forward is too good to be featuring in a team already deemed among the favourites for relegation. Even if he did, there would have to be significant financial incentive. But with Ashley reluctant to invest in the squad, it’s difficult to see how they afford him.
Transfer predictor: 3/10
What the papers say
Gareth Bale will get a minimum £20million welcome bonus if he opts to move to the Chinese Super League, the Daily Mail reports. A number of clubs would be willing to at least match his current wages and offer an unprecedented bonus structure, the paper claims.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid’s hopes of landing Paul Pogba could depend on Bale’s departure, according to reports. The Daily Mirror says Pogba remains Real’s number one transfer target, but they would have to get Bale’s wages off their books before making a lucrative offer for the Manchester United midfielder. United are said to want around £180million for Pogba.
Arsenal’s attempts to land Kieran Tierney have reportedly stalled after having several bids for the 22-year-old rejected. The Daily Mail says the Gunners want to stagger payments for the £25million-rated player, but Celtic want more money guaranteed up front.
Tottenham appear set to complete two signings this week, according to the Daily Mirror. A move costing between £54million and £60million for Real Betis midfielder Giovani Lo Celso is said to be imminent, while the Champions League finalists are also close to signing Ryan Sessegnon from Fulham for around £20million, the paper reports.
Maurizio Sarri has personally intervened in order to land Danny Rose, the Daily Mail says. The Juventus boss specifically asked his employers to make a move for the Spurs left-back, the paper says. Paris Saint-Germain and Schalke are also said to be interested in the England defender.
Social media round-up
James Milner's Liverpool future thrown into doubt https://t.co/LAq1xjp03G— The Sun Football ⚽ (@TheSunFootball) July 22, 2019
Players to watch
Thiago Almada: Manchester City are continuing talks with Velez Sarsfield over a £16million deal for the Argentinian youngster, according to the Daily Mail. Manchester United and Atletico Madrid are also interested in the 18-year-old, while Velez’s coach wants him to stay, the paper adds.
Paulo Dybala: Juventus are reportedly willing to sell the 25-year-old to Manchester United if the Premier League club matches their £70million-£90million valuation, the Daily Mail reports. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is an admirer of the Argentina international and will look to bring Dybala in as a potential replacement for Romelu Lukaku or Paul Pogba, the paper adds.
Zinedine Zidane has denied disrespecting Gareth Bale and says the Welshman did not play against Bayern Munich last weekend because he did not want to.
The Real Madrid boss told reporters that he would always back his players, after facing criticism over comments about Bale’s potential departure from the club.
“I haven’t shown a lack of respect towards anyone and particularly not towards a player,” he said.
“I’ve always said the same thing: the players are the most important ones in all of this. Whenever there’s a player involved, I’ll always back them.”
Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett had called Zidane a “disgrace” after the Frenchman revealed transfer talks were under way with an unnamed club.
Zidane said on Sunday that the Spanish side were “working on his (Bale’s) departure”, adding that he hoped a deal could be struck soon “for everyone’s sake”.
In response, Barnett told ESPN FC: “Zidane is a disgrace to speak like that about someone who has done so much for Real.
“If and when Gareth goes it will be because it is in the best interest of Gareth and nothing to do with Zidane pushing.”
At a press conference on Monday ahead of Real Madrid’s International Champions Cup clash with Arsenal, Zidane said he wanted to be “very clear” about the situation.
“What I said the other day is that the club was working on his exit,” he said.
“Gareth didn’t come on (against Bayern Munich) because he didn’t want to,” he added.
“He said that the club was working on his exit and that’s why he didn’t come on.
“Gareth is a Real Madrid player, he’ll train as normal today and we’ll have to see what happens tomorrow.”
Pressed on whether Bale had asked not to play against Arsenal on Tuesday, he added: “No, he’ll train as usual today and we’ll see what happens tomorrow. You know all about the situation.
“The club is doing what it has to and that’s all there is to it. Bale is currently part of the squad and I respect that. That’s the most important thing for me.”
Despite being hit by a series of injuries, Bale has helped the Spanish powerhouses win four Champions League titles, the domestic league title and a host of other trophies.
However, his future at the Bernabeu has been the subject of plenty of speculation in recent years and Zidane said an exit was “for the best for everyone”.
Any departure would come six years after Bale arrived from Tottenham in a then world-record £85million deal.
PA understands long-term admirers Manchester United are not interested in the Wales international and a return to Spurs looks unlikely, but odds on a move to German giants Bayern Munich are shortening.