Tottenham appear to be zeroing in on a loan move for Philippe Coutinho, but if it were up to Gerard Pique, he’d make sure his Barcelona team-mate remained at Camp Nou.
Spurs have jolted into life in the transfer market just 36 hours away from the end of the British transfer window (GST: 20:00), having had a bid accepted for Juventus attacker Paulo Dybala while they remain on the tails of Sporting Lisbon playmaker Bruno Fernandes and Real Betis’ Giovani Lo Celso.
Former Liverpool man Coutinho is now seemingly another option for Mauricio Pochettino, as the club work to thrash out a loan deal with Barca before the window closes.
Barcelona are currently in Miami as part of their pre-season tour and Pique is crossing his fingers that Coutinho sticks around to compete for a spot in an attack that has seen the addition of Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann.
“I want him (Coutinho) to stay, but at the end of the day it’s what he wants and I want him to be happy,” said Pique.
“Let’s see. Until the last day of the transfer market we will not know if he stays or not. But it’s not my decision, it’s the club’s and Philippe’s.”
Pique, 32, is bidding for his ninth La Liga title with Barcelona next year, though is wary of expecting too much from the Champions League after being the victims of heart-breaking comebacks in successive years against Roma and Liverpool.
“The arrival of players like Frenkie de Jong and Antoine Griezmann will certainly help us in all competitions,” added Pique.
“We have to see the season with perspective. We won La Liga last season which was great, but we should control expectations with the Champions League. Our main goal is La Liga, the Champions League is like Russian roulette.”
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.
Tottenham -> £50m -> Manchester United
WHY IT CAN HAPPEN
United’s midfield is severely lacking quality and in Eriksen they would get a creative playmaker proven in the Premier League and capable of chipping in with goals. The Dane stands to secure a lucrative deal at Old Trafford and would ease pressure on Paul Pogba to be the sole creative force.
At 27, Eriksen could legitimately produce his best for another five years and fits nicely into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s desire to press in the opposition’s half. He also comes with a wealth of experience that United’s young squad can benefit from. The Red Devils aren’t going to get a midfielder of his calibre for £50m anywhere else and Daniel Levy will be desperate to avoid losing the player for free next summer.
WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN
You have to question the midfielder’s motivation behind the switch. In north London he’s part of settled squad operating within a strong structure and enjoying Champions League football. None of that yet exists at United. He may decide to wait until the end of this window for Real Madrid to make a strong bid.
He could even opt to endure a season on the sidelines and then move on a free transfer next summer, making him all the more appealing to clubs across Europe.
TRANSFER RATING: 7/10
Juventus -> £37m -> Arsenal
Arsenal have agreed personal terms with Daniele Rugani but are still negotiating a transfer fee with Juventus, according to Sport Italia.
WHY IT CAN HAPPEN
Signing a centre-back remains a priority for the Gunners given William Saliba has returned to Saint-Etienne on loan and Laurent Koscielny has completed a move to Bordeaux.
They seem to be priced out of a move for Dayot Upamecano and Rugani appears to be a more affordable option. The 25-year-old has been on the fringes of the Juventus first team and Matthijs de Ligt’s arrival this summer only reduces his chances of establishing himself.
WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN
Again, Arsenal’s financial limitations stand in their way. Juventus are reportedly unsatisfied with a £37m which is supposedly tied to a tedious payment structure as well that may include an initial two-year loan. The Gunners stand a real chance of signing Rugani but they’ve got to loosen the purse strings.
TRANSFER RATING: 6/10
Crystal Palace -> Player + cash -> Everton
Everton are determined to persist with their pursuit of Wilfrid Zaha despite having another bid rejected, according to the Telegraph.
WHY IT CAN HAPPEN
Zaha has been vying for a move away from Selhurst Park all summer and at Everton there appears to be an ambitious project coming together. The addition of the Ivory Coast winger would only boost an already exciting looking Toffees attack. Palace are playing hard ball but should be keen to cash in on Zaha.
WHY IT CAN’T HAPPEN
It may be a little late in the window for Roy Hodgson to find a replacement should Zaha leave. Their survival this season could hinge on the 26-year-old’s contributions. A latest bid of over £52m plus Cenk Tosun has already been rejected. How much higher would Everton want to go?
TRANSFER RATING 5/10
What the papers say
Juventus have agreed to a £69million deal for Argentina forward Paulo Dybala to join Tottenham, the Daily Mail reports.
A potential agreement between the Italian giants and Manchester United fell through, paving the way for Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino to swoop in for the 25-year-old talent. But the deal is not done yet, with the paper saying Dybala wants more money than Tottenham’s current top earner Harry Kane.
One player who could be Manchester-bound is Spurs playmaker Christian Eriksen. United are reportedly increasing their efforts to secure the Denmark midfielder before the transfer window closes on Thursday. There is strong interest in the 27-year-old from numerous European powerhouses but the Red Devils are hoping to snag their man just before the deadline for a reduced price, according to The Daily Telegraph.
United’s Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku has not returned to train with the first team as speculation continues about his future, according to the Daily Mirror. And the Mail adds that the 26-year-old has been spotted training with his former club Anderlecht just one week out from the Red Devils’ opening match against Chelsea.
Staying in the north, the Daily Star says Manchester City will confirm they have signed 25-year-old Portugal defender Joao Cancelo from Juventus.
Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil is reportedly being targeted by DC United as a replacement for their outgoing captain, Wayne Rooney. England’s record goalscorer has announced he will leave Major League Soccer to join Derby in January. Representatives for former Germany international Ozil will meet with Black-and-Red officials in the US capital next week, the Mirror reports.
Social media round-up
Arsenal ‘agree personal terms’ with Daniele Ruganihttps://t.co/3VQfftjVkO— The Sun Football ⚽ (@TheSunFootball) August 7, 2019
Players to watch
Hakon Evjem: Both Manchester clubs sent scouts to watch the 19-year-old Norwegian midfielder playing for Bodo/Glimt, according to TV2 via the Manchester Evening News.
Djibril Sidibe: The French defender, 27, is about to be signed by Everton from Monaco, the Mail says.