LIVE Transfer Talk: Kane chase not over as Man City prepare increased bid

The summer transfer window is into its final month for the major European leagues, which means the biggest clubs are looking to make a splash in the market before the new season begins. Check out the latest gossip below, and see all official deals here.

TOP STORY:

Premier League champions Manchester City are still pursuing Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane, according to journalist Fabrizio Romano.

Kane informed Spurs of his desire to leave the club this summer, and Premier League champions City are the front-runners for the England captain’s signature.

Sources told ESPN’s James Olley and Rob Dawson in June that City were ready to offer Spurs a £100m transfer fee for Kane, who topped the Premier League charts last season for both goals scored (23) and assists (14).

According to Romano, that figure could rise to more than £125m despite City already investing £100m in Jack Grealish from Aston Villa this summer, and they are ready to play the long game as Spurs continue to insist they want their star player to stay.

City travel to face Tottenham in the first match of their Premier League title defence on Sunday, with Spurs manager Nuno Espirito Santo saying that Kane will be available to play in the match.

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19.54 BST: Arsenal’s pursuit of Leicester City creative midfielder James Maddison is all but over, according to The Athletic.

The outlet reports that Arsenal are not seriously pursuing the England international, who has been linked with a £60 million move to the Emirates. The Athletic claims that is in intermediaries who are connecting the two and that Maddison’s wages would likely deter Arsenal from signing him. This would support Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers’ statement that no bids come in for the former Norwich man.

The Athletic adds that Lyon’s Houssem Aouar and Real Madrid’s Martin Odegaard, who spent last season on loan with the Gunners, are more realistic targets for the club.

19.02 BST: Celtic’s bid to sign Man City youngster Yan Couto on loan is back on, Sky Sports has learned.

The Brazilian right-back, 19, has been invited to Celtic Park on Thursday to watch Celtic play Jablonec, but is also of interest to the likes of Fiorentina and Spartak Moscow. Couto spent last season in Spain’s second tier with Girona, making 29 appearances over all competitions.

18.10 BST: We have a DONE DEAL and its a big one: Romelu Lukaku is a Chelsea player once again!

The striker, who scored 64 goals in 95 games for Inter Milan over the past few seasons, will rejoin the Blues for a reported £115 million! Now 28, the Belgian returns to Stamford Bridge where he was on the books between 2011-2014 but made just 15 appearances due to loan spells at West Brom and later Everton.

Serie A’s Player of the Season a year ago, Lukaku helped Inter win their first Scudetto in 11 years, and has previously played in England with Chelsea, WBA, Everton and Manchester United. The 2021 Champions League winners just keep getting better and better!

17.55 BST: Arsenal are reportedly interested in signing Sheffield United goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale but not so fast…

Blades boss Slavisa Jokanovic says that the England international is not for sale ahead of the Championship side’s game against Swansea.

“I don’t have any intention to sell him,” said Jokanovic. “He will be in my starting 11 for the next game.

“He is a very good keeper and I am really happy working with him. He’s a really expensive keeper too.”

Arsenal have reportedly failed with two bids for the 23-year-old, who Sheffield rate at around £30 million.

17.07 BST: The Daily Mail has learned that Man United have turned down a £50 million proposed bid from Inter Milan for forward Anthony Martial.

Inter are looking for a replacement for Romelu Lukaku, who is set to return to Chelsea, but United have elected to hold on to the Frenchman. Martial, 25, has scored 78 goals and added 50 assists in 258 games for United but will need to be more prolific if United are to reach their full potential.

Martial scored just seven goals in 36 appearances last season for United, who already had Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Edinson Cavani in attack, and recently added winger Jadon Sancho.

16.10 BST: Manchester United are convinced Paul Pogba will remain at Old Trafford beyond the transfer deadline with the club set to continue efforts to convince the midfielder to extend his contract, sources have told ESPN’s Rob Dawson.

United were prepared to receive an offer from Paris Saint-Germain for Pogba, who has one year left on his contract, but that was before the French side agreed a deal to sign Lionel Messi on a free transfer. It is now seen privately as “highly unlikely” that any club, including PSG, could raise the money to make a suitable offer for Pogba and the expectation is that he will still be a United player after the Aug. 31 deadline.

He remains central to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s plans and the 28-year-old is said to be comfortable about the prospect of spending at least another season at Old Trafford.

United are losing hope that Pogba will sign a contract extension but remain keen for the former Juventus man to pen a new deal. If fresh terms cannot be agreed, Pogba will be allowed to negotiate with clubs outside England from January ahead of a possible move as a free agent in the summer.

15.38 BST: Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said this summer’s transfer window has been the “most difficult” for years but is hopeful of adding to his squad before the deadline passes.

Arsenal have so far signed Ben White, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Nuno Tavares for combined fees totalling around £75m. However, they remain in the market for a creative midfielder with Leicester’s James Maddison and Lyon’s Houssem Aouar among their targets, a back-up goalkeeper and possibly a striker depending on departures elsewhere within the squad.

Hector Bellerin has an agreement to leave this summer while Joe Willock is closing in on a move to Newcastle (see 11.47 BST) and there are uncertainties over several other players with Arsenal needing to raise money through sales to help fund Arteta’s rebuild.

“It has been really busy and you’ve just named a few names but that tells you as well how much we’ve had to do from the position that we started the window,” the Spaniard said on Thursday, ahead of their opening Premier League game at Brentford.

“We are talking about probably the most difficult transfer market in this industry over the last years for sure and we are trying to adapt. The club, the owners and myself, we all have the same interests, which is to make this team much stronger and we know that we still have things to do to get what we want.

“[Money is tight] for every club at the moment, we have an ownership that is willing to invest in the team and they want to get the team better and with bigger aims and we are trying to find the balance because at the same time we need to be really careful because we need 100% a position that is sustainable and will help the club.”

15.09 BST: Atletico Madrid will soon announce the signing of Wolves forward Rafa Mir, according to Onda Cero radio.

The 24-year-old impressed for Spain at the Olympics this summer with a hat trick in a dramatic 5-2 extra time quarterfinal win over Ivory Coast, after scoring 13 league goals on loan at Huesca last season.

Atletico have been looking for a centre-forward to provide an alternative to Luis Suarez as they look to defend their LaLiga title, and the Mir transfer could be worth up to €25m.

14.35 BST: River Plate right-back Gonzalo Montiel will become Sevilla’s third summer signings, according to Marca.

Sevilla will pay a transfer fee in the region of €8m to sign the Argentina international, who is expected to arrive to Seville on Thursday and sign a contract through June 2026.

Montiel featured in four of the seven games at the Copa America that Argentina won last month and has made 138 appearances since making his debut with River in 2016. The 24-year-old has a Spanish passport so he will not take up a non-European spot in the squad.

Sevilla, who have already signed attacker Erik Lamela and goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic this summer are looking to strengthen at right-back with first-choice Jesus Navas turning 36 years old in November.

14.11 BST: Leicester City have had a £15m bid for central defender Jannik Vestergaard accepted by Southampton, the Daily Echo reports.

The Denmark international is in the final year of the contract he signed when he arrived at St Mary’s in an £18m transfer from Borussia Monchengladbach in 2018.

Vestergaard, who helped his national team reach the semifnals of Euro 2020 this summer, has played 79 times and scored four goals for the Saints.

Leicester have targeted the 29-year-old to strengthen their squad after Wesley Fofana suffered a broken leg in preseason that will rule him out until 2021.

13.28 BST: With Ibrahima Konate the only major signing made by Liverpool so far this summer, does Jurgen Klopp have the squad to compete for the Premier League title this season?

12.50 BST: Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman wants the club to sign a striker before the transfer window closes on Aug. 31, according to Mundo Deportivo.

Koeman wants to add a No. 9 after the departure of Barca’s all-time top scorer Lionel Messi and with Sergio Aguero out until November through injury. Spanish teenage sensation Ansu Fati is expected to return from injury in mid-September while Danish striker Martin Braithwaite is set to leave this summer in search of regular playing time.

Barca signed Memphis Depay this summer and have Antoine Griezmann in good form.

Koeman is reportedly aware of the delicate financial situation of the club and of the club’s need to reduce their wage bill. The Dutchman is hopeful that several players will leave in this transfer window to be able to sign a striker.

12.23 BST: Atletico Madrid have received no offers for Saul Niguez, AS reports, with coach Diego Simeone planning to use him as a makeshift left-back when LaLiga kicks off this weekend.

The arrival of Rodrigo de Paul makes it “very difficult” for Saul, 26, to play a central midfield role for Atletico this season, according to the newspaper.

Simeone has picked him at left-back in training this week ahead of their opening game away at Celta Vigo, valuing his versatility.

AS claims that any departure — with rumoured interest from Manchester United and Liverpool — would be a “very last minute” deal at the end of the transfer window.

11.47 BST: Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has spoken about the future of young forward Joe Willock as the Gunners prepare for their Premier League opener against Brentford on Friday.

Willock, 21, had a successful spell on loan at Newcastle United last season, rounding off the 2020-21 campaign by scoring in seven consecutive games. Newcastle are now working on a deal to bring the England U21 international back to St James’ Park on a permanent basis, with sources telling ESPN’s James Olley that the two clubs have agreed on a transfer fee but personal terms yet to be settled.

“The situation is that he is our player. We hold some conversations because this is not about only what we want to do, it is the player’s interest, the role that a player can fit within a squad, a club.

“What he has done is a put himself in a strong position where he can choose a little bit with more options what his future could look like. This is what we’re trying to define right now.”

When pressed on whether he thinks Willock will be at Arsenal come the end of the transfer window, Arteta said: “I do not know.”

11.15 BST: As if the arrival of Lionel Messi weren’t enough, Paris Saint-Germain are already planning a move for Cristiano Ronaldo next year to replace the Real Madrid-bound Kylian Mbappe, according to AS.

The newspaper’s Real Madrid columnist Tomas Roncero claims that PSG “have accepted the departure of Mbappe to the Bernabeu at the end of this season, absolutely free” and will replace him with Ronaldo, whose Juventus deal also expires next summer.

PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi “has always wanted to unite [Messi, Neymar and Ronaldo] in Paris” according to Roncero, with agent Jorge Mendes already aware of the plans.

Ronaldo would sign a two-year contract in Paris, which would see him remain at PSG until the age of 39.

10.41 BST: Sevilla have received “no concrete offer” for in-demand centre-back Jules Kounde, the club’s sporting director Monchi has told the club’s website.

Kounde has been linked with Chelsea and Real Madrid for much of the summer.

“There has been no real offer,” Monchi said. “A lot of clubs have asked about him. Kounde, [Youssef] En-Nesyri, Jesus Navas … They’re all at a club with a business model that won’t change.

“When we think there’s an important offer, with the circumstances we’re in now, we’ll accept it. If there isn’t an offer we think we can reinvest well, we won’t. Jules knows it.”

10.03 BST: Another big transfer that is close to completion is that of Romelu Lukaku to Chelsea, according to The Times.

Sources told ESPN’s James Olley at the weekend that the European champions are on the verge of sealing a transfer worth €115m for the Inter Milan striker.

The Times reports that Lukaku, 28, flew in to the UK on Wednesday evening after waiting 48 hours for permission to travel.

The Belgium international is set to sign a five-year contract for his second spell at Stamford Bridge, where he first arrived as an 18-year-old from Anderlecht in 2011.

09.39 BST: Manchester United could finally unveil defender Raphael Varane later today, The Sun reports.

United announced two weeks ago that they had agreed a deal with Real Madrid for the France international.

The Sun reports that, after completing his medical, the 28-year-old is expected to sign a four-year contract with the option of an additional year.

United are set to pay an initial €41m for the defender with another €8.2m in add-ons. Madrid have agreed to cover a solidarity payment due to Varane’s previous club Lens.

09.12 BST: Takefusa Kubo will continue his development away from Real Madrid for a third consecutive year, after the LaLiga giants agreed to loan him to Mallorca for the 2021-22 season.

The move will see the 20-year-old ply his trade with Mallorca for a second time, following a successful loan spell back in 2019-20 which saw him make 35 league appearances and score four goals.

Kubo starred for the Japan side that reached the semifinals of the men’s football competition at the Tokyo Olympics, netting three goals in six matches to finish as the tournament’s joint-third highest scorer.

08.41 BST: Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou insists he is “not concerned” over the future of striker Odsonne Edouard.

Edouard, 23, has scored 86 goals for Celtic since joining them from Paris Saint-Germain four years ago, initially on loan before completing a £10m transfer in 2018.

The Frenchman’s contract is due to expire next season, while Premier League club Leicester City held talks with Celtic over a deal earlier in the summer.

“I think you are in right in saying that is a club concern rather than my concern right now,” Postecoglou said. “No, [I’m] not concerned at all. If it means he stays here and contributes then so be it, but again that is stuff that I am not really spending too much time thinking about.

The former Australia national team coach added: “I have left outgoings totally to other people, that’s other people’s concerns. You are probably right, there is a concern there around cashing him in, but those are probably questions for other people.”

08.00 BST: Lionel Messi may have been officially unveiled as a Paris Saint-Germain player on Wednesday, but the effects of his sudden exit from Spain are still being felt — Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has denied claims he had “any influence” on Messi’s exit from Barcelona.

Jaume Llopis, a member of Joan Laporta’s board at Barcelona who resigned following Messi’s departure, claimed that both Perez and Barcelona CEO Ferran Reverter convinced Laporta to let Messi go and not accept LaLiga selling 10% of €2.7 billion of its business to investment fund CVC Capital Partners.

The investment from the fund would increase Barca’s league-imposed spending limit and would have allowed the club to register their summer signings as well as complete the new contract it had agreed with Messi last month.

Perez, whose club is against the LaLiga agreement with CVC, has demanded a rectification from Llopis and said in a statement on Wednesday: “It is impossible that I have had any influence neither on the departure of Messi nor on any other decision of F.C. Barcelona.

“It is completely false that I have been friends for a long time with FC Barcelona CEO Ferran Reverter, since I have only met him twice in my life, four months ago and on Saturday in the meeting that took place in Barcelona with president Joan Laporta and [Juventus] president Andrea Agnelli, when the official communication on Messi had already taken place.”

– Marsden, Laurens: Inside Messi’s final days at Barca

PAPER GOSSIP (by Luke Thrower)

Kylian Mbappe is hoping to leave Paris Saint-Germain either this summer or next year following the club’s signing of Lionel Messi. According to French journalist Thibaud Vezirian, Mbappe has asked the club to let him go and expressed that he doesn’t want to play alongside Messi. Mbappe has long been linked with a move to Real Madrid, and previous reports have said that PSG would demand at least €180m for Mbappe’s transfer if they listen to offers at all. Mbappe’s contract expires in 2022, and he could expect €20m-per-year in wages.

– Arsenal are close to sealing a move for Sheffield United goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, according to Football London. The 23-year-old England international has been linked with a move to the Emirates as the Gunners are in search of a deputy to Bernd Leno. It is believed a deal with around £30m has been struck, with an upfront value of £24m to be paid to the Blades.

– Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger is weighing up his options for the future with PSG and Real Madrid said to be interested in the centre-back according to Sky Sports. The 28-year-old has a year left on his current contract but is yet to settle on an agreement with the Blues, knowing he can sign for foreign clubs on a pre-contract deal in January. It is believed Chelsea and Thomas Tuchel see him as a part of their plans and will continue to play this season, despite knowing his next move could be big for his career.

– Fiorentina have set a deadline in offers for striker Dusan Vlahovic with Arsenal and Tottenham said to be interested in the forward. Corriere dello Sport reports that the Serie A club are only willing to entertain offers until the 15th of August before they reject any further proposals and continue as planned. The 21-year-old has been subject to much transfer speculation due to his contract starting to dwindle and discussion surrounding a possible extension. It is believed that the movement of other strikers, such as Harry Kane or Romelu Lukaku, could start a transfer domino effect that would end up in a side making an offer for Vlahovic.

– Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa are both preparing moves for Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse, according to The Telegraph. The 26-year-old Saints captain has long been linked with a move to Villa Park however it is believed that Spurs are long-time admirers of the England international and will make a move for him next week. The midfielder currently has four years left on his current deal and has made over 260 Premier League appearances since coming through the club’s academy. The Saints are believed to be keen on keeping a hold of him this summer.

– Newcastle United are heating up in the pursuit of AS Roma winger Carles Perez, according to Calciomercato. It is said that Jose Mourinho’s side need to move some players on in order to see some transfer incoming. Steve Bruce’s squad believes that it can make a low value offer for the Spaniard who may struggle to fit at Roma.

– Internazionale are pushing for a move for right-back Denzel Dumfries to replace Achraf Hakimi, who left for PSG earlier in the window. That is according to Fabrizio Romano, who claims that the Nezazzuri have put in an opening valuation of €12m to Dutch club PSV Eindhoven. Everton were also linked with the Netherlands international, who had an impressive European Championships with his nation in the summer. It is believed that PSV will hold out for a higher valuation before letting the player go.

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