With all eyes on Lionel Messi this transfer window, it’s easy to miss news of other players on the move.
But fear not. We’ve gathered some of the most significant deals, reports, quotes and other details doing the rounds in the market this week.
Gareth Bale is gearing up to leave Real Madrid (stop us if you’ve heard that one before, though) while Everton are about to take big strides towards becoming more competitive in the Premier League.
1. Gareth Bale would consider Premier League return if “difficult” Real Madrid allow it
Although it proved anticlimactic, the Messi saga may have stolen the thunder of every possible transfer this summer. However, a return to the Premier League for Gareth Bale would nonetheless be one of the stories of the window.
Having been cast out by Zinedine Zidane last season, talk of Bale leaving Real Madrid has never been more fervent. And the Welshman has now added fuel to the fire by suggesting the only people stopping him leaving the Bernabeu are his “difficult” employers.
“I tried to leave last year but they blocked everything at the last second,” Bale told Sky Sports. “It was a project I was excited for but it didn’t materialise.
“There have been other instances where we have tried to go but the club won’t allow it or they’ve done something. It’s down to the club.”
He added: “I am only 31 still but I feel I am in great shape still and feel like I have a lot to give. We will see what happens. It’s in the club’s hands but they make things very difficult to be honest.”
Bale went on to admit a Premier League return would appeal to him if the opportunity presented itself.
“If those options arise (interest from Premier League clubs) it is something I’d look at for sure,” the former Tottenham ace said.
- Man Utd: 10/1
- Any MLS Club: 12/1
- Inter Milan, Juventus, PSG: 16/1
- Any Chinese Super League Club: 25/1
- Southampton: 33/1
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2. Everton are about to sign a whole new midfield that could rival the top six
Everton look set to bring in another Real Madrid superstar outcast in the form of James Rodriguez, a move that nobody saw coming when the window opened.
Rodriguez will be a significant part of the new-look midfield Carlo Ancelotti is about to complete, with a deal for Adboulaye Doucoure from Watford said to be close. The Toffees have already confirmed the signing of Napoli midfielder Allan, with the Brazilian joining on a three-year deal.
Everton will pay an initial £60 million for the trio, The Times claim, £21m of which was spent on Allan. That is an admirable piece of business given the Toffees’ midfield could, on paper, now rival those of the best in the division.
Allan offers ground-duel expertise, Doucoure and James Rodriguez provide goal contributions and dynamism while Andre Gomes is a strong ball-playing option at the base of midfield. So there are several permutations there for Ancelotti to deploy his tried-and-tested diamond.
Another detail from The Times’ story: James Rodriguez will become Everton’s highest-paid player on £140,000-a-week when he signs his three-year deal.
3. Man City target Koulibaly is “on his way out” of Napoli
Manchester City remain locked in “slow negotiations” with Napoli over a deal for defender Kalidou Koulibaly, according to journalist Fabrizio Romano.
But if you need any more indication Napoli are willing to sell the centre-back, look no further than recent quotes from the Italian club’s club president.
Aurelio De Laurentiis revealed both Koulibaly and striker Arkadiusz Milik will be allowed to leave if their valuations are met this summer.
“Koulibaly and Milik are both on their way out, transfer market permitting,” De Laurentiis said.
“So, if the transfer market allows us to sell these two excellent players, we will know how to replace them. If not, then we’ll discuss it again next year.”
It looks like Koulibaly could become Manchester City’s second centre-back signing this summer following the arrival of Nathan Ake from Bournemouth. However, De Laurentiis has also claimed Man City are unwilling to talk directly to Napoli regarding Koulibaly, following the sale of Jorginho to Chelsea two years ago.
“How can we have a normal and calm negotiation with Manchester City to sell Koulibaly? They won’t talk directly with us because of the Jorginho deal two years ago,” he added.
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4. Roma reunion for two former Man United teammates
Arsenal terminated Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s contract by mutual consent this week, allowing the former Manchester United midfielder to join Roma on a permanent deal having spent last season on loan.
The Armenian struggled to make an immediate impact in England, leaving Old Trafford for Arsenal when Alexis Sanchez moved in the other direction.
Nor did he do enough to convince at the Emirates, resulting in a loan to Italy which has now been made permanent.
And Roma could be about to create another “former” Manchester United player, if reports linking them with Chris Smalling are to be believed.
Like Mkhitaryan, Smalling was on loan at Roma from the Red Devils last term and has seemingly done enough to convince the Serie A club to buy the 30-year-old. Fabrizio Romano believes a deal is close.
5. Leeds could break their club transfer record again, unless Juventus stop them
Newly-promoted Leeds United have already broken their transfer record this summer, bringing in Spanish striker Rodrigo from Valencia for £30m.
And now reports in Italy suggest they are about to increase their record fee to £31m with the acquisition of Udinese midfielder Rodrigo De Paul.
Marcelo Bielsa has apparently fought off interest from Juventus to sign the 26-year-old, who scored seven goals in 34 league appearances last season.
However, a separate report claims De Paul would rather join Juventus, which could throw a spanner in the works and prevent Leeds from continuing their impressive summer business. Time will tell.
6. Watford consider loaning Deeney back to Premier League
Troy Deeney could be leaving Watford… only to return in 12 months time.
That’s according to the Telegraph, which reports the Hornets are considering loaning Deeney back to the Premier League for a year following their relegation to the Championship.
The plan for Watford is to return to the Premier League at the first time of asking, resulting in a reunion with Deeney in the top-flight next term.
Earlier this week, it was claimed West Brom have opened talks over a permanent deal for Deeney, but that might change if Watford prefer a loan exit.
In any case, Watford have already strengthened their front line with the loan signing of Glenn Murray from Brighton.
- West Brom – 4/5
- Newcastle – 5/1
- Burnley – 10/1
- Aston Villa, Crystal Palace, Everton, West Ham – 12/1