Transfer Talk: Two Weeks in to a Busy Summer

Football Wednesday June 28, 2023 By: Duncan Hughes

Premier League Transfer Sagas Continue

Almost 2 weeks have passed since the beginning of the Premier League transfer window and as predicted it’s not been quiet. With teams getting down to business immediately, the rumours have been flying around with some huge names tipped for a move.

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The Battle for Rice

The future of Declan Rice has remained uncertain for over a year now after his consistent impressive form for both West Ham and England. Arsenal have made it clear for some time now that they want Rice and are willing to pay big money to sign the midfielder.

However, similarly to how the title race panned out, Manchester City have joined the battle for the West Ham captain. It is believed Arsenal are still hopeful of completing a deal before City have the chance, but with numerous Arsenal bids rejected as well as City’s first offer of £90 million rejected, they are running out of time.

With Manchester City captain Ilkay Gundogan likely to be departing for Barcelona, Rice could be the perfect fit to play alongside Croatian international Mateo Kovacic. The Chelsea man is set to sign for the treble winners, having undergone a medical on Friday. Kovacic was one of the standout players last season in what was a disappointing campaign for Chelsea.

Another big money signing could also be on the horizon for Manchester City with interest shown for RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol. It is reported that the German side would only let the Croatian leave if the asking price of £85 million including bonuses was met. If the deal was to go through it would make Gvardiol the most expensive defender in the world.

Arsenal have business of their own as well with the announcement of Chelsea star Kai Havertz close. The German scored Chelsea’s winning goal in the Champions League Final in 2021 and he is expected to sign for £65 million. The Gunners are also in advanced talks with Ajax defender Jurrien Timber with a deal expected soon.

Although somewhat of an outsider in the race for Rice, Manchester United are also interested in the 24 year old. If Arsenal and Manchester City both fail to offer an acceptable bid, Ten Haag might be licking his lips at the possibility of enticing Rice with a move to the Red Devils.

Ten Haag’s hunt for a midfielder

With that said, the Stretford club have their eyes set on another London midfielder in Chelsea star Mason Mount. The England international was only involved in five goal contributions last season, however, United have had a third bid of £55 million pounds rejected. A counter proposal from Chelsea sees Mount’s price tag at £58 million but with no signings made so far, will the Reds take their interest elsewhere?

There is also the question over David De Gea’s future at the club after the Spaniard’s poor season that was littered with mistakes. He is out of contract at the end of the month and even if he were to stay, there is no guarantee he would be the number one as Man United have been linked with Brentford goalkeeper David Raya and Porto’s Diogo Costa.

The Chelsea Clearout

Mauricio Pochettino’s overhaul of the Chelsea team is well underway. With 9 players possibly departing the club and Kante already making the move to Saudi Arabia, the Argentine has made it clear what his mission is.

With the possible departures of Mason Mount, Kai Havertz and Kovacic’s all but confirmed move to Manchester City, Chelsea have no time to waste in getting down to business. And that they have done with the signing of Christopher Nkunku for £52 million from RB Leipzig. The French forward scored 16 goals in 25 appearances in the Bundesliga last season.

The Blues are also close to signing another goalscorer, Nicolas Jackson from Villareal. The Senegalese man is thought to have undergone a medical on Saturday and is expected to join for a fee of £35 million. He scored 12 goals in La Liga last season and Chelsea will hope he can be a fitting replacement for Romelu Lukaku who is looking increasingly likely to remain at Inter Milan after his loan spell.

With Hakim Ziyech and Edouard Mendy soon to be following Kalidou Koulibaly to Saudi Arabia, Chelsea are expected to approach Brighton over the signing of midfielder Moises Caceido once a number of these deals have been completed.

The Saudi Revolution

One of the big talking points of this summer’s transfer window so far is the marquee signings being made by teams in the Saudi Pro League. Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and N’golo Kante are all blockbuster names that have introduced themselves to Saudi Arabia.

This is a common occurrence for players nearing the end of their career to move to a club outside of Europe and receive a healthy paycheck. However, this time it is a little bit different with players entering their prime making the move to the Middle East with the latest one being Ruben Neves.

The 26 year old Portuguese midfielder has signed for Al Hilal for a fee of £47 million, much to the disappointment of many Wolves fans. Often the first name on the team sheet at Molineux, the move seems a strange decision, however, who could blame him with a rumoured salary of £300,000 a week. Neves isn’t the only player in his prime being linked with Saudi Arabian clubs. Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is heavily linked with a move to Southwest Asia as well as teammates Kalidou Koulibaly and Hakim Ziyech.

The Race for Maddison

Not quite as high profile as the Declan Rice saga, another battle between two Premier League clubs unfolds. Both Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United are thought to be battling it out for the signature of Leicester City midfielder James Maddison. Another England man caught up in a transfer war, the 26 year old has been on the wishlist of both clubs for some time and as a result of Leicester’s relegation, a deal is looking promising.

Could this be a way of new Spurs boss, Ange Postecoglou, making a first statement signing in order to gain disgruntled fans back on side after last season’s misery? It is thought that Spurs lead the race for the midfielder and are close to a deal although Newcastle’s offer of Champions League football next season may make the North East a more tempting move.

Aside from the Maddison battle both sides are carrying out business of their own. With reports that long-time goalkeeper Hugo Lloris could be on the way out, Spurs have agreed a deal with Serie A club Empoli for goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario. The 26 year old is expected to undergo a medical in the coming days and could replace the French international after 11 years at the club.

With the future of Harry Kane remaining in the balance after a bid from Bayern Munich was rejected, which striker will Spurs target to replace their starman if he was to leave?

Newcastle on the other hand have had a quiet start to the window with no signings as of yet, however, they are expected to announce the signing of Sandro Tonali from AC Milan in the next few days.

The Italian defensive midfielder captains Italy under 21s and is expected to arrive on Tyneside for £55 million much to the disappointment of many AC Milan supporters. It’s safe to say this will not be Eddie Howe’s only signing considering their shock qualification for the Champions League and they will still be very keen on drafting in Maddison to bolster their attacking strength.

Klopp’s lack of squad depth

With the signing of Alexis Mac Allister announced before the window had even opened, Liverpool were limbering up to do some serious business this summer. Yet since the signing of the Argentine they have been relatively quiet with no other signings made.

After missing out on Champions League football for the first time since 2016, fans are worried about their side’s squad depth next season. The departure of James Milner, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, Roberto Firmino and Naby Keita, their squad is beginning to look a bit bare.

With that said, there are reports Liverpool are hoping to have talks with Napoli striker Victor Osimhen in the coming days. The Nigerian international was pivotal in Napoli’s title winning success last season scoring 26 goals in 32 appearances in the Serie A. However, it is thought Liverpool will be faced by competition from Chelsea and Manchester United for Osimhen’s signature.

At this early stage, it is still hard to predict who will be the signing of the summer but with rumours surrounding Harry Kane and Declan Rice, not to mention the transfer of Jude Belligham to Real Madrid, there are going to be some big deals made.

Why not see how some of these stars perform at their possible new clubs from the best seats in the house with Engage Hospitality.

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