A week without actual football has now passed us by because, as ever, we do not count preseason friendlies as football and no matter how hard we try, it’s difficult to get too excited about the prequalifying rounds of the Champions League.
All we have to live for in this post-Euros world is the transfer merry-go-round and we are living in eternal hope it (a) being merry and (b) actually going round.
What throw-a-six-to-start rumours have been out there this week and has anything actually been confirmed?
Strap yourself in reader, we’re about to bring you fully up to speed.
Rafa Benitez is hoping the signing of Kalidou Koulibaly, once a target for their neighbours, will show he is serious about bringing success to the Ev as well as increasing their outgoings significantly. Koulibaly played for Rafa in Italy, apparently, and what’s the point of paying a superstar manager a huge wedge of cash if he cannot open his contact book?
Benitez is also keen to rid the club of Moise Kean permanently and Juventus are said to be open to taking him back to Turin – water passing under bridges springs to mind. Juve would also like a bit of Gabby Jesus, but we said that last week and not much has happened. Slightly less exciting for Everton fans is the arrival of Asmir Begovic to be the backup to Pickford.
Arsenal could have a good week next week – having snapped up Nuno Tavares from Benfica, there’s a good chance they’ll finally sign Ben White and tempt Ruben Neves away from Wolves. We can all agree that they’d be little upgrades on Rob Holding and Mohamed Elneny.
Hector Bellerin has seen the success had by the likes of Ashley Young and Victor Moses by doing one to Inter and wants to have a go himself. He’s told Mikel Arteta he wants out – luckily, Arteta still has Cedric Soares, right?
Houssem Aouar is still very much on the Arsenal list with James Maddison and Albert Sambi Lokonga should/might/probably will arrive from Anderlecht in the next seven days.
Joe Willock has seen these rumours and correctly deduced Arteta doesn’t fancy him so would like another year in Newcastle to continue being cuddled by Steve Bruce.
Andre Onana won’t be joining the Gunners as he is off to France and Lyon – and speaking of France, Arsenal are hoping to nudge Eddie Nketiah towards Patrick Vieira and Crystal Palace.
Vieira needs to get busy otherwise Palace will struggle to name an eleven on the Premier League opening day, and he’s currently looking at a keeper Sunderland released, a child-striker from Man City and Kasper Dolberg from Nice (who presumably hasn’t been that put off by being managed by Vieira previously).
Tottenham have joined the race for Portuguese (yeah, obviously) international Renato Sanches. Liverpool are still linked and Barcelona are working out how to fiddle the books to make it happen too.
If you look up Wales’ Harry Wilson on Wikipedia you’ll see that his bio includes “perfect signing for a newly-promoted Premier League team” so Brentford would like him for £10m and would like to pay that again for Celtic’s Kristopher Ajer (who is pretty good, apparently).
Manchester United think this is the week where they finally get Raphael Varane from Real Madrid, though those pesky PSG people are now trying to muscle in on the deal. If United are not careful, they might end up with Vinicius Jr as well as Madrid try to flog him so they can sign Kylian Mbappe.
Champions City would like Barcelona to stop pestering them about Antoine Griezmann as they want to focus on closing the deals on Harry Kane (who Nuno says is DEFINITELY not going anywhere), Jack Grealish (who is becoming very tempted by a new Aston Villa deal) and Erling Haaland who Dortmund are half resigned to losing and half determined to keep.
Roman Abramovich has made it his personal mission to persuade Dortmund that they should sell Haaland to him and if that fails, Chelsea have a cunning Plan B in going for Robert Lewandowski instead.
Griezmann is more likely to end up back at Atletico in a swap deal with Saul Niguez, meaning he won’t be going to Liverpool after all. Someone else keen to get away from Diego Simeone is Kieran Trippier who has his heart set on going to Man United. If that happens, Simeone would like Norwich’s Max Aarons to be his replacement – English right-backs are very, very in fashion right now.
Staying with City, they were impressed with Fulham’s Antonee Robinson relegation season and would like to keep him in the Premier League. Wolves seem to think he is Portuguese and have made a bid.
Another player that went down with Fulham might find themselves in a better place in life – Alphonse Areola is off to West Ham on loan.
With Saul going to Barca (maybe it was offering them Divock Origi that put them off), Liverpool need to get their midfield sorted so are now chasing down Italy’s Nicolo Barella from Inter – £60m is the number being bandied about.
To stop King Klopp taking Youri Tielemans away, Leicester City are going to offer him a new fat cheque at the bottom of a new long-term contract. Klopp has also missed out on Donyell Malen, who is off to Dortmund to be the new Jadon Sancho.
Tottenham do need to get busy and will finalise the deal for Tommy Yasu this week. Tomiyasu is an all-action defender who could become a crowd favourite quite quickly and ease the pain for Kane not turning up to training to force through a move.
Spurs would also like American Matthew Hoppe, a 20-year-old forward who scored six Bundesliga goals last season – surely ending all Hoppe of Kane staying?
Nuno wants two players from Wolves and is worryingly linked to some not-so-good ones – Willy Boly and Daniel Podence could be wearing Lillywhite next season.
Finally, Jose Mourinho has been linked to a shock move for a Manchester United left-back – and yes, of course, he wants Alex Telles on loan. Sorry, Luke.
If you want to know everything, and we mean everything, about the upcoming Premier League season then head over to Amazon to pick up a copy of my latest book – “The Premier League Guide” for the 2021/22 season.