Ben Fisher on 14 August 2019
The noise is not going away. According to Le Parisien, officials from Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona chewed the fat for more than three hours in a swanky hotel without managing to shake hands on any kind of deal for Neymar, who is agitating for a return to Spain. Barça are said to be happy to stump up a cool £93m and are prepared to throw in any number of players to bring the Brazilian back, with Ivan Rakitic, Nelson Semedo and Philippe Coutinho framed as makeweights.
At least this Neymar chit-chat has taken the spotlight off Paul Pogba for a day or two. Manchester United will not entertain any offers for the France midfielder before the European transfer window closes on 2 September but that does not mean they are not expecting a bid or two, with Real Madrid dead keen on a last-minute deal. United have a busy couple of weeks ahead, be it fending off Pogba interest or trying to flog Alexis Sánchez, with Roma sniffing around at the prospect of a loan deal. While they are at it, the Italians could pop across to Merseyside and take Dejan Lovren off Liverpool’s hands. Lovren did not train with Jürgen Klopp’s side in Istanbul ahead of their Uefa Super Cup final against Chelsea on Wednesday.
Frank Lampard is busy preparing to avoid another 4-0 humbling but the Chelsea manager has set aside some time to give Tiémoué Bakayoko the green light to seal a return to Monaco on loan and elsewhere, a clutch of Serie A clubs are monitoring Tottenham’s Fernando Llorente, with Napoli, Lazio and Fiorentina all weighing up a move for the the striker, while Flamengo are trying to woo Mario Balotelli into swapping Marseille for Rio de Janeiro. Another forgotten forward of sorts, free agent Daniel Sturridge, has been offered a route back in by MLS outfit DC United.
Closer to home, the Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has, without naming names, told the club’s transfer-listed players – presumably the likes of Leon Clarke, Jake Wright and Ricky Holmes – to “go and get a club”, urging those dispensable members of his squad to “think about their career, rather than sticking something in their back pockets”. And Newcastle United have opened talks with Sean Longstaff over a shiny new contract.