If long, protracted transfer battles involving high-priced whelps are your jam, Benfica’s João Felix looks set to provide much of the soundtrack to the summer with Juventus, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Manchester United all gazing on longingly. Stakes have been (infinitesimally) raised over the weekend and United are now, apparently, in discussions with the 19-year-old, who has a release clause of €120m. Not to be outdone, City are said to have offered him a £26.6m deal for the next five years.
It’s likely that United will be chiefly involved in this summer’s other transfer banger too – whether or not Christian Eriksen leaves Tottenham. Ole Gunnar Solskjær sees him as an ideal Paul Pogba replacement, but isn’t averse to a bit of Youri Tielemans either. Meanwhile, the club have had a £40m bid for Aaron Wan-Bissaka laughed out of Selhurst Park and have been told to return with nearer £60m.
Tottenham will spend all summer trying to drive the price of Ryan Sessegnon down from the £45m Fulham want to the 45p Daniel Levy is prepared to spend. Danny Rose may or may not still be at the club at the end of it, having offered his latest statement of wholehearted commitment to Spurs. “If I’m back at Tottenham next season, great, if I’m not – great,” he cheered.
Arsenal have had to somewhat lower their transfer expectations since going awol in Baku but are still sniffing around PSG’s polo-neck-wearing, chin-stroking, art-loving right-back Thomas Meunier. They’re having a peek at Fiorentina midfielder Jordan Veretout as well, and as a retro nod to former manager Arsène Wenger, have their eyes on an 18-year Ligue 1 defender – in this case, St Etienne’s William Saliba. They’ll also have a tussle with Spurs and West Ham over Atalanta midfielder Franck Kessie, currently on loan at Milan.
Banned from buying any players, Chelsea are nevertheless keen to get in on the transfer act so have been lurking outside Leverkusen to wink at Jamaica’s £80m man Leon Bailey. When they are not allowed to complete that transfer, they will turn their attention to Ajax’s Brazilian forward David Neres, who Fifa will also not let them sign. It all means that Willian and Pedro, expected to have been sent packing this summer, will still be blundering attractively but ineffectively up each flank next season.
Stoke have slapped a £23m price tag on goalkeeper Jack Butland, while West Ham are sniffing around Marseille midfielder Morgan Sanson, Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic and Celta Vigo pair Maxi Gómez and Stanislav Lobotka. Finally, Newcastle and Southampton like the cut of France Under-21 striker Jean-Philippe Mateta’s jib and have each offered Mainz a bundle of cash.