Gregg Bakowski on 2 July 2018
Liverpool have decided that seeing as they bothered to record an unveiling video with Nabil Fekir a few weeks ago, they might as well go through with actually signing the Lyon playmaker after negotiations appeared to break down a few weeks ago. It turns out club doctors didn’t like the look of one of Fekir’s knees when they prodded it for a medical, but Liverpool have since come to the conclusion that trying to shave a few million off the valuation by inserting numerous clauses into his contract might result in Fekir joining Manchester United – and no one at Anfield wants that. So, instead, they will just cough up whatever the Ligue 1 club want.
Manchester United have the hots for another feisty forward in any case. José Mourinho will try to woo Willian to Old Trafford from Chelsea while his former club is a rudderless mess. But big bad Barcelona might spoil his plans – as they so often do – by increasing their £50m offer for the Brazilian and whisking him off to Catalonia. Not to worry though, Mourinho will comfort himself by signing the Serbian Scott McTominay, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic from Lazio.
As for Chelsea’s manager, it says here that Antonio Conte, who is currently stalking the Stamford Bridge corridors like an unshaven lonely ghost, will be replaced by Napoli’s Maurizio Sarri. That is, of course, if someone can find Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich to get the business done. Sarri will have plenty of firefighting to do when he arrives. As well as dampening interest in Willian by convincing him to stay, he’ll also have to pour cold water on Thibaut Courtois’s idea of joining Real Madrid. Perhaps he could so by pointing out that a post-Zidane Bernabéu could be even more chaotic than Stamford Bridge next season. Sarri also likes the cut of Aleksandr Golovin’s jib and would happily shovel £27m in the direction of CSKA Moscow for the Russia midfielder.
Everton manager Marco Silva is still feeling the love for Croatia despite seeing them almost get knocked out of the World Cup because of an inability to defend against a Championship player’s long throw-ins. He wants a piece of Domagoj Vida – and will offer Besiktas £12m for the central defender who resembles a generic Hollywood action film baddie. He may even try to swap Davy Klaassen for him which, and let’s be honest, could offend the Turkish club. The Toffees will also add Celtic’s Kieran Tierney to their defence, having looked across Stanley Park and realised that Scottish full-backs are all the rage these days.
Arsenal are close to finally sealing a deal for Sampdoria’s hard-as-nails defensive midfielder Lucas Torreira. The 22-year-old will set the Gunners back £25m, mind, but he’s Uruguayan so he’ll reduce their goals-conceded tally by at least a dozen and prove more than good value. Across London, West Ham want to get their underwhelming transfer business done early by signing 31-year-old winger Antonio Candreva from Internazionale.
Fulham and Huddersfield Town will fire offers in the direction of Leicester for Nigeria’s jet-heeled forward Ahmed Musa, who spent most of last season on loan at CSKA Moscow. And Wolves want to sign Colombia’s Porto midfielder Juan Quintero because they are back in the big league now, and they don’t care if Real Madrid and Tottenham are sniffing around for him.