Transfer window: Chelsea sweat on Courtois; Man Utd in for Boateng – live!
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It’s been, shall we say, a “steady” eight hours or so of transfer news. Its highlights are thus:
- Manchester United have made an approach to Bayern Munich for Jerome Boateng
- Calum Chambers looks set to join Fulham on loan from Arsenal, who are linked with Croatian powerhouse Domagoj Vida
- Axel Witsel has returned to Europe, signing for Borussia Dortmund
- Dwight Gayle and Salomon Rondon are expected to swap places – leaving Newcastle and West Brom respectively – on loan
- Thibaut Courtois’s Chelsea future remains up in the air
Come back tomorrow! Do! You will have Ben Fisher for company then. Thanks for all your emails and tweets, and sorry if I didn’t get to yours. See you again soon!
Yes, this seems to be A Thing. Reports suggest Cardiff are looking at bringing the big guy back to the Premier League from Besiktas!
Very quiet on the deals front now – but it’ll start heating up at the week draws on. Brinkmanship all over the place as things stand ...
Meanwhile – an alternative destination for Mina?
Done deal – Clarence Seedorf confirmed as Cameroon coach ... and will be assisted by Patrick Kluivert!
Shouldn’t be dull – nothing involving Fecafoot, the Cameroon FA, ever is. At the moment they are down to be leading Cameroon into a home Africa Cup of Nations in 2019 but it’s worth keeping your eye on that. There’s been some really bad violence in the Anglophone areas of the country and most of the stadia are well behind schedule, and I would’t be totally surprised if it was moved.
“Any news on any real Palace deals?” asks Matt Pearce. “Danny Ings? Bolasie return?? We still need more firepower. And for the record I’m 96% sure Zaha is staying.”
I think Zaha will stay. You really do need more firepower and I’d be surprised if Ings was your man to bang them in. Bolasie would be a good signing but Palace really need to build on that Max Meyer coup if they are to avoid problems.
A nice piece here from Richard Williams, who wonders if we’ll see Ryan Sessegnon’s thrilling talent express itself in the top flight this season:
Birmingham are to sign Omar Bogle on loan from Cardiff for the season – that one’s almost done. If the St Andrew’s crowd don’t adopt the Blur “Tender” song for their new striker then they are missing a trick.
“As a Chelsea fan I must say I’m rather worried,” trembles Benjamin Park. “We have some truly class players, but the overall quality is lacking. Don’t need to make a superstar signing, just a couple of good players. I know, easier said than done. As for Courtois, I’m not too worried. It’s not like he’s been shining for Chelsea recently (getting nutmegged twice by Messi isn’t exactly glorious).”
Fair points. I can’t see it happening for you this season. Sixth place is a real possibility but I hope Sarri gets a fair crack because this will need time. Of course, if Chelsea lose four in a row and the manager admits he doesn’t know how to turn it around, there’s always the headline: “I’M SARRI, I HAVEN’T A CLUE”.
Adam Gilbert adds to the Newcastle debate:
“I think much of the hulabaloo around Newcastle stems from frustration. Frustration at not kicking on and improving the side after a 10th place finish, at more broken promises from the owner and at not doing more to persuade the best manager they’ve had in years to stick around.
“Bar the longer term captures of Dubravka and Kenedy it’s almost been 1 in, 1 out. The squad has barely been improved, with arguably only Rondon (once confirmed) being an upgrade on Mitrovic (who will inevitably go and bag 20 for Fulham now!).
“With other teams improving their squads it really is like going backwards and I can’t see them doing better than a bit of a scrap near the bottom before securing a 14th place finish with 3 games to go.”
Is Rondon an upgrade on Mitrovic? I’m not completely sure.
Here’s our latest information on United’s move for Boateng, courtesy of Christian Falk – we can confirm an approach has been made:
Look, you know it’s a slow day when we’re reduced to speculating about gremlins in the Premier League’s system. I make you spot-on, Richard.
Here’s another done deal – Ahmed Musa’s move to Saudi Arabia has been confirmed. He flopped at Leicester but anyone who watched him in the World Cup might wonder if he could have tried a better league.
Adarsh Tripathi is relaxed about Chelsea ... but not so much about Courtois:
“For the first time in a long, long time a transfer window with almost no signings doesn’t worry me. Sarri has made it clear that he despises the transfer market as much as clean air. It isn’t surprising to see Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ethan Ampadu playing key roles in the pre season...It also isn’t surprising the amount of desperation we’re showing to keep Courtois. Chelsea needs Courtois. If the second choice keeper is Caballero, then you bet your life we’re gonna do everything in our power to keep Courtois. Simply because disgruntled Courtois > Caballero. A Hundred Times Better.”
Done deal or admin error? You do the mathS – but the Premier League’s website has Ruben Loftus-Cheek down as a Palace loan player for the 2018-19 season.
Not a lot going on, is there? But we’ll be laughing about this come Thursday afternoon, you and I, when the deals are being done and the transfer records being smashed and the club Twitter account “welcome” pageantry gets all the more elaborate. We’ll look back on today, I promise you.
And here’s our latest shiny season preview – it’s Andy Hunter on Liverpool.
*Alternative Newcastle take alert* – take it away, Shaun Wilkinson!
“I hope Newcastle’s players are raring to go and optimistic for the new season, despite having heard for weeks how inadequate they are from their own manager. The transfer window shutting early this season will work in Newcastle’s favour, I reckon - for all his qualities, Benitez’s constant politicking tends to distract him from his actual job. Twice last season, the team’s form picked up noticeably after the transfer window shut, and I think that will happen again. (Disclaimer - none of this is to be interpreted as a defence of Mike Ashley).”
Interesting – any Magpies like to agree or disagree? While we’re here, that Rondon/Gayle swap is on the verge of going through, as a season-long loan deal I think.
What about this – the first Football Weekly of the season is HERE!
Chelsea fans – if Courtois does want to leave, do you keep a disgruntled player? And can a deal really be done in the next three days, presumably with Real Madrid? It’s hardly an ideal situation when Sarri has so much other work to do to amass the squad he wants.
That Vida to Arsenal link is a bit odd, no? Wasn’t he ... with the greatest will in the world ... the weakest link in that wonderful Croatia team?
“It’s difficult to judge how good any Bayern player is when they win the league by 50 points every season,” writes David Flynn. “My gut feeling is Boateng won’t make United worse but with under a week to go and Jose expecting one more signing, is a centre back, any centre back, really the signing they need?”
I think they need a manager who lets them work without feeling straitjacketed. The playing personnel come afterwards.
As slated earlier – another done deal. United are a defender down now!!
“Another example of a club signing someone after playing against them in Europe is when Manchester City defeated Politehnica Timișoara but liked 6ft9 goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon so much we immediately brought him in,” emails Will, a City fan, apropos of that Rangers news.
Borna Barisic, a Croatian left-back, is very close to a £2.2m move from Osijek to Steven Gerrard’s Rangers - who must have liked what they saw when he scored against them in the Europa League a few days back.
I just can’t believe they vacated the car and left it stationary right in front of the hotel entrance – very selfish.
“Got to agree with Harris on this one,” says a bold Matt Turland. I’ve seen a fair few games that have involved a certain Mr Boateng and I am constantly struggling to see this aforementioned ‘quality’.
“He looks a little too suspect at the back and while he can play a nice ball every now and then, far too often I’ve seen him try something outlandish and fail to pull it off. And don’t get me started on his frustrating belief that he is good enough to repeatedly try to score from a minimum of 30 yards. The amount of times I’ve shouted at my TV screen when yet another one of his ‘I’m a striker, me’ efforts sails way over the bar (that’s if it managed to beat the first man).”
Aren’t we being a bit harsh? I think injuries have taken their toll over the last two or three years but, particularly before then, Boateng was a class act.
Done deal – Sevilla re-sign Aleix Vidal from Barcelona!
What is on Maurizio Sarri’s mind? Jacob Steinberg has the answers:
Swansea are back in for Brentford midfielder Ryan Woods, apparently. What a good start they had at the weekend ... but they remain some way short and need that dose of quality in midfield, even if Clucas stays.
I think Rafa’s going to be in situ for the start of the season, and probably some way beyond, despite all the present nonsense. But imagine where they’d be without him!
I think we can say this one is done.
One of Jose Mourinho’s cherished youngsters, Axel Tuanzebe, may be returning to Aston Villa on loan – presumably a situation that would be expedited if Boateng and/or anyone else came in.
“West Ham have done some very shrewd business,” notes Stephen Connolly. “Felipe Anderson, Wilshire, Issa Diop ... plus Pellegrini as manager. Do you expect them to make an impact this season?”
I think I do, because I really rate Pellegrini, but we need to see if Anderson can do it consistently while Wilshere, very sadly, is not the player he was five or six years ago. They still have that loose-cannon look about them but I’d trust the manager to get them into the top half, on balance.
I shall pass this on.
I’ve finished my not-at-all antisocial sushi al-desko so this is now me, Nick Ames, reclaiming the keyboard from Daniel Harris and surveying the CARNAGE he has left in his wake after denouncing Jerome Boateng.
Other rumours: Arsenal want to buy Domagoj Vida from Besiktas. In his defence, he did once have a can en route to a Cup game; in his defence, he’s not so good at football, and may well own a leather trenchcoat.
Also: United are not shy of centre-backs who aren’t always fit. The truth is, that unless they’re signing someone of Stam/Ferdinand/Vidic standard – and they’re not, because each of them, were the they playing now, would be up there with Godin and Varane – then they’d be much better off spending any money they have on full-backs.
Jérôme Boateng is one of those players I’ve watched a fair few times and never once thought yep, he’s a player, him. He’s not awful, obviously, but if he was good enough to make a difference at United, would Bayern be selling him? Obviously there are no rules to this kind of thing, but the rough answer is “No.”
Surely Manchester United aren’t going to buy Jérôme Boateng? Bild reckons that they are and they’re probably right - even though - because it makes no sense. They already have five decent but not elite centre-backs, so why not add another!
It’s obviously ridiculous to say that City need a player like Weigl, but they don’t have cover for Fernandinho. Weigl is obviously a lot better than that and is a player more in keeping with what Pep Guardiola usually seeks in defensive midfield, so would be a sensible purchase. To the extent that any of this is in any way sensible.
I wonder if Dortmund buying Witsel has anything to do with Manchester City’s purported interest in Julian Weigl. Probably not, but feel free to cite me as Sky Sources if necessary.
Nick has nicked out for some lunch, so Daniel Harris has taken over, he third personned.
Imminent deal: here’s Axel Witsel, complete with extravagantly-sized baggage, at Zurich airport ahead of what appears to be a move from Tianjin Quanjian to Borussia Dortmund.
Another Sky snippet – doesn’t look as if Sam Clucas will be joining Burnley from Swansea, with personal terms the issue. Surely Burnley need to add a few more faces. Ben Gibson was a good start but if they make it into the Europa League they’ll be hard pushed as things stand.