Soccer

LIVE Transfer Talk: Chelsea to rival PSG for Inter’s Skriniar

The summer transfer window is here, and there’s plenty of gossip swirling about who’s moving where. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz on rumours, comings and goings and, of course, done deals!

TOP STORY: Chelsea, PSG eye Skriniar

Chelsea are set to rival Paris Saint-Germain as they aim to sign Internazionale centre-back Milan Skriniar, as has been reported by Sky Italia.

Relations between the Blues and Nerazzurri are said to be positive after dealings regarding €115 million striker Romelu Lukaku — who is set to re-join Inter on loan this summer.

PSG have offered €60m for Slovakia international Skriniar so far, but that sum is deemed too low by Inter.

Chelsea are aiming to bring in defensive reinforcements having already lost Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen to Real Madrid and Barcelona, respectively. But with interest in Juventus centre-back Matthijs de Ligt, it seems they are continuing to look towards Serie A to strengthen their backline.

This comes after Inter’s negotiations with PSG had begun to come to a standstill due to the difference in their valuations of the 27-year-old, while the Ligue 1 champions had also wanted to include a player in the deal. The fact that there is interest from elsewhere is an advantage for Inter, as it could lead to PSG raising their own offer.

Inter are open to letting Skriniar leave as they feel doing so is the best way to secure their financial stability, which will be encouraging for both Chelsea and PSG.

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09.52 BST: Former Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman says Frenkie de Jong wants to stay with the LaLiga side despite ongoing negotiations to transfer him to Manchester United.

New United coach Erik ten Hag has made midfielder De Jong, who he previously worked with at Ajax, his top target following the departures of Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic this summer.

Sources have told ESPN Barca are open to letting the Netherlands international leave, initially asking for a total package, including add-ons, of up to €100m.

“The only thing I know from Frenkie is that he wants to stay at Barca,” Koeman told TV3 on Monday. “In fact, a couple of days ago he said that: ‘I want to stay at Barca.’ But I don’t know if Barca want to sell Frenkie de Jong or if they just need the money — because I think he is one of the few players they have that has such a high price.”

Koeman coached De Jong when he was in charge of Netherlands and then gave him a prominent role when he took over at Barca in the summer of 2020. However, following the dismissal of Koeman last November and the appointment of Xavi Hernandez, coupled with the emergence of Pedri, Gavi and Nico Gonzalez, there has been occasional criticism of De Jong’s form.

“It could be he has not completely adapted because of the position issue, he was playing further back,” Koeman added. “But he had a moment, in January and February, when he produced some great performances. He is a great player, but the situation at Barcelona is complicated.”

Behind Barca’s willingness to listen to offers for De Jong, who joined from Ajax for €75m in 2019, is their delicate financial situation. Sources have confirmed to ESPN they expect to sell 10% of their income from LaLiga television rights for the next 25 years for over €200m this week, but they still need to bring in more money to execute the plans they have in the transfer market.

09.16 BST: Inter Milan expect to bring Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku “back home” in the coming days, says Nerazzurri CEO Giuseppe Marotta.

The striker, who is reportedly the highest-paid player at Chelsea, has reportedly accepted a pay cut to return to Inter on loan for the 2022-23 campaign after a disappointing campaign in Stamford Bridge. Chelsea re-signed Lukaku for a a club-record €115m from Inter last summer but he only managed 15 goals in 44 appearances for the Blues.

Asked about Lukaku, Marotta told Sky Italia: “A football manager must not be afraid of having a very high bar, he must have the courage to try all the ways to try to get the most out of it. Among these there are important goals and maybe we have hit one, it will be a matter of hours or at most days, but we cannot yet formalise it. It is a goal that flatters us a lot because it is a return and he did very well with us, so we would be very happy to be able to bring him back home.”

Lukaku, 29, is under contract with Chelsea until June 2026. He initially moved to Stamford Bridge as a 17-year-old from Belgian side Anderlecht in 2011. The former Everton and Manchester United player scored 24 goals in the 2020-21 campaign to help Inter win their first Scudetto in 11 years.

08.54 BST: LAFC midfielder Ilie Sanchez is not surprised that Gareth Bale has chosen the MLS club to continue his playing career.

The Wales international, 32, has joined LAFC on a 12-month contract, with options through to 2024, after his his contract with LaLiga champions Real Madrid ended.

“I’m not surprised [by his arrival] because I’ve been six years in this league, and I see that every year our level keeps going up,” Sanchez said. “Things are being done very well. I imagine he had other options, but we are all delighted that he has chosen us.

“There were rumours going around internally, it was a very difficult operation. Our management did everything well so that the league and the player accepted the terms that were offered. We will do everything we can so that Bale adapts as quickly as possible to the team.”

LAFC had earlier this month signed former Juventus and Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini and renewed the contract of captain Carlos Vela.

“We have brought two world level reinforcements in Chiellini and Bale while we have renewed Carlos Vela,” said Sanchez, who has scored 63 goals in 101 games in MLS. “Carlos Vela is our leader, he has been our leader from the beginning and will continue to be. His renewal and the arrival of Bale and Chiellini is a guarantee for us to remain at the top.”

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08.31 BST: Tomi Juric will reunite with former mentor Tony Popovic at Melbourne Victory, with the fringe Socceroo signing a one-season deal with the A-League Men club.

Juric, who joins from Macarthur FC, enjoyed a successful stint playing under Popovic at the Western Sydney Wanderers, including winning the Asian Champions League in 2014, before moving to Europe.

He has been capped 41 times for the Socceroos, including winning the 2015 Asian Cup and featuring at the 2018 World Cup.

08.00 BST: Former Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho has signed for Brazil Serie A side Athletico Paranaense as the 37-year-old makes a return to the club where he began his senior career.

“Welcome back, Fernandinho,” Athletico wrote on Twitter on Monday after the player signed a two-year deal, according to local media, to return to the club after 17 years.

Fernandinho, who helped City capture four Premier League titles — including the 2021-22 crown — and six League Cups since joining them from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013, said in April that he did not plan to remain beyond the season.

City confirmed the former Brazil international’s departure in May as he was preparing for his last game for them when they took on Aston Villa in their final league match of the season.

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Gab and Juls debate how Thomas Tuchel would utilise Raheem Sterling if he joins Chelsea from Man City.

PAPER GOSSIP

Manchester City are expecting an opening offer from Chelsea for Raheem Sterling, as reported by Sky Sports, who add that the Premier League champions could let the winger leave if an acceptable offer of around £50m comes in. Sterling heads up Thomas Tuchel’s shortlist of attacking options, with the Blues manager desperate to add an extra attacking edge to his side.

Manchester United fear that their desperation to make summer signings is leading to clubs holding out for as much money as possible, with Ajax Amsterdam asking for £70m for Antony, according to The Daily Star. The report also mentions that defender Jurrien Timber will be staying with Ajax, while Brentford midfielder Christian Eriksen is making up his mind about his future. However, the Red Devils are growing more confident that they can sign Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong.

Calciomercato have linked AC Milan with a possible move for Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech, stating that this could play a part in Alexis Saelemaekers leaving the Scudetto winners. Milan value Saelemaekers at around €20m, and he could be set to depart if a new right winger joins and a good offer comes in. That said, none have arrived so far.

Sven Botman has completed his medical ahead of a £35m move from Lille to Newcastle United, reports Sky Sports. The Netherlands international centre-back was Eddie Howe’s main defensive target for the summer window, and they are close to bringing him in despite having faced competition from AC Milan.

Fulham are closing in on a deal for Sporting CP midfielder Joao Palhinha, as reported by Fabrizio Romano, who adds that there is a full agreement between the two clubs for €18m plus add-ons. The final details still need to be sorted on the player’s side and work is in progress to complete the move as quickly as possible to avoid any issues. Wolverhampton Wanderers had also been linked with the Portugal international earlier in the window.




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