The longest day is fast approaching, the mercury is pushing 30C, England’s Test cricket crisis is over and tennis at Wimbledon is looming large. What better time to start wondering if your club is going to sign cover at left-back for the new football season?
Let’s begin in north London, where Arsenal are continuing to pursue the signature of the Manchester City forward Gabriel Jesus, along with a host of other clubs. The arrival of Erling Haaland and Julián Álvarez at the Etihad this summer will naturally reduce Jesus’s playing opportunities and, while City would prefer not to sell, they are willing to let the Brazilian leave for a fee of about £50m. Talks with Arsenal are said to be progressing well.
As reported in these pages on Thursday night, the Gunners will soon complete the signing of the Portugal Under-21s midfielder Fábio Vieira for a £30m fee, and Mikel Arteta also remains hopeful of snaring Youri Tielemans from Leicester as well, so it’s all happening at the Emirates.
Over at Tottenham, Yves Bissouma’s transfer from Brighton is all but done after the dynamic midfielder passed his medical. He will sign for a fee of about £25m. The Internazionale forward Lautaro Martínez is also a priority target for Antonio Conte. The Italian manager built a strong relationship with the Argentina international as they won Serie A together, and would love to bring him to north London, with a £77m offer being prepared. According to reports, Martínez isn’t keen on the idea of leaving Inter, but the size of the offer may force the Italian club’s hand.
A deal that seems likely to have an impact on Conte’s pursuit of Martínez is Romelu Lukaku’s proposed return to Internazionale. Chelsea’s new owner, Todd Boehly, is apparently unconvinced by Thomas Tuchel’s plan to send the striker back to the Italian club on loan, while wanting to back his manager as far as possible.
The German newspaper Bild, meanwhile, is reporting that Chelsea have entered the race to sign Robert Lewandowski. Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona naturally want to sign the Polish goal machine, with his preferred destination believed to be Spain.
As revealed by Fabrizio Romano and Will Unwin on Thursday, Manchester City’s well-known wish to sign Marc Cucurella from Brighton is looking set to be satisfied.
Leo Østigård, the 22-year-old central defender, is another Brighton player heading for the exit door. The Norwegian looks likely to join Napoli according to Fabrizio Romano on Twitter. “Positive feelings” abound as the clubs work towards an agreement on the fee.
As they prepare for life back in the top flight after a 23-year absence, Nottingham Forest look increasingly likely to bring in the Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson on loan. The Old Trafford gloveman has reportedly been told he is free to leave by the incoming manager Erik ten Hag.
Forest are also in talks with the Bundesliga club Mainz over the potential signing of Moussa Niakhaté and are speaking to Steve Cooper about extending his current deal after the manager took them from the bottom of the Championship into the Premier League via the playoffs, with an agreement close.
Southampton and Leeds are both monitoring Manchester City youngster Romeo Lavia but Pep Guardiola wants to keep the 18-year-old holding midfielder, who made his senior debut in the League Cup against Wycombe last season.
On the continent, Juventus have tweaked their offer to the former Manchester United forward Ángel di María, who is a free agent after leaving Paris Saint-Germain. The Bianconeri have offered the Argentinian a one-year deal with an option of a further year.