TRANSFER NEWS LIVE – Friday, July 19
– Harry Maguire made a U-turn over his desire to play in the Champions League after Manchester City pulled out of the race with Manchester United to sign him
– William Saliba is set to undergo a medical at Arsenal with the Saint-Etienne defender on the verge of completing his switch
– Leeds are looking to sign James Chester from Aston Villa, who have an array of centre-half options after their summer spree
Lampard confirms Zouma stance
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has all but ended Everton’s hopes of re-signing Kurt Zouma on a permanent basis.
Following Chelsea’s 1-0 defeat to J-League champions Kawasaki Frontale today, the manager revealed: “In terms of Kurt Zouma, he’s a very good defender for us, very good player, very good person and professional.
“I want him here, simple as that.
“We are competitive with the centre-backs we have in the team and he had a very good season at Everton and I can understand why they want him.
“He’s a Chelsea player and I want him.”
Man Utd make Dybala contact
Manchester United are keen to snare Paulo Dybala and have made contact with Juventus.
But in a massive blow to Solskjaer, £72m-rated Dybala would reportedly prefer to remain in Turin.
According to Italian daily Gazzetta dello Sport, United are now ready to enter the fray – along with PSG.
“ManchesterUnited and PSG are interested in Paulo Dybala,” journalist Nicolo Schira wrote on Twitter.
“First contacts about his future. Juventus want €80M at least to sell him, but he would like to stay.”
Conte talks Lukaku transfer
Inter Milan manager Antonio Conte has confirmed his interest in Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku.
United play Inter tomorrow in a pre-season showdown, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made clear Lukaku won’t feature once again.
Discussing the Italin side’s move for the Belgian hitman, Conte revealed: “I think frustrated is a big word. Lukaku is United’s player and this is the reality. You know very well that I like this player, also in the past when I was Chelsea’s coach and tried to bring him to Chelsea. I think today Lukaku is a player with United. This is the reality.
“I think that in this moment if you’re talking about a player from another club it’s right to not talk about Lukaku because we have great respect for United.
“As I said before, I like this player and consider him an important player for us to have a good improvement, but at the same there is a transfer market.
“We know very well which is our situation at the moment and we will see what happens but for now Lukaku is a United player.
“For sure it’s not easy to play without a striker but the market is open so there is still a process for players to come in and out. It’s not easy to play against teams like Juventus and Manchester United without strikers.”
Arsenal confident over arrivals
Arsenal believe they will land both Dani Ceballos and Kieran Tierney shortly after confirming the signing of William Saliba.
The Gunners are close to announcing a deal for the Saint-Etienne defender, who will rejoin the French club on a season-long loan.
And £27m Saliba is far from the only player Arsenal are working on adding to their armoury, though.
The manager is close to getting his wish as Real Madrid’s Ceballos and Celtic’s Tierney could join soon.
According to Sky Sports, the Gunners are continuing to work on deals for the pair, and Arsenal are ‘increasingly confident’ they can get both moves over the line.
Everton rival Arsenal for Zaha
Everton have joined Arsenal in the hunt to sign Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace.
The Toffees must first officially sell Ademola Lookman, who is set to join RB Leipzig for £22.5m, before entering any negotiations.
Zaha could have a big decision to make over his future as the London Evening Standard say Everton have made him a target.
Shock Liverpool hope over Neymar
Liverpool have the edge over their rivals when it comes to signing Neymar this summer, according to reports.
PSG are determined to keep hold of him and will only sell if they receive an offer similar to the £200m they splashed out to sign him.
Spanish publication OK Diario has assessed the major clubs’ chances of signing the Brazil star and it seems it’s good news for Liverpool and Real Madrid.
They claim both sides have the financial capability to pull off a stunning switch and the Reds would not have to let go of players in order to sign Neymar.
Jurgen Klopp has a wealth of attacking talent at his disposal – Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah – but they would not need to be sold to land the 27-year-old.
Despite it being unlikely the Reds will break the bank for Neymar, Real could well continue to splash the cash on new signings.
Manchester United have been linked but they could only acquire Neymar if they Paul Pogba is sold, while Barcelona have made a formal bid to re-sign their former winger.
Benitez snubbed Joelinton at Newcastle
Rafa Benitez was offered the chance to sign Joelinton during his time as Newcastle manager, but the Spaniard didn’t want to pay £36m for his services.
Joelinton is expected to be announced as a Newcastle player in the coming hours after undergoing a medical.
But the Times report when Joelinton was pitched to Benitez, the former Toon boss wasn’t keen on pursuing a deal.
The recently-appointed Dalian Yifang boss admitted he liked the forward – but was concerned at spending such a transfer fee on a relatively unknown name.
Benitez has since departed, leaving new boss Steve Bruce the choice to sign Joelinton, and the club-record deal will go some way to cooling rising tensions on Tyneside after a summer of turmoil.
Arsenal on verge of Everton deal
Arsenal are closing in on the signing of Everton Soares as an alternative to Wilfried Zaha.
Having had a £40m bid – which is all what remains of their summer budget – rejected by Crystal Palace, Arsenal are looking to sign Gremio forward Everton instead.
According to Spanish newspaper Marca, Arsenal are now prepared to play close to £36m to seal a deal with Gremio.
It is said the Gunners are closing in on the signing of the talented 23-year-old.
Derby ask Liverpool about Wilson
Derby have made an ambitious bid to try and keep Liverpool star Harry Wilson for another year.
The £25m-rated Welsh international returned to Anfield after enjoying a superb season on loan with The Rams.
There’s been a change of boss at Pride Park since the club’s play-off final defeat but new manager Phillip Cocu is keen to get Wilson back on loan.
Derby have asked to be kept informed over plans for Wilson but it could be a long-shot – the 22-year-old looks to be part of Liverpool’s plans for the coming season.
DONE DEAL – Salomon Rondon sold to Dalian Yifang
Salomon Rondon has officially teamed back up with Rafa Benitez in China.
The striker has reunited with Benitez after the pair worked together at Newcastle.
West Brom agreed a deal with Dalian Yifang and Rondon has now completed his switch.
The Venezuelan was keen to sign for Newcastle on a permanent basis but their interest fizzled after Benitez left.
West Ham and Wolves were also hunting the Baggies hitman but neither met his release clause.
Maguire made U-turn due to Man City
Harry Maguire has changed his mind about a potential move to Manchester United because Manchester City have cooled their interest in him.
That’s the verdict of Sky Sports reported Dharmesh Sheth, who feels the £80m-rated Leicester centre-back expressing his desire to play Champions League football means he must see United as ‘the most viable option’ this summer.
“I think this could be looked at in one of two ways,” Sheth said. “We take it at face value that Maguire does want to follow in the footsteps of his heroes Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, and he’ll be honoured to play for Manchester United.
“Or, is this a sign perhaps that City are cooling their interest?
“You remember the rhetoric before was Maguire wanted Champions League football. Now he’s saying he’d be honoured to play for Manchester United to follow in the footsteps of Rio Ferdinand, to follow in the footsteps of Nemanja Vidic.
“Could that have now changed and is Maguire now seeing United as the most viable option, given they’re the ones who seem to be pushing hardest to seal that deal?
“If he keeps saying, and we get information, he wants to play Champions League football and City don’t end up getting him and then he goes to United, it’s not going to look great. Now he’s made it clear that United wouldn’t be such a bad thing after all.”
Saliba set for Arsenal medical
William Saliba is set to finally complete his move to Arsenal.
According to Football London, he is due for a medical with the Gunners ahead of his £27m switch.
Saliba will still remain with Saint-Etienne, though, on loan until the end of the season.
While Arsenal will have to wait until the 2020/21 to see him playing at the Emirates, they have at least fought off strong competition from Tottenham to get the centre-half’s approval over a transfer.
The Gunners are now poised to confirm the deal once Saliba passes his medical.
Leeds plot raid Aston Villa
Leeds are looking to sign Aston Villa star James Chester in a deal worth just under £8m after losing Pontus Jansson.
Marcelo Bielsa needs a replacement for the Swede who has been sold to Brentford.
The Yorkshire outfit have their eyes on Aston Villa star Chester to plug the gap left behind by the 28-year-old, according to the Mirror.
Villa could be open to letting the ex-West Brom man go, having signed four centre-backs this summer – Bournemouth’s Tyrone Mings, Ezri Konsa from Brentford, Kortney Hause from Wolves and Bjorn Engels from French side Reims – costing a total of £44m.
Recently promoted Villa are also looking at adding Chelsea youngster Ethan Ampadu yet too.
West Ham hunt second new striker
West Ham are searching in the bargain basement for another striker to act as cover and competition for Sebastien Haller.
And Rangers forward Alfredo Morelos is among the candidates – with the club set to strike out on free agent Fernando Llorente and Porto’s Moussa Marega.
With money tight after the spend for Haller,Colombia striker Morelos has now emerged as a cut-price alternative who could be available for around £10m.
But the Hammers have concerns over the 23-year-old’s bad-boy reputation and disciplinary problems at Rangers.