Transfer Talk: Arsenal to break bank for Koscielny replacement
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Top Story: Arsenal identify Koscielny replacement
With Laurent Koscielny not turning up for Arsenal's preseason tour of the United States, the Gunners suddenly find themselves light in experience when it comes to the heart of defence. And so, to the market the club turns.
The Mail reports that the North London side have turned their attentions to Benfica centre-back Ruben Dias -- again. Arsenal reportedly considered a move for the Portugal international at the start of this window, but abandoned the idea because of cost.
The Portugal international has a buyout clause of £54 million, and with a reported transfer budget of a measly £40m, it's hard to see the math adding up to a deal in the Gunners' favour. But try they will, as the report suggests they will attempt to negotiate a lower initial fee with further add-ons.
With Koscielny essentially on strike and Arsenal looking to rid themselves of Shkodran Mustafi, they'll need to find a way to add defensive reinforcements -- and fast.
22.33 BST: We'll close Saturday's live edition of Transfer Talk with some news from the North East. Unsettled by the departure of Rafa Benitez, Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka is drawing interest from Tottenham, Manchester United, Porto and Monaco, but it's Aston Villa who lead the race for the £12m-rated Slovakia international, according to the Mail.
22.00 BST: Mexico star Rodolfo Pizarro is apparently an option for AC Milan, according to a report from Sky Sport Italia. The 25-year-old, who plays for club Monterrey, was part of El Tri's Gold Cup squad and had a pivotal role in their title run. Pizarro's agent tells ESPN Mexico that he is "on the table" for Milan but added that no concrete offer has yet emerged.
21.36 BST: Juventus will allow Moise Kean to leave the club this summer, according to Calciomercato, with Manchester United, Manchester City, Everton, Inter Milan and Ajax all interested in the 19-year-old Italy international.
20.49 BST: "This is football and he won the Champions League last season and he has the chance to go to Madrid. ... The career of a footballer is very short and sometimes you don't get the chance a lot so if it's there, and I think Zidane likes him, why not?" Those are the words of Senegal FA chief Saee Seck, urging Sadio Mane to leave Liverpool for Real Madrid in an interview with the Mirror.
20.02 BST: Kia Joorabchian, agent of Philippe Coutinho, has called out Barcelona's treatment of his client in an interview with the Telegraph. "Coutinho's camp are not actively looking to move him but we believe people inside Barcelona may be acting without authority to try and sell the player," he's quoted as saying. "Either Barcelona have to contain the people within their organisation who are giving out information to the contrary or they have to tell us the truth if they have changed their minds."
19.15 BST: Real Betis are in advanced negotiations with Lyon over the €30m transfer of Nabil Fekir, according to Le Parisien. The deal is dependent, however, on Betis shifting Giovani Lo Celso to Tottenham.
18.28 BST: The Mail cites Sky Italia as reporting that Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis has said Real Madrid will need to lower their asking price if the Partenopei are to conclude a deal for James Rodriguez: "We are willing to make sacrifices to secure a deal for James, but Real Madrid must do more," De Laurentiis is quoted as saying. "We have not given up hope on securing a deal, but Madrid must consider that it is better to sell him, or loan him, rather than have him unhappy at the club."
17.41 BST: Coincidentally, Inter have sent Mauro Icardi home from their preseason camp in Switzerland. Manchester United have been credited with interest in the 26-year-old. Could this have anything to do with Romelu Lukaku's cryptic message about his future as we detailed below?
.@MauroIcardi will today return to Milan from our training camp in Lugano. The club and the striker have come to this decision by mutual agreement. Icardi will continue his pre-season training over the next few days and will take no part in our Summer Tour in Asia.#FCIM— Inter (@Inter_en) July 13, 2019
16.54 BST: Romelu Lukaku is one of a few players keen to leave Manchester United this summer, and missed the club's 2-0 preseason win over Perth through injury. The Belgian -- who said "you will know something next week" as he walked past reporters -- is wanted by Inter Milan and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer refused to confirm after the match whether or not the striker will still be at the club next season.
16.07 BST: Bayern Munich's interest in Leroy Sane has been well documented, and the Mail cites German outlet Bild as reporting that the Germany international remains their No. 1 priority, although Manchester City's £90m valuation could prove a stumbling block. Meanwhile, the seven-time defending Bundesliga champions envision Sane and Ousmane Dembele being the pair to replace the departed Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, and have already had a £62m bid rejected.
15.20 BST: One that might have slipped through the net on Friday. Scottish Premiership side St Mirren signed Oan Djorkaeff, the son of 1998 World Cup winner Youri Djorkaeff.
If the 22-year-old midfielder has any of his father's ability then Buddies fans are in for a treat.
14.55 BST: Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi will unexpectedly return from the club's preseason training camp in Switzerland, the club have said.
A statement read: "Mauro Icardi will today return to Milan from our training camp in Lugano. The club and the striker have come to this decision by mutual agreement. Icardi will continue his preseason training over the next few days and will take no part in our Summer Tour in Asia."
14.25 BST: Napoli have announced the signing of Kostas Manolas from Roma.
14.00 BST: Ajax have announced their squad for the preseason tour of Austria... and Matthijs De Ligt is not involved! What could this mean?
✔️ Sergiño Dest— AFC Ajax (@AFCAjax) July 13, 2019
✔️ Jurriën Timber
✔️ Victor Jensen
✖️ Matthijs de Ligt
Squad news for Austria ⤵️#PreSeason 🇦🇹
13.30 BST: Laurent Koscielny refused to go on Arsenal's preseason tour because of doubts about the club's desire to keep him, sources have told ESPN FC.
Contrary to reports, the former France international does not have any firm offers to return to his home country, although ESPN FC understands Bordeaux, Lyon and Rennes are among the interested parties.
Sources have told ESPN FC that Arsenal want £10 million to sell Koscielny, a figure that led the defender to strike and refuse to participate in the tour of the United States.
12.45 BST: Brentford striker Neal Maupay will not play in the preseason friendly against Dynamo Kiev today amid interest from Aston Villa, Brighton and West Ham, West London Sport reports.
The 22-year-old scored 25 goals in 43 games for Brentford last season.
12.00 BST: Manchester United have just kicked off against Perth but Romelu Lukaku is not in the squad at all.
That comes amid reports that Lukaku could leave United for Inter Milan, but sources have told ESPN FC that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is including the striker in his plans for next season because of doubts about whether Inter have the money to sign him.
11.35 BST: Belgian champions Racing Genk have strengthened their squad for the new season with Romania international Ianis Hagi, the son of the player known as the Maradona of the Carpathians.
The 20-year-old son of Gheorghe Hagi, one of the outstanding players of his generation, has signed a five-year deal until 2024, the club said.
He moves from his father's club Viitorul Constanța, although this is his second foray out of Romania, having spent 18 months at Fiorentina, where Hagi went aged 17 but played only twice.
Hagi helped Romania reach the semifinal of last month's European under-21 Championship, emerging as one of the stars of the tournament in Italy.
11.00 BST: Reports in Italy claim Matthijs De Ligt is set to be announced as a Juventus player this weekend.
Over the past few months the Ajax captain has been linked with everyone from Manchester United to Barcelona and even Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain.
But it looks like he will link up with Cristiano Ronaldo, Aaron Ramsey and Maurizio Sarri in Turin next season.
10.20 BST: Sticking with United, sources have told ESPN FC the Old Trafford club have distanced themselves from a move for Mario Lemina.
The midfielder is set to leave Southampton this summer.
That news comes after ESPN FC reported on Thursday that United may be forced to end their pursuit of Sean Longstaff after Newcastle slapped a £50m price tag on the midfielder.
United value the 21-year-old, who has made just nine Premier League appearances, at between £18m to £20m but Newcastle are asking for more than double.
09.50 BST: Manchester United have hardened their stance on Paul Pogba by intimating privately that they value the midfielder at more than £150m, sources have told ESPN FC.
Pogba, 26, has three years left on his contract and sources have told ESPN FC that United believe he is worth in excess of £150m in line with the spike in the transfer market following Neymar's £198m move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017.
09.00 BST: Good morning and welcome to Saturday's Transfer Talk live blog. We'll kick off with the biggest news from Friday. That is Antoine Griezmann's move from Atletico Madrid to Barcelona finally coming to fruition.
To recap, Barca deposited Griezmann's €120m buyout clause with La Liga but Atletico disputed that figure and said they are owed an additional €80m.
Griezmann, 28, will arrive in Barcelona on Saturday and will pen a five-year contract on Sunday with the Spanish champions before joining preseason training next week. The deal also includes an €800m release clause.
Now that Griezmann is through the door, will Barca turn their attention to strengthening further by landing Neymar? Find out more from Spanish football expert Sid Lowe here.
High price tags mean Pogba, Lukaku to remain at Old Trafford
Lukaku will be staying despite the reports linking him to Inter Milan due to a £90m valuation, according to the Telegraph.
Inter, who had been thought to be interested in the Belgian partly because of the appointment of Antonio Conte as manager, have proposed £9m to loan him for two seasons then an obligation to buy at £53.7m.
United brought in Lukaku from Everton for £75m and are hoping for a price that comes closer to -- if not more than -- the original amount.
- Everton might be looking at Manchester City's Fabian Delph, according to Sky Sports. Delph has racked up six trophies in his four years at the Etihad, but he looks to be inching toward a move to Goodison Park for around £9m.
- West Ham missed out on Maxi Gomez, and Callum Wilson, and Duvan Zapata, but the Mail writes that the Hammers expect to finalise a £36m deal for Eintracht Frankfurt forward Sebastien Haller in the coming days -- despite only registering their interest on Wednesday.