Football rumours from the media
The tale of Thibaut Courtois turns into a transfer season blockbuster.
With less than 36 hours to go until deadline the Thibaut Courtois drama looks set to take a world record-sized chunk out of Chelsea’s coffers. The Blues are reportedly in advanced talks to splash £72million to bring in replacement Kepa Arrizabalaga from Athletic Bilbao. The 23-year-old Spaniard is rumoured to be flying to England at around 1000 on Wednesday morning, having travelled to Madrid on Tuesday, the Daily Telegraph says. Courtois, who failed to turn up to training for a second day on Tuesday, is said to be on his way to Real Madrid for around £35m. However Real are reportedly sweetening the deal by offering Mateo Kovacic on loan for a season. Arrizabalaga’s price tag swamps the previous keeper record set just weeks ago by Liverpool in their purchase of Alisson Becker from Roma. It also far exceeds Chelsea’s record for any purchase, the reported £57m for striker Alvaro Morata from Real a year ago.
What the papers say
As the cutoff approaches Paul Pogba has reportedly told his team-mates and top brass he is desperate to leave Manchester United for Barcelona. Meanwhile his agent is said to have told Old Trafford bosses it will take an astronomical £200,000-a-week pay rise to keep him there. The £89m midfielder appealed directly to United’s executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, by text, the Daily Mail reports. The club are said to have denied this happened – and that he is for sale at all. The France international is said to have agreed terms with Camp Nou decision-makers on a deal worth £89.5m over five years – equivalent to £346,000-a-week. The Sun says Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola, has warned the Reds they will have to up the 25-year-old’s pay from a modest £180,000-a-week to £380,000-a-week to bring him closer to Alexis Sanchez.
Jose Mourinho’s chances of signing Harry Maguire appear to have received a fillip after Leicester were reported to be close to signing two new centre-backs. The Times says the Foxes have prepared for a possible late bid by United by agreeing deals for Dynamo Zagreb’s Filip Benkovic and Caglar Soyuncu of Freiburg for a combined £33.5m. Leicester are expected to demand at least £65m for the England defender, 25, although will still bring in Benkovic, 21, and Soyuncu, 22, if an offer is not forthcoming. United were reportedly spurned in their advances for Bayern Munich’s Jerome Boateng, while a take it or leave it £40m offer for Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld is said to have fallen far short of the £65m Spurs want for the Belgium international.
Spurs are yet to make a signing this summer and their attempts to grab Jack Grealish were dealt a blow on Tuesday night when Aston Villa rejected a £25m offer, the Daily Mirror says. Villa are reported to be demanding more than £30m for the 22-year-old, leaving the midfielder worried the move into the Premier League could be scuppered. Villa boss Steve Bruce admitted earlier in the week the club were likely to have a battle on their hands to keep the playmaker, although the late development suggests they are holding out for the biggest cheque possible.
West Ham are confident they will sign Lucas Perez from Arsenal for £5m, the Evening Standard reports. The £4m core deal with £1m add-ons comes two years after the Gunners bought him from Deportivo La Coruna for £17m. The 29-year-old scored only one solitary goal in 11 Premier League appearances before spending last season on loan back at his old club. That spell ended in the club being relegated from LaLiga.
Social media round-up
The £25m that Villa have rejected for Grealish is more than Leicester paid for James Maddison. Grealish is a good player but £30m is a stretch. A real stretch. https://t.co/wtAqyqunmD— Darren Lewis (@MirrorDarren) August 7, 2018
Players to watch
Achraf Lazaar and Henri Saivet: Newcastle plan to sell the Morocco defender, 26, and Senegal midfielder, 27, the Newcastle Chronicle says.
Oliver Norwood: Leeds are frontrunners to sign Brighton’s former Huddersfield midfielder, 27, Leeds Live reports.