Chelsea to set new world-record with goalkeeper signing while Manchester United agree terms with top target: Premier League transfer rumours
Chelsea commanded the headlines heading into the penultimate day of the summer transfer window after making a reported world-record bid for Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.
The Stamford Bridge outfit are ready to sign the 23-year-old after activating his release clause with a £71.6m offer. The fee would eclipse the £65million, the current previous highest for a goalkeeper, that Liverpool paid to sign Alisson Becker from Roma earlier in the summer. The move is expected to be completed today after Kepa bought himself out of his Bilbao contract, as Ander Herrera had to do back in 2014 to leave the club for Manchester United.
Chelsea's need for a new keeper has become pressing after current number one Thibaut Courtois, who has been heavily linked with Real Madrid, failed to report for training for a second successive day. The Belgian had been due to return on Monday after a delayed summer holiday following the World Cup. Real Madrid now expect the Belgian to arrive in Spain tomorrow to complete his move to Los Blancos.
Kepa could be one of two Chelsea signings this week with Real Madrid midfielder Mateo Kovacic also expected to arrive on loan. The Croatian was understood to be undergoing a medical at the club on Wednesday lunch-time. The 24-year-old started just 10 La Liga matches last season and is keen to move in search of more regular football.
Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has indicated that playmaker Eden Hazard, who said over the summer that it might be time to move on, was likely to be staying.
"I have spoken with Eden two or three times in the last two days," he said. "We have spoken of everything. I think this problem is not present now."
Meanwhile, Manchester United's search for a centre-half continues. Sky Sports have reported that Leicester's Harry Maguire is still hopeful of sealing a move to Old Trafford. The England World Cup star is said to be valued at £75m by his current club and, as such, United have had two bids rejected already, according to Sky Sports.
Also linked with a move to United is Tottenham's Toby Alderweireld but the Sun report that the club have yet to bid for the Belgian. Bleacher Report (via the Express) do claim that the player has agreed terms with United but the problem is Spurs value the centre-half at £60m, even if a clause in his contract means he could leave for £25m next summer. The Manchester Evening News claim Alderweireld is the club's top defensive target.
Bayern Munich's Jerome Boateng and Barcelona's Yerry Mina are also said to be interesting MUFC.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp refused to rule out more incomings at Anfield. "We will see what happens," he said. And that, unsurprisingly, has sparked the rumour mill into action. Bleacher Report suggest that the Reds could renew their interest in Lyon's Nabil Fekir to ensure their rivalas don't secure the Frenchman's signature. He was close to joining Liverpool earlier this summer before medical complications led to the deal collapsing. The report says that discussions between the clubs never stopped and that the player wants the move.
Tottenham are the only Premier League club not to have made a signing ahead of Thursday's deadline but there were reports on Tuesday evening they had made a £25million move for Aston Villa's Jack Grealish. It is now understood that Aston Villa have rejected that bid and told the player's suitors that he is NOT for sale.
Villa boss Steve Bruce admitted earlier in the week the club were likely to have a battle on their hands to keep the 22-year-old playmaker.
Some deals were completed on Tuesday, with Burnley signing former England number one Joe Hart and Derby striker Matej Vydra.
Hart, who has spent the past two seasons on loan a Torino and West Ham, moved to Turf Moor after 12 years a Manchester City player. The 31-year-old won two titles at the Etihad Stadium but fell out of favour after the arrival of Pep Guardiola as manager in 2016.
Vydra, who has previously played in the top flight with West Brom and Watford, top-scored in the Championship with 21 goals last season. The Clarets may also not be finished with West Brom's Jay Rodriguez another potential signing.
Bournemouth broke their club record to sign Colombia midfielder Jefferson Lerma from Levante for a fee understood to be £25million. Fulham continued their busy summer by signing Arsenal defener Calum Chambers on a season-long loan.
Belfast Telegraph Digital