The summer transfer window is into its final month for the major European leagues, which means the biggest clubs are looking to make a splash in the market before the new season begins. Check out the latest gossip below, and see all official deals here.
TOP STORY: Tottenham keen to land Chelsea’s Zouma
Zouma, 26, doesn’t appear to be in the first-team plans of Thomas Tuchel, with sources telling ESPN that Chelsea are looking to land Sevilla’s Jules Kounde for around £60m before the transfer window shuts at the end of the month.
Initially, the Blues had looked at including Zouma as part of the deal for Kounde to lower the overall fee, but reports have suggested that Zouma is keen to stay in London.
The centre-back is West Ham’s primary defensive target but now Tottenham have entered the race, they are favourites. Spurs have also been linked with Fiorentina‘s Nikola Milenkovic as they look to strengthen their defence further after the addition of Atalanta‘s Cristian Romero.
Zouma was an unused substitute in Chelsea’s opening Premier League win over Crystal Palace on Saturday.
11.25 BST: Cadena Ser reports that PSG sporting director Leonardo has told the players that Kylian Mbappe will be staying this summer.
Mbappe, 23, has a contract which expires in 2022 and is keen to move to Real Madrid.
However, the signing of Lionel Messi from Barcelona means the pair will team up for the 2021-22 campaign and it remains to be seen if Mbappe then agrees a new short-term contract, or leaves on a free himself next year.
10.32 BST: Australia international Hayley Raso has signed a two-year deal with Manchester City, the club announced on Wednesday.
Raso, 26, joins City from Everton where she spent the last 18 months. They finished fifth in the Women’s Super League and were beaten in the FA Cup final by City.
“I think it is such a big club and somewhere I wanted to be. I spoke with the coach and he spoke extremely highly of the facilities, the staff, the players and the club in general,” Raso told ESPN. “I want to be competing for trophies and playing in the Champions League so it was a pretty easy decision for me to want to come here.
“I played in America for five years and after that I think I wanted to expand and I wanted to play European football because you could see how much it was developing. So I had my first season at Everton and I really enjoyed it. I think the league is really tough and really challenging and the chance to play in Europe and compete for trophies.”
Australia international Hayley Raso says it was an “easy decision” to join Manchester City.
09.59 BST: Arsenal are closing in on a deal worth around €40m for Real Madrid midfielder Martin Odegaard, sources have told ESPN’s James Olley.
Personal terms are yet to be finalised but no issues are expected and Arsenal are now confident of sealing an agreement once the finer details of the fee are determined.
Odegaard spent the second half of last season on loan at Arsenal, making 20 appearances and scoring twice in all competitions, but initially returned to Spain hoping to force hie way into Madrid’s first team.
However, Carlo Ancelotti replaced Zinedine Zidane as head coach and Odegaard was subsequently told he faced a fight for regular action this season.
The key breakthrough was Madrid’s decision earlier this month to drop their asking price from €60m to €45m.
09.30 BST: Julien Laurens on Lionel Messi’s first week at PSG: Rondos, team barbecues and house hunting.
While he’s adjusting to the city and its spoils, it’s also time for him to get back to work.
On Sunday, he took part in a few “rondos” and then he humbled midfielder Idrissa Gueye at Teqball, the sport that combines soccer with table tennis and is played on a curved table. On Monday, his new teammates (or at least the ones who had never played with him before) got a little taste of Messi’s talent during his first proper collective training session.
Messi was given a raucous welcome by PSG fans during Sunday’s game and has been adjusting nicely to life in the French capital. Getty Even short of match fitness and after not having kicked a ball for more than a month since Argentina’s Copa America win, Messi was amazing, impressing everyone. He was the “free player” in the main training drill, which meant he was playing for both teams during the little matches. It all looked easy to him, but he was fantastic.
On Tuesday, Mauricio Pochettino paired Messi with Mbappe in the 2-on-2 exercises. Let’s say that they found each other very well and scored lots of goals. Then, they were both in the winning team for the final 6-on-6 drill, in what was the first time Neymar, Messi and Mbappe were actually playing together.
There were a lot of smiles and laughter on the pitch and in the dressing room, where Messi has found his place really easily. On Sunday, he naturally got invited to Ander Herrera’s 32nd birthday party at the midfielder’s house — Neymar, Di Maria, Paredes, Navas, Marquinhos, Icardi and many others were there. Messi also loved the asado (the Argentine version of a barbecue) organised on Sunday at the training ground after training.
One thing’s sure in the first week, though it’s still early in his time at the club: Messi’s arrival has already raised the effort levels at training. “Everyone wants to show him how good they are. Even in rondos, you can see the difference. He has lifted the level up and the buzz around the place is also incredible,” a source told ESPN.
08.44 BST: Manchester City are pushing ahead with their bid to sign Harry Kane despite continued denials from Tottenham that they are prepared to listen to offers for the striker, sources have told ESPN’s Rob Dawson.
City have just over two weeks to complete the deal before the transfer window shuts on Aug. 31, and there are plans to test Spurs’ resolve to keep the England captain.
Tottenham value Kane, who has three years left on his contract, at more than £150m. Although privately City have suggested they will not meet the asking price for his rights, sources have told ESPN they would be willing to break the British transfer record for a second time this summer after having already paid £100m to sign Jack Grealish from Aston Villa.
They could go as high as £120m plus add-ons for Kane, but there has so far been little encouragement from Spurs that an offer in that region would be accepted.
08.30 BST: Cristiano Ronaldo has lashed out over the transfer rumours regarding his future, accusing people of being “disrespectful” yet stopping short of committing his future to Serie A giants Juventus.
The former Real Madrid forward, who scored a record 451 goals during his nine years at the club from 2009-18, was linked with a shock return to work under Carlo Ancelotti again this week. Ronaldo joined Juventus for €100m in July 2018 and Spanish late-night TV show El Chiringuito claimed on Monday night that a sensational return to LaLiga was on the cards.
Ancelotti distanced himself from reuniting with Ronaldo before the Portugal international addressed his future on Instagram.
He wrote: “Anyone who knows me is aware of how focused I am on my work. Less talk and more action, this has been my guiding motto since the start of my career. However, in view of everything that’s been said and written recently, I have to set out my position.
“More than the disrespect for me as a man and as a player, the frivolous way that my future is covered in the media is disrespectful to all the clubs involved in these rumours, as well as to their players and staff. My story at Real Madrid has been written. It’s been recorded. In words and numbers, in trophies and titles, in records and in headlines. It’s in the Museum at the Bernabeu Stadium and it’s also in the minds of every fan of the club.
“I remember that in those nine years I had a relationship of deep affection and respect for “merengue aficion,” an affection and respect that I retain to this day, and that I will always cherish. I know that the true Real Madrid fans will continue to have me in their hearts, and I will have them in mine.”
The ESPN FC crew discusses the possibility that Juventus could be looking to move Cristiano Ronaldo before his contract expires.
PAPER GOSSIP (by Danny Lewis)
– Atletico Madrid are in talks to sign Wolverhampton Wanderers striker Rafa Mir, according to Football Insider. The Spaniard is fresh from a loan spell at Huesca, in which he scored 16 goals in all competitions. Wolves want £17m, with a permanent deal, a straight loan or a loan with the option for a permanent deal all being possibilities.
– You may have seen that Internazionale have signed PSV Eindhoven‘s Denzel Dumfries and Roma‘s Edin Dzeko. Well, Calciomercato have claimed that Dumfries’ signing at right wing-back could spell the end of Valentino Lazaro‘s time with the club. The Scudetto winners are set to let him leave, with Benfica and Eintracht Frankfurt currently the sides most interested in signing the Austrian.
– Watford are in advanced talks with Torino regarding the signing of Lyanco, as has been reported by Sky Sports. It is suggested that the deal for the 24-year-old will be worth £7.5m, with the Brazilian having fallen out of favour in Turin. The defender has also been linked with Real Betis, but the Spanish side have been unable to strike a deal yet.
– Peter Bosz was not impressed with a number of individual performances during Lyon‘s 3-0 defeat against Angers. Marcelo scored an own goal in that game, and FootMercato are suggesting that the manager is so underwhelmed that the Brazilian could have his contract terminated.
– Napoli‘s Adam Ounas has had offers from the likes of Atlanta United, Olympiakos and Monza, but is holding out for a move to the Premier League, reports Calciomercato. The 24-year-old winger, who had two loans last season, is someone Napoli are willing to let leave in order to bring in much needed funds, with all offers made so far being over €10m.