Welcome to The Situation, where we round up some of the biggest transfer stories in football and give you a status report. There are some huge names expected to move in the coming days and weeks, but modern transfers are a minefield. From “personal terms” to “performance-related add-ons”, The Sportsman will aim to sort through the jargon and update you on how far along the biggest deals actually are. We’ll start with a certain Portuguese centre forward.
Manchester United’s 37-year-old talisman (or albatross, depending on who you speak to) has made clear his intention to leave Old Trafford. That is easier said than done for a player pushing 40 who is among the highest paid players on the planet.
Ronaldo has not trained with his teammates since the news of his desire to leave emerged. The reason cited is a “family issue”.
Chelsea are interested in signing him. New owner Todd Boehly sat down with the player’s agent Jorge Mendes a few weeks ago. Napoli have expressed an interest but have progressed no further in making a deal happen. Bayern Munich were strongly linked but chief executive Oliver Khan ruled out signing Ronaldo publicly. Whether this was a game of brinkmanship, with the Bundesliga champions still hoping to keep striker Robert Lewandowski, is as yet unclear. Speaking of the prolific Pole…
Ronaldo has been rumoured as a replacement for Lewandowski with good reason. Barcelona are determined to land the 33-year-old. Club president Joan Laporta has publicly confirmed he is waiting for a response from Bayern over an official bid for the player. He also pointedly thanked the striker “for what he is doing to join us.” during a press conference to announce the capture of Andreas Christensen.
Barcelona are battling financial woes, but seem supremely confident they can find the reported £33.8 million fee plus bonuses needed to sign him.
The Leeds United winger has been the subject of a real saga in this window. Chelsea and Arsenal fans have made a game out of mocking each other on social media over Raphinha reportedly choosing their club. In fact both sides of the debate will arguably be proven wrong, as the player is thought to favour a move to Barcelona over remaining in the Premier League.
This is an active situation with all three clubs still believing they can land the player. Reports suggest Chelsea would be his likeliest destination if Camp Nou doesn’t come calling with an offer that works for Leeds.
The Belgium international’s desire to play at a higher level has been public knowledge for a while, but interest in him has really ramped up this week. Arsenal are thought to lead the way for his signature, though Manchester United are also interest. Erik ten Hag’s Red Devils view him as a potential option should their deal for Frenkie de Jong fall through.
No official bids have been logged for the 25-year-old, but Arsenal are preparing a £30 million offer according to multiple sources. Such a move could force United’s hand, particularly if negotiations slow to a halt with the next name on this list.
Frenkie de Jong
Boehly’s been busy. The Chelsea chairman reportedly met Barcelona executives for dinner, and the Catalan club are trying to stir up a bidding war for their Dutch midfield star. Manchester United have been front and centre of the De Jong discussion for months, but progress has been slow.
The player’s preference continues to be remaining at Barcelona, but with it is understood he would consider a switch. The complicating factor is the amount of deferred wages and various other payments the club owes him, believed to amount to around £17 million. With Barca activating economic levers in order to fund their summer business, this lump sum payment may prove fatal to any deal.
The Argentina forward was let go by Juventus at the end of his contract and finds himself without a club. Inter Milan look the most likely to hand him a lifeline, with the Serie A giants hoping to bolster a frontline to which they have already added Romelu Lukaku.
Rivals AC Milan have been credited with an interest, as have the increasingly ambitious Napoli. The player’s representatives reportedly made contact with Manchester United this week, but it is understood Ten Hag is waiting for a resolution to the Ronaldo drama before pursuing another striker.
With the signing of Kalvin Phillips finally secured, many observers expect Manchester City to come knocking on Brighton’s door for Marc Cucurella. Pep Guardiola is a known admirer of the 23-year-old La Masia graduate.
Brighton owner Tony Bloom has come out publicly and said there have been no bids for Cucurella, and that he hopes the player stays at the Amex. If any team can prise a young prospect raised on the Barcelona style of play away though it is Man City. The pull of Pep could be too much to resist.
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