Nobody at Man Utd knows when Ronaldo will return, Arsenal need to be quick to avoid Tielemans hijack, and more
An exclusive in-depth look at today's biggest transfer stories, featuring Cristiano Ronaldo, Youri Tielemans, Raheem Sterling, and Frenkie de Jong.
Manchester United in the dark over Cristiano Ronaldo’s future
As things stand, nobody at Manchester United knows when Cristiano Ronaldo will return to pre-season training - a remarkable situation for new manager Erik ten Hag to be put in in his first summer in charge!
Of course, his great disappointment remains with the current state of the club and he really wants to leave as soon as possible. Age is only a number, and he’s still performing at a high level, even in such a difficult season at United last year, so it’s easy to imagine him still having an impact in his competition - the Champions League.
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Bayern Munich have confirmed that they have no interest in this deal, but in my personal opinion it would be ideal for the German club to proceed with Ronaldo for a season and then sign a real replacement for Robert Lewandowski in the summer of 2023.
There has also been interest from Chelsea, and I’ll discuss that further below. But I'm sure that wherever he goes, Cristiano can still make the difference.
Arsenal still in for Youri Tielemans…but they need to act fast
Even though this particular saga has gone a little quieter in recent weeks, Arsenal have never changed their interest in signing Youri Tielemans. The Belgian midfielder has always been on the list, but no official bid has been submitted so far.
From the player’s perspective, he still expects this move, but Arsenal will have to be quick as other clubs have been inquiring about Tielemans in the last few days.
Certainly, Leicester would sign a replacement but so far they are waiting to understand how much they would receive as final fee from Tielemans deal. He’s in the final year of his contract, so there could still be some back and forth here as clubs won’t want to pay over the odds for someone who will be a free agent in a year’s time.
Guardiola wanted to keep Sterling, but key Tuchel promise lured him to Chelsea
As I tweeted last night, a deal taking Raheem Sterling to Chelsea is edging closer to completion. Personal terms have been fully agreed, while the two clubs are set to agree on a final fee of around £45million for the England international.
Thomas Tuchel has been key in persuading the player. He promised him an important role for the present and the future of the club.
We’ll have to see how Tuchel plans to use Sterling, but I don’t think he’s a direct replacement for Romelu Lukaku. I think he is perfect as a pure winger - his original role - more than as a central striker.
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This move was a priority for Chelsea to strengthen up front, despite Cristiano Ronaldo also being considered. The Portuguese forward was offered to the Blues by his agent Jorge Mendes but there is still no final decision on whether or not to proceed.
As I’ve previously reported, Pep Guardiola wanted to keep Sterling and had given the green light to offer him a new deal, but Raheem wanted a new chapter and would not have signed the new contract; that's why Man City have done well to accept Chelsea's bid, in my opinion. They will end up making £100million from selling Sterling and Gabriel Jesus (with add-ons included) and it’s hard to argue against that being good business, while the signings of Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez will ensure they’re far from short of world class options up front.
Frenkie de Jong still needs persuading to move to Old Trafford
Manchester United fans will be desperate to see progress on this long-running transfer saga, but at the moment nothing has changed on Frenkie de Jong.
Still, don’t read too much into Joan Laporta’s public comments that the player is absolutely not for sale, because Manchester United and Barcelona are in direct contact beyond official statements; but there is still no agreement on the structure of the €20m add-ons, while the €65m fixed fee is almost agreed.
The personal terms have not been discussed because De Jong would like to stay at Barcelona as a priority and wants to play the Champions League. He loves the club and United have been aware of this issue for some time. Still, Erik ten Hag will try in every way to change the player’s mind in the coming days.
Djed Spence not done yet, but Spurs are having an excellent summer
Until Wednesday night, there is no final agreement between Tottenham and Middlesbrough for Djed Spence, despite what is being reported elsewhere. Negotiations have been going on for weeks, and Spence remains a top target, but this is not yet a deal completed or almost done.
Regardless of this deal, I am sure that Spurs will have an excellent season with Conte after a very strong transfer window: A loan move for Barcelona defender Clement Lenglet is the next target after Yves Bissouma, Ivan Perisic, Richarlison and Fraser Forster.
Lenglet is more advanced than Spence, as far as I understand, with personal terms already agreed and just the final details of the deal now being ironed out.