With just personal terms to be thrashed out, Raphinha‘s move from Leeds to Chelsea looks as good as a done deal, although the Rumor Mill notes with interest that his Mr 15% is a certain Deco. If the former Portugal midfielder is as contrary and argumentative at the negotiating table as he used to be on the football pitch, it could be a very long day in the Stamford Bridge boardroom.
Once Chelsea have announced Raphinha, interim director of football and club owner Todd Boehly’s thoughts will turn to the acquisition of a couple of new central defenders and the name of Mill regular Kalidou Koulibaly will be added to a mix that already includes those of Matthijs de Ligt, Milan Skriniar, Nathan Aké and Jules Koundé. One of those Serie A staples who is constantly linked with a move to the Premier League without ever showing much inclination to actually play in it, the Napoli stalwart is entering the last year of his contract.
With Skriniar looking certain to leave Inter, he had been expected to sign for Paris Saint-Germain but the French side’s determination to include Julian Draxler as an unwanted makeweight in the deal appears to have thrown a giant spanner in those particular works.
Tottenham are also interested in making a Premier League player out of Skriniar but the glacier like speed with which they move when it comes to making big money signings could allow Chelsea to nip in and steal the Slovakia captain from under their nose. The fabled dilly-dallying of chairman Daniel Levy in the transfer market means Tottenham could also miss out on Djed Spencewith Middlesbrough reported to be growing irritated by the lack of a serious offer and ready to sell their speedy right-back to Nottingham Forest instead.
Rather ironically, Spurs are ready to pull the plug on their attempts to sign Clément Lenglet from Barcelona as the French central defender is on holiday, has not been returning their calls and doesn’t seem as enthused by a move to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as his prospective new employers might like.
Manchester United still haven’t secured the scrawl of Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong but are reported to be slowly inching towards a deal worth somewhere in the region of £ 56m plus add-ons. Under instruction from their new manager Erik ten Hag, United’s recruitment department is also close to gazumping Lyon in the battle to sign Feyenoord left-back Tyrell Malacia. Also in the market for a left-back, Chelsea continue to be linked with Manchester City’s likeable Ukraine international Oleksandr Zinchenko.
The Guardian’s Ed Aarons knows so much about Crystal Palace that if you opened his head and looked inside you’d see Ian Bright and Wilf Zaha playing head-tennis, so when he reports they are “close” to signing Lens midfielder Cheick Doucouré for an initial £ 18m fee, you’d better believe it’s going to happen.
Mahmoud Trezeguet is on the verge of leaving Aston Villa but his agent has denied that a deal has been agreed with Turkish side Trabzonspor. A number of different clubs are believed to be interested in signing the Egyptian winger and Gareth Bale and Giorgio Chiellini’s new employers at LAFC are believed to be chief amongst them. And finally, Romelu Lukaku touched down at Milan airport this morning while the Rumor Mill was still hitting its snooze button and will be unveiled once again as an Inter player once his loan deal from Chelsea has been finalized later today.