BLUES EYE BELOTTI
Chelsea were clinging on to the hope that Romelu Lukaku may have changed his mind and opted for a return to Stamford Bridge, but the Blues have hurriedly made contingency plans, which appears to be a wise move.
According to the Mirror, those plans focus on Torino’s Andrea Belotti. The Italy striker, like anyone else who scored a goal or two in Europe last season, had been linked with United, but there priorities obviously lie elsewhere. Unless they change their mind again…
Belotti, though, is Chelsea’s top target if Lukaku goes to Old Trafford, and it seems the 23-year-old will cost a similar price, with £90million the figure being mentioned. Torino have consistently said they will resist any offers, but that resolve has yet to be tested.
Of course, they might not have to buy big at all if Conte and Diego Costa just kissed and made up. And, according to The Sun, Costa is willing to talk.
They report that Jorge Mendes has been in touch with the club to arrange what they are calling ‘a peace summit’ but, of course, Costa’s happiness will cost Chelsea, with the striker expecting a pay-rise.
SANCHEZ SET ON JOINING CITY
Alexis Sanchez said last week that his future was “clear”, and it seems his mind is set on leaving Arsenal to join Manchester City.
The Gunners have been trying to tie down the attacker to a new contract but it seems they are p*ssing in the wind somewhat, with Sanchez’s head seemingly turned.
Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Juventus are among his suitors, but Sanchez has apparently set his heart on winning the Champions League with Pep Guardiola at Man City.
Chilean outlet El Mercurio quotes a source, reported to be close to Sanchez as saying: “Not having European competition of the level of the Champions League is significant for Alexis. He is motivated by playing in it, and winning it.”
The prospect of selling Sanchez to City is enough to make some Arsenal fans lose their sh*t, so the Gunners may have to break their transfer record for a second time this summer to get them back on side.
L’Equipe claims Arsene Wenger has upped his offer for Thomas Lemar from £35.3million to almost £40million, but that isn’t going to be anywhere near enough to tempt Monaco, who are reportedly starting negotiations at around £80million.
The Sun claims personal terms of around £90,000 a week have been agreed with the winger but there is a lot of work to do before any agreement is reached over a fee.
UNITED TO GO BACK FOR DIER
Reports yesterday suggested Nemanja Matic was concerned over his proposed move to Manchester United. It appears he was right to be worried…
United reportedly accept that Chelsea’s willingness to do business will have receded when Lukaku goes to Old Trafford, so they are already turning their attention back to Eric Dier.
The Guardian, The Telegraph and the Daily Express all claim that United could test Tottenham’s resolve with a £50million offer for the England international, who is understood to be ‘receptive’ to Jose Mourinho’s interest.
The Telegraph adds: “Should they fail to convince Daniel Levy to sell Dier, then Borussia Dortmund’s Julian Weigl is another alternative to Matic.”
AND THE REST
Wolves are closing in on a club record £15.8m signing of Ruben Neves from Porto…Riyad Mahrez is furious with Leicester as Arsenal turn their attention to £40million-rated Monaco midfielder Thomas Lemar…Southampton hope to beat Newcastle and Brighton to the loan signing of Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek…Javier Hernandez is demanding £140,000-a-week from West Ham to complete his £13million transfer from Bayer Leverkusen…Dani Alves will have a medical with Manchester City early next week before sealing his switch from Juventus…Paris Saint-Germain have edged ahead of Manchester United in the race for Real Madrid striker James Rodriguez.
Manchester United will spend more than £15million on paying up Wayne Rooney’s contract as star agrees to 50 per cent wage cut to join Everton… Chelsea have underlined their commitment to Antonio Conte by granting his wish to add another of his Italian allies to his backroom staff, with Davide Mazzotta coming on board…Manchester City striker Wilfried Bony is attracting interest from a number of Chinese Super League clubs…Crystal Palace are ready to bid for Barcelona goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen…Liverpool have received a number of enquiries about defender Mamadou Sakho and are confident a club will meet their £30m asking price…Middlesbrough have had a £5m bid rejected by the Magpies for goalkeeper Karl Darlow…Sunderland will make a fresh bid for Bournemouth midfielder Max Gradel…Leeds hope to sign SD Huesca striker Samuel Saiz, 26, for £3m next week.