Chelsea have re-entered the race to sign Manchester United’s top transfer target Frenkie de Jong.
The powers-that-be at Old Trafford have been courting the Barcelona playmaker for a number of months now, with the new Dutch head coach Erik ten Hag particularly keen to sign his compatriot. United reportedly had an oven-ready £71million deal on the table, but De Jong is now rumoured to prefer a move to south-west London for a chance to play Champions League football. Chelsea are also said to be pondering a deal for Barça’s former Arsenal goal poacher Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Meanwhile, pesky football journalists everywhere are enthusiastically fanning the flames of the brewing bust-up between Ten Hag and Cristiano Ronaldo, who was seen leaving last Sunday’s friendly against Rayo Vallecano before full-time.
Ten Hag called that “unacceptable”, and the growing question now seems to be: who wants to sign C-Ron? The Serie A side Napoli have emerged as contenders, while reports in Spain say Atlético Madrid wouldn’t mind him, either, but need to sell someone before they can accommodate the unassuming 37-year-old.
Amid the Ronaldo furore, towering Stuttgart forward Sasa Kalajdzic has become another Ten Hag target, reports the Mail, although the Bundesliga club are not prepared to sell for less than £55million. As the Dutch coach desperately tries to avoid being over-reliant on Anthony Martial in the coming campaign, with Ronaldo potentially departing, he has also made inquiries over RB Leipzig’s wunderkind Benjamin Sesko, and is also keeping an eye on his former charge at Ajax, Hakim Ziyech of Chelsea.
In yet more Manchester United-flavoured news, Charlie Savage, the 19-year-old son of pundit Robbie, is attracting interest from a host of Championship and League One clubs after showing strong form in the club’s pre-season programme, says the Mail.
Hot off the press from Andy Hunter and Fabrizio Romano this morning: Everton have matched West Ham’s €40m (£33.5m) bid for Amadou Onana in a late attempt to hijack David Moyes’s move for the Lille midfielder.
Elsewhere in the Premier League, Nottingham Forest’s summer supermarket sweep may yet continue: the Athletic reports that the Willem II forward Jizz Hornkamp (don’t) is the latest target for Steve Cooper. The 24-year-old would be Forest’s 13th signing of the summer, which sounds an awful lot, although a large chunk of the promotion-winning team left after the previous campaign.
Last night, Dries Mertens posted an emotional farewell to Napoli supporters on social media, thus ending his nine-year association with the club. Juventus were reportedly keen to snap up the 35-year-old Belgium international, Napoli’s all-time top scorer, but the man himself is said to have snubbed them due to his ongoing loyalty to the Partenopei. The other club being mentioned is Marseille in the south of France, which could be handy, because Mertens is keeping his house overlooking the Bay of Naples and plans to visit often.
North of the border, Hibernian are attempting to bring the winger Martin Boyle back to the Scottish Premier League from a spell with Al Faisaly in Saudi Arabia. The Australia international left Hibs for the Middle East in January only for his new club to be relegated from the top flight.