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Transfer Talk: Chelsea eye AC Milan’s Leao in Deadline Day swoop after Neymar enquiry rejected

The summer transfer window has reached the Sept. 1 deadline, and there’s plenty of gossip swirling about who’s moving where. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz on rumours, comings, goings and, of course, done deals!

DEADLINES FOR EUROPE’S TOP LEAGUES:


Bundesliga: 5 p.m. BST/noon p.m. ET


Serie A: 7 p.m. BST/2 p.m ET


Ligue 1: 10 p.m. BST/5 p.m. ET


LaLiga: 11 p.m. BST/6 p.m. ET


Premier League: 11 p.m. BST/6 p.m. ET

TOP STORY: Could Ronaldo still leave Man United on deadline day?

Cristiano Ronaldo‘s hopes of finding a way out of Manchester United before the transfer deadline are still alive, according to Marca, which reports that the option for a loan move to Napoli remains on the table despite Erik ten Hag’s assurances that the forward would stay.

Ronaldo told United earlier this summer that he wants to leave Old Trafford in order to play in the Champions League. Serie A club Napoli will go up against Ajax, Liverpool and Rangers in Group A of this season’s competition, while United are in the Europa League.

The 37-year-old has been on the bench for United’s past two matches — victories over Liverpool and Southampton — and is yet to score in four appearances this season, so a move to Italy could help him kick-start his season ahead of captaining Portugal at the World Cup in November.

United manager Ten Hag told a news conference on Wednesday that it is “clear” Ronaldo will stay at Old Trafford until at least January.

“I think [there won’t be any more signings],” Ten Hag said ahead of Thursday’s trip to Leicester City. “It will be the end for this window, but when there is a great opportunity, we always have to be alert at this top club.”

However, if United can bring in another forward on deadline day — having already confirmed the signing of Antony from Ajax on Thursday — then they could sanction a loan move for last season’s top scorer.

– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, more (U.S.)

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13.16 BST: Nottingham Forest have signed defender Willy Boly from Wolverhampton Wanderers,

The Ivory Coast international, 31, has signed a two-year deal to become the 19th summer arrival at The City Ground.

#BolyIsARed 🔴 pic.twitter.com/R8wCWWLDCC

— Nottingham Forest FC (@NFFC) September 1, 2022

13.03 BST: Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva has confirmed that he will be staying at the club this summer amid interest from Barcelona.

The Portugal international told ESPN’s Rob Dawson last month that his future at the Premier League champions was uncertain. But, after Wednesday’s 6-0 win over Nottingham Forest, he said he would remain at the Etihad.

“The truth is that we have not received offers from Spain,” Silva told RAC1. “Nobody has come and I stay in Manchester. I’m happy and that’s it. The decision is made.”

12.31 BST: Fenerbahce have joined the race to sign Paris Saint-Germain striker Mauro Icardi, according to L’Equipe.

The 29-year-old is in talks with Galatasaray, but with an agreement still not reached, the Yellow Canaries have made a move to attempt to hijack the deal from their Super Lig rivals.

Icardi is yet to make an appearance for PSG in the league this season, with manager Christophe Galtier looking to part ways with him.

12.14 BST: Leicester City have announced the signing of central defender Wout Faes from Reims.

Just one day after Wesley Fofana left for Chelsea in a £75m transfer, the Foxes have replaced him with Belgium international Faes.

The 24-year-old, who was Reims’ player of the season last term, arrives after signing a five-year contract.

Our new man! 🦊#WelcomeWout pic.twitter.com/690wwZawjF

— Leicester City (@LCFC) September 1, 2022

12.03 BST: Colombia international Marlos Moreno has left Manchester City to join Troyes, the Ligue 1 club announced.

Moreno, 25, joined City from Atletico Nacional in 2016, but in six years on the club’s books, he never made a first-team appearance for them.

Instead, he spent time on loan at seven different clubs across five different countries before leaving this summer on a permanent deal.

🏠 Bienvenidos 𝗠𝗮𝗿𝗹𝗼𝘀 ! 🇨🇴#TeamESTAC 🔵⚪️ pic.twitter.com/mROoDDexVP

— ESTAC Troyes (@estac_officiel) September 1, 2022

11.39 BST: James Garner looks set to leave Manchester United today, sources have told ESPN’s Rob Dawson.

The 21-year-old midfielder is wanted by Everton, Southampton and Leicester, with United looking for a fee of more than £15m.

Everton are leading the race, and it’s one that should be wrapped up well in advance of the deadline.

He’s highly regarded at Old Trafford but is keen to play regular first-team football after helping Nottingham Forest win promotion to the Premier League last season.

11.22 BST: Arsenal are exploring a late move for Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz, sources have told ESPN’s James Olley.

The Gunners are scouring the market for a central midfielder after losing Mohamed Elneny for several weeks to a hamstring injury, while Thomas Partey is also out with a thigh problem.

Arsenal are interested in Palmeiras’ Danilo, but the Brazilian club are reluctant to sell at this point in the season, prompting the Gunners to look at other targets.

Villa are strongly opposed to allowing Luiz to leave, despite the 24-year-old having less than 12 months remaining on his contract. Sources said Luiz is open to joining Arsenal, but Villa’s stance could make a deal difficult to complete before tonight’s deadline.

One source suggests Villa have not given up on persuading Luiz to sign a new deal at the club, so Arsenal are likely to find any negotiation with the Midlands club particularly tough.

11.10 BST: Real Madrid aren’t expecting any last-minute transfer business, having done their major deals — bringing in Aurelien Tchouameni and Antonio Rudiger — earlier in the window.

Even the departure of Casemiro to Manchester United didn’t tempt the club into the market, with Madrid feeling they have sufficient midfield cover with Tchouameni, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Eduardo Camavinga, Fede Valverde and Dani Ceballos.

Marco Asensio had been considering an exit in search of game time but is set to stay, according to reports in Spain on Wednesday night, while Madrid haven’t found a destination for fringe players they hoped to move on such as Mariano Diaz and Alvaro Odriozola.

10.47 BST: Manchester City are trying to shift two from Wednesday night’s matchday squad before the deadline, sources have told ESPN’s Rob Dawson.

Ben Knight and Claudio Gomes, who were both on the bench for the 6-0 win over Nottingham Forest, are available to move before the end of the window.

Knight, a 20-year-old forward, is available to move on loan, while Gomes, a 22-year-old midfielder, will be allowed to leave permanently if a suitable offer comes in before the deadline.

10.41 BST: Chelsea have moved a step closer to signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Barcelona after agreeing personal terms with the striker, sources have told ESPN’s James Olley.

The 33-year-old has accepted in principle a two-year contract with the option of a third year based on the number of appearances made in his second season at Stamford Bridge.

Talks are continuing between the two clubs to settle on a fee, with Barcelona continuing to demand in the region of £20 million while Chelsea are trying to incorporate Marcos Alonso in a player-plus-cash transfer.

Although a fee is yet to be agreed, there is optimism on both sides that a deal can be reached before Thursday’s deadline.

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Mark Ogden expects Arthur Melo to help Liverpool’s injury-hit midfield but thinks he won’t get much game time when the squad is fully fit.

10.36 BST: Liverpool are closing in on the signing of midfielder Arthur Melo from Juventus on a season-long loan deal, sources have told ESPN’s Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens.

The Brazil international is travelling to England from Turin with the deal due to be completed before Thursday’s transfer deadline.

Arthur’s move to the Premier League side accelerated late on Wednesday after Jordan Henderson was injured in Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Newcastle.

Jurgen Klopp’s side were already short in midfield for that game with Naby Keita and Thiago Alcantara among those sidelined.

Klopp confirmed earlier in the week that Liverpool were open to signing another midfielder if the right opportunity came up.

Arthur, 26, joined Juventus from Barcelona for around €70m in 2020. He has spent just two seasons at Barcelona, where he made 72 appearances after signing from Gremio.

10.21 BST: Atletico Madrid are spending deadline day hoping to hang on to key players including Yannick Carrasco, who was linked with a move to Tottenham this week, sources have told ESPN’s Alex Kirkland.

The Rojiblancos are not willing to negotiate over Carrasco, and any interested party would have to pay the winger’s €70m release clause.

Atletico have been caught out on the last day of the window in the past, such as when Arsenal activated Thomas Partey’s release clause in October 2020.

Antoine Griezmann is expected to stay at the Metropolitano despite the club’s efforts to avoid having to pay €40 million to make the 31-year-old’s move from Barcelona permanent next summer.

Their loan agreement, agreed last year, specifies that Atletico must pay the fee if Griezmann plays over 45 minutes in 50% of their games, and while coach Diego Simeone is a fan of the player — who has scored twice off the bench so far this season — the club would like to negotiate a reduction.

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Rob Dawson says Manchester City’s deal to sign Manuel Akanji from Borussia Dortmund couldn’t be turned down.

10.00 BST: Manchester City have signed centre-back Manuel Akanji from Borussia Dortmund on a five-year deal.

Akanji becomes City’s fifth new arrival this summer after they signed Erling Haaland, Kalvin Phillips, Sergio Gomez and Stefan Ortega during this window.

The Switzerland international will give City boss Pep Guardiola another option in defence, joining centre-backs Ruben Dias, John Stones, Nathan Ake and Aymeric Laporte.

Akanji will also come up against his old club when Guardiola’s side face Dortmund in Group G of the Champions League.

The 27-year-old made 158 appearances for Dortmund after joining the Bundesliga side from Basel in 2018 and helped them to the DFB Pokal title last year.

Akanji has been capped 41 times by Switzerland and was part of the team that reached the quarterfinals at last year’s European Championship.

We are delighted to announce we have completed the signing of Manuel Akanji from Borussia Dortmund! ✍️

Read more ⤵️

— Manchester City (@ManCity) September 1, 2022

09.48 BST: Sevilla have announced the signing of midfielder Kasper Dolberg on loan from Nice.

The Denmark international, 24, moves to LaLiga until the end of the season, at which point Sevilla have the option to make the deal permanent.

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Rob Dawson feels Antony signing for Manchester United shows the club are backing Erik ten Hag.

09.30 BST: First major done deal of the day, and it’s a big one — Manchester United have completed the signing of winger Antony from Ajax on a five-year deal, the club have confirmed.

United agreed a fee for the Brazil international on Monday, which sources told ESPN was worth an initial €95m with another €5m in add-ons — making it the club’s second-most expensive transfer behind the then-world-record €105m (£89.3m) deal to sign Paul Pogba from Juventus in 2016.

Antony’s move to Old Trafford means he will be reunited with his former Ajax boss Erik ten Hag, who has completed his fifth signing of the summer after deals for Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen, Lisandro Martinez and Casemiro.

The 22-year-old winger gives Ten Hag more options in attack after Anthony Martial sustained an Achilles tendon injury in United’s 2-1 victory against Liverpool last week.

Antony scored 25 goals in 82 games for Ajax after joining the Eredivisie side from Sao Paulo in 2020, winning two league titles and a KNVB Cup during his time there. He has made nine appearances for Brazil, scoring twice, and helped his country to an Olympic gold medal in Tokyo last year.

Antony is ineligible for United’s match at Leicester City on Thursday but could make his debut at home to Arsenal this Sunday.

– Everything you need to know about Antony

— Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 1, 2022

08.53 BST: Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says he could sign another central midfielder on deadline day following injuries to Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny.

“We are looking at options,” Arteta said after Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Aston Villa. “We are just looking at options in the market. As I said, the club has been super supportive to try to keep improving the squad and the team as we can, and if the right player is available and we can do it, we will try.”

He added: “We were pretty protected in [central midfield] and now we are more exposed, but we have to be prepared for uncertainties, injuries and suspensions. Things like that can happen, especially this season it’s going to be really strange with the World Cup. So, we try to prevent things but sometimes it is not easy.”

The Gunners have been linked with interest in Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz, who is also a reported target for Liverpool. The Brazilian scored direct from a corner at the Emirates on Wednesday, and Villa boss Steven Gerrard could not rule out an exit for the midfielder.

“I’m not in control of that,” Gerrard said. “There are more than two people in control of that, but I’m certainly not one of them. That will be Douglas, that will be his agent’s decision as to what happens around that. I’d like to keep him because he’s a fantastic player. I’ve made that abundantly clear.

“We are not in a position where we need to lose our top players, but at the same time, Douglas has got a year to go, and it is one of those really touchy situations where the club have to do what is best for the club and not necessarily what’s best for me.”

08.28 BST: Chelsea are discussing a potential move for AC Milan forward Rafael Leao before the summer transfer window closes on Thursday, according to The Times.

It is reported that the Blues have turned their attention to the 23-year-old Serie A star, after they failed with an enquiry to land Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil international forward Neymar. Thomas Tuchel’s side are keen to land a forward and midfielder before the transfer deadline closes on Thursday, with Leao is one of the final names on their shortlist.

The Portugal international was a key player for the Rossoneri last season in a Scudetto-winning campaign where he contributed to 19 goals in 34 appearances. He had been linked with Real Madrid this summer, and it would reportedly take an offer of at least €115 million for the Serie A champions to consider parting ways with him.

Chelsea had been previously linked to Barcelona’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, among others. The London side are without a striker after Romelu Lukaku returned to Internazionale and Timo Werner made the switch back to RB Leipzig.

08.00 BST: Chelsea have made a €50m bid to sign Ajax and Mexico midfielder Edson Alvarez, sources have told ESPN’s James Olley.

Blues head coach Thomas Tuchel is thought to be concerned about the club’s midfield options in the wake of Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat at Southampton and nagging injury concerns over key midfielder N’Golo Kante, who is set to be sidelined for around a month with a hamstring problem.

Sources have told ESPN that Ajax are under no pressure to sell, having already allowed Antony, Lisandro Martinez, Sebastien Haller, Ryan Gravenberch and Noussair Mazraoui to leave the club in the summer transfer window.

Chelsea were keen on a move for Barcelona midfielder Frenkie De Jong, but the Dutchman has so far shown no interest in leaving Camp Nou.

PAPER GOSSIP (by Adam Brown)

Cristiano Ronaldo received only one official proposal for his transfer, that from Saudi club Al-Hilal, according to The Athletic. Ronaldo, 37, had been pushing for a move from Manchester United with hopes of playing in the Champions League, but Erik ten Hag said it was “clear” Ronaldo will stay at Old Trafford until at least January.

– Barcelona are considering a move for LA Galaxy defender Julian Araujo, according to Fabrizio Romano. It is reported that the Blaugrana will decide on Thursday whether to make an approach for the 21-year-old Mexico international. The interest comes as USMNT star Sergino Dest is set to move to Camp Nou to AC Milan on loan, according to ESPN sources. Barcelona are also linked with Borussia Dortmund’s Thomas Meunier and Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin as Blaugrana manager Xavi Hernandez looks to find a solution at right-back.

– Despite a late move from PSG to land Milan Skriniar, Internazionale have decided to keep hold of the 27-year-old defender, reveals Gianluca Di Marzio. The Serie A star was a key target for PSG this summer, and while they wished to return to the negotiating table, Simone Inzaghi’s side have refused to enter any further discussions. It is reported that the San Siro hierarchy are now looking to offer him a new contract.

– Chelsea have made an approach to sign PSV Eindhoven defensive midfielder Ibrahim Sangare, according to Eindhovens Dagblad. After Sangare signed a new contract with the Eredivisie club this summer, the Blues could now need to offer more than the €37m release clause that was in the 24-year-old’s previous deal. It is reported that while PSV are open to moving him on, they do not want to part ways with Sangare and Cody Gakpo in the same transfer window.

Manuel Akanji is set to complete his move to Manchester City, reports Fabrizio Romano. The 27-year-old centre-back has been on the radar of a number of clubs this summer, having entered the final year of his contract at Borussia Dortmund, and it looks as though Pep Guardiola has won the race to sign him in a deal worth €17 million. The move is expected to be announced on Thursday.

– Fulham have made a late move in an attempt to sign Blackburn Rovers striker Ben Brereton Diaz, The Athletic reports. The Championship forward scored 23 goals in 34 league starts last season, and the latest indicates that the Cottagers will challenge for the 23-year-old Chile international’s signature. He has previously been linked with Nice, which had a £10m bid rejected for his transfer earlier this summer.

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