Rumour Has It: Lukaku set for deadline-day move to Inter, Spurs strike Lo Celso deal

By Sports Desk August 08, 2019

The transfer window slams shut in England on Thursday and Romelu Lukaku is finally set to get his move.

Linked to Inter and Juventus throughout the off-season, Manchester United striker Lukaku is poised to swap Old Trafford for San Siro in Milan.

Lukaku's exit could trigger United to make a late dash for his replacement.

 

TOP STORY – LUKAKU TO SWAP UNITED FOR INTER

After months of speculation, Lukaku will swap Manchester United for Serie A side Inter according to widespread reports.

Lukaku landed in Milan in the early hours of Thursday morning ahead of his €75million (£70m) move to Inter.

Inter will reportedly pay a €65m fixed fee and €10m in add-ons, with the deal also including a five per cent cut of any future sale.

 

ROUND-UP

- With Lukaku leaving Old Trafford, United are willing to pay the £81m (€88m) release clause to lure Inaki Williams from Athletic Bilbao, reports El Chiringuito TV. The Red Devils are also continuing to be linked to Juventus' Mario Mandzukic and former Tottenham striker Fernando Llorente, who is a free agent.

Tottenham are set to complete deadline-day deals for Real Betis midfielder Giovani Lo Celso and Fulham's Ryan Sessegnon, reports the Telegraph. Spurs are hopeful of clinching a transfer for Lo Celso at £55m (€59.7m), while Sessegnon could cost £20m.

- According to Sport, Real Madrid have offered €120m plus Luka Modric for wantaway Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar. Barcelona have been linked with their former forward but the LaLiga champions must raise funds before trying to re-sign the Brazil international. Barca could free up space by selling Philippe Coutinho, who has reportedly attracted interest from Premier League trio United, Tottenham and Arsenal.

Arsenal are set for a busy deadline day. The Sun reports the Gunners could land Chelsea defender David Luiz in a £12m deal, while Unai Emery's side have agreed a Scottish transfer record fee of £25m for Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney, according to the BBC.

- Tottenham have agreed to sign Juventus star Paulo Dybala but the player's image rights are holding up the deal, says the Independent. Dybala has also been linked to Paris Saint-Germain after turning down a move to Manchester United.

- Sportitalia says Wolves have agreed a £23m (€25m) fee to sign AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie, who reportedly wants a wage increase. Wolves have already signed Patrick Cutrone from Milan.

- According to Sky Sports, Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha has handed in a transfer request as Everton look to sign the former Manchester United forward.

Mario Balotelli is on the verge of joining Brazilian side Flamengo until December 2021. That is according to La Gazzetta dello Sport and Sky Sport Italia. Balotelli is a free agent following his Marseille exit.

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  • Manchester City v Manchester United: Sterling following footsteps of Barnes and Regis, says Townsend Manchester City v Manchester United: Sterling following footsteps of Barnes and Regis, says Townsend

    Few, if any, Manchester City players will receive a bigger roar of approval than Raheem Sterling when the teams are read out before kick-off at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

    The England forward will aim to inspire victory in the Manchester derby against United for his adoring public, before basking in its glow the following day – his 25th birthday.

    Whatever the result, Sterling's quarter-century also marks the one-year anniversary of bleak but life-altering day.

    "The way they were looking at me, I had to see where all this anger was coming from," he told the New York Times, remembering how he observed a small number of irate fans in the Matthew Harding Stand at Stamford Bridge, while retrieving the ball for a corner during a Premier League match City would lose 2-0 to Chelsea.

    "I was listening in to hear what they were saying… 'Nah, that can't be what I heard'."

    Television replays that quickly went viral on social media suggested Sterling's suspicions he had been subjected to racist abuse were correct.

    This July, Chelsea also reached that conclusion as they banned one supporter for life and handed out sanctions from between one to two years for incidents at the same Premier League match. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided not to initiate criminal prosecutions.

    By this stage, Sterling had long since altered the conversation.

    'Have a second though'

    "Regarding what was said at the Chelsea game, as you can see by my reaction, I just had to laugh because I don't expect no better," he wrote in an Instagram post the day after the game, in what remains a damning assessment of the atmospheres and sickening attitudes too often allowed to fester in football stadia – supposedly places of celebration and work for young athletes.

    But Sterling was keen to turn the focus outwards, taking the opportunity to highlight the contrasting tones with which the Daily Mail reported on two of his young team-mates Phil Foden and Tosin Adarabioyo – one white, one black – buying houses for their mothers.

    "This young black kid is looked at in a bad light, which helps fuel racism an aggressive behaviour," Sterling posted, before imploring news outlets to "have a second thought about fair publicity"

    Troy Townsend, head of development at anti-racism and discrimination organisation Kick It Out, felt this reframing was particularly timely given the events a week earlier at the north London derby, where a Tottenham fan threw a banana skin at Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

    "My response was, literally, 'Well done, Raheem'," Townsend told Omnisport.

    "The week before, [the Aubameyang incident] wasn't racism to many. That wasn't racism to people who have never experienced the act of the banana being thrown at them or being called a monkey.

    "So, Raheem's was a massive, great step. It let the media look at each other and I think that's massive. In one post he's made elements of the media change."

    Far from being hindered by the increased focus upon him as an eloquent and reluctant role model, Sterling has gone from strength to strength on the field.

    That treble feeling

    A brace in May's FA Cup final saw him conclude last season with 25 club goals in all competitions as City claimed an unprecedented domestic treble – the first part of which, the EFL Cup, came as Sterling steered the decisive kick in a penalty shoot-out against Chelsea into the top corner.

    There have been hat-tricks in the Champions League and for England, who he captained in June's Nations League Finals semi-final versus the Netherlands. Now a reliable goalscorer for his country, he netted eight in qualification for Euro 2020.

    The industry he urged to take a look at itself honoured Sterling, the 2018-19 Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year. The BBC's Sports Personality of the Year gong could be added to his collection this month.

    "It's all about mentality. Mentality, maturity and growing up," Sterling said ahead of the showdown with United.

    "I'm obsessed with football, obsessed with scoring goals, obsessed with recovering quicker and obsessed with improving myself."

    Spiralling numbers show how fruitful that obsession has been, while Sterling's maturity – a scuffle with Joe Gomez on international duty aside – is frequently evident.

    Every time he intervenes on issues of racism, be it responding to he and England team-mates receiving abuse in Montenegro and Bulgaria, defending Italy striker Moise Kean or supporting Newport County Under-14 goalkeeper Ethan Ross, Sterling strikes at the heart of the issue and is a force for good.

    He covered the funeral costs of Crystal Palace youth player Damary Dawkins, who tragically lost his battle with leukaemia, having dedicated an England goal against the Czech Republic to the 13-year-old.

    Raheem the role model

    Other examples of Sterling's community mindedness could be found when he arranged tickets to City's FA Cup semi-final against Brighton and Hove Albion for 550 pupils from his old school, while last month he urged those able to among his 2.2million Twitter follows to register to vote in the upcoming UK general election.

    "He's a young, black role model for so many young people. His status will go far and beyond football, that's for sure," said Townsend, who feels Sterling can align with some of British football's true pioneers and icons.

    "You will have young people not just wanting to be Raheem Sterling the footballer, but who will want to be Raheem Sterling the human being.

    "I take that as the kind of impact John Barnes had, when he was almost fighting racism by himself. Or Cyrille Regis, Laurie Cunningham and Brendon Batson when they were at West Brom.

    "With those forefathers, the generation before him, he will be recognised as someone who's had a massive influence and impact.

    "That's probably the most powerful legacy of that post a year ago. He will have empowered many people to stand up for themselves, stand up for their rights and stand up for who they are as human beings."

    Townsend is at pains to point out Sterling cannot be the "be-all and end-all" in the fight against racism, and that burden must never be placed upon any single person.

    But, as Manchester United look to repel the City star's on-field obsession, it is to his immense credit he has managed to shed so much light a year on from that dark day.

  • Manchester City v Manchester United: Rashford ruling the roost as Reds' big-game talisman Manchester City v Manchester United: Rashford ruling the roost as Reds' big-game talisman

    It's March 2016. Excitement and expectation are through the roof for one particular teenager ahead of his first Manchester derby.

    The local lad had already risen to the occasion in the Europa League and against Arsenal, but this was a far bigger deal for the 18-year-old who'd grown up a Manchester United fan.

    Marcus Rashford started in attack with Antony Martial and their pace and mobility proving a lethal combination, particularly with respect to the former.

    Highlighting his ice-cold mentality on the big stage, Rashford was decisive. Roasting Manchester City defender Martin Demichelis in the 16th minute, the striker nutmegged him at pace and left the experienced centre-back for dead before clinically dispatching past Joe Hart.

    If onlookers hadn't sat up and taken notice already after his heroics against Arsenal and Midtjylland, they were now. Rashford proved he was no mere flash in the pan.

    A leader's mentality

    Since that bright debut derby, Rashford has gone on to feature another seven times against City and he'll be desperate to leave is mark in Saturday's clash. It is the sort of occasion that has started to typify his status as a big-game player with an elite mentality.

    Rashford's most recent Manchester derby came in April, as City comfortably dispatched of United 2-0 at Old Trafford. It was this encounter that seemed to suggest their wretched form after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's permanent appointment was anything but a blip.

    More than anyone, Rashford was scathing of United.

    "It was quite clear who the better team was," Rashford said to Sky Sports. "We didn't play like Man United and the last few weeks it hasn't felt like Man United. It's not right. The bare minimum should be to work hard and give your all for the supporters and the badge.

    "We need the mentality and willingness of running for your team. We never call each other out but we have to be real with each other. It's a matter of trying to improve each other."

    While some may have put Rashford's comments down to 'holier than thou' posturing in an attempt to win a new contract, which duly arrived in July, there's little doubt he is now the talisman that should be speaking out.

    Motivation an issue?

    Rashford has become the player many fans are still hoping Martial will develop into. With nine goals in 15 Premier League matches, the England international is already just one behind his personal best for a full campaign.

    With 12 goals in his past 13 matches for club and country, Rashford is in the form of his life – yet even as recently as this season he has been a target for criticism.

    It has been suggested he struggles to make the difference against opponents who sit back, the games United are expected to control and data backs this up.

    In 85 matches against teams not in the current top four or traditionally part of the so-called 'big six', Rashford has scored just 19 times, an average of one every 275.9 minutes.

    It's a record that does raise valid concerns – after all, the best strikers score against pretty much everyone and anyone.

    At home on the big stage

    But what highlights Rashford's true ability and gives a clear insight to his mindset is the forward's record against the biggest clubs.

    In 41 Premier League meetings against the 'big six' and Leicester, he has an impressive haul of 17 goals, one every 163.4 minutes.

    Rashford's effectiveness in front of goal increases remarkably in such matches. Even though his shot frequency goes down from one every 28.8 minutes to 39.1 minutes, his accuracy is boosted significantly.

    Against the biggest sides, Rashford's shot accuracy rises to 48 per cent from 40 per cent, while his chance conversion increases from 10 per cent to 24 per cent.

    Rashford proved his decisiveness last time out against Tottenham and former manager Jose Mourinho, who often did little good for his confidence.

    He suggested United generally do better against teams who don't invite pressure on to themselves – backed up by the fact they've only lost two of 11 matches against the rest of the 'big six' and Leicester.

    And with a City side that hasn't kept a clean sheet in the Premier League for nearly two months next up, Rashford has another chance to prove any lingering doubters he's worthy of being regarded United's new talisman.

  • Liverpool boss Klopp hints at January striker signing Liverpool boss Klopp hints at January striker signing

    Jurgen Klopp suggested Premier League leaders Liverpool could look to sign a striker in January if Rhian Brewster leaves on loan.

    Brewster, 19, has been linked with a short-term stint away from Anfield – Crystal Palace, Leeds United and Swansea City reportedly interested.

    The highly rated England Under-21 international impressed in pre-season but has managed only a pair of EFL Cup appearances this term.

    Allowing him to gain experience elsewhere would leave Champions League holders Liverpool without a recognised centre-forward beyond Roberto Firmino and Divock Origi.

    "Yes, we have to see," Klopp told UK media when asked whether Brewster's departure could lead to a new arrival.

    "We can't just give the boys on loan because we have built this squad.

    "We have three long-term injuries and four with Paul Glatzel. Two of them were pre-season, two came later with Joel [Matip] and Fabinho.

    "That gives us a 16-player squad and I count the kids, but we cannot only give players on loan and think it is good for him, we always have to consider both situations, the boy's and ours.

    "In the end we try to make the perfect solution. Sometimes it works out, others it does not."

    Klopp said of Brewster: "Maybe Rhian is the one, age-wise, experience-wise, [to go out on loan].

    "If he had not been injured he would already have been on a different level, but that is the situation and we constantly think of the situation for the boys.

    "He is very young, but still a bit advanced. But I don't know, we don't make decisions right now. If we do it then it 100 per cent needs to be the right club."

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