Chelsea are showing they still have plenty of business to take care of during this transfer period, with reports they will make significant bids for Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong and Leicester City's Wesley Fofana.

De Jong has been a central figure in transfer news since the season ended, locked in an ongoing saga with Manchester United after they finally met Barcelona's asking price, only for the 25-year-old Dutch international to reveal he has no interest in heading to a club outside of the Champions League.

Meanwhile, Chelsea have been outgoing about their desire for another quality centre back to bring in along with Kalidou Koulibaly, and after Barcelona swooped in at the 11th hour to land Blues target Jules Kounde, Fofana is the new hot name in their hunt for a long-term solution in the middle of defence.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA PREPARE BIG-MONEY BIDS FOR DE JONG AND FOFANA

In the immediate aftermath of Barcelona securing Kounde, reports came out that Chelsea were then unwilling to do further business with the Spanish giants, withholding Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta.

However, that seems to have changed as Sport is reporting the Stamford Bridge side will make a bid for De Jong, who Barcelona value at €80million, and if a deal can be made, Barca will then immediately use some of those funds to sign Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva.

For the 21-year-old Fofana, who has represented France at the under-21 level, Leicester reportedly value him at £85m after recently locking him down on a five-year contract expiring in 2027. Paris Saint-Germain are also said to be interested in the Foxes' defender.

 

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– The Athletic are reporting Chelsea have also put out a feeler for 26-year-old Inter defender Denzel Dumfries, while Sport Italia's Rudy Galetti claims they are also discussing Milan Skriniar.

– According to the Daily Mail, Newcastle United have turned their attention to Leicester winger Harvey Barnes after having their bid for James Maddison turned down.

Manchester United are reportedly weighing up moves for 25-year-old Stuttgart striker Sasa Kalajdzic and RB Salzburg 19-year-old Benjamin Sesko, with the latter said to be valued at over £50m.

– ESPN are reporting that if Manchester City cannot land Brighton left-back Marc Cucurella, then they will pivot to Borussia Dortmund's Raphael Guerreiro, who has 56 international caps for Portugal.

– Ekrem Konur has revealed that Aston Villa face stiff competition in their pursuit of Bodo/Glimt right-back Alfons Sampsted, with the 24-year-old Iceland international also drawing interest from Bayer Leverkusen, Lyon and Lazio.

It is becoming increasingly likely that Chelsea striker Timo Werner will be on his way out of Stamford Bridge with reports he has been offered to Real Madrid, while Newcastle United are also investigating a possible loan.

The two new teams linked with Werner come after Bild reported recently he was willing to take a 50 per cent pay-cut to return to former club RB Leipzig, indicating the Blues are well and truly shopping him around.

The 26-year-old scored only four Premier League goals in 21 appearances last season, though also recorded four goals and two assists in his five Champions League contests.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA'S WERNER ON THE WAY OUT

Chelsea and Madrid have been in recent contact about the Spanish side's interest in 20-year-old Armando Broja – who Thomas Tuchel is said to be a fan of – though El Larguero is reporting that the London club put Werner on the table instead.

Meanwhile, the Sunday Mirror claims Newcastle have also touched base about a potential loan deal, and the report states they are currently a more likely landing spot than his former club Leipzig.

His reported weekly wage of £270,000 per week would need to be significantly reduced to accommodate a move to either Leipzig or Newcastle, and that could be where Madrid come into the equation.

 

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– The Athletic is reporting that Brighton have put their foot down on a £50million asking price for 24-year-old left-back Marc Cucurella, who Manchester City is aggressively chasing.

Newcastle have had a £40m bid for Leicester City's James Maddison rejected, with his price-tag said to be at least £50m, according to the Times.

– Sport is reporting that Barcelona still have the intention of signing Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso from Chelsea, despite the English club marking them off-limits after being beaten to the signing of Jules Kounde by Barca.

Milan have agreed to a £26.9m deal for exciting 21-year-old Club Brugge midfielder Charles de Ketelaere, according to Calciomercato.

– Fabrizio Romano is reporting that Stoke City are in advanced discussions to secure young Man City midfielder Liam Delap on loan.

Real Madrid are the latest side to enquire about the availability of 20-year-old Chelsea striker Armando Broja, but the Premier League club are maintaining that he is not for sale.

The Albania international has been the subject of significant interest after a successful loan spell at Southampton last season, netting nine goals in 38 appearances.

Chelsea reportedly turned down a £30million offer from West Ham for Broja, and although Thomas Tuchel is said to be a fan, Madrid are eager to land the youngster.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA'S RISING ALBANIAN DRAWS REAL MADRID'S INTEREST

Since Romelu Lukaku departed from Chelsea on a season-long loan to Inter, questions have been asked about what the London club's plans are to bolster their attack.

The Evening Standard's report claims Carlo Ancelotti is on the hunt for young strikers to find a potential successor to 35-year-old Karim Benzema, although with Timo Werner potentially on his way back to RB Leipzig, Chelsea may have simply decided that Broja must stay.

West Ham have also reportedly not been driven away yet and remain interested, as do Everton and Newcastle United.

 

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– According to Bild, Bayern Munich full-back Benjamin Pavard would be willing to join Chelsea if they make a serious offer.

– The Telegraph is reporting RB Salzburg want £55m for 19-year-old Slovenian striker Benjamin Sesko, who is a Manchester United target, according to Manchester Evening News.

– Sky Sports Italia claims Juventus would like to acquire Barcelona forward Memphis Depay on loan, however the Catalan giants wants to make it a permanent deal.

– 90min say Everton are in advanced discussions with Chelsea to bring Ross Barkley back to the club, and they also have interest in Michy Batshuayi and Billy Gilmour.

– According to Talksport, West Ham are willing to meet the £17.5m release clause for 25-year-old Burnley winger Maxwel Cornet.

Milan have confirmed Daniel Maldini has joined Spezia on a season-long loan, leaving San Siro for the first time.

The 20-year-old is a third-generation footballer with the club, having followed in the footsteps of his father, modern legend Paolo Maldini, and grandfather, club icon Cesare Maldini, in playing for Milan.

Cesare started his Serie A career at Triestina and ended his playing days at Torino, but Paolo stayed with Milan throughout.

This now represents Daniel's first move away from the club, having made 15 Serie A appearances for the Rossoneri across three seasons. However, those outings have only amounted 194 minutes.

At Spezia, the 20-year-old will get the opportunity to establish himself in the top flight.

Juventus great Gianluigi Buffon believes Paulo Dybala will benefit from joining Roma over Serie A rivals Inter.

Dybala had been strongly linked with a switch to San Siro after his contract with Juve, where he had spent the past seven seasons, expired.

However, Inter instead re-signed Romelu Lukaku on loan from Chelsea, and the Argentina international then had a choice between Napoli and Roma, eventually opting for the latter on a three-year deal.

Buffon, who spent five seasons playing in the same side as Dybala in Turin, feels his former colleague made the right decision.

"Paulo had the right to choose after his exit from Juventus on a free transfer," Parma goalkeeper Buffon told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"In the past few weeks, Dybala could have gone to Inter, Roma or Napoli and I hoped he would have chosen either of the latter two. I hoped it for his career.

"Paulo needed an emotional shock and I was certain that only Roma and Napoli could have given that to him. I wrote it to him in a message and I am happy to see him at Roma."

 

Dybala has scored 103 goals in 299 outings in his decade in Serie A with Palermo and Juve, with the 22 goals he managed in the 2017-18 campaign his best single-season return.

The 28-year-old joins a Roma side that finished sixth last season but lifted the Europa Conference League trophy in Jose Mourinho's first year at the helm.

That made Roma the first Italian side to win a major European competition since Inter triumphed in the Champions League in 2010, also under Mourinho.

Dybala adds further depth to a squad that already contains the likes of Lorenzo Pellegrini and Tammy Abraham, who is delighted with the transfer coup.

"I think it's a privilege to have added a player that good to our team. It means a lot to the fans, who have received him very well," Abraham said.

"The message appears clear to me: the club is creating a great project and the results are clear."

Tottenham have reportedly entered the race for 23-year-old Roma attacking midfielder Nicolo Zaniolo, with Juventus also heavily linked to the Italy international.

Zaniolo missed the entire 2020-21 season after suffering the second torn ACL of his career, but he made a successful return this past campaign, totalling 42 club appearances, including five goals and four assists in 10 Conference League fixtures.

The man with nine senior international caps has been linked with Juventus for some time now, but with the club yet to make any breakthrough, they could face competition from the Premier League.

TOP STORY – TOTTENHAM LOOK TO SWOOP IN FOR JUVENTUS TARGET

According to Tuttosport, Juventus and Roma have been holding discussions about different constructions of a deal for Zaniolo, including an iteration that would make it a loan this season with an option to buy after. The report mentions his price tag is believed to be between £30million and £40million.

With Tottenham set to play Roma in a friendly on Saturday, it is said to be an opportunity for the two clubs to sit down and discuss the possibility of a move.

Reports have claimed Spurs are willing to include Giovani Lo Celso in their bid, with the English club said to value the Argentinian at £17million.


ROUND-UP

– L'Equipe is reporting that Marseille are investigating a potential move for Inter's Alexis Sanchez.

– Fabrizio Romano says Chelsea have yet to receive an acceptable offer for 20-year-old striker Armando Broja after turning down a £30million bid from West Ham, and that he may be competing for first-team minutes this season.

– Fabrizio Romano is also reporting that Everton have approached Paris Saint-Germain about bringing 32-year-old Idrissa Gueye back to the club after he left in 2019.

– According to 90min, West Ham are in talks with Eintracht Frankfurt about 29-year-old wing-back Filip Kostic after having their first bid turned down.

Ajax, Newcastle United and Bayer Leverkusen are tracking 18-year-old forward Giovani, playing for Palmeiras in the Brazilian top division, according to ESPN Brasil.

Jurgen Klopp said it is "essential" Roberto Firmino stays at Liverpool amid reports he could join Juventus.

Juve are said to have targeted the Brazil international as they look to rebuild under Massimiliano Allegri, with Paulo Dybala having left on a free transfer to Roma.

Firmino has become a fans' favourite at Anfield after joining the Reds from Hoffenheim in 2015, but the 30-year-old is in the final year of his contract.

Liverpool manager Klopp dismissed talk that Firmino could be on the move ahead of the Community Shield showdown with Manchester City on Saturday.

"Bobby is crucial for us," Klopp said during a press conference on Thursday. "Bobby is [the] heart and soul of this team.

"The way we played in the last few years was only possible because of Bobby. That's why I’m really happy he could train the majority of the time here in the pre-season so far and everything looks really good.

"I am absolutely fine and, for me, there's no doubt about his quality. All the rest, we will see how this year goes, but yes, he is essential for us."

Firmino played 35 times across all competitions last season for Liverpool, scoring 11 goals. For the past five years, he has been a crucial part of the Reds' fearsome attacking trident alongside Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

Yet that trio is no more, with Mane having left for Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, though Klopp has no complaints over the prolific Senegal forward's decision to move on.

"We lost Sadio who was a fixed member of the line-up for six years, he told us he wanted a new challenge," Klopp added.

"He told us early enough and we accepted it. We had time to prepare that and that's what we did."

Klopp revealed goalkeeper Alisson and forward Diogo Jota will miss the clash with City due to injury.

Atletico Madrid have completed the signing of Nahuel Molina from Udinese for an undisclosed fee.

The Argentina right-back has signed a five-year-deal at the Wanda Metropolitano, where his compatriot Diego Simeone is the long-serving head coach.

Molina played 68 games for Udinese across two seasons, scoring 10 goals and recording seven assists for Le Zebrette.

The 24-year-old has also established himself with his national side, including playing five times for Argentina as they went on to win the 2021 Copa America.

Atletico have been short at right-back since selling Kieran Trippier to Newcastle United in January, while Sime Vrsaljko left the club for Olympiacos after the expiry of his contract at the end of the season.

Paul Pogba hoped his move to Juventus would be a fresh start, but already the midfielder is facing the worrying possibility he could miss the World Cup.

Leaving Manchester United and returning to Turin looked set to be a switch that would allow Pogba to set aside a difficult time in England, where he was plagued by injuries.

However, a knee problem has hit Pogba in the early weeks of his second spell with Juventus, and reports on Thursday in Italy pointed to possible bleak news ahead for the France midfielder, who was a key figure as Les Bleus won the World Cup four years ago in Russia.

Pogba complained of his injury while with Juventus in the United States, and initial checks led Juventus to announce he had suffered a lesion of the lateral meniscus.

The injury to his right knee means Pogba is sure to face a spell on the sidelines, and now it remains to be seen how long that lasts.

It depends on what course of action is taken, and Corriere dello Sport reported that Pogba would see a specialist on Thursday.

The newspaper said there were two options that would be considered, with the first involving the removal of the damaged part of the meniscus and the second focusing on fully repairing the knee. Those are the standard options for repairing a torn meniscus.

The initial path could see Pogba sidelined for around six weeks, reports said, but the secondary option could see him ruled out of action for the rest of the calendar year.

Juventus have yet to give any indication of how long they expect to be without Pogba.

Pogba, 29, spent four years at Juventus between 2012 and 2016, winning four Serie A titles in that period before moving to United for a then world record fee of £89.3million (€105million).

The World Cup begins on November 21 in Qatar, and France boss Didier Deschamps would want 91-cap Pogba to have proven his fitness well in advance of the tournament getting under way.

Juventus have been targeting a deal for Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino, hoping he can be acquired for around £20million.

Firmino, 30, has spent the past seven seasons with Liverpool, playing a major role in winning the 2019-20 Premier League and 2018-19 Champions League, but in the past season a series of injuries limited him to his fewest league appearances (20) and league goals (five) since arriving at Anfield.

Corriere dello Sport claims the Brazilian was not Juventus' first choice when weighing up the striker market, but interest grew as it became increasingly unlikely they would be able to bring Alvaro Morata back to the club from Atletico Madrid.


TOP STORY – WITH MORATA UNLIKELY TO RETURN, JUVENTUS PIVOT TO FIRMINO

Darwin Nunez's arrival has given Liverpool an abundance of options up front, and instead of letting Firmino operate as a back-up as his value continues to diminish, the club could elect to cash in, if the price is right.

The report from Italy claims Juventus have also been investigating the possibility of acquiring Chelsea's Timo Werner or Manchester United's Anthony Martial, but securing Firmino would put an end to those pursuits.

Reports from England have indicated Liverpool are not interested in selling for the fee Juventus have so far proposed.

Meanwhile, Marca is reporting that Juventus are also in the hunt for Benfica left-back Alejandro Grimaldo, with Manchester City and Newcastle United their main competition.


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– Spanish publication Cadena Ser claims Frenkie de Jong has told team-mates he has no plans to leave Barcelona in the current transfer period, despite strong interest from Manchester United.

– Cadena Ser is also reporting that Barcelona will look to sell highly paid goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen for financial relief if they can not convince De Jong to leave.

– According to The Athletic, Bournemouth are set to sign 23-year-old Middlesbrough winger Marcus Tavernier for £10million.

Roma are reportedly in the final stages of securing Georginio Wijnaldum on a loan deal from Paris Saint-Germain, with negotiations said to be continuing about the percentage of salary the French club will cover during his stay in Italy.

– The Daily Mail is reporting that Ajax have raised their asking price for Manchester United target Antony to £84million, likely indicating they have no intention of parting ways with the 22-year-old Brazil international.

Gianluca Scamacca has revealed Roberto Mancini was influential in his decision to leave Sassuolo for West Ham, with the Italy head coach believing a Premier League move was best for his development.

Scamacca, who had been linked with the likes of Paris Saint-Germain earlier in the transfer window, signed a five-year contract with the option of an extra 12 months at the London Stadium on Tuesday.

West Ham have reportedly agreed to pay an initial £30.5million (€36m) for the towering centre-forward, who scored 16 Serie A goals for Sassuolo last term.

Among players to have scored 15 or more goals in a top-five European league in 2021-22, only three were younger than 23-year-old Scamacca, namely Erling Haaland (22 goals), Vinicius Junior (17) and Dusan Vlahovic (24).

Scamacca's form with the Neroverdi led to him breaking into Mancini's Italy squad, making seven appearances for the Azzurri since his debut last year.

The striker made UEFA Nations League starts against Germany and England in June as Mancini looked to remould Italy's attack in the wake of their failure to reach the Qatar World Cup.

After making his move to east London, Scamacca revealed he had discussed his future with Manchester City's 2011-12 title-winning boss.

"We spoke before I came here, and he said it was the best place for me," Scamacca told West Ham's website. 

"[He wanted me] playing in a tournament that would help me to get better and improve, because the Premier League is the best league."

Scamacca could make his Premier League debut when West Ham face Mancini's former side at the London Stadium on August 7.

Napoli have announced the signing of central defender Kim Min-jae from Fenerbahce, shelling out a reported €19.5million for the South Korea international in a bid to replace Kalidou Koulibaly.

Luciano Spalletti's team finished third in Serie A after threatening a first Scudetto win since the Diego Maradona era last term, conceding the joint-fewest goals in the division (31, alongside Milan).

But the Partenopei have been in the market for reinforcements since they lost defensive colossus Koulibaly to Chelsea in a €40m deal earlier this month.

Kim, who has 42 caps for his country and will hope to feature when they open their World Cup campaign against Uruguay on November 24, is the man Napoli have signed to fill that void after he enjoyed an impressive one-season spell in Turkey.

Having contributed to Fenerbahce conceding just 38 league goals last term, the towering 25-year-old has penned a three-year deal with the option of two further seasons in Italy.

Reports also suggest Kim will have a release clause of €45million.

Napoli begin their 2022-23 Serie A campaign at Verona on August 15 but have endured a troubled off-season, losing both Koulibaly and Lorenzo Insigne during the transfer window, while president Aurelio De Laurentiis confirmed on Saturday that club legend Dries Mertens is also departing.

Milan defender Fikayo Tomori has dismissed suggestions Inter and Juventus are favourites to take the Rossoneri's Serie A crown next season, declaring: "They also said it last year."

However, the England international acknowledged Inter's loan signing of Romelu Lukaku – who he described as "special" – represents a major coup for Milan's cross-city rivals.

Tomori enjoyed a stellar campaign as Stefano Pioli's men ended an 11-year wait to win the Scudetto last season, contributing to 13 clean sheets in 31 Serie A appearances. 

Meanwhile, the former Chelsea defender topped the Rossoneri charts for blocks (23), interceptions (45), clearances (77) and tackles (73) in his first campaign since making a permanent move to San Siro last June. 

No team conceded fewer Serie A goals (31) or recorded more wins (26) than Milan last term, but Inter's signing of Lukaku and Juventus' moves for Paul Pogba and Angel Di Maria have seen the Derby d'Italia rivals touted as title favourites for 2022-23.

Speaking to Sky Sports Italia, however, Tomori suggested it would be unwise to write off Milan, smiling: "Are they the favourites? They also said it last year and then we won.

"When I arrived in Milan I knew the team was strong and we could win the Scudetto. 

"I knew it was a special club, especially in the Champions League. We are excited and we are still hungry to win."

 

Lukaku's return to Inter, for whom he scored 24 Serie A goals during a 2020-21 Scudetto triumph under Antonio Conte, represents a significant coup for Milan's rivals.

And Tomori labelled the striker "a special player" as he revealed his high hopes for another Belgian attacker, new Milan arrival Divock Origi.

"The first time I faced him in the derby was my debut in Milan," Tomori said of Lukaku. "I am not afraid but I respect him, he is strong and will be like this again this year. Romelu is a special player.

"Origi is strong and fast, a good sign, I played against him last year [in the Champions League]."

Despite enjoying a dream campaign during his first full season at San Siro, Tomori is still targeting individual improvements, and has no shortage of defensive role models to look up to in Milan.

"I saw [Alessandro] Nesta, [Jaap] Stam, Cafu, all very strong. But the one I liked the most is Paolo Maldini, also because he is back here while we do the interview!" The defender continued.

"[Franco] Baresi is not as tall as me, but he had leadership, and then the position of the body, the voice on the pitch... the same thing for Maldini and Nesta. 

"Personality on the pitch, ability to read the different moments of the match… I want to show these characteristics too."

Milan begin their title defence at home to Udinese on August 13.

Dusan Vlahovic has targeted scoring 30 goals and leading Juventus to the Serie A title in his first full season in Turin, as he bids to become the first player to win the Capocannoniere (top scorer award) and the Scudetto in the same campaign since 2008-09.

Not since Zlatan Ibrahimovic top-scored with 25 league goals for Jose Mourinho's Inter 13 years ago has Serie A's top scorer played for the title winners, leading Massimiliano Allegri to joke recently he hopes Vlahovic does not win the award next term. 

Vlahovic scored 24 Serie A goals last season – seven after leaving Fiorentina for Juventus in January, a tally only bettered by Lazio's Ciro Immobile (27). 

Since making his Serie A debut in September 2018, Vlahovic has hit 51 goals in just 113 appearances in the competition.

With Juve having finished fourth in successive league campaigns, Vlahovic hopes his goals can drive them to silverware in the 2022-23 season.

"I have read that in the last 10 to 12 years the top scorer has never won the Scudetto, but there is always a first time, right?" the Serbian told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Team goals come before personal ones, it's more important for Juve to win, but if I score 30 goals and we become Italian champions, for me that's fine.

"It's the only gift I want. Everything else passes, only the successes remain.

"In Serbia, Italian football was followed a lot, we push beyond our limits to get victories.

"I grew up with the aim of becoming a winner and I will do everything to make it into Juve's history, given the players who have been here." 

 

Vlahovic was linked with several of Europe's biggest clubs, including a host of Premier League outfits, before he opted to follow in the footsteps of Roberto Baggio, Juan Cuadrado and Federico Chiesa in swapping Florence for Turin.

While his move to La Viola's rivals was controversial, Vlahovic says Juve's winning mentality made it an easy decision to make.

"It wasn't a difficult choice because Juve is a glorious club, very close to my way of working: fighting, never giving up until the end, believing even when it seems that all is lost is my philosophy and that of the club too," he added.

"We all know what Juve represent in Italy. For me, it is a pleasure and an honour to defend these colours."

Juventus will begin their Serie A campaign at home to Sassuolo on August 15 after wrapping up pre-season with matches against Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.

Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri hailed Angel Di Maria as "extraordinary" after the new arrival impressed in the Bianconeri's 2-2 friendly draw with Barcelona.

Allegri also warned the Blaugrana are "back" and ready to compete for silverware after rebuilding their side during a busy transfer window under Xavi.

A brace each for Ousmane Dembele and Moise Kean saw Barca and Juve share an entertaining draw in Dallas, with Di Maria impressing, particularly in the first half.

After the match, Allegri said the Argentine – who won five Ligue 1 titles during a seven-year spell with Paris Saint-Germain before heading to Turin on a free transfer earlier this month – was a top signing for Juve.

"Di Maria is an extraordinary player. He is a champion, and it is a pleasure to see him play," Allegri said. 

"For us, it was a great acquisition."

Juventus were subjected to a tough test against Barcelona, who handed starts to new signings Robert Lewandowski, Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen, as Xavi's team recorded 20 attempts and enjoyed 58 per cent of the possession in Texas.

And Allegri was pleased with how his side coped against elite opposition as he warned Barcelona will be back in contention for major honours after their recent spending spree.

"Tonight we had a good match against an important team," Allegri added.

"Without a doubt we could have done better on the two goals we conceded, but we had many scoring chances, I'm happy with how it went. We are working very well and tonight was a good test. 

"Attention, Barcelona are back... they have built an important team to return to win. This draw is worth a lot."

Juventus wrap up their tour of the United States against Real Madrid in Los Angeles on Sunday, before travelling to Israel to face Atletico Madrid in their final outing of pre-season.

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