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Top Story: Juve close in on De Ligt deal
It may feel like this transfer saga has dragged on and on, but really, the window’s only been open a week, and it now seems as though Matthijs de Ligt has chosen his next destination.
Many moons ago, the Ajax captain looked certain to follow Frenkie de Jong to Barcelona. Just a few weeks ago, sources told ESPN FC that Paris Saint-Germain had moved into pole position for the 19-year-old’s signature. Now, Sky Italia’s Fabrizio Romano is reporting that the Netherlands international “has agreed personal terms with [Juventus].”
Romano actually attributes quotes to De Ligt’s agent, Mino Raiola, confirming the move to the eight-time defending Serie A champions: “Matthijs has agreed personal terms with Juve. We’re waiting for them to complete the agreement with Ajax soon.”
Now, there’s just the matter of meeting Ajax’s €75 million valuation, which could be complicated by this next bit of news …
Juve prepping £120m Pogba bid
It seems money could be tight this summer for the Old Lady, with the Times reporting that Juventus are also readying a £120m bid for Paul Pogba — in addition to the stack of cash they’ll need to send to Amsterdam if they’re going to bring in De Ligt as well.
Raiola — who also happens to be Pogba’s agent — told the Times last week that he was “in the process” of arranging the France World Cup winner’s exit from Manchester United, but this report states that the Red Devils “are resolved to resist any efforts” to take Pogba from Old Trafford.
Regardless of whether United would actually entertain the sale of the 26-year-old, an offer of £120m isn’t going to be enough to test their resolve.
And, as we alluded to earlier, the Times suggests that the massive wages given to free signings Aaron Ramsey, Adrien Rabiot and Gianluigi Buffon — in addition to the enormous pay packet of Cristiano Ronaldo and his nine-figure transfer fee from last summer — means the Bianconeri may not have the financial wherewithal to afford Pogba.
Newcastle still searching after Gerrard and Vieira refusals
According to the Mirror, Newcastle owner Mike Ashley sent out feelers to the camps of both Gerrard and Vieira, but indicated they were happy at their clubs for the moment.
Ashley is stuck trying to replace Rafa Benitez, who left the Premier League side for a lucrative offer in China. Ashley is also frustrated by slowing of a potential £350m takeover by Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan.
Both Gerrard and Vieira are preparing for the second season with their respective campaigns.
– Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has been informed by midfielder Mario Lemina that he wants to leave the clubs, reports the Mirror. The 25-year-old had an injury-hit season at St Mary’s last year after joining from Juventus in the summer of 2017 for £15m and has told the club he’s ready to move on, telling reporters: ”They are giving me the opportunity to be able to go elsewhere.”
– Liverpool are leading the pack of suitors looking to sign England Under-17 midfielder Harvey Elliot from Fulham, according to the Telegraph. The academy project recently rejected a scholarship from his boyhood club, says the report, setting up a dream move to Anfield despite the fact he can’t officially turn pro until his 17th birthday next April.
– Frank Lampard‘s arrival as Chelsea boss could be good news for his former Blues and England teammate Ashley Cole. The Sun says Lampard, who brought Cole in to aid his Derby team’s run to the Championship playoff final this season, wants Cole to join his coaching staff after the 38-year-old called time on his career at the end of the 2018-19 campaign.
– Former Philadelphia Union midfielder Roland Alberg is on trial at A-League club Adelaide United, according to News Corp. The 28-year-old spent last season at Panionios, but only made three appearances for Greek Super League side.