Frenkie de Jong features in Gossip for the 87th time this summer, while Timo Werner looks close to a Chelsea exit. Here is Saturday’s Gossip…
CHELSEA MAKE TASTY DE JONG OFFER
Every day, without fail, there is a new update on the Frenkie de Jong transfer saga and with Chelsea now firmly in the mix to sign the Dutch midfielder, there is plenty to write about.
Manchester United have already agreed a fee with Barcelona but can’t reach an agreement on personal terms. Their own situation – no Champions League football, no league title in nearly a decade, no trophy in five years, and being a shambles since Sir Alex Ferguson left – has not made things easy. But De Jong has his own issues to resolve in Catalonia before he can leave.
The La Liga club’s behaviour and transfer business this summer has left many around the world baffled and a bit discombobulated (any excuse to use that word). They have spent a lot of money despite their crippling debt, pulled financial levers like they’re going out of fashion and have asked numerous players to take massive pay cuts, De Jong included.
The 25-year-old is the club’s highest earner and is owed between £14-17m in deferred wages – and it is unlikely that he will leave until he is paid that money.
On a side note, Barcelona are now hoping stalwarts Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique will accept pay cuts so they can register new players. This is despite both players doing exactly this last summer. Stay classy, Barca.
Anyway, back to the Chelsea stuff after going off on a bit of a tangent. Spanish newspaper Sport have reported a pretty appealing offer from the Blues for De Jong. They reckon they have put €70million on the table, as well as Marcos Alonso, who the Blaugrana have been chasing all summer.
I’m no transfer expert, but I’d expect Barca to accept this offer, but as we all know, that is half the battle when it comes to this saga. De Jong needs to be happy with the transfer and needs to receive that bloody money he is rightly owed.
BLUES FLOP CLOSE TO EXIT
Sticking with Chelsea, they look like they are on the verge of offloading Timo Werner.
The German forward has had a tough time in England, seemingly forgetting to pack his shooting boots when moving from RB Leipzig for £47m. And with his shooting boots still in Leipzig, he looks like he could be on his way back.
Reliable Telegraph reporter Mike McGrath says there is ‘confidence’ growing over a deal and Werner is ‘prioritising’ the ‘right team’ and ‘playing’ time over how much money he will make. You’ve got to admire it, really. Who said the game was gone?
In fact, there have been rumours Werner is willing to take a pay cut to leave Stamford Bridge.
Whether or not he will join Leipzig on a permanent or temporary basis is not clarified by McGrath, nor is it clarified by Jan Aage Fjortoft, who believes a deal is ‘very close’ with Real Madrid still in with a ‘tiny chance’ of signing the player.
With Werner out the door, Chelsea will surely bring in someone who can lead the line, otherwise, it’s going to be Kai Havertz – who isn’t a natural number nine – or Armando Broja – who has barely kicked a ball for the Blues – as Thomas Tuchel’s options up top this season.
JUVE WANT WEST HAM TARGET
West Ham’s pursuit of Eintracht Frankfurt’s Filip Kostic has slowed down in recent days and their signing of Maxwel Cornet could mean they are no longer interested – although Kostic is probably seen as a left-back, in comparison to Cornet who will probably be utilised as a striker or winger, despite his multiple appearances in defence for Lyon before relocating to England.
Kostic starred for Frankfurt in the Europa League last term and with a year left on his contract, it is not surprising to see a decent amount of interest in him this summer. And after playing 75 minutes of his side’s 6-1 home defeat to Bayern Munich in their Bundesliga opener, he has probably woken up today hoping to find out that he can leave.
Transfer guru Fabrizio Romano has confirmed there is no agreement in place with West Ham. Instead, the Serbian looks set to join Italian giants Juventus.
Kostic is ‘prioritising’ a move to Turin and after the club met with his agents, there is now an agreement in place for personal terms.
Talks are well underway between Juve and Frankfurt, but it looks increasingly likely he will be playing in Italy this season, not England or Germany.
WHERE WILL ARSENAL’S DEADWOOD GO?
Arsenal have reportedly received an offer from Hellas Verona for Pablo Mari. Monza have been linked with the Spanish centre-half for the last week or so, but they are keen on signing him on loan with an option to buy. Verona, on the other hand, are believed to be willing to sign Mari on a permanent basis, which would surely be preferable to Arsenal.
A decision is ‘expected soon’ and Mari will ‘100% leave Arsenal’ in the summer transfer window, as per Romano. But there is still a lot to do in terms of outgoings at the Emirates.
Hector Bellerin, Lucas Torriera and Ainsley Maitland-Niles all look like they are out of favour under Mikel Arteta, and none of those three were in the squad for the win at Crystal Palace on Friday.
Torreira looks to be off on a permanent basis with a switch to Galatasaray seemingly close. Bellerin wants Real Betis and Real Betis want him, but the Spanish club are a bit skint and are hoping to sign him for nothing. Arsenal are, unsurprisingly, not keen on that sort of deal.
As for Maitland-Niles, nobody really seems to know what is going on. The Englishman can play right-back and left-back at a pretty decent level but wants to be a central midfielder. There does not appear to be much interest in him and the fact he didn’t make Arsenal’s squad on Friday was a bit surprising.
There is still a lot of work to do on this front for Arsenal, who will likely make a move for Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans should they trim the squad further.