Fabrizio Romano is back with his latest exclusive transfer news column for: CaughtOffside:, with today’s edition providing updates on some of this summer’s biggest sagas – Paul Pogba, Gabriel Jesus, Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, and more. Fans of Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea in particular will want to read on…
Gabriel Jesus is still Arsenal’s transfer priority, with fresh talks planned TODAY:
Gabriel Jesus is still the main target of Arsenal as of today. In the next few hours there will be new contacts to understand if they can reach an agreement or move to other targets. There is not only Arsenal on Gabriel, who will leave Man City at 100%. He’s a top player who wants to start matches, and it’s not too surprising to see him take his time over a decision on his future.
In terms of alternatives, I’m aware there has been speculation about Arsenal being one of the clubs chasing a deal for Christopher Nkunku. I’ve always been adamant that RB Leipzig are determined not to sell, so it’s not an easy one for Arsenal.
So far Leipzig have not received any offers from the Gunners for Christopher Nkunku, but I can reveal that Chelsea have been following him for some time. Still, the price is over € 100m because Leipzig want to try to keep him at all costs, and could even offer him a new contract this summer. Of course, Chelsea have problems up front with Romelu Lukaku, so it’s not surprising Nkunku could be seen as a replacement, but for now there’s not much to report.
Paul Pogba had to leave Manchester United for Juventus, and a deal is all but done:
Juventus are confident and convinced that Paul Pogba will soon sign his contract for the return to Italy. The verbal agreement is in place, the only detail to be resolved is about fiscal topics but Pogba has given his word to Juventus.
It will be a € 8m net salary per season plus add-ons. Despite some reports stating this is already a done deal, my information is that it’s not quite there yet – the official signature will probably arrive only in July.
In my opinion, Pogba absolutely had to change clubs and this does not depend on Erik ten Hag: whoever was the manager, Paul needed to feel important in the club and Juventus can give him guarantees on this side.
I think Pogba made the best choice as his chapter at Man United was already over. It’s probably also for the best for United to move on from Pogba – a great player, but it just never worked for him at Old Trafford, and both sides need a fresh start.
The latest on Barcelona’s plans for Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha:
Barcelona continue to work on Robert Lewandowski as priority signing, there is no doubt. The negotiation with FC Bayern will continue in the coming days, the player has already given his green light to a three-year contract. We’ve seen Lewandowski and his agent go public about wanting a move, and, despite things seeming to slow down, I expect significant developments could happen soon.
For Raphinha, negotiations between Barcelona and his agents have advanced since February but the € 25m clause will not be activated because Leeds are staying in the Premier League: Leeds are now asking for € 55m guaranteed and not paid in many installations, which is why the deal has slowed down.
Arsenal have been keeping tabs on Raphinha since March – he is one of the possibilities on the list but not the only one: the club is also focused on trying to find an agreement with Bukayo Saka to extend his contract.
Personally, I think Raphinha is great to watch and he could be a great fit for Xavi’s project, but if things continue to stall there, it might be worth watching to see if he stays in the Premier League.
Four options for Christian Eriksen, with Brentford stay still not out of the question:
A lot has been written about Christian Eriksen in the last few days, some of which is premature: the reality is that Eriksen’s agent has had discussions with four clubs.
Leicester held talks with his representatives in April, while Manchester United and Tottenham have explored this possibility in the past two weeks, but there is still no final agreement.
Eriksen is taking his time. The fourth club is Brentford, who have submitted a proposal, and who are awaiting an answer from the player. Contrary to what others have reported, my understanding is that he has not yet rejected a deal to stay at Brentford. His return to football has been a great story, and wouldn’t it be even more romantic if he stayed at the club who gave him his first chance to play again after that horrific moment at Euro 2020?
For now, everyone is still waiting for feedback from Eriksen, but Leicester are more pessimistic despite Brendan Rodgers being a big fan of the Danish midfielder. Whether this ends up being good news for United, Spurs, or Brentford remains to be seen.
Man City plan Riyad Mahrez contract talks amid PSG interest:
An interesting player to keep an eye on is Riyad Mahrez, who has just one year remaining on his contract with Manchester City. Still, I do not necessarily anticipate a sale any time soon.
As things stand, City have not received any official proposals for Mahrez so far. There is already Gabriel Jesus destined to leave the club 100%, and Raheem Sterling so far is not sure he will stay at City, depending on the proposals that come in for him this summer.
For Mahrez the situation is still calm. Paris Saint-Germain had thought about this possibility when Leonardo was still there as director, but so far there have been no updates between the two clubs.
Man City will speak with the player to understand the contractual situation in the coming weeks. I think it’s clear he still has plenty to offer to Pep Guardiola’s team, especially if one or both of Jesus and Sterling leave the club.