LIVE Transfer Talk: Leicester’s Fofana pushing for Chelsea move

Football

The summer transfer window is here, and there’s plenty of gossip swirling about who’s moving where. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz on rumours, comings and goings and, of course, done deals!

TOP STORY: Fofana wants Chelsea move

Leicester City centre-back Wesley Fofana is pushing for a move to Chelsea, according to the Mirror.

Despite missing much of last season with a broken leg, the defender has been a revelation at the King Power Stadium, and now he’s emerged as Chelsea’s latest backline target amid a busy summer.

Chelsea have lost both Antonio Rudiger to Real Madrid and Andreas Christensen to Barcelona already, while Cesar Azpilicueta‘s future remains unclear. This means that Blues manager Thomas Tuchel remains on the hunt for someone to battle it out with Thiago Silva alongside new signing Kalidou Koulibaly.

Fofana, 21, has established himself as one of the Premier League’s best young defenders. Leicester are adamant he’s not available at any price, but the player himself has told the Foxes hierarchy that wants to move to West London. Curiously, Fofana has now also removed Leicester City from both his Twitter and Instagram profiles.

Fofana isn’t the only Leicester player linked with a move, with both Youri Tielemans and James Maddison being eyed by a bevy of Premier League rivals.

Under new owner Todd Boehly, Chelsea have made a series of signings this summer. Along with Koulibaly, the Blues have signed forward Raheem Sterling from Manchester City, keeper Gabriel Slonina from Chicago Fire FC, and midfielder Carney Chukwuemeka from Aston Villa. Sources have told ESPN that Chelsea are also in the mix for Brighton defender Marc Cucurella.

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LIVE BLOG

18.29 BST: English championship side Middlesbrough are still pursuing Mallorca and United States forward Matthew Hoppe, although he continues to draw interest both from Europe and MLS, including the San Jose Earthquakes, sources told ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle. Read the full story.

18.13 BST: Inter Milan and Tottenham Hotspur are both keen to land Fiorentina centre-back Nikola Milenkovic, reports Tuttosport. Talks are reported to have already taken place between the 24-year-old’s representatives and Spurs, who look to be continuing to support Antonio Conte with squad reinforcements this summer. While Inter are prepared to challenge for the Serbia international’s signature, their move for him is said to hinge on whether Milan Skriniar leaves the San Siro amid interest from Paris Saint-Germain.

17.40 BST: It’s all Chelsea all the time here at Transfer Talk! SportBild’s Christian Falk now reports that Timo Werner is willing to take a salary reduction if the Blues and RB Leipzig can reach an agreement over a loan deal. It was reported on Tuesday that the two clubs had held preliminary talks over the 26-year-old Germany international striker, with Thomas Tuchel open to moving him on, and Werner’s latest stance could make it easier for a deal to be reached.

17.07 BST: The Chelsea news never ends. After signing 18-year-old goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina from the Chicago Fire and agreeing a deal with Aston Villa to add 18-year-old midfielder Carney Chukwuemeka on Tuesday, the Blues are now setting their sights on 19-year-old Inter Milan midfielder Cesare Casadei, the Evening Standard reports. The Stamford Bridge outfit are said to have already had two bids for Casadei rejected, and could need to offer a transfer fee of as much as £20m to entice the Nerazzurri to part with one of the most promising young players in Italian football.

16.34 BST: FC Salzburg forward Benjamin Sesko has attracted plenty of interest in recent weeks, and Chelsea are also keen to land the 19-year-old striker, according to Fabrizio Romano. It is reported that a meeting took place between his representatives and the Blues last week, while Manchester United have held talks on multiple occasions over a potential deal. While the Austrian Bundesliga side are keen to keep hold of him for one more year, it is said that they are willing to let him go if he decides to leave in search of a new challenge.

16.01 BST: Chelsea have begun negotiations with Barcelona over the transfer of midfielder Frenkie de Jong, according to CBS Sports’ Ben Jacobs. Despite having agreed an €85m transfer fee with Manchester United, the Catalan club are said to be open to a fee of just €80m to conclude a deal with the Blues, with the Netherlands international being more open to moving to Stamford Bridge than Old Trafford.

The Blaugrana are said to be keen to pull off a deal for Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva, but are unable to make the finances work without clearing De Jong’s wages from their books and raising a transfer fee from his departure. Thomas Tuchel is said to be driving Chelsea’s interest in the 25-year-old former Ajax prodigy, and the Blues are looking for assurances that negotiations won’t drag on in light of of several of Barca’s signings this summer devolving into long-running sagas.

15.28 BST: Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun has joined Ligue 1 side Stade de Reims on a season-long loan.

Balogun, 21, joined Arsenal aged 10 and moved to Middlesborough on loan last season where he scored and assisted three goals in 21 appearances in all competitions.

14.42 BST: Chelsea want to sign Inter Milan midfielder Nicolo Barella, says Calciomercato.

Barella, 25, is considered a top talent after helping Italy to win Euro 2020 and Inter are struggling financially, so may need to raise funds by letting him move on.

Liverpool and Tottenham have also been credited with interest, but Chelsea’s Thomas Tuchel is keen to open talks soon.

13.55 BST: Lille midfielder Renato Sanches is close to joining PSG, says Goal.

Sanches, 24, only moved to the club in 2019 for €25m, but is now set to head to the Ligue 1 champions for around €15m, as he is in the final year of his contract.

AC Milan and Arsenal had been linked with the Portugal international.

13.30 BST: Manager Erik ten Hag has branded Cristiano Ronaldo‘s decision to leave Old Trafford during Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with Rayo Vallecano as “unacceptable.”

Ronaldo started the match but was substituted at half-time. He was pictured leaving the stadium before the full-time whistle. Diogo Dalot was also pictured leaving at the same time, although he was not in the match squad having played against Atletico Madrid in Oslo 24 hours earlier.

Speaking at a media day at Carrington on Tuesday, Ten Hag was asked about players leaving early.

“It is unacceptable for everyone,” he told Viaplay Sport Netherlands. “I am telling them it’s unacceptable. We are a team. A squad. Until the end we stay together.”

Sources told ESPN that Ten Hag asked the entire squad, including those who featured against Atletico, to eat together ahead of the match against Rayo. The squad picked to play in Oslo were also told to watch the match at the stadium, either in the directors’ box or from their own hospitality suites.

12.25 BST: Chelsea are closing on Brighton left-back Marc Cucurella, after Man City stepped aside due to their £50m demands.

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1:05

Gab Marcotti and Julien Laurens react to Brighton demanding £50 million for Marc Cucurella and Manchester City being willing to walk away.

11.37 BST: Juventus are in the race to sign Barcelona’s Memphis Depay, Mundo Deportivo reports.

Barca have placed Depay on the transfer list and want €20m for his transfer. The former Lyon winger joined Barca as a free agent in the summer of 2021 and is under contract with the Catalan giants for a further season.

The Netherlands international is open to leaving Barca before the start of LaLiga on Aug. 13, knowing that he if stays, he will have limited playing time under coach Xavi.

Manchester United are also looking to strengthen their attack and would reportedly welcome back Depay, who played two seasons for the Red Devils before departing for Lyon in 2017.

11.05 BST: Manchester United’s clearout is set to begin with Alex Telles and Eric Bailly, sources have told ESPN.

Sevilla are negotiating a loan move for Telles and have also registered an interest in Bailly, along with Serie A side Roma.

Sources have told ESPN that Axel Tuanzebe, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Phil Jones and Brandon Williams are also available for transfer — either permanent or loans with an obligation to sign on a permanent deal — if suitable offers are received.

10.22 BST: Premier League side Bournemouth are interested in signing Barcelona goalkeeper Neto, according to Mundo Deportivo.

An understudy of Marc-Andre ter Stegen, the former Valencia goalkeeper made only four appearances for Barca last season and is keen to leave in search of playing time.

Neto, 33, is under contract with Barca until June 2023 and LaLiga sides Celta Vigo and Girona want to sign him, but his wages are a major stumbling block. Barca would welcome Neto’s departure this summer as they are working on reducing their wage bill.

09.53 BST: West Ham have agreed a deal for highly rated Lille midfielder Amadou Onana, according to The Guardian.

The Hammers have long been admirers of the 20-year-old and have had a series of bids turned down by the Ligue 1 outfit. However, they are close to getting their man and a deal worth €35m plus a further €5m in bonuses has been accepted.

Onana is a defensive-minded central midfielder with a 6-foot-3 frame who will add plenty of presence to David Moyes’ squad.

09.37 BST: Dani Alves is looking forward to bidding farewell to Barcelona fans in Sunday’s Gamper Trophy, as the veteran defender will play for Pumas against Barca at Camp Nou.

Six years after his departure from Barca to Juventus, Alves returned to the club in December to play for six months. Then the 39-year-old recently signed for Mexican side Pumas UNAM on a free transfer after he was released.

“Life gives me the right to come and play with Pumas and play at the Camp Nou to say goodbye,” he said. “They took me out the back door the penultimate time. This time it was not from behind because my contract ended… I didn’t expect much more. At the end of the day, I signed for six months and fulfilled them.”

09.22 BST: Sevilla are closing in on the loan signing of Manchester United left-back Alex Telles, according to Estadio Deportivo.

Final details are being discussed between the clubs with the Brazilian having already given his blessing for the move to be completed. United will pay a percentage of the 29-year-old’s wages.

Telles is under contract with United until June 2024. He made 26 appearances for the Red Devils across all competitions last season and is keen to play in LaLiga.

08.39 BST: Barcelona midfielder Riqui Puig is set to join Major League Soccer side LA Galaxy on a free transfer, sources confirmed to ESPN.

Puig, 23 next week, is expected to arrive in the United States in the coming days to close the deal before the MLS transfer window closes on Thursday.

As first reported by Mundo Deportivo, sources expect Puig to join the Galaxy for free, but Barca will be entitled to a percentage of any future transfer.

Barca had hoped to bring in a fee for Puig this summer, but, with just one year to run on his contract, that proved impossible for a player they had made quite clear was not part of their immediate future.

08.00 BST: Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson said he was “fuming” at the lack of playing time for the club last season and that the last 12 months had been the toughest of his career.

The 25-year-old, who joined newly promoted Nottingham Forest on loan last month, made three appearances for United last season and was unable to displace David de Gea as first-choice goalkeeper.

Henderson looked to be on the verge of breaking into United’s first team last year, having made 26 appearances for the club in the 2020-21 season and receiving a call-up to England’s European Championship squad in June. However, he was forced to withdraw from the England squad with a hip injury and then tested positive for COVID-19 weeks before the start of the 2021-22 season, due to which he suffered from prolonged fatigue.

“To be honest, it has probably been the toughest 12 months of my career,” Henderson told TalkSport on Tuesday. “The conversation I had coming out of the Euros squad was: ‘You’re coming back here to be the No. 1.’

“I got COVID-19, came back, so I should have still been the number one but then nobody followed through with what they had told me. It was frustrating, because I turned down so many good loans last summer for that reason, and they would not let me go.

“To sit there for 12 months, it is criminal really, at my age. I was fuming. I told the hierarchy that I need to be playing football and to let me go, and I was almost gone before the manager [Erik ten Hag] came through the door. I have not spoken to him since.”

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Steve Nicol, Frank Leboeuf and Gab Marcotti discuss Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo leaving the stadium before the final whistle in a game vs. Rayo Vallecano.

PAPER GOSSIP (by Nick Judd)

AS Roma midfielder Jordan Veretout is a wanted man, and Marseille look to be moving ahead of AC Milan in the race for his signature, according to Footmercato. The 29-year-old’s existing contract runs out in June 2024 and Veretout hopes a move away from Jose Mourinho’s side in search of more playing time will bolster his shot of representing France at the World Cup.

Wolverhampton Wanderers will battle it out with Sevilla for the signing of Chile international striker Ben Brereton-Diaz from Blackburn Rovers, according to Football League World. Wolves are looking for attacking reinforcements following the news that Raul Jimenez will miss the first month of the season with a knee injury. Diaz recently triggered a one-year extension to his existing Rovers contract which subsequently saw Sevilla scared off by Blackburn’s proposed fee. Now, though, Wolves boss Bruno Lage looks set to capitalise and bring the striker, who scored 22 goals last season, to Molineux.

– Barcelona have contacted Athletic Club about the availability of centre-back Inigo Martinez, according to Sport. The 31-year-old’s contract runs out in June next year and so if the Bilbao-based club don’t agree to a move this summer, he’ll be available to sign a pre-contract on Jan. 1. Martinez hasn’t agreed an extension on his current deal as of yet, and Barca are pushing for a move for €15m, plus a number of incentives. Athletic appear unwilling to accept the offer, though, but know they risk losing their man for nothing in six months. Barca director Mateu Alemany remains in contact with Athletic general manager Jon Bersategi.

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