Transfer tales: Chelsea’s loan watch, Bale’s exit imminent
Plenty of action in the ongoing transfer market continues to grab eyeballs. Reports have it that Manchester United have made significant progress in their pursuit of acquiring Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, with the only hindrance being his valuation of £108m.
Newly-promoted team Fulham announced the arrival of Alphonse Areola on a season-long loan from Paris Saint-Germain, while Leeds United are actively hunting as well. There have been plenty of rumours ahead of the 2020/21 season, and here are the top transfer stories of the day.
A watch on Chelsea’s loan army
Days after defender Ethan Ampadu completed his loan move to Sheffield United, reports have emerged that as many as four senior players are set to follow suit. Tiemoue Bakayoko’s move to AC Milan is evident but this time around, the Serie A side will contain an option to buy. Another defender in Fikayo Tomori is expected to join Carlo Ancelotti at Everton on a season-long loan.
Forward Michy Batshuayi, on the other hand, is expected to move to Crystal Palace, where he had a brief stint in 2019. Daily Mail quotes the forward, who joined Chelsea from Marseille in 2016 for a fee reported to be around £33m, will sign a one-year extension with the Blues before moving to Palace for a second stint.
Another midfielder in line is the England U21 international Conor Gallagher, who has attracted heavy interest from the newly-promoted sides like Leeds United and West Brom. As per the sources, Chelsea are keen on handing Gallagher a new contract before finalizing his loan move. Leeds are thought to be the front runners, but West Brom sporting director Luke Dowling has been quite vocal about the midfielder’s abilities.
Madrid pushing for Bale’s exit
A report from Daily Telegraph has confirmed that Real Madrid are willing to pay 50 percent of Gareth Bale’s salary to allow him to leave Santiago Bernabeu in order to make way to the Premier League.
Bale, an outcast under Zinedine Zidane, has time and again expressed his desire of leaving Madrid, but a mammoth salary of £600,000-a-week is proving out to be a stumbling block in the negotiation. He still has two years left on his current contract, but Madrid are willing to pay half of his wages so that the player can move forward.
The Wales international started just 12 times in La Liga last season and was left in Madrid as Real faced Manchester City at the Etihad for the second leg of their Champions League last-16.
“Many things have been said but we have a respectful relationship between the club and player (Bale). But all I’ll say is he preferred to not play. The rest is between us and him," Zidane had said ahead of the City game.
Arsenal to launch new bid for Houssem Aouar
Mikel Arteta's Arsenal have made Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar a primary target, as journalist Fabrizio Romano confirmed that the Gunners are ready to launch a new bid after getting rejected in the initial offer. It is said that Arsenal initially offered £31.2m for the 22-year-old but faced an outright rejection as the Ligue 1 side remains unwilling to listen to any offers that are less than £54.5m.
It is being reported that Arsenal included midfielder Matteo Guendouzi in the first offer but Lyon's sporting director Juninho said the offer wasn't entertained.
"I get along very well with their sporting director [Edu]," Juninho said.
"We spoke on the phone. Houssem Aouar is really appreciated by Arteta. There have been some discussions for Matteo Guendouzi who is also a good player. He was mentioned during the discussion, but this is not the profile we need, we were very clear. If it is like that, it does not interest us at all… it is, and we stopped."
Arteta will have to coup a significant amount if he tends to land Aouar at the Emirates. It is said that three players in Emilio Martinez, Rob Holding and Lucas Torreira face uncertain futures, and their sale might fund an approach for the Frenchman.
Juninho also revealed that he had approached striker Alexandre Lacazette in January over a potential loan move, but the deal failed as Lyon looked unwilling to match the Frenchman's salary demands.
"In January, I called Alexandre Lacazette to chat a bit with him because he was having problems at Arsenal and I said to myself, ‘Why not do a loan for six months with us where you will enjoy yourself, play all the games and score the goals like you know how to? And then you go back to Arsenal or somewhere else’," said Juninho.
"But from the moment that you start looking at the level of the contract of these players, like with Juventus and Barcelona, it is not possible for us today. Today, we have to tell the truth, we cannot pay the salary for a player like [Samuel] Umtiti."
As for Aouar, the midfielder loves the idea of playing in the Premier League, but the clubs have not been in contact since the initial offer was rejected.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Pierre-Philippe Marcou