Chelsea to pinch pair from Premier League rivals
Chelsea have made a formal approach to sign Manchester City duo Raheem Sterling and Nathan Ake, according to the Telegraph. The club’s new owner Todd Boehly reportedly made contact with Chelsea’s Premier League rivals on Monday and Sterling has also held talks with Blues boss Thomas Tuchel regarding where he would fit in at Stamford Bridge. The England international would be open to moving to the west London club, while Ake would be willing to return to Chelsea – the club he joined as a 15-year-old back in 2011. Chelsea are also keeping an eye on Raphinha, Richarlison and Ousmane Dembele as alternative targets to Sterling.
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Paper Round’s view: On paper the Sterling decision seems like a very strange deal. Why would Manchester City sell one of their best players to a direct Premier League rival? Well, Sterling’s current contract expires in 2023 – so City need to sell him this summer, otherwise they risk losing him for free in a year’s time. Then you must question which clubs can actually afford to meet Sterling’s wage demands. This leaves a handful of clubs – but mainly Premier League clubs due to the finances involved in the English top-flight. Maybe City could have just allowed Sterling’s contract to expire to open the opportunity for him to move abroad, but that still would not have been a guarantee.
De Ligt pushes for Chelsea move
Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt is planning to push for a transfer to Chelsea this summer, according to the Mirror. Blues boss Thomas Tuchel is said to be a “huge admirer” of the Netherlands international and Juve could be open to allowing him to leave for less than his £100-million release clause. The Mirror state that the Serie A side would be driven by the opportunity to get De Ligt’s £200,000-per-week salary off their books and may sell the 22-year-old for around £70 million this summer. Chelsea are also interested in signing Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde.
Paper Round’s view: Chelsea have lost Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen for free this summer after the defensive duo’s contracts both expired. Thiago Silva signed a one-year extension, but he is turning 38 in September, while club captain Cesar Azpilicueta could also leave during the summer window. The west London club realistically need to sign two centre-backs who are ready to slot into the starting XI and De Ligt and Kounde would be perfect. Obviously it would cost a lot of money, but Chelsea’s new owner Todd Boelhy seems willing to back the club in the summer transfer market.
Ajax demand £70m for Antony
Manchester United are chasing Ajax winger Antony in the summer transfer window, but the Dutch champions have slapped an eye-watering asking price on the Brazilian. The Star reveal that Ajax are demanding a whopping £70 million for former manager Erik ten Hag to reunite with Antony at Old Trafford and have informed United that “the fee is not negotiable”. Ten Hag is said to be “frustrated” with the club’s summer business after also failing in attempts to sign Ajax defender Jurrien Timber and being left waiting for a concrete decision from Christian Eriksen.
Paper Round’s view: Everything is easier when transfer business is completed early in the summer – but this is not always possible. A club like Manchester United will always find themselves on the tough end of negotiations. When you are the biggest club in the world, no one will be sold to you on the cheap. Every club smaller than you will demand an inflated transfer fee because they know the levels of financial income you have. We’ve seen the same thing happen over the years with Paul Pogba, Harry Maguire and Jadon Sancho. Maybe Sancho and Marcus Rashford will step up under Ten Hag and there won’t be any need to sign Antony.
Who will follow Jesus to Arsenal?
Arsenal are ready to continue their summer spending spree after completing a deal to sign Gabriel Jesus from Manchester City for £45 million. The Mirror reveal that the Gunners will follow up the Jesus signing – which is expected to be announced this week – with bids for Leeds United winger Raphinha and Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez. Arsenal also hold long-term interest in Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans, who could push for a move away from the King Power Stadium this summer.
Paper Round’s view: Arsenal’s failure to finish in the Premier League’s top four last season was a huge disappointment, but it does not seem have stifled their progress in the transfer market. The Gunners have not had any trouble attracting their top targets so far and are set to complete the ambitious signing of Jesus this week. If Mikel Arteta can add Raphinha, Martinez and maybe Tielemans too, the north London club have a huge chance of competing for a spot in the top four this coming season.
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