Erling Haaland has suggested the €175million fee it might take to prise him away from Borussia Dortmund would be too much to spend on one player.

That figure has been floated as a potential benchmark in Chelsea's bid to sign the Dortmund sensation.

Haaland has previously been linked with several of Europe's top clubs, but finances are tight at Barcelona and Real Madrid while Manchester United and Manchester City seemingly have their eyes set on alternative targets.

It leaves European champions Chelsea as the striker's most likely destination if he leaves Dortmund, yet Haaland's comments on Tuesday did not indicate an imminent move.

"Before yesterday I hadn't talked to my agent in a month – you have to tell me [about the reports]," he told the media.

"But I hope they are just rumours, as €175m would be a lot of money for one person."

Pressed on his Dortmund future, Haaland added: "First of all, I have three years left on my contract. I'm enjoying my time here.

"But of course [winning the DFB-Pokal] was important, because that's what I want."

 

PAY THE PREMIUM?

Dortmund have already sold Jadon Sancho to United but appear determined to keep Haaland for at least another year, at which point a relatively affordable clause in his contract could be activated by rival clubs.

For Chelsea, as they aim to follow up Champions League success with a Premier League challenge, the appeal of paying a premium 12 months early is clear.

Their shot conversion rate of 10.43 per cent in 2020-21 ranked 69th among the 98 teams in Europe's top five leagues, while their 58 goals fell 4.92 short of their expected goals (xG) total of 62.92 – the 20th-worst underperformance.

Timo Werner was the Blues' starting striker of choice but netted just six times in the top flight from 79 shots worth a combined 11.45 xG, a miserable 7.59 per cent conversion rate.

Haaland, by contrast, scored with 29.03 per cent of his 93 attempts, improving on his 23.84 xG with 27 Bundesliga goals.

Toby Alderweireld says Tottenham will always be in his heart after completing a move to Qatari side Al-Duhail.

The Belgium international has joined Al-Duhail on a three-year deal for a reported £13million fee (65.34m QAR), ending his six-year association with Spurs.

Former Atletico Madrid and Southampton defender Alderweireld made 236 appearances for Tottenham and was a regular in the club's run to the 2018-19 Champions League final.

He appeared 25 times in the Premier League last season, with his 2.61 headed clearances per 90 minutes the most of any Spurs player, just ahead of Eric Dier (2.43).

Spurs won 97 of the 172 league games Alderweireld started for a 56.4 per cent win rate, compared to exactly 50 per cent in the games without him (28 wins in 56 matches).

The north London side announced Alderweireld's departure on their official website on Tuesday and the defender took to social media to send his best wishes to Spurs fans.

"Six years, two homes, a Champions League final and so many memories," he said in a statement posted on his Twitter account.

"You made me feel a part of your club from the moment I walked out at White Hart Lane and roared us on, no matter what, into our new, special, stadium.

"Thank you first to the fans and then to my team-mates and every incredible member of the Spurs staff, backroom and beyond.

"This club will always be in mine and my family's heart. Love Toby."

Alderweireld is the third player to leave Tottenham during the offseason transfer window, with Juan Foyth completing a permanent move to Villarreal and Erik Lamela heading to Sevilla.

Bryan Gil joined Spurs as part of that deal involving Lamela, while Pierluigi Gollini has also arrived on an initial season-long loan from Atalanta that includes an option to buy.

Spurs, who named Nuno Espirito Santo as Jose Mourinho's permanent successor last month, begin their new Premier League campaign against Manchester City on August 15.

Aaron Ramsey has not set the world on fire since joining Juventus from Arsenal two years ago.

It has been reported in Italy that the Serie A club are ready to listen to offers.

Ramsey reportedly earns £250,000 per week and Juve are said to be keen to ease that burden.

 

TOP STORY - SPURS SHOCK MOVE FOR RAMSEY

Tottenham are lining up a shock move for former Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey, claims The Sun.

Juventus may be looking to offload the Wales international, who has made 46 league appearances in two seasons in Turin.

Tottenham's managing director of football Fabio Paratici is keen to bring Ramsey back to London to team up with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.

 

ROUND-UP

- Tottenham have ramped up their bid to sign Atalanta centre-back Cristian Romero who will cost around £40million (€46m), according to The Telegraph.

- Marca claims Inter, Sampdoria and Genoa are monitoring Real Madrid's 23-year-old striker Luka Jovic.

- Monaco's Montenegrin striker Stevan Jovetic has agreed to join Bundesliga club Hertha Berlin on a deal until 2024, reports Sky Sport.

- The Telegraph reports that Newcastle United  are keen on signing Manchester United defender Axel Tuanzebe, with a loan or permanent move discussed.

- Sky Sports claims West Ham are still interested in signing Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Alphonse Areola, who spent last season on loan at Fulham.

- Italian clubs Lazio and Napoli,  along with Spanish outfit Villarreal,  fancy Liverpool's Xherdan Shaqiri, reports Sky Sports.

Manchester United great Rio Ferdinand has expressed his admiration for Raphael Varane, labelling the Frenchman as a "genuine world-class centre-back" whose achievements speak for themselves.

The Real Madrid defender is understood to be days away from a move to Old Trafford for a reported fee of £42.7million (€50m) as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer finally finds a suitable partner for Harry Maguire.

United previously ticked another target off their transfer list when they announced the signing of Jadon Sancho, although Varane will provide much-needed experience at the other end of the pitch for the Red Devils.

And former United defender Ferdinand, who amassed 455 appearances and won six Premier League titles in Manchester, could not contain his excitement for Varane's potential arrival.

"When you watch him sometimes he almost purrs, he's got that pace, that poise," Ferdinand said on his self-titled 'Rio Ferdinand Presents FIVE' YouTube channel.

"We've signed a genuine world-class centre-back. His list of honours is ridiculous, it's as long as my arm."

Indeed, Varane does ooze class and experience, having won the World Cup in 2018 and collected three LaLiga titles and four Champions Leagues with Madrid.

Despite playing all four games at Euro 2020, the France centre-back was the only one of Didier Deschamps' defenders to not get dribbled past, while he also led LaLiga defenders in terms of aerial success last season.

Though Varane's aerial duels were also more than double any of his defensive team-mates, he also ranked second in terms of both interceptions and duels won among the club's defenders in 2020-21.

 

Ferdinand, whose £30m move from Leeds United to Man Utd was a record fee for a defender in 2002, also found time to praise former colleague Solskjaer and the recruitment by United this transfer window.

"It's a great job by the [recruitment] people at Manchester United. United have been criticised in the past, and rightly so, for dilly-dallying in the market," the former centre-back added.

"This one they were assertive, they went for their man and they got him. No doubt in my mind, he would have said to Real Madrid 'I need it, I want it, I have to go'."

Having seen Sancho join the likes of Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes and Maguire, Ferdinand was adamant that Varane's transfer would be due to his own insistence to move onto a fresh challenge in England.

"What a signing. There's been talk in the transfer market since it opened up – it must have come from the player," Ferdinand continued.

"He must have wanted to leave, and be part of the new Man United way, the project that's going ahead.

"The talent they've got there, the ability to play alongside Maguire after he did so well at the Euros probably played a part. I just think he sees this as a better project than what he's got at Real Madrid now."

United get their Premier League campaign underway against Leeds on August 14 and Solskjaer will be hoping to be able to call upon both of his high-profile signings should the deal go through.

Cristiano Ronaldo joined Juventus' pre-season training on Monday ahead of the 2021-22 Serie A campaign.

The former Real Madrid forward had been on holiday after Portugal's Euro 2020 last-16 exit against Belgium but has now returned as Juventus prepare to attempt to regain their Serie A title, which Inter won last time out.

Ronaldo, whose five goals and one assist powered him to the Golden Boot at Euro 2020, is set to become a free agent at the end of the following campaign and speculations persists surrounding his future.

The Portugal captain is due to sit down with Massimiliano Allegri, who was in charge when he initially joined from Madrid in 2018, as the pair prepare for the upcoming season.

Allegri, who won five straight Serie A titles and four league and cup doubles during his previous tenure, was reappointed following Andrea Pirlo's dismissal and will be grateful to be able to call upon the experience and quality of the 36-year-old.

Last season, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner scored 29 times to win the Capocannoniere and added to his top-scorer awards from the Premier League and LaLiga with Manchester United and Madrid respectively.

 

Since joining Allegri's men in 2018, only Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (103) has outscored Ronaldo (73) in all competitions among players in Europe's top five leagues.

Ronaldo's 83 goal involvements over that period rank fourth behind Lewandowski (121), Lionel Messi (106) and Kylian Mbappe (97).

Yet, despite his Serie A dominance, Juventus could only muster a fourth-place finish in 2020-21 and questions have arisen as to how far Ronaldo's patience will stretch, given he is progressing towards the end of an illustrious career.

Nevertheless, Ronaldo and Allegri prepare for their Serie A opener against Udinese on August 22 with a friendly against Monza on Saturday before a potential meeting with old foe Lionel Messi on August 8 at Camp Nou against Barcelona.

Xherdan Shaqiri has revealed he is ready to leave Liverpool and hinted he would enjoy playing under Maurizio Sarri at Lazio, praising the Italian coach's attacking style of play.

The Switzerland international joined the Reds in 2018 but has remained on the fringes of the first team throughout his time at Anfield.

And after enjoying Euro 2020 success, in which he became Switzerland's outright top scorer at major tournaments, Shaqiri has suggested his time under Jurgen Klopp may be coming to an end.

"Fortunately, football has helped me achieve many of my dreams," Shaqiri told Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport. "I was lucky enough to play with great teams and to win many titles.

"Who knows, maybe I could get something even with the Swiss national team. My contract [with] Liverpool expires in 2022, in 2018 I signed a four-year deal.

"The important thing at this moment in my career is to be able to play regularly, but that hasn’t always been the case in the last three seasons.

"This is why I told Liverpool that I feel ready for a new challenge. They accepted my wish and will seriously consider the offers that will come. They will not stop me."

Opportunities have been limited for Shaqiri at Liverpool as he has made just 45 top-flight appearances across a three-year spell, during which he has scored seven goals for the 2019-20 Premier League champions.

But the 29-year-old, whose 10 chances created at Euro 2020 were three more than Ricardo Rodriguez for the Swiss, proved his quality as he was one of Vladimir Petkovic's standout performers at the tournament.

While Shaqiri explained there had been no direct contact from clubs yet, he made clear his desire to keep playing regularly and praised the development of Italian football.

"I'm only 29 years old, I have played in some of the best leagues in Europe, and I would like to continue being a part of them," Shaqiri said. "I’m not yet thinking about the end of my career, it’s a future I imagine far away. We will see what destiny has in store for me.

"I think it’s not just my opinion that football in Italy has developed substantially in recent years. The win at the European Championship is there to prove it, a well-deserved result.

"Just take a look at how many Premier League players have moved to Serie A."

The former Bayern Munich winger, who has been directly involved in 51 goals in 96 appearances for his country, has limited experience in Serie A, too, given he spent six months with reigning champions Inter in 2015.

Asked whether a move to Italy and, more specifically, Lazio was an option, Shaqiri spoke glowingly of Sarri's qualities and complimented sporting director Igli Tare.

"Igli Tare has been doing an excellent job at Lazio for years," Shaqiri commented. "If it's true that he has great respect for me, then I’m honoured.

"I have been following Lazio for a long time, they are a top team. In general, due to my characteristics, I like to play more attacking football and Sarri practices it. It would be intriguing."

Bryan Gil has joined Tottenham in a deal that involves Erik Lamela moving to Sevilla.

Bryan, who spent last season on loan from Sevilla at Eibar, is playing for Spain at the Tokyo Olympics.

Reports emerged last week that Spurs were close to signing the 20-year-old for a fee of £21.6million (€25m) plus Lamela, who joined the Premier League club from Roma in 2013.

While no fee has been confirmed, the deal has now gone through, subject to international clearance.

Bryan, who has represented Spain at senior level and has signed a five-year contract with Spurs, scored four times in 29 appearances last term, with 29-year-old Lamela netting three goals and providing one assist from 33 games in all competitions.

Lamela has penned a three-year deal with Sevilla, and will wear the number 17 shirt for the 2021-22 campaign.

The Argentina international made 257 appearances in all competitions during his eight-year stint with Tottenham.

Bryan, meanwhile, becomes Spurs' second signing under Nuno Espirito Santo, following on from the arrival of goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini on loan from Serie A club Atalanta.

Spurs have also tied down Son Heung-min to a new contract, though uncertainty surrounds Harry Kane, who has been heavily linked with Manchester City.

In-demand midfielder Franck Kessie says he wants to stay at Milan "forever" and plans to sign a new deal when he returns from the Olympics.

Kessie is in the final year of his deal with the Rossoneri and has been linked with the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool.

The 24-year-old, currently representing Ivory Coast at the Games in Tokyo, has assured Milan he has no intention of moving on.

"I'm proud to have chosen Milan and it is not my intention to leave. Indeed, I want to stay forever," he told Gazzetta dello Sport: 

"When I come back from the Olympics, I'll fix everything. I just want Milan. Sporting director Paolo Maldini knows my thoughts.

"I want to be the 'president' of Milan for life."

 

Milan head coach Stefano Pioli said he has no concerns about Kessie departing earlier this month.

Asked about the prospect of Kessie signing a new deal, he said: "These are club things. We all know how important Franck is and how happy he is to be at Milan.

"Franck has grown a lot, we talk about him but the others have also grown. He can still do a lot, both I and the club know how important Franck is, I have already heard it. First he rested, then married, now he will go with the national team."

Kessie scored 13 goals – 11 of those coming from the penalty spot – and provided four assists as Milan finished second behind city rivals Inter in Serie A last season.

All indications are Raphael Varane is set to move on from Real Madrid. 

The France international appears locked in on one destination. 

Manchester United are said to be close to a deal for the defender. 

 

TOP STORY – UNITED CLOSE TO VARANE MOVE

Manchester United have been linked to Raphael Varane in transfer rumours for months. 

Now it appears the move could come to fruition, as Marca reports United and Real Madrid are close to a €50million (£42m) agreement. 

Though the Mirror reports some at the Premier League club are worried the 28-year-old is merely using them to get a better deal out of Madrid, Fabrizio Romano says United are "confident" a deal is close and that no other clubs are involved. 

 

ROUND-UP

– With his Arsenal contract set to expire next year, Alexandre Lacazette is in demand, and Calciomercato says Atletico Madrid are pondering a potential €15m offer. 

Erik Lamela is set to join Sevilla in a swap deal, with Tottenham getting Bryan Gil, Marca says, while Romano says Spurs will also get €25m in the deal and Gil will sign through 2026.  

Newcastle are eyeing Ross Barkley as a potential addition if they cannot pry Joe Willock away from Arsenal, says The Athletic, with a loan move for Leicester's Hamza Choudhury also a possibility.

West Ham could make a move for Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, says the Express. 

Ben White's £50m move from Brighton to Arsenal will be official next week, reports Romano. 

Paris Saint-Germain have had talks with Kalidou Koulibaly's agent about a move from Napoli, reports Corriere dello Sport. 

Roma have offered €15m for Barcelona's Clement Lenglet, says Sport. 

Inter star Romelu Lukaku is not for sale according to the Serie A club's CEO Beppe Marotta, amid speculation about the Belgium striker's future.

Lukaku has been linked with a move away from the Italian champions following the departure of head coach Antonio Conte, as the Nerazzurri struggle financially due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 28-year-old has reportedly caught the attention of his former club Chelsea and Premier League champions Manchester City.

Speaking ahead of Inter's friendly with Pergolettese, Marotta quashed talk of Lukaku leaving San Siro.

"From our side, we can yes absolutely, Lukaku is not for sale," Marotta told Sportmediaset. "Lukaku is an important piece on the chess board available to [head coach} Simone Inzaghi."

Lukaku scored 24 goals from 36 league outings in 2020-21, while he also provided 11 assists.

Only in 2016-17 for Everton did the Belgian score more (25) in a single campaign in one of Europe's top five leagues.

Lukaku is expected to train for the first time under Inzaghi on Monday.

 

Harry Wilson has ended a 16-year association with Liverpool to join Championship outfit Fulham ahead of the 2021-22 season. 

Wilson – who has signed a deal that could see him stay at Craven Cottage until 2026 – progressed through the ranks of the Reds after joining at the age of nine. 

The 24-year-old made just two appearances for Jurgen Klopp's first team, however, and has spent much of the past four seasons out on loan. 

Spells at Crewe Alexandra and Hull City were followed by a successful stint at Derby County in the 2018-19 season.

He spent a season in the Premier League with Bournemouth in 2019-20, scoring seven goals as the Cherries were relegated, while last term he was on loan with Championship side Cardiff City. 

Wilson has been capped 29 times by Wales and featured for the Dragons in their Euro 2020 campaign, receiving a red card in the closing stages of their 4-0 last-16 defeat to Denmark. 

Fulham also announced the signing of goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga on Saturday after he left Tottenham last month, the 29-year-old Argentine signing a two-year deal.

Cristiano Ronaldo will remain with Juventus despite speculation he will depart before the new season, according to the Serie A club's vice-president Pavel Nedved 

The Portugal international is into the final year of the four-year contract he signed following his transfer from Real Madrid in a €112million (£99.2m) deal.

Ronaldo has been linked with a move away from Turin ahead of the new campaign, with former clubs Manchester United and Real Madrid among those to have reportedly been interested, along with Paris Saint-Germain.

The 36-year-old scored 29 times in 2020-21 to win the Capocannoniere having previously also been the top scorer in the Premier League and LaLiga.

Since he joined Juve in July 2018, only Robert Lewandowski (103) has scored more goals in all competitions than Ronaldo's 73 among players in Europe's top five leagues.

Ronaldo's 83 goal involvements over that period ranks fourth behind Lewandowski (121), Lionel Messi (106) and Kylian Mbappe (97).

"Ronaldo will return to training on Monday and he will stay with us," Nedved told Sky Sport Italia.

Nedved spoke about Ronaldo's future after Juve beat Cesena 3-1 in a pre-season friendly on Saturday, and was also asked about what was in store for Paulo Dybala and Giorgio Chiellini.

Argentina forward Dybala, 27, is also entering the final year of his contract with the Serie A club. 

“[Director Federico] Cherubini has already been in contact with his [Dybala's] agent, who will arrive in Turin next week," former Juventus and Czech Republic midfielder Nedved explained.

"We are in good time to get the situation resolved, it’s not a problem."

On Italy centre-back Chiellini, whose contract expired in June, Nedved added: "When he returns from his vacation, then we can talk."

Paul Pogba remains in talks with Manchester United over a new contract and is looking forward to the coming campaign getting under way, according to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The France international's future has once again been called into question amid reports he has reached a stalemate in discussions over a deal to stay at Old Trafford.

Pogba is due to become a free agent in a little under a year's time and is now rumoured to be a €50million (£43m) target for Paris Saint-Germain.

However, Solskjaer remains confident the 28-year-old – who has spent five seasons with United in his second spell with the club – will remain in place beyond this window.

"Talks are ongoing between Paul's representative and the club representatives," Solskjaer said. "All the dialogue I've had with Paul is that he's looking forward to the season.

"There's always speculation about Paul, the talks between Paul and his representatives. I'm not in the detail of every single one. I've got nothing to say about that really.

"Paul knows what we feel about it and I've enjoyed my time working with him and hopefully we can continue working together."

Pogba has yet to link up with United for pre-season training, having being given an extended break after playing four times for France at Euro 2020.

The ex-Juventus midfielder scored one goal and assisted another for France at the tournament, while his eight chances created were second only to Antoine Griezmann (10) among Les Bleus players.

Speaking after United's 4-2 friendly defeat to Queens Park Rangers on Saturday, Solskjaer suggested Pogba could link up with his United team-mates in the next couple of days. 

"Many will join in training on Monday so they've got a few weeks to catch up," he told MUTV of United's players involved at the Euros and Copa America. 

"That's unfortunately the way it is; every year where there is a tournament, we have to catch up. Hopefully, they've done the work we've told them to do when they're away."

New signing Jadon Sancho and fellow England internationals Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire, who reached the Euro 2020 final, along with Copa America finalist Fred will "return in about 10 days' time", however.

Solskjaer had already confirmed ahead of United's defeat at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium that full-back Alex Telles will miss "a few weeks" with an ankle injury sustained in training.

United's next pre-season friendly is against Brentford at Old Trafford on Wednesday, followed by games with Preston North End and Everton before their Premier League opener at home to Leeds United on August 14.

Tottenham have confirmed the signing of Pierluigi Gollini from Atalanta, with the goalkeeper initially joining on a season-long loan deal that includes an option to buy.

Gollini has played 89 Serie A games across the past five seasons for Atalanta, having joined the Serie A club after a spell in English football at Aston Villa.

The 26-year-old had previously spent time at Manchester United earlier in his career, too, but it was at Hellas Verona where he made his first-team debut during the 2014-15 season.

After representing Italy at youth level, he made his debut for the Azzurri when coming on as a late substitute in a Euro 2020 qualifier against Bosnia-Herzegovina in November 2019, though that remains his only international appearance to date.

Now part of Nuno Espirito Santos' squad at Spurs, Gollini is looking forward to working alongside Hugo Lloris – but also plans to prove he is a long-term option to be the new number one.

Jack Grealish was the player England fans wanted to see during Euro 2020.

Now a move to a bigger Premier League club might be on the cards.

Grealish is reportedly moving closer to leaving Aston Villa.

 

TOP STORY – CITY EYE GREALISH SWOOP

It seems increasingly unlikely Aston Villa will be able to hold onto Jack Grealish.

The England winger has agreed to personal terms with Manchester City, according to a Football Insider report.

Though he grew up a Villa fan and has spent his entire career with the club, save for a season on loan to Notts County, Grealish is in demand among the Premier League's big-money clubs.

City reportedly are preparing a £90million offer that would be difficult for Villa to refuse.

ROUND-UP

- With Paul Pogba and Manchester United at a stalemate in contract talks, the Telegraph says Paris Saint-Germain believe they can sign the midfielder with a £43million bid.

- Alexandre Lacazette is entering his final year under contract with Arsenal but the Gunners are ready to move on. According to the Sun, they are hoping to net £15m for Lacazette after paying £52m to sign him four years ago.

- Arsenal remain interested in a move for James Maddison, reports the Mirror, and they could explore a swap deal with Leicester City to get it done.

- PSG want to keep Moise Kean on a permanent deal after his year on loan from Everton, but Juventus also are interested, Le 10 Sport reports.

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