Barcelona are set to wrap up a move for a player on both Man Utd and Man City’s radar, while Napoli could offer an escape route for a big-money Citizen flop, according to Thursday’s European papers.
MAN UTD, MAN CITY FACE SEMEDO MISERY
Manchester United and Manchester City will miss out on Benfica right-back Nelson Semedo, who is on the brink of joining Spanish giants Barcelona.
Representatives of the Catalan club have been sent to Lisbon in order to wrap up the €35million transfer according to Marca, after failing to secure deals for a couple of Premier League full-backs.
Hector Bellerin and Cesar Azpilicueta were both thought to be on Barca’s wishlist but an agreement never materialised, forcing them to switch their attention to the Portuguese champions.
Man City have been searching for replacements after releasing Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna, while nobody has been able to establish themselves as first-choice right-back under Jose Mourinho at United.
The Portugal international joined Benfica as an 18-year-old, and made 31 appearances as Benfica won the Portuguese league last season.
NAPOLI READY BID FOR CITY FLOP CLAUDIO BRAVO
Napoli are plotting a shock move for Manchester City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, according to reports in Italy.
The Chilean star struggled badly after joining City from Barcelona last summer, eventually losing his place to understudy Willy Caballero, who has since joined Chelsea.
City have spent big money on a goalkeeper again this summer, having brought in Ederson for £35million from Benfica.
And with the player unlikely to be happy with more bench time under Pep Guardiola, the player could find salvation with Sky Italia claiming Napoli have targeted the Chilean as a replacement for Pepe Reina.
It is still unknown whether Napoli want to take Bravo on loan or on a permanent deal but with Reina not likely to extend his contract, the former Liverpool man could be sold off this summer, with AC Milan and Newcastle both keen.
ALVARO MORATA ‘DOESN’T WANT’ CHELSEA MOVE
Chelsea’s hopes of signing Alvaro Morata could be over after reports in Spain claimed he didn’t see a move to Stamford Bridge as a ‘viable option’.
Antonio Conte’s side were thought to have turned to the €80m-rated Spain striker after missing out on Romelu Lukaku.
But while the striker would have left the Bernabeu to join United, where he was also linked, Morata is said to have told officials at Real Madrid he’d rather stay with the European champions than move to London.
Onda Cero say the 24-year-old does not view a move to Stamford Bridge as a ‘feasible’ option and will instead focus on winning a regular place in Zinedine Zidane’s starting line-up.
Morata has also received a huge contract offer from Tianjin Quanjian worth a €30million (£26.4m) a season, but the striker wants to remain in Europe and has no plans to join the Chinese Super League.
But news on Morata opting to stay put will come as another huge blow to Conte, who now looks likely to turn to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Reports in Italy on Thursday claimed the Gabon striker will choose between a move to the Blues or AC Milan this summer with a move to either rated at 50/50.
LIVERPOOL, LEICESTER, SPURS MISS OUT ON FRENCH STRIKER
Roma are close to securing a deal with Sassuolo for striker Gregoire Defrel, according to reports in Italy.
The 26-year-old France striker has been linked with a move to the Premier League, with Tottenham, Liverpool and Leicester all reported to have made enquiries.
But the Corriere dello Sport claims the trio will all miss out on the striker, who has scored 20 goals in 62 appearances for Sassuolo.
The paper claims Defrel will arrive in the Italian capital in a deal worth €20million, with the player capable of providing cover for Eden Dzeko up top or in a wide attacking role, similar to
AND THE REST
Roma are emerging as favourites to sign wantaway Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez. The Algerian has been heavily liked with Arsenal, but it’s thought their priorities now lie with Thomas Lemar (Sky Italia)
Inter Milan and AC Milan are the surprise new frontrunners to sign Leonardo Bonucci from Juventus. The Italy defender carries a £45million price tag and is a long-term target for both Chelsea and Manchester City (Gazetta dello Sport)
Crystal Palace and West Brom have made moves to sign Bacary Sagna, who is a free agent after leaving Manchester City this summer (L’Equipe)
Real Madrid extended James Rodriguez’s contract before then allowing the Colombian to complete a two-year loan transfer to Bayern Munich (Marca)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has ruled out a move to China and will sign for one of Chelsea or AC Milan (Calciomercato)
AC Milan also remain keen on a deal for Andrea Belotti and will sign the Torino star if their bid for Aubameyang fails (Gazetta dello Sport)
Everton and West Ham United lead the race to sign Juventus midfielder Mario Lemina (Foot Mercato)
Liverpool have now submitted a £25m bid for Angel Correa. We brought you the news on Wednesday about the Reds’ interest in the Atletico Madrid forward (AS)
Lazio are ready to make a firm bid for Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva after we reported their interest in him on Wednesday. The capital club want the Brazilian to replace Lucas Biglia (La Repubblica)
Former Manchester City defender Matjia Nastasic looks set to join Roma from Schalke as a replacement for Antonio Rudiger, who this week joined Chelsea (Corriere dello Sport)
Inter are ready to talk to Paris Saint-Germain about a possible player swap deal involving Joao Mario and Javier Pastore (Tuttosport)
Milan are considering a deal to sign free agent winger Rachid Ghezzal after holding talks with his agent (Calciomercato)