Manchester United still hope to win the race to sign a €70m star, while Arsenal are ready to ditch Wilfried Zaha and try for a Real Madrid winger, according to Saturday’s newspapers.
MAN UTD AGREE DE LIGT FEE WITH AJAX
Manchester United are retaining faint hopes they could sign Ajax skipper Matthijs de Ligt after it was claimed they had an agreement in place to sign him.
The teenage defender has become one of European football’s most wanted men this summer, with Juventus seemingly set to win a long-running transfer saga that had also seen PSG, Barcelona and even Liverpool mentioned as suitors.
However, it’s claimed that Juve are struggling to agree a fee with Ajax for the centre-half, having had an initial €55m offer, with a further €10m made up in bonuses, rejected by the Dutch giants.
But Ajax’s €70m asking price is no issue to both PSG and United, who are, according to a transfer expert, the only two sides to have an agreement in place with the Eredivisie outfit over De Ligt.
And speaking to ESPN, in quotes carried by the Daily Express, Julien Laurens said: “I think there’s a chance where Ajax will lose a little bit of patience and say ‘hang on a minute, PSG agreed, Manchester United agreed. In that case we stop talking to you and De Ligt can choose between the clubs that we actually have an agreement in place’.
“It’s not really in Ajax’s interest to waste a bit more time about De Ligt. They want the money in, they want for him to go, he was great for them but now he’s decided that he wants to go.
“They want that deal to happen, they won’t want to have to go back and forth in negotiations with Juventus or whoever else.
“So they might well say ‘do you know what, we already have an agreement in place with some clubs, we’re going to only focus on them clubs and De Ligt would have to choose between those clubs because you’re wasting our time’.”
Laurens claims Juve are trying to lower the price as they look to improve other areas as well this summer.
“Maybe at some point the money will run out after some of the deals that they’ve done and the ones that they are hoping to make, like Mauro Icardi for example, like Paul Pogba as well,” he added.
“Maybe they’re thinking ‘do you know what, we can try to lower that deal because De Ligt is clearly willing to come to us more than Paris, more than Barcelona for example, or whatever else’.”
And while United still look unlikely to win the race to sign the defender, stranger things have happened in football over the years.
Meanwhile, Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu appeared to open the door to a dramatic late capture of De Ligt himself ahead of the presentation of his former team-mate Frenkie de Jong. That’s according to the Daily Mail.
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AND THE REST
Arsenal have turned their attention to Real Madrid winger Lucas Vazquez as a cheaper alternative to Wilfried Zaha, with a fee of £31m (€35m) being suggested (Daily Star)
Liverpool have held talks with Nicolas Pepe this summer, according to Lille president Gerard Lopez (Daily Star)
New Derby boss Phillip Cocu could use his links with Marcel Brands to raid Everton for young loan players, with Mason Holgate and Josh Bowler among possible candidates to secure additional experience in the Championship (The Times)
Garry Monk has come under further criticism – this time from former Leeds owner Massimo Cellino – over his professional relationship with agent James Featherstone (The Times)
Jose Mourinho has turned down the chance to manage Guangzhou Evergrande for family reasons despite a lucrative offer from the Chinese Super League club (The Guardian)
Chelsea do not anticipate Alvaro Morata playing a part under the new regime (The Guardian)
Quique Sanchez Flores is one of the managers Newcastle United are considering to replace Rafa Benitez (Daily Telegraph)
Birmingham City are ready to throw Saido Berahino a lifeline and the chance to make it in the Championship (The Sun)
Joel Lynch is closing on a move to the Premier League with Sheffield United after quitting QPR (The Sun)
Chelsea midfielder Danny Drinkwater has been told by new manager Frank Lampard that there could be a way back for him at Stamford Bridge (Daily Express)
Rangers have denied claims that Alfredo Morelos’ agent has told them to expect an offer from Crystal Palace for the striker (Daily Record)
Celtic are lining up a £2.5m offer for Brentford midfielder Romaine Sawyers (Daily Record)