LIVE Transfer Talk: Barcelona coming in with £55m-plus bid for Chelsea's Willian
The transfer window is open, and Transfer Talk has the latest rumours making the rounds. Follow along with our daily blog throughout the summer.
TOP STORY: Barca bid £55m for Willian
Chelsea winger Willian is the subject of a third bid from Barcelona, according to Sky Sports, with the La Liga title holders reportedly lodging a £55 million bid for the Brazil international.
The 29-year-old blew hot and cold for the Selecao at the World Cup, but his pace was evident throughout and he also showed his willingness to commit to defensive duties, working his way back to recover the ball when the team lost possession.
The playmaker was also arguably one of the best players on the field not named Lionel Messi when Chelsea were eliminated from the Champions League by Barcelona in the round of 16, which was perhaps when he first caught the eye of Camp Nou personnel gurus.
Any move for Willian could have to wait until Barca free up a spot for another player without an EU passport, as La Liga rules limit clubs to just three non-holders and Barcelona have Philippe Coutinho, Arthur, and Yerry Mina taking up those spots. However, Coutinho could qualify for a Portuguese passport through his partner -- and his new citizenship could go into effect from this season.
22.00 BST: Right-o. That's it for another gripping edition of ESPN FC's Transfer Talk. Join us on Sunday for all the latest news, whispers and completed deals!
22.31 BST:Let's stick with Arsenal for the final tidbit of the night. Are they on the verge of shipping Alex Iwobi off to Serie A? An Italian media outlet believes he's attracted the interest of Lazio, who are in the market for a striker to replace the West Ham-bound Felipe Anderson.
That outlet, Il Messaggero, reckons that the Gunners would sell for a price of £22.3 million. So there you have it.
21.49 BST: Arsenal have already lured one goalkeeper from the Bundesliga this summer but according to Sky, they're in "advanced talks" with Switzerland and Borussia Monchengladbach No. 1 Yann Sommer.
Sommer, 29, would be the strong front-line shot-stopper to arrive at Arsenal this summer if Sky is accurate, following on the heels of former Bayer Leverkusen star Bernd Leno. Is that one great goalie too many? We reckon that after years of inconsistency and indecisiveness between the posts, a proper positional battle could be a good thing here.
21.27 BST: Look who's back in Europe!
That's former Southampton and Portugal defender Jose Fonte arriving in Ligue 1 and signing for LOSC Lille. A good pick-up and a decently robust centre-back. He leaves Dalian Yifang after two seasons.
20.51 BST: Is it normal for a club to draw attention to the fact that their hotly touted, highly tipped and Bundesliga-linked prospect is absent for a league game? It is? OK, cool.
Young Canadian star Alphonso Davies has been linked to Bayern Munich of all places in recent days, prompting the Vancouver Whitecaps to show how cool they are about the whole thing.
20.24 BST: Leicester City just signed Liverpool reserve goalkeeper Danny Ward but Foxes boss Claude Puel insists it's not a sign that Denmark No. 1 Kasper Schmeichel is soon to be heading out the door for pastures new.
Said Puel to Sky, "I am not troubled about this. Of course Kasper is a very important player for us. He had a very strong World Cup. We need Kasper, with his character, his performance and his consistency."
"There is a lot of speculation at this moment, it is normal."
19.52 BST: Where in the world will Usain Bolt land? The eight-time Olympian gold medalist has been trying out for various clubs, including Borussia Dortmund, but interest has emerged from new USL side Las Vegas Lights. Read our story here: just imagine him literally on the wing with room to run...
19.11 BST: Might some defenders be on the move soon? Tuttosport believes that if Daniele Rugani leaves Juventus for Chelsea, Man United's unsettled centre-back Victor Lindelof could swap Old Trafford for Turin in response. Other names on Juve's list of possible defenders? Atletico Madrid duo Stefan Savic and the inspirational Diego Godin are possible options.
18.36 BST: Young Man United prospect Demetri Mitchell is touring with Jose Mourinho & Co. across the U.S. but might end up out on loan regardless of how he looks in preseason. Sources tell ESPN FC that both Hearts (Scotland) and Derby County are interested in the 21-year-old even though Mitchell's focused on United at present.
18:08 BST: It was mooted on Friday but there's a further update on Liverpool prospect Ryan Kent, via Sky. Their sources reported Saturday that the winger agreed a deal with Rangers on Friday and is set to complete his medical within the next 24 hours.
Rangers are now managed by Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard and Kent, who signed a new deal at Anfield in 2017, would be the second young LFC player to take a temporary move to Ibrox this summer: Ovie Ejaria began his loan spell before the World Cup.
17:20 BST: Napoli president Aurelio Di Laurentiis has ruled out a return for Edinson Cavani, telling fans: "I am your Matador!" El Matador is Cavani's nickname.
17:06 BST: Brazilian outlet UOL Esporte claim Juventus have made an offer for Porto's Alex Telles.
16:43 BST: Valencia's South Korean starlet Kangin Lee, 17, has signed a new contract at the club, which includes an €80 million buy-out clause, AS claim.
16:21 BST: Bas Dost has re-signed for Sporting Lisbon, having ordered his contract be terminated followed the attack by masked fans which left him needing stitches on his head.
16:05 BST: Simon Mignolet is one of five goalkeepers Barcelona are considering as a No. 2 for Marc-Andre ter Stegen should Jasper Cillessen move on, according to Marca.
15:45 BST: Napoli are looking to seal a deal for Santiago Arias, according to Gianluca Di Marzio, for €11.5m. However, Valencia are also interested.
15:24 BST: Roma could look to Petr Cech as a replacement for Alisson, according to The Sun.
15:03 BST: Yerry Mina's uncle Jair, who also acts as his agent, told Marca the Colombia defender "will be at a big European side" next season. Mina's future at Barcelona is unclear and he may move this summer -- whether that be permanently or on loan.
14:47 BST: Karim Benzema has rubbished rumours he is in talks with Milan in a fiery Instagram story. Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio reported the story, and Benzema showed his displeasure by urging him to "change jobs" before calling him a "liar."
14:28 BST: Barcelona will not sell Ousmane Dembele under any circumstances, according to Mundo Deportivo.
14:05 BST: Roma have still not reached an agreement with Bordeaux over the signing of Malcom, according to Gianluca Di Marzio. The Ligue 1 side want €40m.
13:51 BST: SPAL confirm the signing of former Arsenal defender Yohan Djourou.
13:34 BST: Chicago Fire sign Nicolas Hasler from Toronto FC with Jon Bakero heading the other way
13:14 BST: Barcelona are working on a deal to sign Senegal teenager Moussa Wague from Belgian side, KAS Eupen, according to Mundo Deportivo.
12:55 BST: The Sun are reporting that Everton are hopeful of completing a deal to sign Lucas Digne from Barcelona for £14m.
12:34 BST: Chelsea are closing in on a deal for Daniele Rugani and are also targeting fellow Juventus players Gonzalo Higuain and Miralem Pjanic, according to Gazzetta dello Sport. A deal for Rugani is close, despite an opening offer of €40m deemed not good enough.
Pjanic is also a target for Barcelona -- but Juventus want €80m. While there have been no discussions over Higuain, who is likely to be made available following the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo.
12:15 BST: Sport are reporting that Bayern Munich have put a €30 million price tag on Arturo Vidal, with Manchester United and Chelsea showing interest.
11:56 BST: Marseille are ready to pay €10 million to sign Mario Balotelli, according to several French media outlets.
11:42 BST: Napoli confirm three of their young players have been loand out. Gennaro Tutina and Zinedine Machach have joined Carpi while Roberto Insigne -- younger brother of Lorenzo -- has moved to Benevento.
La SSCN comunica di aver ceduto a titolo temporaneo le prestazioni sportive dei calciatori Gennaro Tutino e Zinedine Machach al Carpi FC 1909 #ForzaNapoliSempre— Official SSC Napoli (@sscnapoli) July 21, 2018
La SSCN comunica di aver ceduto a titolo temporaneo le prestazioni sportive del calciatore Roberto Insigne al Benevento Calcio #ForzaNapoliSempre— Official SSC Napoli (@sscnapoli) July 21, 2018
11:23 BST: RB Leipzig are considering meeting Everton's €22 million asking price for Ademola Lookman, according to the Leipziger Volkszeitung.
11:06 BST: Marvin Plattenhardt has no intention of leaving Hertha Berlin, insisting: "I feel at home here."
10:50 BST: New York Red Bulls will complete the signing of Andreas Ivan once his visa is processed.
10:36 BST: Sassuolo have confirmed the signing of Jeremie Boga from Chelsea.
10:20 BST: More from The Sun. Chelsea will turn to Joe Hart if Thibaut Courtois leaves Stamford Bridge.
10:07 BST: Marca report Atletico Madrid have agreed a deal to sign Jonny from Celta Vigo, but will look to loan him out for the season -- ideally to a Premier League club.
09:49 BST: Tottenham right-back Kieran Trippier's brilliant World Cup has alerted Real Madrid, who are prepared to bid £50m bid, according to The Sun.
09:33 BST: Borussia Dortmund and Everton are keen on signing £60m-rated Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace, according to the Daily Mail -- but they add that Tottenham are not interested.
09.16 BST: Lokomotiv Moscow have made an €8 million bid for Barcelona man Aleix Vidal, with an extra €2m in add-ons, according to Mundo Deportivo. However, the offer is is well below the club's asking price.
09.00 BST: Atletico Madrid are interested in signing Olivier Giroud from Chelsea, according to Sky Sport Italia. Atletico had appeared on the verge of sealing a deal for Nikola Kalinic, but the report adds that their patience with AC Milan is waning.
PAPER ROUND: Corinthians digging in on Pedrinho
Corinthians will not begin negotiations over midfield jewel Pedrinho for anything less than €50m despite a recent offer of €20m from Ajax, the player's agent Will Dantas told Globeosporte.
Pedrinho is seen as next in line from the club that sent Malcom, Marquinhos and Willian to Europe for cut-price rates most recently, but "O Timao," as they are called in Brazil, are playing hardball this time around, per Dantas.
"What happened was [Giuliano] Bertolucci, who has a partnership with us, brought an offer in the area of €20 million from Ajax for Pedrinho. But Corinthians had told me that they only begin negotiating for a price near the buyout clause, which is €50 million, so it wasn't put forward."
Dantas said Italian side Udinese, a notorious buyer of young Brazilians, have also logged a bid for the talented 20-year-old.
Benzema hits back at De Laurentiis swipe
No one knows just where Karim Benzema will end up before the window closes, but one thing is certain: The Real Madrid striker did not take kindly to comments from Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis about links with a move to Napoli.
The Napoli president rubbished reports that they were interested in Benzema and Angel Di Maria among others, calling the two "old men," while adding reported interest in Radamel Falcao was "totally false."
And Benzema hit back on Instagram, writing, "Another nutter on the list! No 9s make him lose it," ostensibly referring to San Paulo exits by Edinson Cavani, Gonzalo Higuain and Fabio Quagliarella in the past decade.
Furthermore, the former France international could really make Di Laurentiis regret his comments at least two times a year if Calciomercato's report that the 30-year-old is actually on the brink of a move to one of Napoli's Serie A rivals, AC Milan. Benzema's representatives have already met with the Rossoneri, with the player already signing off on a move to the San Siro.
- Everton are readying a £22m offer to Barcelona for Lucas Digne, according to the Mirror. The 25-year-old failed to find a regular place at the Camp Nou, but the report says new boss Marco Silva "feels Digne could be Leighton Baines' long-term successor at Goodison Park."
- With Thibaut Courtois' future at Chelsea uncertain, The Sun is reporting that the Blues are lining up a surprise replacement in Joe Hart. There is clearly no future for Hart at Manchester City, despite his participation in the team's U.S. tour, and Chelsea are now on alert that they could land him on the cheap for just £5m.
- Everton are closing in on a £40 million move for Watford star Richarlison, sources have told ESPN FC. The two clubs are in advanced talks over a deal for the Brazilian, who has flown back from Watford's preseason tour of Austria for talks and a medical.