Friday's Transfer Rumour Power Rankings: Mustafi, Draxler and Balotelli
Here's your transfer tittle-tattle.
We may not be when it comes to information on the big deals and often spend our days wading through the same old waist-deep pool of (often widely inaccurate) rumours, just like the rest of you do.
While we don't have Mino Raiola and Jorge Mendes on speed dial, we can at least try and apply a bit of common sense to a handful of some of the relentless stream of transfer stories.
So, with 26 whole days to go until the transfer window metaphorically slams shut, here's our lowdown on seven potential transfers, using nothing more than the information we have in front of us.
1) Paul Pogba to Manchester United (Various)
Yep. We're still talking about it. Most of us accepted long ago that Paul Pogba was set to return to Old Trafford this summer. Yet again, we're told by Friday's papers that the deal is inching ever closer with the Manchester Evening News claiming that all is agreed and only an official announcement and medical stand in the way of it being finalised. Provided there's no spectacular balls ups from Ed Woodward and co, this one surely has to happen. Just don't be surprised if it's only done on deadline day though.
Final papers being prepared for Pogba transfer according to Sky
48 hours ? pic.twitter.com/FxX7UHf2Pv
— JuveFC (@juvefcdotcom) August 4, 2016
2) John Stones to Manchester City (Sky Sports)
According to Sky, Everton aren't for budging on their £50m valuation of John Stones. That said, we reckon there's a good chance Stones will head to Manchester City before the window is done. Everton have already made moves to replace him with Swansea's Ashley Williams, a move they probably wouldn't have made if they truly believed that they weren't going to reach an agreement with City at some point.
3) Skhodran Mustafi to Arsenal (Daily Mail)
Per Mertesacker has a dodgy knee that will keep him out for months. Laurent Koscielny's Euro 2016 adventure has earned him an extended summer holiday. Arsene Wenger could do with defensive reinforcements. Valencia's Skhodran Mustafi seems like a logical choice. The Valencia man impressed at the Euros and despite a reported £41m buyout clause in his current contract in Spain, the Mail reckon £25m could be enough to prise him from the Mestalla. As much as this a deal that makes sense for Arsenal, when has Arsene Wenger's transfer activity ever been easy to guess?
4) Mario Balotelli to Ajax (Daily Mail)
Hopes of reviving his Liverpool career (if 'revive' is the right word) appear bleak for Mario Balotelli. Having spent his career toing and froing to Milan, it also seems like a move back to Italy isn't on the cards, either. But it seems like Dutch giants Ajax are ready to follow up their interest in him by tabling a bid. It's likely that Liverpool will be keen to get rid of the 25-year-old and with Ajax possibly being able to offer him Champions League football, this move might just make sense.
5) Romelu Lukaku to Chelsea (The Mirror)
What with Pogba on the cusp of a return to Manchester United, the French midfielder's basketball partner also appears primed to make a return to his former club. Lukaku left Chelsea for Everton a few years back but reports claim that Antonio Conte has his sights set on bringing the Belgian back to Stamford Bridge. Although Everton aren't exactly in desperate need for the money nowadays, there was a feeling earlier in the week that if the player indicated his wish to leave, the move could happen. It still might - especially if Everton are able to secure a replacement - but reports of Lukaku being offered a new contract at Stamford Bridge might just make this one a little more unlikely.
6) Julian Draxler to Everton (Independent)
Get used to hearing about Julian Draxler. The Wolfsburg man wants a move, his club aren't too pleased about it. We've already seen him linked with Juventus and Arsenal, but the Independent are now claiming that money-flushed Everton are set to make a bid, too. Nobody's doubting they can afford him (especially not if Lukaku ends up sealing his big money return to Chelsea), but at this moment in time, it'd be strange to see the German international move to Goodison instead of a Champions League club.
7) David Alaba to Real Madrid (AS)
Are we really about to go a second consecutive summer without Florentino Perez splurging silly money on a single player? Not if reports by AS are anything to go by. Having reportedly conceded that Paul Pogba was 'too expensive', the European Champions have now set their sights on Bayern Munich's Austrian international David Alaba, and are prepared to part with a cool £55m to bring him to Spain from Bavaria. Is that good value? In the current transfer market, we have absolutely no idea any more. One thing that is certain however is that Bayern won't be bullied into selling one of their key players. We can't see this one getting out of the blocks, to be honest.
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