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A transfer window in a world changed by the COVID-19 outbreak is expected to pretty fraught. Financial experts and high-ranking officials across football have been warning that we should not expect big transfer fees and salaries to be agreed.
Yet rumours across the European landscape have been throwing up some interesting storylines over the past week that suggest there might be more cash moving around at the top level than some anticipate.
Each week, we look into some of the hottest transfer rumours, and this week, three teams are dominating our feature.
Chelsea are in the process of signing Timo Werner from RB Leipzig, yet they continue to be linked with other hot talent. Manchester United are another club regularly linked with new signings and will spend reasonably big this summer. Paris Saint-Germain have already agreed a permanent deal for Mauro Icardi and are intriguing as, with their season over in France, we begin to imagine what the side might look like next season.
Here, we take a closer look at all three clubs and speak to sources about some of the rumours surrounding them.
Donny van de Beek
Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek will be allowed to leave this summer and has a valuation of £49 million.
A report from Jonathan Northcroft in The Times suggested Manchester United are ready to make an offer, but they would prefer to strike a deal for around £37 million.
However, sources have indicated to Bleacher Report that this move is being pushed from the Dutch end of proceedings and no deal is in sight.
While United do rate the player, they still have Jack Grealish and Jude Bellingham as prime targets before seriously considering Van de Beek. There is also a feeling that United have been linked with the player in order to hurry Real Madrid into an offer.
Another United link, this time from Lluis Miguelsanz of Sport in Spain, says the Reds had a €100 million offer for Ansu Fati rejected but will come back with another bid.
This is pretty bold, given United have been pondering whether to splash out a similar amount of cash on Jadon Sancho—who is English and has more experience.
Fati, 17, has a release clause of €170 million, and B/R understands that amount could be broken into a couple of instalments.
However, sources around United are keen to distance themselves from this rumour at the moment. And sources close to Fati insist that the player really wants to stay with Barcelona, anyway.
West Ham United are having to accept they must seriously listen to offers for all their big players in a football climate impacted by the coronavirus, which is expected to be tough on their finances.
Declan Rice to Chelsea is a link that cropped up in March from Lyall Thomas of Sky Sports, and it is an option that could seriously open up over the next couple of months. If Jorginho or N’Golo Kante leave, then Frank Lampard will be wanting a replacement in midfield. And the Chelsea boss is also on the lookout for central defensive options.
Rice could help Chelsea add depth in both areas of the field, thanks to his versatility, and Lampard is believed to be a big fan of his personality, drive and commitment.
Sources told us that this is of interest to Chelsea, but other options are being explored by the club’s hierarchy before any offer is tabled.
The big issue here is that Leicester City—currently third in the Premier League—value Chilwell around the £80 million mark, and the player is contracted until 2024. They are in a strong position to dictate how any transfer negotiations go—and we saw in the case of Harry Maguire last summer how they can hold their ground in that sense.
Informed sources do feel there is a little room for negotiation here, but £70 million would probably be the lowest offer Leicester consider.
Manchester City are also interested in Chilwell, but Chelsea are favourites to sign him at this point.
On B/R Football’s Instagram page, we have begun running a weekly IG Live transfer show, and on Wednesday’s edition, I revealed how Wilfried Zaha continues to look for a path out of Crystal Palace.
The player is seriously considering a move abroad for the first time, and one of the early clubs being mentioned as a potential match for him is PSG. His representatives are going to start touting him around some of Europe’s big clubs to gauge the interest.
The player has not been afraid to discuss his ambition and told Rio Ferdinand on his YouTube show The Locker Room (h/t The Mirror‘s John Cross) it was “amazing” to be linked with Arsenal last season.
That deal is dead now, and while Everton remain interested in Zaha, he hopes for a bigger club to come along.
The PSG defender is going to become available as a free agent, and sources have indicated to B/R that representatives have been relatively surprised at just how much interest there has already been from Premier League clubs.
Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti would like to work with him again, according to The Sun‘s Etienne Fermie, but other clubs coming into the mix are Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.
The budgets of the two London clubs have been impacted in recent months, and free transfers and loan signings are having to be considered.
There could be a complication that arises, though, over when the player is available. While the French season has been ended early, PSG are into the quarter-finals of the Champions League, and there is still hope for the tournament to be played to its conclusion in August.
If that is the case, PSG hope to give Silva a short-term extension so that he can play in those matches. But it would also mean he can not join up with any new club until September.