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Transfer Talk: Chelsea plot Gonzalo Higuain move as Sarri era begins

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: Sarri era to begin fast with Higuain prime target

Maurizio Sarri is the new Chelsea manager and he has already spent £57 million on Jorginho as his first signing, but there is plenty more to come it appears. The Mirror claims the Italian is prepared to sell both Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud (who has just 12 months left on his contract) to make room for Gonzalo Higuain.

The Blues, however, will face stiff competition for the Argentina striker's signature, with AC Milan also circling, according to Corriere dello Sport. Chelsea could use Morata, who they paid £58m to Real Madrid for 12 months ago, in a swap deal for the Argentinian striker, who has previously worked with Sarri at Napoli.

Higuain's best season of his career, which included 38 goals in all competitions, came under the Italian in 2015-16, and Juve are prepared to recoup some of the £75m they paid Napoli two years ago having pulled off the signing of the summer in Cristiano Ronaldo. And Sarri will gladly welcome his former player, with the £240,000-per-week forward likely to be the focal point of his attack, especially if Eden Hazard departs.

Corriere dello Sport's Alfredo Pedulla claims the Blues will pursue Juventus defender Daniele Rugani, CSKA midfielder Aleksandr Golovin and possibly Roma goalkeeper Alisson -- should Thibaut Courtois exit Stamford Bridge.


22.00 BST: And one final transfer nugget for the day from Manchester United, where Matteo Darmian is with the team in the U.S. for their preseason tour despite links to a return to Serie A with either Juventus or Inter Milan. Sources have told ESPN FC that there have been talks with Juventus but the Serie A champions have so far failed to match United's valuation.

And that's all from us folks, but do check back later in the day for our overnight roundup from the AM papers before we start the whole live party over again on Monday.

21.30 BST: Former Chelsea star John Terry could be the next Premier League legend to make a move to Major League Soccer. NBC Sports is reporting that its sources say several MLS clubs are interested in the out-of-contract defender, who spent last season with Aston Villa.

20.55 BST: Daley Blind did not make the trip to Los Angeles with Manchester United, because the 28-year-old is nearing a return to Ajax, sources have told ESPN FC's Rob Dawson. Sources have told ESPN FC the deal will be worth £14.1 million, which could rise to £18.5 million with add-ons.

20.20 BST: ESPN FC contributor Julien Laurens has told the BBC's World Cup Daily podcast that newly minted World Cup-winner N'Golo Kante has always dreamed of playing for Paris Saint-Germain. Could the Chelsea defender be set for an exit from Stamford Bridge?

19.55 BST: Cash-strapped AC Milan are ready to sell Leonardo Bonucci after just one season at the San Siro, but according to Mediaset Premium they haven't received any formal offers for the 31-year-old despite rumoured interest from PSG and both Manchester clubs.

19.30 BST: Rio Ferdinand implored Manchester United to pursue Kylian Mbappe at all costs after the France international took home the best young player award at the World Cup following his team's 4-2 finals triumph over Croatia on Sunday. Speaking on the BBC following the match, Ferdinand said: "I hope they've got their cheque book out, saying 'whatever it costs, we'll take you'."

18.40 BST: In case you missed it, Wayne Rooney made his Major League Soccer debut last night, notching an assist in D.C. United's 3-1 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps. ESPN FC writer Jeff Carlisle was there and writes that the former Manchester United and Everton striker's class was evident from the off.

18.18 BST: Inter Milan's Joao Mario could be the next Portuguese player to move to Wolverhampton Wanderers, according to beIN SPORTS France.

The midfielder, who went on loan to West Ham United in January, wants to leave West Ham and said after his Premier League move that Inter are in his past.

17.54 BST: Juventus have posted a video of Cristiano Ronaldo, who will be introduced on Monday, arriving in Turin:

17.32 BST: Right-back Cristiano Piccini could be the next player to leave strife-ridden Sporting Lisbon, with Turkish Football reporting his agent has spoken to a number of clubs, including Besiktas, Manchester United, West Ham United and Inter Milan.

The defender cost £2.6 million when he moved from Real Betis last year but a strong first season in the Primeira Liga, combined with financial fair play obligations, mean Sporting are asking £17.5 million for anyone interested in Piccini.

17.00 BST: Out of contract next summer, Luke Shaw is prepared to leave Manchester United on a free transfer unless his first-team prospects improve, sources told ESPN FC's Rob Dawson.

The defender has fallen out of favour under Jose Mourinho, starting just eight Premier League games last season and nine the year before.

16.27 BST: After Jurgen Klopp discussed the likelihood of Harry Wilson going out on loan on Saturday, it seems Derby County will secure his services for the coming season.

The Mirror reported that Wilson, the Wales international who was loaned to Hull City in January, will join new manager Frank Lampard.

15.25 BST: Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois knows that an impressive World Cup will force the club to increase the terms of his contract to keep him.

Courtois, who has one year remaining on his contract, said he does not necessarily want to leave Chelsea but needs more than the £200,000 a week he has been offered.

15.06 BST: Fulham raised eyebrows with their move for Jean-Michael Seri earlier this week and could do so again with a deal for Bordeaux's Malcom, the Sun reported.

Malcom, who had been linked to Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur in the January transfer window, has most recently been tipped for a move to Inter Milan. Bordeaux apparently want £45 million for the 21-year-old winger, and after spending big for Seri, Fulham may be able to secure their Premier League status by adding Malcom as well.

14.46 BST: The World Cup has done wonders for Besiktas, who have seen a number of clubs inquire about the availability of Croatia international Domagoj Vida, according to Fanatik.

Liverpool, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla are among those interested in the defender, who moved from Dynamo Kiev in January. Besiktas want €35 million for Vida; Liverpool have offered €22 million.

14.09 BST: Any non-Italian club looking to make a move for AC Milan's Suso may want to do so by midnight as the winger's €38 million release clause for foreign clubs is set to expire, Mediaset Premium reported.

Chelsea and former club Liverpool are among the clubs that have considered a move. Should transfer business not be wrapped up by tonight, those interested will need to negotiate directly with Milan.

13.59 BST: Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson put an end to speculation that the club may allow Wilfried Zaha or Andros Townsend to leave this summer.

"I am not surprised that other clubs would be interested, and there are players at other clubs who aren't for sale that I wouldn't mind, but we are not selling players," Hodgson told reporters at a news conference before a preseason friendly against Halmstads in Sweden.

"We are not a selling club at the moment -- far from it. We are working very hard to keep the players we have got, and players of big importance, and Zaha and Townsend are right up there as players we want to keep."

13.42 BST: Newcastle United captain Jamaal Lascelles has been linked to a number of other clubs this summer, but it will take "an astronomical offer" for the defender to leave, the Chronicle reported.

13.26 BST: Everyone has made an approach for Lazio's Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, so now that Maurizio Sarri has been hired by Chelsea, why wouldn't they as well?

Indeed, Corriere dello Sport reported the Serbia international is on Roman Abramovich's list of targets, but there will be significant resistance from Lazio after the departures of Stefan de Vrij and Felipe Anderson, even if he commands a significant transfer fee.

13.11 BST: Liverpool and Chelsea are among the clubs keeping an eye on Barcelona's Jasper Cillessen, but Mundo Deportivo reported that the goalkeeper would not leave unless he is guaranteed to be his new club's No. 1.

Cillessen, a Netherlands international who joined Barcelona from Ajax in 2016, has started just two La Liga games since his arrival.

13.00 BST: Former Italy prime minister and AC Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi told Il Giornale that Cristiano Ronaldo's move to Juventus will boost Serie A.

"As a Milanese, it's a terrible thing," Berlusconi said. "But truthfully, the arrival in the Italian championship of an absolute champion such as Cristiano Ronaldo is good news not only for Juventus, but for all of football in Italy. I therefore congratulate Juventus, their managers and their fans."

12.47 BST: Regardless of what happens in the World Cup final, Nikola Kalinic could eye a fresh start -- and Atletico Madrid may offer it to him, according to Tuttosport.

The Croatia international who was sent home for refusing to enter the opening game against Nigeria as a substitute has also fallen out of favour at AC Milan, who would not want to let him go for less than €20 million.

12.31 BST: There may be a decision looming for Steven Nzonzi after the World Cup final as Barcelona are preparing an offer for the France international should their bid for PSG's Adrien Rabiot fall through.

Mundo Deportivo reported that Nzonzi, who just saw Sevilla teammate Clement Lenglet leave for Barca, has a €40 million release clause and his club may be willing to let him walk after falling out of favour.

12.06 BST: The Napoli-to-Chelsea pipeline could continue with Kalidou Koulibaly, a longtime target of the London club, eager to use Maurizio Sarri's arrival to finally entice the defender into a move.

But the price won't come cheap -- reports indicate that Napoli, despite previous transfer business, have put an £80 million tag on Koulibaly.

11.02 BST: Everton and Bournemouth are interested in completing an £18m move for Genoa midfielder Diego Laxalt, who impressed at the World Cup with Uruguay, say the Sun.

10.31 BST: The Mirror suggests that Jurgen Klopp acknowledges that Loris Karius has to be replaced before the window closes and will go in for Brazil goalkeeper Alisson this week.

10.22 BST: DONE DEAL. West Ham have signed Lazio attacking midfielder Felipe Anderson for a club-record fee of around £40 million.

09.55 BST: Not like Manchester United to jump on the World Cup bandwagon, but they are reportedly interested in signing Harry Maguire from Leicester, according to the Daily Telegraph. However, the defender has been offered a new contract in order to stave off any interest.

09.42 BST: According to Barcelona-based newspaper Mundo Deportivo (via the Mirror), Barcelona midfielder Andre Gomes is keen on a move to north London. But are Tottenham set to beat Arsenal to his signature?

09.22 BST: We've seen this one before but Manchester United boss Mourinho is keen on swooping for Italy international Leonardo Bonucci and the Daily Express claim AC MIlan are open to a sale.

09.00 BST: Not content with signing one Galactico, Juventus have made initial contact to sign Real Madrid full-back Marcelo, according to CalcioMercato.

PAPER TALK (By Jack Rathborn)
Barcelona target De Jong

Barcelona are closing in on the signing of Frenkie De Jong from Ajax, with Sport detailing the Dutch prodigy's price tag is set at €50m.

The Catalan newspaper claims the deal will be finalised in the coming days.

The player himself appears to have confirmed a willingness to move to the Nou Camp at just 21 years of age, off the back of a goal and nine assists last term.

"I can't promise that I'll stay," De Jong said. "I have the option of moving to Spain."

Arsenal in for Bentancur

Arsenal are keeping tabs on Rodrigo Bentancur with a view to making a bid for the Juventus star, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

The Uruguayan midfielder shone at the World Cup, but the Old Lady may not be able to grant him a regular place in their starting lineup, which could open the door to a sale.

Unai Emery could utilise the former Boca starlet alongside new signing Lucas Torreira as he bids to reshape the Gunners squad after succeeding Arsene Wenger this summer.


- Luke Shaw has knocked back Everton in a bid to save his Manchester United career, according to the Times.

The left-back has one year remaining on his deal at Old Trafford, but with the impending sale of Daley Blind to Ajax, Shaw may be thrown a lifeline. Ashley Young will return late after the World Cup, too, meaning Shaw could start in United's first Premier League game in less than four weeks.

- Jorge Mendes, agent of Cristiano Ronaldo, offered his client to Aurelio De Laurentiis and Napoli, as well, reports Corriere dello Sport.

Ronaldo is on the verge of officially being unveiled as a Juventus player, though Napoli seemingly were also an option as Mendes plotted a route out of Real Madrid.

- Wolves are closing in on Joao Mario after his loan spell at West Ham last season.

The Sun claims that the Premier League newcomers could sign the Inter Milan midfielder, with the Italians keen to recoup most of the €35m they paid Sporting in 2016.

- Tottenham are lining up a move for Benjamin Pavard should Toby Alderweireld move on this summer, reports the Mirror.

The Stuttgart star has shone for France at the World Cup as a right-back, but his natural position is at centre-back, with his versatility appealing to Mauricio Pochettino.

- Australia captain Mile Jedinak is on the verge of leaving Aston Villa, according to SBS.

Steve Bruce's side fell at the last hurdle in last season's Championship playoff final and are now expecting to lose a host of first-team stars to fall in line with Financial Fair Play rules.


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