Rumour Rater: Inter's pursuit of Lukaku, Mario Lemina to join Man United?
The summer transfer window is in full swing, but there's plenty of work to be done, given the flurry of international tournaments that have occupied the attention of some of this summer's biggest targets. Which players are likeliest to move before the 2019-20 campaign? David Amoyal rates the top rumours from around world football in the latest edition of our summer Rumour Rater.
Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan: 75%
The Nerazzurri's sporting director, Piero Ausilio, travelled to London last week to meet with Manchester United to move along the negotiations for the Belgian striker. While the Red Devils are open to payments spread over multiple fiscal years, they are looking for at least £20 million up front to cover Lukaku's international amortized value for the coming season. Inter also have more urgency to meet their demands for Lukaku since they have been unable to reach an agreement with Roma for Edin Dzeko.
Mario Lemina to Man United: 70%
With the Harry Maguire deal nearing completion, Manchester United are starting to shift their viewfinder from defence to midfield. Coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's preferred option would be Sean Longstaff from Newcastle, but the eye-watering price tag of £50 million set by the Magpies could persuade the Red Devils to explore other options, one of them being Mario Lemina. The 25-year-old's days at St. Mary's seem to be numbered, as he was left out of Southampton's preseason retreat in Austria, and now the relatively cheap price of £18 million could be appealing to Manchester United.
Dani Ceballos to Arsenal: 60%
After shining at the recent Under-21 Euros, the Spanish midfielder is looking for an opportunity to play regularly at the club level next season. Real Madrid, however, are determined to hold on to him long-term and are willing to consider only a loan deal for a season with no option to buy, a formula that Arsenal are willing to accept, considering their limited transfer budget. While Ceballos has also been linked to Milan, he appears to be more interested in playing for Unai Emery and living in London.
Ismael Bennacer to Milan: 90%
The Algerian international is one of the breakout stars of the current Africa Cup of Nations and, after a season at Empoli, is ready to play on a bigger stage. Arsenal added a buy-back clause when they sold him to the Tuscan club back in 2017 but decided to pass on exercising that right once Milan reached an agreement to buy him for €16 million. Bennacer is expected to take a medical for the Rossoneri following Friday's AFCON final against Senegal.
Nicolo Zaniolo to Tottenham: 35%
Following his breakout season, the Italian midfielder has been looking for a raise to get his wages more in line with his market value. So far, his agent has yet to reach an agreement with Roma, leading to speculation that he could leave the Italian capital. Although Spurs face competition from Juventus (at the moment Zaniolo's preferred destination), sending him abroad would make his departure less of a blow to a fan base that has already seen Daniele De Rossi and Kostas Manolas depart this summer. Tottenham's chances are also bolstered by the fact that their former technical director, Franco Baldini, is now an advisor to Roma's president James Pallotta and is the intermediary in the negotiations.
Toby Alderweireld to Roma: 40%
In addition to Zaniolo, Baldini is also working as an intermediary for Roma in a potential deal involving Alderweireld. Roma are looking for two starting-caliber centre-backs this summer, and after reaching an agreement with Atalanta for 23-year-old Gianluca Mancini, they would like to pair him with a veteran. Baldini is looking for a discount on Alderweireld's exit clause of £25 million since there's just one year remaining on the contract, but so far, Spurs have yet to budge on that amount. The player's considerable wages (£80,000) could be an issue, despite the fact that Alderweireld is open to moving to Italy's capital.
Dennis Praet to Leicester: 40%
After being linked to Arsenal, the Belgian international is a target for the Foxes, who are about to be flush with cash with Harry Maguire set to join Manchester United. Praet's current club, Sampdoria, are looking for a return of around €30 million, and while Leicester face competition from Valencia, the Spanish club has yet to reach an agreement on the player's wages.
Hakim Ziyech to Bayern Munich: 50%
After holding up his end of the deal, the Moroccan star could soon see the favour repaid by Ajax. Last year, the player and the club reportedly agreed that Ziyech would stay one more season at the club in exchange for the promise of being let go for a sum in the region of €30 million the following year. Among the many proposals that he has on his table, the 26-year-old seems particularly intrigued by the one coming from Bayern Munich. The German club would allow him to play in a side that favours a possession-based style of football, and he is now waiting for Bayern to make an official proposal to the Dutch giants.
Tiemoue Bakayoko to Paris Saint-Germain: 30%
After securing two quality players, Ander Herrera and Pablo Sarabia, for a relatively cheap sum, sporting director Leonardo is navigating the transfer market in search of a midfield enforcer, and one of the names under consideration is that of Chelsea's Tiemoue Bakayoko. The Paris-based club would gladly take the Frenchman on loan with an option to buy. Chelsea, however, don't seem too keen on parting ways with a useful player for squad rotation, especially since they would not be able to sign a replacement due to their transfer ban.
Dario Benedetto to Marseille: 70%
The departure of Mario Balotelli has left a large hole in Andre Villas-Boas' team that the club is working to fill as soon as possible. Les Phoceens are especially pushing to reach an agreement with Boca Juniors for Argentine striker Dario Benedetto. Although their first €13 million bid was rejected by Boca, Marseille are confident that they will land Benedetto by increasing their offer by €2 million, as they look keen to reinvest the proceeds from the sale of another Argentine, Lucas Ocampos to Sevilla.