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Gossip: Man City To Make £50m Signing, Man Utd Agree £30m Fee & Palace To Seal £25m Deal

The gossip is well underway and we have all the latest for you in our gossip column.

Palace make £25million bid for Cristian Benteke (Telegraph)

Liverpool are considering whether or not to accept a £25million bid from Crystal Palace for Cristian Benteke, according to reports. Jurgen Klopp is thought to be willing to part with the Belgian striker, but the club were initially hoping to recoup £30million for him. Palace’s bid will certainly be worth considering though, as Liverpool look to raise funds to build a squad more suited to Klopp’s style. Benteke may not want to move to a club like Palace though, as he has always had his sights set firmly on playing for the very best clubs. But with Benteke unable to play regularly at Liverpool and with no big clubs interested currently, the 25-year-old may have to take a step back before moving to a big club again. Under Alan Pardew, Palace are building a solid squad having recently signed Andros Townsend and more targetted. Liverpool are yet to respond to Palace’s offer but if they did accept, they’d be taking a £7.5million hit on the £32.5million they paid last summer.

Manchester City set to pay £50million for John Stones (Telegraph)

 

Everton put a £50million price tag on John Stones’ head in a bid to scare potential suitors away, but with Pep Guardiola desperate for homegrown talent, it seems City will now pay the full asking price. It would be an incredible move for Stones, who aged just 22 was often omitted from the Everton line-up last season due to poor form. Stones would become one of the most expensive players in world football, despite not yet managing to cement his place in Everton’s line up. It’s a huge risk from City, because although Stones does have lots of potential, there are no guarantees that he will fulfil it. With Ilkay Gundogan and Nolito already signed, Pep’s attention is not on strengthening his defence and if a deal for Stones is completed, the Spanish manager will have already spent around £100million on new signings, with many more still expected. The rumours linking this story are being reported in nearly every UK paper and there is a strong feeling that Stones will get his wish in the coming weeks, and join Manchester City.

Manchester United set to sign Henrikh Mkhitaryan (BBC)

Manchester United have had a bid of around £30million accepted for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The 27-year-old Armenian midfielder is expected to sign a contract with wages worth in excess of £200,000 per week. He scored 18 goals in all competitions last season as well as making many more assists. Mkhitaryan is likely to replace Juan Mata in the number 10 role, although he can also play out wide. Mkhitaryan created an incredible 2.81 chances per 90 minutes last season. He’s a forward thinking player who makes 21.95 forward passes on average per game, although not always successfully, with a pass completion rate of 75%.

Manchester United Update On Rumoured £100million Transfer

After months of nonstop speculation, Barcelona will finally confirm Neymar’s new five-year deal in the next few days after coming to an agreement, reveals Barcelona’s president.

The Brazilian international is only half-way through his six-year contract at the Nou Camp, after reaching the third year in the contract a renegotiation clause has been triggered.

Barcelona have always been deemed to be confident in Neymar staying, and the club will be relieved he rejected interest from Real Madrid, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain to sign a new Barcelona deal, which should be announced in the coming days.

The Brazilian skipper was brought by the Catalan giants in 2013 costing the club around £48.6 million. His rise has been phenomenal and is now sought as one of Europe’s best players. Neymar has enjoyed the opening three years in his Barcelona career and has scored 55 goals in 93 appearances.

One of the brightest talents in world football is now a key player in the Brazilian national squad and has been a part of the derail of being the world’s best team; he will now be a part of the rebuild and has already played 70 games scoring 46 goals.

When the Barcelona forward signed his first contract with Barcelona there was a renegotiation clause included, which has since been activated. After extensive negotiations with the 24-year-old, he has now agreed to sign on for a further five seasons when Barca’s new financial year begins on July 1.

Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu had hoped to tie Neymar down on an improved contract in the winter which would have raised his release clause to a significant amount and stopped any speculation. Barcelona surprisingly found themselves in financial difficulties after paying out a glut of performance-related bonuses in the wake of last year’s treble, which meant they had to hold off renewing Neymar’s contract.

Without tying Neymar down on a new deal, this meant the release clause which was set from when he first signed in 2013 was still active. His abilities attracted interest from three of the richest clubs in world football and all seemed keen to activate his €190 million release clause.

But, after finally agreeing terms on a new deal going into the new financial year, Neymar rejected any interest and has instead decided to extent his Barcelona contract, Bartomeu revealed.

“Neymar doesn’t want to leave Barca and in the next few days we’ll confirm that he is going to stay for five more years,” the president said in a press conference.

The 24-year-old’s release clause is set to rise by €40 million amounting to an astonishing €230 million, placing his clause lower than just one Barcelona player, Lionel Messi.

Neymar has suited Barcelona’s style of play since his arrival; primarily he plays as a central striker, second striker, winger or occasionally an attacking midfielder but predominantly plays from the flank in a 4-3-3 formation partnering with the deadliest duo in world football, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi, MSN.

Neymar has been described as “a true phenomenon” and the media have often drawn comparisons between Neymar and Brazilian legend Pele.

Neymar is magic with the ball, his package of skills make defenders panic as they never know what to expect. Neymar’s most common traits are his ability to create anything from nothing, his exquisite passing range, his dribbling abilities which puts him amongst the world’s best and his tremendous technique, being described as both “electric” and “explosive” with a deadly eye for goal.

Neymar’s entourage spent the best part of recent months encouraging the clubs biggest rivals, especially Real Madrid that he could be open to a move this summer, this alerted Barcelona who were always relaxed about the situation.

It seems his entourage used other clubs interest in Neymar’s favour, by getting him the bumper new contract with Barcelona, which he always wanted.

Bid Made: Tottenham Table Bid For PSG Forward, Deal Looks Likely

Tottenham are confident of sealing a move for a Paris-Saint Germain attacker in the coming weeks after making an official offer for the player according to reports in France.

Spurs are looking to make attacking signings to ease the goalscoring burden off of striker Harry Kane and as well as targeting Vincent Janssen, there are also looking to sign young PSG forward Wilfried Kanga according to news from France Football.

Kanga is just 18 and is yet to sign professional terms with PSG but despite his young age and lack of first team exposure, the reports from France suggest that should he join Tottenham, Mauricio Pochettino intends to use the forward in his first-team plans immediately.

We don’t know much about Kanga and it hard to find out an awful lot about him online. It seems his main position is right wing, but he is also capable of playing up front. If, as reports say, Kanga is set to go straight into the Tottenham first team then you can expect him to take Son Heung-min’s place in the squad with the 23-year-old expected to leave the club this summer.

Interestingly Spurs have been linked with Kanga for some time now, over two years, and with no first team breakthrough in Paris looking likely, he may be tempted by the offer Tottenham have made. Transfermarkt list Kanga as 1.85m tall (6ft 1′), fairly tall for young winger come striker. The site also shows that he represented PSG 6 times in the UEFA Youth League last season, scoring one goal in the process. Pictures show that as well as being fairly tall, Kanga is well built for a man of his age and looks to be a powerful presence on the pitch, particularly against men of a similar age. It is this physicality that may have attracted Pochettino to Kanga and it may be a reason why the Argentinean manager feels he can come straight in and play Premier League football next season.

Tottenham have also been linked with the likes of Michy Batshuayi this summer, but moves for Kanga and Janssen now appear to be the priority. Janssen was a prolific goalscorer in the Eredivisie but he remains unproven in a top league. If Spurs were to sign both Janssen and Kanga as their attacking reinforcements it would be somewhat of a risk as there are no guarantees that either player will adjust quick enough to deliver next season.

You can follow more Tottenham news on freshspurs.com.

Reports: 4 Players Chelsea Have Already Made Offers To Sign This Summer

The transfer market is well and truly in full swing, with Chelsea reportedly already in talks to sign up FOUR players. Will these improve their current options?

1 – Radja Nainggolan

There have been numerous reports linking Nainggolan with Chelsea for months and in recent weeks those reports have extended to suggest that a bid has been made. They say the initial bid of £23million has been turned down and now an improved £28million bid is being prepared. The Belgian midfielder is set to star in the European Championships this summer and Antonio Conte is desperate to get a deal done before the competition starts. They will have their work cut out though, as Roma remain adamant that a deal is not going to happen. Nainggolan wins 47% of his duels, more than both Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas. He wins fewer tackles than the current midfield pairing per 90 though (1.64). The Belgian does however manage 1.3 key passes, more than double that of Matic (0.6) and not far behind the creative Fabregas (1.72). Nainggolan’s stats highlight his all-round qualities; he doesn’t really excel in many areas, but seems to be behind one of Matic or Fabregas and ahead of the other in most stats. Nainggolan’s signing would indicate Conte’s ambition to change the formation at Stamford Bridge upon his arrival.

Gunners Plan To Beat Liverpool & Tottenham To Sign Dortmund Midfielder: How He’d Fit In

Arsenal are interested in bringing Henrikh Mkhitaryan to the Emirates this summer and will go all out for the midfielder according to the Guardian. The Armenian international is out of contract in 2017 and is undecided whether or not to sign a new deal with his current club.

Mkhitaryan is understood to be unsure where his future lies and reports claim Arsenal have sent scouts to watch the midfielder and have further monitored his progress via video clips. There is also reported interest from Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur so Arsenal would have to move fast to have any chance of landing their target.

Mkhitaryan has impressed this season under new coach Thomas Tuchel and has scored a very impressive 20 goals in 43 appearances. Since his £23.5million move from Shakhtar Donetsk, Mkhitaryan has been very clinical and has proved how important he is for the Bundesliga giants, he is technically gifted with an impressive goal scoring record and can play anywhere across the three behind the striker.

The 27-year-old attacking midfielder has also scored 16 goals in 57 games at international level for his home country Armenia.

Borussia Dortmund are desperate to keep hold of one of their key players and are set to offer Mkhitaryan a new contract with a huge pay rise, but the club will be aware that if they cannot agree terms on a new contract they may be forced to sell Mkhitaryan this summer or risk losing him for free in 2017.

Arsenal are almost certain to let go of Flamini, Arteta and Rosicky whose contracts all run out this summer. Mkhitaryan would be seen as an ideal replacement for Rosicky, with the likes of Flamini and Arteta to also be replaced with a new central midfielder as the Gunners are aware they must strengthen their core this summer. They have also been linked with Granit Xhaka in recent weeks.

If Arsenal are to move for Mkhitaryan it would more than likely be for him to play on the right wing.

So how does Mkhitaryan compare with Arsenal’s current crop of wingers, will he be a major improvement on Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain and Joel Campbell?

Mkhitaryan Comparison

A stat that really impresses me is Mkhitaryan’s chances created, a very impressive 2.81 which is way ahead of the others. Chamberlain is second with 1.83, whilst Walcott (1.19) and Campbell (1.04) are significantly behind the top two. Arsenal have really struggled for goals this season scoring only 48 goals in 30 games, Mkhitaryan once again shows his goal-scoring ability by having the highest score with 0.39. Campbell is closely behind on 0.31 with Walcott on 0.28. Chamberlain has been heavily criticised for his goal scoring record at Arsenal and that stat shows as he only scores sporadically (0.10). The Gunners crave a goalscoring midfielder at the moment and Mkhitaryan appears to be just that.

Chamberlain has a very impressive 23.49 total passes forward whilst Mkhitaryan is very close behind on 21.95, Campbell is third with 15.86 and Walcott is last on 10.44. Being able to beat the defender playing on the wing is key as it helps you build up an attack, Chamberlain scores a very impressive 3.47 for successful take-ons with Mkhitaryan in second on 2.68, Campbell is once again third with a less pleasing 1.56, Walcott follows closely with 1.54. Arsenal have a certain way of playing football, they love to have the ball, it has been said that Arsenal play ‘Wenger ball’ involving neat one two’s and keeping the ball on the floor. When you come to Arsenal if you cannot already you learn to keep possession and have nice neat passing, Chamberlain once again has an impressive score with 82% pass completion, Walcott is second with 79% with Campbell just behind on 78%, Mkhitaryan is last on this occasion scoring 75% on completed passing.

In summary, Mkhitaryan would be a top class signing for the Gunners, he can score goals and create a lot of chances. Competition for places with be tough but Arsenal need players who can give the squad that extra lift, the interest is clearly there, but the interest from other clubs may get Mkhitaryan a new contract which he desire.

The Armenian international, if he did arrive, would be likely to replace Oxlade-Chamberlain in the squad, who has been rumoured with an exit this summer. Walcott’s position has also been questioned as Arsene Wenger targets a summer shake-up. As Arsenal search for more attacking efficiency, the Armenian certainly appears a good fit.

Statistics sourced from Squawka

Chelsea and Tottenham On Alert As Belgian Midfielder Says He Wants Move

Axel Witsel has opened the door to a Premier League switch this summer after telling media he wants to leave Zenit St. Petersburg and move to a bigger league. 

The 27-year-old has been linked with a move to England for the majority of his career but never has a link developed into anything more substantial. With the player now willing to get out of Russia, this could be the summer he finally makes the switch.

Tottenham and Chelsea appear to be the favourites to sign the talented Belgian, but the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United have also been linked.

“I still have a contract for one more year come June and the club know how I feel. I would like to play in a bigger league,” Witsel told La Derniere Heure.

“I cannot say that I will 100 percent leave, but we have not held talks over a new deal and my intention is to leave this summer. I want to focus on finishing the season on a high, then there’s the Euros and then we will see what happens.

“I spoke to a number of clubs last summer, but it was not about money for Zenit. They wanted to keep me because of the Champions League and there was no time to sign a replacement. “When a player has just one year left on his contract, a club cannot demand too much money. I don’t think Zenit will be asking €40 million for me.

Analysis Focus

Maybe he won’t cost a team €40million, but he is still likely to demand a fee in excess of £25million – not a small amount of money. So does Witsel have what it takes to play in the starting eleven for Chelsea or Tottenham? We take a look at how he compares to Nemanja Matic and Eric Dier using the Squawka website.

Witsel Matic Dier

Although Witsel would more than likely play in a central midfield role, these stats show he is clearly more of an attacking minded player than both Matic and Dier. Despite this, his aerial duels won (2.42 per game) and total duels won of 54.46% are very impressive, and show he is capable of playing a deeper, more destructive role. He might not win as many tackles or interceptions as you would like from a deep central player, so it might be best to deploy him alongside a Matic or Dier, who excel in those areas. His key passes and pass completion rates highlight the Belgian’s creative instincts, although as always with stats, it is important to put them into context. Playing in a far worse league, Witsel’s stats could be warped. Not only will it be easier for him to create chances but also he may not be required to make as many tackles.

It is possible that Witsel could also join Manchester United. Looking at those five areas, Herrera only edges Witsel in key passes (1.07) and interceptions (2.35).

You can follow all the latest news and gossip as it happens by following us on Twitter @FreshFootball.

Agent Confirms Arsenal & Real Madrid Want To Sign Pass Master From Serie A

Arsenal are reportedly very interested in signing Napoli’s midfielder Jorginho this summer. The Brazilians agent has told a local radio station that the Gunners hold a firm interest in his client amid speculation of a bid in the summer.

The player’s agent Joao Santos told Radio kiss: “Interest from Arsenal? It’s true,” it’s not all good news for the Gunners though as he also confirmed that Real Madrid has paid compliments to the midfielder.

Arsene Wenger knows he has to strengthen the spine of his team this summer with the likes of Arteta, Flamini and Rosicky all out of contract. Jorginho is 24 and has been at Napoli since 2014 where he has already played more than 60 games in all competitions.

Jorginho certainly fits the bill to play for Arsenal as his key areas to his game are his passing, through balls and forward thinking. One worrying thing the Gunners make take into consideration is aerial duels are his weakness and playing in the deep role that could be key, especially as the Premier League is allegedly the toughest league in the world.

Arsenal fans shouldn’t get carried away with Joao Santos comments as it could just be a warning to Napoli that teams are keeping tabs on their star midfielder and may be looking for a new contract.

The Gunners need competition in midfield and need to strengthen their core, Jorginho could give them that given the injury concerns of Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey.

I have paid close attention to Jorginho and Coquelin, this is due to the fact Jorginho would be brought in to the squad to play as a deep lying midfielder, Wenger has repeatedly indicated that he sees Wilshere and Ramsey as more attacking players for the Gunners.

Analysis Focus

This season Jorginho has by a clear mile made more successful passes in the league than Coquelin, so far this season Jorginho makes an average of 98 passes a game, nearly double that of Coquelin. Playing in the deep role for Arsenal, the players are expected to win tackles and make clearances, Coquelin excels in this area, making almost twice as many tackles and clearances. With the per 90 metric, Squawka’s statistics show that Jorginho just edges Coquelin with his overall score. But has the emergence of Mohammed Elneny changed Arsene Wenger’s mind at all? The Egytian appears capable of playing in that deep lying midfield role, perhaps a more physical midfielder is what is needed.

It would be a fair observation to suggest that Jorignho may be a like for like replacement for Mikel Arteta, who used to dictate the game from deep. But should Arsenal be looking to sign a player that can combine both technical and physcial qualities? Jorginho may be too similar to Arteta and not add anything new. Someone like William Carvalho could be a better fit? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter by tweeting us @FreshFootball.

In summary, Jorginho would be a good singing for the Gunners and give them the competition they so desperately need, there is clearly interest but nothing more… yet.


 

Stats sourced from Squawka

Zlatan Heading To The Premier League? Arsenal, Chelsea & Man United Interested

Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United are all reportedly interested in signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic this summer. The Swedish striker has decided to leave PSG, with his contract expiring at the end of the season. 

Although the 34-year-old won’t require a transfer fee, his status will demand a significant financial package to lure him to his next destination. At his age, would Arsenal be willing to pay him the large signing on fee and wage that he would demand?

Are Manchester United and Chelsea enough of a lure with Champions League football uncertain at both clubs next season? Jose Mourinho and a 4th placed finish may convince Zlatan to head to the red side of Manchester.

His agent, Mino Raiola has suggested the player already knows where he will play next season: “We know what we want, but we will not say anything until this summer when the season is over, but we are now clear about what we want to happen. I know what he’s decided, but we don’t want you to know yet.”

Zlatan is unlikely to want to join Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, with their relationship quite publicly frail. The next club that could afford him and will more than likely have Champions League status is Arsenal. Can Arsene Wenger accommodate a player with such ego into his harmonised dressing room? Will Wenger even be at the club next season? All of these questions will not be answered for a few more weeks yet, but it is worth thinking about because it looks like Zlatan is heading to the Premier League next season.

Manchester United and Arsenal seem the most in need of a striker of Zlatan’s calibre, but Chelsea would probably try and get involved too, although Diego Costa is unlikely to want to sit on the bench.

Since his move to Paris in 2012, Zlatan has scored an incredible 102 goals in 115 games and he’s showing no signs of slowing down any time soon.

Reports on his future are changing day by day, with our gossip column last week suggesting Arsenal were favourites, but today’s reports suggest that Chelsea are confident of signing the Swede on a two-year deal.

Analysis Focus

Arsenal and Chelsea have been the strongest linked with the Swedish international, so how does he compare to the clubs current top strikers, Olivier Giroud and Diego Costa?

Zlatan may be 34 years old, but he is still one of the best strikers in world football and he is showing no signs of slowing down. With 27 goals in 24 apps, he blows Costa (11 from 24) and Giroud (12 from 29) out of the water. Zlatan has also managed 11 league assists, more than Costa and Giroud combined (9). It is fair to say he trumps the Premier League duo in pretty much every attacking aspect. It is also fair to say that the Premier League is a much more complex environment for a striker to succeed than Ligue 1, but you would be pretty confident that someone of Zlatan’s stature could transfer his qualities into almost any environment. One misconception about Ibrahimovic is that he is selfish – he is certainly not. With 11 assists, an average of 79% pass success and 1.5 key passes made per game, he consistently demonstrates selfless and create behaviour, although his off-pitch egotistical statements may lead to different conclusions.

For now, I wouldn’t put any money on Zlatan’s next destination, but it would be bloody brilliant to see him in the Premier League, don’t you think? It would be a shame for the striker to never play in England in his career.


 

Where will he be playing next season? Join the conversation and tweet us @FreshFootball. 

Gossip: Kroos Considering Arsenal Offer, Man Utd Want Barca Star & Chelsea’s Roma Raid

We’ve had a look over the latest rumours emerging from around Europe. Today’s gossip column looks at several hotly tipped big moves including Toni Kroos potentially coming to the Premier League. You can follow all the latest news and gossip as it happens by following us on Twitter @FreshFootball.

Toni Kroos considering offer from Arsenal (AS)

Reports in Spain suggest that Arsenal are one of a number of Premier League clubs that have made an advance to sign Toni Kroos from Real Madrid this summer. The German is reportedly considering his future at the club and Madrid may be willing to let him leave as part of their planned squad overhaul. According to the report originating from AS, Madrid have earmarked Leicester City’s N’Golo Kante as a replacement as he would offer more defensive security. The chance to sign Kroos cannot be missed by the Gunners. He’s a world-class player and the perfect player to keep that midfield ticking from deep. If Kroos were to become available, you would expect the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City to get involved in the bidding. The news comes from AS who can sometimes publish reliable rumours, but they do often speculate and can sometimes publish stories to suit their agendas so don’t buy the t-shirts just yet.

Manchester United eyeing Barcelona stopper to replace David de Gea (Daily Mirror)

Manchester United are reportedly eyeing Barcelona’s Marc-Andre Ter Stegen as a replacement for David de Gea, who they are anticipating will join Real Madrid this summer. Ter Stegen is playing in Barcelona’s Champions League fixtures, but Claudio Bravo remains the teams number one in La Liga. The chance to become the undoubted number 1 at United would surely be tempting for the young German. Whether Barcelona would be willing to approve a deal that would allow arch-rivals Real Madrid to strengthen is another matter. If Manchester United managed to seal this deal then they wouldn’t miss de Gea too much, as Ter Stegen isn’t far off his level and has plenty of time to improve, aged just 23.

Chelsea to make £30million offer for Roma defender Kostas Manolas (Il Tempo)

Reports from Italy suggest that Roma are desperately trying to extend the contract of their star defender Kostas Manolas, amid interest from several top European clubs. The report lists Chelsea as a possible destination, whilst Arsenal have long been linked with the Greek defender. But Chelsea seems like a more likely move, with the London club set to release John Terry and concerns remaining over the form of Gary Cahill. Signed for £10million from Olympiacos, Roma will not want to sell Manolas, but they wouldn’t be short changed in any sale.

Jack Butland set to commit long-term future to Stoke City (Telegraph)

23-year-old Butland is thriving at Stoke City and he has no intentions of moving on anytime soon. The Englishman is reportedly set to sign a new five-year contract, committing his long-term future to the Potters. A move to a bigger club would make no sense at this stage of his career, unless he could be guaranteed as first choice. The only big club that might be able to offer him that status anytime soon is Manchester United, if de Gea did leave in the summer. Either way, Stoke are not going to sell Butland for a low amount of money and a new contract would only raise his value even more. This is brilliant news for Stoke City fans.

You can follow all the latest news and gossip as it happens by following us on Twitter @FreshFootball.