The Transfer DealSheet: Latest on Man Utd, Arsenal, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Barcelona and more


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Welcome to the second edition of the Transfer DealSheet, your weekly guide to what is happening in the summer transfer window.

Every week, our team of dedicated writers, including Adam Leventhal and David Ornstein, will take you inside the market to explain the deals being worked on, the players who could arrive and the ones who are on their way out across the Premier League and beyond. You can read the first edition from last week here.

The information found within this article has been gathered according to The Athletic’s sourcing guidelines. Unless stated, our reporters have spoken to more than one person briefed on each deal before offering the clubs involved the opportunity to comment. Those responses, where they were given, have been included in the Transfer DealSheet.

This week, we look at the links between Liverpool’s Luis Diaz and a move to Barcelona, why a deal for Benjamin Sesko is being pushed pre-Euro 2024 and what interested clubs have been told about how to approach a deal for Michael Olise.

Our aim is to bring you analysis you can trust about what is happening at Europe’s leading clubs and the latest information we’re hearing from across the market. Our leading transfer reporter David Ornstein will also deliver his one to watch here each week.

Get the latest transfer news on The Athletic

David Ornstein’s One to Watch: Benjamin Sesko

We reported in last week’s DealSheet that Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United are all pursuing RB Leipzig’s Slovenia striker Benjamin Sesko, with the feeling among those interested parties being that Arsenal are in pole position to sign the 21-year-old.

One reason I’m picking Sesko as my one to watch this week is that those clubs would like clarity on the situation before the European Championship starts on Friday.


Sesko’s release clause — in the region of €65million (£55.3m, $70.8m) — limits the danger of a successful tournament leading to price inflation, but those interested clubs do not want any deal to drag on throughout the summer.

The belief among the English sides is Arsenal hold the upper hand because they can offer Champions League football and stability under manager Mikel Arteta, two things lacking at Chelsea and United. But there is a very real possibility Sesko will opt to stay at Leipzig — that is more of a threat to Arsenal’s hopes than him electing to move elsewhere in the Premier League.

What we’re hearing…

  • Last week, David Ornstein picked Michael Olise as his deal to keep a close eye on, with Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Newcastle United among the admirers of the 22-year-old winger. A development in recent days is that interested parties have been advised to strike a deal with Crystal Palace before attempting to agree terms with Olise’s camp. Often when there is a release clause, as is the case with Olise, it is done the other way around, but in this instance, suitors will need to go through the front door. That will enable Olise to weigh up whatever options are on the table and then decide which club to choose — or whether to stay at Palace.
  • Palmeiras forward Luis Guilherme is set to have a medical in the coming days at West Ham United as they close in on a deal worth €30m. The initial fee paid will be €23m, plus €7m add-ons and a 20 per cent sell-on clause to Palmeiras. The 18-year-old would become Julen Lopetegui’s first signing since replacing David Moyes. (Roshane Thomas and Mario Cortegana)
  • Newcastle United winger Ryan Fraser has agreed a deal with Southampton and is set to leave St James’ Park, subject to the final details being confirmed. (Chris Waugh)
  • Dominic Solanke’s contract at Bournemouth includes a release clause of £65m that can only be activated by certain clubs. (Adam Leventhal)
  • Manchester United are open to offers for Jadon Sancho, regardless of whether Erik ten Hag is manager next season or not. United are hoping to recoup £40m for Sancho, who spent the second half of the season on loan at Borussia Dortmund. (Mark Critchley)
  • Talks are continuing between Fulham and Bayern Munich after the German club rekindled their interest in defensive midfielder Joao Palhinha, who travelled to Munich at the end of the summer transfer window only for the deal to collapse at the last minute. Bayern have made an offer in the region of €35m for the Portuguese but no agreement has been reached yet. (David Ornstein and Peter Rutzler)
  • Manchester United and Real Madrid are among the clubs interested in signing Lille’s 18-year-old centre-back Leny Yoro. (Mark Critchley and Mario Cortegana)
  • Chelsea are open to offers for defender Trevoh Chalobah but the defender sees his future at Stamford Bridge. (Simon Johnson and Liam Twomey)
  • Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr are in talks with Juventus over the signing of goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny. (Adam Leventhal)
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers have made an offer to the out-of-contract Che Adams but other clubs are in the frame, including his current side Southampton. That shows Wolves are in the market for attacking players despite already agreeing a deal to buy Rodrigo Gomes from Braga. But despite the rumour mill suggesting Salernitana’s Boulaye Dia and Paraguay winger Ramon Sosa are possible signings, the pair are not currently on the club’s list of targets. Winger Chiquinho is being linked with Portuguese clubs following his loan spell at Famalicao last season but Wolves want head coach Gary O’Neil to assess him in pre-season before deciding on his future. (Steve Madeley)


What has happened this week?

Arenal have yet to make an official move for Sesko but, as David mentions above, they remain in a strong position.

There will, nevertheless, be considerable caution. Arsenal felt they had done all the necessary groundwork on a deal for Mykhailo Mudryk last summer, only to be gazumped by Chelsea. Their successful attempt to sign Declan Rice required them to see off late competition from Manchester City.


Arsenal continue to keep tabs on other strikers in the market, including Joshua Zirkzee of Bologna.

Long-term target Jorrel Hato has said he intends to remain at Ajax. Reports have linked Arsenal with a move for Everton’s Amadou Onana and he does have admirers within the club — but a move for the Belgium international is not in the works this summer.

Are Nketieh and/or Jesus likely to be sold?

If Arsenal sign Sesko or another centre-forward, they accept that at least one of Eddie Nketiah or Gabriel Jesus would need to be sold.

Nketiah leaving is the most likely scenario. He did not start a Premier League game after December’s 2-1 defeat at Fulham. Crystal Palace are among the clubs who admire his talent, but it remains to be seen if they are willing or able to make an offer that meets Arsenal’s demands.

A new centre-forward to complement Kai Havertz would also push Jesus to third choice. Given the Brazilian’s salary, that is not ideal. He offers a good option on the flanks but Arsenal would remain open to a sale if a buyer came forward.

(Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

What positions/players are they looking at?

Arsenal are prioritising strengthening their front line and midfield. Left-back remains under consideration but given the number of options already within the squad, that would most likely require some sales to go through first. Arsenal are also closely monitoring the goalkeeper market as they know Aaron Ramsdale intends to leave.

Which players could be leaving?

One potential suitor for Ramsdale appears to have left the table. With no European football to offer, Newcastle United have adapted their strategy to pursue a more conventional No 2 rather than direct competition for Nick Pope. Having initially been interested in Ramsdale, they have pivoted to pursue Burnley’s James Trafford.

That’s a blow to Arsenal, who need to sell players. Departures are a major focus of their summer transfer strategy, and Arsenal are working hard to find solutions.

They are still trying to persuade 22-year-old goalkeeper Karl Hein and 19-year-old winger Amario Cozier-Duberry to stay. Their contracts expire this summer but Arsenal remain in talks.

James McNicholas


What has happened this week?

After completing the signing of free agent Tosin Adarabioyo from Fulham, Chelsea have stepped up their efforts for 17-year-old Sport Recife right-back Pedro Lima. More talks are scheduled for today and there is growing confidence a deal will be completed. One reason things were on hold until now was because Sport had a game on Monday.

Conor Gallagher‘s future remains uncertain. He could run down his contract, since leaving on a free transfer next year would increase his options — and potential signing-on bonus. Chelsea do not want to miss out on a fee, so might cash in this summer. Aston Villa, Tottenham Hotspur and a few Champions League clubs outside of England are keen.

Chelsea are making moves to ensure 15-year-old Rio Ngumoha remains at the club. His contract expires this summer and clubs are looking to take advantage. Chelsea are optimistic he will stay.

Could one of the returning loanees be part of the squad next season?

Midfielder Andrey Santos is being earmarked for first-team football next season. Chelsea have fielded enquiries from teams across Europe for the 20-year-old, who impressed in the second half of last season on loan at Strasbourg. However, Chelsea are not interested in selling or loaning him.

The Brazilian is regarded as a great fit for how Enzo Maresca wants the team to play. His ability to operate as a No 6 or No 8, combined with great ball retention, will be a major asset as Chelsea negotiate the extra fixtures in the Conference League.


What positions/players are they looking at?

A striker is their priority. As The Athletic discussed last week, a handful of candidates are on the list, with Benjamin Sesko (see One To Watch, above) particularly favoured. Another forward under consideration is Aston Villa’s Jhon Duran. Any deal for the 20-year-old would be separate from Gallagher’s potential move to Villa Park.

Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been linked with a switch but is not heading to Stamford Bridge. Chelsea also want another winger and continue to see Crystal Palace’s Michael Olise (see What we’re hearing… above) as their first choice.

Which players could be leaving?

Romelu Lukaku (see Serie A, below) admitted in an interview with Belgium publication HLN last week that he is interested in a move to the Saudi Pro League. Chelsea are keen to sell the striker and hope a club will trigger a £38m ($48m) clause.

Goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, who spent last season on loan at Real Madrid, has one year left on his deal at Chelsea. The club already have Robert Sanchez, Djordje Petrovic and Marcus Bettinelli for the position and want to get Kepa off the books.

Defender Trevoh Chalobah is available for the right price. Despite becoming a first-team regular in the final three months of the season, Chelsea do not see him suiting Maresca’s method of playing out from the back. Fulham are one of the clubs expressing an interest but the 24-year-old, who is under contract until 2028, does not want to leave Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea want to sell Arrizabalaga (Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

Chelsea and Everton are in dialogue over Armando Broja, but a deal would only be possible if Everton can raise funds first. A deal may require Dominic Calvert-Lewin to leave and there are a host of clubs in the conversation for Broja. Chelsea are also in no rush to agree terms with anyone before Broja plays for Albania at the European Championship.

David Datro Fofana, who joined from Molde in January last year, could be on his way out too. After loans at Union Berlin and Burnley last season, Chelsea feel he can attract offers.

Simon Johnson and Liam Twomey

Analysis: What does Gallagher offer?

Conor Gallagher, with just one year left on his Chelsea contract, is at a career crossroads. The 24-year-old Chelsea academy product is known for his tenacity and ball-winning ability. Both Tottenham and Aston Villa, with whom he has been linked, would benefit from his services.

At Villa, Emery’s preference for a box midfield could utilise Gallagher’s strengths. Next to a defensive anchor like Boubacar Kamara, Gallagher can focus his energy on progressing the ball forward or making runs from deep into attacking areas. In bigger games, Emery likes control, which isn’t Gallagher’s strong suit. In these games, Gallagher could play in a more advanced role, providing support behind Ollie Watkins.

Tottenham, with Ange Postecoglou’s fluid 4-3-3, is another appealing option. In the midfield trio, James Maddison is the primary creative force and is supported by a rotating group. Gallagher is able to cover more ground than both Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Giovani Lo Celso, which suits Tottenham’s high pressing. Gallagher also contributes to the attack by driving with the ball or shooting from distance. Hojberg tends to be more conservative.

Gallagher also complements Maddison. He could relieve Maddison of pressing responsibilities with his relentless ball recovery and interception skills. Under Postecoglou, Spurs invert their full-backs to outnumber the opposition’s central midfielders. Gallagher’s vertical runs can disrupt defences that adjust to this central concentration, creating goalscoring opportunities.

When possession is lost and full-backs have moved inward, this leaves gaps on the flanks. Gallagher’s quick coverage and ball-winning skills can prevent counter-attacks.

Gillian Kasirye


What has happened this week?

Newcastle winger Yankuba Minteh has been linked with Liverpool but the club are currently not looking to sign the 19-year-old. He was on loan at Feyenoord last season under Liverpool’s new manager Arne Slot, scoring 11 goals and providing six assists in 37 appearances. The club are interested in signing a wide midfielder, but as things stand, there will not be a reunion between the pair at Anfield.

Third-choice goalkeeper Adrian has been offered a new contract. The 37-year-old’s current deal expires and he is considering his options.

Right-back Calvin Ramsay, 20, secured a season-long loan move to Wigan. Injuries have hampered his first two seasons at Liverpool following his arrival from Aberdeen in 2022. The 22-year-old’s loan spells at Preston North End and Bolton Wanderers last season were unsuccessful and the hope is he will get regular game time in the upcoming campaign.

What’s the latest on Luis Diaz and Caoimhin Kelleher?

Liverpool are not actively seeking to sell Kelleher as they value him as one of the best backup goalkeepers in the league. However, they are aware that the 25-year-old wants to be first choice and that will not happen at Liverpool while Alisson is around.


Kelleher will have a key role in pre-season, and potentially the early weeks of the campaign, with the Brazilian away at the Copa America. It would take an offer in excess of £25m to make Liverpool consider a sale.

Luis Diaz is admired by Barcelona’s sporting director Deco but there has been no approach for the winger from the Spanish side. Liverpool and new manager Slot are still planning for the 27-year-old to be part of the first pre-season of the new era.

Barcelona’s precarious financial position raises the question of whether they could even afford Diaz (see Barcelona section below). Liverpool would want a significant profit on the £50m they paid Porto for him in January 2022. The Colombian international has three years remaining on his contract. 

What positions/players are they looking at?

As reported last week in the DealSheet, Liverpool are considering strengthening their centre-back options. Joel Matip’s departure means there is a hole to fill in that position.

Jarell Quansah was a welcome surprise last season as he stepped up to become first choice by the end of the campaign. He is set to be the only centre-back from last season’s senior squad available to Slot at the beginning of pre-season with Virgil van Dijk, Ibrahima Konate and Joe Gomez all away at the European Championship.

It is an area that needs reinforcing as Van Dijk has one year remaining on his contract, Konate ended the season in poor form and Gomez operated more frequently as a full-back last season. Liverpool are also open to bringing in another wide player, and could re-address the No 6 position.

Which players could be leaving?

Slot wants to assess his new squad in pre-season before making decisions on the futures of the younger players on the periphery of the first team and some senior squad players.

Mainz have made contact with Liverpool over a possible permanent deal for defender Sepp van den Berg. The centre-back spent last season on loan at the Bundesliga side. There is a big gap in the two sides’ valuations of the 22-year-old. Liverpool want £20m, which is well outside of Mainz’s range.

Andrew Jones

Manchester United

What’s happened this week?

The primary focus at Old Trafford over the past week has been the end-of-season review to decide Erik ten Hag’s fate, which is still to be concluded after Thomas Tuchel pulled out of the race on Sunday.

Despite INEOS wishing for the manager’s office to have less input on recruitment than in the past, the identity of who will be in the dugout next season still has a bearing on the summer transfer market.

That has not stopped names being linked with Old Trafford, including that of Leny Yoro, the Lille centre-back who is regarded as one of the brightest young prospects in Europe. The 18-year-old’s contract is set to expire at the end of next season.


Yoro is highly rated by United, although they are far from the only club interested and Real Madrid (see below) are still favoured to secure his signature. Reports in Spain last week that United have already tabled a €60m bid have been played down.

Leny Yoro is in high demand (SAMEER AL-DOUMY/AFP via Getty Images)

What is the effect of missing out on Tosin?

United failed in an 11th-hour attempt to persuade Tosin Adarabioyo to join as a free agent, with the 26-year-old already committed to joining Chelsea.


Tosin would have represented a cheap alternative to some of the other names on United’s list to fill the right-sided centre-back spot vacated by Raphael Varane. Yoro will not come cheaply, if at all, nor would Nice’s Jean-Clair Todibo.

Despite the prospect of breaching the Premier League’s profitability and sustainability rules appearing remote, United approached this summer operating on a tighter-than-usual budget of around £50m net spend.

United may now have to search longer and harder to find an adequate option as cheap as Tosin. The Old Trafford hierarchy still hold out hope of tying down last summer’s bargain defensive buy as talks continue with Jonny Evans over an extension to his one-year deal.


What positions/players are they looking at?

United’s priorities are unchanged. Centre-back, central midfielder and centre-forward are the key positions they are looking to strengthen but not the only areas in which reinforcements may be sought.

Jarrad Branthwaite remains a target, as reported in last week’s DealSheet, but any potential deal is not expected to be imminent. A right-sided centre-back is of greater need, although the left-footed Branthwaite is capable of playing on his opposite side.

In midfield, Monaco’s Youssouf Fofana has come under consideration but it is unclear how serious or advanced United’s interest is at this stage. As mentioned last week, Benjamin Sesko (see One To Watch, above) is one target up front. Despite links to Joshua Zirkzee, AC Milan (see Serie A, below) is considered a more realistic prospect for the Bologna striker.

Which players could be leaving?

Jadon Sancho’s Old Trafford future was thought to hinge on Ten Hag’s, with a return only possible through either a change of manager or the pair resolving their differences.

But United are open to offers for the 24-year-old regardless of the impending decision on Ten Hag and are hoping to recoup £40m for Sancho, who is also one of Old Trafford’s highest-earning players.

While Borussia Dortmund only have the resources to sign Sancho on loan, other clubs in Europe are monitoring the situation. Juventus are looking for reinforcements out wide this summer and have a longstanding interest in Sancho.

Mark Critchley

United are open to offers for Sancho (Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images)

Manchester City

What has happened this week?

Stefan Ortega’s future was resolved; he had been expected to leave for the past few months, having rejected a contract offer at the end of last year, and for a long time it did not seem that a new offer was forthcoming because City did not want to pay more than their structure allows for a second-choice goalkeeper. But he has signed a new contract until 2026 and, with doubts about Ederson’s future, Ortega’s renewal poses a few questions.

Ederson has been considering a move to Saudi Arabia and one assumption is that Ortega renewed his deal because he is expecting more first-team opportunities at City next season. Sources close to the keepers are tightlipped for the moment, though, but the facts so far are these: Ederson had been expected to sign a new deal in the spring, but of late has been considering that move to the Middle East. City, expecting Ortega to leave, had reached a flexible agreement to sign another goalkeeper if they needed to bring in a No 2. It is as yet unknown whether that option would be used if Ederson were to leave, bumping Ortega up to No 1. The other things to know is that City are determined for Ederson to stay, and that Al Nassr’s interest in Wojciech Szczesny may be an indication of a switched focus.

What is the latest with De Bruyne and Alvarez?

Kevin De Bruyne opened the door to a move to Saudi Arabia, telling the press that his wife is keen on an ‘exotic adventure’ and explaining how much money he could earn over two years in the Pro League. Sources close to De Bruyne — who like all sources in this piece spoke anonymously to protect relationships — are sceptical about the family’s desire to move there. There are currently no talks planned with City over a contract.

Julian Alvarez has been linked with a move to Atletico Madrid, PSG and Chelsea, and that tallies with last week’s DealSheet suggestion that, were he to leave this summer, City would seek a replacement. The Argentinian has been open to a move for several months, although his first-choice destination — Real Madrid — is not going to happen this summer, at least. He is thought to want more first-team football.

Kevin De Bruyne

(Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Phil Foden and Rodri, whose current deals expire in 2027, were both linked with new contracts, which tallies with City’s proactive nature in these matters, as they do not like to get anywhere near a star player having two years left on their agreements. By that logic, then, it is not unlikely that Ruben Dias, Manuel Akanji and Nathan Ake are offered new deals. Erling Haaland too, obviously, although that is more complicated. With Jack Grealish, City may allow themselves more time to decide, which is what they did with John Stones in 2021 when it seemed he did not have long left at the club, only for him to roar back in 2022 and earn a new, much bigger contract,

What positions/players are they looking at?

As reported in last week’s DealSheet and widely reported elsewhere, Newcastle’s Bruno Guimaraes is a target for midfield. He has made it clear that he is happy at Newcastle but has spoken of his admiration for Pep Guardiola’s City.

Which players could be leaving?

City have been looking at goalkeepers, as well as midfield reinforcements due to uncertainty around De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva. A right winger, with Savio potentially being loaned to Girona again, is on the cards and then a lot of the business seems to be tied to exits, like Alvarez. Joshua Kimmich was the other key name in January and, understandably, that has been a more difficult operation, not least due to Bayern’s managerial uncertainty during the end of the season, but it is understood to still be an option.

Sam Lee

Newcastle United

What has happened this week?

Newcastle have opened negotiations with Burnley for James Trafford, the England international goalkeeper. While they are thought to value the 21-year-old at £15m-£18m, Burnley are said to be holding out for around £20m.

Eddie Howe is keen to recruit a younger shot-stopper to act as deputy to Nick Pope, the No 1, and to challenge him in the longer term, following Loris Karius’ exit and with Martin Dubravka appearing increasingly likely to depart.

The club are at an advanced stage of negotiations for Lloyd Kelly after confirmation the 25-year-old is being released by Bournemouth. Nothing is finalised and two other clubs retain an interest. Howe took Kelly to Bournemouth from Bristol City in 2019 and, despite interest from European clubs, Newcastle are hopeful of concluding a deal soon.

Alexander Isak and Bruno Guimaraes have distanced themselves from moving on. While on international duty for Sweden and Brazil respectively, Isak insisted he has “no thoughts of leaving” and he has “received no information that the club would have to sell me” while Guimaraes said that he is “very happy” at Newcastle, even if he did add that his future “is in God’s hands”.

(Nigel French/Sportsphoto/Allstar via Getty Images)

Is Kelly an alternative for Tosin Adarabioyo? Or did Newcastle want both?

Newcastle missed out on Tosin, who swapped Fulham for Chelsea, after the latter made a late move. Howe had wanted Tosin and Kelly, given that Sven Botman and Jamaal Lascelles are sidelined with long-term knee injuries.

Tosin is a right-sided centre-half, a position Newcastle have been looking to strengthen for two years, and was seen as an ideal successor to the 32-year-old Fabian Schar. Kelly is left-footed, so is not necessarily a natural replacement for Schar, though the 25-year-old’s ability to play as a left-back and as a centre-half is deemed desirable.

What positions/players are they looking at?

As reported in last week’s DealSheet, Newcastle’s priorities are goalkeeper, centre-back, right-wing and a forward. Beyond Kelly, they are expected to pursue another defender, should their budget allow.

Perhaps their most ambitious target is a right-sided attacker, which is likely to consume a significant portion of their budget. Crystal Palace’s Michael Olise is admired, but has many suitors and Newcastle expect him to head elsewhere, while West Ham United’s Jarrod Bowen, Athletic Bilbao’s Nico Williams and Leeds United’s Crysencio Summerville have all featured during recruitment discussions.

When it comes to natural centre-forwards, Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin has long been monitored, while RB Leipzig’s Benjamin Sesko has previously been approached, but he is likely to move to a Champions League club. Signing a striker is likely to be dependent on whether Callum Wilson departs.

Which players could be leaving?

Newcastle need to plug a PSR shortfall by June 30, and, while first-team squad members including Wilson, Miguel Almiron, Sean Longstaff and even Kieran Trippier could depart, growing interest in Yankuba Minteh has increased the possibility of the exciting 19-year-old being sold instead, albeit somewhat reluctantly.

The Gambia international scored 11 goals and provided five assists while on loan at Feyenoord in 2023-24 and he has interest from Premier League clubs and across Europe. Suggestions of a £40m price tag appear extremely ambitious, but a sale for £20m-£30m would significantly aid Newcastle’s PSR position. Minteh sees his long-term future in the Premier League but is open to joining a continental club.

Newcastle have no desire to sell either Isak or Guimaraes. Guimaraes has a £100m release clause, which is active until the end of June, but Newcastle’s plan is to retain all their key players. Reports in Spain claiming Newcastle would be willing to accept €80m or less from an overseas club for Guimaraes have been rebuffed by those inside St James’ Park.

Elsewhere, Newcastle hope to offload Ryan Fraser. The player has agreed a deal with Southampton and there are just details to be finalised with Newcastle. Isaac Hayden is also available.

Chris Waugh and Adam Leventhal

Analysis: Comparing Pope and Trafford

Newcastle’s interest in James Trafford seems mostly to do with his distribution and potential as his start to life in the Premier League was far from ideal.

Trafford has shown a consistent ability to pass short with good accuracy at a high volume. In contrast, Pope struggles at times with his composure and can be pressured into errors by teams that press well, such as in the example below against Brighton. As the ball is played back, Pope backs off, enabling Kaoru Mitoma to press him, which in turn makes passing to the centre-backs risky.

He then rushes into the pass, which goes straight to Pervis Estupinan.

The left-back’s initial touch is heavy, preventing him from taking a shot at an empty goal, but he recovers and dribbles forward before setting up Mitoma, whose shot is saved.

While the stats will indicate that was an excellent save by Pope, the situation is caused by his lack of composure on the ball.

On the contrary, the following sequence from Burnley’s match against Arsenal last season shows Trafford dealing with a similar situation in a different way. He is pressed by Kai Havertz but receives the ball on the front foot outside of his box rather than waiting for it to come to him.

Trafford then takes a touch to allow his team-mate to retreat before playing a pass to him. He in turn plays a first-time pass to Jordan Beyer.

This causes Bukayo Saka to press up, and another first-time pass to Charlie Taylor opens space down the flank for Burnley to exploit.

This isn’t to say Trafford has not made similar errors — he has also played Burnley into trouble at times with his distribution. But his confidence in engaging with the ball and composure when it’s at his feet could unlock new possibilities for Newcastle.

What might work in Trafford’s favour is that he hasn’t played with a solid backline in the Premier League. Newcastle seem to be banking on him improving with a better defence ahead of him, while simultaneously investing in a player who could be a part of their ambitious long-term project.

Anantaajith Raghuraman


What’s new this week?

Tottenham broke their club record to sign Tanguy Ndombele from Lyon in July 2019 for £55m. He was 22 at the time and the future looked bright but he has spent the last two and a half seasons on loan and Spurs have struggled to find him a permanent home. He has a year left on his contract and is now in talks to terminate it early.

This move benefits everybody as Tottenham can shift his hefty salary from their wage bill while Ndombele can seek a fresh start at a new team.

What positions/players are they looking at?

As reported in last week’s DealSheet, Tottenham have been interested in Conor Gallagher (see Analysis above) for a long time.

The new-look recruitment team, which is being led by technical director Johan Lange, and head coach Ange Postecoglou are fans of the Chelsea midfielder. They will be rivalled by Aston Villa who have held preliminary talks with Chelsea about signing the 24-year-old.

As previously mentioned, Spurs admire Alexander Isak but it would be a difficult and expensive deal to pull off.

Which players could be leaving?

Another player who could be leaving is Djed Spence. He spent the first half of last season with Leeds United before moving to Genoa on loan in January. The Italian side have an option to make his move permanent for around £8.5m. Genoa are deciding whether to trigger that option.

As we have reported, Emerson Royal is available at the right price. No formal offers have been received for the Brazilian yet.

Jay Harris and Adam Leventhal


What has happened this week?

President Joan Laporta confirmed Barca are interested in extending the loans of Joao Cancelo and Joao Felix – two deals Hansi Flick has validated. But the main issue Barcelona have is still their financial situation. They need to find a solution to a €130m hole by the end of this month – which club sources have insisted they have confidence in resolving.

A new transfer target has also emerged: Mikel Merino. The midfielder, who turns 28 later this month, is entering his last year of a contract at Real Sociedad, which could make the Basque club willing to entertain talks. Barcelona remain in an unclear position regarding the money they will be able to spend.

Have they managed to make any sales?

Laporta confirmed there will be departures due to “players who are nearing the end of their contracts and others who asked to leave”. Sources near to the president confirmed he was referring to Marcos Alonso and Oriol Romeu.

The president is very keen on keeping Ronald Araujo – one of the highly-rated players that has raised more interest over Europe in the last months. The departure of Xavi, who was open to selling the Uruguayan at a good price if that allowed Barcelona to get reinforcements, could have changed the landscape for the 25-year-old.

What players/positions are they looking at?

As we have reported, a holding midfielder and a left winger are Barcelona’s priorities. Laporta was asked about two of the most-heard names to bolster Barcelona’s midfield. “Kimmich and Zubimendi? We think Marc Casado will be promoted to the first team next season, we don’t think about Kimmich or Zubimendi right now. There are a lot of players in our second team who can fill needs in the first team.”

Casado is the captain of Barcelona Atletic, a holding midfielder who can also operate as a right-back. Marc Bernal, a 17-year-old holding midfielder from the same generation as Lamine Yamal and Pau Cubarsi, has also had an excellent season with the second team.


Nico Williams is a very appreciated option, but Barcelona cannot compete for him due to, you guessed it, financial reasons.

Deco is also a big fan of Liverpool’s Luis Diaz. The Liverpool player’s father has made no secret of his own fondness for the Catalan club but, as reported above, Liverpool say there has been no approach to them for the player by Barcelona.

Several members of Diaz’s family, including his father, are Barca fans. His father said recently of a move to the club: “It would be a dream.” However, for Barca to be able to afford Diaz, they would have to make a major sale, such as Raphinha, to free up funds for Diaz.

Pol Ballus

Real Madrid

What has happened this week?

It was a very special week with the confirmation that Kylian Mbappe has joined as a free agent. Between salary and bonus signing, he will be the best-paid in the squad by far.

The Athletic revealed Madrid have decided to exercise the option to buy Joselu for €1.5m. We also reported the renewals of Luka Modric and Lucas Vazquez, both until 2025, could be made official soon. The Croatian has lowered his salary and accepted his more secondary role.

What’s holding up the Alphonso Davies signing?

The Athletic has detailed that, just as Bayern Munich and Alphonso Davies were getting closer to a renewal, with new coach Vincent Kompany talking directly to the Canadian, Real Madrid reappeared.

They did so after the Champions League final, having been silent since reaching a verbal agreement with the player’s representatives on personal terms in February.

Madrid do not want to pay an excessive amount because Davies is out of contract in 2025 and the German club have to sell, so they have asked the full-back not to extend and disregard any offer, even if it is higher, to demonstrate his desire to wear white.

(Donato/FC Bayern via Getty Images)

What players/positions are they looking at?

Madrid are looking at players who can feature in defence. Club captain Nacho Fernandez could leave with his contract running out, but beyond Leny Yoro, the club are considering using midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni as a centre-back.

At left-back, in addition to the option of Davies, the club has the possibility of bringing back Girona’s Miguel Gutierrez for €8m. A firm decision on this has not yet been made. There are no midfield moves planned, despite Toni Kroos’ retirement.

Who are they looking to sell?

Nacho seems still to be hesitating. He can renew until 2025 if he wishes, even though he informed the board and coach Carlo Ancelotti months ago his decision was to leave. Although there has already been a new round of talks recently, a decision has not yet been made public.

It remains to be seen how the outcome of the Nacho case could affect the possible signing of Yoro. The French centre-back is considered a “generational talent” at Real Madrid, which in previous situations has led to the signing being made even if the timing was not the best.

As we reported in last week’s DealSheet, there are no sales planned, but that doesn’t mean players won’t leave. There are doubts about Ferland Mendy while Fran Garcia, another left-back, is not assured of his place. Madrid would listen to offers for midfielder Dani Ceballos, but they will not “give him away”.

Goalkeeper Andriy Lunin is close to renewing his contract until 2029 but could still depart. After Thibaut Courtois’ late-season return from injury, the Ukrainian Lunin has returned to the bench and his entourage describe his situation as “a punch in the stomach”. In attack, the only player who seems open to leaving is Rodrygo, based on his words during Champions League final week.

Mario Cortegana

Serie A

What is new this week?

Juventus are beginning the process of building a team for Thiago Motta and the midfield is one of the areas under review. Sporting director Cristiano Giuntoli still has to be cute with his resources regardless of the club’s return to the Champions League and qualification for the Club World Cup.

Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz fits the identikit of what they want in midfield and talks have taken place about a move. USMNT international Weston McKennie almost joined Villa on loan 18 months ago but Leeds moved first. His stock has rebounded since returning to Turin. The 25-year-old won the Coppa Italia and laid on seven assists in Serie A. Juventus value him highly at €30m, which has given Villa pause for thought.

It remains to be seen if a deal can be done and their respective interests align. The phones of Serie A clubs have been hot with calls from Premier League teams who have PSR at the forefront of their minds as June 30 approaches.

What is the latest with Lukaku?

It’s that time of year again: Romelu Lukaku’s loan to a Serie A club is up and Chelsea are looking for a buyer. His £38m release clause and salary are too high for Roma, and Chelsea want a sale, as was the case last year. But Lukaku’s age and expense makes a sale difficult to achieve, at least in Italy.

(Ivan Romano/Getty Images)

Antonio Conte’s appointment at Napoli brings with it the chance of a reunion. But Napoli will need to sell in order to raise funds for Conte’s rebuild and it’s hard to envisage a club paying the release clause in Victor Osimhen‘s contract when it stands over €100m.

Milan, who are looking for a replacement for Olivier Giroud, have focused their search on Joshua Zirkzee, whose buy-out clause is similar to Lukaku’s. But Zirkzee is much younger and €40m might be more than what Milan are willing to pay. The club have a strong sense of fiscal responsibility and are extremely disciplined on fees and wages, which could scupper a deal.

It remains to be seen if the Saudi Pro League comes back for Lukaku. The 31-year-old turned down opportunities to play there last season but has since talked up the league as a coming force, most notably while in the country for Roma’s winter friendly against Al Shabab.

James Horncastle

(Top photo: Getty Images; design by Eamonn Dalton)

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