A breathtaking schedule of sporting action has filled the summer in its entirety, with the Tokyo Olympics, now in it’s second and final week, following a gripping European Championships.
And now, domestic football is set for its return. Scottish football is back, the Community Shield takes place this weekend and it is less than two weeks until the 2021/22 Premier League campaign gets underway.
Manchester United have made the statement signing of the summer to date, finally capturing their No1 target Jadon Sancho. But there are a number of high-profile deals still in the pipeline. Jack Grealish is set to complete his record £100m move to Man City today, but the future of Harry Kane, in particular, remains up the air.
As expected, it’s Premier League powerhouses Manchester City and Chelsea set to dominate the action in the remaining weeks of the transfer window, while Tottenham are also set to be busy with managing director Fabio Paratici seemingly never off his phone.
But which transfers will actually get over the line? Sportsmail assesses the potential high-profile deals with life in them yet below.
Jack Grealish to Manchester City
Grealish, alongside Kane, was turning into one of the transfer sagas of the summer, but it’s one that is now about to end, and he will soon find himself playing alongside England team-mates Kyle Walker, John Stones, Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling at Manchester City.
Sportsmail understands Grealish will complete his £100m move to City today. He’s due Manchester to sign his contract and complete the British record transfer deal.
Villa had no desire to sell their talisman this summer, who signed a new contract only in September last year.
Jack Grealish is closing in on a record-breaking £100m move to champions Manchester City
But there was always a sense of inevitability, particularly after City opened talks last Friday, when they offered his £100m clause.
Despite Grealish returning to training following his elongated break after reaching the Euros final with England, Villa’s transfer activity was perhaps a telling sign.
They have already acquired a ready-made replacement in the £40m signing of Emi Buendia, alongside the £30m signing of Leon Bailey, whose move was confirmed on Wednesday.
Harry Kane to Manchester City
Yes, it’s City involved again. And this time, it’s a deal that hangs much more in the balance, with Harry Kane’s proposed move to the Etihad a potential deal that is set to go right down to the wire.
Just for added intrigue, Tottenham are, of course, preparing to play the Premier League champions, at home, in their season-opener.
Kane sparked the talk of his exit before the 2020/21 season had even ended, revealing to Gary Neville in an interview for ‘The Overlap’ that the ‘crossroads moment’ had now come, reiterating his intent to win trophies and revealing his desire to play alongside Kevin De Bruyne.
Nevertheless, Tottenham’s stance was and still is that their talisman will not be leaving this summer, with new boss Nuno Espirito Santo insisting he has ‘no doubt’ the England star will remain part of his squad this season.
Harry Kane is set for talks with Tottenham as he returns for pre-season on Monday
Though Tottenham fans will deem Grealish a missed opportunity, having previously been heavily linked to the midfielder at a fraction of his current price, his move to City should come as positive news for the north London club.
Pep Guardiola has this summer insisted City cannot afford to sign a striker this summer, in a statement that certainly raised a few eyebrows.
And indeed, the £100m signing of Grealish certainly complicates things.
However, and it’s a big however, Kane has now taken things into his own hands, having failed to show up for training on his return from holiday. He was due in on Monday.
Sportsmail understands Kane is isolating after returning from the Caribbean, and is expected to return to training by the end of the week.
Yet, Kane believes he has a ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ with Daniel Levy that he can leave this summer. And though returning to training, Kane is still very much intent on pushing through a move to City.
Erling Haaland to Chelsea
From one world-class striker to another, we move from Kane to Erling Haaland, who has been heavily linked with a move to Chelsea this summer.
Sportsmail reported back in March that Chelsea were one of three teams – alongside Real Madrid and Manchester City – interested in signing the Borussia Dortmund forward, and the links have continued ever since.
The difference with Haaland and Kane, however, is that the former has publicly distanced himself from the proposed transfer.
Chelsea-linked Erling Haaland has been in action for Borussia Dortmund during pre-season
Speaking while away with Dortmund in Switzerland, Haaland – who is under contract until 2024 – played down talk of a £150m move to Chelsea.
‘Before yesterday I haven’t spoken with my agent for one month,’ Haaland said. ‘So you have the answer. I hope it’s only rumors because it’s a lot of money for a person.’
‘I have three years left on my contract,’ he added. ‘I’m enjoying my time here. But of course the trophy was important because that’s what I want.’
Chelsea are certainly in need of attacking reinforcements, though, with Olivier Giroud heading off to AC Milan, Tammy Abraham likely to leave and Timo Werner showing poor form in front of goal last season.
But Dortmund chief Sebastian Kehl has once more stressed the forward is going nowhere, saying: ‘We have already emphasised 1,000 times that we do not want to give him up.’
At this stage, it feels as if Haaland will be a Dortmund player come the close of the window, but stranger things have happened.
Perhaps it’s more likely we’ll see a deal next summer, when Haaland’s £68m release clause becomes active.
Romelu Lukaku to Chelsea
Haaland is not the only striker heavily linked with a move to Chelsea, with Tuchel desperate to add a target man to his attack.
The Blues have turned their attention towards their former striker Romelu Lukaku, and have seen a whopping £88m plus Marcos Alonso bid turned down by Inter Milan.
Inter won the Serie A title last season, with Lukaku playing a major role as he scored 24 goals, meaning the prolific forward has now notched 64 goals in 95 appearances since his £73m transfer in 2019.
Chelsea have seen an £88m plus Marcos Alonso bid for Romelu Lukaku rejected by Inter Milan
The Italian giants were in desperate need to sell at the start of the summer, but their financial struggles have been partially eased by the transfer of Achraf Hakimi to Paris Saint-Germain for £51.3m.
However, according to The Sun, Lukaku is interested in returning to his former club as he is eager to prove his worth to the Chelsea fans.
Yet, they will face a battle to sign the prolific forward, with Inter’s CEO Beppe Marotta telling Sportmediaset: ‘From our side, we can yes absolutely, Lukaku is not for sale.
‘Lukaku is an important piece on the chessboard available to Simone Inzaghi.’
Jules Kounde to Chelsea
Sticking with Chelsea, and Tuchel is not only looking to bolster his attack, but also his defence.
Sportsmail reported last week that Chelsea are now in talks with Sevilla for the 22-year-old, who is their No1 target at the back.
Kounde has attracted interest from City and Manchester United in recent years, having impressed in LaLiga. But it’s Chelsea the front of the queue for the Frenchman, who has a £68.4m release clause in his contract.
Chelsea were considering using Kurt Zouma in a player-plus-cash deal, but the defender wants to stay in the Premier League. Sportsmail understands he is in talks over a £20m move to West Ham, which would scupper any potential swap-deal.
Chelsea are in talks with Sevilla regarding a move for their No1 defensive target Jules Kounde
Regardless, a five-year contract has been proposed, with Sevilla looking at free agent Jerome Boateng as a potential replacement.
Chelsea’s rivals Tottenham were also in for Kounde, having offered cash plus Davinson Sanchez for the defender. They are now out of the picture, however, with Kounde reportedly rejecting the north London club due to their lack of Champions League football.
Tottenham could yet be involved, however, as Sevilla are still considering Sanchez should Kounde move to Chelsea. We certainly haven’t heard the last of this deal yet.
Cristian Romero to Tottenham
The defensive merry-go-round continues, with Tottenham in talks to sign Atalanta centre-back Cristian Romero.
Simply put, Tottenham are in desperate need of additions at the back, after Toby Alderweireld joined Qatari side Al-Duhail to end his six-year stay at the club.
They are left with Sanchez – who, as stated is linked with an exit – alongside an out-of-form Eric Dier and the inexperienced duo of Joe Rodon and Japhet Tanganga, who could himself head out on loan.
Cristian Romero is set to tell Atalanta he wants to leave for Tottenham this summer
However, it’s good news for Tottenham, who are moving ever-closer in their pursuit of Romero, after the 23-year-old told Atalanta of his desire to move to north London earlier this week.
Tottenham have had their £46.9m bid accepted, and he is expected to head for London shortly to complete a medical and sign a five-year contract.
Meanwhile, Atalanta are in talks to sign Merih Demiral from Juventus, having already signed Matteo Lovato, who coach Gian Piero Gasperini believes is an adequate replacement.
Pogba to leave Manchester United
Though securing one of the signings of the summer in Sancho, Manchester United are potentially facing the prospect of losing one of their most valued assets.
Paul Pogba, who starred at this summer’s European Championships, has been linked with an exit, having entered the final year of his contract.
Mauricio Pochettino’s Paris Saint-Germain have reportedly been in talks with the midfielder – who was born in Paris – over a proposed £43m transfer, though the former Tottenham boss remained coy when asked about the links.
‘You see the list of the players that we have at home, we have plenty of players,’ he said. ‘Half of the squad is at home. A few are on holiday.
‘I think the performance was good, I am happy, and I don’t want to talk about names of players who are in other clubs.’
Paul Pogba (right) reportedly has a great relationship with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (left)
There is good news for United, however, with Sky Sports reporting that Pogba can see a long-term future at the club having been enthused by the signings of Sancho and Raphael Varane.
They state that Pogba is aware that, at 28-years-old, his next contract will be his last major deal, however. And that means the midfielder is keeping his options open.
The report says United would ideally like Pogba’s future resolved this summer, but the midfielder may opt not to extend his deal, though that wouldn’t rule him out of doing so in the next 12 months.
The good news for United fans is that Pogba has now joined up with his team-mates at their St Andrew’s training camp in Scotland.
Kieran Trippier to Man United
Sticking with United, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is looking for yet more defensive reinforcements, this time in the shape of Atletico Madrid’s Kieran Trippier.
United are well stocked in the right-back department, having splashed out £45m for Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the summer of 2019.
Wan Bissaka’s defensive capabilities are difficult to argue against, but it’s his attacking prowess, or lack of, that often draws criticism.
United have been heavily linked with a move for Trippier, who won the LaLiga title last year and made an impressive five appearances for England at Euro 2020.
Kieran Trippier won the LaLiga title with Atletico Madrid in a surprising 2020/21 campaign
The Red Devils reportedly had a £10m bid turned down by Atletico Madrid earlier in the summer, but they are still interested in the defender.
And there are plenty of reports stating Trippier is interested in a return to the Premier League, with Spanish publication Diario Sport reporting the 30-year-old to be pushing for the move.
Meanwhile, The Sun claim United are ‘determined’ to secure his signature, while The Telegraph state Trippier is willing to wait all summer to earn his move.
It certainly would be a surprise to see Trippier return to the elite of the Premier League, after he was deemed surplus to requirements at Tottenham only in 2019.
But having worked so closely with Diego Simeone, the right-back has developed into a top-level defender.
Saul Niguez to United… or Liverpool?
Saul Niguez is certainly one of the more interesting names on the list, due to the fact that he’s been linked with both United and their arch rivals Liverpool.
The 26-year-old looks likely to leave Atletico Madrid this summer, having been with the club since the age of 14, with the Spaniards reportedly giving the midfielder the green light to negotiate a move away.
But where will he end up? That’s the crucial question. Importantly, although Saul has a release clause of £128m, Atletico’s financial difficulties mean a fee closer to £40m is likely to be sufficient.
The midfielder has been offered to both Barcelona and Juventus in recent weeks.
Atletico Madrid’s Saul Niguez has been heavily linked to both Manchester United and Liverpool
As for the Premier League duo, United are in poll position to land Saul, state The Mirror, who claim the midfielder’s representatives were due in England last week to discuss a move.
Meanwhile, Liverpool are in need of midfield reinforcements after Georginio Wijnaldum left for PSG earlier in the summer, while Jordan Henderson has also been linked with an exit.
The Mirror’s report claimed Liverpool are also keen, with both clubs set to make proposals.
Manuel Locatelli to Liverpool… or Arsenal?
We have another potential domestic scrap for a transfer, with both Liverpool and Arsenal linked with a move for Euro 2020 star Manuel Locatelli.
The midfielder was a notable performer as Italy emerged victorious in this summer’s European Championships, catching the eyes of the Premier League duo – as well as Juventus.
It’s the Italian giants who have been the frontrunners to sign Locatelli, particularly after Sassuolo’s CEO Giovanni Carnevali confirmed Juventus is where the midfielder wants to move.
Carnevali told Sky Sport Italia: ‘Tomorrow we’ll have a direct contact with Juventus for Locatelli. He wants to join Juve.’
‘We’d be happy to sell Manuel (Locatelli) to Juve… but they need to pay the right fee.’
Sassuolo midfielder Manuel Locatelli impressed as Italy claimed the European Championships
However, again according to Sky Sports Italia, Juventus have been locked in negotiations with Sassuolo, having been unwilling to pay their £34million asking price – though they state negotiations will resume soon.
In speaking of Locatelli’s desire to join Juventus, Carnevali also confirmed Arsenal have made a bid for the midfielder, while revealing another English club – believed to be Liverpool – have entered the race.
‘Arsenal made a bid to sign him and also a new English club is now in the race,’ he said.
Locatelli is understood to want Champions League football, however, which could just give Liverpool the advantage.