The story behind this summer’s biggest transfer
The Guardian reveal the story behind Lionel Messi’s “stunning” move to Paris Saint-Germain. A personal call from PSG sporting director Leonardo to the Argentine’s father Jorge reportedly showed that the club were serious about bringing Messi to the French capital. Showdown talks included club president Nasser al-Khelaifi, who had previously only joined for Neymar’s transfer negotiations from Barcelona in 2017. The prospect of the move went from “impossible” to “done” within a few days after PSG convinced Messi of their project. In contrast to last summer, Manchester City were no longer interested in bringing the 34-year-old to England.
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Paper Round’s view: It’s still unbelievable that Messi is no longer a Barcelona player. It wasn’t a drawn-out transfer saga and the move actually got completely quickly. The key aspect revealed in the Guardian report is that PSG pushed the boat out in their negotiations. They sold the project to Messi’s father and used their Argentine manager Mauricio Pochettino and Messi’s former Barcelona teammate Neymar to their advantage. Obviously it helped that there was a lack of serious competitors, but the deal was completed so efficiently. Transfers like this prove that anything can happen in football.
Abraham’s choice: Roma or Arsenal?
Chelsea have accepted a £34 million offer from AS Roma for Tammy Abraham and former Blues boss Jose Mourinho will attempt to convince the academy graduate to accept personal terms with the Italians on Thursday. However, the Mirror reveal that Abraham would rather join Chelsea’s London rivals Arsenal, who have also expressed their interest in signing the 23-year-old. The Gunners will need to sell Alexandre Lacazette before submitting an official bid for Abraham, but the club are confident that agreeing personal terms will be straightforward. Chelsea would prefer to sell the striker to a foreign club instead of strengthening a Premier League rival.
Paper Round’s view: It’s a huge decision for Abraham. The Chelsea forward has been out of favour over the past 12 months at Stamford Bridge. Abraham was smashing it in Frank Lampard’s first season but after the transfer ban ended, Chelsea signed a handful of new players and he immediately lost his place in the starting eleven. The 23-year-old has barely featured under Thomas Tuchel and now Romelu Lukaku is returning. Abraham needs first-team football. He will most likely get it at both Roma and Arsenal, but he might feel more comfortable staying in the Premier League and in London. It all depends on whether Arsenal can afford him.
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Arsenal in advanced talks for Ramsdale
Arsenal are ready to sign their second member of England’s Euro 2020 squad, with Aaron Ramsdale set to follow Ben White to the Emirates. Football London report that the Gunners are in “advanced talks” to sign the Sheffield United stopper in a deal worth £30 million. Arsenal have spent the summer searching for a homegrown goalkeeper to back up Bernd Leno and already had two bids rejected for Ramsdale. However, the north London club have now had an initial £24 million bid accepted, with performance-related add-ons that could reach £30 million.
Paper Round’s view: This just doesn’t make any sense. Arsenal sold Emi Martinez (a homegrown goalkeeper) to Aston Villa last summer for around £20 million and now they’re willing to spend £30 million on another back-up keeper just because he’s homegrown. It sums up the transfer business done over the past five or so years at the club. It makes even less sense when you realise that Arsenal are about to sanction the £25 million transfer of the homegrown Joe Willock to Newcastle. Arsenal fans will have a right to be furious if signings in key positions are not made.
Spurs search for new midfielder amid Ndombele doubt
Tottenham Hotspur are ready to hit the transfer market in search of a new centre-midfielder. The Star reveal that newly-appointed head coach Nuno Espirito Santo has “frozen out” club-record signing Tanguy Ndombele, who could leave north London before the transfer deadline. Spurs have three targets at the top of their shortlist, including Bayern Munich’s Corentin Tolisso, Borussia Monchengladbach’s Denis Zakaria and Sporting Lisbon’s Joao Palhinha. Tottenham have already have a loan offer rejected for Palhinha, with the Portuguese champions holding out for a £34 million permanent transfer.
Paper Round’s view: Another baffling transfer decision. Ndombele is clearly a talented player. There’s a reason why the club spent £55 million on the French midfielder and he has shown glimpses of quality since joining the Premier League. However, for one reason or another, Ndombele hasn’t had a decent run of games. It seems like he may need to depart to resurrect his career, but he’s still only 24 years old. The three top transfer targets would all represent good signings, but it could be argued that none of them have a higher ceiling than Ndombele.
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