Gonzalo Higuain Could Join Milan On Loan as Part of Swap Deal With Leonardo Bonucci

Leonardo Bonucci may get his wish of a return to ​Juventus before the end of the summer transfer window, but it will require a sensational swap deal to help the transfer go through.

According to ​Sky Italia, Milan want to exchange Bonucci for two Juventus players. Mattia Caldara would join the Rossoneri permanently, but the big news is that Gonzalo Higuain would also move to the San Siro on loan.

It has already been reported this week that Bonucci ​wants to return to Juventus after just one year away, but this new update will have reverberations beyond the Italian borders.

This news could come as a blow to Maurizio Sarri, who has been an admirer of the Argentine since their days together at Napoli and wants to reunite with him at Chelsea.

Sky are reporting that the basis of a deal has been agreed between the two Italian rivals. That does not mean that anything is set in stone, only that they have agreed to value Bonucci and Caldara at the same price.

Higuain would cost an additional €15m for his loan move. This is a high price for a loan, which suggests that there may be a purchase option after the initial 12-month period.

Journalist ​Alfredo Pedulla claims that Juventus would still prefer to sell Higuain to Chelsea, but the Blues have to find a way of selling Alvaro Morata first.

There is also the complication of Higuain’s €7.5m a year wage packet, which was the largest at Juventus before the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo.

It is unlikely that Juve would want to pay that while Higuain was out on loan, so Milan would have to take that into account.

Marseille ‘Start Discussions’ With Olivier Giroud as Mario Balotelli Move Stalls

Marseille have not yet given up on signing Mario Balotelli, but they are monitoring Olivier Giroud as a backup and have spoken to the ​Chelsea striker’s representatives, according to reports from France.

Earlier this month it seemed inevitable that Marseille would raid their Ligue 1 rivals Nice for Balotelli, but talks have stalled to the extent that OM are looking elsewhere for an alternative forward option.

They have settled on Giroud, who was linked with a move back to his home country earlier this summer. ​RMC Sport journalist Mohamed Bouhafsi claims that Marseille have spoken to Giroud’s entourage over the last few days.

“In addition to the Balotelli case, Marseille have secretly re-opened their pursuit of Olivier Giroud in the last few days,” wrote Bouhafsi. “Marseille have started discussions with the player’s entourage.”


Giroud faces an uncertain future at Chelsea after the arrival of Maurizio Sarri and he may see this as an opportunity to ensure that he gets game time next season.

However, Bouhafsi made it clear that Marseille’s pursuit of Giroud did not necessarily mean that they had given up on signing Balotelli, only that they were keeping tabs on two targets at once.

“To be clear, Marseille are having these discussions in addition to the Balotelli case and are monitoring several targets at the same time,” Bouhafsi clarified.

It has been quite the year for Giroud, who joined Chelsea from Arsenal in January and established himself as the first choice striker ahead of Alvaro Morata.

He also won the World Cup with France, and yet he could find himself moving on to his third club of the year by the end of the summer transfer window.

Why Liverpool Should Not Hesitate to Make a Move for USA Starlet Christian Pulisic

Since the early days of Jurgen Klopp’s reign at ​Liverpool the name of a teenage prodigy has often been muttered with each passing transfer window, ​and that rising star is Christian Pulisic.

Links to the American international have grown fiercer with each passing year as the romanticism of football has it that the Reds’ man at the helm will reunite with the player whose career he set in motion over three years ago. 

And while Liverpool have made previous attempts to push through a move, news that ​Borussia Dortmund could be ​willing to part ways with Pulisic this summer should spark the Reds into immediate action. 

Los Angeles FC v Borussia Dortmund

The winger is widely discussed as one of football’s best young talents, and while his on field prowess should catch Liverpool’s eye the benefits of his signature come on two fronts: his playing ability and his appeal to the American market. 

Firstly, at 19 years old he has already amassed 97 senior appearance for Dortmund since making the transition from the youth team in 2015 – not before he was given a glimpse of life in the first team under the tutelage of Klopp in his early days at the club. 

A show of faith which Pulisic remains grateful for: “I was obviously playing with the youth teams at Dortmund, but he was the one who gave me my first professional training session, just to give me a taste of it.

“He always accepted me and he was very kind to me, so I will always be thankful for that. I know he’s a great guy, and it’s nice to see him doing so well for Liverpool.”

While the pair’s time together was brief due to Klopp’s departure from the club in 2015, the respect and admiration is a mutual feeling, with the German boss shedding light on the 19-year-old last week when Dortmund and Liverpool came face to face in a pre season friendly. 

“I like Christian, I’ve known him since he was a kid. He’s still not really old, he’s a fantastic player, and it’s deserved people think highly of him in America.

Borussia Dortmund v Benfica - International Champions Cup 2018

“If – at one point – he will join us, I don’t know. I like him, it’s not that that could be the problem, but we respect contracts still and there’s no market I know about at the moment. We did our business and Dortmund are doing theirs. All good,” Klopp said.

However, since Klopp uttered those words the 19-year-old’s situation appears to have changed, with Dortmund reportedly willing to sanction a deal for €70m. And with Liverpool yet to fill the void left by Philippe Coutinho, they should take the plunge.

He would not be a direct replacement for the Brazilian, nor would he displace Mohamed Salah or Sadio Mane from the wings, but he is of a similar profile to the Reds’ existing attack and would offer much needed depth, which was largely unavailable at Anfield last term. 

Pulisic’s explosive pace and willingness to run at the opposition would see him thrive in the Premier League, and having already been offered a glimpse of life under Klopp, he is more than capable of hitting the ground running.

With Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain expected to be out for most of the season and Adam Lallana often troubled by injury problems of his own, Pulisic could offer a creative spark behind the front three which is currently lacking on the red half of Merseyside. 

A move for Nabil Fekir this summer proved as much, and with the deal for the Lyon skipper in serious doubt, Liverpool would be wise to pay the difference in asking prices from €53m to €70m to secure Pulisic this summer.

While Fekir’s current level of performance is far superior than the American winger, there is cause for argument that Pulisic’s ceiling is higher and his full potential could be unleashed at Anfield under Klopp. 

Bolivia v United States

Furthermore, Pulisic is a rising force in the American market and he would prosper in the Premier League with the backing of Liverpool’s Boston based owners, FSG. 

The Reds’ owners have long been pushing the team in America with tours across the country now a regular feature of the club’s pre season preparations every two-years, and having the pulling power of one of the country’s leading talents is seemingly a no brainer. 

The Reds need to look no further than the impact Salah has had in Egypt to gain a small glimpse into how Pulisic’s arrival could make them heavyweights in the region for the foreseeable future. 

His star is already bright across the United States, and a move to Liverpool would undoubtedly make him the poster boy for the club’s American brand which could see a sizeable return on their investment. 

While Liverpool have already splashed the cash this summer with the additions of Alisson, Xherdan Shaqiri and Fabinho, the chance to secure a future superstar of the game does not come around often – so if there is an opportunity to seize the moment, Liverpool should not have any hesitation in pulling the trigger and making a move for the 19-year-old. 

Newcastle United Reportedly Accept Fulham Offer for Striker Aleksandar Mitrovic

Newcastle United have reportedly accepted an offer from Premier League newcomers Fulham for Serbian forward Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Mitrovic spent the second half of last season on loan at Craven Cottage, and his impact was felt instantly as the West Londoners went on a scintillating run of form which would see them win the Play-Off final. Mitrovic bagged 12 goals in 17 appearances for the Cottagers, and endeared himself to fans in the process.

Aston Villa v Fulham - Sky Bet Championship Play Off Final

According to Sky Sports North-East reporter Keith Downie, Newcastle have now accepted a bid for the Serb. It’s understood that he will now leave Newcastle’s training camp in Portugal to complete his move to West London ahead of the new season.

Despite his obvious talent, Mitrovic never properly got going during his time on Tyneside, with some inconsistent performances and some head scratching, somewhat idiotic, moments being the lasting memory from his time at the club.

The Serb appeared to find a home at Fulham though, and his performances last season were pivotal in the club’s eventual promotion back to the Premier League.

While a fee has not yet been disclosed, Fulham now look set to make yet another impressive signing this summer. The club appear to be heading in the right direction, and are seemingly building for a long future in the Premier League. 

Unai Emery Confirms Mesut Ozil Is a Captaincy Candidate This Season After Impressive Performance

​New Arsenal manager Unai Emery has confirmed that Mesut Ozil is in contention to be Arsenal’s captain for this forthcoming season, after the German led the Gunners to a 5-1 victory over PSG in pre-season.

The German has endured a difficult summer, retiring from international football following Germany’s early exit from the World Cup. The attacking midfielder felt he was the target of unfair abuse, and announced he would no longer represent his country last week.

Arsenal v Paris Saint Germain - International Champions Cup 2018

Despite recent turbulence on the international stage, Ozil’s career with Arsenal appears to be as positive as ever. He scored the opener in Arsenal’s emphatic win over PSG and wore the captain’s armband for the 64 minutes he played.

Emery confirmed Ozil was a candidate to take permanent captaincy of the side ahead of the new season. Speaking to reporters post-game as quoted by the Evening Standard, Emery said:

“I think he can take the responsibility, but let’s not forget Koscielny who is recovering with us.

FBL-EUR-C3-ATLETICO-ARSENAL

The Spaniard was also keen to point out that Arsenal have multiple options to take the captain’s armband for the 2018/19 season.

“Then we’ve got Petr Cech, who captained us in a friendly match. Aaron Ramsey also captained us in a friendly and I am maybe thinking another one or two players can take responsibility for every player in the team.”

James Rodriguez Reaffirms His Focus is on Bayern Despite Increased Rumours of Return to Real Madrid

​James Rodriguez has made it clear that his intention is to remain with Bayern Munich for the upcoming season, despite rumours that he is on the verge of returning to Real Madrid.

Rodriguez is halfway through a two year loan from the Champions League champions to Munich, and enjoyed a stellar first year in Germany. The Colombian featured 23 times in the Bundesliga last season, contributing seven goals and 11 assists, playing a major part in Bayern winning yet another German title.

FBL-GER-CUP-BAYERN MUNICH-FRANKFURT

Despite James’ impressive performances, rumours have circulated this summer that the attacking midfielder could be returning to the Spanish capital one year early.

Rodriguez however has come out and confirmed that he’s happy in Munich. Speaking to reporters as quoted by Bayern Munich, the Colombian said “I know there are a lot of rumours, but I am happy in Munich and I am only thinking about Bayern!

James also added that he felt he had unfinished business at the club:

“When I think about my first year with Bayern I am very happy. But I want to win more titles this year and show myself to be an important member of this team.”

Rodriguez appears to be content in Germany for the moment, something that should encourage Bayern supporters. If the club want to challenge in the Champions League next season, they’ll need to keep hold of players of James’ calibre.

Leeds United Announce Signing of Full Back Barry Douglas From Wolves on a 3-Year Deal

​Leeds United have confirmed the signing of full back Barry Douglas from Wolverhampton Wanderers on a three-year deal. 

The 28-year-old has joined the club for an undisclosed fee, and could be set to make his debut next week when Leeds welcome recently relegated Stoke City to Elland Road.

Leeds’ club statement regarding the signing reads: 

“Leeds United are delighted to confirm the signing of Barry Douglas from Wolverhampton Wanderers.

“The 28-year-old left-back joins the club for an undisclosed fee and has signed a three year contract at Elland Road.

“Douglas becomes Leeds United’s first permanent transfer of the summer, following the loan arrivals of Jamal Blackman and Lewis Baker and will wear the number three shirt during his time at Elland Road.”

Douglas joins the club following a hugely successful stint at Wolves, during which the full back scored five goals and assisted a further 15 in 42 appearances, as the club won the Championship and a route back into the Premier League.

Wolves expressed their gratitude for his performance, tweeting: “All at Wolves would like to thank Barry Douglas for his effort while at the club and wish him the best of luck for the future.”

Last season also marked Douglas’ first call-up to the Scottish national team. The 28-year-old would make his debut for Scotland against Hungary in March. 

Virgil van Dijk Claims Liverpool Will Fight ‘in Every Competition’ to End Silverware Drought

Liverpool are prepared to fight “in every competition” in an attempt to end the club’s six-year wait for a major trophy, according to star defender Virgil van Dijk.

The Reds have been busy this summer bolstering their squad ahead of the new season and have spent over £160m so far, with the likes of Naby Keita, Fabinho and Alisson Becker linking up with Jürgen Klopp’s first team.

Blackburn Rovers v Liverpool - Pre-Season Friendly

January signing van Dijk has confirmed that Liverpool will do everything they can to lift a trophy this season, especially following the disappointment of losing the Champions League final against Real Madrid in Kiev.

“With the players we have and we had already last season we can compete in every competition,” van Dijk told Sky Sports News.

“Hopefully we are going to do something special this year. I don’t like to look too far ahead – we just need to do the talking on the pitch and make sure we perform well.

“Everyone in the squad wants to win something. We know it is going to be a very hard season.”

Liverpool were also able to snap up Switzerland international forward Xherdan Shaqiri in a £13m deal thanks to a clause in his contract with Stoke City, allowing the 26-year-old to leave at a cut-price if the Potters were relegated.

The club still appear to be considering a move for Lyon midfielder Nabil Fekir. However, rumours are currently circulating that Liverpool now have their sights set on USMNT international Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund.

Barcelona Manager Claims Losing Andres Iniesta ‘Is as Important’ as Cristiano Ronaldo’s Exit

Andrés Iniesta’s departure from Barcelona the summer will impact the club as much as Cristiano Ronaldo’s move away from Real Madrid, according to Barça head coach Ernesto Valverde.

The veteran midfielder opted to call time on his long and illustrious career at the Camp Nou in favour of a move to Japanese side Vissel Kobe, despite putting pen to paper on a lifetime contract in Catalonia last year.

FC Barcelona v AS Roma - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Leg One

And Barcelona manager Valverde believes that the club will be weakened by Iniesta’s departure just as much as Real Madrid will be after Ronaldo decided to leave the Santiago Bernabéu and join reigning Serie A champions Juventus.

“We do not know to what extent this will weaken Madrid, but he is a player who has given a lot to the club and you have to recognise everything he has done,” Valverde told reporters about Ronaldo’s exit, quoted by Goal.

“The loss of Cristiano Ronaldo in Madrid is as important as the one we have with Andrés. Julen [Lopetegui] will try to notice Cristiano’s absence as little as possible.”

It would appear that Valverde is seemingly trying to rule out any excuses Real Madrid may have if they fail to snatch the La Liga title of off Barcelona next season, even if Los Blancos are once again successful in the Champions League.

However, Iniesta’s departure from Barcelona will undoubtedly impact the club drastically. Even at the age of 34, the midfielder made 44 appearances across all competitions last season as La Blaugrana went on to win the domestic double.

Valencia Issue Hands Off Warning to Premier League Clubs Interested in Geoffrey Kondogbia

​Valencia have told Premier League clubs who might be sniffing around Geoffrey Kondogbia that the Frenchman is not for sale under any circumstances.

According to ​AS, several English clubs have made enquiries about the 25-year-old but Valencia remain unswayed and it does not appear that they will allow Kondogbia to go anywhere this summer.

Kondogbia spent last season on loan at Valencia from Inter, scoring four goals in 30 La Liga appearances. His performances helped Valencia to finish in the Champions League spots after two seasons of being stuck in mid-table.

FBL-ESP-LIGA-ATHLETIC-VALENCIA

His contract contained an option to make the deal permanent and Valencia activated that option in May, whereupon Kondogbia signed a four-year contract at the Mestalla in a deal worth €25m.

Even if Kondogbia was pushing for a move away, Valencia would be in a strong position to keep him. However, he is happy to stay at the club that has helped him rediscover his form, knowing that he will get better offers next summer if he continues to perform.

Valencia manager Marcelino counts Kondogbia among his best players. Speaking back in March, the Brazilian implied that Kondogbia should be in the French squad ahead of players like Paul Pogba.

Celta de Vigo v Valencia - La Liga

“He is a key player for us, he is important for how we play and although I don’t follow how the other French midfielders are getting on, recently I don’t think that some of them would be close to how Kondogbia is playing,” Marcelino said, as quoted by ​AS.

“We saw Pogba play against Sevilla and Kondogbia against the same opponent and there isn’t any kind of comparison to be made.”

Kondogbia has made five appearances for France, but the last of those came in 2015.