De Ligt for Bayern, Sterling to Chelsea but no takers for Ronaldo


It’s that time of the year again when football teams from all around the globe try to bolster their squads while fans salivate at the prospect of dream signings and fantasy lineups. It’s the 2022-23 transfer season and it’s turning out to be quite a rollercoaster ride. And we have more than a month to go!!! So, strap in your seatbelts as we take a look at what promises to be a tumultuous season of signings, releases and everything that goes with them.

In the last week, a lot of deals took shape while a flurry of speculations spread across the internet like wildfire. A transfer season full of more twists and turns than your average pulpy thriller, this one has kept the fans on the edge of their seats.

Return of the prodigal son (Again)

Paul Pogba officially returned to Juventus on Monday after his stint at Manchester United. This will be his second homecoming to the Turin-based club after spending 6 years at United. The 29-year-old French midfielder signed a four-year contract with Juventus that will tie him down with the club until June 2026.

Returns to former clubs have not gone down well in recent history with Romelu Lukaku’s troubled spell at Chelsea last year cut short when he opted to go on loan to Inter Milan this season. Cristiano Ronaldo, who arrived at Manchester United to much fanfare last season, has made his feelings clear that he wants out of Old Trafford if a suitable offer comes. Can Pogba turn the tide in Juventus after himself having an underwhelming return to United 6 years ago? Only time will tell.

Chelsea’s “sterling” transfer reputation comes to the fore

Chelsea finally created waves in the transfer market when they signed Raheem Sterling from Manchester City on Wednesday. Sterling joined Chelsea on a five-year contract in a deal worth up to 50 million pounds ($59.60 million), according to reports. The 27-year-old played 47 games in all competitions for City last season, scoring 17 times and providing nine assists. He, however, fell down the pecking order after the arrival of Jack Grealish from Aston Villa last season as well as Phil Foden who has nailed down his spot in the Playing XI. With the World Cup just around the corner, it was essential for Sterling to have a standout season this year and he will be hoping to do just that under Thomas Tuchel’s guidance.

Chelsea also completed the signing of their long-term target Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli on a four-year contract on Saturday. After losing centre backs Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, the Blues will be desperate for Koulibaly to hit the ground running. With their other targets Matthijs de Ligt, Nathan Ake and Oleksandr Zinchenko out of their reach, Chelsea will hope that Koulibaly is the missing piece of a puzzle that they were desperately searching for.

Manchester United on a signing spree

Manchester United’s pursuit of Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong is in a limbo according to a lot of reports which state that de Jong has been told to join Manchester United by the Catalan club due to financial fair play restrictions but the player hasn’t agreed to move and wants to remain with the La Liga outfit.

According to Fabrizio Romano, de Jong is included in the squad for Barcelona’s pre-season tour in the US. United and Barca have agreed €75m fee plus €10m in add-ons but there is no change in the player’s stance.

That, however, hasn’t stopped Manchester United from signing Denmark ace Christian Eriksen to a three-year contract on Friday. Eriksen is no stranger to the Premier League having spent nearly seven seasons with Tottenham Hotspur, making more than 300 appearances in all competitions for the London side. With Friday’s signing Eriksen became the second recruit in the Ten Hag era after Tyrell Malacia.

United also reached an agreement with Ajax to buy defender Lisandro Martínez for nearly $58 million on Sunday. Once the Argentine defender passes the medical, he’ll officially be a Red Devil. Martinez made 36 appearances in all competitions and helped Ajax to the league title and a runners-up finish in the Dutch Cup.

Cristiano Ronaldo might have to stay put at Manchester United

The rumour mill has been on a constant overdrive since Cristiano Ronaldo revealed to Manchester United that he wants to leave this season. With a lot of names thrown in the air as potential suitors, reality, however, paints a different picture.

Chelsea and Bayern Munich who were frontrunners have both seemingly pulled the plug from this move. Talking to Sport1, Bayern director Hasan Salihamidzić said, “I have a lot of respect for Cristiano Ronaldo, his successes and his career. But once again: that was and is not a topic for us” while Chelsea have indicated they are no longer interested in signing Ronaldo after holding talks with the Portugal forward’s representatives. According to the Guardian, the player was never in coach Thomas Tuchel’s plans and so the club wants to move on from a potential transfer.

People who were hoping for a superstar link up with Lionel Messi at PSG will also be disappointed as the club rejected the opportunity after talks between president Nasser Al-Khelaifi and the player’s agent Jorge Mendes.

Reportedly, an unnamed Saudi Arabian club had offered United €30 million for Ronaldo’s services, with a whopping €275 million in wages over a two-year period but the Portuguese superstar, whose priority is Champions League, has rejected the offer.

It’s increasingly looking likely that Ronaldo will have to swallow his pride and pull on the Manchester United shirt, at least for this season.

Barcelona snap up Raphinha, Lewandowski

Even if you are a casual Barcelona fan with access to the internet, you would hear rumbles from all corners about how the Catalan club are cash-strapped and in danger of going bankrupt if they don’t get their business in order. But if you see Barcelona’s transfer spree, you would think that those reports should be taken with a pinch of salt.

In a week, Barcelona have managed to outprice Chelsea from a Raphinha deal and also secure a verbal agreement with Bayern Munich for their talismanic striker Robert Lewandowski. Financial details were not disclosed but Spanish media reported that Barcelona will pay 58 million euros ($58.33 million) in a fee that could go up to 68 million with the agreed add-ons for Raphinha. On the other hand, Lewandowski will cost around 45 million euros ($45.4 million) plus another 5 million in add-ons, according to Spanish media.

Bayern’s de Ligt delight

Bayern Munich’s Matthijs de Ligt pursuit finally bore fruit on Sunday night as the final bid was accepted by Juventus for a package worth more than €80m. The personal terms were already agreed with the player and he’ll sign till 2027, according to Fabrizio Romano.

The Netherlands international was on Chelsea’s radar as well but he chose to join the German champions instead.

Done Deals this week

Raheem Sterling – Man City to Chelsea, £47.5m

Paul Pogba – Manchester United to Juventus, free

Christian Eriksen – Brentford to Manchester United, free

Raphinha – Leeds to Barcelona, £55m

Kalidou Koulibaly – Napoli to Chelsea, £33m

Neco Williams – Liverpool to Nottingham Forest, £16m

Cheick Doucoure – Lens to Crystal Palace, £21m

Andreas Pereira – Manchester United to Fulham, £10m

Mesut Ozil – Fenerbahce to Istanbul Basaksehir, free

Andriy Yarmolenko – West Ham to Al Ain, free

Owen Wijndal – AZ to Ajax, €10m

Martin Payero – Middlesbrough to Boca Juniors, loan

Kaiyne Woolery – Motherwell to Sakaryaspor, undisclosed

Omari Hutchinson – Arsenal to Chelsea, free

Hugo Ekitike – Reims to Paris Saint-Germain, loan

Ludwig Augustinsson – Sevilla to Aston Villa, loan

Wayne Hennessey – Burnley to Nottingham Forest, free

Thomas Strakosha – Lazio to Brentford, free

Yehor Yarmoliuk – SC Dnipro-1 to Brentford, undisclosed

Nathan Collins – Burnley to Wolves, £20.5m

Keane Lewis-Potter – Hull to Brentford, £20m

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