Premier League

Six huge deals which could happen before the Premier League transfer deadline

 • by Tom Bodell
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For the millions of Premier League followers who hang on every rumour, whisper or done deal, the best day of the year is just around the corner. We are, of course, talking about transfer deadline day on Thursday.

Top-flight clubs voted in favour of bringing the cut-off point forward so, for the second time since the window was introduced for 2002/03, players won’t be able to move once the first ball has been kicked.

Although Premier League teams can still sell players after Thursday’s 5pm cut-off, they won’t be able to bring anyone in. Before the haze of yellow descends, here are six deals which could be completed before then.

Romelu Lukaku to Internazionale or Juventus

Inter targets Romelu Lukaku and Edin Dzeko compared by their Premier League and Serie A stats

Marcus Rashford is the main man at Manchester United, which means Lukaku is no longer required at Old Trafford. But at this stage, that is the only part of this story which is clear.

At one point Inter were the only club in the race for the Belgian. Then rivals Juventus overtook them with a player-plus-cash deal which would see Paulo Dybala join Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side. But United decided against pursuing that avenue as they felt the Argentine was only interested in the move for financial reasons.

So, having refused to meet United’s £75million valuation of the 26-year-old until this point, the Nerazzurri are in the lead once more. New coach Antonio Conte is desperate to land at least one striker this summer having told Mauro Icardi he does not feature in his plans this season.

If Lukaku does arrive at San Siro, expect Juventus to make their move for Icardi. The Serie A transfer window shuts on August 18.

Daniele Rugani to Arsenal

Juventus defender Daniele Rugani compared statistically to team-mate Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci

On the face of it, losing Laurent Koscielny has exacerbated Arsenal’s issue at centre-back. But one suspects the Gunners have a replacement for the veteran Frenchman lined up – and it could be Rugani

The retirement of long-serving Andrea Barzagli should have opened up a space for the 25-year-old at Juventus. But the Italy international’s path has been blocked after the Bianconeri went big on Ajax and Netherlands prodigy Matthijs de Ligt, as well as signing Turkish youngster Merih Demiral.

Rugani is expected to seek a move away from Turin and Arsenal have been linked with a loan-to-buy deal. With Juve desperate to recoup some cash after the capture of de Ligt for £68.8million, allowing their fourth-choice centre-back to leave would make sense.

Wolverhampton Wanderers have made a £30million offer for Rugani according to The Times, complicating matters for the Gunners.

Ismaïla Sarr to Watford 

For a club synonymous with change, Watford have been remarkably quiet in the transfer market this summer, making West Bromwich Albion centre-back Craig Dawson their only major addition at £5.5million.

However, the Hornets could break the £18million club-record fee paid for Andre Gray before the week is out with a move for Rennes winger Sarr. Viewed as one of the most exciting young wide players in Europe, the 21-year-old had been considered by Arsenal before Nicolas Pépé completed his £72million switch

A wide forward has topped of coach Javi Gracia’s wish-list all summer with the Hornets missing out on Allan Saint-Maximin to Newcastle United. Will Hughes and Roberto Pereyra are the Hornets’ nominal wingers in Gracia’s 4-2-2-2 system but neither possess great pace.

Rennes want £30million for Sarr and while the Hornets are only prepared to reach £25million, the Evening Standard claims a deal could be struck.

Wilfried Zaha to Everton

Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha is wanted by Everton

The Crystal Palace forward’s future has been subject of plenty of column inches throughout the summer but looks little closer to being resolved as things stand.

Initially, Arsenal led the race for the 26-year-old. But it quickly became apparent the Gunners couldn’t afford Zaha’s £80million price-tag and they instead went for Pépé. Everton was the next destination touted but, again, the Toffees would not reach Palace’s valuation before denying reports of a second offer.

Finally, Italian side Napoli were linked with a move. The Neapolitans evidently have money to spend on an attacker, having been linked with James Rodríguez and Icardi, but those rumours have gone quiet too.

Now the Toffees are back in for Palace’s talisman. According to the Evening Standard, an offer of £65million up front might persuade the South Londoners to reconsider their stance on the tricky forward.

Philippe Coutinho to Arsenal 

A comparison of Philippe Coutinho's stats for Barcelona and his final six months in the Premier League with Liverpool

As any Football Manager player knows, the option to spread out payments over a period of multiple years is a God-send. Even so, Arsenal have made the absolute most of their reported £45million budget to sign William Saliba, Dani Ceballos and Pépé. Now they could be about to pull off the coup of the transfer window.

At £147million, Coutinho has been an expensive flop for Barcelona since signing from Liverpool in January 2018. The Catalans want the Brazilian playmaker off their books and had only been prepared to consider a permanent deal as they looked to recoup as much of that eye-watering figure as possible.

Talk of using Coutinho as a makeweight in any potential deal for Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar has been quashed and now Barcelona are resigned to letting the 27-year-old leave on loan.

According to L’Equipe, Arsenal will take Coutinho on loan for the season with an option to make the switch permanent next summer.

Bruno Fernandes to Manchester United or Tottenham Hotspur 

Deals involving Manchester United are never anything other than sagas – and their pursuit of Sporting’s Fernandes is no different.

It appeared the 24-year-old was bound for Old Trafford last week when Portuguese journalist Gonçalo Lopes reported an agreement between club and player had been struck.

Now, though, Tottenham have thrown a spanner in the works. According to Lopes once more, the North Londoners have settled upon terms with the Portuguese international who scored 32 goals in all competitions last season.

However, Fernandes remains a Sporting player and bid an emotional farewell in his side’s 5-0 Super Cup loss to Benfica on Sunday, apologising for the embarrassing manner of the defeat.

Spurs still have to sort a fee with Sporting while Nicolo Shira claims United have agreed a six-year-deal worth £106,000 per week.

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