Who do you fancy for the old Ligue 1 title this season then? Marseille have made some good signings, and Nice are looking strong, and can Monaco repeat their swashbuckling heroics from last season or do you think the near-total obliteration of their squad in one of the most expensively brutal mass sell-offs in football history might count against them a little bit?
Yeah, maybe it might a bit. Then there’s Paris Saint-Germain. The Sunday Times reports that the Qatari-backed club have genuinely, actually won the race to sign their rivals’ star man Kylian Mbappe, and he is set to cost them “even more than Neymar”.
The 18-year-old is set to move up north (in France) for “an initial £173m”, but the broadsheet adds that a series of performance-related bonuses will push the overall fee above £200m, “according to sources familiar with the negotiations”.
So maybe PSG will win the Ligue 1 title this year then? In fact, if they won’t win it then something would have done seriously wrong. Or maybe something already has gone seriously wrong.
Meanwhile, Barcelona have finally spent some of their £200m Neymar money. They’ve bought Paulinho, the former Tottenham midfielder. No, really. It’s not a joke. The Mail on Sunday reports that the Catalan giants have paid Guangzhou Evergrande £36.5m for the Brazilian in what may be one of the only times in history that a Chinese Super League side has made a profit on an overseas player.
Hazard or Coutinho to Barcelona?
That signing probably won’t be enough to satisfy the Nou Camp fans though, so they are also trying to buy Eden Hazard. The Daily Star Sunday says Chelsea would be “willing” to sell the Belgian to Barca for £109m, or could also be tempted into a part-exchange deal if they throw defender Sergio Roberto into the deal.
Antonio Conte was obviously so impressed with the Blues’ display against Burnley in the opening game of the Premier League season that he doesn’t feel he needs Hazard anymore.
Ernesto Valverde’s side are also set to return with an offer “in excess of £100m” for Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho, says the Sunday Express. But you’d already guessed that, right?
The Reds are still insisting that their Brazilian playmaker is definitely not for sale, but just in case it turns out he is for sale, the Sunday People says they have lined up Napoli’s Lorenzo Insigne as a replacement. The 26-year-old Italian is rated at around £60m, so in this transfer window he will probably cost around £95m.
Ozil makes Arsenal wait
Meanwhile, Mesut Ozil is offended that Barcelona have tried to sign everyone except him. The Daily Star Sunday says Arsenal’s German playmaker is refusing to sign a new contract at the Emirates because he is waiting for Barca to come in for him. Could be a long wait.
Almost as long as the wait for Tottenham to spend some money this summer. But it seems they finally will. The Sun on Sunday says Spurs are “closing in on a £50m double raid” for Celta Vigo midfielder Pape Cheikh Diop, 20, and Ajax defender Davinson Sanchez, 21, while the Sunday Telegraph tips them to tie up a deal for Everton’s Ross Barkley before the month is out.
READ MORE: Inter dampen Man United’s Perisic hopes
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Perisic to Man United?
Elsewhere, Manchester United are “close” to matching Inter Milan’s £48m asking price for Croatian winger Ivan Perisic (Sunday Mirror), Everton want to add former Blackburn striker Nikola Kalinic to their imminent purchase of Swansea’s Gylfi Sigurdsson (Sunday Express) and Chelsea are concerned that wantaway striker Diego Costa has put on so much weight over the summer that he will be difficult to shift (Sunday Times). Literally.