Chelsea turn to Bayer Leverkusen defender Tapsoba after Fofana bids rejected
Chelsea turn to Bayer Leverkusen defender Tapsoba after Fofana bids rejected

The summer transfer window is racing toward the Sept. 1 deadline, and there's plenty of gossip swirling about who's moving where. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz on rumours, comings, goings and, of course, done deals!

TOP STORY: Chelsea turn to Tapsoba after Fofana bids rejected

Chelsea are looking for a new centre-back and have turned their attention to Bayer Leverkusen's Edmond Tapsoba, says Sky Germany.

Tapsoba, 23, joined Bayer Leverkusen back in 2019 and the Burkina Faso has impressed in the Bundesliga, attracting interest from some of Europe's top clubs.

Chelsea's first choice is Leicester City defender Wesley Fofana but their third bid of £70m was declined and sources have told ESPN that an offer in excess of £80m is needed.

The Blues have already signed Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli for £34m, to replace Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen who left on free transfers for Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively. Chelsea youngster Trevoh Chalobah is also set to move out on loan in order to get regular game-time, with RB Leipzig, Spurs, Roma and Inter Milan keen.

Tapsoba still has another four years left on his contract, but would come a lot cheaper than Fofana and Chelsea might now be forced to look at other options.

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11.31 BST: Manchester United are focused on signing Antony from Ajax before the transfer window closes but remain interested in bringing in a goalkeeper and a right-back ahead of the deadline, sources have told ESPN.

Ajax have been informed that United have not ended their pursuit of Antony despite seeing an €80m bid rejected.

The Dutch side have made it clear they are under no pressure to let him go after raising around €130m already this summer, but sources have told ESPN they have communicated to United they will consider offers of around €100m for the Brazilian winger because of his desire to move to Old Trafford.

Sources have told ESPN that signing a forward is Erik ten Hag's priority before next week's deadline and that if a fee for Antony cannot be agreed, they will step up interest in Cody Gakpo, Christian Pulisic and Marcus Thuram.

PSV Eindhoven asked that any talks over Gakpo were delayed until after their Champions League qualifier with Rangers on Wednesday, while there has been no encouragement from Chelsea that they would be willing to let Pulisic join a Premier League rival.

United are also still in the hunt for a back-up goalkeeper after interest in Borussia Monchengladbach's Yann Sommer and Eintracht Frankfurt's Kevin Trapp came to nothing. Low-cost options including Martin Dubravka at Newcastle and Tim Krul at Norwich are being considered.

Ten Hag is also keen to secure a right-back to compete with Diogo Dalot -- particularly if Crystal Palace firm up interest in Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

10.42 BST: Barcelona have agreed to loan defender Samuel Umtiti to Lecce for the remainder of the season, the club announced on Thursday.

The Serie A club secured the arrival of the experienced centre-back, which does not include an option to keep Umtiti permanently at the end of the season.

Barcelona are desperate to lower their wage bill in order to register defender Jules Kounde, who joined the club earlier this month from Sevilla.

However, Umtiti's move to Italy is unlikely to help Barcelona in that respect with the LaLiga giants reportedly set to pay his wages in full.

Lecce will reportedly pay a fee to Barcelona that will vary depending on the number of performances Umtiti makes this season.

10.28 BST: Celta Vigo midfielder Denis Suarez has revealed he is only allowed to train with the team when the fans show up at training.

The LaLiga club are keen to offload Suarez in this transfer window. According to club executives, the player has turned down all offers presented to him this summer which Suarez claims he has never received.

Suarez, who is one of the highest-paid players at Celta and is under contract until June 2024, has been training separately from the rest of the squad

He posted photographs on social media in which he is seen training with the other players, along with a message directed at the fans that said: "I wish you were every day at the training ground. When you show up it's the only day that I'm allowed to train with the team all the time.....coincidences of life."

09.53 BST: Leicester City are continuing to demand a world-record fee for Wesley Fofana as the defender trains away from the first-team squad amid Chelsea's ongoing interest, sources have told ESPN's James Olley.

Chelsea have made three offers for Fofana, the third of which was worth £70m and was instantly rejected by Leicester on Tuesday.

Leicester value the 21-year-old at the same level as Harry Maguire, who left the club in 2019 to join Manchester United for £80m -- a figure which still stands as the highest-ever paid for a defender.

Fofana was left out of Leicester's 2-1 home defeat to Southampton last weekend with manager Brendan Rodgers admitting the Frenchman was not in the right state of mind to play.

He is now training with the club's Under-23s and Rodgers said he is seeking a quick resolution to the situation after weeks of speculation.

"Of course if it happens, the sooner the better, because it might allow us to do some work [in the transfer market]," he said. Chelsea are now weighing up whether to improve their overall offer or modify the terms so a greater chunk of the proposed £70m is paid up front rather than in add-ons.

Fofana is Thomas Tuchel's top defensive target and sources have told ESPN he is keen to make a fourth offer before next Thursday's transfer deadline.

- Players to watch in the final week of the transfer window

09.16 BST: Mariano Diaz has accepted that he should leave Real Madrid this summer, Diario AS reports, but there's a difference of opinion with the club over how to make that happen -- with the player wanting to leave for free, and Madrid expecting a transfer fee.

Mariano, 29, has barely featured for Madrid since rejoining from Lyon in 2018, making eleven LaLiga starts in four years.

The forward turned down moves to Benfica and Rayo Vallecano in recent summers, while his annual salary of around €10m before tax has also been a major obstacle.

According to AS, Mariano would prefer to stay in LaLiga, but the finances make that difficult -- although a deal similar to the one that saw Luka Jovic join Fiorentina for free, with Madrid entitled to a percentage of a future sale, could be considered.

08.39 BST: Arsenal winger Nicolas Pepe is set to join Nice on a season-long loan, sources have told ESPN's James Olley.

The 27-year-old is expected to travel to France to undergo a medical after the two clubs agreed a deal, which does not include an obligation or option to make the transfer permanent.

Pepe's departure is a reflection of his minimal impact since making a club-record £72m move from Lille in 2019.

The winger has scored 27 goals in 112 appearances but started just five games last season as manager Mikel Arteta preferred Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe among others in Arsenal's wide positions.

Pepe has two years remaining on his current contract and his situation will be reviewed next summer.

08.00 BST: Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola continues to leave the door open for Bernardo Silva to join Barcelona despite the remote chances of a move to Camp Nou materialising for the midfielder this month.

Guardiola mischievously quipped that Silva is fond of Barcelona and said that while he wants him to stay he does not want unhappy players at City.

"I'm no one to tell Barca to forget about [signing] Bernardo," Guardiola said in a news conference after City drew 3-3 with Barca at Camp Nou in a friendly on Wednesday. "We want him to stay with us, but I don't want anyone who's not happy. The first thing would be for the clubs to come to an agreement, but there has been no offer for him in these last two years.

"I don't want him to go, he's a superlative player and a great person... and there are only seven or eight days left [in the window] and we would have to turn to the transfer market. I want him to stay. That said, it is true Bernardo likes Barcelona a lot."

Seated alongside Guardiola, Barca coach Xavi Hernandez was asked if he would like to sign Silva.

"Who doesn't like Bernardo Silva?" he replied. "And [Kevin] De Bruyne, [Erling] Haaland, what a team... but [Bernardo] is a very important player for City, someone who makes the difference. I love how he plays because there are very players like him, but [a move] depends on City."

- Why were Barca, Man City playing a friendly three weeks into the season?

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Gab Marcotti and Rob Dawson update on Cristiano Ronaldo's future after he was left on the bench for Man United's win vs. Liverpool.

PAPER GOSSIP (by Adam Brown)

- Manchester United are getting closer to signing one of their top targets this summer, with the Premier League club closing in on Ajax star Antony, according to The Athletic. The 22-year-old winger's agents are in London and looking to secure their client a move to Old Trafford, with the latest suggesting that both clubs are discussing a €94m deal. Sources previously told ESPN that Ajax were only considering a financial package worth closer to €100m following an initial €80m bid from United. Sources also added that United had not given up on signing the Brazilian, partly because he has made it known to Ajax he wants to move to Old Trafford. It is reported that Manchester United have since cooled their interest in their alternative option in PSV Eindhoven's Cody Gakpo amid their optimism of signing Antony.

- Talks between Manchester United and Newcastle United are ongoing over a deal for goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, reports Sky Sports. The Red Devils are keen to add competition for David de Gea this season, and after the Magpies acquired Nick Pope, they could be prepared to part ways with the 33-year-old Slovakia international.

- Newcastle have identified Conor Gallagher as a key loan target before the transfer window closes, according to the Telegraph. With sources telling ESPN that Newcastle will sign Real Sociedad striker Alexander Isak for €70m, Eddie Howe's side will turn now attention to the 22-year-old Chelsea midfielder. Gallagher impressed while on loan at Crystal Palace last season with eight goals and three assists in 34 Premier League appearances.

- The race for Ainsley Maitland-Niles is heating up with Southampton now keen to sign the Arsenal man, according to Fabrizio Romano. The Saints are interested in landing the 24-year-old defender on a loan deal that includes an option to make the move permanent, and the Gunners are looking to offload him this summer. Maitland-Niles has also been on the radar of West Ham United who could be set to contest for his signature.

- Mauro Icardi is in talks with Galatasaray as the Paris Saint-Germain striker looks to gain regular minutes, reports Foot Mercato. The Argentina international would join the Turkish side on a loan deal that includes a permanent option.

- Atletico Madrid have no plans to move on Renan Lodi, reveals Fabrizio Romano. The left-back was on the radar of Manchester City this summer, and after Nottingham Forest made an enquiry to Diego Simeone's side, it looks as though they have once again waved away the interest from the Premier League. Lodi, 24, made 29 appearances in LaLiga last season.



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