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Fabrizio Romano's Transfer Roundup: Arsenal's plans for midfield, Update on Barcelona's plans for Griezmann and more

Arsenal and Barcelona have an interesting few days coming up in the transfer market
Arsenal and Barcelona have an interesting few days coming up in the transfer market
EXPERT COLUMNIST

London clubs Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea have all been active in the transfer market while Barcelona have been working hard to announce Lionel Messi's new contract soon.

There has been a lot of transfer activity in the last week. Arsenal's plans for Lokonga, Xhaka and Locatelli, Barcelona's potential swap deal involving Antoine Griezmann and Saul Niguez, Manchester United's pursuit of Varane, Tottenham's transfer plans and Jorginho's future at Chelsea all come under the scanner this week.


Arsenal's deal for Lokonga could help Roma sign Granit Xhaka

Hibernian v Arsenal - Pre-Season Friendly
Hibernian v Arsenal - Pre-Season Friendly

Attention turns towards Arsenal's midfield. There is a market interlocking that could also closely concern Roma, or at least so the Giallorossi club hopes. Arsenal, in fact, have formalized the purchase from Anderlecht of Albert Sambi Lokonga, a midfielder born in 1999, who has signed a long-term contract with the Gunners (he will wear the number 23 shirt).

Lokonga is a new reinforcement in midfield that could facilitate the transfer of Granit Xhaka to Roma. Roma have had an agreement on personal terms with Xhaka for months and, with Arsenal having in fact bought Xhaka's replacement, there is optimism in Roma's camp to reach an agreement with Arsenal soon. Roma are also hopeful because the player has repeatedly expressed his desire to move to Italy and to be coached by José Mourinho.

Negotiations between Rome and Arsenal have been going on for some time now. The Giallorossi - after the rejection of their 15 million euro proposal - had decided to adopt a waiting strategy. A situation that now, with the arrival of Lokonga at Arsenal, could see some progress. Roma are waiting for the final go-ahead from Arsenal to then celebrate the purchase of Granit Xhaka.


No progress for Arsenal on Manuel Locatelli transfer; Juventus working hard to sign Euro 2020 star

Italy v England - UEFA Euro 2020: Final
Italy v England - UEFA Euro 2020: Final

There is still no step forward on the Manuel Locatelli front for Arsenal in these last few hours. Locatelli is the number one target for Massimiliano Allegri's Juventus midfield. However, the meeting between Juventus and Sassuolo last week for the midfielder did not allow Juventus to make progress in negotiations to buy the player. The first offer presented by the Juventus club is in fact still far from Sassuolo's requests.

The proposal put forward by Juventus is a two-year loan with an obligation to buy clause linked to certain conditions - such as, for example, qualification for the Champions League - for an amount that between the fixed part and the bonus would currently reach 30 million euros. Sassuolo remains firm on the fixed request of 40 million euros.

Between formula and figure, therefore, the proposal of the Bianconeri has not convinced the Sassuolo management, who have refused to authorize the sale of Locatelli at the moment. In any case, the two clubs will stay in touch and update each other. It will now be up to Juventus to decide whether to increase their offer in the coming days and get closer to Sassuolo's requests. Locatelli's desired destination is Juventus.


Tottenham acting decisively in the transfer market

Bryan Gil in action: Spain v Portugal - 2021 UEFA European Under-21 Championship Semi-finals
Bryan Gil in action: Spain v Portugal - 2021 UEFA European Under-21 Championship Semi-finals

It is a very intense week for the transfer market and it has been full of news, especially for Tottenham. The new director of football, Fabio Paratici, has been very active. The first purchase will conclude in the next few hours. Goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini will arrive from Atalanta as a resource for the present and also as a future heir to Hugo Lloris.

The deal has been defined in recent hours with his agent Giuseppe Riso. Gollini will move to Tottenham on loan with a €15 million buy option. The buy option could become an obligation to buy clause - therefore formally a permanent deal - in the event that Gollini plays a predetermined number of games with Spurs.

It does not end there because the other important deal for Tottenham is the exchange with Sevilla which is in its final stages. Erik Lamela will move to Sevilla on a permanent deal which will involve a swap deal for the talented Bryan Gil.

Gil is one of the most promising young players in Spanish football and is already part of the Under-21 team. Gil will sign with Tottenham for 5 years. Lamela said yes to Sevilla, who have followed him for some time. There will also be a €25 million fee in addition to Erik Lamela for the swap deal involving Bryan Gil. The deal is now at the stage of completion.


Barcelona and Atletico Madrid yet to reach an agreement for Antoine Griezmann - Saul Niguez swap deal

FC Barcelona v Atletico de Madrid - La Liga Santander
FC Barcelona v Atletico de Madrid - La Liga Santander

There is still no agreement between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid for the exchange between Saul and Antoine Griezmann. The situation remains blocked because the two players initially gave the green light to the transfer, but they do not want to give up any part of their respective salaries. This is as true for Saul as it is for Griezmann, both of whom are very clear.

Furthermore, Barçelona want a payment of an economic sum in addition to the exchange between the two players in order to conclude the deal. Talks continue but there is still no agreement between the two clubs.

Saul has several suitors in the Premier League, with three English clubs having enquired knowing that Atletico Madrid are ready to sell him in this transfer window. Saul will discuss it with his agents. Certainly Atletico Madrid are ready to give the green light for an appropriate proposal. They are also waiting to understand what will happen with Barcelona.

Whatever happens on the Antoine Griezmann front, there is no need to worry about the future of Lionel Messi. The Argentine has an agreement ready with Barçelona for the renewal of his contract for the next 5 years. The economic question for Barcelona must be resolved, then the announcements will arrive. There are no doubts from Barçelona that he will play in Blaugrana colors next season. It is only a matter of time, regardless of how the Griezmann-Saul affair with Atletico Madrid ends.

Leo Messi has made the decision on his future. Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City are also aware of this and so far have not taken any official steps to sign Lionel Messi. It will not happen now, given that Messi will remain at Barçelona.


Manchester United and Real Madrid set to discuss Raphael Varane transfer

Club Atletico de Madrid v Real Madrid CF - La Liga
Club Atletico de Madrid v Real Madrid CF - La Liga

Regarding Manchester United, it is good to clarify that there are no problems with respect to Jadon Sancho. The deal with Borussia Dortmund has been signed and the player has also signed his contract until 2026 with an option for a further year. Soon there will be an official announcement from Manchester United. Sancho will play at Man United and there is no doubt about that.

Direct dialog with Real Madrid about Raphael Varane also continues. The defender wants Manchester United but will be respectful of Real Madrid and will not break the relationship with his current club. Varane is waiting for the two clubs to find an agreement, and we are not there yet.

Manchester United are preparing an official offer to be presented soon. Real Madrid will also clarify their assessment for the French defender, whose contract is due to expire in June 2022. So far, Varane has not responded to Real Madrid's contract extension offer and his priority is a new experience. Varane is hoping for an opportunity in the Premier League. Raphael Varane would also be happy to accept the contract proposal formulated by Manchester United until 2026.


Chelsea looking to reward Jorginho and N'Golo Kante with new contracts

Chelsea v Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: Leg Two
Chelsea v Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: Leg Two

Remaining in the Premier League, Chelsea are planning a contract renewal for Euro 2020 champion Jorginho. The current agreement is valid until 30 June 2023 and Jorginho is now open to dialog with the Blues to extend the agreement. There is still nothing signed or forthcoming, but talks have begun to find the right path to keep Jorginho at the heart of Chelsea's future. Marina Granovskaia's agenda also includes the name of N'Golo Kanté among the players who will be awarded in the coming months with a new contract.

It is just a matter of time and then the club will get to the signatures when all the details are settled down. A year ago Kanté received two proposals, but he has always remained faithful and convinced of the Chelsea project. The club is ready to show him its gratitude with a new contract. Kanté has been a fundamental player for Thomas Tuchel and also played a major role in Chelsea's Champions League triumph.


Also read: David James' column - 5 best goalkeepers in the world right now

Edited by Ashwin
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