The biggest deal of the transfer window is finally done with Lionel Messi officially becoming a PSG player. This transfer window has had plenty of big money deals. From Jadon Sancho's move to Manchester United to Jack Grealish signing for Manchester City, clubs have not been afraid to splash the clash.
With Romelu Lukaku set to be unveiled at Chelsea soon, all the attention now turns towards the likes of Harry Kane and Manuel Locatelli. Details about Lionel Messi's move to PSG, Harry Kane's future and Chelsea's transfer plans all come under the scanner in this week's column.
Nasser Al-Khelaifi and Neymar played a key role in Lionel Messi's transfer to PSG
The deal that brought Lionel Messi to Paris Saint-Germain was by far the most surprising of the year. His contract renewal with Barcelona was all but done. An agreement was reached until June 2026 and there was a promise between Lionel Messi and Barcelona that they will move forward together.
Even the salary had been fixed, there were no obstacles, but it was La Liga with its rules that blocked everything. Lionel Messi was in Barcelona to sign with his father Jorge. There was no war with the club but a lot of disappointment because he was convinced he was signing that contract.
It was a surprising ending, because Barçelona were convinced that they had found the solution with a contract longer than expected to spread Messi's salary over several seasons, but no green light arrived from La Liga. This sensational twist brought Leo Messi to Paris Saint-Germain. It would have been an absolute surprise until a week ago but it became reality in just a few days.
It was another affair full of work behind the scenes. The phone call from Leonardo, PSG's sporting director, to Messi's family arrived a few hours after the official statement from Barçelona announcing his farewell was released. Paris Saint-Germain also involved President Nasser Al-Khelaifi in the negotiations, a very rare event that had only happened with Neymar in the past.
Al-Khelaifi helped convince Leo Messi and Neymar himself had a fundamental and decisive role. Neymar, who is a great friend of the Argentine, called Lionel Messi and wrote several messages to him before he announced to his teammates as early as last Friday that Messi would become a new signing at PSG. So in the dressing room the celebration of Lionel Messi's arrival started well in advance.
The contract arrived from Paris to Messi's family on Sunday, before his press conference at the Camp Nou. Jorge Messi, together with the lawyers analyzed PSG's proposal. The agreement became a reality on Tuesday morning when Messi officially accepted the Paris bid.
The contract is valid until June 30, 2023 with an option to extend until 2024. Messi will receive €25 million per year guaranteed plus €10 million add ons in the event that certain personal and team goals are achieved.
There is also a special bonus included in the event that Paris Saint-Germain wins the Champions League in the next few years with Messi in the squad (the same bonus has also been included in Neymar's recently renewed contract).
Romelu Lukaku set to be announced as new Chelsea signing
The next big international deal that will end is the one that will bring Romelu Lukaku to Chelsea. The Belgian arrived in London yesterday to complete his medical examinations and sign his contract with Chelsea. Inter have already signed their part of the paperwork for the sale of Lukaku. Chelsea will pay €115 million for Lukaku. It is a surprise return to Stamford Bridge with Lukaku earning €12 million net a year as salary plus add-ons.
There is no doubt Lukaku will play for Chelsea. The Blues understood how it was virtually impossible to buy Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund this summer. Chelsea never made an official offer, but they knew well that Borussia Dortmund were asking for at least €175 million to start negotiations. The figure was deemed too high, and so Chelsea decided to go after Lukaku.
For their defense, their main target remains Jules Koundé of Sevilla. There is still no agreement on the value of Kurt Zouma, who could be a part of the deal. Chelsea want to try for Koundé as the Frenchman is Thomas Tuchel's defensive priority at Chelsea.
AS Roma pushing hard to sign Chelsea's Tammy Abraham; Arsenal interested
It will be a decisive Thursday in the negotiations between AS Roma and Tammy Abraham. Tiago Pinto, the general manager of Roma, flew to London on Wednesday morning, but it was an interlocutory day given Chelsea's commitment to the European Super Cup.
Today, however, two meetings are scheduled to try to close the deal. The Portuguese manager will meet Abraham and his agents, and he will then meet with Marina Granovskaia, the managing director of Chelsea. Roma have an agreement with Chelsea ready on the basis of a loan with an obligation to buy (approximately €40 million).
The last piece concerns Tammy Abraham's personal choice given the interest of Arsenal, who are thinking of Tammy Abraham as a strong possibility to lead their attack. If Abraham were to choose the Gunners, then Roma would turn to another attacker.
Juventus edging closer towards signing Manuel Locatelli
In Italy, Juventus are preparing a new offer for Manuel Locatelli. There is a day circled in red in the calendar and it is Friday, 13th August. On that day, in fact, there will be a fourth meeting between Juventus and Sassuolo to talk about the Italy midfielder. A face to face that will take place in Turin.
Arsenal are no longer in the race and Juventus hope that this can be a decisive meeting. They are hoping for a definitive turning point in the negotiations to purchase Manuel Locatelli who is valued at €40 million.
In the previous meetings that took place between Juventus and Sassuolo, no middle point was found between the offer made by the Bianconeri and the request from Sassuolo. Locatelli, however, has long taken a clear position: he wants Juventus. This is why Juve will reformulate the offer to be presented to Sassuolo with some improvements, hoping that Sassuolo will accept it.
Manchester City still interested in signing Harry Kane
The next few days will give a conclusive answer to the rumors relating to Harry Kane's future with Tottenham. The player will meet Nuno Espirito Santo, the new director of football Fabio Paratici and also the president Daniel Levy for a final decision after many days of tension. Manchester City continue to remain hopeful. Guardiola's dream after Grealish this transfer window is Harry Kane.
But Tottenham have not given the green light to his departure so far and are waiting to speak with Kane about a final decision. Up until now, Spurs have always declared Kane untouchable and non-transferable. Will the scenario change? Guardiola is waiting and Manchester City have chosen to wait patiently.
Inter Milan seal deal for Denzel Dumfries
Inter Milan, after closing the deal for Edin Dzeko, are working to provide manager Simone Inzaghi with a new right-sided player to replace Achraf Hakimi. The Nerazzurri have taken a step forward in signing Denzel Dumfries, who has always been a prime target for that role. They have offered 12 million euros to PSV Eindhoven. The request from the Dutch club, however, is 14 million. There is a difference of two million. A gap that the clubs have filled by negotiating to reach a final agreement.
The other name that Inter were considering for the role of a right sided player is Nahitan Nandez. The Uruguayan has publicly taken a clear position, asking Cagliari to let him go. Inter, however, will be going ahead with Dumfries.