In the northern hemisphere, the winds of change are starting to blow cold. Leaves are turning and falling to the ground. A bit of morning frost may greet you on your way out. It gets darker earlier and you give yourself a little hug because winter is coming. Transfer rumors are coming.
As usual, Chelsea are very near the epicenter of all Silly Season nonsense, so let’s get a taste of what the tabloids and other click-hungry sources are talking about.
Barcelona were never prepared to lose Neymar, much less to Paris Saint-Germain via the world record €222 million release clause, and in the wake of that happening last summer, they panicked into spending it all (and then some) on Ousmane Dembélé and Philippe Coutinho. But while the latter has done well enough, young Ousmane has been a bit of a disappointment.
There were hopes that Dembélé’s amazing progress at Borussia Dortmund would continue even more amazingly further up the football ladder. But it did not. One could even go as far as to say that it has stalled, with the aforementioned Coutinho as well as young Malcom arriving since Barca spent a king’s ransom on the 21-year-old.
So perhaps it’s not too surprising that according to Catalan radio RAC1 (via Sport), Barça are already considering their options on Dembélé. The French international and World Cup winner has had some “attitude” issues in recent times as well, including delays to get back out of the dressing room after half-time and arriving late to training sessions.
Barcelona are now prospecting the market for potential buyers in the upcoming transfer window(s). And that is where Chelsea enter the scene, at least as far as the Daily Mail are concerned. Of course, we’re not alone; Arsenal and Liverpool are also in the mix. There are only a handful of teams who could even begin to think about spending the amount of investment Barça would most likely seek to recover on young Dembélé.
Tanguy Ndombélé is slowly becoming the revelation that football hipsters have been predicting for the past couple years — just the next supreme talent out of the country that seemingly doesn’t tire of producing them — having spent the past season and change at Olympique Lyonnais, first on loan, then on a permanent basis with Lyon exercising their bargain buy-option of just €8m on the 21-year-old midfielder.
As a box-to-box powerhouse, several teams in the Premier League and beyond are now keen (or certainly should be keen) on his talents. According to the Mirror, Chelsea and Manchester United have just joined the list, which already had Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur on it.
We could give Mirror a bit of traction, if it wasn’t for the starting price tag they claim: a “meagre” £55m.
In this market? Good luck convincing Jean-Michel Aulas of that!
Continuing our theme of ‘bélés, here comes former Liverpool reject Suso, who has found his feet finally at AC Milan over the last couple seasons. The 24-year-old right winger signed a new long-term contract last fall, but that hasn’t kept his name out of the backpages, with a price tag of £38m attached to it.
Saving the most realistic for the last, as the 24-year-old center back has started just two games all season for Juventus after a summer spent rejecting Chelsea’s advances. He had been hoping to win his place at the Old Lady, but instead it’s been the usual suspects like Chiellini and Bonucci who have been getting all the minutes. And so Rugani has gone from contract renewal rumors to exit rumors, such as this one from Italian TV station RAI Sport last week (via Calciomercato), which puts the exit for next summer rather than January, which is probably reasonable. Considering Sarri’s previous relationship with Rugani (at Empoli), this one will surely circle back around a few more times.
And now back to the football.