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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Five summer sagas still to be resolved before the summer transfer window closes

The 2022 summer transfer window has been a busy one, but there is still time for more business to be done. Numerous clubs in the Premier League and across Europe are hoping to make some final additions to their squad before the window closes at the end of the month. 

Some transfers will happen quickly, but others have dragged on for weeks. These sagas have been a staple of the soccer gossip column all summer and they will reach a conclusion, one way or another, before the end of the transfer window. Here are five such sagas.

Frenkie de Jong

Manchester United’s entire summer transfer strategy has revolved around their pursuit of Frenkie de Jong. Erik ten Hag quickly identified the Barcelona midfielder as the perfect figure to kick-start his reconstruction of the United squad, but has been frustrated in his efforts to lure de Jong to Old Trafford.

Despite Barca’s eagerness to sell, De Jong has so far been unwilling to entertain an exit from the Camp Nou with the midfielder still owed around €17m in wages by the La Liga club. Chelsea have recently entered the picture, but de Jong’s future is intertwined through Barcelona’s internal politics. 

Wesley Fofana

The departure of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen meant Thomas Tuchel faced a rebuild of his Chelsea defence this summer. The addition of Kalidou Koulibaly and Marc Cucurella has gone some to replenishing the Blues’ backline, but there is still room for one more central defender.

Wesley Fofana is believed to be Chelsea’s primary target for the final two weeks of the transfer window. Leicester City have so far resisted Chelsea’s overtures, but the Stamford Bridge club are reportedly prepared to pay up to £85m to land the French defender. Fofana would be a statement signing as Chelsea enter a new era under Todd Boehly.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo wants to leave Manchester United, but his exit would leave the Old Trafford club decidedly short of options in attack. For this reason, United are reluctant to sell. On top of this, there isn’t the interest in Ronaldo that the Portuguese forward might have anticipated. The 37-year-old’s options are limited.

Atletico Madrid have been mentioned as suitors, but Ronaldo’s status as a Real Madrid legend would make this a complicated transfer. Chelsea were interested before Tuchel vetoed the move. A return to Sporting CP could work for all parties, with the Portuguese side in the Champions League this season, but the finances might not be in place.

Bernardo Silva

No club has spent more money in this summer’s transfer window than Barcelona, and they might still make one more statement signing. Xavi Hernandez has reportedly asked for Bernardo Silva to be delivered to the Camp Nou, but recent reports state Manchester City want as much as €100m for the Portuguese.

Last season was Silva’s best as a City player. He would be a significant loss for the Premier League champions, but the 28-year-old might desire a new challenge and Barcelona could offer him that. It’s not immediately clear how Barca could pay such a hefty fee in their current financial condition, but similar questions were asked before they signed Robert Lewandowski, Jules Kounde and Raphinha.

Youri Tielemens

Many expected Youri Tielemens to leave Leicester City this summer, but the Belgian midfielder is still at the King Power Stadium with the transfer window set to close soon. Arsenal reportedly planned a move before targeting Fabio Vieira. It’s possible the Gunners could still sanction the signing of Tielemens.

Manchester United are also in the market for at least one new central midfielder and Tielemens would tick a lot of boxes. If, however, Leicester City sell Fofana, it’s unlikely they would also allow Tielemens to depart in the same transfer window. The Belgian might have to force his way out of the King Power Stadium. 

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