So dawns another day of the transfer window, otherwise known as Saudi roulette. Who’s been offered the Public Investment Fund coin now, you ask? Take your pick from Ilkay Gündogan, Riyad Mahrez, Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang and, well, any Premier League player with a pulse and dwindling time on their contract. Do say: “Wow, what an incredible remuneration package!” Don’t say: “Have you considered the ethical implications of participating in a PR exercise for an extremely repressive regime?”
Elsewhere, with Arsenal feeling bullish about their chances of signing Declan Rice, West Ham are considering possible replacements. Kalvin Phillips has popped up on their transfer radar, bleeping frantically, as have João Palhinha, Scott McTominay, James Ward-Prowse and Harvey Barnes. Having missed out on Phillips last summer despite making a £50m bid, West Ham have a longstanding interest in the Manchester City midfielder. He shouldn’t take much convincing to swap a club with zero European trophies this season – a technicality, admittedly – for the vanquishers of the Europa Conference League.
Barnes is also a target for Newcastle, who are looking to snap up players from relegated sides in an effort to avoid the premium being levied by other clubs on account of their Saudi largesse. They are also keen on James Maddison, his Leicester teammate, and Tyler Adams, who was one of a few bright sparks in a dismal season for Leeds. Tottenham are likely to provide competition for Maddison’s signature, as Ange Postecoglou wants him as part of his summer rebuild. City, meanwhile, have moved closer to signing Mateo Kovacic from Chelsea, though the two clubs are yet to agree a fee.
Elsewhere, Liverpool continue to circle around Manu Koné and Khéphren Thuram. While they have already been bolstered by the arrival of Alexis Mac Allister from Brighton for a relatively sane £35m, Jürgen Klopp is keen to further reinforce his midfield. Koné, 21, has impressed for Borussia Mönchengladbach in recent seasons, while Thuram, 22, has made his mark at Nice. It may be premature to start tracking planes, however, as no concrete bids have been submitted.
As Real Madrid’s interest in Harry Kane rumbles on, reports in Spain suggest Florentino Pérez hopes to convince Daniel Levy to part ways with his talisman for around £68m. Levy isn’t afraid to play hardball, though, and negotiations could be tricky. Is anyone getting a sense of deja vu? What year is this? Who’s the prime minister? Don’t answer that, come to think of it.
Across north London, Arsenal are pursuing another potential new addition in Iván Fresneda. Just relegated with Real Valladolid, the teenage right-back should come at a reasonable fee. Irritatingly for Mikel Arteta, Borussia Dortmund are also on the case and appear to be in a strong position. Then again the same could have been said about the final day of the Bundesliga season, and look how that turned out.