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20 June 2023

Round up of latest breaking football stories

20 June 2023

Ruben Neves is nearing a move to Saudi Pro League club Al Hilal after talks with Barcelona fell through. The Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder had expressed his desire to play Champions League football. However, instead of joining a European club, Neves is on the brink of a £47million transfer to Al Hilal. The 26-year-old, who has one year remaining on his contract, had been linked with Newcastle United and Manchester United. Neves follows in the footsteps of international teammate Cristiano Ronaldo, who also made a high-profile transfer to a Public Investment Fund-owned Saudi club.

Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante has reportedly agreed to a four-year, €100m deal with Saudi Arabian club Al Ittihad. Despite Kante's departure, Chelsea are said to be strengthening their squad, having agreed terms with Villarreal's Nicolas Jackson. Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, which also owns an 80% stake in Newcastle United, recently announced majority ownership of four major Saudi Arabian clubs, including Al Ittihad. Chelsea are set to face Liverpool in their Premier League opener on August 13.

Former Newcastle United striker Joselu has made a remarkable return to Real Madrid, as confirmed by president Florentino Perez. Joselu struggled in his time with the Magpies but thrived in Spanish football, scoring 36 goals in two seasons before moving to Espanyol. Despite their relegation, Joselu caught the attention of Real Madrid with his 16 goals, sitting only behind Lewandowski and Benzema in the rankings. With Benzema's departure, Joselu will fill the gap, signing a loan for the 2023-24 season with an option to buy. The unveiling is set for next week as Joselu finishes international duty with Spain.

Liverpool are pursuing their second summer signing, with Ryan Gravenberch reportedly on their radar. Following Alexis Mac Allister's arrival, Jurgen Klopp aims to bolster the midfield as James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Naby Keïta depart. The Reds have reportedly agreed to match Gravenberch's £200,000 weekly wages, despite the 21-year-old's limited playing time at Bayern Munich. Liverpool had initially targeted Jude Bellingham but withdrew interest due to budget constraints. Instead, they secured Mac Allister for £35 million, leaving funds for additional signings.

Newcastle United supporters eagerly await potential transfer news as rumours link the team with famous players. Eddie Howe searches for a central midfielder and full-back but dismisses significant spending prior to Champions League return. Recent gossip involves Kalvin Phillips, Manchester City midfielder, being encouraged by ex-professional Kieran Gibbs to join Newcastle United. Moreover, Newcastle United show interest in West Brom's talented young goalkeeper, Josh Griffiths, who is an England under-21 international.

Liverpool are considering a surprising move for Manchester City's Kyle Walker, as they see the right-back as an ideal complement to Trent Alexander-Arnold. Despite Walker's recent success with City, rumours link him with various clubs, including Liverpool. His contract expires next summer, and although Bayern Munich have shown interest, a new deal with City is reportedly his preferred choice. Signing Walker could allow Alexander-Arnold to thrive in a midfield role, which he demonstrated for England against Malta, while also weakening a rival team.

Newcastle United are eyeing a summer bargain in Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot, whose contract expires in two weeks. Despite interest from other clubs, the Magpies have reportedly made an 'expression of interest' and offered £4.2 million per year in wages, less than his current deal. Rabiot, formerly of Paris Saint-Germain, has been linked to various European sides, but the opportunity to play Champions League football with Eddie Howe's team could be attractive. The 28-year-old French international is highly-rated, with ex-Juve star David Trezeguet describing him as a 'world-class, extraordinary player'.

Despite recent claims that Qatar's Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani was close to finalising a takeover of Manchester United, no official announcement has been made. The prolonged takeover saga is causing frustration among United figures, as it negatively impacts the club's transfer plans. United are keen on signing Mason Mount from Chelsea, and the expected income from player sales could lead to a lower fee. Additionally, the search for a new striker is ongoing, but the Glazers' hesitance to sell the club is hindering the financial boost needed for summer signings.

Andros Townsend has shared his thoughts on the changes to Everton's board of directors, following the departure of key members last week. Although fans' protests demanded major changes, Townsend said they did not impact the players, as they took place before and after matches. He praised Denise Barrett-Baxendale and Bill Kenwright for their dedication to the club and expressed hope that Kenwright will receive credit from the fans once the situation settles. Despite Everton's financial losses and fighting relegation, Townsend's injury has prevented him from contributing to the club's performance.

Everton are eyeing a move for Leeds United winger Jack Harrison, whose release clause is set at £16m. Harrison has consistently performed well for Leeds, averaging seven goals a season across three seasons in the Premier League. Financial constraints at Everton make the 26-year-old's availability an attractive prospect. Leeds' recent relegation could prompt the club to offload key players, including Harrison. A versatile player with strong defensive attributes, Harrison appears to be the type of signing Everton need to bolster their attacking options and improve their goal-scoring record.

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