It’s easy to get sniffy about transfer deadline day and its yellow-tie, purple-dildo, day-off-work oddness, people acting like there’s football going on when there isn’t. But one way or another, we’re guaranteed an assortment of grown adults making royal shows of themselves and there’s nothing more football than that, so off we go.
Chelsea have been looking a bit ropey recently – which is strange when you consider their director of football is such a natural, he knew to appoint himself despite having no experience whatsoever in the game or the job. As such, there’s absolutely no chance anyone has taken massive advantage, no club, player or agent demanding fees well over the usual, but now PSG fancy having a go, offering him Neymar. Amazingly, it seems that a club whose funding relies on a nation-state can’t simply buy Vitinha, Nuno Mendes, Fabián Ruiz, Renato Sanches, Nordi Mukiele and Hugo Ekitiké in a single summer without bothering financial fair play rules. It’s an outrage!
Nevertheless, other reports suggest Paris have already withdrawn the offer. Luckily for Chelsea, though, Todd has other ideas, having offered Barcelona more cash for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. This would be not unamusing, given that not that long ago, Arsenal paid him a fortune to just go away, and the deal looks likely to happen – the player is, presumably, eager to join an illustrious line of centre-forwards that also featured Mateja Kezman, Andriy Shevchenko, Fernando Torres, Radamel Falcao, Álvaro Morata, Gonzalo Higuaín and Romelu Lukaku. In case that deal falls through, Chelsea are also paying attention to Milan’s Rafael Leão – though even Todd might be put off by a £126m price tag.
Nor is that all. Though he has already added Kalidou Koulibaly and Wesley Fofana – plus Marc Cucurella – to a centre-back pool that also includes Trevoh Chalobah and Thiago Silva, plus Reece James and César Azpilicueta, Todd has got the taste. So he’s offered Leipzig £77.7m for Josko Gvardiol, the plan that he’ll stay in Germany for another season, on loan, before coming to London.
Chelsea are also making adjustments in midfield. Brighton would like to relieve them of Everton’s Billy Gilmour, who they plan to replace with Edson Álvarez. Ajax do not want to sell, which makes sense as the Eredivisie does not yet have a five-a-side league, but the player wants to leave and a bid in the region of £50m may leave them with little choice. Again though, Todd has a contingency, with Arsen Zakharyan of Dinamo Moscow on the radar – the fee for him would be £12.6m.
Across London, Arsenal would also like a midfielder. They’ve offered £20m for Danilo of Palmeiras, who is, presumably, seduced by the prospect of being Mohamed Elneny’s understudy. But the Brazilian club, challenging for league and Copa Libertadores, have demanded more money, so Mikel Arteta is also looking up at Mykhalo Mudryk of Shakhtar Donetsk – who Brentford also fancy, if they can stretch to what would be a club-record fee of £25m.
Elneny’s injury has, it seems, put the kibosh on Arsenal’s interest in Youri Tielemans. But a much-coveted route out of Leicester might yet present itself, with Newcastle apparently keen to bring him in.
Finally, in yet another extremely edifying move, PSV Eindhoven – former champions of Europe and qualifiers for this season’s Europa League – have apparently agreed to sell Cody Gakpo to Southampton, not former champions of Europe and not qualified for this season’s Europa League, the price believed to be £34m. And there’s nothing more football than that, either.