Welcome to Monday’s edition of Fabrizio Romano’s exclusive column for CaughtOffsidewith the latest transfer news and gossip on the big stories of the summer so far, such as Darwin Nunez’s imminent move to Liverpool, the latest on Richarlison’s future, Chelsea’s interest in a potential new signing at right-back, and another possible Newcastle raid on Ligue 1 giants Lyon…
Darwin Nunez Liverpool transfer will be official soon – and here’s why Man Utd backed out of the deal
The official announcement is a matter of days. Darwin Nunez will be in Liverpool with his agents in the next few hours to undergo medical tests and sign the contract until 2028.
The agreement between Liverpool and Benfica was reached on Saturday morning in a meeting in Lisbon, there were no problems.
Jurgen Klopp spoke to the player in person during the Champions League match of the season just ended, and then again in the last few days. As reports have claimed, there was a chat with Virgil van Dijk before those two games, but my understanding is that Klopp is the main man who made a difference in the negotiation.
As for Manchester United’s interest in Nunez, Erik ten Hag had mentioned the Uruguay international in his meetings with the Manchester United board, but he is not disappointed because he knows that spending a €100m package for the 22-year-old risked compromising the club’s strategies.
Manchester United certainly tried to sign Darwin, and they were still in contact with his agent until Friday, but they considered Nunez a €70m target, not €100m.
They will still look to sign a new striker, but a decision will also depend on who can leave the club, such as Anthony Martial.
Ajax star Antony an alternative for United?
Antony is a player appreciated by Erik ten Hag and certainly mentioned in internal conversations with the club this summer, as well as other former players of the Dutch manager – Frenkie de Jong and Jurrien Timber.
Ajax are still waiting for official offers so far, and the Brazil international has been observed by Man United scouts even before they hired Ten Hag as manager. Othr big sides in Europe are also well aware of his talent and potential.
In my opinion, even if Sancho, Rashford and Elanga are already in the club, Antony would be an excellent signing for United or anyone else: he is an incredible talent who can make a difference.
Of course, Antony is not a like-for-like alternative to a center-forward like Nunez, and I’ve previously been informed that an out-and-out striker is a top priority at Old Trafford. Only time will tell if they look back and regret not paying the full fee for Nunez.
Spurs want Richarlison, but Everton will demand a big transfer fee
Richarlison is a player that the new agents have talked about with Tottenham, as with other clubs.
However, the club wants €70-75m as an opening price tag, so far it has not received offers at this level.
Tottenham are not the only club interested, but Spurs have a real interest in Richarlison.
I wouldn’t get carried away by some of the reports surrounding Richarlison and Spurs just yet, but the interest is there and it could be an excellent signing if they can see off competition for his signature.
An update on Chelsea’s interest in Achraf Hakimi
Chelsea wanted Achraf Hakimi a year ago, and certainly he has always been high on the list of Thomas Tuchel, who is a big fan of Hakimi.
So far, Paris Saint-Germain have assured that they have not received any proposals, also because the club’s new sporting director Luis Campos appreciates the Moroccan right back.
His future may depend on the future manager’s situation, as we don’t know for sure who will replace Mauricio Pochettino and how they might see Hakimi as fitting into their plans, but my feeling for the moment is that Achraf will stay at PSG for another year.
For sure, Hakimi would add something to Chelsea and to many other top teams, but they already have Reece James on the right, and the new owners are aware of the need to strengthen at center-back and in attack, where Romelu Lukaku’s future remains unresolved.
Lucas Paqueta’s Lyon future could be resolved in the coming weeks
There are no advanced negotiations for Lucas Paqueta so far. There are still no offers up that meet Lyon’s demands for the player.
Newcastle were already interested in January, but we have to wait for further progress. I believe that Paqueta’s future can be decided in the coming weeks – but it’s not an easy case, because his former club AC Milan are entitled to 15% on the future sale of the Brazilian and Lyon do not want to make a mistake with Paqueta.
Certainly Newcastle have the finances to make a tempting proposal, and they are sure to be a project that will appeal to many top players this summer.
We also know Lyon have let their best players go in the past, so Paqueta could be one to watch, but I expect Newcastle will face competition for a deal.