Rhian Brewster was once expected to be a future Liverpool great but it appears greatness will have to be sought somewhere beyond Anfield. The news that he will be available for a fee of around £20m – which seems a cut price – has set a host of potential destinations into what Liverpool must hope is a bidding war.
Ten goals in 20 matches at Swansea last season has Aston Villa, Sheffield United and Crystal Palace eyeing a player who was a star of England’s Under-17 World Cup winners. His last act in a Liverpool shirt may well be crashing the bar in the Community Shield penalty shootout. Villa are also looking at Josh King, the latest sell-off for the fire sale taking place at Bournemouth. He would also cost £16m.
Manchester United’s summer has brought in just once signing in Dawson’s Creek’s James Van De Beek but Ed Woodward will not be stopping there. No, a left-back, centre-back and a forward are wanted. Who might they be? Vitaliy Mykolenko of Dynamo Kiev and Sergio Reguilón of Real Madrid are left-backs, as is Porto’s Alex Telles. The candidates for the other positions are less clear but Real Madrid would really like to sell Gareth Bale, 57, for a big fee. United also still want Jadon Sancho but will have to wait until next year, hence why the likes of Douglas Costa are being considered as some kind of stopgap.
Across town, Manchester City’s chase for Kalidou Koulibaly continues while not much less expensive alternatives are being chased. Among them are Sevilla’s Diego Carlos and Atlético’s Madrid’s José Giménez, for whom a bid of £62m has already gone in and failed, mostly because his buyout clause is £109m.
Thiago Alcântara, a near ever-present in these pages, has been linked with spending-shy Liverpool for some time but the German press suggests Thiago may fancy a prodigal’s return to Barcelona, a move that is almost certainly the latest sop to make Lionel Messi cheer up and get back on with life at Barça.
Meanwhile, Chelsea are set to cash out a couple of midfielders. Milan want to sign Tiemoué Bakayoko, who they previously had on on loan at San Siro, but will pay no more than £25m. Chelsea want £30m. Milan may well decide to save that cash and splash it all on N’Golo Kanté, once Chelsea’s main man, and now a cashable asset after they bet the farm on a forward line. Antonio Conte has not forgotten how Kanté was the engine of Chelsea’s 2016-17 Premier League title win, but Internazionale will have to pay £60m for him.
Chelsea are also in for Rennes goalkeeper Éduoard Mendy, a deal widely expected to be completed and if Kanté is sold then two defensive midfielders, West Ham’s Declan Rice and Lille’s Boubakary Soumaré are on the list.
That fee would only be £10m more than the £50m that Burnley want for James Tarkowski if West Ham are to pull their central defender away from Lancashire. The current bid lies at £27m.
And, to close, Arsenal, who have had a bid rejected for Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar with the Gunners reportedly offering a player as part of the deal. Thomas Partey continues to be the main Gunners target and may well arrive if Atlético Madrid manage to sign Espanyol’s Marc Roca as a replacement.