Summer Transfer Gossip: Cesc Fabregas, Davide Astori, Gareth Bale and More
As the first full month of the summer transfer window draws to a close, there is no shortage of speculative reports linking some of the world's biggest clubs with the world's best players.
It is only a matter of weeks until the season kicks off in most European leagues, and clubs are still scrambling to reinforce the necessary areas.
Here is the latest in transfer speculation from the gossip columns.
Fabregas Keen on Old Trafford Move
Manchester United are currently moving heaven and earth to sign Cesc Fabregas, but they have so far been knocked back in their attempts.
Media reports claim the Red Devils have had bids of £25 million and £31 million rejected, but they remain resolute in their ambition.
According to British tabloid the Daily Mail, Barcelona's attacking midfielder is secretly enthusiastic about a transfer to Manchester this summer.
"Fabregas is keen on a move to Old Trafford and wants to be part of David Moyes’ Barclays Premier League squad by the time the summer transfer window closes on September 2," the report claims.
The story comes in the wake of new Barcelona boss Gerardo Martino stating that the 26-year-old was not for sale.
Gareth Bale Told He Is Not for Sale
The battle to secure Welsh wizard Gareth Bale's services for next season rages on this week, as Tottenham Hotspur fend off interest from Real Madrid.
The prices mooted for his signature are extraordinary. But then, so is his talent.
British tabloid The Mirror claim that "Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has once again told Gareth Bale he will not be sold to Real Madrid.
"The battle for the brilliant Welsh winger, now rated at a staggering, world-record £103 million, has taken an explosive new twist with the Spanish press claiming Bale has already told Levy he wants out."
Spurs are reportedly trying to negotiate a new contract for the 24-year-old.
Astori Not Going to Milan
Cagliari and Italy defender Davide Astori is one of the most reliable centre-backs in Serie A.
The 26-year-old helped guide the Rossoblu to an 11th-place finish last term, the club he has played for since 2008.
Astori had been linked with a move to AC Milan this summer, where he spent much of his youth. But according to Cagliari President Massimo Cellino, he will remain where he is.
Cellino told MilanNews.it, "Astori to Milan? I can absolutely rule that out" (via Football Italia).
"I don’t know where this news is coming from, as it is pure fantasy. There are no negotiations in place and I see no possibility of a sale. The player will remain at Cagliari."
Chelsea Interested in Brazil U20 Captain
If reports are to be believed, it seems Wayne Rooney is not Chelsea's only transfer target this summer.
Brazil U20 captain Doria, a powerful central defender from Botafogo, may currently be in new boss Jose Mourinho's crosshairs, so claim the Daily Mail, who state that Juventus, AC Milan and Barcelona have also shown an interest in the 18-year-old.
The report states, "Chelsea are understood to be willing to pay £8.2 million for Doria but his club president Mauricio Assumpcao said: 'Negotiations will depend on whether anyone wants to pay his buy-out fee of £11m.'"
Manchester City Keen on Pepe
Manchester City may have already spent close to £100 million this summer, but fresh tabloid reports would have you believe new boss Manuel Pellegrini is not done yet.
The Mirror claim "Real Madrid’s £15 million-rated Pepe remains Pellegrini’s top target, with the City boss having indicated the club’s willingness to spend even more to reclaim the Premier League title and make an impact on the Champions League."
"City are short of a defender following Kolo Toure’s free transfer to Liverpool, with Pepe seen as the man to fill the void."
Pepe made 26 league starts for Los Blancos last term, the second-highest number in the squad.
No Offer for Damiao Yet
Internacional's Leandro Damiao has long been linked with a move to Europe to one of the continent's biggest clubs.
The striker has been linked with Premier League sides Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton in recent weeks, via ESPN.
More recently, Napoli were thought to be the club closest to securing a deal, but in an interview with Radio Gaucha, Internacional president Giovanni Luigi said this was not the case, according to Sambafoot.
"Leandro Damiao is focused. There has been no contact in the last days. They talked about Napoli, but nothing official has come."
His comments possibly leave the door open for an offer in the near future, though.