B/R Football Ranks Transfer Rumours: Romelu Lukaku, Hirving Lozano, Nabil FekirJune 14, 2019
As transfer season hots up, we bring you the new B/R Football Ranks column, which will rate and slate the big rumours in the football world.
Our secret sources have top intelligence on the inside stories, and our informants have details on the delicate dealings of talks between top clubs and superstar names.
The aim is to cut between what's hype and what's right in order to open up the truths of this transfer window.
We dig into five potential deals to kick things off, starting at Old Trafford.
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Nailed On: Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan
It is rare to see a player so publicly ready to leave Manchester United as Lukaku seems right now.
By the end of last season, he had made up his mind. Inter Milan were knocking at his door, and he wants to pack his bags and head for a new challenge in one of his favourite leagues.
This week he told Mediaset (h/t The Sun): "I am a big Serie A fan. Those close to me know that I have always wanted to play in the English league and in the Italian one. I love Italy. The transfer of [Cristiano] Ronaldo, the Italian league is now coming back. Now Antonio Conte is going to Inter Milan, which is really good because he is, to me, the best manager in the world."
The big issue is how long the situation will drag on for—because Inter would prefer to raise the funds for his fee and wages by offloading Mauro Icardi first.
That is easier said than done, as the Argentinian forward's landing spots are limited. B/R insiders say Icardi is determined to remain in Serie A, but nothing is opening up in the way all parties had hoped.
United want the Lukaku situation cleared up so they can replace him, and that may put pressure on Inter to sign him before Icardi exits.
This deal can still be completed if that is the case—they do have access to the initial funds needed—but it would just be a lot easier if Icardi goes first and eases their financial situation.
La Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t Metro) have reported Lukaku has already agreed personal terms, which will see him earn over £6 million in bonuses.
Looking Likely: Aaron Wan-Bissaka to Manchester United
On the latest episode of the B/R Football Ranks podcast, analyst Sam Tighe questioned whether United should be paying in the region of £50 million for Wan-Bissaka. The gist of his argument: At that price, you can have pretty much any right-back in world football and can find one with a profile that is a guaranteed fit.
United already made one offer of £40 million, but Crystal Palace are setting their stall out quite firmly at £50 million, and even sources inside Crystal Palace believe it could still end up being a good deal for the Manchester club.
In Palace's system, the 21-year-old Wan-Bissaka has been limited in his forward play, but B/R has been assured that the player's attacking traits—particularly his pace—are impressive enough to see him thrive. He can fit the mould United are looking to recruit in the right-back position.
The player is young and ambitious and wants this deal to go through.
Get Excited About: Hirving Lozano to Napoli
Lozano is the Eredivisie's hottest property outside of Ajax, and although no formal offer has landed in PSV Eindhoven's inbox yet, Napoli are being strongly linked with a move.
Dutch news outlet De Telegraaf reported agent Mino Raiola is conducting talks between Napoli and Lozano but that his club are not part of the negotiations at the moment.
Raiola often makes sure any personal terms suit him and his clients before moving onto business between clubs, but there is also a downside to this situation that could restrict a move in the coming weeks.
Chucky suffered a knee injury at the end of the last campaign in the Netherlands, and he will need to prove the problem is not going to cause issues into next season.
With that in mind, sources say Napoli could hold off to check on his fitness in pre-season before pressing ahead.
Big Doubts About: Hakim Ziyech to Arsenal
He was central to Ajax's incredible Champions League campaign and would fit nicely into most top European sides, yet Ziyech can be snapped up for around £25 million this summer because of a clause in his contract.
Ajax sporting director Marc Overmars admitted at the end of the season to De Telegraaf (h/t Goal) that he expects the player to move on, and Arsenal have been most heavily linked.
That does not mean we should expect him to land in north London, though.
Ziyech is open to a move to England but has reservations about how regularly he would be in Unai Emery's starting XI.
He likes their style, but the need to play top earner Mesut Ozil could restrict Arsenal from using another player with such flair and freedom in the same lineup.
Ziyech scored 21 goals and registered 24 assists for Erik ten Hag's side last term and primarily plays on the right flank—a position Arsenal are keen to fill.
But while Arsenal take their time as they decide how to spend a small transfer budget with limited wages, Ziyech is in a position of power to sign a deal that totally suits him, with sides in Serie A, La Liga and the Bundesliga also trying to sign him.
Never Happening: Nabil Fekir to Liverpool
The gate is shut and the bolt lock has been shifted into a secure position. Fekir's chance of moving to Anfield has now passed by.
There was a time, about 12 months ago, when this deal should have been sealed. But it fell through, and the message from the club is that the transfer will not be resurrected.