B/R Football Ranks Transfer Rumours: Matthijs de Ligt, Wilfried Zaha, Maxi Gomez

Dean Jones@DeanJonesBRFootball Insider at Bleacher ReportJune 28, 2019

Matthijs de Ligt of Ajax during the UEFA Champions League quarter final match between Juventus FC  and Ajax Amsterdam at the Allianz Arena on April 16, 2019 in Turin, Italy(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)
VI-Images/Getty Images

The B/R Football Ranks transfer column is your guide to which transfer rumours are legit and which ones you can dismiss.

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 here is to open up the truths inside this transfer window—we kick off this week with one of the summer's most exciting transfers...

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Nailed on: Matthijs de Ligt to Juventus

Barcelona were first to negotiate with the 19-year-old Ajax defender, but after failing to satisfy the terms Matthijs de Ligt's representatives set out, the door opened to those willing to pay him the most money. 

Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United have both had a go at convincing agent Mino Raiola that they would give his client the best all-round package—but Juventus can give him everything he is looking for.

Their deal is close, per the Guardian's Fabrizio Romano, and sources in Italy are backing up the belief this transfer will be completed. A combination of factors—the £12 million salary, pursuit of a UEFA Champions League title and the chance to be the next legendary defensive figure—have all turned his head...and so has the fact that Cristiano Ronaldo asked him to join.

An interesting factor that gives Juve the edge on PSG is that they are willing to include a release clause for him to potentially move on further down the line—and that is something the Ligue 1 club can not offer because of French laws. 


Looking likely: Jean Michael Seri to Monaco

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - JANUARY 12: Jean Michael Seri of Fulham during the Premier League match between Burnley FC and Fulham FC at Turf Moor on January 12, 2019 in Burnley, United Kingdom. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Fulham will keep together most of their squad from last season, despite their relegation from the Premier League. Yet Jean Michael Seri will be one of the few to move on; he has no desire to stay, and the club is happy for him to leave.

A couple of years ago, Seri was one of the most coveted midfielders in Europe—but options are now limited. Monaco touched base over his situation toward the end of last season, and all indications suggest that they will sign him in the next month.

It is expected that the deal will kick into gear once Youri Tielemans completes his proposed switch from Monaco to Leicester City.


Don't Rule Out: Maxi Gomez to West Ham United

The Celta Vigo striker is West Ham United's No. 1 target for this transfer window, and they are continuing to pursue an agreement—but there are a couple of issues.

First, the club is hesitant over triggering his £43.5 million release clause and would rather look into new ways a fee can be structured over the duration of a four- or five-year contract.

Second, there is a feeling that Maxi Gomez is holding out on negotiations over his own terms because he would rather wait to see which other offers land on the table.

West Ham can't afford to wait too long—the English transfer window closes almost a month earlier than Spain's. There is a possibility Gomez could opt not to move to the Premier League, but certainly West Ham are trying to make it happen.


Big Doubts About: Wilfried Zaha to Arsenal

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 12: Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and AFC Bournemouth at Selhurst Park on May 12, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)
Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Wilfried Zaha gave an interview to the Daily Mail's Adrian Kajumba in April stating his desire to move to a bigger side, but things have been pretty quiet this summer.

BBC Sport's David Ornstein reported on Wednesday that Zaha is hoping to join Arsenal, but there are significant barriers in the way—and moving them will not be easy.

His team-mate Aaron Wan-Bissaka leapfrogged him for a big move, and Palace are briefing privately that they can not let him and Zaha leave in the same transfer window.

On top of that, Palace value Zaha at £80 million, and B/R sources believe the player is keen for this figure to be reduced because it is limiting his options. 

There is also the issue that Arsenal are extremely limited in the business they can push through this summer because of their £45 million transfer budget.

Zaha is set to become frustrated if he can not find a path out soon.


Never Happening: Junior Firpo to Liverpool 

This is a strange one. Last week, we reported on Liverpool's transfer window and explained how the club was looking for a left-sided player who was primarily a defender yet was also useful going forward. With that in mind, Real Betis' Junior Firpo and Augsburg's Philipp Max were described as stylistic fits to their requirements.

Coincidentally, Firpo's name was quickly trending, and various sites in England and Spain began to link him with a move to Merseyside— Sport (h/t the Mirror) also claimed Liverpool were interested in the 22-year-old and stated they would have to pay his €50 million buyout clause to sign him.

The truth is, there is no story here. It looks suspiciously like a B/R article sparked a chain of stories that spiralled out of control.