Frenkie de Jong to Man United, Romelu Lukaku’s Inter return, and Arsenal’s pursuit of Gabriel Jesus… seven transfers threatening to become major SAGAS this summer with the window now open
- The summer transfer window is officially underway after opening last week
- A number of players in European football are being linked with moves elsewhere
- Some transfer sagas could drag on over the summer and dominate headlines
- Frenkie de Jong, Romelu Lukaku and Gabriel Jesus are facing uncertain futures
- Christian Eriksen is also being linked with a potential return to Tottenham
- Click here for all the latest World Cup 2022 news and updates
The madness that is the summer transfer window has officially opened, with signings, departures, bids and speculation already in full swing.
Clubs have just under two months to reshape their squads ahead of the 2022-23 campaign, which gets underway slightly earlier than usual in most countries due to the winter World Cup in Qatar.
Countless players in European football are being linked with new clubs, while Manchester City have wasted no time in capturing Erling Haaland. And there could be some more big names on the move.
For a number of reasons, certain deals look likely to become major sagas which drag on throughout the summer. Sportsmail has picked out seven of those potential transfers threatening to dominate headlines for the next few months.
The summer transfer window is now open, with Erling Haaland joining Man City on Monday
Christian Eriksen to Tottenham or Manchester United
One of the most uplifting stories of the previous season saw Eriksen make an emotional return to English football following his cardiac arrest at Euro 2020 last year.
When Italian football regulations prevented him from playing with an ICD heart-starting device, the Denmark midfielder left Inter Milan at the back end of last year and sealed a free move to Brentford in January.
It didn’t take long for him to get back to his brilliant best, producing a string of classy displays for Thomas Frank’s side to help them steer clear of the Premier League relegation battle.
Christian Eriksen’s future is the subject of speculation with his Brentford contract up in July
He made an emotional return to England in January and rediscovered his form with the Bees
Though despite his success in west London, reports suggest Eriksen will leave Brentford upon the expiry of his short-term contract this month.
He will therefore be available for clubs to snap up on a free transfer, and former club Tottenham are believed to be weighing up a potential return.
football.london are reporting that Spurs have discussed the idea of Eriksen’s return, however Manchester United could provide competition for his signature.
United sent scouts to watch both Eriksen and other targe, Konrad Laimer, play for Denmark against Austria last week, suggesting they are very much interested in beating their Premier League rivals to the signing.
While a transfer fee will not be necessary, United and Spurs’ joust for Eriksen could develop into a salary bidding war between the two clubs this summer.
Spurs are reportedly eyeing a potential return for Eriksen as he prepares to leave Brentford
Manchester United also sent scouts to watch him play for Denmark over the weekend
Frenkie de Jong to Manchester United
Another player wanted at United this summer is De Jong, who could reunite with former coach Erik ten Hag at Old Trafford.
As he takes the reins at United, Ten Hag has identified his old Ajax midfielder as a top transfer target, and has already convinced him to head to Manchester.
De Jong, who has spent the last three years at Barcelona after sealing a £70million move from Ajax, was initially sceptical about following his ex-manager to United due to their lack of Champions League football next season.
But Ten Hag has made a breakthrough, passing his first test in the hot-seat by persuading the 25-year-old to join him at Old Trafford.
Frenkie de Jong is reportedly wanted by Erik ten Hag at Manchester United this summer
Following Holland’s 2-2 draw with Poland on Saturday, De Jong was quizzed on the links to United and produced an awkward response.
He was first asked: ‘Are you going from the beaches of Catalonia to the cold of Manchester?’
De Jong then replied: ‘No.. I think.. I can’t say anything.’
Nevertheless, United are understood to have already seen a £60million bid rejected by Barcelona after opening talks over a deal.
The Spanish club will not let him depart on the cheap, especially given he still has four years to run on his contract. Negotiations between the two sides could therefore drag on over the next few months.
Ten Hag has experience of working alongside De Jong in his previous stint as Ajax head coach
The Dutchman now wants to bring his former pupil to Old Trafford in the summer window
Robert Lewandowski to Barcelona or PSG
This summer could mark the end of the Poland striker’s successful stint at Bayern Munich, where he has bagged an astonishing 344 goals in 375 matches.
‘My era at Bayern is over,’ he said earlier this month. ‘I don’t see any possibility to continue playing for this club anymore.’
With just a year to run on his contract, Bayern only have one more transfer window to cash in on Lewandowski before he can begin negotiating a free move abroad in January.
The German champions could therefore be tempted to offload him while they still can this summer, with Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona in the running to strike a deal.
According to L’Equipe, PSG have pinpointed Lewandowski as their top attacking target after bringing in Luis Campos as a football adviser last week.
Campos is keen to bolster the club’s frontline to ensure they aren’t as reliant on the Mbappe-Messi-Neymar axis next season, and in Lewandowski they would be adding a striker who netted 50 goals in all competitions last term.
Robert Lewandowski has revealed his intention to call time on his Bayern Munich career
The Poland striker is being eyed by both Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona this summer
However, PSG could face competition from Barcelona amid the latter’s desire to make him the focal point of their attack in 2022-23.
Unlike Parc des Princes chiefs, Barca are able to offer the 34-year-old this luxury, yet they do not have the same spending power to entice him to Catalonia.
Reports claim Lewandowski has already agreed a three-year contract with Barca, but the Spanish side must sell players before sealing a deal with Bayern.
Regardless, expect the battle for his signature to play a starring role in this window.
Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan
When Chelsea forked out a club-record £97.5m to bring Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge last August, not many would have predicted he would be on his way out less than a year later.
Yet following a miserable first season back in west London, that is exactly the case this summer.
The Belgian produced a measly return of 15 goals in 44 outings, eight of which came in the league, irked supporters by expressing his desire to return to Inter Milan in January and fell out of favour with Thomas Tuchel on frequent occasions.
Romelu Lukaku looks likely to be on his way out of Chelsea after a miserable first year back
At times he has struggled to fit into Tuchel’s 3-4-3 setup, meaning a summer switch could be in the best interests of both parties.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out Lukaku’s preference is to return to Inter, but can they afford him?
Chelsea will not want to lose too much after paying close to nine figures for him last year, and with four years still to run on his contract.
Instead, a loan move back to the San Siro could be a satisfying short-term solution to their problem – though even that would be difficult to negotiate.
The Blues would likely include an obligation or option to buy Lukaku outright in any potential loan, which Inter will try and drive down as much as possible if their former striker is to rejoin them.
The Belgian has struggled to fit into Thomas Tuchel’s system since returning last summer
A potential move back to Inter Milan could be on the cards for him over the next few months
Youri Tielemans to Arsenal
After securing a European return next season, Arsenal need to strengthen in several positions to ensure they are well-equipped for a more rigorous campaign.
Midfield is one of those areas, and reports claim Mikel Arteta has set his sights on a move for Leicester ace Tielemans in the summer window.
The Foxes are prepared to listen to offers for their key midfielder, who has hinted at a potential departure in recent weeks.
When asked if he could leave the King Power, Tielemans said earlier this month: ‘That is not out of the question. I feel very good at Leicester, I was welcomed with open arms from day one. I give everything for the club until the last day.
‘But of course you have to listen to other opportunities, you have to look at your career, and sometimes you have to make choices. Maybe one will come my way.’
Youri Tielemans is a target for Arsenal and Leicester are open to offers for the midfielder
The 25-year-old only has a year to run on his current deal at Leicester, who will therefore have less bargaining power if Arsenal do come calling.
After paying £40m for his services in 2019, they will likely demand close to that fee, which could be well within the Gunners’ reach.
Though while they are undoubtedly the frontrunners, Arsenal tabling an offer for Tielemans could spark a bidding war for his signature.
Tottenham and Real Madrid are also believed to be interested, meaning Leicester may receive a flurry of offers.
Gabriel Jesus to Arsenal or Chelsea
Manchester City’s £51m purchase of Erling Haaland has cast doubt over Jesus’ future at the Etihad, with his game time likely to be reduced as a result.
Both Arsenal and Chelsea are understood to be keen on the Brazilian, who only has a year to run on his current deal.
Jesus’ representatives have reportedly held initial discussions with the Gunners, while the Evening Standard claim the Blues were also offered the chance to sign him.
Gabriel Jesus is set to leave Manchester City this summer after their signing of Haaland
Both Chelsea and Arsenal are understood to be interested in a move for the Brazilian striker
Both teams are in need of strikers in the summer transfer window. Arsenal are without a recognised centre-forward after releasing Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah, although the latter could yet put pen to paper on a new deal in north London.
As for Chelsea, they are on the hunt for attacking recruits with Lukaku, Timo Werner and Christian Pulisic facing uncertain futures.
The London rivals could therefore slug it out for Jesus over the course of the summer, with City’s starting price set at £50m, yet Tuchel and Co will hold a significant advantage in that battle given they can offer Champions League football.
It is unlikely to be a swift saga, however, with Jesus expected to weigh up his options over the next few months.
Jesus will weigh up his options over the next few months as he decides which move is best
Raheem Sterling to Chelsea
Jesus is not the only City player on Chelsea’s radar, though, as Sterling has also emerged as a shock transfer target for the west London outfit.
According to The Sun, Chelsea officials are looking to prise the England international away from Manchester for £60m this summer in order to strengthen Tuchel’s attack.
Ahead of the winter World Cup in Qatar, Sterling is desperate to play as much football as possible in the first half of the season, which may not be a guarantee under Pep Guardiola.
He only started 23 of City’s 38 league matches last term and was dropped to the bench for a number of key fixtures, including their two Champions League semi-final ties against Real Madrid.
Raheem Sterling is also believed to be a target for Chelsea in the summer transfer window
A summer exit could therefore be required to boost his chances of staying in Gareth Southgate’s England plans.
Chelsea would have to provide assurances that Sterling would not be left on the bench under Tuchel, who drew criticism at times last season for chopping and changing his wide forwards too frequently.
But with a year to run on his contract, City will not want to lose him for nothing next year and may choose to cash in while they still can over the next few months.
An offer in the region of £60m could be enough for Chelsea, although it remains to be seen whether City are open to selling to a direct rival.
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