Transfer Talk: Man City confident of leading race for Nunez


The summer transfer window is closed for the top leagues in Europe! After a summer full of international football, countless clubs waited until the last minute to pull off their transfers. See all the major deals here and check out how we graded the biggest signings. But just because the window is shut until January, that doesn’t mean the rumours won’t keep coming.

TOP STORY: Man City head queue for Nunez

Manchester City have edged ahead in the race to sign Benfica attacker Darwin Nunez, as has been reported by the Daily Star. The 22-year-old has certainly caught the eye recently, bagging a brace against Barcelona in the Portuguese side’s recent 3-0 Champions League win — having scored two more braces in his previous four games.

Aside from City, his form has earned interest from Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Bayern Munich. However, the Citizens are convinced that they have an edge over their competitors due to their great relationship with Benfica.

In the past four years, they have concluded deals for Ederson and Ruben Dias that are worth a combined £98 million in transfer fees. They have already alerted Benfica that they are interested in the forward, who has a £125m release clause. Despite that figure, City are hoping that they will be able to sign the Uruguay international for a fee closer to £70m.

Their pursuit of attacking options has been well documented, with their efforts to bring in Tottenham Hotspur talisman Harry Kane being the most widely reported. It now appears that Pep Guardiola and his team have given up on the England international, with Nunez being the new priority.

Benfica’s next Champions League game comes against Guardiola’s former side, Bayern Munich, so Nunez will have another big opportunity to impress.

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10.02 BST: Barcelona president Joan Laporta made a surprise move on Saturday, declaring that Ronald Koeman is safe in his job as Barcelona coach.

Koeman is under mounting pressure at Camp Nou, with Barcelona going into the weekend seventh in LaLiga and suffering back-to-back 3-0 defeats to open their Champions League campaign. The Barcelona coach held an impassioned news conference on Friday ahead of Saturday’s clash against Atletico Madrid, accusing the club of a lack of respect by leaking stories about his future.

But on Saturday before the defeat to the reigning champions, which Barca lost 2-0 (stream the replay on ESPN+ in the U.S.), Laporta moved to dismiss doubts over the coach’s future and said: “Ronald Koeman will continue as Barca coach, we feel he deserves a certain amount of confidence for many reasons. He’s a Barca fan, a reference for the supporters. He will continue and deserves some confidence.

“Koeman loves Barca and decided to come at a really difficult moment for the club institutionally and sportingly. After speaking with him, I see he has faith in the team, above all when he gets the injured players back. He has a contract (until the summer) and we hope to get back to winning ways and playing well. I am sure he will do everything possible.

“We can all understand the reactions because we are not getting results, but I ask the supporters to have some confidence in the coach, he deserves it, and to have faith in this team because when everyone is available they will be even more competitive.

“I’ve spoken with him and drawn my own conclusions. I value the moment he took over the club in. We spoken and it’s not true the relationship between us is cold. It’s a good and honest relationship. He’s a good person and I think he thinks the same as me. We are all trying to turn this around for the better.

“He has a certain amount of confidence regardless of the result.”

09.00 BST: West Ham United midfielder Vladimir Coufal has signed a new contract at the London Stadium, The Athletic reports.

The 29-year-old has started 40 Premier League games for the Hammers since arriving from Sparta Prague 12 months ago in a £5.4m transfer.

Coufal, along with his Czech Republic international teammate Tomas Soucek, immediately became key players for David Moyes’ side, and The Athletic reports that he has agreed a new three-year deal with the option of another season.

PAPER GOSSIP (by Danny Lewis)

– Liverpool are moving for Pogon Szczecin midfielder Kacper Kozlowski, who has been compared to Kevin De Bruyne in Poland, reports the Mirror. The Polish outfit don’t want him to leave in January, meaning there could be a scramble to sign the player — who turns 18 years old this month — with Bayer Leverkusen, AC Milan, RB Leipzig and FC Salzburg also interested.

– Manchester United want Paul Pogba‘s contract situation sorted out by the end of the calendar year, with the hope being that he will sign a £400,000-per-week extension, according to the Sun. The France international’s contract runs out at the end of the season, meaning he would be free to discuss a move elsewhere in January.

Riccardo Orsolini could be set to leave Bologna in January, despite having a contract that runs until 2024, according to Calciomercato. It is suggested that both Lazio and Fiorentina like the look of the winger, who has one goal and two assists in all competitions this season.

Everton are looking at Stoke City centre-back Harry Souttar, according to the Sun, with Duncan Ferguson having gone to scout the 22-year-old. The Toffees are now looking to see whether the Australia international can step up to the Premier League, amid fears that they could lose Yerry Mina due to the Colombia international’s heart reportedly being set on a move to Serie A.

Lewis O’Brien has a release clause inserted into his Huddersfield Town contract that would allow him to leave for a transfer fee of £10m, according to Football Insider. This should interest Leeds United, who actually offered more than that sum to sign the 22-year-old midfielder during the summer — before the new contract was signed.

– There might be plenty of talk around Ronald Koeman’s job security, but Barcelona B is the best position Xavi will be offered for now, according to Sport. The former Blaugrana captain has turned down the position multiple times, claiming that he is already past that stage. However, that door is still open to him and is seen as a potential route to the big job.

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