How protracted moves involving big names on the market are unfolding, including some of the best forwards in the world, writes ’TANA AIYEJINA
Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)
The annual saga of Kane’s future has once again reared its head, though this time the dimensions are rather different. The six-year-deal that Kane signed in 2018 was always the ace in Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy’s pack, but as that enters its final year holding on grimly to the club’s prized asset, their best player since Gareth Bale was cashed out a decade ago, becomes less viable.
Interest from Bayern Munich, willing to pay £80m to buy a striker to replace Robert Lewandowski and admired by the coach, Thomas Tuchel, at least prevents Kane flourishing at a Premier League rival. Kane is said to be keen but Levy is not known for taking big decisions at anyone’s pace but his own.
Bayern are now offering up to €95m to Tottenham for Harry Kane, Sky Germany reporter Florian Plettenberg reports. It still remains some way short of Spurs’ £100m valuation of their talisman, but all parties are rumoured to be confident of getting a deal done.
According to Plettenberg, Bayern are now preparing a €95m (£81m) package proposal including add-ons. There has not been a new meeting between Bayern and Daniel Levy scheduled yet, but all parties are confident to find an agreement as Bayern plans to improve their offer.
Again, according to Sky Sports, Bayern and Spurs representatives had lunch in central London on Monday regarding a potential transfer for Kane, although there remains a £20m gap in the two clubs’ valuation of the player.
The north Londoners are also said to be insisting on including a buyback clause should the 30-year-old return to the Premier League at some point in the future.
Victor Osimhen (Napoli)
Aside from Kane, the other major striker heading the wanted list is the Nigerian whose 26 goals and impressive all-round play helped fired Napoli to a first Serie A title since the days of Diego Maradona. Napoli’s owner, Aurelio De Laurentiis, is one of the sharpest operators in the business, signing up players to contracts that make it difficult for rival clubs to pick off their talent. The widely coveted likes of Dries Mertens and Marek Hamsik saw out their best days in Naples, and a player who cost €80m from Lille in 2020 will not be surrendered cheaply. There is no buyout clause with Osimhen, as has allowed Napoli’s star Korean defender Kim Min-jae to join Bayern Munich.
Undoubtedly, Osimhen’s future is a major talking point throughout the summer transfer window.
Interest in the striker is higher than ever as a result — with numerous Premier League clubs, including Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea — trying to acquire his coveted signature but De Laurentiis has kept hold of his prized asset, at some point even valuing the player at £180m.
However, Osimhen wants a £103.8m release clause inserted into any potential new Napoli contract.
Since De Laurentiis is reluctant to sell his star man, The Mirror says the 24-year-old is happy to stay put in Italy for one more season — but only if the clause is included.
Although such an agreement would rule out a move this summer, a long list of wealthy suitors means an exit 12 months from now would become a near certainty.
July 31, Saudi giants Al-Hilal tabled a bid worth nearly £120m for Osimhen, according to Sky Sports.
However, reports suggest that Napoli are holding out for an offer closer to £130m to even consider selling their star player.
Al-Hilal are also willing to offer the Nigerian goalscorer a wage worth over £1m a week to join the Saudi Pro League.
Kylian Mbappé (Paris Saint-Germain)
By the closure of this summer’s transfer window, there is the possibility that Paris Saint-Germain will have shed all three kings. It would bring to the end one of football’s most ambitious yet flawed projects. Lionel Messi is in Miami, Neymar waits on suitors but Mbappé, at 24, is the player who might yet carry on the PSG dream but appears unwilling to do so.
Links with Real Madrid stretch back to his Monaco days but for anyone to take on the scorer of a hat-trick in December’s World Cup final would need a similar financial fair play-busting deal to the €180m one that took him to Paris in 2017.
The latest from France is that failure to sign a new contract will put him in the open market.
After missing out on Rasmus Hojlund, Paris Saint-Germain are turning their attentions to new options for their striking vacancy sure to be left by Mbappe. Randal Kolo Muani, the French Frankfurt forward is one, and Dusan Vlahovic, the Juventus striker, is another.
Following the twist in the forward’s complicated transfer story, reports say Paris Saint-Germain are considering making a formal complaint about Real Madrid to FIFA over fears that Mbappe had an illegal agreement to join the Spanish side next summer.
Mbappe is in the final year of his contract with PSG after rejecting the option to extend his deal with the Ligue 1 side for another year, prompting the club’s Qatari owners to demand the 24-year-old be sold this summer.
However Mbappe, who rejected talks with Al-Hilal despite PSG accepting a €300m bid from the Saudi side, has insisted he will see out his contract in Paris and refuse any transfer offers submitted to him.
Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona)
The Ousmane Dembélé transfer saga is reaching its climax, after the 2023 calendar hit August 1. It’s important to note that the Frenchman’s release clause with FC Barcelona stands at €50m until July 31.
As a result, Paris Saint-Germain is pushing to land the 26-year-old at an economical price. Dembélé’s arrival would be to fill the shoes that may be left behind by Kylian Mbappé. The 2018 World Cup winner is likely on the way out this summer.
Transfer window specialist Fabrizio Romano sheds light on the situation. The journalist reveals that the final decision on Dembélé’s destination rests solely on the player.
“PSG focused on Ousmane Dembélé by activating contacts to trigger €50m release clause…but again, nothing done yet. It depends on Dembélé,” Romano tweeted.
PSG’s interest in Dembélé escalated after Olympique Lyonnais rejected their initial bid of €30m for Bradley Barcola. The ball is now firmly in Dembélé’s court, as he faces a pivotal decision between joining PSG this summer or extending his contract with Barcelona.
The deal structure for Dembélé’s potential transfer is equally intriguing. If PSG successfully triggers the release clause, the player would be entitled to 50 per cent of the fee, amounting to €25m. The remaining 50 per cent, also €25m, would be paid to Barcelona.
However, despite PSG having missed Dembele’s release clause deadline, they’ll still be able to sign Dembele from Barcelona for the €50m price tag after discussions between Paris and Barca, with what Romano calls, ‘a private clause’.