Manchester City are beginning to accept that they face an uphill battle to persuade Paul Pogba to leave Juventus and snub the likes of Barcelona and Chelsea, but are confident that they will be successful in their pursuit of Kevin De Bruyne.
Reports in Spain claim that Pogba has already verbally agreed to join Barcelona in 2016 once the Catalans’ transfer embargo is lifted, but Italian newspaper Gazetta dello Sport contradicted those reports by revealing Juventus have turned down an €80m offer from the European champions.
Juventus’ managing director Giuseppe Marotta admitted that, after meeting with two Barcelona officials, a bid was made for Pogba but immediately rejected by the Italian club.
Marotta told Gazetta dello Sport: "We received an offer of €80 million but I can affirm that Pogba will not be sold."
The potential biggest transfers of the summer
The potential biggest transfers of the summer
1/9 Theo Walcott
There is real uncertainty around the future of Theo Walcott with prolonged contract talks looking likely. Arsene Wenger told the press that the winger was a tough customer to negotiate with and when the player tweeted in March that talks were yet to begin (something that contradicted the club) it signalled what could be the beginning of the end of Walcott's Arsenal career. The England international will have a year to run on his contract this summer and if no new deal can be found he will probably be sold. Liverpool have emerged as the leading contenders for his signature, whilst Chelsea are also rumoured to be keeping tabs on the situation aware that there could be a bargain to be had due to his dwindling contract.
2/9 Raheem Sterling
Another England international seemingly destined to change his environment is Raheem Sterling. Liverpool are ready to pay the 20-year-old huge wages but it seems the Jamaican born player has said money is not the problem. It seems he wants to be winning trophies and playing in the Champions League - something that is far from guaranteed at Anfield. Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea are all monitoring the situation whilst moving abroad could be an option, with both Bayern Munich and Real Madrid linked. If Liverpool are unable to reach a compromise over a new deal, it's thought they'd rather sell this summer than give the player the initiative by letting him run his contract down to just one year to go in 2016.
3/9 Paul Pogba
Having left Manchester United for Juventus in 2012, France international Pogba has gone on to become arguably the best young player in Europe and now United want him back. But they're not the only ones interested in the 22-year-old. His contract in Turin runs until the summer of 2019 which means any move would be among most expensive in history, but that's not stopped the liked of Real Madrid, Manchester City, PSG, Arsenal and Chelsea being linked. Juventus have said if the player wants to go, he can, but they're confident he will remain.
4/9 Marco Reus
Speculation has surrounded the pacey Germany international for the past few windows but when he signed a new contract at Borussia Dortmund earlier this year, it looked to be the end of it. But with Jurgen Klopp's side struggling this season and European football out of the question next term, rumours have begun to resurface. With Theo Walcott possibly leaving Arsenal, the Gunners have reportedly made the 25-year-old their No 1 target to replace him. If it becomes apparent Dortmund are ready to do business, many other clubs will be making their interest known.
5/9 Gareth Bale
Bale wants to stay at Real Madrid, but his second season at the Bernabeu hasn't been easy. The former Spurs player has been picked out as the chief culprit for all the club's problems at the start of 2015, with his selfish style of play and habit of going missing being picked on for criticism. The mood in Madrid changes like a flag in the wind according to his team-mate Toni Kroos and it's quite possible he'll be the darling of the Spanish capital again, but Real Madrid aren't afraid to let big name players depart and would be able to command a huge fee for Bale to help balance the books. Manchester United will lead the pursuit.
6/9 Petr Cech
Despite a near faultless 10 years between the sticks at Stamford Bridge, in his eleventh season as a Chelsea player he found himself demoted behind the prodigious talent that is Thibaut Courtois. The Czech international has proved willing to put up with the situation this season but has already said he won't stand for sitting on the bench next term. Arsenal are among the clubs most regularly linked, however Chelsea would be reluctant to let the keeper, who will be 33 in the summer, leave for a rival. Roma, Napoli and Real Madrid have been mentioned as alternative destinations.
7/9 Angel Di Maria
He might have only arrived at Old Trafford last summer and have cost a British record £59.7m, but Angel Di Maria has been woeful in his debut season. With few of his passes finding their desired target it's thought Louis van Gaal could cut his losses and use whatever fee can be commanded to reinvest in players who fit more seamlessly into the Dutchman's system. Paris St Germain would be the first in line of a long queue keen to sign the Argentina international.
8/9 David De Gea
Real Madrid could bid for David De Gea in the next week in the hope of completing a transfer before they embark on their pre-season tour of Australia, with Manchester United already sounding out possible replacements.
9/9 Sergio Ramos
Sergio Ramos is wanted by Manchester United, who have already seen one bid rejected by Real Madrid. However, with the Spaniard believed to be keen on a move this summer, United appear to be the favourites to sign the World Cup winner.
But the fact that Barcelona are pressing on with their interest has led City to fear that they have lost the race to convince Pogba where his future lies, and according to the Daily Mail, the Premier League side will press on with other transfer plans.
One of those could see former Chelsea midfielder Kevin de Bruyne return to the Premier League should City agree a fee for the Belgium international. De Bruyne will meet with Wolfsburg officials next week to start talks over a new contract, but it’s believed that the 24-year-old will ask the Bundesliga club to listen to offers for him should any be received this summer.
De Bruyne is tied down to the German club until 2019, but Wolfsburg are keen to fend off interest from City, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain by awarding him an improved deal following his 16 goals and incredible 29 assists last season.
Speaking to Sport1 earlier this week, Wolfsburg’s sporting director Klaus Allofs said: "Kevin has a contract until 2019, so the signal has already been sent out. He will stay with us. We've said we will look at his contract.
"The aim is to take into account financially Kevin's extraordinary development. The best players should earn the best wages. We will make an offer to him and I think we will reach an agreement here very quickly."
When asked if De Bruyne would leave before his contract expires in 2019, Allofs added: "We don't look that far into the future. Football develops so rapidly that it is mere speculation if you look more than a year ahead.
"What happens with Kevin next year will depend on Kevin's development and just as much on the development of VfL Wolfsburg. If we are as successful as we have been last season there are not so many reasons to leave us."
However, De Bruyne’s agent Patrick de Koster fanned the flames by admitting he doesn’t know what the future holds at the moment, and hinted that De Bruyne’s camp are looking for a big offer following his tremendous season last time out.
“Will Kevin definitely stay with Wolfsburg? I await their proposal. Let the club prove that he is incredibly important and that they themselves are ambitious,” said De Koster.
“They can call if they have a top offer prepared. It could turn out to be a ridiculous proposal.”
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