Football rumours from the media

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What the papers say

With less than 36 hours to go until deadline the Thibaut Courtois drama looks set to take a world record-sized chunk out of Chelsea’s coffers. The Blues are reportedly in advanced talks to splash £72million to bring in replacement Kepa Arrizabalaga from Athletic Bilbao. The 23-year-old Spaniard is rumoured to be flying to England at around 1000 on Wednesday morning, having travelled to Madrid on Tuesday, the Daily Telegraph says. Courtois, who failed to turn up to training for a second day on Tuesday, is said to be on his way to Real Madrid for around £35m. However Real are reportedly sweetening the deal by offering Mateo Kovacic on loan for a season. Arrizabalaga’s price tag swamps the previous keeper record set just weeks ago by Liverpool in their purchase of Alisson Becker from Roma. It also far exceeds Chelsea’s record for any purchase, the reported £57m for striker Alvaro Morata from Real a year ago.

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Jose Mourinho’s chances of signing Harry Maguire appear to have received a fillip after Leicester were reported to be close to signing two new centre-backs. The Times says the Foxes have prepared for a possible late bid by United by agreeing deals for Dynamo Zagreb’s Filip Benkovic and Caglar Soyuncu of Freiburg for a combined £33.5m. Leicester are expected to demand at least £65m for the England defender, 25, although will still bring in Benkovic, 21, and Soyuncu, 22, if an offer is not forthcoming. United were reportedly spurned in their advances for Bayern Munich’s Jerome Boateng, while a take it or leave it £40m offer for Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld is said to have fallen far short of the £65m Spurs want for the Belgium international.

Spurs are yet to make a signing this summer and their attempts to grab Jack Grealish were dealt a blow on Tuesday night when Aston Villa rejected a £25m offer, the Daily Mirror says. Villa are reported to be demanding more than £30m for the 22-year-old, leaving the midfielder worried the move into the Premier League could be scuppered. Villa boss Steve Bruce admitted earlier in the week the club were likely to have a battle on their hands to keep the playmaker, although the late development suggests they are holding out for the biggest cheque possible.


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Players to watch

Achraf Lazaar and Henri Saivet: Newcastle plan to sell the Morocco defender, 26, and Senegal midfielder, 27, the Newcastle Chronicle says.

Oliver Norwood: Leeds are frontrunners to sign Brighton’s former Huddersfield midfielder, 27, Leeds Live reports.

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