Deals not done: Saudis now targeting youth, Man City still hunting for gap fillers

Football money

August 24 – Talented young Celta Vigo midfelder Gabri Veiga looks set to agree a transfer to Saudi Arabian side Al-Ahli following the breakdown of a move to Italian champions Napoli earlier this week.

The 21-year-old was a key part of Celta Vigo’s side last season, scoring 11 and assisting 4 in his debut year at the club, which has earned him a market valuation of €30 million according to Transfermarkt.

He is the first major young player to opt for a move to Saudi Arabia, who so far have targeted high-profile but ageing players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Neymar.

The rumour has sparked a fierce reaction from European football fans and players alike: Real Madrid and Germany Midfielder Toni Kroos left a scathing comment underneath Fabrizio Romano’s instagram post teasing the move, labelling it “embarrassing”.

Wolves and Portugal international midfielder Matheus Nunes has agreed personal terms with Manchester City ahead of a €50 million transfer that could be confirmed as soon as this weekend. The 24-year-old comes in as the Citizens look to bolster their midfield options after Kevin De Bruyne was ruled out until 2024 with injury and the club backed out of a move for West Ham playmaker Lucas Paqueta this week.

Eberechi Eze of Crystal Palace is also linked linked to the treble winners as a direct alternative to previous target Paqueta.

Manchester City retreated from the prospect of signing Paqueta after the FA opened an investigation into the player for spot fixing. 25-year-old Eze has impressed since signing for the Eagles from championship side QPR in 2020, and has established himself as one of the most exciting players outside of the top six.

Tottenham are reportedly preparing an offer for Wales and Nottingham Forest attacker Brennan Johnson in the region of £40 million. The 22-year-old Wales international had an impressive Premier League debut season last term, notching eight goals and three assists whilst playing for a Forest side in the heat of a relegation dogfight.

Able to play both on the wing and as a striker, Johnson would bring some much-needed efficiency to the Spurs attack. It is likely that Johnson would play on the right wing to allow Richarlison to adapt to the 9 position abandoned by Harry Kane, who transferred to Bayern Munich for €100 million earlier this month.

Fulham are eyeing a move for Juventus striker Moise Kean. The 23-year-old, who has 4 caps for Italy, would be a direct replacement for Saudi-bound Aleksandar Mitrovic. Having struggled in his last stint in the Premier League for Everton, in which he scored two goals in 32 games in 2019/20, the player could look to revive his Premier League reputation after succeeding in France and Italy for PSG and Juventus respectively.

With the player currently playing second fiddle to Serbia striker Dusan Vlahovic and a move to bring Romelu Lukaku to Turin increasingly likely, fans can expect Fulham to have a good chance at getting their man.

Sheffield United are closing in on Aston Villa and England U21 striker Cameron Archer after he impressed in the U21 Euros last month. The club were left a little short-staffed after Senegalese starlet Iliman N’diaye opted for a return to his childhood club Marseille in July, much to the dismay of the Blades’ faithful. Archer has struggled for minutes this season behind Ollie Watkins and new signing Moussa Diaby, but shows plenty of potential and will appreciate the opportunity for more playing time.

Joao Cancelo’s move to from Manchester City to FC Barcelona is inches away from being finalised as super agent Jorge Mendes flies to the Catalan Capital. The Portuguese international spent the back-end of last season on loan with FC Bayern, who opted against paying the €60 million option in the deal to make the move permanent. The player’s relationship with Manchester City bizarrely crumbled during the 2022/23 season, after a successful stint at the club earned him a place in the World Team of the Year 2021 for the left back position.

The player has a market value of €50 million, but a move would likely cost less due to the player seeking a move and Manchester City’s willingness to let him leave.

Contact the writer of this story, Harry Ewing, at moc.l1702078078labto1702078078ofdlr1702078078owedi1702078078sni@o1702078078fni1702078078