By Tim Stannard
1) Neymar needing breathing space from Barca
This week was going to have go some to beat the previous seven dramatic days in the normally sedate world of the close season which ended with the previously ridiculous concept of Leonardo Bonucci swapping Juventus for Milan. But that could happen.
How is this for starters – Neymar to leave Barcelona for Barcelona?
Sounds nuts but the story is gaining momentum on Monday. The kerfuffle started with a piece in Catalan daily, Sport, suggesting that the parts of the footballer’s entourage wanted to see Neymar move away from Leo Messi’s shadow and make a name for himself elsewhere. A few hours later, the rumor starting raising a few eyebrows bringing PSG into play and the story that the footballer’s father was off to Paris to give off some talks with the Ligue Un giants. Earlier in the day, Barcelona’s Sporting Director Roberto Fernandez to declare that “no club will be able to pay his clause.” Let’s see how far that assertion is stretched over the next few days.
New Barca boss, Ernesto Valverde, was also put through the media ringer on Monday and did reasonably well, answering the many, many, many questions about transfer targets with the response that he was more than happy with what he has in the Barcelona squad. Even Andre Gomes.
Tune into the XTRA at 7PM ET / 4PM for the latest on whether Neymar really is jumping ship.
2) Bale unaware of rumors over Ronaldo
Another stealth story of the summer is whether and whither Cristiano Ronaldo. Is the Portuguese pouter still in a huff about his tax issues and wanting to leave Spain? If not, when he will reemerge with the Real Madrid camp?
On Friday, Marcelo admitted that he had not spoken to CR7, and Gareth Bale is not really much help either, telling Marca that he had no idea. “I only just found out that Lukaku had gone to Manchester United,” admitted the Welshman who has an admirable ability to completely switch off the rest of the world it seems.
The Real Madrid squad are currently tuning up for the season ahead in Los Angeles before embarking on a mini USA tour.
3) Milan still have spending to be done
TRANSFER TRACKER Time!
Milan are pushing the ‘speculate to accumulate’ button to the limit.
Fresh from signing Leonardo Bonucci and Lucas Biglia, the San Siro outfit are now sniffing around Alvaro Morata and Bayern Munich midfielder, Renato Sanches – “but only on our terms,” says the club’s Sporting Director, Massimiliano Mirabelli, as the club’s looks to completely max out its credit line.
And a bit of goalkeeping news. Joe Hart is on the brink of joining West Ham on loan from Manchester City while Wojciech Szczesny is set to seal a deal to swap Arsenal for Juventus to act as back up for Gianluigi Buffon.
Tune into our beIN SPORTS USA Facebook site live at 12:30PM ET / 9:30AM PT for the Transfer Tracker show, a first bite of the day at the silly season strawberry.
4) Federer challenges all-comers after big night out
Roger Federer has gone up one more notch in the hero stakes on Monday. Fresh from winning the men’s Wimbledon title at the age of 35, the Swiss player had a duty to speak to the press in the morning in London, but with a raging hangover. “Got to bed at five, then woke up, and just didn’t feel good,” admitted Federer. “I drank too many types of drinks, I guess.”
The eight-times Wimbledon winner laid down a challenge to his younger opponents but advising them to try attacking the old guard a little bit more. “Almost every player I played here wouldn’t serve and volley,” said Federer.
Top women’s tennis returns to beIN SPORTS screens on Thursday with extensive coverage of the Bucharest Open.
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