Transfer mailbag: Latest from Rice to Arsenal, Kane’s future and what now for Mbappe?

The transfer window officially opened on Wednesday and there has already been activity throughout the Premier League and Europe – most notably England midfielder Jude Bellingham’s switch from Borussia Dortmund to Real Madrid.

To keep track of all the ins and outs this summer, you can follow along Athletics‘s live transfer blog, while our dedicated club reporters will bring you news and analysis on what’s happening in your team.

But we also like to engage directly with our readers and find out what the want to know about what is happening in the world of transfers. So earlier this week we invited our experts to ask questions – and you answered.

Here we have collected the most frequently asked questions together with answers from David Ornstein, Raphael Honigstein and more.

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We had plenty of questions regarding Arsenal, with D asking about Declan Rice and also if the club are targeting any strikers?

David Ornstein: West Ham are ready to sell Rice for what could be a British record fee and over time Arsenal have become favorites to sign him. Personal terms should not be a problem, but the clubs must agree on a price.

As Athletics reported yesterday (Thursday) that Arsenal made an opening bid to sign Rice which was rejected. This development followed talks between Arsenal director Tim Lewis and West Ham counterpart Karren Brady at the Premier League’s AGM. Sporting director Edu and director of football operations Richard Garlick are leading the process for Arsenal.

There is interest from other clubs – not least treble winners Manchester City. They are actively exploring their own approach to the 24-year-old.

Arsenal also want to recruit a more attacking-minded player. They initially targeted Mason Mount, but once it emerged that his preference is to join Manchester United, the focus shifted to another Chelsea player in Kai Havertz. A first proposal has been submitted after contact both between the clubs and with the German international.


Why do Arsenal want Havertz? Where would he fit in? How will he be remembered at Chelsea?

Chelsea want to tie Havertz down to a new contract – his current one expires in the summer of 2025 – or sell him for what they consider an acceptable price. If the 24-year-old stays, there is optimism that he will return to form under new boss Mauricio Pochettino after a difficult season.

However, if an agreement is reached that suits all parties, it is very possible that he will leave Stamford Bridge.

Could Havertz follow Jorginho to the Emirates? (Photo: Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images)

We had a lot of questions, including one from Adrian H, about Manchester United’s transfer business and whether they will sign a new No.9; with David J also asking if the takeover situation has had an impact on their plans…

Ornstein: Signing a new striker is Manchester United’s priority this summer. Manager Erik ten Hag wants Harry Kane, but I don’t think everyone at United feels the same way. Despite Kane turning 30 next month and entering the final year of his Tottenham contract, landing him would still require a hefty fee. Spurs chairman Daniel Levy does not want to sell, and especially not to one of their direct domestic rivals.

As my colleague, Laurie Whitwell, reported on WednesdayUnited have decided not to make an official approach for Kane.

Other options include Atalanta’s Rasmus Hojlund, Eintracht Frankfurt’s Randal Kolo Muani and Napoli’s new Serie A champion Victor Osimhen, although the latter is likely to be out of United’s reach financially. But much will depend on United’s budget, and that will not be helped by the uncertainty of their ownership.

Quite a few people asked about Kylian Mbappe potentially leaving Paris Saint-Germain and the impact it would have on the market – and Gabriel M. specifically asked about the possibility of a move to Manchester United.

Ornstein: It is unclear. If Mbappe stays, there will be no real impact this summer. If he is to go, there will be a big impact. The result is in the air. He sent PSG a letter earlier this week saying he would not extend his contract until 2025, only to then insist he had no interest in leaving this summer.

Let’s say he moves – the first question is ‘Where?’. Real Madrid have been most closely linked, but you imagine there would be competition. For example, teams like Manchester United also need a new striker. Right now, the demand for that position is higher than the supply.

Mbappe’s entry into the market would increase the talent pool and could make it easier for clubs to recruit. But it could also block the way for someone like Harry Kane if Madrid or Manchester United planned to push for him but then choose to focus on Mbappe.

That said, Mbappe’s exit would also free up a spot at PSG and give potential targets an opportunity few of us expected this summer.

There was also interest in James Maddison’s future following Leicester City’s relegation.

Ornstein: Leicester’s relegation and his contract expiring in 12 months means Maddison is likely to move in the summer.

Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur are among those chasing him from the Premier League. Reports suggest Leicester want £60 million ($76.2 million), which potential buyers feel is steep, but I would still expect a deal to be done in this window.

How about a question for our German football expert Raphael Honigstein of Renan F who wants to know how active Bayern Munich will be in this window?

Raphael Honigstein: Bayern’s top priority is a centre-forward. They will only address other needs in the squad once they have found a new No.9 – and that will not cost them much less than €100m (£85.8m).

But there is a good chance they will also be forced to sign a central defender if Lucas Hernandez is sold to Paris Saint-Germain. The France international has told the German champions that he will not renew his contract beyond next season; the same applies to compatriot and fellow defender Benjamin Pavard. There’s a good chance both will leave, freeing up money to reinvest in replacements, as well as a regular midfielder – coach Thomas Tuchel would love a more defensive-minded specialist to complement Joshua Kimmich.

It will be quite a busy summer in the Bavarian capital.

Hernandez could leave Bayern this window (Photo: Christof Stache/AFP via Getty Images)

It’s over to Jacob Whitehead next, who answers this question from Chris C: Are Newcastle targeting two or three elite players or going for more squad depth and not getting carried away by their rapid progress?

Jacob Whitehead: Good question. The mood music has had more key changes than a Whitney Houston ballad, but as Newcastle’s budget has solidified it is understood that manager Eddie Howe wants to add around two elite players who will immediately improve the starting XI before filling out the rest of Newcastle’s needs. with depth pieces.

Those splashy additions are likely to be midfielders, or at least a wide forward/midfielder hybrid, with the cheaper options currently slated as a left-back, a right-back and a development-level striker.

To some extent this approach has been dictated by financial fair play (FFP) – but recent windows have seen Newcastle take risks late in the process, driven by new owner PIF releasing funds and the magic of amortisation. The late signing of Alexander Isak last summer is just one example.

We go to Andrew Jones with the next question. Justin M wants to know: Who are Burnley talking to?

Andrew Jones: Negotiations are now underway for Southampton’s Nathan Tella, following last season’s successful loan move to Burnley. There is expected to be a problem with the price, but there is hope for a compromise.

Chelsea have rejected a £15m bid for Ian Maatsen. Vincent Kompany wants to bring the left-back, another of last season’s impressive loanees, back to Burnley permanently. Chelsea are open to keeping him, while the player himself wants another loan at Turf Moor.

Burnley are also planning to make another bid for Bart Verbruggen, who would replace Arijanet Muric as their first-choice goalkeeper. Kompany is a big fan of the 20-year-old, but they face competition for him. Burnley are also in advanced talks with Lawrence Vigouroux, 29, who was named in the League Two Team of the Season such was his form in goal for title winners Leyton Orient.

There was some interest in Teemu Pukki, who has left Norwich at the end of his contract, so we’ve gone to our resident expert Michael Bailey. Quinton G. asked: Where should he sign?

Teemu Pukki’s camp have remained tight-lipped about what’s next for the Finnish striker. His wife suggested on social media as recently as Wednesday that the family is still deciding where their next chapter lies.

The strongest links have involved the United States, with Minnesota United considered the main contenders. There had been some rumors at the start of May that fellow MLS side Inter Miami could be a viable destination, but even if that was the case, the availability of Lionel Messi is likely to shut that down.

Less likely was an offer from Super Lig side Samsunspor, with Turkey an unlikely destination – but Pukki has yet to rule out staying in Europe somewhere.

The 33-year-old is currently on international duty ahead of two home European Championship qualifiers over the next few days against Slovenia and San Marino. Once they are done, Pukki is expected to make a final decision on his next move.

Do you have a question that hasn’t been asked/answered? We will do this again early next week. Post your question below and we’ll send it to The Athletic’s transfer experts over the weekend.

(Top images: Getty Images)

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