Saturday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup: Witsel to AC Milan, new Ramos bid for Manchester United
Belgian international Axel Witsel is reportedly in discussions with AC Milan over a potential transfer this summer, although there’s still much work to be done.
According to a report by multiple Sky Sports Italia journalists including Gianluca di Marzio, AC Milan contacted Witsel’s father to begin discussions about personal terms. Only once those are completed will AC Milan CEO Adriano Galliani travel to Russia for negotiations with Witsel’s club Zenit St. Petersburg. The original asking price by the Russian club is said to be a solid $44 million.
This news is somewhat surprising considering Tuttosport claimed two days ago that Witsel was not convinced a move to AC Milan would further his career, and that he had become the third high-profile player this summer to ultimately reject the Italian club after Jackson Martinez and Geoffry Kondogbia had come close to deals before telling Milan no. The 26-year-old midfielder has been linked with Manchester United and Chelsea earlier this summer, like just about every top transfer target so far this year has.
Witsel scored four goals in 28 Russian Premier League matches with Zenit this past season, leading them to the league championship. He also bagged a goal against his former club Benfica in the Champions League, and grabbed one more in Europa League play this season. After coming up through the Standard Liege youth system, Witsel has played at Champions League challengers in Benfica and Zenit, which would make his skepticism at joining AC Milan understandable - but he has yet to test himself in a Big Five European league. Milan is also reportedly joining the race for Colombian Carlos Bacca as well.
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In the Premier League, reports are flying through England that Manchester United are prepared to hurl even more cash at Real Madrid for Spanish defender Sergio Ramos. According to a report in The Independent, they have upped their bid to $55.7 million and that Ramos personally told club president Florentino Perez that he would like to have offers for him considered.
Ramos is apparently on vacation in the United States, and Perez has asked that his iconic player take some time to process his future, but the report says the 29-year-old is quite adamant about his desire to consider offers.
Manchester City have been linked to Aston Villa winger Fabian Delph for some time now, but new information could prove costly to his current club. According to a report in The Mirror, Delph’s contract - only renewed as recently as January with his previous deal near expiration - has a dangerously low release clause of just $15.7 million. Having earned a place in the England national team, City could snatch up the 25-year-old and pay what seems to be below market price for an England international.
The report actually would make sense, considering Villa was desperate not to let Delph leave for free in the summer and also did not want to sell him during a relegation battle, therefore it makes sense they would capitulate to including such a low release clause just to make sure he stuck around for the immediate future.
The aforementioned Jackson Martinez, who has been widely reported to be finished with a move to Atletico Madrid, confirmed the transfer himself after Colombia’s heartbreaking loss in the Copa America. “I can confirm I am going to Atlético,” he told Spanish newspaper AS following the loss. “I am going there for four years but I still don’t know when I will be introduced.” It has not yet been made official by his new club.