Deadline day: Milan land Vranckx, Zidane finds new club and Gueye goes 'home'

By Sports Desk September 01, 2022

Deadline day has seen major transfers aplenty, with clubs across Europe pushing to complete final pieces of business before the window slams shut until 2023.

Barcelona have terminated Martin Braithwaite's contract, the forward widely expected to join Espanyol, while in France, Abdou Diallo completed a switch to RB Leipzig to begin an exodus from Paris Saint-Germain.

Further deals for both clubs are also on the cards, with a frantic end to the window expected in the final hours.

Premier League's power push

PSG's exodus was of benefit to English sides, Fulham signing Layvin Kurzawa on loan and Everton bringing Idrissa Gueye back to Merseyside three years after he left for the French capital. Gueye said: "There is no better feeling than coming back home. I've followed the team every week and watched how they play. For me, there is no better place than Everton so that's why I chose to come back here."

Fulham have also signed former Chelsea and Arsenal playmaker Willian on a free transfer.

Nottingham Forest hit number 19 for the window, drafting in Willy Boly from Wolves, while Southampton saw Jack Stephens move across the south coast to join Bournemouth on loan.

Arsenal's quest for a new midfielder has seen attention turn to Aston Villa's Douglas Luiz, though the Gunners face a stern test with bids reportedly rebuffed from the side they defeated 2-1 on Wednesday.

Chelsea look set to bring one of the long-running sagas of the window to a close, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang poised to join from Barcelona. Marcos Alonso is expected to move to Camp Nou as part of that deal and the Blues may sell Billy Gilmour to Brighton and Hove Albion.

One player not on the move, however, was Joao Pedro as he confirmed he would remain at Watford amid reported interest from Newcastle United and Everton.

Europe's eye for business

On the continent, Julian Weigl moved to Borussia Monchengladbach on loan from Benfica. 

Free agent Florian Grillitsch has joined Ajax, who are said to have turned down approaches from Chelsea and Everton for Edson Alvarez and Mohammed Kudus respectively.

Krzysztof Piatek also departed Germany, leaving Hertha Berlin for Serie A side Salertina, and was followed to Italy by Aster Vranckx, joining Milan on loan from Wolfsburg.

The Serie A champions are not yet finished, with an announcement confirming the capture of Sergino Dest from Barcelona expected imminently.

In Spain, Luca Zidane, son of Zinedine Zidane, joined second-tier outfit Eibar on a free transfer following his exit from Rayo Vallecano and Ilaix Moriba joined Valencia on loan from Leipzig, with Gennaro Gattuso's side also closing in on signing Justin Kluivert from Roma following the collapse of a proposed move to the Premier League.

Real Sociedad were also in on the late action, landing forward Umar Sadiq from Tenerife, the Nigerian likely to be a replacement for Alexander Isak.

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    Cristiano Ronaldo denied on Tuesday that he has agreed to join Saudi club Al Nassr after Portugal's World Cup adventure.

    The striker became a free agent after being released from his Manchester United contract last month and reports have claimed Ronaldo has agreed an extraordinarily lucrative deal to play in Saudi Arabia.

    Suggestions of a bumper contract offer from the Saudi Pro League club emerged last week, with Ronaldo said to be in line to earn well over £100million a year.

    However, the 37-year-old says the reports of him signing a deal with Al Nassr are wrong.

    Speaking after coming off the bench in Portugal's 6-1 win over Switzerland at the World Cup, a rare substitute appearance for his country, Ronaldo was asked about the move.

    "No, it's not true," he told reporters.

    Ronaldo was allowed to leave United after a television interview with Piers Morgan saw him criticise the club's owners and signal his lack of respect for manager Erik ten Hag.

    He said he felt "betrayed" by the club, alleging there were efforts being made to force him out, with his second stint at United ending in a messy break-up less than 18 months after his arrival from Juventus.

    The five-time Ballon d'Or winner may struggle to find a top-tier club in Europe, given his relative decline in form in recent times, compared to his peak years at Real Madrid, and the huge salary he is expected to be seeking.

    The money may be no object in Saudi Arabia, but it remains unclear whether Ronaldo does not fancy that switch, or whether the deal is simply not over the line yet.

    Ronaldo also sent his best wishes to Pele, who is being treated in a Sao Paulo hospital.

    A report in Brazil at the weekend claimed the three-time World Cup winner had entered palliative care following a cancer battle. That has not been confirmed by the hospital, family, or Pele himself.

    There have been a host of fond messages sent to the 82-year-old since concerns were raised about his health, and Ronaldo joined in. According to Record, Ronaldo said: "Get better, get better Pele. Our king has to get better. That's all we want."

  • Joao Felix appears to take swipe at Simeone: 'When conditions are favourable, things go better' Joao Felix appears to take swipe at Simeone: 'When conditions are favourable, things go better'

    Joao Felix appeared to take a swipe at Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone by stating conditions with Portugal are more "favourable" than with the LaLiga giants.

    The Atleti forward has been linked with a move away from the Wanda Metropolitano, with Los Rojiblancos chief executive Gil Marin believing a January exit is "reasonable" to expect.

    Joao Felix has scored 33 goals for Atleti since arriving from Benfica for €126million in 2019 - a tally only bettered by Luis Suarez (34) during that span.

    But the 23-year-old has a frosty relationship with Simeone, with the pair reportedly falling out earlier this season. 

    And he appeared to aim a dig at his club boss after Portugal booked their World Cup quarter-final place with a comprehensive 6-1 rout of Switzerland on Tuesday.

    "The way you play here and at the club are different," he said. "When the conditions are favourable, things go better."

    Joao Felix set up two of Goncalo Ramos' three goals against the Swiss, becoming the third Portugal player to provide two assists in a World Cup game after Jose Torres - against Brazil in 1966 - and Bruno Fernandes - versus Ghana in this tournament.

    He saluted Portugal's most impressive performance so far in Qatar, where he feels confidence and concentration levels are high in Fernando Santos' side ahead of facing Morocco in the last eight.

    "The preparation was the same as the other games," he added. "We saw what was best and worst and played because of that, not losing our identity. We played a great game, perhaps the best so far.

    "We are focused and believe completely in us. I hope it's been shown that we have a great team, we know what we want. We have the support of everyone, and won't be held back."

  • Knockout bow beyond Ramos' 'wildest dreams' but hat-trick hero unsure of quarter-final role Knockout bow beyond Ramos' 'wildest dreams' but hat-trick hero unsure of quarter-final role

    Goncalo Ramos is unsure if he will be picked ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo again in Portugal's World Cup quarter-final after a last-16 experience beyond his "wildest dreams".

    The Benfica striker was a surprise choice from the start in Tuesday's game against Switzerland but justified his selection by hitting a hat-trick in a 6-1 rout.

    The pre-match focus was on Ronaldo's demotion to the bench, but Ramos hogged the limelight once the match kicked off.

    Even starting seemed improbable for the 21-year-old, who made his international debut in November, let alone scoring three times.

    "Not even in my wildest dreams I thought of being in the starting eleven in the knockout stages of the World Cup," Ramos said, but he does not know if he will keep his place for a last-eight meeting with Morocco.

    The forward added to RTP: "These are matters that are not for me. I have to work to the fullest and then you see what's going to happen."

    Ramos was named the player of the match and revealed Ronaldo's support in his post-match news conference.

    "Honestly, in our team, no-one talked about [Ronaldo being dropped]," he said. "Cristiano as captain did as he always does, helped us, encouraged us, not only to myself but to my colleagues."

    The level of Ramos' performance may have come as a shock to some, but not to team-mate Bruno Fernandes.

    "If you've never heard about him, it's because people are not aware of the quality of the Portuguese league," the Manchester United man said.

    "He has been doing really well in the Champions League, first in the group of PSG, so people should be aware of Goncalo, of his qualities.

    "I'm really happy for him, because a hat-trick at his age is a big achievement. But for Goncalo and for everyone else, the most important thing is that we are in the quarter-finals against Morocco."

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