Chelsea and Manchester City to resume battle to sign Josko Gvardiol in January, Arsenal fail in pursuit of Douglas Luiz

The battle for Gvardiol is over…for now

Chelsea target Josko Gvardiol signed a contract extension at RB Leipzig on deadline day which ended their summer pursuit of the centre-back. The Croatia international has been the subject of intense interest from the west London club, with reports that Chelsea have offered 90 million euros for his services, despite having already signed the duo of central backs Wesley Fofana and Kalidou Kouliably. RB Leipzig chief executive Oliver Mintzlaff has said he expects Gvardiol to stay at the Bundesliga club for at least two more seasons, but the Evening Standard reveals Chelsea could return with a different approach from the window January transfer. The report also states that Premier League champions Manchester City are also interested in the highly rated 20-year-old.


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Paper Round’s point of view: Looks like Chelsea are on a mission to sign every top defender in world football. Yes – Thomas Tuchel’s side lost Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen this summer. And yes, club captain Cesar Azpilicueta and veteran Thiago Silva are getting older. However, Fofana and Koulibaly were signed for huge fees in the summer, while Marc Cucurella – who can also play as a left centre-back in a back-three – was also signed for huge transfer fees. Do the Blues really need to drop €90m on another promising centre-back? Well, if you have the money, there’s no harm in spending it. And – perhaps more importantly – it could prevent Manchester City from adding another top-class centre-back to their squad.

What happened to “third time is a charm”?

Arsenal’s deadline day pursuit of Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz has come to an end after a late third offer was rejected by Steven Gerrard’s side. Athletic reveal the final offer was worth £25million but Villa ‘remained adamant’ that Luiz is ‘not for sale’. The 24-year-old reportedly expressed an interest in leaving and wanted to join Arsenal, but Villa held on. Luiz’s contract at Villa Park is due to expire next summer and it is unclear whether he will sign an extension with the Premier League club.

Paper Round’s point of view: The failure of the agreement could end in regret for both parties. Villa have apparently signed a potential replacement for Luiz in Leander Dendocker, who has joined in a £15m deal with Wolves. Moreover, the Brazilian might end up leaving the club for free next summer. Arsenal could look back with regret if their defensive midfield injuries continue for a long stretch of the season. Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny have both been injured in recent weeks meaning Albert Sambi Lokonga has been forced to replace the No.6. There are question marks over the quality of the 22-year-old at most high level.

Ajax clings to Kudus

Ajax have rejected a Deadline Day bid worth over £15m from Everton for 22-year-old midfielder Mohammed Kudus. The Dutch club were ‘adamant he’s not for sale’ and immediately dismissed Everton’s approach. The Independent reveal that Ajax believe Kudus ‘will become one of the best midfielders in the world’ and therefore had no interest in allowing him to leave for such a small fee this summer. The Eredivisie side viewed his exit as ‘impossible’ after allowing a number of other first-team players to leave during the summer transfer window.

Paper Round’s point of view: It has been a summer of change in Amsterdam. The club lost their manager to Manchester United and Erik ten Hag took a few players with him to Old Trafford. Antony and Lisandro Martinez weren’t the only high-profile outings. Sebastien Haller joined Borussia Dortmund, Noussair Mazraoui and wonderkid Ryan Gravenberch moved to Bayern Munich and Andre Onana ended up at Inter Milan after his contract expired. Kudus has a promising future and Ajax are clearly taking notice. Another year of development in the Netherlands – and an impressive World Cup for Ghana – could boost his value ahead of next summer.

How Villa ruined West Ham’s deadline day

West Ham United were left with a quiet deadline after failed deals involving exits for Craig Dawson and academy graduate Harrison Ashby. The pair were close to leaving, but failed inbound transfers caused their departures to fail. Many Championship teams and Newcastle were interested in Ashby, but West Ham failed in their bid for Turin full-back Ola Aina. Similarly, the Hammers were forced to end Dawson’s move to Wolves after his supposed replacement Jan Bednarek opted to join Aston Villa instead. To make matters worse, Villa signed Leander Dendoncker from Wolves – a player West Ham wanted to sign on loan.

Paper Round’s point of view: Aston Villa have certainly got their revenge on West Ham after the Hammers inflicted a 1-0 defeat on the Midlands club at Villa Park on Sunday. It may have been a disappointing Deadline Day for the east London club, but overall it was an impressive summer window. The marquee signing of Lucas Paqueta could be a game-changer, while Gianluca Scamacca could finally be the true centre-forward the club dreams of. It was a difficult start for Nayef Aguerd, who joined Stade Rennais, but he could be a huge signing in defense once he returns from injury.


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