Rudy's Rumour Mill: De Gea to make a return as Manchester United crank up activity

Could David de Gea be making a return to the pitch soon?
Could David de Gea be making a return to the pitch soon?Profimedia
David de Gea is ready to return to the pitch, Manchester United are set to finalise two important signings, and Pepe could be moving to Saudi Arabia. Here are some of the main stories over the last few days from the transfer market from Tribal Football's transfer expert Rudy Galetti.

De Gea ready to make a return

David de Gea has been without a team for a year now. After his last match with Manchester United in June 2023 - the FA Cup final lost against Manchester City - the Spanish goalkeeper was linked to various clubs, including Real Betis, Newcastle and Atletico Madrid, but in the end, nothing ever materialized. 

However, his 'unemployed' status could change shortly: Two Saudi clubs, including Al Shabab, have approached him to verify the margins of negotiation for a possible free-agent transfer and explain in detail the proposals designed for him.

On his part, De Gea is keeping fit, training alone, to be able to promptly respond to an opportunity, if he's convinced by the sporting project of one of the clubs interested in him. In recent days there have been constant contacts between the parties, with the Saudi teams trying to put pressure on the Spanish goalkeeper to persuade him to accept. 

De Gea is currently seriously evaluating the proposals received. No definitive choices and no negotiations in an advanced stage, but certainly the option of landing in Saudi Arabia is very real. Feedback from him is expected in the next few days.

AC Milan all in for Morata

Morata has been in good form for Spain at the Euros
Morata has been in good form for Spain at the EurosReuters

After the farewell of Olivier Giroud, who chose to start a new experience in MLS, AC Milan are looking for a striker who can best replace the Frenchman. Out of the race for Joshua Zirkzee, who after many months of negotiations with the Rossoneri is now on his way to Manchester United, the main target for the club coached by Paulo Fonseca has become Alvaro Morata

The captain of Spain, one of the great stars of EURO 2024, a few days ago rejected a rich offer from Al Qadisiya - 45 million euros for 3 seasons - where Nacho recently moved, preferring to stay at Atletico Madrid. However, Alvaro's choice is not definitive yet. At the moment, the striker is completely focused on the European competition and his Spain, but at the end of this appointment, he will make other and further evaluations.

AC Milan are trying to convince him to move to Italy with a three-year contract and salary set at 5 million euros per season, also ensuring him a place in the starting eleven. As well known, Morata loves Italy and is seriously thinking about this proposal. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, personally, is keeping constant contact with the former Juventus player who, with Giroud's farewell, could wear the Rossoneri's number 9 shirt, vacated precisely by the French player.

Pepe preparing for new challenge?

Pepe and Ronaldo could reunite in Saudi Arabia
Pepe and Ronaldo could reunite in Saudi ArabiaReuters

Pepe has been one of the absolute stars of EURO 2024, despite Portugal's elimination in the quarter-finals against France. At 41 years old, the veteran defender fought against much younger players and by playing with strength, experience and determination, he eliminated this gap of age. Now that the European Championship is over for him, the former Porto player has to decide on his future - whether to continue playing and, eventually, where to do it.

For him, a real option is materialising from Saudi Arabia. A few weeks ago, the Saudi Pro League added the centre-back among its potential targets for the summer and now that Portugal is out of EURO 2024 it's ready to meet Pepe, to discuss in more detail the opportunity to land there. 

Last year, Pepe himself said: “I will retire from international football at the same time as Cristiano Ronaldo. As long as he is there, I will be there to help him.” Ronaldo has a contract with Al Nassr until 2025 and is working to extend it by a further year to reach his last great target, participation in the 2026 World Cup. 

Who knows if Pepe will also be there with him? In the next few days, he is expected to meet the Saudi negotiator. Following that appointment, everything will be clearer about his future.

Manchester United closing in on signings

Manchester United are closing in on signing Zirkzee
Manchester United are closing in on signing ZirkzeeProfimedia

Manchester United aim to close the purchase of Joshua Zirkzee this week. The Red Devils informed Bologna on Friday evening that the Dutch striker's release clause will be triggered, given that an agreement with the player has been reached and with his agents, on commissions, is imminent. 

If everything goes according to the plan, the agreement with Kia Joorabchian will be finalised by Wednesday, and then waiting for the end of EURO 2024 for a medical, even if it cannot be ruled out that the first part could already be done in Germany.

Manchester United are also progressing quickly and well in the talks for Matthijs de Ligt. The centre-back is eager to return to work with Erik ten Hag and the finalisation of the agreement with Bayern Munich seems to be imminent, for a figure around £38million plus bonuses.

Lastly, Man Utd are also working on the future of Jadon Sancho and Mason Greenwood. Contacts with Juventus continue for Jadon and his possible move to Italy. The Bianconeri asked for an onerous loan with the option to buy (for around €30million), but United - to date - are pushing to include in the deal a mandatory clause. 

A possible future in Italy also lies ahead for Greenwood, whose negotiations with Lazio continue, based on a figure set at around €20/25million.

Arabian and Turkish interest in Partey

Following last summer's pursuits, Saudi Arabia's interest in Thomas Partey has resurfaced. The Ghanaian midfielder, whose contract with Arsenal ends in June 2025, has been approached by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), indicating their eagerness to negotiate personal terms for a potential transfer this summer.

Thomas, who has expressed a desire to embark on a new journey, is receptive to proposals, much like he was last year when Al Hilal and Al Ahli, both in dire need of a midfielder, made lucrative offers. Ultimately, the Ghanaian - who has also attracted interest from Juventus - opted to remain with Arsenal for another season in hopes of revitalising his career.

Partey didn't play much last season
Partey didn't play much last seasonFlashscore

However, after a challenging and unfulfilling season, he is now anticipated to leave in the upcoming transfer window. Recently, both Galatasaray and Fenerbahce have shown interest in him, but the Saudi negotiators are now aiming to expedite the process to outpace their competitors. Currently, there has been no direct contact with Arsenal. 

The PIF intends to first finalise terms with the player, including identifying the specific Saudi club he would join, before initiating talks with the Gunners, who are open to selling him with only one year left on his contract to capitalise on his departure.


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