Transfer deadline day: Saul loaned to Chelsea, Griezmann rejoins Atlético – as it happened

Last modified: 11: 36 PM GMT+0

Antoine Griezmann returned to Atlético Madrid on loan, Saúl switched to Chelsea and Real Madrid signed Eduardo Camavinga

Fabrizio Romano reports that Atlético have an obligation to make the signing permanent for €40m (£34.3m). With Barcelona’s financial crisis arguably the story of this transfer window, this feels like a suitable note to end on.

Griezmann returns to Atlético Madrid on loan

It’s official now – Antoine Griezmann goes back to Atlético on an initial loan deal.

🔴⚪️ #Griezback

Antoine Griezmann is back at Atleti!

— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) August 31, 2021

Catch up with all the summer’s deals with our interactive guide. Go on. It took me ages.

The window is closed in Scotland, and in France too. Celtic are working on a late loan move for Spurs defender Cameron Carter-Vickers, while St Johnstone have loaned in Brighton defender Lars Dendoncker, brother of Wolves’ Leander.

Fabrizio Romano is reporting that the Griezmann deal is done, with Luuk de Jong going to Barcelona from Sevilla.

Documents have been checked and completed. Antoine Griezmann joins Atletico de Madrid, Luuk de Jong joins Barcelona. And… Saúl official to Chelsea, as expected. Waiting for official statements from Atléti and Barça. ⏳🔴 #DeadlineDay


— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 31, 2021

The window is about to close in Scotland and France. Still waiting on Antoine Griezmann news, but it sounds like Barcelona got the paperwork sent in time.

Elsewhere, Michael Obafemi has joined Swansea from Southampton for an undisclosed fee, and Rotherham have snapped up the highly flammable Will Grigg on loan from Sunderland.


Chelsea seal loan deal for Saúl

It’s official: Saúl Ñíguez has joined Chelsea on loan. “Blues fans, I am one of you now and I can’t wait to wear the shirt!” he cheers. But what number, Saúl. What number?

We’re delighted to welcome @saulniguez to the club on a season-long loan! ✍️#HolaSaul 🇪🇸

— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) August 31, 2021

A couple of Ligue 1 deals: Rennes have signed forward Gaëtan Laborde from Montpellier, who have replaced him with Marseille’s Valère Germain. And while PSG have been busy spraying cash everywhere, defending champions Lille have signed left-back Gabriel Gudmundsson from Groningen.

Here’s Andy Hunter on a mixed day for Everton, with Salomón Rondón in but moves for Luis Díaz and Ainsley Maitland-Niles falling short, and Twitch’s James Rodríguez still at the club.

“Couldn’t Ronaldo do something interesting with his shirt number, like √49?” wonders Dave Boland.

Chelsea fans, no need to worry:

Saúl will play for Chelsea Football Club. The deal is done and completed. Here we go CONFIRMED. They’re signing now all paperworks. It’s DONE. 🔵 #CFC #DeadlineDay

— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 31, 2021

PSG have signed Nuno Mendes

The Portuguese full-back has joined on loan for a €7m fee, with an option to make the deal permanent for €40m next summer, according to Fabrizio Romano.

✍️🆕 #WelcomeNunoMendes

❤️💙 #𝑾𝒆𝑨𝒓𝒆𝑷𝒂𝒓𝒊𝒔

— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) August 31, 2021

It sounds like the Saúl loan deal will go through; the hold-up was due to a problem with the Spanish online transfer system. Bring back the fax, that’s what I say.

Sheffield United have had a busy couple of days, and they have added Everton keeper Robin Olsen on loan, right on the deadline. Morgan Gibbs-White, Conor Hourihane and Barcelona winger Álex Collado have also signed up.

In other loan news, Helder Costa has moved to Valencia from Leeds United, Liverpool’s Sheyi Ojo has moved to Millwall and Moisés Caicedo is heading to Beerschot from Brighton.

Saúl and Griezmann deals in doubt?

Sky reporting a late twist in the deals to bring Saúl to Chelsea on loan, and Antoine Griezmann back to Atlético. It sounds like admin issues in Spain mean there’s now a race against time to get the deals over the line. How does this happen every single transfer window?

PSG are about to finish their transfer window with a flourish, signing Nuno Mendes on a loan-to-buy deal from Sporting.

Nuno Mendes paperworks have been signed in time. He’s joining Paris Saint-Germain on loan [€4m] with buy option for €40m from Sporting CP. Confirmed. 🇫🇷🇵🇹 #PSG #DeadlineDay

— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 31, 2021

A couple more loan outgoings at Manchester City, with Philippe Sandler and Patrick Roberts heading to partner club Troyes in Ligue 1. Roberts has been at City for six years, and has made three first-team appearances.

Rafa Benítez just loves Salomón Rondón, doesn’t he? I can see them teaming up in a cop-buddy drama if it doesn’t work out at Everton.

Reunited: Rafa Benítez and Salomón Rondón.
Reunited: Rafa Benítez and Salomón Rondón. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Salomón Rondón joins Everton

Everton have signed Salomón Rondón on a free transfer from Dalian Pro. The 31-year-old has signed a two year contract with the option of a third year.


The English transfer window is closed!

Officially. Our transfer totaliser tells us that £2.6bn has been spent this summer across Europe’s top five leagues – more than half of that (£1.35bn) in the Barclays.

Spurs have now confirmed Serge Aurier’s departure. <Partridge> His contract has been terminated. </Partridge>

Arsenal sign Takehiro Tomiyasu

The fee was agreed this morning, and Arsenal have now confirmed the deal is done. The Japan defender, who can play at right-back or centre-back, joins from Bologna for €18m (£15.5m).

Welcome to The Arsenal, Takehiro Tomiyasu 🇯🇵

— Arsenal (@Arsenal) August 31, 2021


On shirt number swaps, my colleague Luke McLaughlin reminds me that at West Ham, Paolo Futre offered John Moncur a fortnight in his villa for the No 10 shirt.

“I went to John Moncur and said: ‘John, I’m so sorry, you can come to my villa in the Algarve, stay as long as you want, play golf.’ He agreed!” cheered Futre.


Fifteen minutes to go! In England, at least. The Scottish and French windows are still open for another hour. La Liga will shut up shop at 11pm UK time, too. Will Saúl’s loan move get done in time? Probably.


For those of you wondering about Serge Aurier, it seems the right-back is on his way out of Spurs. It may not be tonight, but he’s in talks to cancel his contract, which would free him up to find a new club outside the window.

“You may be interested to know that in US sports, incoming star players often buy off their new teammates to secure the numbers they want,” tweets Neil McGwyre. “A very American, free market way of dealing with things.”

I hope Cavani demands £50, a signed shirt and a crate of hair lacquer.

Over on Sky, reports that Wolves have abandoned late moves for Kieffer Moore and midfielder Boubacar Kamara, who is set to stay at Marseille amid further interest from Newcastle.

Beyond Saúl’s Chelsea loan move and Salomón Rondón reuniting with Rafa at Everton, it’s all a bit quiet in the Premier League. Where are Fulham when you need them?

“I’m pretty happy with what West Ham have done,” writes reddies in the comments. “Clearly Czech Republic and Croatia are the places to shop right now. Slightly disappointed Lingard didn’t come over but I never got the impression he was pushing for the move.”

There’s definitely an Eastern European vibe over at the (East) London Stadium these days.

On new signings taking shirt numbers from other players, Yash Gupta reminds us that Ronaldo has form. “Juan Cuadrado handed his No 7 shirt to Ronaldo at Juve.”

Manuel Lagos points out that the original Ronaldo was involved in a similar incident at Inter. “Roberto Baggio joined in 1998 and wanted the No 10 shirt, so Ronaldo moved to No 9 and Ivan Zamorano had to switch to 18 – with a plus-sign in between. 1+8 = 9”.

Some more on weird shirt numbers here. At least we’ve been spared Kylian Mbappé taking the No 5 shirt at Real Madrid – for now.

Here’s more on what looks the surprise move of the day: Antoine Griezmann heading back to Atlético Madrid.

That caps what I think has been a pretty good window for Palace, who had a big rebuilding job on their hands this summer. It’s far from done but Marc Guehi, Conor Gallagher, Michael Olise and Will Hughes all look like good-value signings. Palace have needed a consistent striker for a long, long time – they’ll be hoping they’ve got their man in Édouard.


Official: Édouard joins Palace

Crystal Palace finally do what their fans have been waiting for and announce Odsonne Édouard, who tells the official club website: “I’m very happy to be here today. I can’t [wait] start to train with the team and to play for this club… Scoring goals in the Premier League may be the biggest challenge in my career. But I’m confident in myself and my teammates to be successful.”


And so it has happened. Héctor Bellerín has left Arsenal to join Real Betis on loan, who seem rather pleased about their capture. A brilliant player at his best – let’s see how he gets on in Spain.


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More Premier League loan outgoings: Leicester defender Sam Hughes has joined Burton, while Newcastle midfielder Rodrigo Vilca has moved to Doncaster.

An update from La Liga: it looks like Antoine Griezmann is leaving Barcelona and going back to Atlético on loan, with a €40m option to buy.

Barça, meanwhile, are working to bring in Sevilla’s Luuk de Jong to partner Martin Braithwaite up front.

Catch up on all the summer moves with our interactive guide:

Here’s more on Real Madrid’s move for Eduardo Camavinga, and failed bid to sign Kylian Mbappé:

File this one under intriguing: Barcelona winger Álex Collado has joined Sheffield United on loan. Elsewhere, Arsenal keeper Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson has been loaned to Leuven in Belgium. His Emirates career looks set to be defined by a calamitous display against Manchester City in the Carabao Cup.

“Is there precedent for anyone getting special dispensation to ‘steal’ a shirt number?” asks Dan Christmas. “I can’t think of any ...”

As with the mandatory loan-to-buys, I’ll throw this one over to you, the readers.

Everton are close to completing Salomón Rondón’s transfer from Dalian Pro but James Rodríguez appears to be going nowhere today.

The move for Luis Díaz was dependent on Rodriguez returning to Porto as part of the deal, so the Colombia winger will not be following the Venezuelan forward into Goodison Park.

Two arrivals at Nottingham Forest: Paraguay midfielder Braian Ojeda and Tunisia midfielder Mohamed Drager have joined on deadline day. No deal for Josh Maja yet, who is also interesting West Brom and Belgian side Mouscron.

And better news for Celtic, as winger João Felipe Jota arrives on a season-long loan from Benfica, with an option to buy. Benfica have also let Carlos Vinícius, once of Tottenham, join PSV on loan.


The chat on Sky is still about Ronaldo’s shirt number. It’s been excitedly pointed out that Daniel James, who joined Leeds today, wore No 21 – Edinson Cavani’s shirt number with Uruguay. As DC1234 points out, Cavani was great towards the end of the last season, and deserves respect:

As a united fan I have very mixed feelings about what Ronaldo's return means for Cavani. The latter was becoming a proper favourite for the way he led the line. He's been sensational. But this thing about the number 7 is particularly galling. Ronaldo has been a 9 for years anyway, and why do we seem so set on putting Cavani's nose out of joint?

Meanwhile Saul Niguez goes to Chelsea while we still have Matic and Fred as first-choice DMs (while McTominay injured).

More from Jacob Steinberg on Chelsea’s deadline day, with the move for Jules Koundé falling flat but a loan move for Saúl set to go through.

West Ham sign midfielder Alex Kral on loan

West Ham have signed Czech midfielder Alex Kral on loan with an option to buy the 23-year-old midfielder. The fee next summer is expected to be €13m (£11.2m).


A couple more Championship deals: Bournemouth have signed Jamal Lowe from Swansea for £1.5m, while Sheffield United have snapped up Wolves’ Morgan Gibbs-White on loan.

“Surely Andy Serkis would play Ole Gunnar Solskjær?” offers John Barnes [presumably not that one]. OK, fair enough. Serkis to play current Ole, Wood to play fresh-faced, Camp Nou ‘99 Ole?

Harry Kane, whose non-move to Manchester City dominated the dog days of this transfer window, has been chatting to TalkSport – and said his “conscience is clear” regarding his summer stand-off with Spurs.

“Anyone involved in the football industry knows the ins and outs and I was calm with the situation,” said Kane. “It was between me and the club – when you know the truth and you know what it going on, your conscience is clear.”

Some breaking news from Scotland: Celtic midfielder Ryan Christie has joined Championship side Bournemouth. With Odsonne Édouard heading to Palace, it’s been a rough day for the Bhoys.

Another one through the door 😏

Ryan Christie is an #afcb player 🤝

— AFC Bournemouth 🍒 (@afcbournemouth) August 31, 2021

News from Scotland: Celtic have signed Greek striker Giorgos Giakoumakis from Dutch side VVV-Venlo. Giakoumakis was the Eredivisie’s top scorer last season, a stat that always brings to mind Afonso Alves.

“Celtic is one of the world’s great football clubs with the best fans around,” Giakoumakis said. “It is a club I have admired for so long and it will now be an honour to wear this famous jersey.”

In other news, Leigh Griffiths has been loaned to Dundee, while Rangers have loaned Cedric Itten to Greuther Fürth and Nikola Katic to Hajduk Split. St Johnstone captain David Kerr is poised for a move to Wigan, with the Saints bringing in Ali Crawford on loan from Bolton.


Barça and Atlético 'in Griezmann talks'

One of the more fanciful moves of deadline day – a return to Atlético Madrid for Antoine Griezmann – appears to be edging closer to reality.

Talks ongoing between Atletico Madrid and Barcelona for Antoine Griezmann comeback. No João Felix or any other player involved, no Dani Olmo for Barça. 🇫🇷🚨 #FCB #DeadlineDay

— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 31, 2021

Fabrizio also reckons that the Jules Koundé deal is 100% off, while Luuk de Jong could join Barcelona.

Jules Koundé deal between Chelsea and Sevilla is now OFF. No agreement, no intention to negotiate and no clause matches. 🚫❌ #CFC #Sevilla #DeadlineDay

— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 31, 2021

Peter Oh suggests the Ronaldo shirt saga could inspire a big-screen Se7en follow-up: “Adam Driver would play Cavani and Tom Cruise Ronaldo.” Elijah Wood as Solskjær?

Wolves look set to hold on to Adama Traoré, according to Sky. They want £50m for the winger, and Spurs have seemingly lost interest. Wolves are trying to bring two players in tonight: Cardiff striker Kieffer Moore and Marseille midfielder Boubacar Kamara, neither of whom are Portuguese.

News on Sky about Cristiano Ronaldo’s shirt number at Manchester United. They are reportedly trying to get ‘special dispensation’ for him to take No 7 from Edinson Cavani, who featured against Wolves on Sunday. It feels like a good time to post this week’s Squires:

Some Manchester City loan outgoings to report: Claudio Gomes is off to Barnsley, fellow midfielder Tommy Doyle has joined Hamburg and striker Pablo Moreno has joined partner club Girona.

Here’s more from Nick Ames on Brighton’s new forward, who will go on loan to Stoke this season. In other news, Albion have let José Izquierdo join Club Brugge on a free transfer.


Today's headlines so far

With just under four hours left until the Premier League window shuts, here are the day’s big stories:

Good news and bad news for Chelsea, according to Fabrizio Romano. A loan move for Saúl is edging closer, but there’s been no progress on Jules Koundé.

Chelsea will pay €5m to Atletico Madrid for Saúl - he’ll be in England in the coming hours to complete his move. Paperworks time between the two clubs. 🔵 #CFC #DeadlineDay

Koundé deal still completely blocked between Chelsea and Sevilla.

— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 31, 2021

Brighton have already signed versatile wide man Marc Cucurella today, and the Seagulls have also spent £6.7m on Senegalese striker Abdallah Sima from Slavia Prague.

Sima was playing in the French fifth tier just a year ago, but he’ll be loaned out. So, where would you send a 6’2” striker who needs to adapt to the English game? That’s right – Stoke City.

Ethan Ampadu has signed a new Chelsea contract and joined Serie A newcomers Venezia on loan, in a deal that sounds like it was plucked from the Deadline Day Random Deal Generator.

While we’re on the subject of Emerson Royal, being named after your resemblance to jelly isn’t the best sign for a defender but in fairness, it was a while ago.

Emerson Royal is called 'Royal' because, as a child, his aunt said he resembled the mascot of the Gelatina Royal sweets (very popular in South America).

— Colin Millar (@Millar_Colin) August 30, 2021

Spurs confirm Emerson Royal arrival

Tottenham have confirmed the €30m signing of Emerson Royal from Barcelona, shortly after a teaser tweet that is very deadline-day rush job:

— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) August 31, 2021

Never mind Mbappé: here’s the move we’ve all been waiting for:


— Philip Hall (@cordial_accord) August 31, 2021

Real Madrid’s big-money move for Mbappé was surprising because of La Liga’s well-documented financial issues. On that theme, Barcelona have finally been able to register Sergio Agüero today after both Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba accepted salary cuts.

“The salary reductions for Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, two of the four first-team captains, signed this Tuesday have allowed FC Barcelona to achieve two objectives: the registration of Sergio Agüero with the Spanish Football League (LFP) and to extend the club’s limit with regards to financial fair play regulations,” a statement said.


Sky’s Kaveh Solhekol claims that Real Madrid offered in excess of €200m for Kylian Mbappé, but didn’t get a response from PSG and have now pulled the plug. He expects Mbappé to sign a pre-contract agreement in January, and join Real for free next summer. Cripes!

Over on Sky, they’ve just said that the Kylian Mbappé deal is OFF. They then head over to roving reporter Gary Cotterill, who is out in Strasbourg watching Mbappé train with the France squad. He looks a little crestfallen – Cotterill, that is.

Leicester sign Ademola Lookman on loan

Done deal! As expected, Leicester have signed RB Leipzig winger Ademola Lookman on loan. Here’s what the former Everton and Fulham man had to say:

“I’m delighted to be here. It’s a great honour to be at such a big and amazing club with such a huge history and a quality group of players.

“The facilities are incredible. It’s pretty mind-blowing and I just can’t wait to get to work here. I think environment is very important for a player, so this is the right environment for me to work hard every single day and to help my craft be even better.”

The transfer window has closed in Germany, and one deadline-day move of note has seen Wahid Faghir, the Danish teenager dubbed “the new Zlatan”, join Stuttgart from Vejle for around €5m. Faghir was born in Vejle after his parents fled Afghanistan back in 2003.

Elsewhere, striker Sam Lammers has joined Frankfurt on loan from Atalanta and Hoffenheim have borrowed USA centre-back Chris Richards from Bayern Munich.


The Guardian is reader-funded. We have no billionaire owner or proprietor who can censor what we write about, so we are entirely independent. We are also free from a paywall, and everything we write is open and available for all. But we rely on contributions from readers to keep us going. If you’d like to support our journalism, from as little as £1, you can do so here.

Liverpool centre-back Rhys Williams has signed a new five-year contract with the club and joined Swansea City on loan.

Defender Nat Phillips and captain Jordan Henderson have also extended their contracts on deadline day.


Spotted: Andrea Pirlo is out and about in central London. Imagine the stir this would have caused a decade ago ...

London calling

— Andrea Pirlo (@Pirlo_official) August 31, 2021

It looks like PSG will add another signing to their already bumper summer window:

Nuno Mendes to Paris-Saint Germain, HERE WE GO! Loan with buy option for €40m, personal terms agreed. Loan fee will be €7m. Five years contract. 🇵🇹🇫🇷 #PSG #DeadlineDay

Paperworks to be signed with agent Miguel Pinho in the next hours. Sporting & PSG also in talks for Sarabia.

— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 31, 2021

“If Crystal Palace seal the Édouard deal, I suppose the Eagles would become Odsonne favourites to avoid relegation this season,” notes pun king Peter Oh.

Real Madrid sign Eduardo Camavinga!

The chances of a deadline-day move for Kylian Mbappé may be fading, but Real Madrid have secured one supremely talented Frenchman today. Teenage Rennes midfielder Eduardo Camavinga has joined for a €31m (£26.6m) fee.

🤍 #WelcomeCamavinga 🤍
👉 @Camavinga

— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) August 31, 2021

What’s going on at Barcelona today, then? After earlier rumblings of a move for Edinson Cavani faded away, there’s been talk of a (highly ambitious) swap deal with Atlético involving João Félix and Antoine Griezmann. Now it seems they’re trying to sell Griezmann outright to Atlético.

One Barça player who is out of the door is Ilaix Moriba, who has joined RB Leipzig as the German window shuts. Simple but effective announcement video here:

Welcome to Leipzig, @IlaixMK! 👋#HereWeGoMoriba #DeadlineDay

— RB Leipzig English (@RBLeipzig_EN) August 31, 2021

Reiss Nelson is off to Feyenoord on a season-long loan, the club have confirmed. I’ve also noticed, via the Arsenal Twitter feed, that it’s both Pablo Mari and Cédric Soares’ birthdays today. It could be a big day for cake-based mishaps.

Some Nottingham Forest outgoings from m’colleague Luke McLaughlin: Harry Arter has joined Charlton on loan and forward Nuno da Costa is off to Caen.

Denis Praet has left Leicester for Torino on an initial loan deal, with the option for a £15m permanent move. It never really worked out for him at the King Power.

#lcfc midfielder Dennis Praet will spend 2021/22 on loan at Serie A side Torino, subject to international clearance.

Good luck, Dennis!

— Leicester City (@LCFC) August 31, 2021

My question about mandatory loan-to-buy deals has thrown up two names from a number of readers.

“There’s always Sunderland’s catastrophic loan signing of Ricky Álvarez from Inter which ended in Sunderland being ordered to pay £9m to Inter, and a further £4.7m to Álvarez. It went through the courts for years, and Sunderland never owned the player’s registration,” says Alistair Leadbetter (and others).

Meanwhile Fergus Howell and many others nominate Jean-Kévin Augustin, who joined Leeds from RB Leipzig on a loan-to-buy in 2020.

“Leeds were obliged to buy him for £18m if they were promoted at the end of that season, but due to the Covid hiatus, they hadn’t been by the time the loan expired. They went up eventually and the dispute over whether the requirement to purchase was triggered. First ruling went against Leeds but it is still undecided yet who owes who what.”

Édouard completes Palace medical

Crystal Palace are expected to announce the signing of Odsonne Édouard from Celtic after the French striker completed his medical on Tuesday. Palace also held talks with Arsenal over a deal for Eddie Nketiah but could not agree a fee for the England under-21 striker, with Patrick Vieira understood to have been keen on signing his compatriot instead.

A sizable portion of the £14m fee is due to Paris Saint-Germain after Edouard’s former club included a sell-on clause in his contract. Palace are not expected to make any more additionsdespite interest in Sassuolo’s Jérémie Boga, who is valued at €20m by the Italian club.

“Ah, the nostalgia! Watching the flotsam and jetsam of the wreckage of Fulham’s doomed effort to stay in the Premier League washing around again on deadline day – Lookman, Maja, who will be next?” asks Richard Hirst.

Funny you should ask, Richard. André Zambo-Anguissa is heading to Napoli on loan, while Wolves have been linked with Tosin Adarabioyo.

Callum Hudson-Odoi’s hopes of going to Borussia Dortmund on loan are over. Thomas Tuchel has decided that he doesn’t want the Chelsea winger to leave. Meanwhile Chelsea youngster Tino Anjorin is having a medical before joining Lokomotiv Moscow. The winger will join on loan with an obligation to buy.

Dan James joins Leeds United!

Leeds have confirmed the deal in the last few minutes. As we reported yesterday, it’s a permanent move for a fee in the region of £24m. He seems like a very good fit for Marcelo Bielsa’s side.

✍️ #LUFC is delighted to 𝘧𝘪𝘯𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 confirm the signing of Dan James

— Leeds United (@LUFC) August 31, 2021


“I was wondering if you could shed any light on the current trend for clubs to loan a player with a mandatory buy clause?” asks Karl Gibbons. “Surely if it is mandatory, like Spartak’s Melezhikov has said about West Ham’s move for Kral, then it is not actually a loan? I’m guessing it something to do with accounting and FFP.”

Pretty much, yeah. Mandatory purchases normally go through the following season, so it spreads the cost of transfers out. You also get optional purchase clauses, or deals that become obligatory when a player reaches certain targets (games played, relegation avoided, etc.)

I can’t think off the top of my head of a mandatory loan-to-buy that ended in legal wranglings, but I’m sure there have been some. Let me know!

It’s deadline day in the Football League, although done deals are still a little thin on the ground. Slovenia striker Andraz Sporar has joined Middlesbrough on loan, while Josh Maja is expected to join Nottingham Forest from Bordeaux today.

My favourite rumour is that Andy Carroll could join Reading on a free. The Royals are under an embargo but have brought in free agents Scott Dann and Alen Halilovic, plus Danny Drinkwater and Abdul Rahman Baba on loan from Chelsea. Could be interesting.

Manchester City could really use a new left-back, and Nuno Mendes has seemed the most likely target this summer – could it happen today? City rarely splash out on deadline day, save for a regrettable £40m outlay back in 2012.

Sporting are open to sell Nuno Mendes in the next few hours. His agent Miguel Pinho has been in touch with Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City in the last minutes. 🔴🇵🇹 #PSG #MCFC

Sporting want €40m to complete the deal today. Let’s see what happens.

— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 31, 2021

I’m hearing that Saúl’s loan move to Chelsea could be back on. Reports in France have suggested that Atlético are moving for PSG midfielder Pablo Sarabia, which could free up Saúl to move to Stamford Bridge.

Thanks Luke, and hello everyone. Seven more shopping hours until the English transfer window closes at 11pm (all times BST).

In Scotland, they have an extra hour to get deals done. Germany shuts at 5pm, Italy at 7pm, with Spain and France closing at 10pm. Here we go!

This just in from Jacob Steinberg, on West Ham’s move for Alex Kral:

“Spartak Moscow general director Evgeny Melezhikov: “Kral is leaving. We had different options for him. We agreed on all terms with West Ham. It will be a paid loan with a mandatory purchase option.””

And on that note, I will hand you over to Niall McVeigh, to steer you through the next few hours of transfer madness. Bye for now.


If anyone remembers the 2005 film Goal, the hero was Santiago Muñez, played by Kuno Becker, a young striker who made it big at St James’ Park. Now, in what seems like fate, Newcastle have signed a Mexico Under-23 striker called Santiago Muñóz on loan from the Mexican club Santos Laguna.

Born over the United States border in Texas, the 19-year-old will spend what is essentially a season-long trial under the watchful eye of Steve Harper, the head of Newcastle’s academy, and will play for the Under-23s. Meanwhile Steve Bruce is not overly optimistic about any senior signings - although he does want to reinforce his midfield with the loan acquisition of Leicester’s Hamza Choudhury. Choudhury, though, has alternative options and the chances of the deal happening are rated at around 50/50.

Seems like things have gone a little quiet on the done deals front. Sky Sports News have just revealed that Cristiano Ronaldo has returned to Manchester United.

Emerson Royal is said to be having a medical with Tottenham, so watch out for an announcement on that.

Meanwhile, in Sheffield ... Saido Berahino IN at Wednesday!

We are delighted to announce the permanent signing of @SBerahino! 🦉 🖊️#swfc

— Sheffield Wednesday (@swfc) August 31, 2021

Reports now emerging that Chelsea’s loan deal for Atlético’s Saúl Ñíguez is very much on, having previously considered to be very much off.


Dominic Revan of Aston Villa has joined Northampton Town of League Two on loan. The 2o-year-old defender has already had a loan spell at Weymouth in the National League this year.

Good luck, @DominicRevan17! 👊

— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) August 31, 2021

There are still some rumblings that Kylian Mbappé could leave Paris Saint-Germain before the end of the day. Lionel Messi, of course, made his PSG debut on Sunday night, coming off the bench in a 2-0 win against Reims.

Here is Eric Devin on what Messi’s arrival means for the World Cup winner Mbappé:


Wolves’s loan move for Renato Sanches is in the balance with the club struggling to agree a fee with Lille for a permanent option for the midfielder. Bruno Lage would like to add the Portugal international to his squad, despite the 24-year-old being unavailable until the end of September after knee surgery. (PA)

Renato Sanches playing for Portugal.
Renato Sanches playing for Portugal. Photograph: Sergio Ruiz/Pressinphoto/REX/Shutterstock


Here’s a cracking three minutes of content: A video round-up of some of the best new signing announcements in football from various clubs over the past few weeks.

All of which makes me wonder, what kind of epic can we expect from the media team at Manchester United following Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival? OK, there’s this, but there will be more:

Run. It. Back.

@Cristiano#MUFC | #RonaldoReturns

— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 31, 2021

Thanks to Chris Evans on Twitter for this:

Medley (Arsenal > Oostende), Theate (Oostende > Bologna), Tomiyasu (Bologna > Arsenal).


@LukeMcLaughlin the Tomiyasu deal to Arsenal completes a nice centre back triangle. @kvoostende signed young Arsenal CB Zach Medley and then sold the excellent Arthur Theate to Bologna, who have now sold Tomiyasu to Arsenal.

— Chris Evans (@traviscut) August 31, 2021

Ademola Lookman is having a medical at Leicester now so that deal looks to be going ahead. The former Charlton and Everton forward is on the books at RB Leipzig, and will join Brendan Rodgers’ side on loan. He was of course on loan at Fulham last season, too.

Ademola Lookman of Fulham.
Ademola Lookman of Fulham. Photograph: Simon Dael/BPI/REX/Shutterstock


Not transfer news, exactly, but anyway:

West Ham United striker Michail Antonio’s fine start to the Premier League season has been rewarded with a first call-up to the Jamaican national team. The 31-year-old is the top-scorer in the Premier League with four goals from West Ham’s first three games.
“(Antonio’s) form has been rewarded with his first international call for (Jamaica), who are aiming to qualify for their first World Cup finals tournament since France 1998,” the club said in a statement. Jamaica play Mexico, Panama and Costa Rica in the next two weeks, though Antonio will be only available for the home game against Panama on 5 September due to the other two countries being on the UK’s Covid-19 red list. (Reuters)

Eduardo Camavinga, a much-talked-about player in recent weeks, has reportedly signed his contract with Real Madrid, sealing a move from Rennes of Ligue 1. He will cost 31m plus add-ons. One less player for Tottenham to worry about when they face Rennes in the Europa Conference League.

A couple of stories from earlier today for you to catch up on.

West Ham have completed the signing of Nikola Vlasic from CSKA Moscow for €30m (£25.7m), with up to €9m in add-ons, and are trying to sign Spartak Moscow’s Alex Kral on loan. Jacob Steinberg reports:

Plus! Fabrizio Romano again on Arsenal’s purchase of Takehiro Tomiyasu from Bologna:

Here’s our latest hit of transfer news via Ed Aarons and Fabrizio Romano:

And another from Fabrizio: Fulham’s André-Frank Zambo Anguissa will join Napoli in Serie A on loan, with an option to buy for the Italian club.

Zambo Anguissa joins Napoli from Fulham, done deal and confirmed. Loan with buy option for €15m. ⚪️🤝 #FulhamFC #Napoli #DeadlineDay

— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 31, 2021

The top news currently on Napoli’s website, however, is that the former Arsenal gloveman David Ospina is 33 today. Happy Birthday to him.


Update from Fabrizio Romano on Koundé. At the moment, it looks like very much the asking price will be too high for Chelsea’s liking:

Jules Koundé and Chelsea deal is considered “more than complicated” by all parties involved. Sevilla have absolutely NO intention to negotiate. It’s release clause or nothing - and Chelsea have not communicated any intention to pay the clause yet. 🔵🚫 #CFC #Sevilla

— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 31, 2021

As Daniel reported earlier, Joe Wicks lookalike Marc Cucurella has signed for Brighton from Getafe. Do you want to watch a video of him doing keepy-uppys in ripped jeans before giving a thumbs up to camera? You got it:

He's HERE. Welcome, @Cucurella3! 🇪🇸

— Brighton & Hove Albion (@OfficialBHAFC) August 31, 2021

Wales have been forced to make alternative travel arrangements for Daniel James to join them in Finland as the Manchester United winger closes in on a move to Leeds. The 23-year-old James left the Wales squad on Tuesday to have a medical at Elland Road before completing a £24m transfer.

Wales play a friendly against Finland in Helsinki on Wednesday, before 2022 World Cup qualifiers against Belarus and Estonia, and interim manager Robert Page said James will rejoin his squad ahead of that game after his transfer is completed. “He was on camp and I have to be flexible with the players,” Page said. “I can’t say he can’t leave. We’re still waiting to find out what’s happening with that situation, but he’ll be rejoining the camp and will be in Finland. There’s not enough time to get him back into the camp from where he is. So we’ll make other arrangements and the most important thing is he is with us.”

Page added that other members of his squad may be affected by deadline-day transfer activity but Wales would enforce a cut-off point before travelling to Helsinki. “We might get a couple of calls now, but there comes a point when we’ve got to think of ourselves and think what’s best for the players,” he said. “We’ve got two big World Cup qualifiers coming up and a friendly. We’re travelling this afternoon and there’ll come a cut-off point when we say enough is enough.” (PA)

Re: that potential Jules Koundé move to Chelsea from Sevilla, here are those Monchi quotes in full: “There’s been a lot of talk about moves made for Jules, the majority of which were rejected by the player, but if there was one club he liked the look of, it was Chelsea,” Monchi said today. “The first and only formal offer we got from them was last Wednesday, around five o’clock, but it was an amount that wasn’t to our liking, and it was also on the premise that Chelsea were able to sell a player too ... it wasn’t enough in terms of conditions or quantity.

“I spoke to the player’s agent a while back because as the end of the window draws nearer, the harder it is for a player to leave. We gave them until the 20th, but we listened to this offer even though it arrived on the 25th. We went back to them with a counter-offer that expired last Friday night, and they didn’t reply and haven’t contacted us since. There was a formal offer made by Chelsea and a formal rejection by Sevilla, that’s all there is to it.”

Translation: Please check down the back of the sofa for a few more quid, Chelsea, and he’s all yours.

(Quotes via Reuters)


Scotland latest:

Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths has joined Scottish Premiership rivals Dundee on loan until the end of the season. Griffiths, 31, who spent 18 months at Dundee before joining Wolves in 2011, has not appeared for Celtic under new manager Ange Postecoglou. He joined Celtic from Wolves in January 2014 and has scored over 100 goals for the Glasgow club. He has scored four goals in 22 appearances for Scotland. (PA)

A very Covid-19 era photo of Leigh Griffiths, who has signed for Dundee on loan from Celtic.
A very Covid-19 era photo of Leigh Griffiths, who has signed for Dundee on loan from Celtic. Photograph: Stuart Wallace/BPI/REX/Shutterstock


Speaking of Arsenal and wasted talent (or was he always just vastly overrated?) Jack Wilshere has gone to Italy to train with Como, who play in Serie B. According to our friends at Sky Sports News, Dennis Wise has sorted it out, as he’s a technical director at the Italian club.

Como is delightful, as you probably know, and only an hour or so on the train for Milan.

Lake Como.
Lake Como. Photograph: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

Thanks for some interesting responses on The Arsenal Question:

@LukeMcLaughlin young guys need to be put in a position to succeed. As Arsenal's core players have regressed or left, the pressure has increased, resulting in young guys forced into roles without sufficient support or being left out entirely in favour of more tested veterans.

— Giacomo Dugliese (@DougieGordie) August 31, 2021

And secondly:

“In answer to the point raised by you and @Darrenwinter, the answer to Arsenal’s struggles to develop youth players is quite simply game time,” writes David Spencer. “Saka and Smith-Rowe played regularly last season and impressed. Maitland-Niles and Nketiah didn’t play and so didn’t get the chance impress. Willock’s form at Newcastle shows what these guys can do when they get a run of games. You can’t find form when you only get 10 minutes off the bench every other game.

“With a season out of Europe and the chances of pushing for the top four looking gone already, this is the season to blood these players. Maitland-Niles should stay and play right back, Nketiah needs starts up front, Martinelli likewise in midfield. Arsenal have all this talent but instead choose to spend money unnecessarily on the likes of Tomiyasu. He may help sell shirts in Japan, but like Rio Miyachi and Junichi Inamoto before him, is he really going to trouble the first team for any length of time? I have my doubts.”


Burnley sign Wales defender Connor Roberts

Breaking news: Burnley have signed the Wales international defender Connor Roberts from Swansea. The 25-year-old has signed a four-year deal and the fee is undisclosed. He’s been on the books at Swansea since 2015, including loan spells at Yeovil, Bristol Rovers and Middlesbrough and has 30 caps for Wales.

The Burnley chairman Alan Pace said: “On behalf of everyone at Burnley Football Club, we are delighted to welcome Connor to Turf Moor. “It’s great to add another player with strong international experience to our squad and provide an opportunity for Connor to play Premier League football again having provided outstanding service to Swansea and impressed on the international stage with Wales.”

✍️ Swansea City can confirm @ConnorRobs has joined @BurnleyOfficial for an undisclosed fee, subject to international clearance.

Full story 👉

— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) August 31, 2021


Scotland latest: Ross County have signed forward Alex Samuel from Sky Bet League One side Wycombe on a two-year deal. Samuel, 25, who helped Wycombe win promotion to the Championship in 2020, has made two Carabao Cup appearances for the Chairboys this season. County boss Malky Mackay said: “At 25, he is a great age experience-wise, has been part of a successful promotion winning team, and played at a really good level in the English game.” The club later confirmed that their striker Oli Shaw had joined Scottish Championship side Kilmarnock for an undisclosed fee. Shaw, 23, who joined County from Hibernian in January 2020, scored nine goals in 41 appearances in all competitions for the club. (PA)

Plenty of potential moves are still in the pipeline. Salomón Rondón to Everton or West Ham. Héctor Bellerín from Arsenal to Real Betis. Hamza Choudhury to Newcastle on loan and Ademola Lookman to Leicester. All are possible.

Meanwhile, somewhere in Beckenham or Norwood, Celtic’s Odsonne Édouard is having a medical at Crystal Palace, so Patrick Vieira looks on course to boost his attacking options for the Premier League season ahead.

This is an interesting question. Why do so many players – young, up and coming stars and more established performers alike – seem to go backwards after signing for Arsenal? Answers on a postcard, please.

@LukeMcLaughlin Tomiyasu's move is an interesting one. Martinelli looks good in sporadic flashes, but who was the last young player Arsenal bought and actually improved? Maybe Oxlade-Chamberlain in 2011, perhaps?

— Darren 🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍⚧️ (@darrenmwinter) August 31, 2021


It’s safe to say that this transfer deadline day is a lot, lot busier than the one in January, when Ozan Kabak to Liverpool on loan was pretty much the only thing happening, and a well-known satellite sports news channel played footage of the defender in a car park, somewhere in Germany, on loop for about eight hours.


Our resident cartoonist, David Squires, on the thrill of transfer deadline day, PSG (the absolute LADS) and Michy Batshuayi in a cape:

“Amidst all the right-back transfers, Matt Doherty seems somewhat lost,” emails Yash Gupta. “He didn’t have a good season but still I think there is a player in him. When Nuno came, I thought Doherty might benefit, yet he is on the sidelines again. He was good at Wolves and can pass the ball very well. Yeah, there is an issue about his pace, but a squad has different types of players. Is it more about the transfer deadline or maybe Nuno now doesn’t fancy him at Spurs?”

Confirmed: Arsenal sign Takehiro Tomiyasu

Thanks Daniel and good afternoon, everyone. I’m here to apply a touch of WD40 to the transfer window’s hinges before it slams shut tonight.

Hot off the press from Fabrizio Romano: the deal to take Takehiro Tomiyasu to Arsenal is done:


And with that, my watch is is over. Here’s Luke McLaughlin to take you through the next bit.

“I’m a bit confused by all the negative responses to Arsenal spending a lot on promising young players,” emails Aden Jamal. “Is that not a good strategy? We laud Dortmund for doing the same ... Arsenal have spent close to the amount they spent on Auba and Laca on like a billion promising young players, which I would argue is quite good. They aren’t gonna improve the first team this season, but over the next few seasons I think they’ll be able to look back at this as a good window (which seems ridiculous, considering the mess they’re in currently - but hey, that’s football I guess?)“

The difference with Dortmund is that they buy blue-chip prospects, which I don’t think is quite so of those who’ve gone to the Emirates. It’s fair to say that Arsenal are planning to be good in a year or two, not right now – for what it’s worth, I wrote about that in my preamble to the Chelsea game – but I don’t look at their squad now and see that as likely.

Juventus have completed the signing of Mohamed Ihattaren from PSV, done deal and confirmed. He’s leaving on loan with Sampdoria pushing. 🇳🇱 #DeadlineDay

— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 31, 2021

“I simply can’t wait (but know I will have to) to see what loan gems Nigel Pearson will bring in to help Bristol City’s promotion push – clearly on after we beat Cardiff away in the Severn derby,” says Rick Harris. “In the meantime, and in answer to my earlier question of ‘All quiet on the Etihad front?’, City could snap up either Barca-bound Edinson Cavani, or far more likely Anthony Martial – neither of who are needed at Old Trafford now Jesse Lingard has come home from his brief flirtation with the bright lights of London. Neat business to offload Dan James to Leeds to more than cover the cost of the incoming Ronaldo, and Cavani leaving solves the CR7 shirt number problem.”

I’d actually be interested to see how Martial did under Guardiola, but there’s not a chance United would sell him to City.

We’ve not heard much about Eduardo Camvinga so far today, but there seems a decent chance he’ll leave Rennes for Real Madrid. He’s only got a year left on his deal so won’t be that dear, and will be worth double whatever the fee is the moment that he signs (if he signs).

A Spanish journo tells Sky that Emerson Royal isn’t as technical as Dani Alves – who is? – but is fast and strong, so well-suited to the Premier League.

Couple more Bellerín snippets: he’s taking a pay-cut to move to Betis, and there’s no option to buy as part of the deal.

Hector Bellerin at Arsenal training last week.
Hector Bellerin at Arsenal training last week. Photograph: David Price/Arsenal FC/Getty Images


I wonder how Pochettino will adapt his style of play to strikers not given to pressing – does he ask his midfield to chase like mad, or implement a slower, more possession-heavy strategy?

On Sky, they’re now talking about “transfer window winners”. Wild idea this, I know, but how about we wait to see how the players play before deciding?

“Tomiyasu is one of Japan’s best young prospects,” tweets Leo Thazane. “There has been loads of praise for Kubo (and rightfully so) but Tomiyasu is the standout player in the Japanese defence and one to keep an eye on. He’s best played at right-back but can cover for centre-back too.”

Thanks for that – Arsenal will need him to get going right away.

Tim Vickery has just told Sky that West Ham – as well as Everton are interested in Salomon Rondon.

Sevilla sport director Monchi: “Jules Koundé has chances to leave the club if some club will pay the release clause. Chelsea made a bid last week but we didn’t like it”. 🚨🔵 #Sevilla #CFC

Koundé release clause is around €75/80m. Sevilla have no intention to negotiate.

— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 31, 2021

Sevilla director Monchi: “If there isn't an offer which we feel we can reinvest well, then it won't be accepted. Koundé knows that and he’s a fantastic professional. We had a deadline on August 20 but we received the bid on August 25… and we turned it down”. 🔵 #CFC #Sevilla

— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 31, 2021


“Tomiyasu is a right-back, can play as a right centre back in a back three but is more suited to tucking inside to form aback three while the opposite full-back bombs forward,” says Yash Gupta. “He’s also versatile and smart in terms of positional play. Tottenham had been linked with him for whole summer until Tanganga pocketed Sterling and Grealish. Now we have four right-backs and can’t shift anyone else, so small club Arsenal have gone for him. Bit worried he has joined them but I believe in Arteta.”

Morgan Gibbs White will be going on loan from Wolves to Sheffield United, but Renato Sanches looks unlikely to arrive at Molineux from Lille. That’s a shame, I’d love Sanches in the Premier League.

I liked the look of Dalot when he first joined Man United – he’s strong, fast and decent on the ball. He’s lost his way a bit since then, but as the only deputy right-back United have, he should get a chance to impress because Aaron Wan-Bissaka can’t play every game.

Diogo Dalot will NOT join Borussia Dortmund as Manchester United can’t find a right-back replacement. Understand Atlético Madrid turned down a €21m bid from #MUFC for Kieran Trippier. The Englishman will now definitely stay in Spain. No move in this transfer window! @SPORT1

— Patrick Berger (@berger_pj) August 31, 2021

Sky report that Real Madrid haven’t quite given up on getting Mbappé out of Madrid; Mbappé is with Les Bleus in Strasbourg.

Kylian Mbappe of PSG.
Kylian Mbappe of PSG. Photograph: DPPI/Matthieu Mirville/LiveMedia/REX/Shutterstock


Olympique Lyon are in talks to sign Jerome Boateng as free agent. Direct contacts with his agent. Sevilla and Hertha Berlin are not working on it. 🔵 #OL

— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 31, 2021

Manchester United are on the same position since days. Edinson Cavani is part of the project and if nothing crazy happens, he’s expected to stay. 🔴🇺🇾 #MUFC #DeadlineDay

— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 31, 2021

“I don’t know much about Tomiyasu,” says Jákói Attila, “but his Wikipedia page certainly looks promising (screenshot attached). Looks like the edits have since been deleted.”


More Chelsea and West Ham: “On Chelsea, I should add that Callum Hudson-Odoi’s hopes of going on loan to Dortmund are dependent on Jules Kounde arriving. Hudson-Odoi would be needed as an option at right wing-back. As for West Ham and Kral, there could be a complication in sorting out the midfielder’s medical as he’s currently in Prague on international duty. Czechs have a game on Thursday.”

Chris Lord returns on Maitland-Niles’ training and timekeeping: “There’ve been lots of reports most Arsenal fans will be aware of down the years, this from a year ago via David Ornstein which is as good as proof to me! Yes loan fees and wages off the books is good and could just about understand for a season but not two! Agree about training with the reserves, wouldn’t have done it myself, hope it is a day or two at most as punishment with going public.”

Fair enough – though I find it hard to believe there’s not a solution that’ll suit both parties.

“Any chance Arsenal might bring in another centre-back today?” asks Drew Lundgren. “Just one on deadline day to make eight in the first team is not enough for our 9-1 system.”

Arf. Arsenal’s work this summer is bizarre, a bigger outlay than anyone for only one automatic first-team pick, Ben White.

Rumour latest: Jorge Mendes is trying to move Anthony Martial to Real Madrid. That seems extremely unlikely, though I actually think United could do without him given how many are in front of him for the centre-forward and left-wing roles, along with Anthony Elanga behind him. But you never know.

“On the subject of Daniel James to Leeds, begins Adam Kline-Schroder, “I have not stopped talking about how much of a soft spot I have for him ever since that video of him meeting his new puppy appeared. I do agree with your assessment of his abilities as a footballer and, as you say, with his pace Leeds should be even more fun than they are now. I also think that he improves the quality of the squad as a whole, and adds needed depth – important to note because of the demands of Bielsa’s style and also because he prefers a small squad. Given Bielsa’s penchant for improving players, I would not be surprised to see this move turn out well for all parties. Because of James’ reaction to his puppy and his undeniable talent, I really hope it works out for him!

Here’s the video if you’ve not seen/don’t remember/want to post it to remind my fellow MBM readers.”

Here’s Daniel James, future Man Utd player, getting a nice surprise - a new dog.


— Scott Saunders (@_scottsaunders) June 6, 2019

Ah that’s very sweet.

It doesn’t seem like Kylian Mbappé will leave Paris for Madrid today, so Mauricio Pochettino has one season with him, Neymar and Messi pressing from the front for him.

Takehiro Tomiyasu will move from Bologna to Arsenal for €20m plus €3m add-ons!

Takehiro Tomiyasu to Arsenal, agreement reached and here we go! Personal terms agreed and Bologna will receive €20m plus €3m add ons. ⚪️🔴🇯🇵 #AFC #DeadlineDay

Medical during the afternoon and then official announcement. Here-we-go.

— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 31, 2021

If anyone knows anything about him, get in touch!

“While I agree with you somewhat on Maitland Niles, says Chris Lord, “that he is within his rights to try to take control of his career, he has had off-field difficulties, not the best trainer apparently under each of Wenger, Emery and Arteta, plus bad timekeeping. And he has only just seemed to accept playing RB rather than pushing for midfield. Either way should Arsenal really accept a two-year loan for someone with only two years left on their contract?”

Do we have any evidence on the training and timekeeping? I’m not sure, but even if we do, him wanting to play doesn’t seem unreasonable. As for his contract, some sort of loan fee would seem suitable, or at least, him sent to train with the kids doesn’t seem like the best option for anyone.

Chelsea latest: “I am told that Chelsea’s hopes of signing Saul Niguez on loan from Atletico Madrid are over. Remains to be seen if they can get Jules Koundé from Sevilla but I’m not optimistic about that happening now.”


“Cavani, if he wants to and is willing to take a pay-cut which he probably won’t, can come to Tottenham,” says Yash Gupta. “In the whole Kane saga when Man City showed they’re not serious, it ruined any chance of Vlahovic coming to Spurs. Fiorentina thought it would be smart to double his price as Spurs are getting huge cash and we’re again left with no backup for Kane. Maybe Martial can come though surely United won’t let that happen.”

I doubt Cavani would move somewhere else in the UK as he doesn’t really want to be here at all. At a guess, I’d say most United fans would swap Martial for a midfielder, but Solskjær seems nervous at the thought of only having 68 attackers available to redeem incoherent performances.

Brighton sign Marc Cucurella from Getafe!

He can play left-back or as a wide midfielder and his contract runs until June 2025. He also looks not unlike Joe Wicks.


“Re: Maitland-Niles and footballer’s contracts,” emails James Cleemith, “I’ve wondered recently, can footballers cancel their contract? Any other job you can quit without having anything else to go to. Are footballers contracts different that they can’t do that? Would they have to pay compensation to the club they leave, or be ineligible to play until cancelled the contract had run out?”

A player’s registration is held by their club, I think, so cancelling the contract wouldn’t make any difference as they couldn’t play – something that Colombian teams circumvented during the El Dorado period.

“Are there any noises coming out of Manchester City today?” asks Rick Harris. “Seems strange after all the brouhaha with Harry Kane all summer and last week’s sudden interest in Cristiano Ronaldo that there is no last minute attempt to bring in a decent striker. I know they’ve scored 10 goals in their last two games, but those were against the weakest defences in this season’s PL bar none.”

My guess is that Guardiola will use Ferran Torres there this season, and have another look at things next summer, when Haaland and Lewandowski will be available, because there are no obvious alternatives this.

West Ham latest: “There could be more incomings at West Ham following the signing of Nikola Vlasic from CSKA Moscow. They are looking at bringing in at least one loan before the window shuts and are in negotiations with Spartak Moscow over a deal for the Alex Kral. It’s yet to be determined whether the deal for Kral – a Czech Republic midfielder who obviously knows Soucek and Coufal well – will involve an option to buy or an obligation. Either way West Ham are looking to back David Moyes.”

Chelsea are, according to Sky, still keen on Jules Kounde but Sevilla are unwilling to lower the fee they want, and might still take Saúl from Atletico. A few years ago, I thought he’d be a superstar and it’s not quite happened for him, but he’s still young enough to come again.

Marcel Sabitzer, the world's most notorious jewel thief.

— Who Ate All The Pies (@waatpies) August 31, 2021

Remember when Sir Alex – well, the Glazers – weplaced Wonaldo with Gabriel Obertan, Michael Owen and Antonio Valencia? Losing the league by just one point the following season might be his finest achievement.

One of the great sagas.


— moisESPN (@moillorens) August 31, 2021

Medical ongoing for Reiss Nelson as new Feyenoord player on loan from Arsenal. Paperworks have been completed yesterday night. 🇳🇱🤝 #DeadlineDay

Nelson will sign a new deal with Arsenal until June 2023 before joining Feyenoord. #AFC

— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 31, 2021

I like the look of this move, which I’m guessing is happening because Amad Diallo got injured. There were high hopes for Nelson when he was younger and he’s not quite kicked on, but assuming he gets regular game-time, this is his chance to find himself.

“It feels like Everton and Leicester have done some strange proxy swap-deal between Lookman and Demarai Gray,” emails Edan Tal. “As each club has taken a punt on the other’s unfulfilled potential reject, it feels a shame neither player got more of a chance in the first place.”

The Leicester season-ticket holder I know reckons Gray got enough of a go and was inconsistent, but I feel you nevertheless. My guess is that he’ll be the better of the two.


Héctor Bellerín will be going to Real Betis on loan, with an option to buy. That will, you imagine, trigger the purchase of Tomiyasu from Bologna.

It’s a funny thing, really – United have so many attackers but Solskjær seems unwilling to take any chances. He’s often accused of being a Fergie tribute act as though such thing is bad, but you can be sure that if he was, Jesse Lingard would not have got on the bench when fit because he’d have been forced out just as Wayne Rooney was til David Moyes decided he knew better.

Cavani update, according to Gerard Romero of RAC1: Cavani has said yes to Barca, but United are saying no.

Daniel James is currently having the second part of his medical at Leeds, and that looks a move to suit all parties. James wouldn’t have played much as United and ultimately looks to have too much improving to do to reach the required standard. But he tries hard, takes direction well and has insane pace, so has plenty of scope to establish himself as a good Premier League player.

I guess if that happens, there’s a question as to whether Daniel James + Cavani = Trippier or a holding midfielder. Probably not, but you never know.

According to this, Edinson Cavani is in advanced negotiations with Barcelona which, as per our discussions below, would not be a surprise. On the one hand, United might need his goals, but on the other he’ll be a sub and a rotation player and probably reckons he’ll be happier in Spain.

🔥 CAVANI ES EL NUEVE con el que trabaja el #Barça Negociaciones muy avanzadas con el jugador y trabajando con el Manchester United. Lo estamos explicando en #mercatojijantes #mercato

— Gerard Romero (@gerardromero) August 31, 2021

Rey Manaj deal between Barcelona and Spezia will be completed today. More details: it’s gonna be a loan with buy option. Personal terms agreed - final details between clubs. Done and confirmed. ⚪️🤝 #FCB #DeadlineDay

— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 31, 2021

The Athletic’s Ornstein now reports that Maitland-Niles will talk to Arteta today and ask to leave for Everton. He’s 24 now, so really does need to play – you can understand his fear that his career is running away from him.

Sky Germany reckon Dortmund are still hopeful of loaning Callum Hudson-Odoi from Chelsea – the player is keen – but negotiations are hard. The move seems to make a lot of sense though, and I hope it goes through.

Everton latest: “With Moise Kean rejoining Juventus on a two-year loan with an obligation to buy, Everton are hoping to sign striking cover in the form of Salomon Rondon. Rafael Benitez has worked with the 31-year-old forward twice before - while he was on loan at Newcastle and with current employers Dalian Pro - and wants to complete the hat-trick today. Negotiations are ongoing with the Chinese club. Attempts to strengthen at right back and to sign Colombia winger Luis Diaz have hit complications, however. Rangers rejected a second bid over the weekend for teenage defender Nathan Patterson and Arsenal have also blocked a move for Ainsley Maitland-Niles. The deal for Porto’s Diaz was dependent on James Rodriguez rejoining his former club as a makeweight, but so far they have not embraced the chance to re-sign a 30-year-old who earns around £200,000-a-week at Goodison Park.”

Rafael Benitez not fancying James Rodroguez, who could’ve predicted.

Moise Kean will be back in a Juve shirt.
Moise Kean will be back in a Juve shirt. Photograph: Claudio Benedetto/LiveMedia/REX/Shutterstock


“Lokonga I think is sick,” says a vox-poppee on Sky, who must’ve seen him play at least thrice. More news as I get it.

Luke Edwards of the Telegraph reports that Hamza Choudhury will be joining Newcastle on loan from Leicester. Choudhury hasn’t trained on since making the Guardian’s Premier League Likeable XI, but still has plenty of time to fulfil his potential.

Elsewhere, we’ve got live sport for you too...

“Maitland-Niles’ stagnation is such a shame,” says John Cox. “He looked so good when he broke through, mature beyond his years, but clearly there’s some kind of attitude problem exemplified by this latest affair. Mind you, unless he’s Arsenal’s willing right-back solution I can’t understand not unloading him either.”

I don’t think he’s got an attitude problem at all. He just wants to play, that’s being denied him, and he’s getting increasingly desperate.

“Cavani played wide under Zlatan at PSG,” says Lasse Nielsen. “He hated it, but he did it. And did a job too.”

Yup, but he’s never doing that at United – he’s not quick enough anymore if he even was then, and I’d be shocked if he was stuck there in anything but an emergency.

“I may be late to the party on this one,” emails Darrien Bold, “but I’ve just spotted tenacious midfielder Vinny Samways tucking into a sandwich at Pret a Manger in Liverpool city centre as rumours are rife of a £2 million deal to increase competition for places in the Everton midfield.Let’s see how it pans out!”

Vinny Sideways, not a name I’ve heard for a while; here is a line fro his Wikipedia page: “Samways has a Canadian Goose named after him, owned by British-American actress Angela Lansbury.”

David Ornstein of the Athletic reports that Arsenal are trying to get Takehiro Tomiyasu, who can play right-back or centre-back, from Bologna. He’s 22 and has been on the radar all summer, so perhaps if they pull that off Maitland-Niles will be allowed to leave, or perhaps he’ll be punished for wanting some kind of control over his career.

Also, given the pressure Mikel Arteta is under, it’s surprising he wants someone knocking about with an obvious grievance (though I daresay Maitland-Niles is a better full-back than Cedric Soares and Calum Chambers).

The Mirror report than after his move to Everton was blocked, Ainsley Maitland-Niles has been told he’ll not be training with the Arsenal first team. I don’t get the point of that, I really don’t – they won’t sell him but they won’t play him either – and ultimately, it tells us that we need a new system because no one should have to work somewhere they don’t want to. I wrote about that once, should anyone care, but I’d do away with agents and have all players repped by the PFA, along with mandatory release clauses in every contract.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles of Arsenal during a training session at London Colney.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles of Arsenal during a training session at London Colney. Photograph: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC/Getty Images


Tanguy Ndombele will be staying at Spurs

I’m pleased to hear that. When he’s at it, there are few players I’d rather watch, able to do stuff that’s mystifying even when you see it again in slowmo. I hope he and his manager can get the best out of him.

“‘I wonder if Liverpool have quite enough to win the big pots with a team that peaked three seasons ago, but don’t underestimate the power of their confidence and drive,’” says Tom Seltzer quoting back to myself. “Seems strange to me that a team that went on to win the Champions League and Premier League in record-breaking fashion could have peaked before this even happened, but you’re the football writer so I’ll defer to your undoubtedly superior knowledge of such things.”

It’s just, like, my opinion, man – though I don’t think it’s an especially controversial one. I think Liverpool played their best stuff the year they won the Champions League and came second to Man City, which was three seasons ago. What they did to win the title was extremely impressive, but in terms of performance they toughed it out through a load of one-goal wins, rather than devastated opponents with their power and pace.

the dude

Leicester City have completed the agreement with RB Leipzig for Ademola Lookman on loan. Medical and paperworks today. 🔵 #LCFC #RBLeipzig

Official announcement expected also for Dennis Praet to Torino on loan with buy option €15m. #DeadlineDay

— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 31, 2021

This is an interesting move. Lookman looked a talent when he broke through and things haven’t quite worked out for him, but perhaps Brendan Rodgers can revive his career. He’ll have to improve if he’s to force his way into the Leicester team though, because there’s plenty in front of him.

Email! “You may recall me highlighting the accomplishments of Rachel Atherton (downhill mountain bike) on the cricket OBO, and I’m going back to that well to draw a comparison between Ronaldo and another mountain bike rider,” emails Neil Mackie.

“On the topic of Ronaldo and his age, I’m mindful that Greg Minnaar who will be 40 in November just won his fourth downhill mountain bike world championship at the weekend. This comes EIGHTEEN years after his first victory and cements his place as the GOAT of men’s downhill. In a similar vein, Nino Schurter at age 36 just won his ninth cross-country (XC) world championship despite many wondering if he was washed up based on performances this past season.All this is a long way to say that with Ronaldo that as much as I’d like him to make Man Utd worse, as I’m from Liverpool, he could have it in him to prove a point and be close to his clinical efficient peak.”

He won’t be as good as at his peak – he’s not devastating running with the ball anymore, nor able to dominate a game from the right-wing – but United have struggled for headers and tap-ins lately, which seems unlikely to continue.

Spurs sing Emerson Royal from Barcelona for €30m plus add-ons!

Medical successfully completed for Emerson Royal as new Tottenham player. Paperworks to be signed in the next minutes, final details & announcement pending. €30m add ons included to Barcelona. ⚪️🤝 #THFC #DeadlineDay

— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 31, 2021

So Spurs now have Emerson, Tanganga, Doherty and Aurier who can all play right-back. I’d wondered if this deal would kick off a chain, sending Aurier to Lille, Celik to Atlético, Trippier to Man United and Dalot to Dortmund, but the final two elements now look extremely unlikely.


Vagaries of English: resigns and re-signs are opposites.

Ah, more Henderson: “Every year is the same, every year is the biggest challenge, the biggest season ahead. I feel as hungry as ever.

“I feel as hungry as I did when I first walked in 10 years ago, to prove to people that I deserve to be at this football club and give absolutely everything every single day for the badge, for the fans and for each other in this building.

“If we do that, I feel as though we’ve got a good chance of being successful.”

I wonder if Liverpool have quite enough to win the big pots with a team that peaked three seasons ago, but don’t underestimate the power of their confidence and drive.

Odsonne Edouard looks set to move from Celtic to Palace. That’d be a decent signing, and perhaps explains Edouard’s anaemic showing in the Old Firm game on Sunday. He missed his team’s best chance in that one, but that can happen to anyone – what was surprising was how irrelevant he was to proceedings.

Spurs are still trying to get hold of Adama Traoré, but have been quoted £50m by Wolves. I’m not certain they need him, or at least that his position should be their priority, given they’ve got Gil, Bergwijn, Son, Moura and Lo Celso who can all play wide, but there are few players I enjoy watching more so maybe Nuno just wants to be entertained. That said, I’d much rather watch Traoré under Lage than under him.

Jordan Henderson speaks!

“It’s amazing to finally get it done and just concentrate on looking forward and what the future may hold.

“I’m in a different place of course, as a player and as a person, from when I first walked in. I’ve learned and grown a lot over my time here, and I’ve got to thank a lot of people for that.

“I’ve loved every minute of it, even when I look back at the tough times, I was still enjoying being a part of this football club. The longer I can do that, the better for me really. I want to be here as long as possible, I’ve always said that.

“To continue this journey is incredible for me and my family, and I hope the fans and the club feel the same way.”

You can only admire Henderson, who’s made the absolute most of himself as a player and as a man. You’ve also got to say that he’s a total triumph for Jürgen Klopp, who is incredible at convincing very good players that they’re world-beaters.

Jordan Henderson at Liverpool.
Jordan Henderson at Liverpool. Photograph: John Powell/Liverpool FC/Getty Images


But let’s return to Ronaldo footballistically speaking. As a centre-forward playing between the width of the posts, he’s got plenty to offer United, especially given the creative talents of Pogba, Fernandes, Sancho and Shaw, all of whom can provide excellent service. I’m not sure where his arrival leaves Edinson Cavani because Ronaldo’s not getting left out of big games and Cavani can’t play wide. On which point, if Ronaldo is undroppable and over the last few months – not just the last three games – Greenwood has made himself so too, then only one of Rashford and Sancho can get in the side, and that’s before we even wonder if Pogba is now a left-winger. Anyhow send in your thoughts and we’ll take it from there.

For anyone interested, these are my detailed thoughts on Ronaldo to United, and also on the non-footballing issues that mean many fans – of the team and of football – are conflicted.

I do struggle a little with the Ronaldo’s coming home narrative, given he left United for his peak years – though I maintain that he was never funner than 2006-07, his last as a full-time right-winger – and is coming back in his dotage. But goodness me, I’m looking forward to seeing him play.

On Ronaldo, it’s not hard to have reservations: can he press, will Solskjær be strong enough to leave him out or take him off, what about Greenwood playing centre-forward – but it’s impossible to miss the upside: proven big-game record, guaranteed goals, inspirational to teammates. He’ll be surrounded by legs and pace, though if his midfield can’t get the ball forward better than in the last couple of games, he’ll have to work hard.

Ole Gunnar Solskjær speaks!

“You run out of words to describe Cristiano. He is not only a marvellous player, but also a great human being. To have the desire and the ability to play at the top level for such a long period requires a very special person. I have no doubt that he will continue to impress us all and his experience will be so vital for the younger players in the squad. Ronaldo’s return demonstrates the unique appeal of this club and I am absolutely delighted he is coming home to where it all started.”

Ronaldo speaks!

“Manchester United is a club that has always had a special place in my heart, and I have been overwhelmed by all the messages I have received since the announcement on Friday. I cannot wait to play at Old Trafford in front of a full stadium and see all the fans again. I’m looking forward to joining up with the team after the international games, and I hope we have a very successful season ahead.”

Cristiano Ronaldo signs for Man United!

A real turn-up for the books, that one. The contract is two years with the option of one more.

Cristiano Ronaldo.
Cristiano Ronaldo. Photograph: Marco Bertorello/AFP/Getty Images


Jordan Henderson signs a new Liverpool contract until 2025!

It’s nice to see Liverpool getting into the spirit of things by announcing that today. I’m surprised they let Wijnaldum go, but that happening meant they needed to ensure their captain stays.



Morning all and welcome to another deadline day full of done deals, double-swoops, and purple ... ok, ok, too soon. I don’t suppose we’ll get quite the vibes of the 2013 classic which featured both the ecstatic desperation of Mesut Özil’s move from Real Madrid to Arsenal and the desperate desperation of Marouane Fellaini’s move from Everton to Man United, but there should still be plenty to keep us in indignity, and we can’t ask for more than that.


Niall McVeigh (now), Daniel Harris and Luke McLaughlin (earlier)

The GuardianTramp

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