It’s the European summer transfer window in the world of football, which means cue the speculation, the scandal and the intrigue.
So far, this window has been far from an exception to the rule. Rumours have been fierce, with a string of high-profile players linked to a number of different clubs. Some rumours appear to have legs and warrant speculation, while some definitely are on the more far-fetched end of the spectrum compared to others.
Here are some of the biggest rumours circulating in the world of football at the moment:
Gareth Bale has undoubtedly been the biggest talking point over the last few days, with his stay at Real Madrid completely thrown into question by Zinedine Zidane.
Zidane, who reportedly has a fractured relationship with the Welshman, threw tensions into overdrive when commenting on the prospects of Bale leaving Madrid after a six-year stint.
“We hope he leaves soon,” Zidane said.
“It would be best for everyone.
“We are working on his transfer to a new team.”
The situation then escalated even more, with Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett brandishing Zidane a “disgrace”.
Bale has been linked to a string of clubs in recent days, including Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and interestingly two Chinese Super League clubs, with Beijing Guoan wanting to make Bale the highest-paid player in Chinese football history.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the 30-year-old has also been linked to former club Tottenham.
Watch this space on the Bale front, as a lot appears set to play out.
Harry Maguire has been linked to a move to Manchester United for quite some time. After having two bids rejected by Leicester, many think it’s a mere formality. Foxes Brendan Rodgers sees things differently, though.
Asked about the prospects of Maguire leaving, Rodgers said “I’m quite relaxed. It’s all ‘what if?’ At this moment in time there’s nothing there that is going to tempt the club at all. The club don’t need to sell, the club don’t want to sell.”
The comments from his manager may unnerve the Leicester defender, who is said to be growing frustrated at Leicester’s refusal to sell him at this point.
Arsenal remain luckless at the prospects of signing Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney. The Gunners made two bids for the Scottish international, but both were rejected by Celtic, who were not satisfied with the London clubs valuation of the defender.
Celtic boss Neil Lennon revealed that a third bid for Tierney has not come in so far.
“They (Arsenal) put a bid in that they valued the player at. They came back again and obviously see Kieran as a very good player, as we do. But on a long-term contract we’re in a very strong position when it comes to Kieran.
“It’s as you were really. I’ve had no information other than there was two bids that came in from Arsenal that were rejected. There has been no further inroads into that really.”
Paul Pogba remains a Manchester United player, but speculation about his future remains as rife as ever.
The midfielder, who came to Australia as part of United’s pre-season tour, has been heavily linked with a transfer to Spanish giants Real Madrid.
Madrid are reportedly keen on the Frenchman, but it seems a lot will need to play out before Pogba is any chance of donning the famous white strip.
Many rumours are circulating that Gareth Bale’s exit will need to ensue before Madrid are any chance of recruiting the 26-year-old.
Bruno Fernandes has upped the ante in the hunt for his signature, emphasising his desire to one day feature in the English Premier League, amid much attention being given to him by Manchester United.
Fernandes’ club Sporting Lisbon seem reluctant to sell the Portugese midfielder thus far, however, and no signs of negotiations have taken place as of yet.
Finally, Neymar and his push to make a return to Barcelona may not be a forgone conclusion, with the Brazilian named in Paris Saint-Germain’s upcoming pre-season tour of China.
The 27-year-old joined his PSG teammates for pre-season training a week after it had commenced, and was deemed by many as trying to force his way out of the French giants in order to make a reunion with his former club Barcelona.
PSG will certainly want hefty compensation if Neymar is to leave the club.
The Brazilian was signed by the French club for a record $222 million back in 2017.