Chelsea could hijack £45m West Ham key target as Liverpool switch focus to £30m centre-back

French wonderkid and Forest star on Chelsea shopping list after Olise snub as Liverpool look at Ecuadorian option - it’s the Premier League transfer rumours.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

It’s been an eventful day at Stamford Bridge, with Crystal Palace’s Michael Olise performing a stunning about face and signing a new contract at Selhurst Park, leaving Chelsea looking elsewhere for an addition to their forward line. And that addition could well be Brennan Johnson.

The Guardian are reporting that discussions over Nottingham Forest’s £45m-rated are at “an early stage” and that a part-exchange deal could be on the cards, although quite who Chelsea have left to sell is unclear. Sport Witness, meanwhile, have spotted that an RMC Sport journalist reckons the Blues are more interested in Lyon’s 20-year-old forward Bradley Barcola, who notched up 13 goal contributions in Ligue 1 last season.

Bradley Barcola has made seven appearances for France’s Under-21s.Bradley Barcola has made seven appearances for France’s Under-21s.
Bradley Barcola has made seven appearances for France’s Under-21s.

Paris Saint-Germain have apparently already bid for Barcola and had an offer worth up to €35m rejected, so he wouldn’t be an especially cheap alternative to Olise, but he is considered a pretty exciting prospect even by the standards of Lyon’s stellar academy.

The 3AM Verdict: Johnson is a player who passes the eye test with flying colours but whose underlying numbers aren’t very impressive – but given the volume of interest in him, quite a few clubs reckon that the stats don’t quite tell the story. Barcola, meanwhile, is very raw and has only started 18 league games for Lyon, but does look like a pretty huge talent. The asking price for both players seems pretty steep however, especially compared to Olise.

Liverpool and West Ham eye up Ecuadorian defender

We recently suggested that Manchester United could do worse than take a look at Bayer Leverkusen’s Piero Hincapié, but it seems that other clubs spend more time reading 3 Added Minutes – both Liverpool and West Ham are contemplating a move, as per German site FußballTransfers.

No word on a price point, but Transfermarkt currently reckon he’d set a buyer back at least £30m, which is likely a starting price given how important he is to his club. West Ham’s technical director Tim Steidten is thought to be a big fan, which does presumably mean that David Moyes would rather gouge his left eyeball out than buy him based on recent reports of their difficult working relationship. One to keep an eye on, if you still have one spare.

The 3AM Verdict: The 21-year-old is recovering from a broken metatarsal and has a few rough edges to sand off but has all the attributes to be a top-level ball-playing defender, so there’s no surprise that Premier League clubs are taking a look. Liverpool need a long-term replacement for the declining Virgil van Dijk and West Ham need someone after failing to land Harry Maguire, so they’re both pretty logical clubs to make a bid. We’re clearly not too far down the negotiations yet, however.

Saudi Arabia set to strike again

With Barcelona hesitating over a deal for unwanted Manchester City man João Cancelo, it’s time for the Saudi Pro League’s money machine to whir back into action, at least according to The Athletic.

Every transfer to Barcelona involves a dozen layers of financial jiggery-pokery these days, and as they hem and haw over which economic levers they could pull to bring the Portuguese full-back to Catalonia, non-specified Saudi clubs have started monitoring the situation. Apparently Barcelona’s sporting director Deco would prefer either Iván Fresneda or Juan Foyth from Villarreal.

The 3AM Verdict: City just want Cancelo gone to complete his remarkable fall from grace, having been one of Pep Guardiola’s most important players just this time last year. Barcelona already have the brilliant youngster Alejandro Baldé on their books, so it must be said that it doesn’t make much sense to squeeze their precarious funding for Cancelo – and Saudi Arabia may well be his last option. A lucrative one, at least.