Chelsea reject Inter bid for 'top target'
Chelsea have rejected a part-player exchange offer from Inter Milan for French midfielder N'Golo Kante. The Guardian report that former Blues boss Antonio Conte has made the World Cup winner his "top target" this summer, but was left "disappointed" after the Premier League club dismissed their offer. Inter offered Croatian midfielder Marcelo Brozovic plus cash as they "tested the water" with their opening bid to bring Kante to San Siro. Chelsea promptly rejected Inter's approach and told the Italians they weren't interested in former Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen either. Inter still hold hope they can land Kante and will try to raise transfer funds through player sales. Frank Lampard would be tempted into selling the Frenchman "for the right price", but would rather sell Jorginho instead.
Paper Round's view: It's no secret that Inter boss Conte is a huge fan of Kante. The former Leicester midfielder was signed by the Italian in his first season at Stamford Bridge in 2016 and Kante was vital in the club's Premier League title triumph that season. Conte is desperate for Inter to press on from last season and properly mount a Scudetto challenge this campaign. If Kante were to leave Stamford Bridge, it would have to be a cash offer. It's quite well documented that Lampard is keen on bringing West Ham star Declan Rice back to his boyhood club and if Chelsea were to sell Kante, it would fund that deal. The 29-year-old could be the missing piece in Inter's puzzle - so he might be worth it.
Arsenal sacrifice Martinez to raise funds
Arsenal have "reluctantly" decided to sell goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez in a bid to raise transfer funds, according to the Independent. Aston Villa is looking like the likely destination for the 28-year-old, who has also attracted interest from Villarreal. The Midlands club saw an initial offer of £15 million rejected by Arsenal, who value Martinez at closer to £20 million. The Argentine stopper has reportedly already agreed personal terms with Villa, which the Independent revealed to be a four-year deal worth £60,000 per week. Martinez rejected an improved contract offer at the Emirates Stadium after he failed to receive assurances over being the long-term choice as the club's number one keeper.
Paper Round's view: The Gunners were forced to turn to Martinez at the end of last season when first-choice goalkeeper Bernd Leno suffered a knee injury and the 28-year-old sure did deliver. He put together a string of sensational performances as Arsenal secured both the FA Cup and the Community Shield last month. However, Martinez just wanted to be first choice and he's not going to get regular playing time at Arsenal now Leno has returned to fitness. A move to Villa suits both parties. Arsenal are desperate for transfer funds and £20 million is a huge fee for a player who was probably valued at less than £5 million before June, while Dean Smith's side are getting a great goalkeeper, who has Premier League and big game experience.
Barcelona and their Ansu Fati dilemma – Euro Papers
Smalling to seal permanent Roma transfer
Chris Smalling is edging closer to a permanent move to AS Roma, where he spent last season on loan from Manchester United. According to a report from the Mail, the 30-year-old is currently training on his own at United, while his agent negotiates the terms of his transfer. The Red Devils value Smalling between £15 million and £20 million, but Roma are restricted by their "very limited" transfer budget. The former England international's desire to play first-team football led to his season-long loan in the Italian capital last campaign, where he quickly became a Serie A sensation. United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made it clear that Smalling still would not be a starter if he stayed at Old Trafford.
Paper Round's view: It does make sense to sell Smalling - especially if the club can reach an agreement to collect a free of over £15 million. It's a strange situation because Smalling resurrected his career in Rome last season but if Solskjaer still doesn't fancy him, he's not going to hang around at Old Trafford just to warm the bench. The club desperately need to offload some of their unwanted centre-backs. They're in the market for a new defender to partner club captain Harry Maguire, but the club still have Smalling, Phil Jones, Eric Bailly and Marcos Rojo on the books - all of whom are expendable. It's easier said than done but United need to sign a top-class starting centre-back, clear out the deadwood and keep Victor Lindelof and Axel Tuanzebe as back-up options.
Manchester City to use inside man to secure Belgian youngster
Manchester City are interested in signing Belgium wonderkid Jeremy Doku and could use the help of a club legend to land the youngster. Doku plays for Belgian club Anderlecht who are managed by Vincent Kompany and, according to the Telegraph, the Premier League club could use their former captain in helping secure a deal. City are already planning to loan out the youngster if they complete the signing as they view Doku as one for the future and want him to get regular game time in the upcoming season. The 18-year-old has also attracted the attention of Italian giants Juventus and AC Milan, while City's domestic rivals Liverpool have previously held interest in the winger.
Paper Round's view: Manchester City are clearly planning for the future - and you can see that in their business so far this summer. They have already bought 25-year-old Nathan Ake from Bournemouth and 20-year-old Ferran Torres from Valencia and now they are sniffing around 18-year-old Doku. There's a clear trend in their transfer plans as some of their current stars get older and there's nothing wrong with that. David Silva has departed, while Fernandinho and Sergio Aguero are 35 and 32 years old, respectively. Signing Doku - who is already a Belgian international - would be a solid investment for the future and having a club legend like Kompany in charge at Anderlecht should sweeten the negotiations.