The battle for Gvardiol is over… for now

Chelsea target Josko Gvardiol signed a contract extension at RB Leipzig on deadline day, which ended their summer pursuit of the centre-back. The Croatia international was the subject of intense interest from the west London club, with reports stating that Chelsea had bid €90 million for his services, despite having already signed centre-back duo Wesley Fofana and Kalidou Kouliably. RB Leipzig chief executive Oliver Mintzlaff has stated that he expected Gvardiol to stay at the Bundesliga club for at least another two seasons, but the Evening Standard reveal that Chelsea could return with another approach as early as the January transfer window. The report also states that Premier League champions Manchester City are also interested in the highly-rated 20-year-old.
Transfers
FSG target Bellingham and may retain ownership of Liverpool - Paper Round
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Paper Round's view: It feels like Chelsea are on a mission to sign every top-level defender in world football. Yes - Thomas Tuchel's side lost Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen this summer. And yes - club captain Cesar Azpilicueta and veteran Thiago Silva are getting old. However, Fofana and Koulibaly were signed for huge fees this summer, while Marc Cucurella - who can also play as a left-sided centre-back in a back-three - was signed for a whopping transfer fee too. Do the Blues really need to drop €90 million on another promising centre-back? Well, if you've got the money then there's no harm in spending it. And - maybe more importantly - it could stop Manchester City from adding another top-class centre-back to their squad.
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Whatever happened to ‘third time’s a charm’?

Arsenal’s deadline day pursuit of Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz came to an end after a late third bid was rejected by Steven Gerrard’s side. The Athletic reveal that the final bid was worth £25 million, but Villa “remained adamant” that Luiz was “not for sale”. The 24-year-old reportedly expressed an interest in leaving and wanted to join Arsenal, but Villa stood their ground. Luiz’s contract at Villa Park is set to expire next summer and it is unclear whether he will sign an extension with the Premier League club.
Paper Round’s view: The failed deal might end in regret for both sides. Villa seemingly signed a potential replacement for Luiz in Leander Dendoncker, who joined in a £15 million deal from Wolves. Additionally, the Brazilian may end up leaving the club for free next summer. Arsenal could look back with regret if their injury woes in defensive midfield continue for an extended period of the season. Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny both suffered injuries in recent weeks, meaning Albert Sambi Lokonga has been forced to deputise in the No. 6 role. There are question marks over the 22-year-old’s quality at the top level.
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Ajax cling on to Kudus

Ajax rejected a deadline day bid worth in excess of £15 million from Everton for 22-year-old midfielder Mohammed Kudus. The Dutch club were “adamant he is not for sale” and immediately dismissed the approach from Everton. The Independent reveal that Ajax believe Kudus “will develop into one of the best midfielders in the world” so had no interest in allowing him to leave for such a small fee this summer. The Eredivisie side viewed his exit as “impossible” after allowing a number of other first-team players to leave during the summer transfer window.
Paper Round’s view: It’s been a summer of change in Amsterdam. The club lost their manager to Manchester United and Erik ten Hag took a couple of players with him to Old Trafford. Antony and Lisandro Martinez weren’t the only high-profile exits. Sebastien Haller joined Borussia Dortmund, Noussair Mazraoui and wonderkid Ryan Gravenberch moved to Bayern Munich and Andre Onana ended up at Inter Milan after his contract expired. Kudus has a promising future and it’s clear that Ajax rate him. Another year developing in the Netherlands – and an impressive World Cup for Ghana – could rocket his value ahead of next summer.
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How Villa ruined West Ham’s deadline day

West Ham United ended up with a quiet deadline day after deals fell through involving exits for Craig Dawson and academy graduate Harrison Ashby. The pair were poised to leave, but failed incoming transfers caused their departures to break down. Numerous Championship sides and Newcastle were interested in Ashby, but West Ham failed in their bid for Torino full-back Ola Aina. Similarly, the Hammers were forced to pull the plug on Dawson’s move to Wolves after his supposed replacement Jan Bednarek chose to join Aston Villa instead. To make things worse, Villa signed Leander Dendoncker from Wolves – a player who West Ham wanted to sign on loan.
Paper Round’s view: Aston Villa certainly got their revenge on West Ham after the Hammers inflicted a 1-0 defeat on the Midlands club at Villa Park on Sunday. It might have been a disappointing Deadline Day for the east London club, but overall it’s been an impressive summer window. The marquee signing of Lucas Paqueta could be a game-changer, while Gianluca Scamacca could finally be the true centre-forward that the club craves. It was a tough start for Nayef Aguerd, who joined from Stade Rennais, but he could be a huge signing in defence once he returns from injury.
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Transfers
Chelsea plan three signings, led by £100m Bellingham - Paper Round
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