In this week’s Northern Notebook there is news of Newcastle’s search for a difference maker, how City could cope without Cucurella and the ex-Chelsea striker’s move to club ownership
The Toffees believe they will land Onana and former midfielder Idrissa Gueye before moving on to a striker switch – with Chelsea’s Armando Broja back in their sights.
Everton believe they have landed a significant coup in Lille’s Belgium international Amadou Onana, who will become their biggest signing of the summer – and the club hope at least two more signings will follow.
It’s a long-overdue surge of positivity for Everton and their supporters after Dominic Calvert-Lewin suffered an unusual training ground injury that will rule him out for six weeks.
Dele Alli could be used as a false nine for their opening game against Chelsea with Salomon Rondon suspended and young striker Ellis Simms on loan at Sunderland.
It’s far from ideal, but Everton’s big priority over the summer was to reshape a midfield they felt could be sidestepped far too easily last season. Gueye is an energetic midfielder who can act as a buffer for the back four, while Onana is a good prospect, recently capped by Belgium.
Are both signed – and I understands the club are optimistic – this will pose a major snag alongside one of Everton’s top priorities at the end of the season.
“I don’t want to talk about individual players but we are aware of the areas we want to strengthen,” said Lampard on Thursday when asked about forward signings.
In fact, the Toffees are evaluating their forward options after the heavy blow of losing Calvert-Lewin for the August program.
A striker has always been on the radar for this tight season but moves are now being accelerated following the Calvert-Lewin injury. Rondon is the only other forward option as the club have loaned Ellis Simms to Sunderland.
They had decided against a move to Michy Batshuayi but whether they will reassess that remains to be seen – but they also retain an interest in Broja, the Chelsea forward whose future at Stamford Bridge is uncertain.
Manchester City are yet to decide whether to switch to another senior left-back after Chelsea rejected a move to Marc Cucurella.
Brighton have taken pains to indicate they are yet to agree a deal for the Spain left-back. However, an agreement is expected to be reached in the next few days, wasting months of preparatory work by Manchester City.
As revealed by I Alejandro Grimaldo was offered by Benfica Manchester City last week and is available as a ready-made replacement.
He would cost around £15million but it is understood City have not made a final decision on whether to move away from Cucurella or whether they will opt for the experienced Grimaldo.
Stuttgart’s Borna Sosa is another target but City could still decide to start the season with Nathan Ake and Joao Cancelo as senior left-backs, with Josh Wilson-Esbrand as an alternative.
Newcastle United are maintaining their interest in James Maddison – for now – although Leicester are not encouraging bids for their key playmaker.
sources told I that Newcastle will not revise their rating for key targets this summer after their initial offers to Leicester were rejected. A third offer has yet to materialize, but sources haven’t ruled it out.
They remain interested in him and RB Salzburg’s Benjamin Sesko but have seen the prices for their top targets soar. Leicester aren’t interested in a structured deal and Newcastle have been trying to comply with financial fair play rules this summer.
“We’re still looking for one or the other player who can make a difference for us. We will never stop until the window ends to expand the group,” Eddie Howe said earlier this week.
“The pool of players we’re looking at is quite small, it’s not a large number of names, so deals have become difficult.”
Former Chelsea, Newcastle and West Ham striker Demba Ba has entered club ownership a year after retiring, buying Senegalese second division side Amitie FC.
Based in Thies, the third largest city in Senegal, they placed 12thth in Ligue 2 last season, but Ba intends to rebrand the club to turn it into a base for the best young Senegalese talent and a hothouse for players who can break into European football.
The former Newcastle striker intends to use his connections in French and English football to help the best prospects move from the domestic game in Senegal to France and possibly the English game if players qualify through Brexit rules.
He said I: “We will build a team that will be very successful this year. The idea is to develop players and bring them to the English market where the football is at its best.
“There is some serious talent in the squad – 60% of them are younger players who are really top talent.