Deadline day round-up: Kovacic in at Chelsea, all quiet at Manchester United
A busy conclusion to the Premier League transfer window continued as Chelsea signed Real Madrid midfielder Mateo Kovacic on a season-long loan deal, but Jose Mourinho does not expect Manchester United to make any further additions.
Croatia international Kovacic will bolster the options available to new Blues boss Maurizio Sarri in central areas, moving in the opposite direction to Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who completed a £35million move to the Santiago Bernabeu on Thursday.
Courtois’ replacement at Stamford Bridge is Kepa Arrizabalaga, who became the most expensive goalkeeper in history when Chelsea paid his €80m release clause at Athletic Bilbao, but reports United are ready to make Leicester City’s Harry Maguire the world’s costliest defender now seem unlikely to come to fruition.
Speaking at a news conference to preview Friday’s Premier League opener against Leicester, Mourinho told reporters he does not expect any deadline-day activity at Old Trafford, despite also being linked to centre-backs Toby Alderweireld, Yerry Mina and Jerome Boateng.
“I’m not confident,” he said. “The market closes today, so it is time, at least for me to stop thinking about the market because the market will be closed.”
Boateng trained with Bayern Munich on Thursday, with Paris Saint-Germain now touted as the front-runners for his signature – a deal that can, of course, be done later in the month after the Premier League bows out of the market as a buying power.
Across town from Old Trafford, Manchester City have signed Daniel Arzani from Melbourne City, with the Australian youngster expected to go out on loan. Celtic are the favourites to acquire his services, while no immediate reinforcements appear to be on the agenda for Pep Guardiola’s champions.
Lucas Perez is the latest arrival of a productive transfer window at West Ham, the striker joining from Arsenal on a three-year deal for a reported initial fee of £4m.
Kovacic is not the only Croatian on the move, with Leicester securing 21-year-old defender Filip Benkovic from Dinamo Zagreb for an undisclosed fee understood to be worth in the region of £13m. Benkovic has signed a five-year contract at the King Power Stadium.
Elsewhere, 35-year-old former Arsenal and Manchester City defender Bacary Sagna has joined MLS side Montreal Impact until the end of the 2018 season, with the option of a further year.