Transfer gossip: Liverpool, Spurs learn asking price for defender as Saudis plan £100m Fernandes swoop

Liverpool and Tottenham might wince at the price being asked for one of their main defensive targets amid rival interest from big hitters in Italy, while the Saudis will have to try a lot harder if they really want to sign Bruno Fernandes…

Chelsea have shown no desire to sell Reece James – even when perhaps they should have. The England right-back has persistently been linked with Real Madrid, and while their interest remains, there is another runner in the race should the Blues decide to invite offers for their captain.

According to the Independent, Manchester City see James as an ideal replacement for Kyle Walker, 33, who has to start slowing down some time.

The champions, presumably, are thinking long term since they agreed a new contract with Walker less than two months ago that will keep him at the Etihad until 2026. By that time, James will still have a couple of years remaining on the six-year terms he signed with Chelsea last year.

The future of Lloyd Kelly is far more pressing concern, with the Bournemouth defender approaching free-agent status at the end of the current season.

Liverpool and Tottenham are known to be attentive to the 25-year-old’s situation. The Reds are looking to future-proof their rearguard, while Spurs need greater depth, as highlighted by the fact they lost both starting centre-backs within around 10 minutes if each other last Monday night.

Micky van der Van is missing until the new year, by which time Bournemouth may choose to cash in on Kelly to avoid losing their former captain for nothing in the summer.

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If so, Football Insider says the Cherries will demand a fee of £25million to £30million. Which seems optimistic given Liverpool, Tottenham or anyone else could sit tight for six months and scoop him up for free. Indeed, Spurs refused to go above £20million when they tried to sign Kelly late last summer.

Kelly will also have good options abroad, with Gazzetta dello Sport claiming Juventus and AC Milan are also sniffing.

There has been plenty of noise around Saudi interest in Bruno Fernandes recently. Which seems futile since Manchester United would be mad to sell their skipper.

But the Saudis aren’t easily steered. And Fichajes says PIF are prepared to put down £100million for Fernandes.

They can do a lot better than that – and surely they would have to if they expect United to consider any offer for their most important player.

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