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VIDEO: Sought-after Belotti scores the goal of the weekend

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It’s truly a wonder that Andrea Belotti didn’t join the $100-million club this summer, during a transfer window in which the collective footballing world lost its mind with regard to fees paid for some of the world’s best players.

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The 23-year-old Italian international bagged 28 goals across all competitions last season (26 in Serie A), and he’s not yet arrived at one of the world’s 10 or 15 biggest clubs β€” Belotti just his third season at Torino, who, thanks in large part to his output, finished ninth last season.

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Whatever Belotti might have cost someone yesterday (he has a $129-million release clause for clubs outside of Italy, for what it’s worth), you can safely assume it’s gone up $20 million following the stunning overhead kick he scored (below video) during Torino’s 3-0 victory over Sassuolo on Sunday. (Yes, it’s ridiculous to think one goal β€” no matter how spectacular it might have been β€” could inflate a player’s price so much, but this is the summer transfer window of 2017.)

Transfer rumor roundup: Mbappe to PSG? Torino rejects Belotti bid from Chelsea

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Although all the major European leagues have all kicked off, the transfer rumors continue to swirl as the window closes in on deadline day.

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In another twist that could make Paris Saint-Germain clear favorites to win the UEFA Champions League, the French giants appear close to signing Monaco teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe.

While PSG remains under UEFA’s microscope for the club’s unwillingness to obey Financial Fair Play laws, the Parisians have launched a $211 million bid for Mbappe, according to Mundo Deportivo.

Chelsea continues to look for more options up front, but their latest attempt at poaching one of Italy’s brightest strikers has failed.

Torino has reportedly declined Chelsea’s $74 million bid for Andrea Belotti, with the Serie A side unwilling to part ways with the 23-year-old unless a team meets his $103 million release clause.

The Blues have already added Alvaro Morata this transfer window in the wake of the Diego Costa saga, while Michy Batshuayi is also in the Chelsea squad.

West Brom is playing hard to get with defender Jonny Evans, and Manchester City will have to fork up more money if they want the Northern Ireland veteran.

The Baggies are reportedly seeking over $41 million for Evans, as the Citizens continue to spend at a lightning pace during this transfer window.

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Manager Pep Guardiola and Co. have already added the likes of Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy at the back, while Bernardo Silva has been thrust into the team’s attack.

Transfer Rumor Wrap: Bale’s agent laughs off speculation

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It appears Gareth Bale has no plans of following Alvaro Morata and James Rodriguez out of Real Madrid this summer.

“It’s a ridiculous, stupid story,” Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett told the BBC, following reports that Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane wouldn’t promise Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo that they’d staying with the club this summer.

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Of course, these prompted counter reports that Manchester United could take advantage of possible instability at the Santiago Bernabeu and swoop in for Bale, but it seems that Bale is not for sale.

Bale played just 27 times for Real Madrid last season in all competitions, scoring nine goals with three assists while dealing with multiple injuries. His entire career at Real Madrid in fact has been plagued by injury, but ahead of a World Cup year with Wales still in contention for a spot in Russia, Bale will be extra motivated to stay fit this season.

Here’s some more transfer rumors from around the world:


Report: Morata, Belotti to Chelsea after Lukaku deal breaks down

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Chelsea have some serious wheeling and dealing to do with just over five weeks until the opening day of the Premier League season.

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The reigning PL champs seem to have lost out on signing Romelu Lukaku from Everton, while Diego Costa’s departure to Atletico Madrid seems to be edging closer.

That would leave Antonio Conte with just Loic Remy and Michy Batshuayi as a his forward options for next season, but multiple reports claim the Blues will now make a big move for Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morate and Torino’s Andrea Belotti.

Morata, 24, has long been admired by Conte and the Spanish international was said to be close to joining Chelsea last summer with Costa’s future uncertain back then. With Manchester United going all-in on Lukaku both Morata and Belotti are now available after both were heavily linked with a move to United so far this summer.

Now Belotti and/or Morata appear more likely to head to Chelsea.

Torino is said to want the full release clause in Belotti’s contract, which is $113 million, and their president is adamant the 23-year-old will not leave for less than that.

Both players would slot perfectly into Chelsea’s system, with a lone central striker supported by Eden Hazard and either Pedro or Willian out wide.

Morata seems ready to end his time at Real Madrid after being a bit-part player for Zinedine Zidane’s reigning European champs last season, and he may well be the cheaper of the two strikers with a fee of $96.7 million discussed. That said, it seems tough to believe Belotti will not be allowed to leave Torino if Chelsea offer a fee just below $100 million.

With Lukaku said to still want a return to Chelsea, the Blues may not be giving up on the big Belgian forward just yet. However, they appear to have plenty of other options lined up and the west London club must act fast to offload Costa and then bring in a true replacement who can guarantee 20-plus goals a season.

That’s the hard part.

Belotti is more powerful, Morata more technical, but both can finish with Belotti scoring 40 times in 74 games over the past two seasons at Torino. Morata managed 20 in 43 outings for Real last season, and during a two-year stint at Juventus he scored 27 goals in 93 games in all competitions. His hold-up play may well be better, but is Morata really the clinical finisher Chelsea need?

Anybody who questions the huge transfer fee of close to $100 million for Lukaku should understand just what guaranteeing 20-plus goals a season means to a team. That could well be the difference between finishing in fourth and winning the title.

That’s why Chelsea need this situation sorted, and fast.

Transfer Rumors: Matic to Man United; Belotti to PSG

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Nemanja Matic could be reunited with Jose Mourinho at Manchester United.

The Manchester Evening News states that the Chelsea and Serbia midfielder, 28, would cost over $50 million but United are willing to bring in Matic to be their midfield destroyer over AS Monaco man Fabinho who they had previously been heavily linked with.

Matic has won two Premier League titles in three seasons since returning to Chelsea from Benfica and as well as his well-timed tackles and reading of the game, he can also put his foot on the ball and help dictate the tempo. Matic is seen as an ideal replacement for veteran midfielder Michael Carrick as Mourinho searches for the perfect partner for Paul Pogba in central midfield.

Another player United are looking to sign is Andrea Belotti but the Torino and Italy striker is interesting Paris Saint-Germain and the French outfit have already begun negotiations, according to Canal+.

Belotti, 23, is favored for the center forward role Mourinho wants to fill as he’s already close to sealing a deal for center back Victor Lindelof, plus he wants a holding midfielder and a winger to complete his summer spending.

PSG are said to have already tabled a $67.4 million bid to Torino for Belotti but the Italian international has a release clause of $111.9 million and the Serie A club want much closer to that if they’re going to let him go. PSG have Edinson Cavani up top but Unai Emery’s side came up short to free-scoring Monaco in Ligue 1 last season, so improving their attack will be key this offseason for Les Parisiens.

United are still believed to be in pole position to sign Belotti but with reports suggesting Alvaro Morata could be heading to Old Trafford from Real Madrid, maybe Mourinho wants both to transform his forward line?

A powerful striker who is string in the air and is a clinical finisher, Belotti is a man in demand and PSG appear to have got the ball rolling.