Welcome to the Times of Malta football transfer blog.

With the 2019-20 football campaign just weeks away, clubs around the European continent will be stepping up their efforts to try and strengthen their squad ahead of the upcoming season...

8pm Girondins de Bordeaux are reportedly interested in Roma flop Maxime Gonalons after his Sevilla loan spell.

The 30-year-old midfielder was signed from Olympique Lyonnais for €5m in the summer of 2017, but made little impact in Italy.

He spent last season on loan in Spain with Sevilla, making 13 competitive appearances with one goal.

7.45pm Juventus director Fabio Paratici confirmed Paulo Dybala “interest and discussions,” but not that Daniele Rugani and Mario Mandzukic exits were imminent.

Coach Maurizio Sarri made the situation clear in a Press conference when complaining it was “embarrassing” that he had to cut six players from the current group for their Champions League squad.

While Matthijs de Ligt, Merih Demiral, Gianluigi Buffon and Danilo have come in, only Joao Cancelo, Leonardo Spinazzola and Moise Kean have left.

7.15pm Meanwhile, Sta Luċija have acquired the services of central defender Kevin Correa of Brazil, formerly of Santos, Desportivo Brasil and Juventude RS. 

7pm Back to Malta as BOV Premier League side Floriana have announced that midfielder Brooke Farrugia will continue his career at Tarxien Rainbows on a one-year loan deal.

6.45pm Galatasaray released a statement confirming they have “entered negotiations to sign Steven Nzonzi on loan from Roma.”

The midfielder only arrived from Sevilla a year ago at a cost of €26.5m, but failed to win over the fans or club despite 39 competitive appearances.

According to Sky Sport Italia, Galatasaray will pay his entire salary for the loan period, which is in the region of €3-4m, then have an option to buy at the end of the season.

6.30pm Sunderland have finally settled their legal battle with Velez Sarsfield over former Inter midfielder Ricky Alvarez, paying €362,500.

“After an arduous negotiation without results, Velez raised a claim before Fifa on 03/25/2019, obtaining the collection of its percentage under the solidarity mechanism of the amount that Sunderland were forced to pay Inter Milan for the value of the transfer,” read a statement.

“Thus, our institution obtained the sum of €362,500, a product of the efforts made by the legal team and the claim filed to Fifa.”

5.45pm Although Atalanta and Bologna were among clubs interested in Daniel Sturridge, he is reportedly flying for talks with Trabzonspor.

The England international is a free agent after his contract with Liverpool was allowed to expire on June 30.

The striker turns 30 next month and was linked with numerous sides, including Atalanta, Bologna, Fenerbahce, Eintracht Frankfurt and DC United.

5.30pm Italy striker Mario Balotelli will earn a basic salary of €1-2m at Brescia, although that could rise with bonuses.

Brescia are set to sign Balotelli on a free transfer, the 29-year-old rejecting Flamengo for a move back home.

Gianluca Di Marzio’s website writes he will sign a three-year contract worth an initial €1m, which can become €3m with bonuses.

5pm Cagliari could draft in veteran goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino if Alessio Cragno needs to go under the knife.

Cagliari confirmed in a recent medical report that Cragno needed more tests on his shoulder, amidst fears he would require surgery.

If that happens to be the case, Corriere dello Sport reports Cagliari will swoop in for Sorrentino.

4.45pm Malaga have threatened legal action if Lazio do not pay them €12m for winger Jony Rodriguez.

Jony moved to Lazio in July and has gone on to feature heavily for the Aquile during preseason.

However, Malaga President Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani warned the Spaniard had no right to leave on his own accord.

4.30pm Ivan Perisic says he is raring to go for Bayern Munich thanks to the ‘great preparation’ he received at Inter over the summer.

Perisic’s Inter career was effectively ended by Antonio Conte, who publicly discarded him as an option for his 3-5-2 formation.

Despite that, the winger had only praise for the Coach’s work ethic during his official unveiling as a Bayern player.

4.15pm Hirving Lozano’s former Pachuca President claims the PSV forward ‘will announce himself as one of the best players of this era’ at Napoli.

Lozano is closing in on a €42m move to Napoli after two seasons at PSV, and Jesus Martinez Patino knows the Mexican well, having overseen his development at Pachuca.

“He didn’t really want to study, but on the field he was unstoppable,” he told Tuttomercatoweb.

4pm Roma are in negotiations to sign Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren on loan with a possible obligation to buy.

Roma have since abandoned their pursuit of Juventus’ Daniele Rugani to focus on Lovren.

According to Gazzetta dello Sport’s Nicolo Schira, talks are ongoing over a €2-3m season-long loan, which includes an option to buy for €15-16m

3.45pm Andrea Stramaccioni and Esteghal have reportedly given themselves a week to sort out their differences.

Tuttomercatoweb initially claimed Stramaccioni was ready to leave Esteghal just two months into his tenure, accusing them of ‘broken promises’ in the transfer market.

The website is now claiming there has been a conference call between his agent Federico Pastorello and the Iranian club’s President, who reiterated his desire to keep the Coach and respect their agreements.

3.15pm Roma midfielder Steven Nzonzi has agreed to join Galatasaray on an initial season-long loan.

According to Fabrizio Romano, the deal is done and Nzonzi is ready to fly out to Turkey to complete his move.

Gianluca Di Marzio adds negotiations are close to being finalised, with Gala paying the entirety of his salary, estimated to be in the €3-4m region.

3pm Fiorentina have been given permission to use their Davide Astori captain’s armband for the 2019-20 campaign.

Lega Serie A introduced a standardised armband for all club captains last season and threatened to punish those who ignored the ruling.

However, Fiorentina announced on Wednesday that the governing body had allowed skipper German Pezzella to keep wearing his Astori armband.

2.45pm Juventus are reportedly retaining Juan Cuadrado as a right-back for the upcoming season.

Cuadrado turned 31 in May and had been tipped to leave over the summer, but Juve ended up selling Leonardo Spinazzola.

Although Luca Pellegrini arrived in part exchange, the former Roma left-back is returning to Cagliari on loan.

2.30pm Italy striker Mario Balotelli is reportedly on the verge of joining Serie A new boys Brescia.

According to Sky Sport Italia, Balotelli has given his word to Brescia owner Massimo Cellino and will sign a three-year contract at the Mario Rigamonti.

Flamengo had tried to bring him to Brazil, but the broadcaster is adamant the free agent will return to Italy for the upcoming season after three years in Ligue 1.

2.15pm Bologna are reportedly eyeing a swoop for Olympiacos and Greece midfielder Andreas Bouchalakis.

According to Sportitalia’s Alfredo Pedulla, Bologna have identified Bouchalakis as an ideal replacement for Erick Pulgar, who recently joined Fiorentina.

Pedulla explains team manager Marco Di Vaio flew out to Greece to watch the 26-year-old help Olympiacos beat Istanbul Basaksehir 2-0 on Tuesday.

2pm Juventus pair Daniele Rugani and Blaise Matuidi are in talks to join Ligue 1 side Monaco.

Rugani looked to be all set for Roma, but Gazzetta dello Sport reports their offer of a loan with an option to buy has been gazumped by Monaco, who are ready to bring him on a permanent basis.

Tuttosport adds the principality outfit are prepared to meet Juve’s asking price of around ‘€35m’ and would have ‘no problems’ agreeing personal terms.

1.45pm Sampdoria and Fiorentina are reportedly considering a striker swap for Manolo Gabbiadini and Giovanni Simeone.

According to Sportitalia’s Alfredo Pedulla, the deal would satisfy both clubs as they look to move on their respective hitmen, while receiving ready-made replacements.

Simeone is free to leave Fiorentina this summer after a return of just six Serie A goals last season.

1.30pm We kickstart our transfer blog with a news related to Real Madrid...

Serie A clubs could be in for a late transfer scramble as Serbian reports claim Real Madrid are ready to loan out Luka Jovic.

Jovic only joined Madrid in June, arriving from Eintracht Frankfurt in a €60m deal, but he failed to score at all during preseason.

That has prompted several outlets in Serbia to claim the 21-year-old did not convince Blancos boss Zinedine Zidane and that he will be sent out on loan.

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