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Calcio Bag - July 27th, 2018

We are back for the weekly Calcio Bag. There are some very interesting topics floating around the football world this week, including Manchester United's transfer market (or lack thereof) and Leonardo Bonucci possibly returning to Juventus just a year after his move to Milan. Let's get down to it...

""Will Maguire join Manchester United? And who is the most likely RW United will sign?" - From @JarredNoake via Twitter

As always, if I'm not an expert on something I will leave it to one of my great colleagues at Cloud Sports, and the Manchester United expert is Sam (Twitter: @CSportsFootball). Sam believes that Maguire is one of the two main center-back targets along with Alderweireld (more on him later). Leicester currently do not want to sell Maguire even though he would fancy a move to United. He is also content staying at Leicester, so time will see this thing play out. Money does talk, so if United offer Maguire a nice personal contract or even Leicester a great fee for him, the deal could obviously be unblocked. One thing is clear though, they definitely need to invest in the position as the Bailly-Smalling partnership is not ideal.

Moving onto the second question about United's most likely signing at RW, Sam believes the reported candidates have been Willian, Rebic and Bale. At the moment, Bale seems unlikely because Real Madrid are set to make him the star man at the club unless Hazard arrives. Barcelona reportedly signed Malcom from Bordeaux because Chelsea do not want to part ways with Willian, so at this moment it is difficult to say who will join.

"Will Mancester United sign Toby Alderweirald? Which is currently the most likely transfer to happen regarding United?" - From @ali_naqqash via Twitter

Sam has stated that The Independent were reporting that United remain confident they can sign Alderweirald. He is Mourinho's preferred target, however, Spurs are playing hardball regarding the fee because they obviously do not want to sell him to a rival unless they are well compensated. United's strategy this summer has been a bit of a disaster and we could see them paying well over market price for signings because they have not had a great plan. The short World Cup and short transfer window also has not helped the club.

At this point, given the need at the position and Mourinho's desire to bring him to Old Trafford, Alderweirald is their most likely signing to happen.

"Do you see Manchester United only bringing in a right-wing if Anthony Martial leaves?" - From @croadyman via Twitter

Sam doesn't see the two related. United undoubtedly want to sign a right winger whether Martial stays or leaves. The only thing a Martial move would do is give them the opportunity to spend more money on the transfer market. It would not be the smartest decision to sell Martial, however, because he is a very young player with a ton of potential.

This concludes the United section of the Calcio Bag!

"Thoughts on the Malcom debacle and Roma's next step?" - From @romansalmon via Twitter

The Malcom debacle was a disgrace from both Bordeaux and Barcelona. Firstly, Bordeaux was the first one to officially announce the deal on Twitter. This obviously means that there was an agreement in place and Malcom was set to join Roma. Once his flight to Rome was scheduled, it was ultimately canceled because Barcelona swooped in with a higher offer. Once that happened, the player's desire was to join Barcelona because they are the more prestigious club. Barcelona is very wrong here as well. Once a deal is complete and announced with another squad, you shouldn't swoop in and offer more money before the contracts are signed. Barcelona had ample time (almost a week) to follow the transfer and make an offer to Bordeaux before an agreement was reached with Roma. It was a disgrace from both clubs. One that could damage future dealings with other clubs.

As far as next step for Roma, they are working on a replacement. The two names they are most interested in are Leon Bailey of Bayer Leverkusen and Florian Thauvin of Marseille. Roma reportedly offered Bordeaux 41 million to match Barcelona's offer for Malcom, so they could be willing to spend that much on one of these players. The problem is their asking prices are higher than 41 million so Roma would have to shell out more money to sign them. While they are in a good financial position and flush with cash after the Alisson deal, Monchi still might not want to spend more than he believes a player is worth. Other targets that are being spoken of are Suso of AC Milan and Domenico Berardi of Sassuolo. It's hard to see Milan selling Suso to a rival, and Suso himself seems happy in Milan, so I don't think that will come to fruition. As far as Berardi, he would not be anywhere near as talented as the other people being spoken of, but he was successful under Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco in the past. Maybe a move to Rome to play under his former coach is what he needs to reignite his career. Roma seems destined to sign someone for the position though.

"Why is Federico Chiesa rated so high? Why is his reported fee 70 million? Is he better than Bernardeschi?" - From @romansalmon via Twitter

So first, Federico Chiesa is a real talent. He has great speed and technique, is capable of both creating chances for his teammates as well as scoring. He is very young, and like all prospects, there is a risk and you don't know how he will develop, but the tools are all there for him to be a very successful player.

As far as his fee, all transfer fees are relative. If Fiorentina want 70 million for him, that doesn't necessarily mean he is worth that much. The situation right now is that they don't want to sell him, so they have placed such a high fee for him because if they were to receive it, it would be worth it to sell. Chiesa himself does not necessarily want to leave Florence either. Earlier in the summer there were rumblings of Manchester City trying to sign him, but the fee was too high. The fact that Pep Guardiola is interested in him shows you what kind of player he is, though.

As far as him being better than Bernardeschi, that remains to be seen. They are similar players but Bernardeschi is a little bit older and has more years under his belt. If I had to pick one, just from watching Serie A week in and week out, I would pick Chiesa. This is just my observation but whenever I watch him play, he seems to be in the middle of all of the action and is very involved in his team's play whenever Fiorentina have the ball. Bernardeschi seems to get lost a little bit more and goes in and out of games. Bernardeschi, however, has the advantage of playing at a big club like Juve with great players such as Dybala, Douglas Costa and now Cristiano Ronaldo. While it might hurt his playing time, it will definitely help his development to train with those guys day in and day out.

"Could Leonardo Bonucci really return to Juventus, and will it be Mattia Caldara or Gonzalo Higuain going the other way if it happens?" - From Stanley via email

It is shocking, but definitely realistic to see Bonucci return to Juventus. It is now public that he wants to return there as both Giuseppe Marotta of Juventus and Leonardo of Milan have stated it. It makes sense for Bonucci and Milan to part ways. Leonardo likes the fact that Milan are a younger team and will grow together, Bonucci is older and in win now mode, so he deserves to be on a team like Juventus. It also shows he is willing to swallow is pride by going back to his former club.

As far as who will we see return to Milan in exchange for Bonucci, I think Caldara has a much higher chance than Higuain. Milan want Caldara because he is younger and would be a great partner for Romagnoli. He also would cost a lot less in wages, so that would be a benefit to Milan due to their Financial Fair Play issues. Milan are definitely interested in Higuain because they are also looking for a top striker to sign, but he is also too old and too expensive for the club. If the demands for Higuain's transfer fee lessen, or if he himself lowers his wage demands, I can see him moving to the Rossoneri. At the moment though, if a swap is going to happen, it looks like it will be Bonucci for Caldara and the two clubs will talk about Higuain later on.

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