Sunderland’s hopes of selling Didier Ndong may have taken a hit, with reports in Portugal suggesting that Benfica are close to signing central midfield pair Gabriel and Ramires.
According to A Bola, Ramires is expected to return to Benfica - who he left to join Chelsea 2010 - by signing a three-year deal worth €3m per year and Gabriel will sign for a fee worth €8m from La Liga side Leganés.
Should Benfica complete those signings as expected, it will likely mean that they abandon their pursuit of Ndong.
All is not lost for Sunderland though, as the sale of Gabriel means Leganés are now looking at Ndong as his replacement.
Spanish newspaper AS claim the La Liga side have already asked about the 24-year-old and will be able to meet Sunderland’s €5m asking price once the sale of Gabriel goes through.
Papy still a wanted man
Papy Djilobodji is still in demand despite Sunderland being desperate to get the defender off their books.
Hannover 96 and Trabzonspor are both keen on the defender and have until August 31 to win the fight for his signature.
The German club are still in need of another central defender and it was thought that their first choice would be Timm Klose of Norwich City, but the Bundesliga side would prefer a player who would be fine being a squad player and that has led Djilobodji to move higher up in the club’s thoughts.
Trabzonspor are also keen and their club president Ahmet Agaoglu has admitted that they will sign another central defender before the transfer window closes:
We need to strengthen the defense and we will continue our transfer work until the last day.
Falkirk hopeful of Nelson return
Sunderland striker Andrew Nelson had a successful loan spell at Falkirk last season after he joined the club in January, as he scored four goals and provided three assists in Scottish Championship.
Although he is currently recovering from an injury he picked up in pre-season, Falkirk manager Paul Hartley is keen for the 20-year-old to rejoin the Bairns:
He’s a player we do like, but he’s been out injured for a few weeks.
We do want to bring a forward in and hopefully we can do something before the window next week.
He’s a player I like but it all depends on his injury situation. Would I like him back? Yes of course but we have to look at where he is in terms of his fitnes, is he ready or how long will it be for him to be back?
He’s a player who did really well here and a player I liked working with, but there’s a lot of things it depends on.
We’ve got one or two other options to look at and hopefully there can be a bit of movement before the end of next week because we want to be as strong as we can be between now and January.
We’ve been light in recent weeks with injuries.
Kone makes loan debut
After spending the first two games of the season for Strasborg as an unused substitute, Lamine Kone finally made his debut for the Ligue 1 club as his side travelled to Lyon.
The Ivorian started in central defence as Strasbourg looked to continue their unbeaten start to the season but Kone’s first start coincided with his team’s first defeat as the home side ran out 2-0 winners.
Martin Terrier opened the scoring for the hosts as he latched onto a through ball, outpaced Kone and slotted coolly past the visiting ‘keeper and former Chelsea striker Bertrand Traore made it two just after the hour mark when he rounded the goalkeeper and sent Kone the wrong way on the goal line.