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Silly Season: Di Maria Heading to Paris Saint-Germain

With the start of the European soccer leagues just around the corner, Silly Season is in full bloom as teams to try improve their squads for the upcoming season. Here are some of the latest transfers and rumors from the world of soccer.

Angel Di Maria is closing in on a move to Paris Saint-Germain from Manchester United according to BBC Sport. The 27-year-old Argentine winger arrived at Old Trafford last season and had a promising start to the season, but ended up being benched in the second half of the campaign after some poor performances. BBC writes that Di Maria underwent the medical exams on Tuesday in Qatar, and will be presented shortly by PSG.

The price tag is rumored to be close to $69 million, significantly less than the $93 million United paid for him last summer to get him away from Real Madrid. There’s been a lot of talk about Di Maria and his family having difficulties adjusting to life in Manchester, and their home was burglarized during last season, something that surely didn’t help that process. This has been an outdrawn affair, and rumors about Di Maria leaving United got even more intense when the player failed to report to United’s preseason tour in the United States.

Rumors are that United boss Louis van Gaal wants to replace Di Maria with Barcelona’s Pedro.

The Daily Mirror reports that Manchester United could be looking at Real Madrid’s center back Pepe. The 32-year-old Portuguese international will most likely be the third choice next season behind Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane, and is now being offered to clubs. United were interested in Ramos earlier in the summer, but he ended up signing a new deal with Real Madrid.

There’s no secret that United is looking for a new central defender, but it’s unsure if the hot-headed Pepe is the solution.

Chelsea is on the hunt for a new left back, and it seems like things are falling into place for them in their efforts to get Baba Rahman from German side Augsburg as they signed Philipp Max from Karlsruher on Tuesday. ESPN FC reports that Chelsea are closing in on the 21-year-old Ghanaian player for a price tag around $27 million.

Rahman came to Augsburg last season from Furth and have a phenomenal first season in the German Bundesliga. Rahman has 11 caps for Ghana and he would replace Filipe Luis who is heading back to Atletico Madrid.

Lyon has signed right back Rafael from Manchester United. The 25-year-old Brazilian spent seven years at Old Trafford and played in 109 Premier League games for the Red Devils. Lyon finished runners-up last season in the French Ligue 1 behind PSG, and Rafael will be a solid addition as they try to take up the fight for the title. Rafael came to United back in 2008 with his twin brother Fabio who now plays for Cardiff.

Premier League newcomers AFC Bournemouth has signed Max Gradel from French side Saint-Etienne. The 27-year-old Ivorian spent a season on loan at Bournemouth back in 2007-2008 when he belonged to Leicester City. Last season Gradel scored 17 goals in 31 appearances in Ligue 1 for Saint-Etienne.

The goal-happy winger has 41 caps for the Ivorian national team. Gradel is no stranger to life in England, having spent the majority of his career on the British Isles with Leicester and Leeds United.

Crystal Palace had a good season last year and finished mid-table and stayed up in the Premier League for a second straight season, which was a first for the London club. They’ve signed Connor Wickham from Sunderland for an undisclosed fee. The 22-year-old forward has been a highly-touted prospect for a long time, and the hopes are that a change of scenery will help him take the next step and turn into a proper Premier League player.

Wickham scored 11 league goals in 74 games during his four years at Sunderland, and has represented England at the U-21 level.

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