And with spectator test events paused while coronavirus rates increase again across Europe, one expert said: “Nobody wants to spend big money while there is so much uncertainty. Nobody knows when crowds might come back and nobody knows whether or not the virus will spike again. It’s a nightmare.”
While Chelsea are prepared to spend £70m on Kai Havertz, the club will insist on selling players before making more new signings. Declan Rice and Ben Chilwell are targets of head coach Frank Lampard, but both players are valued at more than £50m by their clubs. One player who could be heading out of Stamford Bridge is Tiemoue Bakayoko, who is wanted by AC Milan on a season-long loan with the option of a permanent deal.
Manchester City have signed Ferran Torres and Nathan Ake, but want to negotiate sales before potentially chasing a new left-back and a new midfielder.
Aston Villa have money to spend after escaping relegation from the Premier League on the final day and, along with Brentford forward Ollie Watkins, the Midlands club are weighing up a bid for either Todd Cantwell or Emi Buendia from Norwich City.
“Championship players are going to be attractive this summer,” said one agent. “If you look at a lot of the players who have come up to the Premier League from the Championship recently, many have done well.
“A lot of clubs want to operate within the £15m-£20m bracket which means players from Brentford and Norwich are probably going to be in demand.”
Villa may also be more confident of keeping Jack Grealish, who they value at £80m, with a source adding: “There will be some unhappy players out there who had hoped to get a big move this summer. The money just isn’t there in many cases and the demand isn’t what it was six months ago.”