The coronavirus pandemic has made the summer transfer window uncertain, but here are the rumours floating around Europe’s big leagues and beyond.
TOP STORY: Barcelona to offer Messi deal until 2023
Messi’s current terms expire in 2021, although he could have left for nothing this summer if he wanted to. However, as revealed by ESPN earlier this month, he chose not to exercise a clause which would have enabled to him to leave on a free transfer.
Thoughts have now turned to tying him down beyond next year. Sources at the club have told ESPN that president Josep Maria Bartomeu is in no rush to get the deal done, with the coronavirus situation and fact Messi’s father, Jorge, is still in Argentina preventing things progressing quickly. But Bartomeu does want the contract signed before his own mandate expires next June and work is underway on the formula for what will be Messi’s 10th professional deal at Camp Nou.
Mundo Deportivo says they will offer him the chance to extend his deal until 2022, with an option for the player himself to then trigger another year to remain at Barcelona until 2023.
Messi, who will celebrate his 33rd birthday next week, has scored in each of Barcelona’s games since La Liga returned last week following a three-month break due to the covid-19 pandemic. After wins against Mallorca and Leganes, they travel to Sevilla on Friday.
21.30 BST: Real Madrid spent big to sign Luka Jovic last year from Eintracht Frankfurt, but the Serbian star has not been able to make his mark in Spain. According to Sport Mediaset, that could lead to his exit and join AC Milan.
Milan hope Madrid let him come to Italy by offering €7m on a two-year loan deal with an option to buy him outright for €35m at the end of that period.
Having made an €80m move just last season to Bavaria from Atletico Madrid, Hernandez has had trouble breaking through for the Bundesliga titleholders amid the emergence of Canada youngster Alphonso Davies.
Kavertz wants to emulate compatriot Toni Kroos and head to the Bernabeu. The issue is, however, the pricetag — with Real reportedly making an offer that didn’t reach the €100m that Leverkusen wants.
The report states that Real offered two players as makeweights in the deal for Havert, but that was rejected.
Hours before playing the Italian Cup final against Juventus, Napoli announced Wednesday that Mertens would stay in Naples.
The 33-year-old’s previous contract was due to expire at the end of the month but the Belgian has agreed to a two-year extension with an option for a third season.
In the cup semifinals against Inter Milan on Saturday, Mertens scored his 122nd goal for Napoli in all competitions, eclipsing the previous mark established by Marek Hamsik. Diego Maradona is third on the list with 115 goals.
Lozano’s time at Napoli has been a disappointment since making the move from PSV Eindhoven, culminating with him being asked to leave during a training session by manager Gennaro Gattuso on Monday after being accused of not putting enough effort in.
“We had the opportunity to chat in January, it seems to me, because an exchange could be made involving Lozano and Carrasco,” Benitez said.
ESPN’s Colin Udoh tries to make sense of how Odion Ighalo could impact Tottenham vs. Manchester United.
“Everton made a proposal to Lille at first, while Napoli made it later. Gabriel likes Napoli as a club and Gennaro Gattuso as a coach,” Fernando Garcia told Arena Napoli. “We are waiting for Lille to let us know if they intend to continue [with Gabriel]. [The decision could come] in a few days, but in reality, I can’t say when exactly.”
The reason? Hojbjerg publicly discussed wanting to play at a “higher level,” with Tottenham reportedly interested in the 24-year-old midfielder.
14.20 BST: Barcelona are eyeing up Senegalese left-back Souleymane Aw, who currently plays at French club Beziers, according to Mundo Deportivo.
Aw, 21, was released by Belgian First Division A side KAS Eupen in November so Barca missed a trick there if they are really interested.
13.31 BST: Wait, Cristiano Ronaldo in MLS?
Orlando City’s Nani tells ESPN’s Taylor Twellman he has spoken with Cristiano Ronaldo about playing in MLS.
Grealish, 24, has seven goals and six assists in the Premier League so far this season and is attracting plenty of attention from the country’s top clubs. In the current climate, £80m is a lot so expect that to drop in the coming weeks and months as negotiations continue.
12.04 BST: Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simone is not surprised midfielder Thomas Partey is a target of top European clubs as he is an “important” player.
Arsenal and Manchester United are among the teams that are interested in signing the Ghanaian midfielder this summer. Thomas, 27, has made 25 league appearances for Atletico this season and is tied to the Rojiblancos until June 2023.
“Thomas is the best at understanding that transition position from defence to attack with shots, assists, passes in between opposition lines,” Simeone said. “When he is at a level with continuity, he is so important that the best teams in Europe want him.”
Atletico are in talks to double Thomas’ release clause which is set at €50m.
11.17 BST: Sporting Lisbon have tied starlet Eduardo Quaresma to a long-term contract.
Quaresma, 18, has signed a new deal with the Portuguese giants until June 2025, with a €45m release clause. The Portuguese centre-back was recently promoted to Sporting’s first team and has been a target of Atletico Madrid, AC Milan, Inter Milan and RB Leipzig.
“This contract extension proves that this club believes in me and I believe in this club,” Quaresma told his club’s website. “We will remain together for many more years to come.”
Steve Nicol rationalises why Timo Werner would reportedly want to leave RB Leipzig for Chelsea in July.
09.58 BST: Shkodran Mustafi has told Sport Bild that his future is uncertain. Under contract at Arsenal until 2021, this summer is the Gunners’ last chance to cash in on the 2014 World Cup winning defender, who has gone through rough patches at the Emirates in recent years.
“Because of coronavirus there have been no talks [over a new deal]. Not with Arsenal or any other club. It’s difficult to foresee in this situation how the transfer window will pan out,” Mustafi told the outlet.
The 28-year-old has played in Italy, Spain and England, but has never plied his trade in the German top-flight. Though this could change in the near future as he admitted: “The Bundesliga is always interesting for me.”
09.37 BST: Free agents are incredibly valuable this summer given the economic situation amid the coronavirus pandemic. So Chelsea’s has found himself centre of attention.
The 31-year-old is out of contract at Chelsea this summer and doesn’t look likely to sign a new one.
ESPN journalists debate Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s ability as Man United manager in the first episode of “Mute Me.”
Kalulu, 20, arrived in Milan with his family on Tuesday evening. The French right-back’s contract with Lyon expires this month and Kalulu will join Milan as a free agent on a five-year contract. Milan will have only have to pay the youth development fee for Kalulu.
A reported target of Bayern Munich, Kalulu never played in Ligue 1 but made 16 appearances in the Youth League for Lyon’s reserves.
The French club return to preseason training on June 22, with players having been on an extended break after the 2019-20 Ligue 1 season was brought to an end.
According to AS, that’s when billionaire Rennes owner Francois Pinault “has set himself the personal challenge” of persuading Camavinga, 17, to put pen to paper on an extension.
The midfielder’s current contract expires in 2022 and any new deal would pose a further challenge to Madrid’s efforts to sign him.
An additional complication is that Madrid aren’t planning to conduct any transfer business until the La Liga season is completed on July 19.
Luiz is out of contract at the end of this month having signed an initial 12-month deal when joining from Chelsea in an £8 million transfer last summer.
ESPN reported in May that Arteta was keen for the Brazil international to remain part of the squad, a view he publicly stated for the first time when speaking ahead of the Gunners’ trip to Manchester City on Wednesday evening.
“I’m really happy with David,” he said. “I want to keep him here with us. He’s been a key role model for me since I joined. I like what he produces on the pitch. I like his influence around the players and the club. I’d love to keep him.”
Mark Ogden thinks Phil Foden is being ‘wasted’ at Man City and Pep Guardiola needs to stop messing him around.
PAPER TALK (by Shaun Reynolds)
Man City leapfrog Arsenal in race for Leipzig’s Upamecano
French outlet Soccer Link says the 21-year-old — who has 147 first team appearances under his belt — has long been a focal point for Arsenal scouts with doubts concerning the futures of David Luiz, Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi.
Foxes lead race to sign Bees star Benrahma
Reports in France earlier this week first revealed Frank Lampard’s interest in the 24-year-old, but it has emerged that Brendan Rodgers is favourite to prize the 24-year-old away from the Championship side with two years remaining on his contract.
The report says that Brentford want £25m for Benrahma, who signed for the Bees from Nice for £1.5m two years ago. His 21 goals in 71 appearances for Brentford have put Benrahma in the spotlight of several top flight clubs, but in a recent interview he claims to be focused on the job he has at hand.
– Football Insider says Sunderland have accepted a £500,000 bid by Norwich City for academy graduate Bali Mumba. The Canaries sit six points away from surviving the Premier League drop, but that hasn’t stopped boss Daniel Farke from planning ahead for the 2020-21 season with the 18-year-old midfielder expected to join officially later this summer.
– A cluster of top Premier League clubs are said to be interested in Wissam Ben Yedder, who revealed to France Football that he no longer wishes to play for AS Monaco. The 29-year-old has scored 19 goals in 31 games this season, prompting Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham to consider the striker. Monaco value Ben Yedder at £40m after signing him for £37.1m last summer.