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: Liverpool finally make Traore offer
Liverpool finally celebrated a first Premier League title on Thursday night, and things might be about to get even better for Reds fans.
Jurgen Klopp has been linked with the player for what seems like an eternity, but we might be edging closer to putting this one to bed with the Spanish outlet reporting that the Merseyside club have made one of “several” offers on the table.
Earlier this week, Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo admitted he does not know whether the pacey Spain youth international will be at Molineux next term.
Traore produced two impressive displays to help his side comfortably secure back-to-back wins against West Ham and Bournemouth, twice assisting Raul Jimenez to take his attacking return for the season to nine assists and four goals.
20.41 BST: There’s more on Tiemoue Bakayoko from Le10 Sport, which reports that while Paris Saint-Germain maintain their interest in the 25-year-old midfielder, and the French capital is the former Monaco man’s preferred destination, Les Parisiens face competition. Newcastle and Watford have approached the West London club about the possibility of signing Bakayoko, while West Ham, AC Milan (where he spent the 2018-19 season on loan) and Nice are monitoring the situation.
19.04 BST: Barcelona coach Quique Setien says Arthur must focus on leaving the club on a high as he edges closer to a move to Juventus, which will see Miralem Pjanic move in the other direction. Sources have told ESPN the framework for the swap deal is in place, although both Arthur and Pjanic will remain with their respective clubs until the completion of the Champions League in August.
“Any player in this situation must understand the season is not over and they must leave the best memories possible,” Setien said in a news conference on Friday. “There are still important games to be played and I’m sure [Arthur], like the rest of his teammates, will want to end the season well and win trophies.
“The club have not told me that he is going to leave. He will be with us until the last game, for sure. And he has to give everything for the club which pays his wages, until the last day.”
17.27 BST: As Le Parisien reports that Paris Saint-Germain are keen to free Tanguy Ndombele from his nightmare under Jose Mourinho at Tottenhamy, Le10 Sport writes that the London club’s investment in the former Lyon starlet and his vast wages have made any move exceedingly complicated, and the France capital club aren’t actively pursuing the 23-year-old midfielder, instead prioritising moves for Lazio’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Roma’s Lorenzo Pellegrini and Chelsea’s Tiemoue Bakayoko.
15.50 BST: Liverpool have just won the Premier League at a canter, of course they’re going to be linked to players like PSG star Kylian Mbappe. But it doesn’t mean it would work.
Mark Ogden argues that stars like Kylian Mbappe aren’t the no-brainer signings Liverpool may think they are.
14.55 BST: Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is ready to sell midfielder Matteo Guendouzi, according to the Daily Mail.
Guendouzi, 21, was dropped from the squad to play Southampton after clashing with Brighton players last week. The Frenchman has impressed since arriving at the club in 2018 but has shown a lack of maturity in a number of incidents which have put his long-term future at risk.
Barcelona, PSG, Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid are all watching the situation and, according to L’Equipe, Manchester United are the latest to register their interest.
14.23 BST: Freiburg defender Robin Koch, whose contract expires next year, has caught the eye of Tottenham, according to Bild.
Koch, 23, is available for around €15m and has been linked with Leeds United.
13.45 BST: Arsenal are tracking Porto midfielder Danilo Pereira and plan to explore the possibility of a summer move in the coming weeks, sources have told ESPN’s James Olley.
Head coach Mikel Arteta is keen to add a stronger physical presence to his midfield but has to work with a limited budget due to the financial impact of COVID-19 and the prospect of a fourth season without Champions League football.
Danilo has a release clause of €60m but sources said that Porto are willing to sell for around a third of that price amid pressures related to the coronavirus pandemic and meeting UEFA’s financial fair play requirements.
The 28-year-old’s contract expires in 2022 and although he is focused on Porto’s attempts to win the Primeira Liga — they are three points clear of second-placed Benfica with six games to play — he is open to a move to the Premier League at the end of the season.
13.27 BST: Juventus’ Miralem Pjanic is set to transfer to Barcelona, with Arthur Melo moving the other way. Is it a good deal?
Gab Marcotti explains the rumoured swap deal involving Barcelona’s Arthur and Juventus’ Miralem Pjanic.
12.30 BST: Largie Ramazani was released by Manchester United because his wage demands were deemed excessive, sources have told ESPN’s Rob Dawson.
The 19-year-old forward, who was on the bench for the Europa League tie against Astana in November, was offered a new deal to stay at Old Trafford but it was rejected.
Ramazani asked for a salary higher than academy graduates already established in the senior squad, with the club insisting during negotiations that his demands were unrealistic. The Belgian, signed from Charlton in 2017, is set to join a Spanish second division side.
Along with Ramazani, United have also released Aidan Barlow, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Alex Fojticek, Ethan Hamilton, Dion McGhee, Demetri Mitchell, Kieran O’Hara and George Tanner.
Borthwick-Jackson made 14 first team appearances under Louis van Gaal during the 2015-16 season and has since been loaned to Wolves, Leeds, Scunthorpe and Tranmere.
United have chosen not to release any player younger than 19, with sources telling ESPN the decision was made because the club are reluctant to axe players during an uncertain time for football because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“With some of the younger pros that are ending their contracts we are putting packages in place so that when the season resumes they will come back for a few months with some financial support and a training programme to help them with the next stage of their career,” said academy head Nick Cox. “This club is a family and looks after its family members. The last thing we wanted to do during this situation was to deliver bad news and release boys into the unknown “We made the decision not to release any of the boys [U-9s-U18s]. The No. 1 priority was getting them back with smiles on their faces… and we will deal with those decisions at another time. We have a duty to help them through this difficult time.”
12.02 BST: Borussia Dortmund signed Thomas Meunier on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain yesterday but what impact will that move have on Achraf Hakimi‘s future?
Hakimi has been on loan at Dortmund for the past two years and it seems like he will now return to Real Madrid, rather than sign permanently for Dortmund.
However, El Chiringuito journalist Edu Aguirre says that the full-back doesn’t want to stay in Madrid and is instead considering three offers on the table from Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and Manchester City.
11.51 BST: Juventus are reported to have signed young Amiens centre-back Felix Nzouango Bikien for €1.5m.
11.20 BST: Roma forward Mirko Antonucci had his loan terminated with Portuguese side Vitoria Setubal due to “his attitude” and his frequent posting of TikTok videos.
Antonucci, 21, has 26.9k followers on social media site TikTok and 87.7k on Instagram and made six appearances for Vitoria since joining on loan in January.
A club spokesman told ESPN on Thursday that a clip, in which Antonucci was smiling and dancing, appeared on TikTok just hours after the club’s 3-1 defeat to Boavista on Saturday and “was the last straw.” However, previous actions by the Italian besides the videos, had put him on shaky ground at the club based in Setubal.
Julien Laurens speculates who Pep Guardiola will replace Leroy Sané with at Manchester City.
10.05 BST: ESPN’s Insider Notebook brings you some of the latest transfer gossip and information.
– The relationship between Gareth Bale and Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid is worse than ever and looks beyond repair.
The Colombian forward is tied to Galatasaray until June 2022 and has scored 10 goals in 16 league appearances this season.
“We are always thinking about Falcao and perhaps he can return because he left an important legacy here,” Francescoli told Radio Caracol. “It will depend on him and what he wants to do in the future. We hope that Radamel can end his career here.”
Falcao, 34, was a youth product of River Plate and went on to play four seasons at the club, scoring 45 goals in 111 games before joining FC Porto in 2005.
08.34 BST: Roma CEO Guido Fienga has confirmed his club wants to extend the loan spells of Arsenal midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Manchester United centre-back Chris Smalling. The pair joined Roma on a season-loan last summer.
“It’s not a mystery that we would like to keep Smalling and Mkhitaryan,” Fienga told Sky Italia. “But they are right now focused on confirming what they have shown us so far. Let us allow them to work in peace with the hope that they give us so many satisfaction for the remainder of the campaign and in the Europa League.”
Smalling has rediscovered his form in Serie A and Roma are keen to reach an agreement with United to extend his loan spell before acquiring the 30-year-old on a permanent basis in the summer of 2021 for a reported €16m. He has made 29 appearances for Roma and is tied to United until June 2022.
Mkhitaryan has scored six goals and set up three more in 14 league appearances for Roma and is tied to the Gunners until June 2021.
08.00 BST: Clubs hoping to land Norwegian wunderkind Erling Haaland this summer ought to focus on other targets, the Borussia Dortmund attacker suggested in an interview with Funke Media.
“I have signed a long-term deal here and I have only just arrived,” he said. “That’s why I don’t even think about already leaving the club.”
The 19-year-old joined Dortmund from FC Salzburg in January and has scored 13 goals in 14 league games.
Rob Dawson praises Scott McTominay and explains why Man United won’t panic if Jude Bellingham joins Dortmund.
PAPER TALK (by Liam Wheeler)
Bayern considering Bellingham swoop
Bellingham, who turns 17 on Monday, has enjoyed a memorable season that saw him become Birmingham City’s youngest player ever in August as he went on to make 36 senior appearances.
The youngster is believed to have attracted attention from some of Europe’s biggest clubs, with Dortmund previously tipped to be the front-runners for the talented midfielder.
According to Kicker, Dortmund have agreed personal terms with Bellingham but are yet to agree a transfer fee with the Blues, who are said to value the highly rated teenager at £20 million.
And if reports are accurate, that has given Bayern the green light to try to hijack the deal. That would leave a bitter taste in the mouth of Lucien Favre’s side, who were also pipped to the Bundesliga title by their domestic rivals.
Arsenal have come in for further criticism in recent weeks with their lack of depth and creativity both coming into question, but the Daily Mail has linked the Gunners with two players who could potentially go some way to solving both of those problems.
According to the Mail, the North London club were preparing to offer Chelsea winger Willian a bumper £250,000-per-week contract before the coronavirus struck and placed clubs under increased financial restraints.
However, according to the paper, Willian’s agent, Kia Joorabchian, could be a key player in any deal and is already keen to see another one of his clients, Barcelona‘s Philippe Coutinho, head to the Emirates.
Willian put in an electric display as Chelsea beat Manchester City and helped secure a first league title in 30 years for Liverpool.
Any deal for Coutinho would likely have to be a loan in order for Arsenal to be able to fund the transfer. Mikel Arteta’s side would still need the Catalan side to subsidise his contract, but if the Mail is to be believed then that could yet be a possibility.
— Chelsea are set to allow Nicolas Tie to join Portuguese side Vitoria Guimaraes in the summer as the Blues continue to plan for next season, reports The Express. The Blues have already confirmed Mario Pasalic will join Atalanta, while Atletico Madrid are expected to take up their purchase option on loanee Alvaro Morata.
— Another from The Express, which reports that the Gunners are leading the chase for the signature of FCSalzburg star Dominik Szoboszlai, with a host of top clubs also keen to sign the 19-year old. The Hungarian joined Salzburg on a four-year deal in January 2018 and has produced a remarkable 37 attacking returns — including 15 goals and 22 assists — in just 58 appearances.