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: Inter eye summer swoop for Walker
Internazionale have made Manchester City right-back Kyle Walker a top target this summer as they look to bolster their defensive options, the Sun reports.
England full-back Walker, 30, has been the subject of some off-pitch controversy in recent months after breaching lockdown rules on several occasions, with Inter boss Antonio Conte sensing the opportunity to offer the defender a fresh start.
Pep Guardiola has admitted he has spoken with Walker about his conduct, but is still believed to see him as a key part of his plans for next season, with reports suggesting the club will listen to offers for fellow right-back Joao Cancelo, while the club have cooled their interest in Barcelona’s Nelson Semedo.
But Conte will still be hopeful of negotiating a deal, having already lured a trio of Premier League stars to the San Siro relatively recently in the form of Romelu Lukaku, Ashley Young and Christian Eriksen.
Walker has made 31 appearances for City this season, scoring once.
13.08 BST: Chelsea and Manchester United are engaged in a tense tug of war over England goalkeeper Dean Henderson, according to the Sun.
United started contract talks with the keeper last week about an extension to his contract but Chelsea have also reportedly made contact.
A move to Frank Lampard’s side would be tempting for Henderson with the promise of Champions League football.
It would also be likely that he would be loaned out again, should he stay with United.
12.13 BST: Arsenal have agreed a deal to sign Pablo Mari on a permanent basis despite the defender facing four months out through injury, the Daily Mail reports.
Mari joined the Gunners on loan from Brazilian club Flamengo in January. The 26-year-old made only his third appearance for the club in Wednesday’s 3-0 defeat at Manchester City, in which he was replaced after just 24 minutes when he suffered an ankle injury.
Arsenal expect Mari to be out of action until November as he recovers from ligament damage. Despite that, the Mail reports that the club will push ahead with the £14m purchase of the Spanish centre-back.
11.24 BST: Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland scored his 40th goal of the season on Saturday. While many expect the 19-year-old sensation to be sold for a big profit before too long, with Real Madrid and Manchester United the clubs most strongly linked, ESPN FC’s Steve Nicol believes Haaland should continue to develop at the Westfalenstadion.
10.39 BST: Liverpool are considering the option of using Sadio Mane as a makeweight in a cash-plus-player deal to bring Kylian Mbappe to Anfield if the Senegal forward does not sign a new contract, the Sun on Sunday reports.
Mane, 28, has a contract at Liverpool until 2023. However, the Sun on Sunday reports that coach Jurgen Klopp is still anxious to tie him down for even longer.
If that does not happen, then one option that has been discussed is to try to sign Mbappe from Paris Saint-Germain in exchange for Mane and £200m.
Mane, who moved to Liverpool from Southampton for £34m in 2016, has scored 18 goals in all competitions for the Premier League leaders so far this season.
09.54 BST: Chelsea manager Frank Lampard says he is still none the wiser as to whether Willian and Pedro will sign new short-term deals to see out the rest of the season.
Willian, 31, and Pedro, 32, are both out of contract at the end of the month, and are yet to commit to the club for the remainder of 2019-20 as they seek moves elsewhere. The Premier League’s deadline for new deals to be agreed is Tuesday.
“We have had some injuries this season at different times and managers will always mention them here or there just to let everyone know,” Lampard told reporters ahead of Sunday’s match against Aston Villa. “But the reality is you can’t always guard against that and if it has fallen in certain clubs’ laps that players get fit, we have a couple of players who are fit ourselves so that’s fair enough.
“We are hoping to have the extension of Pedro and Willian, but if our squad looks different to what it looked like in the first part of the season then it changes it for us without a doubt. So, of course, we have to get our heads down and work and finish this season as well as we can, but they are clearly two important players for us and it will be very unfortunate if we don’t have them.”
09.00 BST: Real Madrid face on-loan Martin Odegaard tonight, and Diario AS reports that the Norwegian will finally be spending another season at Real Sociedad, until June 2021.
Odegaard, 21, made the move last summer in what the Basque club described as a two-year deal and has excelled, becoming one of the best players in La Liga.
That form has led to speculation that Real Madrid would seek to bring the playmaker back early, given that Spanish federation rules allow for season-long loans only, and the second year was merely a provisional agreement.
According to AS, the COVID-19 pandemic means Madrid are postponing a “rejuvenation of the squad that they had planned for this summer” and Odegaard will stay in San Sebastian to continue his development, although any binding decisions on Real Madrid’s squad-building for 2020-21 will be made at the end of the La Liga season.
“I won’t say what we’re going to do with Martin, he’s ours but this year he’s playing for another club. We’ll see what the club are going to do with Martin in the future,” Zinedine Zidane said yesterday.
PAPER TALK (by Liam Wheeler): Man United hit with a colossal price tag for Fati
Look away now Manchester United fans, this one will probably make your eyes water!
Earlier this week, ESPN brought you the news that the Red Devils would have to up their £135 million bid to a whopping £151m in order to land Barcelona winger Ansu Fati.
Now things might be about to get even worse for the club’s hierarchy, with the Express reporting that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will have to pay a record-breaking (and frankly frightening) £355m in order to land the sensational 17-year-old.
Fati has struck six times in 26 appearances for Barca this season and is hotly tipped to become one of football’s future greats.
According to the Express, United’s opening bid of £85m was quickly rebuffed with the Catalonia-based club unwilling to negotiate further at any price. That means the club’s only option will be to pay the player’s release clause, which is now said to be more than £200m higher than the sum that was initially reported.
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Sancho’s ‘head with Man United’ as speculation gathers momentum
Meanwhile, it seems like barely a day goes by when Jadon Sancho isn’t being linked with a move to Manchester, but in slightly more positive news for United fans, they appear to be edging ever nearer to completing a deal for the Borussia Dortmund man.
The Red Devils are said to have been keen on Sancho for some time now, and their hopes of landing the England star received another boost on Saturday, with German journalist Heiko Wasser stating that Sancho’s head is already with Solskjaer’s side.
The 20-year-old had to settle for a place on the bench as Dortmund secured second spot in the Bundesliga with a 2-0 win over third-placed RB Leipzig — and Wasser says that call was made because Sancho’s head has been turned.
That news will be welcomed at Old Trafford with United believed to have made Sancho their top target this summer, although the Express report that the Premier League side will have to fork out £120 million to secure the talented youngster’s services.
Juve step up Jimenez interest
Serie A leaders Juventus are said to have taken their interest in Wolves forward Raul Jimenez up a notch as they look to secure a replacement for veteran striker Gonzalo Higuain, and are hoping to exploit their relationship with the player’s agent, Jorge Mendes, to facilitate a deal.
According to the Daily Mail, Maurizio Sarri has switched his attention to Jimenez after being put off by Napoli’s £40m asking price for Arkadiusz Milik, but the Italian side’s unwillingness to spend big could cause problems with Wolves valuing their star striker at £53m.
The Old Lady had been hoping to take Jimenez on an initial loan with a view to a permanent deal and were contemplating the option of player-swaps to reduce the Mexico international’s price tag, but the Premier League side are not interested in any such deal.
The Bianconeri are expected to face competition from a host of Europe’s elite clubs, including Real Madrid and Manchester United, for the forward, who struck again at West Ham on Saturday to take his attacking tally to 22 goals and 10 assists in just 44 matches across all competitions.
– Barcelona midfielder Arthur Melo has rejected the chance to move to Juventus, reiterating again his desire to stay and fight for a first-team place with Quique Setien’s side. According to Marca, the 23-year-old has turned down the chance to earn a €5m-a-year salary in Turin and believes he has what it takes to earn a place in a competitive Barcelona midfield.
– Marca also say that PSG’s all-time top scorer Edinson Cavani will return to Paris to bid farewell to the club in the coming days after reaching an agreement to end his contract as initially planned on June 30. According to the Spanish publication, the Uruguayan, now 33, is keen to focus on a new project and will not feature in the remainder of the Parisians delayed Champions League fixtures.