The January transfer window may seem like a distant memory, but that doesn’t mean the rumour mill has shut down! Speculation over summer moves is heating up so check out the latest gossip below, and see all official deals here.
TOP STORY: Liverpool, Chelsea and PSG not giving up on Alaba
While Real Madrid are still favourites to sign Bayern Munich defender David Alaba, there are a trio of clubs refusing to give up on the Austria international, reports Fabrizio Romano for Benchwarmers.
Alaba confirmed in February that he would not sign a new contract and would leave Bayern Munich at the end of the 2020-21 season. The defender has won nine Bundesliga titles and two Champions Leagues during his time at the German champions.
Even with the competition, Real Madrid will be confident of completing a move, as they have reportedly had a verbal agreement with the 28-year-old for months. However, it won’t be over until he signs on the dotted line.
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17.41 GMT: Manchester United would be a scary prospect now if they had landed Erling Haaland before he joined Dortmund.
Gab Marcotti explains the situation which led to Manchester United missing out on Erling Haaland in 2018.
16.30 GMT: Now is the time that plans must be made by the Premier League’s top clubs to catch and overhaul Manchester City next season, writes Mark Ogden. They all have issues to address — some with bigger problems than others — but with this season’s title race as good as over, what do they need to do to make themselves strong enough to win the league next year?
MAN UNITED: Find a goal scorer
If money were no object then a commanding goalkeeper, world-class centre-half and prolific centre-forward would all arrive this summer. But with finances impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be that United can only tick one of those boxes. If that’s the case, they simply have to put all their resources into signing a centre-forward capable of scoring at least 20 league goals a season.
CHELSEA: Rebuild the midfield
Right now, Chelsea lack the power to dominate and control games from midfield as they did when they had the likes of Frank Lampard, Claude Makelele and Michael Essien in their prime. Finding a new Lampard, Makelele or Essien is a tough task, but a stronger midfield would directly improve the defence and attack, so Chelsea need to unearth a player capable of doing just that.
TOTTENHAM: Replace Lloris and keep Kane
The time has come to find a replacement for captain and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. The France No. 1 has been among the best in the world at times during his career, but he is no longer in that bracket. Spurs would be stronger, and more capable of sustaining a title challenge, with a better goalkeeper.
16.04 GMT: PSV midfielder Mohamed Ihattaren has fallen out with manager Roger Schmidt and could be on his way out of the club.
Ihattaren, who is represented by super agent Mino Raiola, has a deal which expires in June 2022. The 19-year-old was benched for PSV’s clash with Olympiakos in the Europa League in midweek and then dropped from the squad for the 1-1 draw with Ajax this weekend after his reaction.
PSV released an official statement ahead of the game which read: “Our entire staff, all the players and the board did everything to support Ihattaren and make him valuable at PSV. He didn’t take that opportunity though. Therefore PSV decided to keep the 19-year-old midfielder out of the squad against Ajax. On Thursday he didn’t act professionally. Lack of motivation, lack of discipline. Therefore we took this decision.”
Schmidt told ESPN Netherlands of Ihattaren’s omission: “It’s an internal matter. I don’t want to talk about it. Everybody is trying to support him. For the last couple of weeks things went very well, but now he has taken a step back. He must deserve it to play for this club and he’ll get the chance to prove himself again in the future.”
15.31 GMT: Are Chelsea performing better under new boss Thomas Tuchel?
Steve Nicol feels Thomas Tuchel is yet to solve Chelsea’s attacking problems since he replaced Frank Lampard.
14.50 GMT: Chelsea and Man United showed they lack the cutting edge a player like Dortmund striker Erling Haaland would offer, writes James Olley.
What began as a much-anticipated clash in the battle for the top four ended up as a 0-0 draw that served as a 90-minute advert for why Chelsea and Manchester United are expected to fight for Erling Haaland’s signature this summer.
That particular off-field battle might prove more of a spectacle than this Stamford Bridge stalemate, albeit one which improved after a dour first half and is notable for another entry into the growing list of differing handball interpretations in the VAR era.
14.33 GMT: Reading full-back Omar Richards has passed a medical with Bayern Munich and will sign on a free transfer in the summer.
Richards, 23, has agreed a four-year contract with the Bundesliga champions, according to Sky Germany.
14.05 GMT: Sassuolo’s Manuel Locatelli has caught the eye of Real Madrid, Man City and Juventus, according to Calciomercato.
Locatelli, 23, won’t stay long at Sassuolo given his talent and a fee of around €40m is reported to be enough to persuade the Italian club to let him go.
13.31 GMT: Juventus signed Cristiano Ronaldo for €100m in 2018 to progress, but they seem to be going backwards. Is CR7 to blame?
Matteo Bonetti dives into the state of Juventus with Andrea Pirlo’s sides Serie A title hopes dwindling
12.53 GMT: Jose Mourinho sang the praises of Gareth Bale after the Wales international’s two-goal show in Tottenham Hotspur’s 4-0 drubbing of Burnley in the Premier League on Sunday.
The Tottenham manager gave Bale only his third league start since he returned on loan from Real Madrid in September, and was rewarded with a dazzling display.
Mourinho has seemed reluctant to trust Bale in the league, citing his lack of match fitness and injury problems. But after his second-half impact off the bench against West Ham United last week, his midweek showing against Wolfsberger and Sunday’s two goals, Bale is beginning to blossom again.
“I am very happy for him, very happy for the team because the team needs his talent,” Mourinho said. “I am happy because when his condition is good he can do things like today — his game was very good, not just scoring, changing speeds, going inside. I am very happy for him.”
12.20 GMT: Orlando City SC and Major League Soccer have terminated defender Jonathan Suarez‘s contract following his arrest on sexual battery charges.
Suarez, 24, mutually agreed to the termination “in order to focus on the allegations made against him,” according to a statement released by the team on Sunday.
The league suspended Suarez indefinitely on Wednesday following his arrest in central Florida on Tuesday.
11.44 GMT: Manchester United’s 18-year-old full-back Iestyn Hughes has “attracted interest from recruitment staff at other teams in the English top flight as well as Germany, particularly after he was named on the bench for United’s under-23s game at Everton last week,” according to The Athletic.
Hughes is out of contract this summer and could move if he doesn’t decide to pen new terms.
11.02 GMT: AC Milan technical director Paolo Maldini says the club are considering making Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori‘s loan move permanent.
“Tomori is a good talent and we have a buy-option clause,” Maldini told Sky in Italy ahead of their clash at Roma on Sunday. “The price is very high. AC Milan will decide at the end of this season and we will discuss it with Chelsea’s board.”
10.11 GMT: Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho is starting to make some changes, but is it too late?
Frank Leboeuf questions Jose Mourinho’s tactics vs. Burnley and wonders if it’s too little too late for Spurs.
09.33 GMT: Former Borussia Dortmund club captain Sebastian Kehl is set to replace Michael Zorc as the club’s sporting director in 2022, says kicker.
Zorc, 58, is set to vacate his position next year after 24 years in the role, having become one of the kingpins of the transfer market.
The club’s controversial-but-successful transfer strategy as a developer club for Europe’s elite has seen Dortmund participate in European competition in every season since 2010, unparalleled in their long history. They have played two Europa League campaigns and are currently taking part their ninth Champions League in 11 years.
To keep Dortmund on course after Zorc’s departure, the club are now set to appoint Kehl. Having retired from professional football in 2015, he returned to the club as squad manager in 2018. Over the past few years, he has worked closely with Zorc and the club now feel he can make the step up.
However, sources have told ESPN’s Stephan Uersfeld that it has yet to be decided how exactly the club will be run after Zorc’s departure and there is a possibility another person will arrive in a yet-to-be-defined role.
In recent weeks, local Dortmund outlet Ruhr Nachrichten reported that BVB are considering bringing back former head scout Sven Mislintat, who has been working as sporting director at VfB Stuttgart after leaving Arsenal.
08.37 GMT: Benfica president Luis Filipe Vieira has taken full responsibility for his team’s disappointing results this season and has guaranteed that coach Jorge Jesus will continue in charge until the end of his contract in 2022.
Benfica, eliminated in the Europa League by Arsenal last week, have drawn four, won one and lost one of their last six league games and are16 points adrift of Sporting Lisbon in Portugal’s top flight.
“The person responsible can only be me,” Vieira told Benfica TV. “It is not worthwhile to chase ghosts. I am the one responsible.
“I don’t need to defend him [Jorge Jesus]. He has already proved what a great coach he is. He is a winner, he is an extraordinary professional.”
08.00 GMT: Diego Simeone played down Joao Felix‘s angry goal celebration after the forward scored in Atletico Madrid’s 2-0 win at Villarreal on Sunday, saying he “loves it when players rebel.”
The 21-year-old came off the bench at half-time to help seal a victory that put Atletico five points clear at the top of La Liga with a game in hand. Felix scored in the 69th minute and responded by putting his finger to his lips, unsmiling, and shouting in Portuguese in the direction of the Atletico Madrid bench before being surrounded by teammates.
“You’ll have to ask him,” coach Simeone said, laughing, when asked about the reaction. “He scored a great goal. He came on and did well in the second half… I love it when players rebel, when they look to be strong. We need him to be, he’s an important player for us.”
“I’ll ask him in the next training session, and then I’ll see if I tell you,” Simeone added, when pressed on the celebration in his postmatch news conference. “I love it when players show pride. How long had it been since Joao scored? If players are rebellious, give them to me!”
Joao Felix cost €126m when Atletico signed him from Benfica in July 2019 after just one year of senior football.
Steve Nicol praises Arsenal’s team performance in their 3-1 win away vs. Leicester.
PAPER TALK (by Danny Lewis)
Barcelona may target Arteta
Catalan radio station RAC1 has suggested that Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is one of Barcelona presidential candidate Joan Laporta’s targets if Ronald Koeman doesn’t stay past this season.
The Dutchman has not been the most popular figure this term, with Barca trailing Atletico Madrid, who have played one less game, by five points in La Liga.
There is always the chance that Koeman’s tenure may end in the summer and Arteta, who came through La Masia as a player, is seen as a possible replacement.
The 38-year-old, who was Pep Guardiola’s assistant at Manchester City before moving to the Emirates, has Arsenal 10th in the Premier League table.
Man United and Leeds want Nkoulou
Manchester United and Leeds United are both considering moves for Torino centre-back Nicolas Nkoulou, reports Tuttosport.
The 30-year-old has previously worked with Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa when the Argentine was in charge of Marseille.
However, the Red Devils may have the edge, seeing as they will likely be able to offer the Cameroon international the chance to play Champions League football.
The two clubs’ interest is helped by the fact Nkoulou’s contract comes to an end in the summer of 2021, meaning he’ll be allowed to leave Torino for free.
– Newcastle United outcast Kyle Scott has travelled to the United States of America ahead of a trial with FC Cincinnati, reports the Shield Gazette. The former USYNT midfielder joined the Magpies in 2019 but is yet to make his senior debut for the club and has been told his contract won’t be renewed.
– Atletico Madrid are still tracking Lyon midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, according to Mundo Deportivo. The Spanish giants attempted to sign the 23-year-old last season, but were unable to strike a deal. Atleti will have competition if they move for the Brazilian though, as it has previously been suggested that Internazionale and AC Milan are showing an interest for around €30m.
– Saint-Etienne may be forced to let yet another promising player move on due to their financial issues, having already allowed William Saliba and Wesley Fofana leave for Arsenal and Leicester City respectively, says Foot Mercato. This time around, they may be moving on 17-year-old central midfielder Lucas Gourna-Douath. The young Frenchman has made 22 Ligue 1 appearances this term, and his contract may be worth between €15m-€25m, with Chelsea, RB Leipzig and AC Milan said to be among the interested parties.