The January transfer window might 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: Could Lukaku be coming back to Chelsea?
Chelsea are planning to bring Romelu Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge, according to The Sun.
Chelsea are keen to sign a new centre-forward this summer, with Erling Haaland their top target. But, according to The Sun, there is a growing acceptance that a deal for the Borussia Dortmund striker will be too difficult with so many of Europe’s top clubs competing for his signature.
That has led them to focus more effort on re-signing Lukaku, who first joined them as a teenager in 2011 but spent two of his three seasons at the club out on loan.
Now 27 years old, Lukaku is thriving at Inter, and Chelsea are reportedly prepared to go after his signing this summer in a £90m deal.
Meanwhile, Chelsea are considering allowing Tammy Abraham to leave Stamford Bridge for £40m, according to the Telegraph. The Blues are willing to listen to bids for the 23-year-old striker’s services, who appears to have been frozen out by boss Thomas Tuchel. Abraham has played just three minutes of football under Tuchel since mid-February.
Abraham has come through the club’s academy and even though he’s their top scorer in all competitions this season, his departure would bolster the transfer kitty for the summer window. The England striker himself would be loathe to leave the club for which he has spent so much time, but he must surely be considering his options given his lack of game time under Tuchel.
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22.00 BST: That will do it for the latest edition of our LIVE Transfer Talk blog. We hoped you enjoyed following along with us and remind you to check back shortly for the latest transfer rumours, reports and completed deals. Goodnight!
21.28 BST: Man United are currently playing Roma in the Europa League semis but could the two sides meet again this summer at the negotiating table?
Italian outlet La Republic claims that Man United could use little-used midfielder Donny van de Beek in a swap deal to land another potential target. Van de Beek, has started just 12 games for the Red Devils since his £35 million move to Old Trafford, and is reportedly unhappy with his role. The report adds that United could swap Van de Beek for Roma youngster Nicolo Zaniolo, who has missed most of the season with injury, but is still regarded as a top talent.
This would be quite a deal but it seems rather unlikely given the wages and both clubs’ current state.
20.41 BST: Aston Villa left-back Matt Targett has signed a contract extension with the club through 2025.
The 25-year-old has become an integral player at Villa Park, starting all 32 matches for a side that has kept 14 clean sheets. Targett has made 64 appearances in all in his two seasons with Villa, having previously played at Southampton and Fulham (loan).
19.58 BST: Liverpool are reportedly favourites for Dutch striker Donyell Malen, according to Voetbal International.
The report says that the Reds are keen on the 22-year-old, who has scored 17 goals in 29 appearances this season for PSV. A former Arsenal youth player, Malen is valued at £25 million and also has been linked with the likes of Juventus and Barcelona.
Jurgen Klopp reportedly sees Malen as a replacement for Divock Origi, who is widely expected to leave the club this summer after six seasons.
19.05 BST: Newcastle, AC Milan and Norwich City are all jockeying for pole position to land Celtic centre-half Kristoffer Ajer, the Daily Mail has learned.
The towering 23-year-old (six-foot-six) has one year remaining on his contract at Celtic Park, but is keen to move this summer. Valued at £25 million by Celtic, Newcastle hope to land the Norway international for £8m.
Ajer has also been urged to leave Scotland by Norway manager Stale Solbakken, who recently said: “He has to change league now. He must. He does not have enough challenges in everyday life there.”
18.18 BST: If Fulham are relegated, which is looking more and more likely, West Ham and Newcastle could swoop in and land on-loan defensive midfielder Mario Lemina, according to the Guardian.
The Gabon international, who is on loan from Southampton, has been a bright spot at Craven Cottage this season, making 17 starts and emerging as a leader for Scott Parker. Fulham have an option to purchase the ex-Juventus man at the conclusion of his loan, but that would become a moot point if they were relegated. The Guardian lists West Ham and Newcastle as two clubs who would be keen on adding Lemina’s presence and ability in the middle of the park, and suggest he could be available for as little as £7 million.
Lemina, 27, has not played for parent club Southampton since 2019, and does not look to be part of coach Ralph Hasenhuttl’s future plans.
17.32 BST: There is an update on Sergio Ramos’ contract drama at Real Madrid, as ABC Spain suggests that Ramos is now willing to lower his salary demands if Real Madrid offer him a two-year term.
The Real Madrid captain, 35, is out of contract at the end of the season and has been linked with the likes of PSG and Juventus. Real Madrid reportedly have only offered Ramos a year-to-year deal, but the centre-back, who has made 670 appearances for the club and won four Champions Leagues, wants the comfort of a two-year contract.
16.49 BST: American striker Daryl Dike has been a revelation for unlikely promotion hopefuls Barnsley, scoring nine goals in 17 games while on loan with the Tykes.
The issue is, Orlando City have the right to recall the 20-year-old on May 3, which would before Barnsley’s play-off semifinal against either Brentford, Bournemouth or Swansea. The Orlando Sentinel reports that the two sides are in negotiations to extend Dike’s stay in England through the play-offs.
“We’re trying to reach an agreement,” Orlando City CEO Alex Leitão said. “If they reach an agreement that we can get something that helps it make sense for us to keep Daryl there for another month, that’ll be fine. If they do not reach an agreement, because Barnsley don’t believe that he’s worth it, then no problem. We’re gonna call the player back and he’s gonna help us here in Orlando.”
Let’s hope for all parties involved a deal is reached soon!
15.53 BST: With just a year left on his contract, Raphael Varane has been heavily linked with a move this summer, but Real Madrid should think twice about letting him leave.
Steve Nicol says Raphael Varane is still an asset for Real Madrid despite his inconsistent form this season.
15.01 BST: AC Milan directors Paolo Maldini and Frederic Massara have met with defender Fikayo Tomori with a view to making his loan from Chelsea a permanent transfer this summer, Sky reports.
Tomori has made 17 appearances for the Rossoneri since joining them in January for the remainder of the season.
The 23-year-old’s loan move includes an option to join the Serie A club for €28m at the end of the season, and Sky reports that Maldini and Massara will try to convince the Milan board to sanction a deal.
14.13 BST: Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka has said that he did not hesitate before signing his contract with the club last summer.
Saka, 19, signed a new four-year deal last July and insisted he never thought about leaving despite reported interest from several top clubs including Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool.
“No, for me it was just to think about what’s best for my career and I felt what was best for my career was to continue playing with Arsenal,” Saka told ESPN’s James Olley. “I always believed Arsenal was the best thing.”
Bukayo Saka believes he isn’t carrying Arsenal and explains how he deals with pressure in the game.
13.32 BST: Chelsea striker Ike Ugbo‘s impressive form on loan at Cercle Brugge this season could pave the way for him to get a shot in the Premier League next term with Watford, according to The Athletic.
Ugbo scored 16 goals in 32 appearances in Belgium’s Jupiler during his season-long loan in Brugge, including four in his last three games, to help Cercle avoid relegation from the top flight.
The terms of Ugbo’s loan deal include an option to make the deal permanent for £5m, but the 22-year-old is reportedly keen to move elsewhere with Belgian rivals Genk, Bundesliga club Eintracht Frankfurt and Ligue 1 side Monaco all interested him.
However, The Athletic reports that Watford have opened talks with Chelsea over signing the former England youth international after they recently sealed their return to the Premier League for next season.
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12.39 BST: With Cristiano Ronaldo enduring a tough time at Juventus, could a return to Old Trafford be on the cards or would he be better off at the Parc des Princes?
Steve Nicol examines Cristiano Ronaldo’s prospects should he depart Juventus this summer.
11.46 BST: Barcelona are seeking new means of financing the club after the collapse of the European Super League left them with a €350m hole to fill, sources have told ESPN’s Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens.
New Barca president Joan Laporta took charge in March with the club’s gross debt standing at almost €1.2 billion. The Catalan club were one of the 12 founding members of the doomed Super League and, despite reaffirming their commitment to the project last Thursday, have been forced to accept that the competition is unlikely to launch any time soon.
That means Barca will no longer receive the initial €350m they anticipated they would receive from JP Morgan. The American had committed to putting up a €3.5bn grant to kickstart the project and help clubs recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, with an internal audit into the club’s dire financial situation still ongoing, Barca have accelerated the search for outside investment.
Barca are also working on player sales and reducing the wage bill and have already taken some of the heat off by renegotiating a part of their short-term debt. Of the club’s €1.173bn gross debt, €265m was owed to banks before June 30, per the club’s latest accounts.
A club source confirmed to ESPN a more staggered repayment plan has been agreed upon with some of the noteholders of that debt. Barca also owe €164m in salaries to “sports personnel” before the end of the season and €126m in instalments on past signings by June 30.
10.49 BST: Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers has insisted he is happy at the club despite being linked with the job at Tottenham Hotspur.
Spurs missed out on Julian Nagelsmann as Jose Mourinho’s replacement after it was announced on Tuesday that the RB Leipzig coach would be joining Bayern Munich this summer.
Rodgers is one of those linked with renewed interest from the London club, along with England manager Gareth Southgate, Belgium coach Roberto Martinez and former Leipzig and Stuttgart coach Ralf Rangnick. However, with Leicester preparing for next month’s FA Cup final and closing in on a place in next season’s Champions League, Rodgers has no desire to leave the club.
“I’m very, very happy here,” he said. “I have a huge respect here for the players, the board and I really feel that I want to continue my work here.
“I’ve got a set of players that give me their heart and soul every single day and also I can see a future here in terms of the development of the squad.”
The former Liverpool and Celtic manager added: “Tottenham is a great club, one of the biggest clubs in Britain but for me I’m just in a really, really happy place in my life.”
09.55 BST: Real Madrid have set their sights on Eintracht Frankfurt top scorer Andre Silva, Bild reports. The Portugal international has been in great form for Die Adler this term, scoring 25 league goals, as many as Borussia Dortmund’s Norwegian wunderkind Erling Haaland.
Silva has impressed for Eintracht ever since he signed for them from AC Milan in a last-minute swap deal with Ante Rebic in 2019. He has scored 42 goals and set up a further 14 in 68 appearances across all competitions.
This term, his goals have Frankfurt in with a chance to qualify for the 2021-22 Champions League. With just three games left, they hold a one-point lead over Dortmund and arguably have the easier run-in.
According to Bild, Real Madrid are prepared to part with €40m to secure the services of the Portugal international in a deal that could see Luka Jovic‘s loan from the Bernabeu to Frankfurt made permanent.
09.00 BST: U.S. coach Jesse Marsch has been appointed the new RB Leipzig manager after he leaves defending Austrian champions FC Salzburg.
Marsch, 47, will replace Julian Nagelsmann who will join Bundesliga defending champions Bayern Munich next season after signing a five-year-contract.
Marsch previously worked as an assistant at Leipzig for the 2018-19 campaign but left to manage Salzburg.
During his first season in charge of Salzburg, Marsch led them to a league and cup double. They are six points clear in the Austrian Bundesliga championship round.
With Marsch’s arrival, five of the Bundesliga top seven clubs — Bayern, Leipzig, Wolfsburg, Frankfurt, Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Monchengladbach — will have a new man in the dugout for the 2021-22 season.
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PAPER GOSSIP (by Nick Judd)
– Everton have joined the race to sign Juventus’ 23-year-old defender Merih Demiral, according to Calciomercato. Juventus boss Andrea Pirlo is looking to freshen up his back line and Demiral could be one of the first players to leave the club in the summer. The Turkish defender is also keen on Everton, who are said to be willing to spend £22m-£27m to land his signature.
– Real Madrid are looking for defensive reinforcements and they’re considering Sevilla FC centre-back Jules Kounde, according to AS. With Sergio Ramos‘ contract situation yet to be resolved and Raphael Varane‘s future unclear, Madrid have placed Kounde at the top of their summer wish list. Kounde’s consistency and level of performance sees him climb ahead of Villarreal’s Pau Torres in Madrid’s thinking. Kounde, 22, has a €90m release clause, but Madrid are more likely to offer €50-60m and send a player in the opposite direction.
– Agent Jorge Mendes has made contact with Tottenham Hotspur over a potential switch for Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Nuno Espirito Santo to take over following Jose Mourinho’s sacking, according to the Sun. Mendes is also looking to bring in ex-Benfica boss Bruno Lage as Nuno’s replacement. Nuno’s existing contract runs until 2023 but there is a sense that he wants to move on and test himself on the European stage on a regular basis. Nuno is also said to be open to a return to La Liga, where he managed Valencia. Meanwhile, Fabrizio Romano believes Spurs are setting up a meeting with Ajax Amsterdam coach Erik Ten Hag.
– Newcastle United, Norwich City and Rangers are all said to be chasing Vitesse defender Danilho Doekhi, according to the Telegraph. The 22-year-old centre-back has impressed for the Dutch side in the Eredivisie, playing 18 games in his third season for the club. Doekhi is entering the final year of his contract and is said to be targeting a new challenge abroad.
– Ajax had already been monitoring Toby Alderweireld‘s progress, but now they’re targeting Spurs teammate Davinson Sanchez too, according to Voetbal24. Tottenham are looking to strengthen their own backline this summer, which could mean exits for both 32-year-old Alderweireld and 24-year-old Sanchez. Both players have already played for Ajax, but Sanchez could be the trickier of the two to sign; his contract runs until 2024, and he is keen to force his way back into the London side’s plans.