LIVE Transfer Talk: Man United join race for Rennes star Maouassa

The coronavirus pandemic has made the summer transfer window uncertain, but here are the new rumours floating around Europe’s big leagues and beyond.

TOP STORY: Man United joins race for Maouassa

Manchester United are interested in signing Rennes left-back star Faitout Maouassa, reports the Sun.

Rennes have risen to third in Ligue 1 this season and Maoussa has been one of the stars of the season, scoring three goals in 32 appearances from the left side of defence, and playing in every game.

United are one of several clubs — including the soon-to-be-wealthy Newcastle United — keeping an eye on the versatile defender. The 21-year-old can play in defence, midfield, or even as a left winger.

Newcastle had a bid rejected for the star in January last year but could reignite their interest, particularly as Rennes could be up for selling with Maoussa having just one year left on his contract.

The player himself admitted wanting to play in England, but felt it was too early to make the move when Newcastle enquired in January 2019.

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14.40 BST: Real Madrid forward James Rodriguez will surely be leaving this summer, but would he move to the U.S.?

13.48 BST: France legend David Trezeguet has some advice for PSG that may impact his former club Juventus.

“PSG should take up Mauro Icardi‘s option [for €70m from Inter Milan],” he told Le Parisien. “At 27, he is still young. There are also very few strikers at this level with his statistics. Even if he has played less lately, he adapted to PSG and showed his qualities. Icardi is better to have with you than against you. I understand Juventus’ interest in him — it is not new. He is a unique goal scorer.”

13.17 BST: Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen reckons he will be a valued asset when the transfer window opens as his contract expires in the summer.

“Many clubs don’t have the money to do transfers,” he told Belgian TV channel Play Sports. “Transfer-free players like me are even more coveted in the coronavirus crisis. The Spanish and Italian leagues are obvious but I’ll keep options open.

“I want to sign with the right club. It could be Spurs, or another club. I really want to continue at top level for a few more years and I would like to play European football next season.”

12.31 BST: Chelsea are considering a loan deal to sign Philippe Coutinho as an alternative to Jadon Sancho because they fear the Borussia Dortmund winger will join Manchester United, sources have told ESPN. But that could prove an issue for one Blues player.

11.51 BST: Barcelona won’t exercise their first refusal for Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul, who is attracting interest from Premier League club Manchester United, says Mundo Deportivo.

Saul, 25, has a release clause of €150m and Barcelona paid Atletico €15m for the first option on him back in October. But the Spain international is too costly and the club have other priorities right now.

Meanwhile, Barcelona’s January signing Matheus says that he will make history at Camp Nou.

The 21-year-old midfielder signed from Brazilian club Palmeiras for an initial €7m plus a further €3m in variables, but was then sent on loan to Real Valladolid where he has yet to play because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think I’m going to succeed at Barça, I have the potential for it, I think I fit in with the style of play,” he said. “I hope I can be there and stay there forever and make history at Barcelona.”

11.01 BST: ESPN’s insider notebook has some disappointing news for Arsenal fans who thought the team might sneak into the Champions League. Plus:

– Chelsea are struggling to drum up interest in goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga. Manager Frank Lampard is open to selling the Spain international after dropping him for six games in January and February.

– Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi is negotiating on behalf of Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 clubs with TV rights holders, so that the final installments for the 2019-20 season can be paid. The rights holders in France are Canal+ and BeIn Sport, whose supremo is … yep, you’ve guessed it: Nasser Al-Khelaifi.

10.21 BST: Bayern Munich head coach Hansi Flick has backed veteran goalkeeper Manuel Neuer to retain the No. 1 spot for the club next season, despite the signing of Alexander Nubel.

Neuer, 34, is negotiating a new contract with Bayern, as his current deal expires in 2021, though his stay would be a blow to Nubel, who is set to join the German champions on a free transfer from Schalke once the season has been completed.

“Manuel Neuer is clearly our No. 1 and this won’t change in the coming season,” Flick told kicker magazine on Thursday. 

Nubel was reportedly promised a certain number of games when signing his contract at the Allianz Arena, but Flick added: “The coach makes the final call who plays.”

As a result, the 23-year-old will face a fight for the place on the Bayern bench with Sven Ulreich, Neuer’s backup since 2015.

“He [Nubel] is a young and very talented keeper, and we want to develop him here,” Flick continued. “But it’s also clear that at Bayern, maybe even more than anywhere else, it comes down to the performance principle and currently Sven Ulreich does an outstanding job.”

09.46 BST: Marca have spoken to Thomas Partey‘s agents, who have denied any talks with Arsenal over a move for the Atletico Madrid midfielder.

Partey has been linked with a €50m transfer to the Emirates and his father had reportedly confirmed discussions had taken place on Ghana-based radio station Tru FM.

However, Marca reports that Partey’s representatives JJ Sports say the suggestions are ” totally false.”

Partey — who is a key player in Diego Simeone’s team, having been one of Atletico’s most impressive players this season — has a contract in Madrid until 2023. The 26-year-old has been regularly named as a Premier League target, with Manchester United also rumoured to be keen.

09.03 BST: L’Equipe claims that Arsenal target Dayot Upamecano can leave RB Leipzig for €60m, with Bayern Munich reportedly best placed to sign him.

Upamecano, 21, is one of the most highly rated young defenders in the world and Leipzig are ready to let him leave as they believe they have secured the signature of PSG’s Tanguy Kouassi as a replacement.

08.30 BST: Inter Milan vice-president Javier Zanetti says he expects Lautaro Martinez to be at the club for many years to come.

Martinez, 22, joined Inter from Racing Club in the summer of 2018 for a reported fee of €22.7m and scored 16 goals in 31 appearances for the Nerazzurri this season. The Argentine, who is tied to the Italian giants until June 2023, is reportedly Barcelona’s top summer target and has a €111m release clause in his contract.

“He is a very intelligent person,” Zanetti told Argentinian channel Cadena 3. “He is making the most of his opportunity of playing in such an important league as is the Italian league. When we saw him for the first time, we imagined this. That he defends the Inter colours makes us proud and happy because I believe we have a striker in the team for many years to come.”

Zanetti also said he and everyone at the club is focused right now on keeping everyone healthy and not the transfer market.

“The last thing we are thinking about today is the transfer of players,” he said. “Today we are thinking about health which is the most important thing. Once we return to training, and we hope football can resume, we will see what happens in the future. We are all focused on overcoming this situation.” 

PAPER TALK (by Nick Judd)

Zidane weighs up Pogba, Camavinga, Fabian

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane is looking to rebuild the central midfield area and he is deliberating over a list of potential signings including Paul Pogba, Eduardo Camavinga and Fabian Ruiz, according to AS.

Pogba has been a target for Zidane for some time and Madrid have now failed to sign the Frenchman on two separate occasions. Though Pogba is out of contract in 2021 and so Man United could finally be tempted to sell.

Camavinga and Fabian would be less expensive for Zidane. Rennes midfielder Camavinga is just 17 years old but in demand, though his agent also represents Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele, which could prove a stumbling block.

Fabian is the one player that allegedly most excites the Madrid hierarchy, who see him as a direct replacement for Isco. The 24-year-old is contracted to Napoli until 2023, which could make him tricky to buy, while his €100m buyout clause could also be a challenge to circumnavigate.

Whoever he signs, Zidane has a busy summer ahead.

Werner could be Martinez alternative for Barca

Barcelona are reportedly finding it difficult to pay top target Lautaro Martinez‘s €111m buy-out clause despite offering Inter Milan several players in an effort to bring down the price. Therefore, the Barca brass are also considering a plan B in Timo Werner, according to Mundo Deportivo.

Negotiations for the Argentine between the Blaugrana and the Nerrazurri are ongoing, but it’s clear the Italians are making life difficult for their Spanish counterparts.

RB Leipzig star Werner represents a much simpler deal to sort, and he would come at a much cheaper price despite scoring more goals.

Mundo Deportivo believe German star Werner is “a good option” and a “serious alternative” and that Barca representatives have been watching him for some time alongside Martinez.


Paris Saint-Germain are rumoured to be interested in Karim Benzema should Edinson Cavani move to Atletico Madrid. That’s the possible chain of events being reported by Le10Sport, who believe Benzema could return to France as part of Real Madrid’s big summer clear out, with Atletico the biggest benefactors by landing their top target Cavani. 

– Chelsea have been in contact with Lille over the potential double signing of Victor Osimhen and Gabriel in the summer, reports Le10Sport. They report that Chelsea and Lille enjoy a good relationship following the signing of Eden Hazard in 2012, and that the Blues are said to be really keen on Nigerian striker Osimhen. Lille believe the 21-year-old could be worth more than the €80m Arsenal paid for Nicolas Pepe.

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