The winter transfer window is closed, but now it’s time to look ahead to the summer! Here are the new rumours floating around Europe’s big leagues and beyond.
TOP STORY: Ronaldo options limited to PSG or Manchester United
It looks increasingly likely that Cristiano Ronaldo will leave Italy when the season comes to an end, or if the coronavirus pandemic brings the season to a premature conclusion, and Marca is suggesting that there are only two likely options for CR7.
They believe that if the Portugal captain decides to leave Juve as expected, he will only have the pick of former club Manchester United or Paris Saint-Germain.
Ronaldo is still idolised for his achievements at Old Trafford between 2003 and 2009, while PSG are one of the few clubs to be able to afford him. And if they lose one or both of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, they’ll be in the market for a big name.
Real Madrid could possibly afford Ronaldo’s wages to bring him back to the Bernabeu, but they’ve already moved on and are looking at other alternatives.
Barcelona are unlikely to afford him, and Bayern Munich are unlikely to sign a player of his age.
All of which points to a return to Manchester, or a trip to Paris.
22.06 GMT: Crystal Palace are interested in River Plate’s Rafael Santos Borre, according to AS, but instead of paying the 24-year-old striker’s €30m release clause, Palace would likely negotiate with Atletico Madrid, who own 50% of the Colombian’s economic rights and possess an option to purchase the other 50% for €7m.
21.13 GMT: The Sun writes that Inter are uninterested in signing Alexis Sanchez permanently amid his uninspiring loan at the San Siro this season, and upon his return to parent club Manchester United following the season, he’ll be due a £1.1m loyalty bonus.
20.20 GMT: Barcelona are prioritising new contracts for Lionel Messi, Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Nelson Semedo, Mundo Deportivo reports. The latter pair have deals expiring in 2022, meaning that this summer would be the opportune time to sell to maximise their values should new deals not be agreed before then.
19.27 GMT: With the coronavirus pandemic disrupting economies around the world, Calciomercato writes that Roma are specifically targeting free agents this summer as part of their recruitment strategy, with Tottenham centre-back Jan Vertonghen, Borussia Dortmund playmaker Mario Gotze, AC Milan midfielder Giacomo Bonaventura and Chelsea attacker Pedro all on the Giallorossi‘s wish list.
18.34 GMT: With little more than a year remaining on his contract, Manuel Neuer has been linked with a move for Chelsea, who are reported to be in the market for a goalkeeper for the error prone Kepa Arrizabalaga. But Sky Sports cites its colleagues in Germany as reporting that the 34-year-old Germany international wants to extend his stay at Bayern Munich, and that a move to West London is “not an option at the moment.”
17.41 GMT: Manchester United are “determined” to sign Saul from Atletico Madrid, according to AS, but they’re unwilling to pay his €150m release clause. Their highest offer for the 25-year-old midfielder is said to be €80m.
16.48 GMT: Calciomercato reports that Barcelona can’t afford Lautaro Martinez‘s €111m release clause, and would like to include 23-year-old left back Junior Firpo — who’s made just 17 appearances with the Catalan club since joining last summer from Real Betis – to entice Inter to sell the Argentine forward for a price below his buyout figure.
15.55 BST: Tottenham striker Harry Kane may have a tough call to make when football returns.
15.30 BST: Estoril winger Chiquinho has been linked to Chelsea and the 20-year-old did a live chat last night when he was asked about the links.
“At this point, I just have to continue doing what I like: playing,” he said. “Then it’s up to my agent and the club to decide what is best for me. But it’s a great pride to be linked to Chelsea.”
Muller, 30, had been linked with a move to Manchester United but it seems like he’s staying in Germany for now.
Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho are all very much part of the reason for the video below, so will be used as makeweights where possible, but PSG won’t be letting Neymar go for less than €160m and Martinez has a €111m release clause in his Inter Milan contract.
13.38 BST: Barcelona have spent some serious cash. But it’s not been spent well.
Haaland decided against a move to Old Trafford in January, instead choosing to join the Bundesliga side from FC Salzburg. But a release clause inserted in the deal by Haaland’s representatives has alerted Real Madrid and raised the possibility of a move to the Spanish giants.
12.01 BST: Lucas Vazquez has revealed his desire to play in MLS in the future, though admitted he is happy at Real Madrid and would retire at the club if he could.
“It would be incredible, I’d love to play in MLS one day,” the winger told Bleacher Report. “I love basketball. I love the teams of LeBron James.”
Vazquez has seen a reduction in his playing time at the Bernabeu this season, making just six starts and eight substitute appearances in La Liga during the 2019-20 campaign. However the 28-year-old is in no hurry to leave Madrid, where he has proved to be a valuable squad member, winning three Champions Leagues and a La Liga title since making his debut in 2015.
“I’m really proud to be a part of Real Madrid, the best team in the world,” he said. “It’s a joy to be able to play there every day. I try not to let praise or criticism affect me. I try to always give my all, and I have the ambition to improve every day. The truth is I hope to be able to retire at Real Madrid.”
The Swede signed a six-month contract with the Rossoneri in January and has scored four times in 10 appearances.
However, despite Milan’s upturn in form since Ibrahimovic’s arrival, which has seen them competing for a Europa League spot in Serie A and into the Coppa Italia semifinals, there has been turmoil behind the scenes.
Zvonimir Boban left his role as a director following a clash with chief executive Ivan Gazidis, and Gazzetta reports Ibrahimovic is not sold on the former Arsenal man’s plan.
10.40 BST: Any club keen to sign RB Leipzig attacker Timo Werner can trigger his release clause until June 15, Sport Bild reports.
The 24-year-old is available for a reported fee of just below €60m and, until the coronavirus crisis, was regarded as one of the bargains of the 2020 summer transfer window, with Liverpool at the front of the queue. However, amid the uncertainty over the short-term future of the domestic leagues, a feared collapse of the transfer market, and questions whether a move abroad is ideal during a pandemic, his move is uncertain.
Meanwhile, Werner’s Leipzig teammate Yussuf Poulsen has asked the club for a transfer this summer. The 25-year-old joined the then-third tier club in 2013 and now wants to move, with reported interest from Newcastle United, Everton and West Ham. Sport Bild claims the Bundesliga side will listen to offers in the €30m region.
10.05 BST: Dani Ceballos has confirmed that Valencia and Sevilla were both interested in signing him in January as he considered ending his Arsenal loan early over a lack of playing time.
“In January there were some nerves and anxiety, the Euros were getting closer and I practically wasn’t playing,” the midfielder — who is on a season-long loan deal from Real Madrid — told late night Spanish TV show El Chiringuito. “I came back from two months injured and I wasn’t at my best level. I had to look at myself and not leave the club as people wanted or thought.”
“I started to train, my situation changed and [Mikel] Arteta gave me a chance,” Ceballos said. “The last month and a half, I thought I had a great chance of going to the Euros and I felt important again at Arsenal. Yes, I knew about Valencia’s interest. I didn’t talk to [Sevilla coach Julen] Lopetegui. In Seville I could only play for Betis.”
Sources have told ESPN that Martinez, 22, has been the subject of strong interest from both Barcelona and Real Madrid.
“He’s learning to play using his whole body, with his back to the ball,” Godin said of the Argentina forward. “He’s a football player. His confidence has a high ceiling and he’s maturing with every match. You can spot things in him that tell you he’ll be around for 10 or 15 years.”
08.42 BST: Mario Gotze is favouring a move out of the Bundesliga when his contract at Borussia Dortmund expires in the summer, Sport Bild reports.
Germany’s 2014 World Cup final hero has started just six matches this season for the club he re-joined from Bayern Munich in 2016 as he has fallen well down the pecking order.
According to Sport Bild, the 27-year-old is seeking a move to a club in another of Europe’s top leagues, in the hope that his status as a free agent will help find a contract worth close to his current €8m-a-year deal.
08.00 BST: Manchester United are prepared to make a renewed bid to sign Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt this summer if the Italian club are ready to listen to offers for the Netherlands international, sources have told ESPN.
De Ligt rejected interest from United, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain last summer before completing a €75 million move from Ajax to Juventus after he captained the Dutch champions during their run to the Champions League semifinals last season. But, after signing a five-year deal at Juventus, the 20-year-old has been in and out of the team under coach Maurizio Sarri. The defender has started 17 of the club’s 26 games in Serie A prior to the shutdown due to the coronavirus crisis in Italy earlier this month.
Sources have told ESPN that United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is keen to recruit a centre-back this summer, and the club have already drawn up a list of potential targets, including Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly.
There is an acceptance, however, that Juventus are unlikely to sanction the sale of De Ligt after just one year in Turin unless the player seeks a move after a frustrating campaign at the club.
PAPER TALK (by Nick Judd)
Race for Sancho down to two: United and Chelsea
Borussia Dortmund are said to be banking on a bidding war for the winger, but realistically their price tag of £100m has scared off some would-be suitors, and it would appear only United and Chelsea are prepared to get anywhere near the astronomical amount. Liverpool have now tied down their triumvirate of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah to long-term deals, and so are no longer interested.
United have been in touch with Sancho’s agent but as yet haven’t submitted a formal bid for the 20-year-old. Chelsea have also opened communications with his representatives, but neither club are willing to pay the full asking price.
Both United and Chelsea will be hoping the increasingly volatile market will help to drive down the price. Expect this to run and run.
Juve and Inter to battle it out for Milinkovic-Savic
Milinkovic-Savic has been having a fine season for Lazio, with five goals and seven assists in 31 matches, and his form has not gone unnoticed. The only problem is that Lazio value their man at over £100m, which has already scared off the likes of Manchester United and Barcelona.
And should Lazio win Serie A if and when the league restarts, expect that price tag to rise. Manchester United could use Paul Pogba as a makeweight in any potential deal, though it’s unlikely the Frenchman will join Lazio ahead of Real Madrid. Paris Saint-Germain could afford him and have been linked to the player in the past, but it is believed that the Serbian would prefer to stay in Italy.
– James Rodriguez is on borrowed time at Real Madrid, with Arsenal, Everton and Wolverhampton Wanderers said to be interested, according to Marca. Everton could lead the way given Carlo Ancelotti’s relationship with the Colombia star during their time together at Real Madrid. However, Arsenal have been long-term admirers, while Wolves could bank on Jorge Mendes’ relationship with the 28-year-old.
– Juventus lead the way for re-signing Marcelo, though the Brazilian could opt for a move to MLS, reports Le10sport. Marcelo’s future at Real Madrid looks uncertain thanks largely to the emergence of Ferland Mendy. Mendy has been ever-present this season and Zinedine Zidane is also said to be considering further strengthening the left-back position, and so Marcelo is considering his options.