Chelsea’s Reece James a target for Real Madrid
The summer transfer window is approaching, and there’s plenty of gossip swirling about who’s moving where. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz on rumours, comings and goings and, of course, done deals!
TOP STORY: James to join Real Madrid?
Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti is looking to strengthen his defence ahead of the new season, and the former Chelsea boss could raid his old club after identifying Reece James as one of his top targets.
That’s according to the Mirror, who believe James’s performances in the Champions League quarterfinal defeat against Madrid impressed Ancelotti’s scouting department.
Madrid have reportedly watched James nine times this season in total, and though the right-sided defender has three years left to run on his existing contract, the LaLiga side believes it can tempt the 22-year-old to the Spanish capital.
Ancelotti is looking to shake up his squad this summer, with the England international the perfect fit for the right side of Madrid’s defence next season.
Madrid will need to shed some players before any big moves and Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel would be reluctant to see James go, but the ownership uncertainty at Chelsea could see a deal come to fruition.
09.25 BST: Benfica believe they can get more than €100m for their star striker Darwin Nunez this summer, according to Record.
The Uruguay international is under contract with Benfica until June 2025 but is widely expected to leave the Lisbon club this summer.
Nunez, 22, has attracted the attention of top European clubs after scoring 33 goals in 38 appearances, 10 of which were in the Champions League. Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Newcastle and West Ham are among the Premier League clubs interested in signing him.
Record report that the bidding war for Nunez could see his €150m clause being met. Spanish club Almeria, who transferred Nunez to Benfica in the summer of 2020 for €24m, will receive 20% of any transfer fee Benfica receive for him.
08.48 BST: Real Madrid are assessing the possibility of signing Antonio Rudiger on a free transfer, sources have told ESPN’s Alex Kirkland and Rodrigo Faez, after being impressed with the defender’s performances in their Champions League quarterfinal with Chelsea.
The centre-back — whose Stamford Bridge contract expires on June 30 — was first named as a potential Madrid target earlier this season. At that point, sources ruled out a move telling ESPN that the links emerged after Rudiger’s representatives offered him to Madrid, rather than a genuine interest from the LaLiga club. The situation has now changed and multiple sources have told ESPN that Rudiger’s name is back on the agenda as a possible defensive reinforcement this summer.
Rudiger, 29, is looking for what could be his last big contract after establishing himself as a key member of a Chelsea team that won the Champions League last season. Madrid had been unwilling to get dragged into an expensive battle for the player, but sources said club executives were wowed by Rudiger’s displays against Madrid — especially in Chelsea’s 3-2 win at the Santiago Bernabeu last week — and are now considering making a move.
With just over two months left on his Chelsea contract there has been no movement on a renewal, and neither has Rudiger committed his future to any of the other top clubs he has been linked with.
08.00 BST: Alexandre Lacazette has said he is in talks with several clubs as his Arsenal contract comes to an end, and hinted that his aim is to join a Champions League side.
The 30-year-old is expected to leave Arsenal as a free agent when his agreement expires at the end of the season.
“I’m in discussion with a lot of clubs, I’m open,” Lacazette said to Canal Plus.
Arsenal’s captain refused to rule out returning to his former side Lyon, whom he left in 2017 to join the north London side. However, Lyon are out of the Champions League spots in Ligue 1 in seventh, six-points behind third-placed Rennes, who occupy the playoff spot.
“I never cut contact with Lyon since I left,” he added. “Now Lyon know that I’m free, they’ve come by the information.
“It’s a bit more complicated. I want to play in Europe. It’s been a long time since I’ve played in the Champions League, I miss it.
“Nothing is impossible in life, but it’s a bit more complicated.”
Gab Marcotti doesn’t think Erling Haaland’s future has been decided just yet.
PAPER GOSSIP (by Nick Judd)
– Manchester City have been boosted by the news that Real Madrid are close to giving up their pursuit of Erling Haaland, according to Goal. Los Blancos are keen to add the Borussia Dortmund star to their frontline, but they’re not prepared to break the bank or destabilize their dressing room to do so. In particular, it’s Haaland’s salary demands that appear to be the biggest stumbling block. Madrid have already seen two high-profile signings, Eden Hazard and Gareth Bale, miss a large number of games due to injury, and they’re reluctant to risk everything on another high-profile addition.
– Norwich City are planning a £4m move for Aston Villa striker Keinan Davis, according to Football Insider. Canaries boss Dean Smith is a big fan of the 24-year-old, who has excelled since joining Nottingham Forest on loan in January. Championship side Forest are themselves keen to turn the striker’s short-term move into a permanent one, but their ability to do so may rest on whether or not they can win promotion to the Premier League. Davis is contracted to Villa until 2024, but it’s believed Steven Gerrard will give the green light to Davis’ departure at the end of the season.
– Manchester City are interested in signing Portuguese striker Rafael Leao from AC Milan, according to journalist Nicolo Schira. The 22-year-old has scored 12 goals this season, helping the Rossoneri ignite a title challenge. As such, he has been offered a contract extension that would see him stay at San Siro until 2026 with a salary increase to €4.5m-a-year. Milan are extremely reluctant to see Leao to leave, which is why they’re likely to ask for at least €70m for his signature. Undeterred, City have opened talks with Jorge Mendes, the player’s agent.
– AS Roma boss Jose Mourinho is turning his attentions to Barcelona winger Abde Ezzalzouli as he looks to bolster his squad in the summer, according to Corriere dello Sport. The Italian side are said to be willing to offer €10m for the forward, with Barcelona contemplating the move in order to raise funds for their own targets at the end of the season. Abde has had little game time at Camp Nou in the last few months, though has impressed for Barca B. Barca recognise that they’re unlikely to be able to give Abde the minutes he wants next season, and so are considering a potential deal with a buyback clause.
– West Ham United are monitoring Burnley‘s Nick Pope as the London club look to finalise its goalkeeper positions for next season. The Daily Mail reports that the Hammers were already considering Pope before the 29-year-old’s man-of-the-match performance against them at the London Stadium at the weekend. West Ham do have an option to secure their current backup Alphonse Areola on a permanent deal for £10m from Paris Saint-Germain, but his wages would be at the top of their pay structure. Areola has also been earmarked by Fulham, and the Hammers believe England international Pope would be a more affordable option.