LIVE Transfer Talk – Rudiger race ramps up for Man Utd, PSG, Barcelona after Chelsea’s Champions League exit
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: Rudiger remains on radar of top clubs
The decision surrounding Chelsea centre-back Antonio Rudiger‘s future will be accelerated after the Blues’ exit from the Champions League, as has been reported by The Daily Mail.
Rudiger has been tied to a move out of Stamford Bridge, with Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, and Barcelona among the clubs interested in the Germany defender once his contract ends in the summer.
Having gone 3-1 down in their quarterfinal first leg against Real Madrid, Thomas Tuchel’s side admirably fought back to gain a three-goal lead in the second leg on Tuesday — with help from Rudiger’s goal — before Rodrygo and Karim Benzema rallied Real to a spot in the semifinals.
It is stated that talks about Rudiger’s status will begin to move quickly following the heart-breaking ouster.
Now that Chelsea are out of Europe, those clubs are expected to step up their attempts to persuade the 29-year-old that he should join them.
The Blues are in dire straits when it comes to signing or transferring players due to the sanctions around Roman Abramovich that are in effect until the club is sold to new owners.
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20.35 BST: Villarreal have begun talks with Tottenham Hotspur as they look to secure a permanent move for Giovani Lo Celso, according to Football Insider.
The 26-year-old attacking midfielder has impressed for Unai Emery’s side since joining on a loan spell in the January transfer window, and reports suggest that the Premier League side are willing to part ways with him for a fee of around £30 million.
The north London club are also keen on a potential swap deal involving Pau Torres, though the Yellow Submarine may be reluctant to let him go after his performances this season helped them qualify to the Champions League semi-finals after producing a surprise result against Bayern Munich on Tuesday night.
19.57 BST: Napoli look set to trigger the option clause to make Andre Zambo-Anguissa‘s stay at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium become permanent, reports Fabrizio Romano.
Club sporting director Cristiano Giuntoli has made the Serie A side’s intentions clear with the Fulham midfielder impressing so far in his 19 Serie A appearances. Speaking to KKN, as quoted by Fabrizio Romano, he said: “We want to trigger the buy option for Zambo-Anguissa.”
A fee of €15 million is reported to be required to make the 26-year-old’s move become permanent for Gli Azzurri.
19:01 BST: Fenerbahce striker Enner Valencia is attracting interest from MLS, according to Ekrem Konur.
The 32-year-old striker has been linked with an exit from Turkey in the summer after finding himself struggling to earn regular minutes under new manager Ismail Kartal. The Ecuador international has contributed to 10 goals in 19 league games this season, but he has seen most of his appearances come from the bench.
18.10 BST: Manchester United sent scouts to Anfield to watch Darwin Nunez in Benfica’s Champions League quarterfinal second leg against Liverpool, reports the Mirror.
The 22-year-old striker got on the scoresheet after having the ball in the back of the net a number of times on Wednesday night, and the latest suggests that he could now be the Old Trafford hierarchy’s No. 1 transfer target for the summer. The Uruguay international’s form has continued since Benfica received a club-record bid of £60m during the January transfer window from West Ham United, with it looking increasingly likely that negotiations over his transfer will begin as soon as the season concludes.
17.37 BST: Juventus have reached an agreement to extend goalkeeper Mattia Perin‘s contract until the summer of 2025. The Bianconeri have been looking to handle a number of contracts in recent weeks, and it looks as though they have tied down the 29-year-old to fresh terms at the Allianz Stadium.
✍️ 𝗣𝗘𝗥𝗜𝗡 2️⃣0️⃣2️⃣5️⃣@MattiaPerin officially puts pen to paper on a new Bianconeri contract! ⚪⚫ #Perin2025
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) April 14, 2022
17.04 BST: Barcelona have added Chelsea left-back Marcos Alonso to their shortlist as they look to acquire an attacking left-back in the summer, according to Mundo Deportivo. The Blaugrana are actively searching the market to find cover for Jordi Alba, and 31-year-old Alonso looks to be the latest name to be linked with a potential switch to Camp Nou. He has made 35 appearances for the Blues this season, and he could be set to join team mate Andreas Christensen in LaLiga, with the Denmark international also strongly linked with a move to Xavi Hernandez’s side in recent weeks.
16.31 BST: Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane will turn down any approach from Manchester United this summer, according to the Daily Mirror.
Kane has been a target for both United and Man City in recent seasons, but Spurs’ resurgence under manager Antonio Conte has convinced the England captain that his future lies there.
Tottenham hold a narrow advantage over north London rivals Arsenal in the race for fourth place. Spurs to qualify for the Champions League. Spurs are fourth in the table, three points above the Gunners who have a game in hand. The two rivals face off in a rearranged derby on Thursday, May 12.
15.36 BST: Manchester United considered the credentials of eight different managers before choosing Ajax coach Erik ten Hag to become the fifth permanent appointment since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013, sources have told ESPN’s Mark Ogden.
Mauricio Pochettino, Luis Enrique and Julen Lopetegui were alongside Ten Hag on the final four-man shortlist compiled by United’s football director John Murtough but the prospects of hiring Bayern Munich’s Julian Nagelsmann, Chelsea’s Thomas Tuchel, Leicester City’s Brendan Rodgers and former Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane were all considered following the firing of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last November. In the cases of Nagelsmann and Tuchel in particular, it became clear almost instantly that neither would be a realistic target.
Ten Hag, whose Ajax team face PSV Eindhoven in the KNVB Beker final on Sunday, is likely to be confirmed as United’s manager before the end of the month, with ESPN reporting on April 6 that the 52-year-old had emerged as United’s No. 1 choice to succeed Solskjaer, who has been replaced by Ralf Rangnick on an interim basis until the end of the season.
– Ogden: How Man United selected Ten Hag as the man to bring glory back
14.41 BST: Newcastle United are hoping to beat Arsenal to a second Brazilian midfielder from Lyon in as many transfer windows this summer, The Chronicle reports.
After Bruno Guimaraes chose a move to St James’ Park over the Emirates in January, now the two Premier League clubs are both in the running to sign his compatriot and former OL teammate Lucas Paqueta.
The 24-year-old is also reportedly a target for Paris Saint-Germain, although the Ligue 1 giants may not be willing to pay the€65m transfer fee that Lyon want, opening the way for Newcastle to move in.
13.33 BST: Manchester City will look to raise money through transfers of fringe players to help fund a summer bid for Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland, The Sun reports.
Haaland has a €75m release clause in his contract that has to be triggered before the end of the month, by which time the Norway international is reportedly due make a decision on his future. City are confident that they are the frontrunners to sign the 21-year-old, whose contract at Dortmund runs until 2024.
The Sun reports that the reigning Premier League champions will make Yangel Herrera, Ko Itakura and Taylor Harwood Bellis available for transfer to help fund a package to sign Haaland, who has 31 goals in 30 appearances for club and country this season.
12.26 BST: Newcastle United are hoping to make Christian Eriksen a statement signing in the summer transfer window, according to The Northern Echo.
Eriksen, 30, has made an immediate impact since signing a short-term contract at Brentford in January, making a remarkable return to football just seven months after suffering a cardiac arrest while competing for Denmark at Euro 2020.
The Denmark international is out of contract at the end of the season, with Newcastle one of several Premier League clubs linked with interest in signing him if he does not extend his stay at Brentford.
– Hamilton: Eriksen is back, and better than ever
Ryan Sessegnon says Antonio Conte is a perfectionist who inspires his players to work to the best of their ability.
11.32 BST: Tottenham’s Ryan Sessegnon spoke to ESPN’s James Olley about how he is finally making his first-team breakthrough at Spurs under Antonio Conte, his fourth permanent boss in three years at the club:
“When you have someone who is so passionate about the game, it rubs off on you. He’s a perfectionist. He wants to be the best and he is one of the best so everything you do you want to do it to the best of your ability. We’re in the tactics room every day trying to better ourselves, learn about the opponents more as well. It is more about the way we can improve and I think the team has taken great steps forward.”
– Sessegnon interview: Spurs career finally taking off under Conte
10.39 BST: Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers has confirmed the club will hold talks with goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel over his future at the club.
Schmeichel, 35, is out of contract at the end of next season, and recently admitted he could leave the club he joined in 2011 in order to “try somewhere else” before he retires.
The Denmark international was a key figure in Leicester’s 2015-16 Premier League title triumph and their FA Cup final victory last season, and Rodgers praised his part in the club’s history.
“He’s been a brilliant servant here and he’s currently playing at a really high level,” Rodgers told a news conference ahead of the second leg of the Foxes’ Europa Conference League quarterfinal against PSV Eindhoven. “We will have a good chat [about his contract] and get an idea of what he’s thinking.”
09.46 BST: Boston Celtics owner Stephen Pagliuca said NBA chairman Larry Tanenbaum and former Chelsea captain John Terry have joined his bid to purchase the Premier League club.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Pagliuca said that Tanenbaum, who is owner of the Canadian company Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), had become “co-managing partner” of the bid for Chelsea. MLSE owns the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Toronto Raptors and Toronto FC.
Pagliuca spoke publicly for the first time about his bid for Chelsea on Monday, when he vowed to make the club “habitual winners.”
“This process has been a disconcerting time for the football club and fans,” he said. “Throughout my life and career, my ethos has always been to operate quietly, with integrity, and let my actions and results speak loudly.
“However, it is imperative to clarify and assure supporters about our bid group and its commitments, to emphasise how seriously we take our potential responsibility to Chelsea.
“Later this week we will submit a substantial and credible bid proposal — one that we expect will meet the respective requirements and regulations of the Premier League, UK Government and UEFA — and we pledge to honour our commitment to credibility and good guardianship of Chelsea Football Club from day one.”
08.52 BST: Darwin Nunez says his only focus is on doing well for Benfica until the end of the season amid reports he could move to the Premier League this summer.
The Uruguay striker has scored 32 goals in 37 appearances for the Portuguese giants, including one in Wednesday’s 3-3 draw at Liverpool in the Champions League quarterfinal second leg, having also scored in the first leg, a 3-1 defeat in Lisbon.
Nunez is a reported target of Newcastle United, Arsenal and Manchester United, and is widely expected to leave Benfica this summer.
“My job is to make the most of the chances,” the 22-year-old said after Wednesday’s game at Anfield. “Last year I didn’t play much and this season it has been incredible. The merit is down to hard work every day and to the help of my teammates. I’m going to continue to work, improve and score goals.
“I’ve received praise from the Liverpool coach [Jurgen Klopp] but my mind if focused on Benfica until the end of the season. I want to give my all for Benfica and for their fans, who are incredible.”
Nunez joined Benfica in the summer of 2020 from Spanish side Almeria, signing a contract with the Lisbon club until June 2025. He recently parted company with his agent and has joined Portuguese super agent Jorge Mendes.
Nunez has a release clause set at €150m but the Lisbon club could allow him to leave for a fee in the region of €126m, which is what Atletico Madrid paid Benfica for star Joao Felix in the summer of 2019.
08.00 BST: Granit Xhaka has said he was close to leaving Arsenal after he was booed off and clashed with his own supporters during a Premier League match against Crystal Palace in 2019.
Arsenal were pegged back in a 2-2 draw against Palace at the Emirates Stadium and when Xhaka was substituted in the second half, he was met with jeers from Arsenal fans for taking time to come off the pitch. The midfielder then removed his shirt when storming off the pitch and appeared to swear at his own supporters, as well as waving his arms taunting fans to boo louder and cupping his ear.
Xhaka was subsequently stripped of the club captaincy and has revealed he was ready to leave the north London club following the incident.
“My bags were packed. The passports were out,” he told the Players’ Tribune. “I was done with Arsenal. Finished. There was a contract on the table from another club, and all I had to do was sign. I had talked with my wife, Leonita, and we had decided to leave.”
The Switzerland international said that new manager Mikel Arteta persuaded him to remain at the club but Xhaka revealed he can never forget the reaction from the Arsenal supporters.
“I was shocked. I had never experienced anything like this,” he added. “When I got close to the tunnel, I looked up at the fans sitting there — and this is the part that I will always remember.
“When I close my eyes now, I can still see their faces. I can see their anger. It’s not that they don’t like me. No, it’s different. This is hate. Pure hate. I am really not exaggerating this.That day, I felt very disrespected. The comments were over the line. It felt personal.”
PAPER GOSSIP (by Danny Lewis)
– Lautaro Martinez, Alessandro Bastoni and Milan Skriniar are among the players Internazionale could offload in order to fund their summer transfers, reports Tuttosport. Inter want to sign Juventus‘ Paulo Dybala as a free agent when his contract ends, as well as Torino‘s Bremer. Up front, they are also considering Sassuolo‘s Gianluca Scamacca and Real Madrid’s Luka Jovic, while it’s between Sassuolo’s Davide Frattesi and Real Madrid’s Dani Ceballos in midfield.
– Juventus want to strengthen their midfield in the summer and Calciomercato have offered a list of their options. Manchester United’s Paul Pogba is the first and most heavily reported one, though Juventus could struggle to match his wages. Jorginho is also wanted, though Chelsea’s ownership situation means it could be difficult to negotiate with them. Ajax Amsterdam‘s Ryan Gravenberch had been watched but seems destined for Bayern Munich, while Lazio‘s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic could be another option despite possibly tough negotiations.
– Arsenal are set to compete with Juventus for the signing of Alvaro Morata from Atletico Madrid in the summer, reports Calciomercato. Juventus have an option to sign the Spaniard permanently for €35 million when his loan from Atletico ends, but have been trying to negotiate to bring him in for €15m. Arsenal are planning on offering €25m and would provide Morata a better financial package, though the striker would prefer to stay with Juventus.
– Barcelona are preparing the paperwork for Ronald Araujo‘s contract extension, reports Fabrizio Romano, who adds that it is confirmed it will last until 2026 and include a €1 billion release clause. In addition, they are working on a contract proposal for Gavi that would also include a large release clause.
– Vancouver Whitecaps are in advanced talks to sign Nimes midfielder Adrian Cubas, as reported by MLSsoccer.com. The 25-year-old Paraguayan could be signed as a Designated Player or brought down with allocation money. It is added from reports elsewhere that the transfer fee could be €3m.