LIVE Transfer Talk – Man United keen on Villarreal’s Paul Torres in backline shake-up
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: Man United want Torres to boost ailing defence
Manchester United are already making plans for next season and could make a move for Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres, according to the Manchester Evening News.
United were linked with the 25-year-old last summer before eventually securing the €48 million signing of Raphael Varane from Real Madrid. But with the France international missing a number of games through injury this season, the club have now decided on acquiring another centre-back when the transfer window opens.
It is understood that the Red Devils will look to move on both Eric Bailly and Phil Jones in the summer to help make room for the addition of a new defender, with Torres jumping to the top of the Old Trafford hierarchy’s shortlist.
The Spain international is reported to have a release clause in his contract of €60m, and while he is open to leaving his boyhood club at the end of the season, he is currently focused on his side’s run in the Champions League, with Villarreal set to meet Liverpool in the first leg of the semifinals on April 27.
– ESPN+ guide: LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, FA Cup, more (U.S.)
– Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ (U.S. only)
– Don’t have ESPN? Get instant access
08.31 BST: Arsenal defender William Saliba is on the radar of Atletico Madrid, says L’Equipe.
Saliba, 21, joined Arsenal for €30m in 2019 from Saint-Etienne but has yet to play a first-team game and has been out on loan at various clubs since, with this season at Marseille proving the most successful yet.
The centre-back has earned a call-up to the senior France national side and could move on to Atletico this summer, though he has also made it clear he would be happy to stay with Marseille if he can’t break into the Arsenal side.
08.00 BST: Pep Guardiola is remaining tight-lipped about Manchester City’s pursuit of Erling Haaland despite sources telling ESPN that the striker is moving closer to a summer transfer to the Etihad Stadium.
City are ready to trigger the €75m release clause in Haaland’s contract at Borussia Dortmund and are growing increasingly confident they can beat competition from Real Madrid to land him.
Sources have told ESPN that a full agreement on agent fees and wages has not yet been reached but there is an expectation on both sides that a deal will get done.
Guardiola, however, was asked about the 21-year-old at a news conference on Tuesday but gave nothing away.
“No answer to your question,” he said. “No questions. I have no concern about what will happen in this club next season. I don’t know what will happen in the future. For many years I never talk about transfers, especially when we are playing for this season.”
Mark Ogden says Raheem Sterling’s wage demands in addition to his age don’t bode well for a big-money move this summer.
PAPER GOSSIP (by Adam Brown)
– Raheem Sterling will make a decision on his Manchester City future at the end of the season, writes the Mirror. AC Milan have recently been linked with the 27-year-old winger, though contract talks are expected to begin at the end of the season, with Pep Guardiola’s side keen to keep him at the Etihad Stadium.
– Sevilla have decided against making Anthony Martial‘s loan move permanent as they need to lower their salary bill, reports Marca. The 26-year-old has had a mixed spell in LaLiga since joining from Manchester United, and despite belief that he could potentially find form with a second season, his €15m-per-season contract would need to be heavily reduced for a deal to be possible.
– Real Madrid are looking to lock down the future of Vinicius Junior at the Santiago Bernabeu by handing him a new five-year contract, reveals the Here We Go podcast. Recent rumours suggest that Carlo Ancelotti’s side are set for a busy summer once the transfer market opens, but with the 21-year-old impressing this season with 17 goals, it seems as though the LaLiga side have no plans to move him on despite needing to reduce their wage bill to sign Kylian Mbappe on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain.
– Lautaro Martinez wants to stay at Internazionale this summer, according to Cesar Luis Merlo. The 24-year-old striker was on target as Inter defeated rivals AC Milan 3-0 at San Siro on Tuesday. And amid speculation of clubs across Europe plotting a move for the Argentina international in the summer, the report indicates that he has no desire to leave Serie A at the end of the season.
– Benfica are interested in setting up a potential return for Angel Di Maria, says Pedro Almeida. The 34-year-old PSG winger looks almost certain to leave the Parc des Princes at the end of the season, with no sign of any talks taking place regarding a new contract. But despite being available as a free agent, Benfica will look to see whether the Argentina international would be willing to join on a significantly lower salary than the €13.4m-per-season he earns in France.