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: Barcelona seek Robert Lewandowski for long haul
The Spaniards are reportedly hoping to sign the 33-year-old Polish international on a three-year deal, with the striker currently assessing his options, rather than extending his existing contract with Bayern Munich, which is set to expire in 2023.
It is believed that Lewandowski seeks a new challenge, particularly after Bayern’s shock elimination from the Champions League at the hands of Villarreal. Meanwhile, Barcelona are said to believe he has the character and leadership qualities missing since Lionel Messi‘s departure last summer.
Lewandowski has scored 309 goals in 379 appearances in Germany, but he appears to have doubts about extending his stay in the Bundesliga. Although Lewandowski’s talks with Bayern are set to continue, it looks as though Barca are able to offer him what he wants, which is long-term security.
Bayern are reluctant to let their talisman leave the club, but they would consider a deal if he they could get around €60 million. Barca are looking to part with closer to €25m, so there remains a lot of work still to be done between the two clubs.
15.36 BST: Former Barcelona and LA Galaxy forward Giovani dos Santos has now gone more than a year without playing a match is no closer to finding a new club, according to ESPN Deportes’ Caesar Knight.
Dos Santos, 32, is a free agent after Club America let his contract expire last year after a season plagued with injury problem.
The Mexico international has been training with America in order to maintain his fitness while he looks for a new club, but a recent visit to Inter Miami ended without him securing a deal to return to MLS.
14.41 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.
13.48 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.”
12.39 BST: Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain are keeping a close eye on Gavi‘s contract situation at Barcelona, according to Sport.
Gavi, 17, is out of contract at Camp Nou at the end of next season, and the midfielder is yet to come close to a new deal following initial conversations with the club.
Sport reports that Liverpool and PSG have sensed an opportunity to sign one of the most exciting young midfielders in world football could soon emerge, given the player is approaching the final year of his contract amid Barcelona’s ongoing financial difficulties.
11.47 BST: Manchester United youngster Di’Shon Bernard is a target for West Ham United, the Daily Mirror reports.
Bernard, 21, has impressed during loan spells down the divisions at Hull City this season and Salford City last term.
At Salford, former Chelsea trainee Bernard earned praise from co-owner and ex-Man United captain Gary Neville, who said at the time: “Di’Shon Bernard has done really well since he’s gone in at centre back. On the front foot, steps in front, pushes up a little bit, makes us more aggressive. I’d like to sign him full-time but I don’t know if United would let him go.
“He’s the type of player we need. Young, hungry, wants to develop a career for himself. Players who can pass like he can, run like he can, got the physicality that he has, the talent, the ability to read the game – he’s a really good player.”
The Mirror reports that West Ham have been regularly checking upon Bernard, who has a contract at Old Trafford until 2026.
10.42 BST: Arsenal defender William Saliba has reiterated his desire to extend his stay at Marseille following his successful loan move.
The 21-year-old, who has never made a first-team appearance for the Gunner since signing for them in 2019 from Saint-Etienne, has played 44 times for Ligue 1 side Marseille this season.
Saliba has helped OM to second in the Ligue 1 table as the season nears its conclusion, featured as the club reached the quarterfinals of the Europa Conference League and made his senior debut for France last month.
He told Le Parisien: “There is always a chance. I do not hide that I am very happy in Marseille. I have developed, I have passed a milestone.
“If I make it into France’s squad it’s thanks to Marseille, because there is a lot of visibility. They are a very big club with a lot of pressure, but when you’re good there are a lot of good things that happen to you.
“We will see in May or June depending on the discussions. Today, my future, I don’t know what it is.”
Don Hutchison and Shaka Hislop discuss Pep Guardiola’s lineup choice vs. Liverpool in the FA Cup semifinals.
09.47 BST: Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has given a strong indication that he wants the club to invest heavily in the summer by admitting that Liverpool’s squad is stronger than his own.
City lost 3-2 at Wembley against Jurgen Klopp’s side in Saturday’s FA Cup semifinal (stream the replay on ESPN+ in the U.S.) with midfield duo Kevin de Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan out injured, as was right-back Kyle Walker.
The two clubs remain locked in a battle for the Premier League title and are on course to meet in the Champions League final.
When asked after the FA Cup if Liverpool’s squad is better than City’s, Guardiola said: “Right now, yes. Kevin could not play, Kyle could not play and Gundogan had a knock to his knee. When everyone is fit, it is OK.”
– Weekend review: Can Liverpool really do the Quadruple?
08.51 BST: Eden Hazard will snub a move this summer to prove himself at Real Madrid, according to his brother, Cercle Brugge midfielder Kylian Hazard.
It has been reported that Eden Hazard could be a shock signing for Arsenal this summer, but Kylian believes that his brother will try to turn around his form, which has been disappointing and beset by injury since his move to the Bernabeu from Chelsea. Talks between Real and Arsenal were reproted to have taken place, but it would appear as though Hazard doesn’t want to leave the club before he’s reached his best form.
“He’s not going to let Real go until he’s proven he’s the strongest there,” Kylian, who is on loan at second-tier Belgian club RWDM this season, told RTBF. “He’s proven himself at every club he’s been to, and for me, he doesn’t want to leave.
“I don’t think he’s going to leave. If the president wants him to leave, if he knows he has no chance to play, then I don’t think that he will stay. But I can assure you of one thing: he will do everything to prove that he is the best player at Real.'”
08.00 BST: Ajax’s technical manager Gerry Hamstra has said they are doing everything they can to convince Manchester United managerial target Erik ten Hag to stay at the club
Ten Hag is close to finalising a deal to move to United, with sources telling ESPN that official confirmation of the Dutchman’s appointment could come as early as the end of April.
Hamstra, who is the highest technical manager at Ajax after Marc Overmars resigned earlier this year, said that the club is now preparing both for him staying and leaving.
“There is interest for Erik ten Hag, that is normal. He has done fantastic,” Hamstra said ahead of Ajax’s 2-1 defeat to PSV Eindhoven in the Dutch Cup final.
“We hope he stays. We have to stick with the facts, he has not left yet. He still is focusing on Ajax, so do we.
“We did everything possible [to keep him at Ajax]. We were very busy with that. He reacted that he is focussing on Ajax now. Now we are preparing for two scenarios, Ten Hag might stay or might leave.”
PAPER GOSSIP (by Nick Judd)
– Borussia Dortmund are pushing Manchester City for a decision on Erling Haaland, according to the Sun. They believe the German club want a decision as quickly as possible so they can plan for the 21-year-old striker’s replacement. Haaland has a £64m release clause in his contract, which activates this summer, and Manchester City lead the race for his signature ahead of Real Madrid. Dortmund have not given up hope of persuading Haaland to stay, but with City boss Pep Guardiola reportedly desperate to land a striker, it looks as though this could finally be the summer in which the Norwegian moves on to pastures new.
– Everton star Richarlison has instructed his agent to find him a new club at the end of the season, according to Football Insider. The 24-year-old is currently embroiled in a relegation battle as he looks to keep Everton in the Premier League, but whatever happens he appears keen to quit the club in search of Champions League football. The Brazilian forward has two years left on his existing contract, but despite crunch talks between the club and the player’s representatives, it looks as though he could be on the move at the end of the season.
– Barcelona are keen to get Philippe Coutinho‘s future sorted before June in order for them to sort out their finances, and their own squad improvements, reports Sport. The Catalan club are hoping to recoup €40m for the attacking midfielder, who is currently on loan at Aston Villa. Villa boss Steven Gerrard is keen to make Coutinho’s stay a permanent one, but Villa are unwilling to meet the asking price and instead want to negotiate a lower fee. However, Barca may decide to instruct the 29-year-old’s representatives to talk with other clubs. Ultimately, Barcelona are looking to strengthen their squad in the summer, but they need to move on players such as Coutinho before they can dip into the transfer market themselves.
– Alexandre Lacazette is looking increasingly likely to leave Arsenal this summer, and L’Equipe reports the 30-year-old could be on his way back to former club Lyon. The French international joined the Gunners in 2017 from Lyon and is wanted by the Ligue 1 side’s president Jean-Michel Aulas, with Lacazette’s contract set to expire in June. Lyon approached Lacazette earlier in the year in the hope of persuading him to sign a pre-contract agreement, but now they’re hoping to get the deal over the line at the second time of asking. Lyon are also targeting Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema, but Lacazette is seen as the easier signing.