The winter transfer window is closed, but now it’s time to look ahead to the summer! Here are the new rumours floating around following the Jan. 31 deadline day.
TOP STORY: Bayern plan summer Sane, Firmino moves
Bayern Munich are said to be plotting ambitious moves to snap up Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino and Manchester City winger Leroy Sane as they look to begin “a new era of dominance” in the Bundesliga, The Sun has reported.
Liverpool were reportedly in pole position to land RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner, leaving Firmino facing increased competition for playing time at Anfield, and according to the report, Bayern see that deal as a key opportunity to tempt the Brazilian with a move to the Allianz Arena.
Manager Hansi Flick is said to be readying a £75 million bid for the Liverpool ace after identifying him as his top transfer target, while the German side are also still keen on signing long-term target Sane after last summer’s overtures failed to result in a deal.
Sky Blues boss Pep Guardiola has spoken of his desire to keep hold of Sane, who is back in training following a knee injury early in the season, but the Germany international might opt to move back to his homeland if Bayern come calling.
20.36 GMT: Our own Gab Marcotti sums up Manchester United’s transfer dealings in the Ed Woodward era … in a poem. Enjoy.
18.19 GMT: Former Barcelona executive Ariedo Braida has told media in Italy that a move away from Barcelona is difficult but “not impossible” for Lionel Messi.
Doubts have been raised over Messi’s future after he had a spat on social media with Barcelona’s director of football Eric Abidal.
Abidal suggested that it was members of the team that were responsible for Ernesto Valverde losing his job and Messi responded to the claims.
“He is very settled in Barcelona. He has always lived there with his family,” Braida is quoted as saying.
“It is very difficult that he leaves but in football nothing is impossible.”
17.02 GMT: Liverpool are preparing to give Neco Williams a new contract after impressing at the club this season, according to Football Insider.
The 18-year-old defender has seized the opportunities presented by Liverpool’s packed fixture schedule.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has opted to play younger players in certain ties to give first team players a break.
Williams signed his first professional contract –which runs until the summer of 2021 — with the club last January and Liverpool are reportedly keen to hold on to the teen.
16.40 GMT: Manchester United scouts were reportedly at Fenerbahce’s 1-1 draw against Alanyaspor at the weekend to monitor striker Vedat Muriqi, according to Turkish-Football.
The Turkish outlet is also reporting that Burnley and Lazio were both present as well.
Muriqi has been a target for several Premier League clubs in the last few months and as a result Fenerbahce allegedly want £30m for him.
The Kosovo international, 25, has scored 12 goals in 20 Turkish Super Lig games and secured four assists.
15.57 GMT: Soccer Link is reporting that Manchester United are interested in working with sporting director Antero Henrique.
The former Paris-Saint Germaine sporting director is reportedly already in talks with the club and has started work behind the scenes.
Soccer Link reports that Henrique played an important role in brokering the deal for Bruno Fernandes to join Manchester United from Sporting CP.
15.16 GMT: While Thiago Silva remains a key player of Thomas Tuchel’s Paris Saint-Germain, the club have yet to tie the Brazil international down with a new contract.
Silva, 35, has been at Parc des Princes since 2012 but is being linked with a move back to AC Milan.
However, Silva’s agent is remaining quiet on whether he will make a return to the San Siro.
“Thiago loves Milan but nothing has been decided yet regarding his future. Everything is possible,” his agent told Milan Cafe.
14.31 GMT: Mesut Ozil‘s future (or not) at Arsenal has long been a topic of discussion for fans and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be resolved soon.
Speaking to reporters at Arsenal’s midseason training camp in Dubai, the former Germany international said he doesn’t know what his future holds.
“After this season I have one more year and after that I don’t know what will happen because I can’t see the future,” Ozil said.
“What I can do is give everything for the team, for myself, to be successful and let’s see what happens in the future.”
The 31-year-old is out of contract after next season and has been linked with a move to D.C. United in the MLS.
12.30 GMT: Sometimes a club’s best signing can be its manager.
ESPN FC’s Craig Burley believes Inter Milan’s appointment of boss Antonio Conte was a “coup” as the Serie A leaders battle Juventus for the title.
11.48 GMT: It is no secret that Barcelona have been looking to sign a striker as a long-term replacement to Luis Suarez, so better to fill his boots than…Luis Suarez?
Barca have made contact with Zaragoza striker Luis Suarez, the namesake of their own star forward, with a view to sign the player, according to Spanish radio station El Larguero.
Suarez is loan at Spanish second division side Zaragoza from Watford, with the 22-year-old striker netting 14 times from 24 games this season.
10.53 GMT: Goran Pandev, who was part of Inter Milan’s 2010 Treble-winning side and started the Champions League final win over Bayern Munich, has revealed he was close to a stunning return to the club in January.
On Sunday, his goal helped Genoa beat Cagliari 1-0 and, following the game was asked about rumours he was close to re-joining the Nerazzurri in winter transfer window.
“There was something, but everyone knows my attention is on Genoa and that I want to stay here,” Pandev told Sky Sport Italia.
“Inter for me are everything. They brought me to Italy, I had amazing years there and won everything. Now I want to help save Genoa [from relegation].”
10.19 GMT: Bournemouth forward Joshua King has said returning to Manchester United would have been a “dream come true,” following a failed transfer in January.
United targeted a new striker in January following injury to Marcus Rashford, with Odion Ighalo eventually completing a loan move from Shanghai Shenhua in the final hours of the window. However, King, who made two first team appearances from 2009 to 2013 at Old Trafford, was the initial target but United were unable to agree a deal.
“How close it [the transfer] was I have no complete answer to,” King told TV2 following his side’s 2-1 defeat to Sheffield United. “I have to watch what I say.
“I had some faith that it was going to happen. And it was a bit sensitive for me considering that I moved to England as a 16-year-old to achieve my dream and wanted to reach that goal at Manchester United.
“It did not [happen] and then I made a choice and left. When you hear that you are connected to United and a bid comes in, then the feelings you had as a 16-year-old come back to you.”
09.28 GMT: Inter Milan are on the verge of signing former Arsenal goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano on an emergency loan, according to reports in Italy.
First-choice goalkeeper Samir Handanovic, who is regarded among the best in Serie A, has been on the bench for the past two games due a broken finger, with Daniele Padelli starting against Udinese and AC Milan.
However, Padelli was at fault for Milan’s opener in Sunday’s epic derby, while there were question marks over his role in the Rossoneri‘s second goal.
08.58 GMT: Bayern Munich president Herbert Hainer told supporters at a fan club meeting that Cristiano Ronaldo would be too old to join the Bavarians.
Ronaldo is under contract at Juventus until 2022 and will be 37 by the time his current deal expires. But with Bayern going into a summer transfer window in which they are expected to spend big, some fans have been dreaming of signing the Portugal international.
When asked about potential summer transfers at a fan club meeting earlier this week, Hainer ruled out a move for Ronaldo.
“Many names are linked with us by the media,” Hainer said in quotes reported by Passauer Neue Presse. “Cristiano should be a bit too old for us.”
08.00 GMT: Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has said Gareth Bale is “an important player” who will “give us a lot until the end of the season” after he returned for their La Liga win at Osasuna.
Bale had been left out of the squad entirely for the derby win over Atletico Madrid last weekend as well as the Copa del Rey defeat to Real Sociedad in midweek, despite being fully fit and available for selection, leading to renewed speculation about his future at the Bernabeu. The Wales international played over an hour in Real Madrid’s 4-1 victory on Sunday before being substituted.
“He is an important player,” Zidane said a postmatch news conference. “He has shown it. He hasn’t played the last three games and he played 70 good minutes defensively.
“Everyone wants us to have a problem with Gareth, but there isn’t one. I’m happy with his game. Offensively and defensively he gave everything. He was a bit short physically at the end, that’s why he came off. We know the player he is and he’ll give us a lot until the end of the season.”
PAPER TALK (by Liam Wheeler): Liverpool to prioritise Havertz deal
Speaking of Premier League and Bundesliga switches, the Express says Liverpool have made Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz their main transfer target this summer as Jurgen Klopp looks to add some creative flair in the middle of the park.
The 20-year-old has impressed in the Bundesliga this season and is said to have caught the eye of some of Europe’s biggest clubs, with Manchester United and Bayern Munich believed to be among those interested in the youngster, who has scored four goals and two assists.
But according to the Express, it is the Reds who are the most desperate to recruit Havertz, though Klopp will turn to former Anfield fan favourite Philippe Coutinho if the attempts to sign his compatriot do not come to fruition.
Better still, any deal for Coutinho could be struck at a significantly reduced price as Barcelona look to recover whatever costs they can at the end of his loan spell with Bayern, as the Catalan side prepare summer moves for Neymar or Lautaro Martinez.
Even though Bayern are unlikely to exercise their purchase option on Coutinho, there are other teams interested in signing the 27-year-old, with the Daily Star reporting that Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain and Serie A side Juventus are also in the mix.
The Star suggests that Juventus see Coutinho as a strong option to add some flair to the Turin club, and PSG are keen to add to their ranks, with questions hanging over the futures of some of the club’s biggest stars.
— Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri has opened talks about a new contract with ex-Tottenham target Paulo Dybala, as the Italian side appear to have made a complete U-turn regarding the striker’s future. Dybala, who has previously been linked with Manchester United, was on the brink of joining Spurs in the summer, but the Mirror reports that he could stay in Turin after hitting 11 goals this season.
— Hellas Verona could lose a host of loan stars this summer, with plenty of fellow Italian sides ready to cash in, Calciomercato.com reports. According to Calcio, Kosovo defender Amir Rrahmani is expected to return to Napoli, and Sofyan Amrabat will end his stay at Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi. Midfielder Matteo Pessina will likely be brought back to Atalanta with Juventus reportedly ready to buy.