The winter transfer window is closed, but now it’s time to look ahead to the summer! Here are the new rumours floating around Europe’s big leagues and beyond.
TOP STORY: Chelsea to hand Coutinho Premier League return
AS reports that the Blues have made contact with Coutinho’s parent club Barcelona and have even held discussions about bringing the Brazilian back to the Premier League.
Coutinho is on a season-long loan at Bayern Munich but hasn’t impressed, and the Germans are unlikely to take up the €120m option of a permanent deal once the season finally comes to a close. Meanwhile, his future at Barca also remains unclear. Earlier, as reported here, Diario SPORT suggested that Barca’s preference is to sell him and AS agree, with Lampard attempting to persuade Coutinho to move to London.
Chelsea have already landed Hakim Ziyech and now they’re targeting attacking players to help them mount an assault on the title.
Barca meanwhile are planning their own spending spree, and any money raised by the sale of Coutinho could help them land one or more of their striker targets Neymar, Lautaro Martinez and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
16.09 GMT: Atletico Madrid want to sign Thomas Partey up to a new contract, with an increased release clause, says Goal.
Partey, 26, has seen interest from Man United and Arsenal grow over him as it’s been revealed the Ghana midfielder has a €50m clause in his contract, which expires in 2023.
But Atletico are ready to hand him better terms, with a €100m clause instead.
14.59 GMT: Manchester United might only need a couple of players to get them back in the title race next season.
14.26 GMT: Gazzetta dello Sport reports that PSG sporting director Leonardo wants to sign AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma on a free transfer in the summer of 2021.
Donnarumma, 21, is one of the best young goalkeepers in the world and looks set to leave Milan in the coming seasons as the club continue to fail to compete for honours.
Most of Europe’s top clubs are keen on signing the Italy international, with PSG evidently thinking they can get a bargain!
13.15 GMT: Angers SCO midfielder Baptiste Santamaria has attracted interest from La Liga sides Villarreal and Sevilla, according to Spanish outlet Marca.
Sere A side Fiorentina, as well as Ligue 1 rivals Olympique Lyonnais, are rumoured to be interested in signing the 25-year-old, who reportedly looks likely to leave this summer.
12.00 GMT: Tom Brady’s decision to leave the New England Patriots after 20 years has been the biggest transfer story in all of sport this week, but did Manchester United have something to do with it?
11.12 GMT: Arsenal have become resigned to losing star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as he enters the final year of his contract, according to the Sun.
The Gabon international’s contract will expire next summer unless he pens a new deal with the north London club, with Manchester United, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain reportedly chasing his signature.
According to the Sun, Aubameyang has a desire to continue playing in Europe and, with Arsenal sitting in ninth in the Premier League table, uncertainty over the club’s ability to reach European qualification has got some club officials resigned to losing the striker.
10.37 GMT: Show us the money!
Inter Milan have warned Barcelona that they are not interested in any player swaps for in-demand striker Lautaro Martinez, demanding that the Spanish giants stump up the cash in full, Spanish outlet Sport have reported.
Barca are reportedly convinced that Inter are after midfielder Arturo Vidal, but the Serie A side have said that they will not lower their asking price on Martinez, even if other players are included in the deal.
Martinez has scored 11 goals in 22 league games this season, as well as five goals in the Champions League — one of which came against Baca.
09.40 GMT: Gareth Bale will surely be leaving Real Madrid soon, right?
09.03 GMT: Monaco striker Wissam Ben Yedder says he almost joined Barcelona in January.
Ben Yedder, 29, starred for Sevilla in 2018-19 and was linked with a host of clubs including Manchester United and Barcelona. But the striker signed for Monaco in August and has netted 18 goals this season. That form led to Barcelona reigniting their interest, though a move never happened.
“For starters, these are things that could have happened long before,” he told Onze Mondial. “Last summer, for example. They [Barca] took information about me several times. This winter, it could have been done. It didn’t happen, that’s how it was, that it shouldn’t be done.
“It shows that I am doing a good job. I stayed professional and focused on my performances with Monaco. When Barca arrived, I took it as a plus, as a bonus.”
08.21 GMT: Super-agent Mino Raiola — who represents Paul Pogba and Erling Haaland, among many others — has told Marca he wants to “bring a great player to Real Madrid.”
Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has been a long-term admirer of Pogba, although ESPN has been told that senior figures at the club are less convinced, believing the Manchester United midfielder to be over-priced.
“My relationship with Real Madrid is really good,” Raiola said. “I’m in touch with Jose Angel (Sanchez, the club’s director general) and I love talking about football with him… I hope one day I can bring a big player to Real Madrid. Right now I have [Alphonse] Areola [on loan from PSG], but it’s a “halfway” operation because it’s a loan. I want to bring them a definitive player and I’m going to try this summer. It would be a source of pride for me and for my players because Madrid is a great club.”
Pogba is the obvious choice, but Raiola said: “Paul is going through a difficult time, but to be clear, because in England they’re very sensitive, Pogba is focused on having a great end to the season with Manchester United. We don’t know what will happen. We’ll see.”
Haaland — who joined Borussia Dortmund in January for just €20m and has already scored nine Bundesliga goals — has a reported €75m release clause in his Dortmund contract, but Raiola said: “I don’t think he’ll be leaving Dortmund this summer.”
08.00 GMT: Portuguese media is reporting that AC Milan forward Rafael Leao has been ordered to pay €16.5m to former club Sporting Lisbon for unilaterally terminating his contract in 2018.
On May 15, 2018, the Sporting team, including players, staff and personnel, were attacked at their own academy by a group of 40 alleged supporters. Leao was among nine Sporting players that cancelled their contracts, citing just cause because of the attack.
Leao, 20, joined Lille as a free agent in August 2018; Sporting had requested €45m in compensation.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport have reportedly ordered the Portuguese club to pay Leao €40,000 for “moral siege.” The Portuguese forward had demanded €100,000.
PAPER TALK (by Nick Judd)
Arsenal, Bayern battle to sign Swedish phenom Roback
Arsenal are keen to sign Hammarby’s 16-year-old striker Emil Roback, but they face pressure from German giants Bayern Munich, according to the Sun.
The Swedish youngster is quick, strong and is scoring goals aplenty at the youth level, and Arsenal have attempted to steal a march on their German counterparts by inviting him to train at the academy at the club’s London Colney training ground. Gunners boss Mikel Arteta is said to have been impressed by the youngster.
Roback turns 17 in May and while Arsenal will hope their hospitality will help persuade the youngster to swap Stockholm for north London, they know they face stiff competition from Bayern.
United rekindle interest in Saul Niguez
The Spanish paper suggests that United lead the chase for a player who is yet to commit his future to Atletico, and whose original buy-out clause of £138m could be reduced.
United have been linked with Niguez in the past and they even turned down the opportunity to sign him under the stewardship of Louis van Gaal. However, United’s interest is very much back on and they see Niguez as the perfect partner for new midfield star Bruno Fernandes.
Niguez is contracted to Atletico until 2026, but United feel they could tempt him away following the news that he is reluctant to commit to the club any further.
– Crystal Palace are keen on signing Queens Park Rangers starlet Eberechi Eze, according to the Sun. The 21-year-old has enjoyed some admiring glances from the Premier League thanks to his scintillating form in the Championship, and while Tottenham Hotspur are also said to be keen, QPR sporting director Les Ferdinand had admitted Palace are the only club to make a tangible enquiry.
– Jude Bellingham grows more popular by the day. Manchester United have been courting the youngster for some time and the Daily Mirror reports the Reds are prepared to break the bank for their long-term target. However, German title Bild reports that the Birmingham City star is about to reject United and any other would-be Premier League suitors and will instead opt to join Borussia Dortmund, where he could team up with stars including Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland.