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: Juve eye Thiago as Pogba alternative
Just when you thought Paul Pogba‘s Manchester United departure finally seemed to be on the horizon, it seems there’s another twist in the tail of the year’s longest-running transfer saga.
Reports of late had suggested that Juventus were in pole position to sign the France international in a potential swap deal involving Aaron Ramsey, but now Tuttosport writes that the Red Devils could be dealt a lifeline in their hopes of retaining the midfielder.
According to the Turin-based publication, the Old Lady may instead turn to Bayern Munich ace Thiago, whose contract is set to expire at the end of the 2020-21 season, with the Bundesliga side said to be considering cashing in now with any contract renewal likely to be an expensive process.
However, Maurizio Sarri’s side have been left a man light in midfield following Emre Can‘s departure to Borussia Dortmund and, despite also expressing interest in Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic, the Serie A leaders may yet opt to pursue both Thiago and Pogba, meaning Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s hopes of keeping hold of the World Cup winner remain slim.
10.20 GMT: Barcelona have completed the surprise signing of Leganes’ Martin Braithwaite after being given permission to bring in a forward outside the transfer window.
Braithwaite, 28, has signed until 2024 and could make his debut on Saturday against Eibar after Barcelona paid his €18m release clause.
09.46 GMT: Bayer Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Voller says that the club will assess the future of midfielder Kai Havertz in the summer.
Havertz, 20, is one of the hottest properties in Europe and has seen interest from Bayern Munich, Liverpool and a host of other top clubs.
“I am glad that we still held [on to Kai Havertz] this year,” Voller said on the TV programme ‘100% Bundesliga – Football at Nitro‘. “We’ll see how it looks in summer. He still has a contract until 2022 — these are, of course, the classic facts.
“There was already interest in the summer, but we told him that it would be good for him to stay with us for another year. And that was the right decision.”
– Schoenfeld: Havertz is Germany’s next big thing
09.30 GMT: Sevilla have announced they have agreed to sell captain Daniel Carrico to Chinese Super League side Wuhan Zall FC.
? Agreement with Wuhan Zall FC, of China, for the sale of @D_Carrico.
— Sevilla FC (@SevillaFC_ENG) February 20, 2020
09.18 GMT: Mauro Icardi’s wife and agent Wanda Nara has been speaking about the striker’s future.
Icardi moved from Inter Milan to PSG on loan in the summer and now Nara told Oggi via Foot Mercato: “I do not know if he will play with Juventus ever. With football, you never know [if they will be living in Milan or Paris next year]. Mauro will choose and we will follow him.”
08.32 GMT: Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has been speaking and when the GOAT speaks, we listen.
Regarding the clause in his contract that would allow him to walk away for nothing at the end of the season, even though his deal runs until 2021, he told El Mundo Deportivo: “The truth is that I’ve always had the [choice] to decide not just because of that clause. Many times I had the possibility to leave the club, there were many clubs interested that were prepared to pay even my release clause but at no time did it enter my mind to leave, nor does it now. My idea is to continue at the club. I want to win another Champions League, continue to win league titles and that is what I always aspire to.”
Messi also spoke about his desire for Neymar to return to Barcelona and the quality of compatriot and Inter and Argentina striker Lautaro Martinez, who is a reported target of Barca to replace Luis Suarez long-term.
“I’ve said it many times, from a sporting standpoint Ney is one of the best in the world and I would love for him to return,” Messi said. “He is very eager to return and always showed his regret. He did a lot to return and that would be the first step to try to come back.
“Lautaro is spectacular, he has impressive conditions, you could always see he was going to be a great player, now he’s taken off and he is showing it. He is very strong, he is very good on one-on-one, he has a lot of goals … he has a lot of quality. He is complete.”
Speaking after his side’s Champions League win over Tottenham, Werner said: “When you’re linked with that team it makes you very proud … it’s a pleasure, but I know Liverpool have a lot of good players.”
PAPER TALK (by Liam Wheeler)
Dembele dreams of Man United move
The 23-year-old forward has grown increasingly frustrated at the Ligue 1 club’s decision not to sell him in January, but he will be allowed to move on this summer. And he has his sights set on a return to English football, having played at Fulham from 2012 to 2016.
Chelsea had a €40m bid rejected last month, while Manchester City, Newcastle and West Ham are also said to be interested. Despite the glut of interested parties, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas likely will have to settle for less than his €100m asking price.
Lazio still keen on Giroud
Lazio were reported to have been one of the clubs interested in the veteran forward’s services, but despite a move failing to materialise, the club — who sit just a point behind leaders Juventus in Serie A — are set to offer Giroud a pre-contract offer that would allow the 33-year-old to finally end his Chelsea misery in the summer.
Giroud has featured just eight times for Frank Lampard’s side this campaign, scoring once.
– Manchester United will spend big to land Jack Grealish from Aston Villa this summer, the Mirror reports. The creative midfielder has already exceeded his goal-scoring record in any other season at Villa Park and the paper writes that he could set the Red Devils back £80m should Villa stay in the Premier League.