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: Leicester eye shock Coutinho move
Leicester City have emerged as a surprise candidate to sign Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho this summer, according to Diario SPORT. The Brazilian is currently on loan at Bayern Munich, who have an option to make the deal permanent at the end of the season for €120 million. However, sources have indicated to ESPN that the German club are unlikely to take up that option.
Coutinho has regularly been linked with a return to the Premier League since leaving Liverpool for Barca in a €160m deal. Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United have all been credited with an interest in the playmaker, but now a new horse is reported to have joined the race.
SPORT claims Brendan Rodgers’s relationship with the player could help Leicester make one of the surprise moves of the summer. The two worked together at Liverpool and Leicester are said to be keen on reuniting the duo at the King Power Stadium. But agreeing on a deal with Barca could be problematic, with the Foxes only able to finance a loan deal for the 27-year-old.
17.20 BST: Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren is of interest to both Arsenal and Tottenham this summer, according to TEAMtalk.
Lovren, 30, has slipped down the pecking order at Anfield and almost left for Roma in January. However, the Croatian could still move on, with the Premier League’s London clubs leading the way as Crystal Palace and West Ham United have also been watching the situation.
16.02 BST: Brondby are in financial trouble due to the coronavirus outbreak and the Danish club could be forced to sell starlet Anis Ben Slimane.
Danish news outlet BT reckons the club have to balance the books and Slimane, 19, is one of their prized assets at a cost of €5m.
Arsenal are supposedly leading the race, but in January it was reported by Fotboll Skanalen that Manchester United and AC Milan were also keen on the midfielder.
15.16 BST: Interesting one, this. French outlet L’Equipe reports that Liverpool are “thinking” about trying to get Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling back.
Sterling, 25, left Anfield under a cloud back in 2015 when he made a £49m move to City after snubbing Liverpool’s offer of a new contract. Now L’Equipe says Sterling does not fancy staying with City if their European ban sticks, while Liverpool are studying the option in the event that Sadio Mane leaves for Real Madrid this summer.
The paper quotes one of Sterling’s representatives as saying: “Despite being attached to City, he has not forgotten Liverpool. That is where he was forged as a man and as a player. Obviously, there were some issues when he left, but today he is doing his job. Everything is possible.”
14.37 BST: Speaking of Kane, former Man United defender Rio Ferdinand has been speaking about the England striker’s future.
“Do you think he’ll be satisfied? [with not winning a trophy] I’ll tell you now: no. He won’t be, he’ll be devastated,” he said on an Instagram Live. “Man Utd will be in for him because he’s perfect for United.
“Juventus would be in, Real [Madrid] have been buying young top potential, but do they want an experienced one to help? I reckon they’d be on the scene.”
14.11 BST: Once football restarts again, Tottenham’s Harry Kane could have a decision to make.
13.16 BST: PSG’s Layvin Kurzawa has been offered to various clubs as his contract expires in the summer.
Arsenal were keen but it seems that Barcelona are too, according to Sport. The Catalan club are looking to move on Brazilian defender Junior Firpo, despite only signing him in the summer, and Kurzawa is the man to replace him.
12.54 BST: Maxi Rodriguez has had plenty of time alone with his conscience during isolation, and just had to get a secret about his Liverpool move off his chest.
The forward revealed he was so desperate to secure a free transfer from Atletico Madrid to Anfield in 2010 that he told a tactical white lie to Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez to get the deal over the line…
“I was always crazy about English football. Rafa told me that it was very important that everyone spoke English in the changing room. He asked me if I could and I said ‘yes, to be calm.’ Of course, I didn’t want the transfer to collapse!”
12.34 BST: Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu says the coronavirus pandemic will have huge consequences on the transfer market, including an increase in swap deals, but insists the club will still be able to sign the game’s biggest stars.
Barca players have already agreed to a temporary 70% pay cut as measures are taken to help minimise the effects of the health crisis on the club’s finances.
A number of other sides, including Juventus and Bayern Munich, have also taken similar action as clubs struggle to deal with the loss of income caused by the indefinite suspension of football across Europe.
“There is not going to be as much money in the transfer market this summer because of the pandemic,” Bartomeu told Diario SPORT. “But I predict that we are going to see a lot more player exchange deals.”
11.49 BST: Inter Milan have an option to buy Alexis Sanchez from Manchester United once his season-long loan ends in the summer. But they won’t, says the Daily Telegraph.
Sanchez, 31, still has two years left on his reported £500,000-a-week contract at Old Trafford but his injury record has hampered his development at Inter, so he won’t find a permanent home there.
The Chilean’s future will be discussed in the summer but could well be a part of United’s plans for next season if they can’t find a buyer.
“Edi is made for Boca,” the paper quotes a member of his entourage as saying. “He would be delighted, believe me. He would like to retire like [former Boca striker and Uruguay international] Sergio Daniel [Manteca] Martinez did — he dreams of that.”
PSG teammate Leandro Paredes has been somewhat oddly credited with feeding Cavani’s interest in the move by sharing his Boca passion with his fellow South American and “telling Edi what it feels like to take to the Bombonera pitch, and what winning the Libertadores with Boca means.”
Despite great success during his time in Europe with PSG, Napoli and Palermo, Cavani has never tasted continental success in South America.
“Edi has played in three World Cups, won a Copa America, won national titles, but he has never won the Libertadores that all South Americans crave,” said the source. “We must wait and see when football in Europe goes back to normal, as well as what happens with the Champions League. However, I think El Matador has been considering a return home for a while and finishing his time in Europe. If that happens, Boca is the best option.”
10.09 BST: Imagine the scenario: Lionel Messi leaves Barcelona and moves to England. He’d still be awesome, right?
09.38 BST: Lautaro Martinez‘s agent says his client is not losing any sleep over ongoing reports linking him to top European clubs this summer.
Barcelona are keen to lure Martinez to Camp Nou from Inter Milan once the transfer window opens, while Real Madrid and Manchester United are also in the race to sign the forward.
“There’s talk about what Barcelona and Real Madrid want but he is not bothered,” Martinez’s agent Alberto Yaque told Argentinian Radio La Plata. “Others wouldn’t be able to sleep.”
Barca reportedly want to sell Antoine Griezmann and acquire Martinez as Luis Suarez‘s long-term successor. However, the Catalan club are reportedly unwilling to pay Martinez’s €111m release clause and would rather offer up to three players in exchange as well as cash. Inter, meanwhile, are only willing to accept one player to be included in the swap deal.
“He’s [Martinez] never asked me if it’s true or not what is being reported,” Yaque said. “He is focused on where he is, on his work.
“His constant growth has seen the top clubs in he world pay more attention to him. We hope his work will be repaid as he deserves. We have spoken to many people but nothing more. For the time being those that call me are not club executives. There’s nothing official. It’s a dream for him to be one of the most sought-after players in the market. But the only thing he wants is to play and to score goals.”
Martinez, 22, joined Inter from Racing Club in July 2018 for €22.7m and is tied to the Italian giants until June 2023.
08.59 BST: Real Madrid sources have confirmed to ESPN that the club remain keen on Rennes midfielder Eduardo Camavinga, and have been following the 17-year-old closely this season.
Camavinga has been making the headlines in Spain this week, with Marca claiming the youngster “prefers Real Madrid” over a host of rivals for his signature including Barcelona, Liverpool, Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain.
The French prospect is viewed as a possible successor to Casemiro in the Real Madrid midfield and has a contract at Rennes until 2022.
While Madrid have been impressed with Camavinga’s development, they are yet to open talks or make a bid for the teenager. As with other transfer targets, they will not do so until doubts over when and how this La Liga season will be completed are resolved.
08.33 BST: Dortmund continue to lead the race for Birmingham City midfielder Jude Bellingham. The 16-year-old starlet has also been linked with Manchester United and Chelsea and, ahead of the coronavirus crisis, paid visits to both clubs.
However, sources have told ESPN that Bellingham wants to join Dortmund and talks already reached the final stage before the current crisis stopped talks amid the uncertainty over the return of football as well as fears the transfer market might collapse.
“We are going very slow right now. Independent of any names which we never discuss in public, it is not the time to discuss fees and transfers right now,” BVB CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke told Bild.
08.00 BST: Borussia Dortmund will not sell Manchester United target Jadon Sancho “below value” amid the financial impacts of the coronavirus crisis, BVB chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke has told Bild.
Sources have told ESPN that United are leading the race for England winger Sancho, 20, but could still face competition from Premier League rivals Liverpool and Chelsea. Dortmund are holding out for a transfer fee in the €130m range and hope a bidding war will unfold.
“I can clearly say that despite the existential crisis [for football] even the richest clubs don’t have to believe they can go bargain hunting at Dortmund,” Watzke said. “We must not sell anyone below value.”
And Dortmund have not given up all hope that Sancho will remain at the club for one more season, with Watzke adding: “We’ve said it before corona already that we favour the idea Jadon stays here. But, at the end of the day, you also must respect what the player wants.”
PAPER TALK (by Nick Judd)
Grealish’s Man United move on hold after curfew kerfuffle?
Manchester United are favourites to land Aston Villa star Jack Grealish for £80 million this summer, but the Reds are said to be monitoring events after the midfielder’s car accident this weekend, according to the Daily Mail.
Grealish crashed his Range Rover into parked cars following a party he’d attended despite the fact that he was supposed to be following the same coronavirus lockdown guidelines as the general public. Grealish has since apologised, and West Midlands police are said to be monitoring CCTV footage.
The developments could have implications for Grealish who, the Mail reports, was expected to sign for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side in the summer.
Solskjaer wants a disciplined dressing room and it remains to be seen if Grealish’s actions have jeopardised a potential move. The Daily Star reports that the club could be set to move for Leicester’s James Maddison instead.
Man Utd, Arsenal, Real warned about Wolves’ Jimenez
Wolves have valued the 28-year-old at £80m which could in itself scare off would-be suitors, but now Wolves’ Chinese owners have issued a “hands-off” warning to anyone thinking of making a move.
Jimenez has scored 22 goals in 45 appearances for Wolves and has previously said he’d be happy at Molineux even if he doesn’t get the opportunity at Champions League next season.
Juventus fancy Hakimi as new right-back
Mattia De Sciglio, Danilo, Joao Cancelo and even Juan Cuadrado have all failed to take the place of the rampaging right-back, but now Juve are turning their attentions to Hakimi, who has been in sensational form at Borussia Dortmund while on loan away from Real Madrid.
The Serie A champions were in the hunt to sign Paris Saint-Germain’s Thomas Meunier but he is reportedly poised to join Dortmund, and now Juve sporting director Fabio Paratici is turning his attentions to the Moroccan defender whose loan spell comes to an end in June.
Madrid have not yet made a decision on what to do with Hakimi when he returns from Germany, though they know they could make good money for a player who’s hot property at the moment. Juve are set to pounce if Los Blancos decide he’s surplus to requirements.
– As well as Rennes prodigy Eduardo Camavinga, Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane is also said to be a fan of Lyon youngster Rayan Cherki, according to Le10sport. The 16-year-old made his debut last October and was then involved in all four goals in a Coupe de France win against Nantes, and his status as a wonderkid has attracted admiring glances from Zidane. The Madrid boss believes he might have unearthed the next Karim Benzema.
– Paris Saint-Germain have offered 18-year-old attacking talent Kenny Nagera a three-year professional deal following his exceptional season with the club’s U19s, and amid interest from several fellow French and Premier League clubs, according to RMC Sport.