The January transfer window may seem like a distant memory, but that doesn’t mean the rumour mill has shut down! Speculation over summer moves is heating up, so check out the latest gossip below, and see all official deals here.
Haaland deal is Abramovich’s ‘personal goal’
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is going to make it “his personal goal” to sign Borussia Dortmund talisman Erling Haaland, reports the Daily Star.
Abramovich is even willing to set aside a long-standing feud with Haaland’s agent Mino Raiola, who fell out of favour at Stamford Bridge when Romelu Lukaku went to Manchester United in 2017.
There will be plenty of competition for Haaland, as just about every major club in Europe has been linked with the Norway star. Chelsea will also face an uphill battle should they not qualify for Champions League football next season.
Haaland is said to have a release clause will make him available for £64 million in 2022. However, the Blues want to get in early and make Dortmund an offer they can’t refuse this summer.
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20.01 GMT: Victor Vazquez spent two seasons with Toronto FC in 2017 and 2018 (winning MLS Cup in his first year with the Canadian club), and the 34-year-old midfielder is now returning to MLS, with the LA Galaxy announcing his signing on Wednesday.
Welcome to the 💙🤍💛
The #LAGalaxy sign midfielder Victor Vazquez✨
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) March 17, 2021
18.44 GMT: Twenty-four-year-old centre-back Alan Franco of Argentina’s Independiente will travel to the U.S. to complete a move to 2018 MLS Cup champions Atlanta United, according to ESPN Argentina.
17.27 GMT: FC Cincinnati have announced the signing of 26-year-old Luciano Acosta, having agreed a fee with Liga MX side Atlas and sending $250,000 in General Allocation Money to D.C. United, who held his MLS rights following the Argentine playmaker’s four seasons in the American capital.
It’s done. @LuchoAcosta94 is joining #FCCincy! ¡Vamos!
— FC Cincinnati (@fccincinnati) March 17, 2021
16.10 GMT: Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger has admitted he spoke to his former manager at Stamford Bridge, Jose Mourinho, about reuniting with him at London rivals Tottenham.
Germany international Rudiger came close to leaving Chelsea in the summer when it was clear he was not part of then-manager Frank Lampard’s plans, and the club were again prepared to listen to offers for him in the January transfer window.
However, the 28-year-old has made 11 appearances since Thomas Tuchel took over in mid-January, including his first game in charge.
“I was close [to leaving],” Rudiger told a news conference ahead of Chelsea’s Champions League round-of-16 second leg against Atletico Madrid. “There were really like two teams, maybe one team I was considering, that was PSG to be honest.
“There was a call also with Mourinho, but this is something at the end of the day that didn’t happen, and with Tuchel also, [but it] didn’t happen. I was upset of course because I knew my situation and wouldn’t play that often.”
15.19 GMT: Manchester United are monitoring Sporting Lisbon forward Pedro Goncalves, as an alternative signing to Jadon Sancho, the Daily Telegraph reports.
Following the success of Bruno Fernandes, United are hoping that another promising player can make the journey from the Estadio Jose Alvalade to Old Trafford.
Goncalves has played a key role in Sporting’s bid to win a first Primeira Liga title since 2002, scoring 15 goals in 22 league appearances in his first season at the club to help put them 10 points clear at the top of the table with 11 games remaining.
The Telegraph reports that the 22-year-old, known as “Pote,” has a €60m release clause in his contract, around half the transfer fee that Borussia Dortmund wanted for Sancho last summer.
14.31 GMT: Liverpool are considering a move for Sheffield United midfielder Sander Berge in the summer, Eurosport reports.
The Norway international had been a target for Premier League champions before joining the Blades from Belgian club Genk in January 2020. However, the club-record £22m is likely to leave Bramall Lane before next season if they are relegated back to the Championship after two seasons in the top flight.
Liverpool could be the ones to benefit, and they could have a space for a central midfielder in their squad open up if Georginio Wijnaldum does not sign a new contract and departs as a free agent.
Berge, 23, has made 30 appearances for Sheffield United, but has been out of action since December after having surgery on a tendon in his leg.
13.47 GMT: Former Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs has verbally agreed to join Inter Miami at the end of the season, sources have told ESPN’s James Olley.
The 31-year-old is expected to sign a two-and-a-half year deal with David Beckham’s MLS franchise and will move to the United States once his contract expires at West Bromwich Albion this summer.
Gibbs moved to The Hawthorns from Arsenal in August 2017 for £7m and has made 100 appearances. The left-back, who has amassed 10 England caps, is West Brom’s highest-paid player on £70,000-a-week and the club are looking to reduce their wage bill with relegation to the Championship increasingly likely. They are 10 points adrift of 17th-placed Newcastle United.
New York Red Bulls and DC United had expressed an interest in Gibbs but did not enter serious negotiations with Inter Miami the front-runners throughout.
The paperwork is yet to be signed but all parties are confident the deal will go through, meaning Gibbs will arrive midway through new manager Phil Neville’s first season in charge.
12.58 GMT: Brazilian striker Vinicius Jr. says Cristiano Ronaldo will always be welcomed at Real Madrid.
Reports that Ronaldo, who left Madrid as the club’s all-time leading scorer in 2018 to join Juventus, could return to the Bernabeu stadium this summer have circulated since Juventus were eliminated from the Champions League in the round of 16 by FC Porto last week.
“Cristiano is a legend of this club,” Vinicius said after Tuesday’s 3-1 Champions League win over Atalanta. “He achieved a lot. I can’t say much because I don’t know what is happening, but he will always be welcomed.”
12.03 GMT: Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has dismissed talk that striker Timo Werner is unhappy in London and wants to return to Germany.
Werner, 25, signed for Chelsea from RB Leipzig last summer in a £53m transfer. After a promising start to life in England, the Germany international has scored just two goals in his last 26 appearances.
But when asked about rumours that Werner was unsettled at a news conference on Tuesday, Tuchel replied: “Stop reading! Read a book!
“There is no book on Timo, so read a book! For Timo, I think he has no reason now to be frustrated because he played an amazing match against Liverpool, maybe his best match since I arrived.
“Then he had a good match against Everton with a lot of chances to score, which he normally is clinical enough and strong enough. He did not score, okay, in a situation like this, this can affect his self-confidence of course, but what does it help?
Tuchel, whose side take a 1-0 aggreagte lead into Wednesday’s Champions League round-of-16 second leg against Atletico Madrid, added: “But right now, I don’t see why he should be too frustrated.
“And honestly, nobody here is blaming the strikers. This is a team effort to attack and defend, but we expect our guys to create more chances, to be more decisive because we expect the defenders to play on the highest level and so we also expect that of our strikers. And then maybe all the stuff you read will disappear.”
– Laurens: How Tuchel has turned Chelsea around
11.17 GMT: Manchester City have announced that left-back Demi Stokes has agreed a two-year extension with the Women’s Super League side.
England international Stokes has helped City to six trophies, including the 2016 WSL title, since signing for them six years ago from South Florida Bulls.
The 29-year-old made her 150th appearance for the club earlier this season.
City, who will face Barcelona in the quarterfinals of the Women’s Champions League later this month, are two points behind leaders and defending champions Chelsea at the top of the WSL table.
📰 We’re delighted that @DemiStokes has signed a new contract until 2023! 💙
Tap for the full story 👇
🔷 #ManCity | https://t.co/axa0klD5re
— Manchester City (@ManCity) March 17, 2021
10.22 GMT: Amid reports of a rift between Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick and sporting executive Hasan Salihamidzic, German outlet Bild reports that Bundesliga rivals RB Leipzig have set a compensation fee for their in-demand coach Julian Nagelsmann.
The 33-year-old has been linked with the Bayern job and, according to Bild, Leipzig would be willing to part ways with one of the biggest prospects on the coaching market for €10m.
Under contract at Leipzig until 2023, Nagelsmann could be one of the favourites to succeed Flick at the Allianz Arena, should the 56-year-old decide to leave the club in the summer and either take on a new challenge as the new Germany head coach or just quit because of disagreements over the club’s transfer policy with Salihamidzic.
The former Bayern midfielder is reported to have clashed with Flick on numerous occasions, with the conflict dating back already to the January transfer window in 2020 when Flick demanded reinforcements going into the second half of the 2019-2020 season.
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09.34 GMT: Spanish coach Xavi Hernandez will take time to consider the two-year contract extension offered by Al-Sadd, AS reports.
The former Barcelona captain, whose contract ends in June, guided the Qatari club to the league title on Sunday. The 41-year-old played four seasons for Al-Sadd before taking the reins in 2019.
Al-Sadd has reportedly offered Xavi an increase in wages for him and his staff, and they also willing to maintain an exit clause which is currently in his contract that allows him to leave for free in the event he wanted to return to former club Barcelona.
AS reports that Xavi is happy in Doha, but has requested some time to consider the offer. He is keen to remain in Qatar but only for a further year before looking to return to Barcelona.
08.47 GMT: FC Porto president Pinto da Costa has confirmed his club is working on the contract extensions of striker Moussa Marega and winger Otavio, who both become free agents this summer.
With FC Porto having qualified for the quarterfinals of the Champions League, Da Costa is keen to give the team continuity looking ahead to next season.
“We are in talks with Otavio’s agent and we are close to reaching an agreement,” Da Costa said. “We’ve already told Marega that we are interested in (extending his contract) but we are waiting to meet with his agent, who hasn’t been able to travel due to the coronavirus pandemic.”
The Dragoes have already renewed the contracts of veteran defender Pepe and midfielder Sergio Oliveira.
08.00 GMT: Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric says he is “still hungry” to play at the highest level as he is yet to sign a new contract with the club.
Madrid qualified for the Champions League quarterfinals for the first time since 2018 with a 3-1 win over Atalanta on Tuesday night, with 35-year-old Modric at the heart of the action for the Spanish side.
“I’ve always said you shouldn’t look at players’ ages,” Modric said, saying he feels 27 rather than 35. “It’s about what a player does on the pitch. The years and the passport don’t matter. With my physique and what I’ve achieved here, I’m still hungry to compete at the highest level.”
Modric’s contract at the Bernabeu expires this summer — although he’s expected to sign a one-year extension — as does that of club captain Sergio Ramos, 34.
“When you’ve looked after yourself for so many years, you end up getting it back,” Ramos said, adding that there’s no news on his own negotiations. “You can’t judge anyone by their I.D. It’s about performance. The most important thing is we’re happy where we are and we give our best. People should value that.”
PAPER TALK (by Danny Lewis)
Kounde could arrive to Man Utd for less
Manchester United’s interest in Sevilla FC centre-back Jules Kounde seems to have taken a turn for the better as the Sun claims the Spanish side have dropped their asking price for the transfer by £20m.
Sevilla had previously hoped to receive £70m for the Frenchman, but are now willing to settle for £50m — while it is believed he has an £87.4m release clause.
Kounde is currently on £70,000-per-week at Sevilla, and it is said that United are willing to at least double that.
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Dybala, Griezmann swap possible
It has previously been reported that Juventus could make a swap deal to offload Paulo Dybala with Barcelona’s Antoine Griezmann the most likely to come to Turin.
Calciomercato reports the possible deal could be held up over wage demands, as Griezmann already gets a gross yearly salary of €24m at Camp Nou. The 29-year-old would likely need to take a pay cut if he was to join Juventus.
Another option for Juve would be Paris Saint-Germain’s Mauro Icardi, who joined the French side in 2019 after a successful but often tenuous spell at Internazionale.
– Alvaro Morata is likely to stay at Juventus past the current campaign, as has been reported by La Gazzetta dello Sport. However, it is not yet decided whether that will be another loan deal or the €45m option in his current loan from Atletico Madrid will be triggered. The Spaniard has settled in Serie A, while Atleti have replaced him with Luis Suarez, so this is a move that suits all parties.
– Internazionale are looking to offload Matias Vecino, Arturo Vidal and Radja Nainggolan in the summer, reports Calciomercato. It is suggested that the Nerazzurri are hoping to make €30m in savings from letting the three midfielders depart, with all of them deemed surplus to requirements. There is no suggested destination for Vecino, but Vidal has previously been linked with Brazilian powerhouse Flamengo, while Nainggolan could return to his current loan side Cagliari.