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.
TOP STORY: Arsenal fear competition for Odegaard from Chelsea, Liverpool and PSG
Arsenal are very keen to strike a permanent deal for midfielder Martin Odegaard once his loan deal from Real Madrid expires in the summer.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta even described the 22-year-old as “incredible” after the Gunners came back from 3-0 down to secure a draw against West Ham United. That influential performance follows on from goals scored in the Europa League victory over Olympiakos and the win against Tottenham Hotspur.
However, the Daily Star reports that Chelsea, Liverpool and PSG have entered the race for the Norway international and his valuation has gone from €35m to €55m in just a few weeks.
As long as Zinedine Zidane is still in charge of Real Madrid in the summer, Odegaard will be allowed to leave, reports Football Insider. This could mean he departs on another loan or a permanent deal, but it has been made clear that the Frenchman does not want him.
However, Zidane departing could mean a shift in strategy at the Bernabeu, with Los Blancos‘ La Liga finish and their Champions League tie with Liverpool proving key in deciding his job status.
Odegaard has a contract until 2023 so will return at the end of the season, but where he goes after that is up for debate. Arsenal will want him to perform well, but not too well, lest the price to sign him continues to rise.
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21.43 BST: Barcelona are monitoring centre-back Natan of Flamengo, according to Sport, with the 20-year-old on loan at Red Bull Bragantino through the end of the year, and having a €70m buyout clause.
20.56 BST: Corriere dello Sport reports that AS Roma are in the market for a new striker, and while Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette has interested the Italian capital club, the 29-year-old’s age is counting against him, and the Giallorossi are monitoring younger options in 21-year-old Dusan Vlahovic of Fiorentina and Real Sociedad’s 21-year-old Alexander Isak.
20.09 BST: Thirty-year-old left-back Alex Sandro is “likely” to leave Juventus this summer, Tuttomercatoweb writes, with the Bianconeri evaluating Atalanta’s 26-year-old Robin Gosens and 26-year-old Emerson Palmieri of Chelsea as potential replacements.
19.22 BST: Barcelona and Arsenal are interested in 27-year-old Real Betis playmaker Nabil Fekir, according to Seville outfit Estadio Deportivo, with the France international having joined Catalan management firm Promoesport perhaps putting the Blaugrana in pole position for his signing.
18.35 BST: Portuguese outlet Record suggests that there is an agreement between Lisbon giants Benfica and former Atletico Madrid and Chelsea striker Diego Costa, but the club is seeking to ensure the 32-year-old has “tax benefits” upon his arrival.
17.48 BST: A couple of developments at Bayern Munich come courtesy of Fabrizio Romano, who reports that the Bavarian club are working to extend the contract of 26-year-old midfielder Leon Goretzka, and have decided against making Douglas Costa’s loan permanent, with the 30-year-old winger set to return to Juventus in the summer – who’ve held no talks with Brazilian club Gremio, despite some reporting suggesting the opposite.
17.01 BST: AC Milan will have €100m to spend this summer, according to Gazzetta dello Sport, and there are three players that cash will be used to sign (or keep): Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who reportedly will remain at San Siro for another season; Fikayo Tomori, the 23-year-old centre-back possessing a €28m option after joining on loan in January from Chelsea; and 21-year-old Fiorentina striker Dusan Vlahovic.
16.14 BST: Both La Gazzetta dello Sport and Tuttosport claim that Juventus are keen to swap Paulo Dybala for Manchester United star Paul Pogba this summer.
Pogba, 28, has been looking for an exit from Manchester for some time and the midfielder has been linked with a return to Juventus, or move to Real Madrid.
Meanwhile, Dybala’s contract expires in 2022 and he has rejected offers of an extension to date. The Argentine striker almost moved to Tottenham last year but stayed on and the reports claim he could also be used to land Real Madrid’s Isco or Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele in part exchange.
Juve also have a long-standing interest in PSG’s Mauro Icardi and Atletico Madrid’s Joao Felix.
15.31 BST: Erling Haaland for just $125,000? Tom Hamilton tells the story behind his record-breaking rookie card.
Haaland’s potential is frightening, aged 20, he has already scored 20 Champions League goals, in just 14 matches. An unfortunate injury could derail his career; his goals record could dry up. But if he continues this trajectory, he will be one of the modern era’s greatest players — someone who could, along with PSG’s Kylian Mbappe, capture the imagination of soccer fans as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have for nearly two decades.
And that’s why those in the sports trading card industry were not surprised to see one of Haaland’s autographed Topps “rookie” Bundesliga cards selling for an eye-watering $124,320 in an auction at the start of March.
“There are so many things he can do in his career,” David Leiner, GM global sports and entertainment at The Topps Company, tells ESPN. “I think the euphoria I’ve seen here is similar to what we saw with LeBron James 20 years ago in basketball. I remember back in 2003, 2004, 2005 thinking ‘oh my! These LeBron cards are going for crazy money’ and now you look back and think, ‘actually, they were cheap.’
“With this Haaland card, we could be talking in five years and that card could be worth a million dollars. You just don’t know where it’s going to go.”
14.48 BST: Can any club afford the €180m that Dortmund want for striker Erling Haaland?
Ian Darke says he understands why Dortmund are playing hardball in trying to keep hold of Erling Haaland.
14.03 BST: Tottenham striker Dane Scarlett turned 17 on Wednesday and has now signed his first professional contract.
Scarlett made his Premier League debut in February against West Brom and is highly rated at the club.
After playing in the Europa League win over Wolfsberger, manager Jose Mourinho said of the teenager: “Dane has incredible talent. I don’t want to speak too much because tomorrow I arrive in the building and the kid’s boss is going to kill me.
“I don’t want that so I don’t want to speak too well about him. I just want to say that he will be 17 next month and I want him to be part of the first-team squad next season. So this season he is there and here, goes to training sessions with us and matches with the kids of his age and trains there.
“Next season he has to be a first-team player. Immense talent. Very good physical development. He’s very good, he’s going to be very good. I hope that nothing is going to destroy that potential. He must have feet on the ground and head on his shoulders because he has a fantastic talent.”
13.12 BST: Newcastle United are preparing to make an £8m offer to sign Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer, says the Daily Mail.
Ajer, 22, is out of contract in 2022 and has been linked with West Brom and AC Milan in the past.
Celtic reportedly value the centre-back at around £30m but are in weak negotiating position with his contract running down.
Norway national team manager Stale Solbakken was recently quoted as saying: “He has to change league now. He must. He does not have enough challenges in everyday life there.”
12.02 BST: Barcelona want to extend Ousmane Dembele‘s contract beyond 2022, reports Mundo Deportivo.
Dembele, 23, moved to the club from Dortmund in 2017 for around €105m but the forward has struggled with injury issues.
The Frenchman almost left Camp Nou six months ago, when Manchester United were interested, but has now become a key part of Ronald Koeman’s new 3-5-2 system.
11.30 BST: Gareth Bale‘s contract conundrum haunts Real Madrid, Tottenham and the Wales star himself, writes Gab Marcotti.
It’s pretty evident Real Madrid do not want him back. They’d be happy to let him walk for free when his contract expires or even, as they’ve been doing, subsidize his salary to send him on loan elsewhere until his contract expires. This was true before the pandemic and it’s all the more true now, with the club registering massive shortfalls in revenue and Bale becoming a free agent in the summer of 2022.
By stating that he plans to return, he’s sending an obvious message: ‘I’m going to come back as is my right, and you’ll have to make sure I get paid down to my last cent, whether it’s you writing the cheque or somebody else.’
Real Madrid’s best-case scenario involved Bale making a triumphant return to Spurs, having a monster season and agreeing to stick around, signing a multiyear deal in north London. He would have had to take a pay cut on a per-season basis, but he would have made up for it in terms of the length of his deal. That’s not out of the question, but it’s unlikely, hence his public pronouncement.
10.50 BST: Where will Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly end up?
ESPN FC’s Frank Leboeuf weighs in on where Kalidou Koulibaly could land this summer.
10.19 BST: Tottenham striker Harry Kane said he will not let speculation over his future distract him from his goal of captaining England to European Championship glory this year.
Kane, 27, has scored 215 goals in all competitions, but is yet to win a trophy with the north London club. He signed a six-year contract extension in 2018 that would keep him at Spurs until 2024, but has been linked with a host of top clubs, including Manchester United, Manchester City and Real Madrid.
“I think that’s a hard question to answer right now,” Kane said when asked by reporters if the speculation around his future will impact his performances. “It’s important all my focus is on the two England games now and the rest of the season with Spurs and then the Euros.
“To be thinking about speculation or rumours would be damaging in terms of my own performance. I like to be focused on one goal and that’s to finish strong with Spurs… and go on and have a great Euros. I’m fully focused on doing the job on the pitch and then we’ll see.”
Spurs have dropped to sixth in the Premier League after leading the table in November and were also knocked out of the Europa League this month after losing 3-2 on aggregate to Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb in the round of 16. But Jose Mourinho’s side can still salvage their season by winning next month’s League Cup final against Manchester City, which would be their first major trophy since 2008.
“If we’re looking at it and we’ve finished in the top four and won the Cup, I think everyone will say it’s been a pretty good season,” Kane added.
09.44 BST: Sevilla, Roma and Atletico Madrid are among a growing list of teams monitoring the ongoing uncertainty over Alexandre Lacazette‘s Arsenal future, sources told ESPN’s Julien Laurens.
The striker will enter the final year of his contract at Arsenal this summer and the club face a decision whether to offer him a new deal or listen to offers for the 29-year-old, who would be able to negotiate with foreign clubs from next January if he hasn’t signed a contract.
Lacazette is in a strong position, with the player an important figure in the Arsenal dressing room, sources said, and manager Mikel Arteta signaling his intention to offer him a new deal.
09.00 BST: Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has asked the club’s owner Roman Abramovich to sign Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland, reports the Daily Express.
To sweeten the deal, Chelsea are willing to part with €53m summer signing Timo Werner in return.
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 fail to qualify for Champions League football next season.
Haaland is available for €180m this summer, sources told ESPN, while he is reported to have a release clause will make him available for €75m in 2022. However, the Blues may want to get in early before the rest of Europe’s top clubs do.
Could Erling Haaland leave Dortmund for Chelsea in exchange Timo Werner? Janusz Michallik weighs up the swap.
PAPER GOSSIP (by Danny Lewis)
– Fabrizio Romano has given a Manchester City update, stating that they are convinced midfielder Kevin De Bruyne will sign a contract extension to stay past 2023. Ensuring Raheem Sterling stays is also on the agenda, with the forward’s contract ending at the same time, while Sergio Aguero will decide his future in the coming weeks, as the striker’s deal comes to its culmination in the summer.
– Paris Saint-Germain see Leeds United goalkeeper Illan Meslier as an alternative to signing Tottenham Hotspur’s Hugo Lloris or Manchester United’s David De Gea, reports the National. It is felt that a move to PSG could tempt the 21-year-old Frenchman, while signing someone from Marcelo Biela should mean a player can adapt to Mauricio Pochettino’s style of play, with the Leeds boss being his early mentor.
– Internazionale will reject any move that is made to sign their star striker Romelu Lukaku in the summer, reports Calciomercato. This comes with a number of big-name clubs, including Barcelona and Chelsea, seeing the 27-year-old Belgium international as a target to improve their respective frontlines.
– Leeds United are hoping to sign Sevilla FC winger Lucas Ocampos in the summer window, according to Football Insider. It is suggested that the Argentina international has a €70m release clause, but they will be hoping to sign the 26-year-old for far less. It is stated that Sevilla would be willing to accept a lower price, due to the financial implications of coronavirus pandemic.