The coronavirus pandemic made the summer transfer market unlike any before it, but there were still plenty of deals done and you can check out the major ones here. The window may be closed across the top leagues in Europe, but here are the best rumours from around the globe.
TOP STORY: Real Madrid renew interest in Fabian Ruiz
Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz is reported to be at the top of Real Madrid’s wishlist, Calciomercato reports.
The 24-year-old, who will see his contract with the Italian club expire in 2023, has been catching the eye of teams across Europe thanks to a string of impressive performances in the last few years.
The Spain international has been on the radar of Real and could be the perfect fit for Zinedine Zidane. It may not be a move that comes in January but either way, they’ll be forced to pay around €80m in order to secure his services.
Sources told ESPN’s Rodrigo Faez and Alex Kirkland last November that Real had held talks with Ruiz over a potential move. A meeting took place in October 2019 and the player evidently sees Madrid as a favourable destination despite competition from Manchester City and Barcelona.
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19.03 BST: West Brom sold central defender Ahmed Hegazi to Saudi Arabian outfit Al-Ittihad over the weekend and it sounds as if manager Slaven Bilic is none to pleased about it.
Definitely it wasn’t my decision, it wasn’t a football decision to be fair, I’m very disappointed,” Bilic said after West Brom’s draw on Monday.
“We are the team that needs all the good players, he is the player that has know-how in the Premier League, he has vast experience, he is a national team player, he’s a great professional and he played last week against Burnley.
“The whole last week he was training with us and when we were doing the shape, even on Saturday he was there.
“I had the assurances that he was going to stay and so that makes me very, very disappointed that he left.”
Sounds as if there is already some tension brewing at newly-promoted West Brom…
18.21 BST: Italy international Cristiano Biraghi has signed a new contract extension at Fiorentina.
The 28-year-old wing-back, who spent last season on loan at Inter, now is signed with La Viola through 2024. Biraghi, who has nine caps for Italy, is off to a bright start this season with Fiorentina with a goal and three assists in just five games.
17.04 BST: The Los Angeles Galaxy are a mess at present and it doesn’t look like things are going to turn around soon.
According to TyC Sports, the MLS club have told Boca Juniors that they will be unable to pay the $20 million wanted for winger Cristian Pavon, once his loan expires at the end of the season.
#Boca Desde LA Galaxy avisaron -de manera formal- que no podrán afrontar la opción de 20 millones de dólares para quedarse con el pase de Pavón y, en caso de avanzar en la Libertadores, el Xeneize podría recuperarlo para las fases finales. ¿Qué te parece? ⚽️⬇️ pic.twitter.com/GbIdlfA46J
— TyC Sports (@TyCSports) October 26, 2020
The Galaxy still seem interested in keeping the Argentina international but due to the pandemic would like to adjust the terms. Pavon, 24, has been one of the few bright spots for the Galaxy this season, as he leads the team in goals with seven and assists with three.
Galaxy GM Dennis te Kloese had the following to say to our Jeff Carlisle last week:
“There’s an option for us to buy him, which I think it was been pre pandemic or pre COVID. And if you look at the current market, and even the exchange rates that go around now, from dollar to Argentinian pesos, that that option is obviously at…there’s a difference in how you look at it.”
Te Kloese added: “And to be honest, you see an international transfer market currently, and it’s been smashed, completely smashed. There’s hardly any transfers or big transfers coming in, going out anywhere. I think everybody’s in a waiting game to see what goes [on with COVID-19] and how long this actually goes and how our next season would look like. And when we can actually get some income back into our into our business.”
16.13 GMT: Borussia Monchengladbach star Marcus Thuram has been linked with a move to Liverpool.
Thuram, 23, is the son of France legend Lilian Thuram but is an attacking player, unlike his father, and had 14 goals and nine assists in all competitions last season. That form attracted Manchester United and Liverpool, with the Premier League champions reportedly checking on his progress.
“For me, Marcus is destined for a top club. He was already sounded out by Liverpool this summer,” Movistar commentator Alain Valnegri told El Pais. “He has skill, he shoots, he’s got huge power, he’s a dribbler, and he moves well in tight spaces.
“He’s always been a left-winger, but in Germany, he’s started to get behind the front, and coming up from the second line he is very dangerous.”
15.40 GMT: Manchester City are going to need to replace striker Sergio Aguero soon. Is Tottenham’s Harry Kane the man they need?
Don Hutchison wonders if signing Harry Kane can fix Manchester City’s problems.
14.48 GMT: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hit back at claims Manchester United made a mistake in signing midfielder Donny van de Beek and insisted he will play a key role at Old Trafford last season.
Van de Beek, a £40m summer signing from Ajax, was an unused substitute for the 0-0 draw with Chelsea on Saturday, prompting Patrice Evra to say his former club “don’t need him,” while former Netherlands forward Marco van Basten said the player should have joined a club where he can play more regularly.
Van de Beek has not started a Premier League game so far this season, managing just 61 minutes in five games, but Solskjaer is backing the 23-year-old to come good.
“I realise the topic is Donny van de Beek and it’s nice for some players or commentators to have a little go,” Solskjaer told a news conference on Tuesday. “I know you’re short for time when you’re on telly and you have to put your points across very quickly but you have to know that you don’t have to start the first three games to be a very important player in the squad.”
13.57 GMT: Former Barcelona adviser Arieda Braida has told Marca that the club passed on signing Paul Pogba and Erling Haaland.
Pogba was at Juventus when Barcelona were linked with a move, before he headed back to Manchester United for £89.3m in 2016.
“It’s not a lie. It is true that Albert Soler and I went to Milan and met with the Juventus board,” he said. “But despite the talks, there was no real intention to sign him.
“In fact, Pogba ended up staying that summer in Turin and did not go to another club. I said he was a great player, I was talking about it with Albert Soler, with whom I consider that he had a good personal relationship, but again, professionally we could not work together because I was not allowed.”
Barca also evidently passed on signing Haaland before he moved to FC Salzburg and then Borussia Dortmund to become a global star.
“They did not give me the responsibility, they put others in charge of this work,” he said. “I was studying players and I wrote down some names like Haaland from Borussia Dortmund when he was still playing for Rosenborg. But at the club, they told me no, that he didn’t have the Barca profile.
“From Italy, I also suggested other names, such as [Inter’s Nico] Barella, who is now at Inter, or [Nicolo] Zaniolo, from Roma. But if you do not have the responsibility to execute this because it has been given to others, you cannot do anything. I was separated.”
Braida joined Barca in 2015 to be part of a sporting committee alongside president Josep Maria Bartomeu, vice-president Javier Bordas, Jordi Mestre and Alberto Soler. However he left the club under a cloud in August 2019 and is taking Barca to court in December over his exit.
12.48 GMT: The Daily Mail reports that “Frank Lampard is ready to re-integrate Antonio Rudiger into his first-team plans following heart-to-heart talks with the central defender.”
Rudiger, 27, was left out of the squad for six of the club’s first seven games of the season and looked set to leave in the summer.
Paris Saint-Germain and Tottenham were both reportedly keen on sealing a loan move for the Germany international but he stated put at the end of the window. And now “following constructive talks with Lampard, it is understood he will be involved in first-team matters with more regularity.”
12.15 GMT: RB Leipzig take on Manchester United in the Champions League, but might they lose their manager to the Premier League side soon?
Archie Rhind-Tutt thinks RB Leipzig’s Julien Nagelsmann is a better option for Man United than Ole Gunner Solskjaer.
11.37 GMT: La Liga president Javier Tebas says Lionel Messi‘s future at Barcelona is not “a matter of life or death” for the competition.
“The Spanish league would like to have the best coaches like (Jurgen) Klopp and (Pep) Guardiola, players like Cristiano [Ronaldo] and Neymar,” he said. “But Ronaldo left for the Serie A and Neymar to France and the [Italian and French TV] rights did not improve that much.”
“I would prefer him [Messi] to remain [in Spain] but it’s not a matter of life or death.”
Tebas does not believe Spanish football is in decline. Barca lost 8-2 to Bayern Munich in last season’s Champions League quarter final while Atletico fell 4-0 at Bayern in their Champions League group opener last week and Real Madrid lost 3-2 at home to Shakhtar.
Tebas said: “I’ve heard it so many times. A few years back there was talk of a cycle change and then Barca and Madrid won many titles. We can’t always win the Champions League. We were accustomed to the best caviar and when you get one that is not Iranian and it’s Russian, we don’t think it’s as good. In order to say that you have lost value, we would have to experience what Italy has gone through, which is to have gone through eight years in which practically a team hasn’t reached a [continental] final.”
10.59 GMT: Former Netherlands forward Marco van Basten has said Manchester United midfielder Donny van de Beek should have joined a club where he can play more regularly.
United signed Van de Beek from Ajax on a five-year contract this summer for a fee around £40m. But he has made only four substitute appearances in the Premier League and was not used in the 0-0 draw against Chelsea on Saturday.
“Donny shouldn’t have gone to United,” Van Basten told Dutch TV channel Ziggo Sport. “When you’re a good player you want to play every week.
“It’s really bad for a player like Donny to play six or seven games this year. That’s shocking for your rhythm.
“I know he’s earning loads more than he used to. But as a top player you have to be critical and look at the chances of playing when you sign for a new club. Donny should have waited for better prospects and signed for another club.
“Is it about a five-year contract that he can sign? No, that’s bull—-. Then you shouldn’t go to Manchester United, but wait with it or for another club. You have to want to play football every week, and such a club is then bad for your career.”
10.23 GMT: AC Milan will do all in their power to keep Gianlugi Donnarumma beyond next summer when his contract expires, according to the club’s technical director, Paolo Maldini.
The 21-year-old Italy international, in his sixth season at Milan, has yet to sign an extension with the Rossoneri and is a reported target of both Manchester United and Manchester City.
Asked about Donnarumma’s future, former Milan captain Maldini told Sky: “Gigi is our reference point. He is a true captain alongside [Alessio] Romagnoli and he is a leader in this team. For the time being we have started our season like this but the club will try to keep him with all of our strength.”
Gab Marcotti says Stefano Pioli and AC Milan need to wean off their overreliance on talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
09.40 GMT: Nigeria captain Ahmed Musa is leaving Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr, telling ESPN that it is because he wants to return to top-flight competition in Europe.
Musa, 28, leaves the Riyadh club with two years remaining of the four-year contract he signed when he joined from Leicester City. He said that the decision to leave was entirely his own but both parties had come to an amicable, mutual understanding.
“I have enjoyed my time in the two years that I have been here, and the club have been great to me,” Musa told ESPN’s Colin Udoh. “But I have always wanted to return to Europe, and I feel that this is the best time for me to make that move.
“I want to get back to playing at the top level again against the best players in the world.
“I would like to thank everyone at Al-Nassr and all the fans for understanding and respecting my wishes, but especially for making me feel such a big part of the club and I will never forget them.”
The Nigerian is now a free agent, which means he can join a new club immediately, and he told ESPN that his agent was “talking with some clubs in Europe.”
He said: “He knows what I want, so when there is something, I am sure he will let me know.”
09.11 GMT: Pep Guardiola says Manchester City could not afford to buy a striker in the summer as he prepares for another spell without a recognised centre-forward in his team.
Both Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus have been ruled out of Tuesday’s Champions League tie against Marseille, with the pair unlikely to return until after November’s international break.
It leaves Guardiola short of a striker for a run of games that could include Liverpool’s trip to the Etihad Stadium on Nov. 8 but the City boss insists it was not possible to sign another goalscorer during the transfer window.
“Maybe yeah we considered it [buying a striker], we thought about it, another maybe type of striker but we could not so I think the club do what they can,” said Guardiola. “It’s not a club that wants revenues at the end of the year, it’s what they want and what’s best for the team.
“If you decide to buy a striker, it has to be a striker in the league of Gabriel and Sergio but we cannot afford it. That is the reality.
“I’m not saying the club didn’t want to do it, not just in terms of strikers but in every position, but they wanted to make as strong a team as possible to make more games and better. But we thought ‘OK, Sergio is back and we didn’t expect Gabriel to be injured.’ Sometimes it happens.”
– Ogden: Man City’s worst start under Guardiola? Blame the transfers
08.33 GMT: Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has denied the club’s failure to agree a new contract with captain Sergio Ramos‘ future is a distraction ahead of their Champions League match with Borussia Monchengladbach.
Ramos, whose current deal expires at the end of the season, scored a crucial penalty in Madrid’s 3-1 Clasico win over Barcelona on Saturday as the team recovered from two losses in a row including against Shakhtar Donetsk in their Group B opener.
“Tomorrow we have a game and we have to concentrate,” Zidane said when asked about contract talks. “Sergio is the first to think about tomorrow’s game.”
08.00 GMT: Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu says he could not let Lionel Messi leave for a direct rival and that he was willing to accept the consequences that came with that.
Speaking about the issue for the first time since Messi tried to quit Camp Nou, Bartomeu said he acted in Barca’s best interests by refusing to let the forward go.
Messi, 33, eventually decided to stay at Barca for the season, saying he was not willing to take the club to court over the wording of a clause in his contract he felt meant he could leave for free.
In an explosive interview with Goal, when he announced his decision to stay, Messi accused Bartomeu of lying to him and said the board had been making things up as they go along for years.
“I was accused of wanting to force a transfer for financial reasons to ‘balance the books,'” Bartomeu said in a news conference on Monday.
“That’s not true. I defended the interests of the club, accepting the consequences that refusing Messi’s decision to go to one of our rivals would entail.”
Sid Lowe wonders if Lionel Messi looks forward to international play after making it clear he wanted to leave Barcelona.
PAPER TALK (by Harry Kettle)
Barca eye new deal for Araujo
Barcelona are hoping to extend the contract of youngster Ronald Araujo, Marca reports.
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The 21-year-old has a deal in place that will keep him at Camp Nou until 2023. However, if the Spanish giants are able to get their way, that will be extended by three years until 2026.
While some of the specific details still need to be ironed out in the coming days and perhaps even weeks, the belief is that his consistent presence in the first-team this season will ensure that this gets over the finish line.
Martinez “happy” at Inter
Inter Milan forward Lautaro Martinez has discussed his future with the Serie A club, saying he is content at the San Siro.
As Inter prepare to continue their Champions League journey this week, Martinez’s future continues to be a big topic of discussion. When asked about his situation he had he following to say to Calciomercato: “We work to win and to ensure that Inter are as high as possible. Tomorrow I don’t know what will happen, but today I am happy at Inter and I thank the fans for their love.”
While it may not be the most convincing of answers he’s clearly fully focused on the task at hand.
– AC Milan are considering a move for Paris Saint-Germain striker Mauro Icardi in the winter, AS reports. The club believes that he could serve as the perfect partner for veteran Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and with Icardi’s wife wanting the family to return to Milan where the Argentine previously spent seven years with Internazionale, it could wind up being a controversial move.
– Bristol City are not planning on dipping into the free agency market in the next few weeks, Bristol Live reports. The Championship promotion chasers have six players out through injury with the club waiting for a scan on Alfie Mawson‘s recent knee problem. Despite that, however, the Robins will not be aiming to make any free agent additions at this time.