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 might be closed across the top leagues in Europe, but here are the best rumours from around the globe.
TOP STORY: Real Madrid eye Mbappe move amid €180m clause claims
Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe is in talks over a new contract, but AS reports that it might contain a €180 million release clause allowing him to join Real Madrid.
With Mbappe’s current deal ending in 2022, PSG are keen to tie him down to fresh terms. Long-term admirers Real Madrid will make their move next summer and hope that his price drops significantly, otherwise they may be forced to pay €180m to sign him as the player is reportedly insisting on a release clause if he puts pen to paper.
Mbappe has hinted that a move to Madrid would be a dream, while Liverpool are also keen on him if he doesn’t agree a new deal.
PSG sporting director Leonardo confirmed on Tuesday that contract talks have also started with Neymar, Angel Di Maria, Juan Bernat and Julian Draxler. However, sources told ESPN’s Julien Laurens that the negotiations with Neymar are more advanced than Leonardo let on.
20.00 GMT: Eric Garcia‘s move to Barcelona seems to be inching along, with Sport reporting that the Manchester City youngster will arrive at the end of the 2020-21 season.
The former Barca academy product had hoped for a January move but it seems that will now be delayed until the summer.
Barca were reportedly offering €18m, including add-ons, during this past summer but City didn’t accept. Now it seems its looking likely that he’ll go to Camp Nou on a free after this campaign wraps up.
19.00 GMT: English Championship side Derby County have announced they have parted ways with manager Phillip Cocu.
The 50-year-old was put in charge of the club in July 2019 but they sit at the bottom of the table with one win from 11 league matches this season.
Former Manchester United and England captain Wayne Rooney, who was already part of the coaching and playing staff, will help with first-team training.
“I’m sorry Phillip and his staff have left the club and want to thank him personally for all his help and encouragement as part of his coaching staff,” Rooney said in a statement.
“The most important thing now is to stabilise the club and start moving up the table.
“I’ve been asked to be part of the coaching staff to help the team’s preparations for next Saturday’s vital match against Bristol City. The coaches and I will speak with the players on Monday.”
All the best for the future, Phillip 🖤#DCFC pic.twitter.com/2CTLAnCeRy
— Derby County (@dcfcofficial) November 14, 2020
18.11 GMT: Barcelona must pay Lionel Messi a €33m loyalty bonus next summer as part of the contract he signed with the club in 2017, sources told ESPN’s Moises Llorens.
Messi received half of the €66m bonus in February, with the second half due in June when his contract expires and he can leave for free.
It’s not the first time Barca have chosen to reward players in this manner. Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta also received bonuses — although nowhere near as much as Messi — while other players, including Carles Puyol, turned down the chance to make more money from the club.
According to sources, Messi also received a renewal bonus “worth around €100m” when he signed the four-year deal three years ago. That bonus was paid in installments across the course of his contract.
Messi, 33, would have given up the second half of the bonus had he left the club earlier this year, as he wanted to. Instead, he remained at Camp Nou and his future beyond this season heavily depends on who is elected as the club’s new president after Josep Maria Bartomeu stepped down. Messi’s 20-year stay at the club hinges on the incoming president being able to sell the club’s new sporting project to him.
17.00 GMT: Liverpool and Everton have been linked with a move for Torino centre-back Gleison Bremer, says the Liverpool Echo.
The Brazilian moved to Italy from Atletico Mineiro in 2018 and has impressed in Serie A.
Liverpool are most in need of reinforcements as Joe Gomez joined Virgil van Dijk and Fabinho on the sidelines recently, leaving the club’s defence very short. However, Everton are also keeping an eye on Gleison as Carlo Ancelotti continues to build his side.
16.03 GMT: Manchester United defender Eric Bailly could be facing an uncertain future, with Juventus and Milan reportedly interested in him.
Bailly, 26, struggled in the 6-1 defeat against Tottenham earlier this season and has been injured. He was linked with Milan in the summer window and could be set to depart if he can’t win his place in the side back.
“The boy is in an important context such as that of United, before evaluating an exit there must be absolutely valid situations,” his representative Graziano Battistini told Calciomercato. “The Milan idea may have a logic, but we need to evaluate many implications, today we are talking about nothing.”
For now, though, the Ivory Coast international is happy at United.
“The experience with the Red Devils depends, as always, on luck, who you meet, on the opportunities,” Battistini added. “If he has the right chances, for me he can be an important player to solve some problems of the team. If all this does not happen, it is clear that the situation will need to be assessed, but now it is too early to say certain things.
“My Spanish partners who manage him are cautious in all respects, but the boy is very focused on Manchester United.”
15.14 GMT: Borussia Dortmund have one of the stars of the future on their books. And USMNT teenager Giovanni Reyna signed a new long term contract with the German Bundesliga giants, sources have told ESPN’s Stephan Uersfeld.
Ale Moreno believes Gio Reyna “tagging along” with Erling Haaland can only be a good thing for the young American.
14.30 GMT: A football scout’s life is spent travelling to watch matches, so how has COVID-19 impacted their job? Tor-Kristian Karlsen speaks to some top scouts to find out how they spend their week.
“Of course, games can be watched whenever you want online, but I enjoy the novelty of being able to watch games with a professional eye on TV while the result is still unknown. My main priority is assessing players and reporting on their pros and cons, make no mistake about that, but having the added suspense of seeing live footage is generally a boost to me. It does make it slightly more exciting to check out a player in a live game, rather than already knowing that he came off after 68 minutes when catching up a few days later.
“I usually start off with a Dutch game around lunchtime; then Germany in the afternoon. In the evening there’s often an interesting Ligue 1 game to pick up. Three games in a day is enough for me. After all you don’t want to overdo it and lose focus. Nothing beats being at the stadium though — neither from the experience of a fan nor being a scout who wants to pick up as many details as possible. Perhaps TV and streams give you 80% of the total picture, but there’s still something missing if you’re not there.”
13.44 GMT: Argentine outlet El Chiringuito says that Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has two demands before he’ll consider signing for Manchester City in the summer.
First up, he wants manager Pep Guardiola to commit his future to the club. Guardiola’s contract, like Messi’s, runs out in 2021 and he will make a decision in the new year about whether to continue.
Second, after being burned by the Camp Nou exit of his friend Luis Suarez, Messi wants Argentina international striker Sergio Aguero to stay.
Aguero is also able to leave City in 2021, but the 33-year-old is unlikely to stay. Though he might have a very good reason to do so soon…
13.00 GMT: Manchester United’s Paul Pogba could leave the club in the coming months after some poor performances, but he’s a different player for his country. Or is he?
Frank Leboeuf questions if Didier Deschamps is making the right decision backing Paul Pogba vs. Portugal.
12.11 GMT: Soccer transfers are a murky business. Gab Marcotti asks if FIFA can clean them up?
Agents in football are nothing like Jerry Maguire. It’s not that they don’t develop heartfelt bonds with their representatives: Mino Raiola, who represents Paul Pogba, Erling Haaland and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, famously has no written contracts tying him to his clients but relies on handshakes instead. No, the difference is that in Maguire’s world — and in most U.S. sports — agents are paid by players for representing them in contract negotiations, whether with sponsors or clubs. In football, they still represent players in contract negotiations with teams, but agents typically get paid by the teams, not the players they’re representing.
Moreover, for many agents, a big chunk of the business comes during the transfer window when they act directly for clubs as intermediaries.
In most football leagues outside MLS, players under contract aren’t traded and because they have guaranteed deals, they can’t be released. So their contracts are bought and sold for cash, which means there’s plenty of business to be had representing either a club looking to sell a player or a club looking to acquire a player. You can get paid for that, too.
If it’s a player you represent, you get paid twice. And though this is rare, you can hit the trifecta and get paid by all parties involved: buyer, seller and the player.
Such a system is evidently rife with potential for conflicts of interest and malfeasance. But last week, FIFA unveiled a raft of new regulations aimed at limiting such practices while increasing transparency, mandating licensing and putting a cap on the commissions an agent can earn for an individual transfer. It appears certain they will be approved next spring and come into effect in September 2021.
11.31 GMT: Inter Milan were optimistic in offering Christian Eriksen back to Tottenham this week. Sources told ESPN’s James Olley that neither Eriksen nor Spurs are particularly keen to revisit a partnership that ended with an awkward €20m transfer in January, prompted by the midfielder deciding to run down the final year of his contract.
Although Eriksen was an important player during his six-and-a-half years in north London, scoring 69 goals in 305 appearances, Tottenham were disappointed by the way the 28-year-old pushed to leave. They have also remodelled their attack in the meantime, having made Giovani Lo Celso‘s loan deal from Real Betis permanent in addition to re-signing Gareth Bale on a temporary basis from Real Madrid.
Eriksen would likely be available for a cut-price fee given he has endured a difficult first year in Italy, with Inter coach Antonio Conte preferring more mobile players in advanced positions. But Spurs boss Jose Mourinho is following a similar approach at Tottenham.
Eriksen remains a talented player who would improve many teams across Europe, but more water surely has to flow under the bridge before any reunion with Spurs becomes a realistic possibility.
10.43 GMT: Liverpool need a new defender, but there’s one option that’s better than the rest.
Steve Nicol believes Liverpool should do their best to sign Dayot Upamecano in January.
09.49 GMT: FC Salzburg midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai is on the radar of a host of clubs, including Arsenal, AC Milan and RB Leipzig, but Real Madrid have reportedly entered the race according to AS.
Szoboszlai, 20, secured Hungary a spot at Euro 2020 after helping to down Iceland, and has impressed for Salzburg this season.
The attacking midfielder is out of contract in 2022 and could be available for around €30m in January.
09.19 GMT: Portuguese defender David Carmo is attracting interest from Premier League clubs including Manchester United, sources told ESPN’s Rob Dawson.
The highly rated 21-year-old has impressed for Braga in Portugal, emerging as a target for a number of clubs in England and across Europe. Roma and Fiorentina were among the clubs to express an interest in Carmo during the summer.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remains keen to add a left-sided centre-back to his squad and Carmo, part of the Portugal Under-19 team that won the European Championship in 2018, is among the options.
However, any move for a defender is likely to be based on at least one centre-back leaving Old Trafford. United are open to offers for both Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo after the pair were left out of this season’s Champions League squad.
09.00 GMT: Wolves striker Raul Jimenez has confirmed that Manchester United and Juventus made moves to sign him this summer.
Jimenez, 29, signed a new three-and-a-half-year contract at the beginning of October and scored 27 goals in all competitions last season. The Mexico international is in high demand and it seems plenty of clubs are keen.
“One day I woke up and Juventus wanted me, another Manchester United, and what I know is that there were approaches made,” he told TUDN. “But an agreement was never reached and nothing was close. I’m very happy at Wolves.
“The truth is I am very happy in Wolverhampton. It’s never wrong to be in a place where you are well but they know that I am not satisfied [with my form], I always look for more.”
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Lyon star Memphis Depay will attempt to force a move to Spanish giants Barcelona in the January transfer window, according to Mundo Deportivo.
His proposed €25m switch to Camp Nou over the summer never quite came to fruition, but with his contract set to expire in June, the Netherlands international winger doesn’t want to waste any more time.
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas noted that the club don’t want to sell him halfway through the campaign, but that seemingly isn’t going to stop Depay from trying to push through a move once 2021 rolls around.
Real Madrid look for Ramos replacement
Real Madrid are keeping an eye out for potential replacements in case Sergio Ramos doesn’t sign a new contract, Sport reports.
The 34-year-old’s deal is set to expire at the end of the season, and while there are ongoing discussions among all parties regarding a new arrangement, Madrid aren’t ruling anything out.
In addition to Bayern Munich’s David Alaba, manager Zinedine Zidane is also believed to be taking a look at Villarreal’s Pau Torres and Man City’s Eric Garcia, with the two considered viable alternatives — even though the latter is being tipped to rejoin Barcelona.
Boateng surprised by Bayern exit speculation
Bayern Munich centre-back Jerome Boateng has been left feeling surprised by the recent transfer speculation surrounding his future at the club. During an interview with Suddeutsche Zeitung, the 32-year-old made it clear that the reports in Bild linking him with a switch to the Premier League are news to him.
“Nobody approached me, nobody spoke to me,” Boateng is quoted as saying. “I didn’t know anything about it, I was surprised.”
With his contract set to expire in the summer, it appears the standoff between the two parties is going to continue.
– New York City FC midfielder James Sands is being considered for a big move to Europe by many top clubs, according to MLSsoccer.com. At the age of 20, Sands has established himself as one of the country’s fastest-rising homegrown stars, with teams from Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands interested in the United States under-19 international.
– Chelsea left-back Emerson Palmieri has confirmed that he would like to return to Serie A, Tuttomercatoweb reports. As the speculation mounts regarding the 26-year-old’s future in London, Palmieri himself reportedly had the following to say on the matter: “I’ve received interest, not only from Italy. No concrete things, but it’s clear that I’ll be happy to return to Serie A. I don’t know if it will happen in January or in five years, I can’t say — in football everything changes too quickly.”