The transfer window may have slammed shut, 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: Real Madrid interested in Torres as Ramos replacement
Real Madrid are monitoring central defensive options as the uncertainty around the future of Sergio Ramos grows, and Goal reports they will target Villarreal’s Pau Torres.
Torres, 24, has been monitored by Los Blancos for several weeks, but Madrid may find a hefty price tag stands in their way. Villarreal have valued their prime defender’s contract at €65 million, which could be beyond Madrid’s existing spending power.
Torres previously had a release clause around €50m, but that value has gone up according to La Razon, and Madrid are hoping the good relationship between the two clubs may soften the fee.
However, with Torres’ contract running until 2024, the situation could depend on where Villarreal finish in the league this season. If they can sneak into a European place, they may be even more resolute in keeping their defensive talisman.
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13.24 GMT: Zinedine Zidane has promoted his son Theo Zidane to the Real Madrid first-team squad amid the injury crisis at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The French boss has been forced to turn his attention to academy talent in recent weeks due to the absence of a number of first-team players, including club record signing Eden Hazard, captain Sergio Ramos and Fede Valverde.
Sergio Arribas, 19, had a chance to play during the 2-0 win over Valencia as Zidane only had three senior outfield players on the bench to face Los Che and the situation could be similar when they face Valladolid this weekend.
Theo, an 18-year-old offensive midfielder, has trained with the first team before but could now follow the footsteps of his brothers Enzo and Luka to become the fourth Zidane family member to play for Real Madrid.
13.01 GMT: River Plate want to continue the overhaul of Marcelo Gallardo’s squad with the signing of 19-year-old midfielder Matko Viljevic from Argentinos Juniors, according to ESPN Argentina reporter Javier Gil Navarro. Viljevic has been left out of the Argentinos squad and River want to take advantage of the situation to acquire 50% of his rights.
Meanwhile, Agustin Fontana and Jose Paradela will undergo their medicals on Wednesday, while River are also set to complete the signing of Colon right-back Alex Vigo.
12.28 GMT: Manchester City and Manchester United have been sniffing around Tottenham striker Harry Kane, but the Daily Mail reports that the club are only willing to consider offers over £150m for the England captain’s contract.
Kane, 27, has scored 21 goals this season and is considered one of the best strikers in the world. He is contracted to Spurs until 2024, so his club hold the cards over his future and are not keen to see him depart.
Both City and United are on the lookout for a long-term option at striker this summer.
12.00 GMT: ICYMI – The LA Galaxy have completed the signing of teenage prodigy Alex Alcala, the club announced.
Alcala, 15, has been training with the Galaxy Academy since 2020 and has now signed his first professional contract. The talented midfielder will play for Galaxy II but will have the opportunity to play alongside compatriots Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Jonathan dos Santos and Efrain Alvarez in the first team.
“Alex is a young talent who we are pleased will develop in a professional environment,” LA Galaxy general manager Dennis te Kloese told the club’s official website.
“We believe that the structure and resources that we will provide him will allow him to continue to grow as both a player and a person. We look forward to Alex representing our club.”
11.13 GMT: James Olley asks if Benfica can continue as a top talent source for the Premier League and beyond while trying to win titles?
The club’s Benfica Campus boasts a remarkable record for producing top talent. In November 2020, the International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES) awarded them the highest score for an academy setup in Europe’s top 31 leagues, taking into account the number of players trained, their ages and the sporting level they reached. Ajax were second, Barcelona third.
The list of stars produced at their 19-hectare site in Quinta da Trindade, a half-hour drive across the River Tagus from Lisbon’s city centre, over the years is genuinely staggering. Manchester City are home to four graduates: Ruben Dias, Bernardo Silva, Ederson and Joao Cancelo. Victor Lindelof is now at Manchester United, Nelson Semedo plays for Wolverhampton Wanderers, Goncalo Guedes at Valencia, Andre Gomes at Everton.
Data from website Transfermarkt suggests Benfica are the only club to generate more than a billion pounds in sales since 2009, a staggering figure including the fourth-highest transfer fee of all time: Joao Felix’s £114 million move to Atletico Madrid in July 2019. To compensate for the year-over-year losses, Benfica raided Brazil for three summer signings — right-back Gilberto, midfielder Pedrinho and forward Everton — who could eventually be the next players sold on to bigger clubs, but the emphasis very much remains on youth development.
Benfica remain a powerhouse of Portuguese football, the most recent of their 37 league titles coming just two years ago, but on the international stage they’ve failed to add to back-to-back European Cup successes of the early 1960s. The quest to end that drought resumes this week as Benfica face Arsenal in the first leg of their last-32 Europa League tie.
10.30 GMT: Something is wrong with Juventus.
ESPN FC’s Don Hutchison is not impressed with Andrea Pirlo’s managerial performance at Juventus.
09.38 GMT: Barcelona’s hopes of signing Bryan Gil have taken another knock with the promising winger in talks to sign a contract extension at Sevilla, according to Mundo Deportivo.
Gil, 20, has attracted the attention of Real Madrid and Barcelona following his solid season on loan at Eibar from Sevilla. The Spaniard has scored three goals and set up three more in 17 appearances for Eibar.
Contracted until June 2023, Gil has reportedly reached a preliminary agreement to extend his deal with Sevilla for a further two seasons. The new terms would also see his release clause rise from €35m to €150m.
Gil revealed this week that he is not getting carried away by reports linking him with Barcelona and other clubs. “You always want to be on the radar of the best clubs in the world but I have a contract with Sevilla until 2023,” he said. “If I want to play at Sevilla, I know I need to compete with others, otherwise I will always have to move around.”·
08.54 GMT: Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas still has a glimmer of hope that Memphis Depay will remain at the club for another season.
“Until the end we believe that he will renew for next season,” Aulas said. “Right now it is not something that is possible but why not?”
Depay, 27, becomes a free agent in a few months and was close to joining Barca last summer after coach Ronald Koeman requested to add a versatile forward that could play in different positions, including as a No. 9.
An agreement was reached with Lyon and the Netherlands international but the deal could not be completed due to Barca’s salary restrictions.
“He is a great talent, world class,” Aulas said. “There are not many like him in the team. He brings solutions. I always wanted him to remain but our offers did not convince him. We helped him go to FC Barcelona but financially it was not possible.”
08.30 GMT: Real Madrid will only make a move to sign Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe if the French giants decide to put the player on the transfer list, reports Marca.
A long-term target of Real Madrid, Mbappe has been in talks with PSG to sign a new deal with his contract expiring in June 2022. The French forward said after scoring a hat-trick against Barcelona in his team’s 4-1 win in the Champions League round-of-16 first leg in reference to the possibility of extending his contract that it’s “about reflecting for the long term.”
Real Madrid have no intention of entering into a conflict with PSG and will not make a move unless the club decides to move Mbappe on if the 22-year-old decides not to sign a new deal.
In such an event, PSG have placed a €200m valuation on Mbappe’s contract, according to La Parisien, with Liverpool, Manchester City and Juventus also keen.
Two former European powerhouses meet in the Europa League with each struggling in their domestic leagues.
PAPER TALK (by Nick Judd)
Arsenal could move on from Lacazette, but want to keep Ceballos
Arsenal are plotting wholesale changes this summer that could see Alexandre Lacazette and David Luiz leave, but Dani Ceballos stay on a permanent deal, reports the Sun.
Arsenal are considering ways to further reduce their wage bill in the summer, having already saved themselves £700,000-a-week by releasing Mesut Ozil, Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos in January.
However, while the exit door looms for many, Ceballos — on loan from Real Madrid — is one player they’d like to keep long-term. Along with Brighton & Hove Albion loanee Mat Ryan and fellow Madrid player Martin Odegaard, Arsenal are keen to sign Ceballos as Mikel Arteta sees the trio as a key part of the squad for the long term.
The Gunners could yet finish outside of the European places this season and, if so, alongside the lack of fans inside the stadium, it could spell financial trouble for the club.
Juve keen on bringing back Kean
Paris Saint-Germain’s Moise Kean, on loan from Everton, is once again one of football’s hottest players but Juventus could try and bring him back to Turin, reports Le10 Sport.
The striker has been in electric form since joining PSG in the summer and, unsurprisingly, the French side are keen to make the move a permanent one. There is no option to sign him in his loan deal, though, and PSG could face competition.
Carlo Ancelotti will no doubt be re-evaluating how he can best utilise the striker at Goodison Park next season, while Juventus continue to have a soft spot for their former star.
Indeed, Keane himself admitted he wouldn’t rule out a return to the Bianconeri when he was quizzed after PSG’s win against Barcelona on Tuesday night.
– Edinson Cavani wants to stay at Manchester United beyond the end of this season, despite the club not yet triggering his one-year extension clause, reports the Telegraph. Cavani signed in October until the end of the campaign with the option of extending for a further 12 months, and has expressed his wish to stay. However, the 34-year-old is able to negotiate with other clubs now that he’s in the last four months of his contract.
– Clubs are queueing up to sign in-form defender Jules Kounde from Sevilla FC, but La Razon believes PSG are preparing to outbid the competition and spend €20m more than their competitors to ensure his signature. Kounde’s value has gone up following Dayot Upamecano‘s €42.5m move from RB Leipzig to Bayern Munich because he’s now considered the best available defender around, and PSG are hoping to flex their financial muscle in an effort to land their top defensive target.