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: Barca most interested in Traore
Juventus have withdrawn their interest in Wolverhampton Wanderers winger Adama Traore, according to Calciomercato, with Barcelona seemingly at the front of the queue.
This is because the Premier League outfit values him at €100 million and refused to allow the Italian giants to take him on loan with an obligation to buy.
Another factor is said to be that there are other top clubs across Europe who are interested in the Spain international, including Barca.
The Catalans are reportedly the club that is most keen on bringing in the man who came through their famous La Masia academy.
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21.15 BST: Is Son Heung-min close to signing a new bumper deal at Tottenham? Jose Mourinho certainly hopes so. The South Korea star is having another solid season (so far) and Mourinho said he would love for the 28-year-old to get an extension.
“I would love that. Son has three years of contract so it’s not like we’re in an extreme situation of everybody being worried. It’s more that Son loves it here, I believe that he would like to commit his future to the club for a long time,” Mourinho said after Spurs’ Europa League win against LASK on Thursday.
Mourinho seems to be satisfied with his revamped team (for now) — six of Spurs’ seven new additions featured in Thursday’s win, including Gareth Bale and Carlos Vinicius.
“I’m very happy with the squad. Of course next summer I will need to give another couple of touches but this is what you always do, improve your squad,” Mourinho said.
20.15 BST: There is a swap brewing for the winter transfer window between Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan, with both sides considering exchanging reserve midfielders. According to Mundo Deportivo, Inter would like Montenegro international Stefan Savic to join the Italian side — but only if they send Croatian stalwart Marcelo Brozovic to the Spanish capital.
Atletico are looking to reinforce their midfield after seeing Thomas Partey exit for Arsenal on the last day of the summer window, while Inter want to shore up their leaky defence. It remains to be seen whether either club will entertain the potential swap.
19.30 BST: Wolves new signing Nelson Semedo has adapted well to the rigours and demands of the Premier League but the defender has room for improvement, manager Nuno Espirito Santo said on Friday.
Semedo, 26, joined Wolves from Barcelona in the close season for €30 million as a replacement for Matt Doherty who made the switch to Tottenham Hotspur.
“He’s done well, but it’s hard,” Nuno said of Semedo, who won two Spanish league titles, a Copa del Rey and a Spanish Super Cup with Barcelona.
“I think it’s very difficult for all the players that come from other countries to accommodate fast to the Premier League, to the demands of the Premier League, the quality of the players they face, but Nelson is doing well.”
18.12 BST: It has not been an easy time for Diego Lainez at Real Betis, but the Mexico international is determined to make a go of it in La Liga after the club showed faith in him.
Lainez, 20, has made just two substitute appearances for his club so far this season, but recently scored his first international goal, netting a late equaliser for Mexico in a 2-2 draw against Algeria. He signed for Betis from America in 2019.
He was linked with a loan move from Andalusia to other La Liga and Spanish second-division clubs during the recent transfer window, but said he’d rather focus on breaking through for Manuel Pellegrini’s side.
“If there were any offers, it’s done with, I’m focused on giving it my all,” he told Cadena COPE. “The club has expressed their confidence, I also believe in it, and for that we’ll continue.”
16.51 BST: The name Bergkamp needs no introduction at Arsenal, given Dennis’ illustrious career with the Gunners, but is his son set to emulate dad at the Emirates Stadium?
Goal reports that Mitchel Bergkamp has spent the week training with the club’s under-23 squad, having left Dutch second tier side Almere City.
The report adds that Mitchel, 22, was born in London during his dad’s 11-year stay in the Premier League, during which time he won three Premier League titles and four FA Cups.
15.49 BST: With tensions highs at Barcelona amid uncertainty on the pitch and at board level, coach Ronald Koeman can ill afford to fallout with his star players.
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14.52 BST: Liverpool midfielder Fabinho is set for talks over a new deal after the Brazil international became a key player for Jurgen Klopp’s side, sources told ESPN’s Julien Laurens.
Fabinho, 27, still has two years left on the contract he signed when he joined Liverpool from Monaco for €50m in 2018, but he has become such an important player that he is set to be rewarded with a new deal.
After joining on July 1, he didn’t make his first appearance until Sept. 18 and waited until Oct. 18 for his Premier League debut as Klopp integrated him into Liverpool’s culture and playing style. Since he secured a place in the team, though, he played a huge part in Liverpool winning the Champions League in 2019 and the Premier League in 2020.
He has become one of Europe’s best holding midfielders and his versatility makes him indispensable to Liverpool, who used him at centre-back for the 1-0 Champions League win against Ajax on Wednesday with Virgil van Dijk ruled out through injury.
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14.00 BST: Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane insists he feels he has the backing of the club despite his team’s poor form going into this weekend’s Clasico.
The reigning Spanish champions are third in La Liga, just one point behind leaders Real Sociedad, but over the past week Madrid have suffered two shock home defeats — 1-0 vs. Cadiz in the league and 3-2 against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League.
When asked if he felt president Florentino Perez and the rest of the club’s hierarchy were behind him, Zidane told a news conference: “Yes. From everyone. I’ve won a lot of things with these players, they’ve made me win a lot, I’ll be with the players to the death… They fight, I’m with them always. Yes I feel the support of everyone, but now we need to change things. We’ve had two complicated games and we have one now to change things.”
Asked if his team were playing for his future, Zidane added: “It’s what people say, I can’t deny that. But what changes? Nothing. Last year it was the same, in my first spell it was the same. What I have to do is do my job, give 100%, give everything I have inside and nothing else.”
Alex Kirkland believes Zinedine Zidane’s player rotation at Real Madrid will not change this season.
13.17 BST: Manchester United midfielder Tahith Chong‘s lack of playing time since joining Werder Bremen on a season-long loan is not a concern, according to the German club’s head of scouting.
Chong, 20, scored on his debut as a substitute in a DFB Pokal win at lower-league FC Carl Zeiss Jena but has since made just three more appearances for the club in the Bundesliga, only one of them as a starter.
“The exchange with Manchester is going very well,” Clemens Fritz told Deichstube. “Tahith is close to the team. Neither we nor Manchester United are concerned that he won’t get enough playing time.
“There will be enough time for it. You can already see developmental steps in him. Steps that should lead to longer Bundesliga appearances as soon as possible.”
12.35 BST: Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel wanted to sign Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger and striker Luis Suarez from Barcelona during the summer transfer window as he looked to strengthen the Champions League finalists’ squad ahead of another tilt at European glory this season, sources have told ESPN’s Julien Laurens.
However, sporting director Leonardo was not keen and vetoed moves for both, much to the disappointment of Tuchel.
Sources told ESPN that the pair clashed over transfers during the summer window and tensions between the pair have increased after the club were beaten 2-1 at home by Manchester United in the Champions League on Tuesday.
A couple of weeks ago, Tuchel publicly moaned about the lack of arrivals, with Leonardo responding that he must “respect the choices of the sports management” amid speculation that Mauricio Pochettino and Massimiliano Allegri are options to replace Tuchel on the PSG bench.
Sources said that the manager thinks Leonardo didn’t do enough to strengthen PSG’s squad and doesn’t understand why the sporting director was not keen on Rudiger, who would have come on loan, and Suarez, who left Barca for free, so tensions continue.
11.58 BST: Mesut Ozil‘s agent has spoken out to ESPN over what he and his client claim is unfair treatment as the playmaker’s exile at Arsenal continues.
Despite starting the first 10 Premier League games under manager Mikel Arteta’s tenure, Ozil has not played a minute since March 7, and hasn’t even been named to a matchday squad since June 25.
The 32-year-old is on a £350,000-a-week contract, which expires next summer, but is not eligible to play senior football for the rest of the year after being left out of Arsenal’s Premier League and Europa League squad lists.
Dr. Erkut Sogut told ESPN’s James Olley: “Arsenal fans deserve an honest explanation, not [manager Mikel Arteta] saying ‘I failed Ozil.’ You didn’t fail Ozil: you failed to be fair, honest and transparent and treat someone with respect who has a contract and was loyal all the time.”
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11.12 BST: Former Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon has criticised the club for failing to make signings this summer.
“After the stupidity of the sale of Cristiano [Ronaldo], we knew the team needed reinforcements in that position and in others,” Calderon, who was in charge at the Bernabeu from 2006 -09, told reporters. “They’re the only important team in Europe that hasn’t made any signings. You end up paying for that.”
Madrid’s summer transfer business was limited to bringing back Martin Odegaard from his loan at Real Sociedad, and moving on the likes of Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez, Sergio Reguilon and Achraf Hakimi.
“The sad reality is that the safe isn’t just empty,” Calderon said when asked about the club’s precarious financial situation. “In fact it’s full of bills for around €1,000m that have to be paid.”
10.29 BST: Manchester United have warned Paul Pogba they are not willing to give him a bumper pay rise to keep him at Old Trafford, sources told ESPN’s Rob Dawson.
The club are keen to extend Pogba’s stay with a new long-term deal, but sources have said it will have to be a reasonable offer. After finally getting Alexis Sanchez off the books in the summer with his permanent move to Inter Milan, executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer are in agreement the wage structure will not be broken for any player, including Pogba.
Sanchez still had two years left on his mammoth contract at United — worth around £400,000-a-week before bonuses — before he left and the club saved close to £40 million in wages by negotiating a deal with Inter and ending his stay early.
Pogba would be given a pay rise on his £270,000-a-week deal if he signs a new contract, but intermediaries involved in preliminary talks have been clear that, despite Pogba’s high profile, Woodward and Solskjaer will not be offering extortionate wages to convince him to stay. A “Sanchez-style” contract is out of the question.
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09.46 BST: Marco Asensio has admitted he could have signed for Barcelona before joining Real Madrid — and says he’s since received plenty of offers to leave the Bernabeu.
“I could have played for Barca, and for other clubs too,” the forward told YouTuber DJMariio ahead of El Clasico. “The incredible interest Madrid showed from the start was what made me decide. It’s impossible to say no to Real Madrid.”
Asensio joined Madrid in 2015 from hometown club Real Mallorca and impressed before suffering a major setback last season, with a cruciate ligament injury keeping him out from July 2019 until June 2020.
“I’ve had a lot of clubs who’ve been interested in me,” he said. “But my idea is to keep winning at Real Madrid. I’ve always had the confidence of Zidane but you have to show it on the pitch.”
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09.00 BST: Gerard Pique says Barcelona should name the redeveloped Camp Nou after Lionel Messi when it’s finished and suggested the forward should have been allowed to leave in the summer if that is what he wanted.
Messi, 33, sent a burofax in August informing Barca of his desire to leave. President Josep Maria Bartomeu refused to let him go, though, and when Messi realised a legal battle was his only way out of the club — he argued a clause in his contract allowed him to leave for free — he decided to stay.
Pique has revealed he sent Messi a message at the time pointing out that a new president and board of directors would be elected within a year. However, despite encouraging him to stay, the Barca defender says Messi had earned the right to decide his own future.
“I didn’t have much to do with Leo during that moment because it was a very personal decision,” Pique told La Vanguardia. “I remember one message I sent: ‘Leo, it’s one year, then new people will come in…’
“Leo has more than earned the right to make a decision and if he felt he should leave… as president I would have acted differently. A player that’s given so much in 16 years, you’re obliged to reach an agreement with him.
“[But] how can it be that the best player in history gets up one day and sends a burofax because he feels he’s not being listened to? What’s happening? Leo deserves the lot. The new stadium should be named after him.
“We have to preserve our figures, not discredit them. I am surprised people like Pep [Guardiola], [Carles] Puyol, Xavi [Hernandez] and [Victor] Valdes aren’t at the club. Something’s not being done right.”
PAPER TALK (by Danny Lewis): Guardiola hopes to keep Garcia at Man City
Pep Guardiola has admitted that he and Manchester City will try to “seduce” Eric Garcia into staying, reports Sport.
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The centre-back played in the 3-1 victory over Porto in the Champions League, having so far refused to renew his contract to stay at the Etihad.
This comes after plenty of interest in the youngster from Barcelona, where he initially learned his craft, in the most recent transfer window.
Guardiola was quoted as saying: “I know he wanted to leave but he’s going to stay and maybe we can seduce him in this year to extend the contract with us. He’s a guy who is so stable in many things and we’re so happy.”
Ozil still has options
Mesut Ozil has been left out in the cold at Arsenal, as he was not included in Mikel Arteta’s Premier League or Europa League squads.
Not all is lost for the German World Cup winner, though, as The Sun has reported that he still has options to leave the Emirates.
The main, and most likely, option at this time seems to be a move to MLS, with D.C. United the latest club renewing their interest in him. Wage demands have been a sticking point, though, for any possible move to play in North America’s top flight.
The outlet has also speculated that, if the chance arises, the midfielder could still move to Portugal, Brazil or Qatar.
– AC Milan are looking to sign Dinamo Zagreb midfielder Lovro Majer, according to Calciomercato. There has already been plenty of interest around the Croatian, with Borussia Dortmund, Fiorentina, Leeds United, Valencia and Sevilla all having had a look at him. The report says that Milan followed Dinamo Zagreb’s 0-0 draw against Feyenoord in the Europa League Thursday night, in which the 22-year-old played the full 90 minutes.
— Speculation around Zinedine Zidane’s job has gone through the roof after consecutive defeats at the hands of Cadiz in La Liga and Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League. AS has gone as far as to state that the club’s hierarchy has already laid out the options to replace him, and the main one is club legend Raul Gonzalez, who manages Real Madrid Castilla.