The summer transfer window is approaching, and there’s plenty of gossip swirling about who’s moving where. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz on rumours, comings and goings and, of course, done deals!
TOP STORY: Ten Hag to sanction Ronaldo’s exit from Man United
Sources have told ESPN that the Dutch manager has agreed a deal in principle to become the next boss at Old Trafford, and one of his first decisions has been to sanction the departure of United fan favourite and icon Ronaldo, who Ten Hag doesn’t feel fits into his playing structure.
The 37-year-old Portugal star returned to United last summer after making a stunning return from Juventus in a €15 million deal. And yet while he has scored 18 goals on his comeback, he has struggled to lead the side back into trophy contention.
In fact, Ronaldo has scored just four goals in his past 13 games and is said to be increasingly disillusioned with life back in Manchester, though he has the option to extend his stay by one year. However, that decision could be taken out of his hands as Ten Hag plots a makeover in his first summer in the hotseat.
18.13 BST: Massimiliano Allegri has placed Chelsea midfielder Jorginho at the top of his shortlist as Juventus look to secure a midfielder this summer, according to Gazzetta dello Sport. The 30-year-old will have just one year left on his deal at Stamford Bridge at the end of the season.
17.40 BST: AC Milan are set to advance negotiations to secure the signature of highly rated youngster Mamadou Coulibaly, reports Calciomercato. The 17-year-old midfielder will become a free agent in the summer as the final months tick down on his contract with AS Monaco, and there is expected to be strong competition for his signature, with Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester City all keeping tabs on him.
17.07 BST: Cesar Azpilicueta will inform Chelsea that his intention is to make the switch from Stamford Bridge to Barcelona as a free agent at the end of the season, reports Sport. The 32-year-old defender is reported to have been in discussions with the Blaugrana since January, with the Catalan club looking to add reinforcements in defence.
16.34 BST: Hoffenheim’s Florian Grillitsch is on Arsenal’s shortlist of transfer targets, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Grillitsch, 26, is available on a free transfer in the summer and the Austria international is attracting attention from the Gunners, plus Everton and Leeds United.
Arsenal may need a midfield overhaul if they lose Mohamed Elneny, Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira, as well as the possible exit of Granit Xhaka, but won’t have a huge budget to spend in the summer.
16.00 BST: Mark Ogden explains how Man United selected Erik ten Hag as the manager to bring glory back to Old Trafford.
While United’s owners, the Glazer family, will hope that their long search for a manager capable of restoring the club to dominance in England and Europe is finally over — some would argue the search dates back to Ferguson’s retirement and the decision to replace him with David Moyes — the process that has ended with Ten Hag being on the brink of moving to Old Trafford has appeared anything but smooth. It has involved two chief executives, the failed stop-gap appointment of Rangnick and early front-runners seeing their prospects damaged, or ended in the case of Rodgers, by the poor results of the clubs where they are currently in charge.
But sources unconnected to United have told ESPN that, away from the negativity surrounding the team’s results and the upheaval caused by Ed Woodward’s departure in January and the installation of Richard Arnold as his successor as chief executive, the process to hire a new manager has been impressive, strategic and well-constructed by Murtough, who settled on Ten Hag after a detailed search for the best candidate available.
“It’s important to consider the available options,” a source told ESPN. “Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp aren’t available and United were never going to get Nagelsmann out of Bayern. Tuchel is a real asset to Chelsea too, so he wasn’t a credible option either. So you look at the market, who is capable and gettable, and United have considered them all. They haven’t overlooked anybody they should have spoken to.”
15.24 BST: Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips wants to stay at the club, despite interest from Manchester United, reports The Sun.
Phillips, 26, has been linked with a £50m switch to Leeds’ arch-rivals but the England international isn’t overly keen on it and “feels positive about Leeds’ future following the appointment of Jesse Marsch.”
14.45 BST: Chelsea need to get their ownership situation sorted.
Thomas Tuchel says his focus at Chelsea is solely on the pitch ahead of their FA Cup semifinal.
13.50 BST: It didn’t look likely when Xavi arrived back at Barcelona, but Sport says the club are ready to extend Luuk de Jong‘s loan from Sevilla.
De Jong, 31, has seven goals in 24 games this season after arriving on an initial season-long loan on deadline day of the summer window in 2021 to replace Antoine Griezmann.
The Dutchman’s physical style may not be an obvious fit at Camp Nou, but something is working and Barca could keep him next season as well.
13.09 BST: Bayern Munich manager Julian Nagelsmann has been speaking about Robert Lewandowski’s future.
Lewandowski, 33, has 47 goals in 41 games this season but his contract expires in 2023 and there have been suggestions that he is keen to move on for a new challenge.
“I never got the impression that he wants to leave,” he said. “In our conversations, he always seems to me as if he would like to stay. I would of course like to have him in my team and hopefully the near future will tell.”
12.44 BST: The Manchester United hierarchy were not rushed into agreeing a deal with Erik ten Hag to become the club’s next manager by reported interest from RB Leipzig, sources told ESPN’s Rob Dawson, despite some within Old Trafford believing links with the German side were designed as a negotiating tactic.
Ten Hag is set to be appointed as the new permanent boss with an announcement due before the end of the season and possibly even later this month. United’s pursuit of the new manager has been led by football director John Murtough and technical director Darren Fletcher, who have reported to chief executive Richard Arnold, with joint-chairman Joel Glazer having the final decision on the appointment.
The framework of an agreement with the Dutchman was agreed amid reports RB Leipzig could look to scupper the deal. But sources close to Leipzig insist they were baffled by the links while stressing their support for boss Domenico Tedesco.
12.06 BST: Real Madrid are optimistic about signing Kylian Mbappe this summer, sources told ESPN’s Alex Kirkland and Rodri Faez, although the club are aware that Paris Saint-Germain are trying to convince their star forward to extend his contract.
Mbappe has long been Madrid’s primary transfer target and after they failed with a late bid to sign him from PSG last August, the LaLiga giants have been favourites to land him on a free transfer this year when his deal expires in June. The France international has been coming under ever-increasing pressure from PSG to renew, though, and admitted earlier this month that he had “new elements” to consider, insisting that he was yet to take a decision on his future.
Sources told ESPN that despite those comments, Real Madrid remain cautiously optimistic that their long-term pursuit of Mbappe — which began when he went on trial at the club in 2012, meeting boyhood idols Zinedine Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo, and again when he left Monaco for PSG in 2017 — will finally end with his signing this summer.
11.41 BST: Liverpool are hoping to complete a deal for FC Salzburg striker Karim Adeyemi, says Sky Sports Austria.
Adeyemi, 20, has 20 goals in 38 games this season and Borussia Dortmund are in talks over a €40m move in the summer.
The Germany international has other suitors though, with Liverpool adding their name to a list that also includes Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig.
11.11 BST: Juventus have extended Juan Cuadrado‘s contract until 2023.
Cuadrado, 33, has 24 goals and 53 assists since he arrived at the club in 2017.
11.00 BST: Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka has had an interesting relationship with the club’s fans.
Julien Laurens reacts to Granit Xhaka’s admission that he was close to leaving Arsenal after clashing with the fans.
10.20 BST: Tottenham are already set to commit €80m on making loan signings Cristian Romero and Dejan Kulusevski permanent, but the club plan to back Antonio Conte further this summer as he tries to turn Spurs into Premier League title contenders, sources told ESPN’s James Olley.
Conte has publicly indicated the north Londoners will pay the €55m fixed fee to Atalanta for Romero while sources told ESPN that he is pushing for Kulusevski’s temporary switch from Juventus to be formalised by taking up an option to buy the winger for €30m.
Conte has ambitious plans to overhaul his squad with sources suggesting a right-back, centre-back, a midfielder, a back-up striker and a back-up goalkeeper are his main priorities; a list which senior figures at Tottenham are willing to support in principle despite the club posted a pre-tax loss of £80.2m in their most recent financial figures last November.
09.33 BST: Erik ten Hag, who is set to take over the managerial role at Manchester United, is keen on signing Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni, sources told ESPN’s Julien Laurens and Rob Dawson.
Ten Hag discussed his thoughts over the United squad as part of his interview for the job at Old Trafford last month and official confirmation of his appointment could come as early as the end of April.
The recruitment department at United have also been finalising shortlists on players in each position for the summer transfer window, and Ten Hag will be allowed to present his own targets. Among them is Tchouameni, the 22-year-old midfielder who is enjoying a fine season in Ligue 1. Tchouameni initially impressed under former Monaco manager Niko Kovac and has raised his game further under Philippe Clement, following his arrival in January.
Monaco are open to negotiations regarding a move for their rising star this summer and will ask for a transfer fee of around €60m-€70m.
Sources told ESPN that Paris Saint-Germain are interested in the Frenchman but added that as it stands, he favours a move away from France. Chelsea have also made contact with Tchouameni’s agent and Monaco but United may have the upper hand on their Premier League rivals considering the uncertainty over the club’s ownership at present.
09.04 BST: Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo says coach Diego Simeone is not under fire after his team’s elimination from the Champions League.
The Rojiblancos held City to a goalless draw on Wednesday but lost 1-0 on aggregate in the quarterfinals and will finish the season empty handed.
“From a sporting and human aspect, you cannot criticise Simeone,” Cerezo said. “He knows how to be in every situation. He will continue with us. He is a winner and will be with us until he wants to be.”
Cerezo was asked if comments made by Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola regarding Atletico’s ultra-defensive display in the opening leg of their Champions League quarterfinal tie offended him. Guardiola said of Atletico’s play after his team’s 1-0 win in England: “A 5-5-0 formation, and in pre-history, today and in a hundred thousand years, attacking a 5-5 is very difficult.”
But Cerezo replied: “We are a team that has a lot of qualify for someone to try to offend us. In the end, what has been proved is that everyone has its pre-history. We played an attacking game and City on Wednesday played pre-history, defending and putting a wall ahead of their goal so that we wouldn’t score.”
08.43 BST: Manchester City are yet to receive any responses to contract offers made to attacking trio Gabriel Jesus, Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling, TEAMtalk reports.
All three are out of contract at the end of next season, and City manager Pep Guardiola has signed off on the club offering new deals to each of them.
However, TEAMtalk reports that only Mahrez is the only player City are confident of putting pen to paper at this point, while Sterling and Jesus are interested in moves elsewhere.
08.00 BST: Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane will turn down any approach from Manchester United this summer, according to the Daily Mirror.
Kane has been a target for both United and Man City in recent seasons, but Spurs’ resurgence under manager Antonio Conte has convinced the England captain that his future lies there.
Tottenham hold a narrow advantage over north London rivals Arsenal in the race for fourth place. Spurs to qualify for the Champions League. Spurs are fourth in the table, three points above the Gunners who have a game in hand. The two rivals face off in a rearranged derby on Thursday, May 12.
Julien Laurens explains why Monaco’s Aurelien Tchouameni would be a good fit at Manchester United.
PAPER GOSSIP (by Nick Judd)
– Real Madrid are confident of signing AS Monaco star Aurelien Tchouameni despite interest from Man United, Liverpool and Chelsea, according to AS. The 22-year-old central midfielder has been a key figure for the Ligue 1 side in the last two seasons and has subsequently been a target for a number of clubs. However, Real are said to be actively pursuing his signature. The Monegasques are said to be seeking a transfer fee of more than £50m for the France international, and the two clubs are said to be making progress in their negotiations.
– German rivals Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are battling it out for left-footed central defender Nico Schlotterbeck, reports Kicker. Bayern believe he could be the perfect replacement for Dortmund-bound Niklas Sule, though Dortmund themselves are as keen to win Schlotterbeck’s signature. The 22-year-old SC Freiburg defender is contracted to the club until 2023, and his exit could result in a transfer fee of €25m.
– Torino president Urbano Cairo has told Tuttomercatoweb he believes striker Andrea Belotti could be set to leave the club for free in the summer, and even suggests that he could have already agreed a deal elsewhere. AC Milan, Napoli and Atalanta are all keen on landing the 28-year-old forward, who will be a free agent this summer and Cairo is very much of the opinion that his future isn’t with Il Toro.
– Manchester United have been discussing the prospect of signing Everton forward Richarlison, according to Fabrizio Romano. The 24-year-old Brazil international and his Velasco Sport Group have officially signed with CAA Base Agency, who could work on his behalf should United make an official approach. Richarlison is currently focused on keeping Everton in the Premier League, but he could be one of many to leave Goodison Park should the Toffees get relegated. Benfica star Darwin Nunez has also been discussed as a possible target by those at Old Trafford, though any transfer targets will depend on the confirmation of the new manager.
– Arsenal and Manchester United are in a battle alongside Bayern and Dortmund for Norwich City full-back Max Aarons, according to the Sun. The 22-year-old defender has two years left on his contract at Carrow Road, but the Canaries may feel the time is right to wave goodbye to the coveted England youth international given their possible relegation from Premier League. Aarons has been the subject of interest from Barcelona and AS Roma in the past but has remained loyal to the Norfolk club. However, a bid of £20m could be enough to lure him away this summer.