Clubs

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: Man United head lengthy list chasing Nunez

Darwin Nunez‘s superb form for Benfica this term has resulted in an illustrious list of clubs being linked with the Uruguay international, reports AS. In 39 appearances across all competitions, the striker has recorded 33 goals and four assists.

It is said that Benfica will not accept a fee of less than €100 million for the transfer of the 22-year-old striker, and intend to hold out for €130m. The player’s new agent, Jorge Mendes, is set to meet with several English clubs this week.

Manchester United are reportedly leading the race to sign Nunez, partly because of a direct request from incoming boss Erik ten Hag that the forward is signed. Nunez’s header knocked his Ajax Amsterdam side out of the Champions League and hopes the Benfica frontman can be the focal point at Old Trafford as the Red Devils aim to contend for the Premier League title.

Other English clubs credited with interest are Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City — though the latter two moving could rely on Mohamed Salah leaving Anfield and Dortmund’s Erling Haaland turning down a move to the Etihad.

In LaLiga, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid are looking at him. The Blaugrana would reportedly only sign Nunez if they can’t bring in Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich, while Atleti see him as a replacement for Luis Suarez as they hope to permanently offload Alvaro Morata.

Bayern see Nunez as the best Lewandowski replacement if the Poland international leaves, while Paris Saint-Germain hold a conditional interest, with possible blocks including Mauro Icardi and the precarious future of sporting director Leonardo.

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15.18 BST: Manchester United have told Erik ten Hag he will have to oversee an evolution rather than revolution of the squad when he takes over with club chiefs distancing themselves from Ralf Rangnick’s suggestion that as many as 10 players could arrive in the summer, sources have told ESPN.

Ten Hag will be allowed significant funds to shape the squad ahead of his first season in charge but sources have told ESPN the recruitment department are working to a plan of bringing in three new players.

The Dutchman will get a veto on any signings and has also been given scope to influence shortlists of targets for key positions he believes he strengthened.

Rangnick said after the 4-0 defeat to Liverpool last week that 10 new players could arrive in the summer window, but sources have told ESPN that remains highly unlikely.

Ten Hag’s summer budget — set at between £100m and £150m — will be bolstered by any outgoings, and the club are willing to listen to offers for Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Anthony Martial, Alex Telles and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Nemanja Matic, Edinson Cavani and Juan Mata are set to leave on free transfers.

Dean Henderson also wants to move but so far the club have insisted their preference is to organise a season-long loan for the England goalkeeper.

14.33 BST: AS Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni is on the wish list of plenty of top clubs in Europe, but Liverpool are reportedly making the first move to sign him, according to Foot Mercato.

Tchouameni, 22, has seen interest from Chelsea, Man United, Real Madrid and PSG above all, but Liverpool want a long-term replacement for Jordan Henderson and James Milner.

Monaco are evidently holding out for around €50m, which isn’t out of touch for any of the clubs involved this summer.

14.05 BST: Should Christian Pulisic be considering his future at Chelsea?

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Sebastian Salazar and Herculez Gomez discuss Thomas Tuchel’s reasoning on Christian Pulisic’s lack of minutes with Chelsea this season.

13.34 BST: Both Robert Lewandowski and his agent, Pini Zahavi, believe it is time for the striker to leave Bayern Munich this summer, with Barcelona keen to take him to Spain, according to Sport.

Lewandowski has won everything there is to win during an eight-year spell with the German champions and now, at the age of 33 and with one year to run on his contract, is keen to take on another challenge.

Barcelona are interested the Poland international if he becomes available, but the report adds that Bayern are not currently willing to let Lewandowski leave.

There have been various public messages from Bayern in recent days assuring that Lewandowski will remain next season, but the player has said the situation is “not easy” and that talks will take place this week.

Sport claims that Barca are hoping Lewandowski will open the door for a move to Camp Nou by telling Bayern of his desire to leave, because “without that pressure, it will be impossible [for the Catalan club] to sign him despite their optimism.”

13.07 BST: West Ham defender Issa Diop is on the radar of Man United, Monaco and Lyon, says Foot Mercato.

Diop, 25, has a contract which expires in the summer of 2023, although a one-year extension can be triggered by the club.

Man United opted to sign Leicester’s Harry Maguire for £80m in 2019, having been linked with Diop, but now the Frenchman could be available this summer.

12.47 BST: Agent Jorge Mendes continues to campaign for Barcelona to sign Wolverhampton Wanderers and Portugal midfielder Ruben Neves, according to Sport.

Barca are well stocked in midfield, with Franck Kessie also due to arrive on a free transfer from AC Milan in the summer, but would like to add a more defensive player to their options, with captain Sergio Busquets entering the final years of his career.

Neves, 25, could fit that profile and his agent, Mendes, has proposed a deal to Barca. However, he has a contract with Wolves until 2024, so would not come cheap at a time when the Catalan club have limited money and other priorities.

The involvement of Mendes could help broker a transfer, though. He has previously taken Nelson Semedo and Francisco Trincao from Barca to Wolves, while Adama Traore moved in the other direction in January.

Trincao and Traore are both only on loan at their respective clubs, so any potential Neves deal could also be linked to their futures.

12.00 BST: Why haven’t Chelsea managed to keep hold of Antonio Rudiger?

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Julien Laurens doesn’t believe Thomas Tuchel’s comments that financial sanctions placed on Chelsea prevented them from keeping Antonio Rudiger.

11.53 BST: Barcelona defender Ronaldo Araujo has agreed a new contract until 2026 with his release clause rising to €1bn, the Catalan club announced on Wednesday.

Araujo’s previous deal was due to expire in 2023 and ESPN revealed last month that both Manchester United and Liverpool were keen on signing the Uruguay international.

The money on the table from the Premier League sides was higher than Barca’s offer, but sources have explained to ESPN that the player’s priority was always to remain at Camp Nou.

Araujo, 23, has been on the same terms at Barca since 2018, when he first joined the club’s B team from Boston River in his homeland in a deal worth an initial €2m. That made him one of the lowest-paid players in the first team going into the current campaign, with his agents keen for his salary to rise according to his new status at the club.

11.27 BST: Real Betis are closing in on the signing of Real Madrid midfielder Isco, according to AS.

Isco, 30, has not been offered a contract extension at Madrid and becomes a free agent this summer. The former Spain international has made only 15 appearances for Madrid this season and Betis are prepared to offer Isco a two-year contract with an optional third, earning €10m gross per season.

If an agreement is reached in the coming weeks, Isco would become Betis’ third signing for the 2022-23 campaign. The newly Copa del Rey winners have already agreed to the signings of Brazilian pair Luiz Felipe and Luiz Henrique.

Luis Felipe, a 25-year-old centre-back, will join the Seville-based club as a free agent from Lazio, while Betis will pay Fluminense a reported €13m to sign winger Luiz Henrique.

11.04 BST: Manchester City forward Gabriel Jesus says he will wait until the end of the season before deciding his future.

With City reportedly leading the race to sign Borussia Dortmund forward Erling Haaland this summer, Brazil international Gabriel Jesus — who is under contract with City until June 2023 — could see his role diminished and therefore seek a future elsewhere.

Arsenal, Paris Saint-Germain, Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan are reportedly monitoring Gabriel Jesus’ situation.

“I was very young when I came here, just 19, and I’ve been here five years,” he said. “We’ve won many titles, but we have yet to win the Champions League. We came close last year and now we are in the semifinals. I’m focused on the end of the season and on the games we have left which are crucial.

“We will then see what happens regarding my renewal or whether I’m closing a chapter.”

Since his £27m move from Palmeiras in 2017, Gabriel Jesus has helped City win three Premier League titles amongst other silverware in England. He has registered 11 goals and 12 assists in 35 appearances across all competitions for City this season.

Gabriel Jesus added that he has not ruled out playing in LaLiga at some point in his career. He said: “Many players have played there, and I’ve seen a lot of the competition. I always like it and I would like to experience it.”

10.21 BST: Paris Saint-Germain centre-back Marquinhos says he would like to continue with the French champions beyond 2024 when his current deal expires.

The 27-year-old Brazil international, who joined PSG from Roma in the summer of 2013, has steered his team to the Ligue 1 title in his second season as captain.

“I don’t want to leave,” Marquinhos said when asked about his future. “At first, I even thought about it, but since then I’ve always had my mind on PSG. My wish is to stay. If possible, I would like to spend my entire life here. It would suit me very well.

“But we all know what football is like: as long as you perform well and play well, you might want to stay. But things can change, the club may not want you anymore, we have already seen this with other players.”

09.34 BST: Marco Asensio would like to stay at Real Madrid, Cadena SER reports, but the club are unwilling to increase their latest contract renewal offer with AC Milan, Juventus and Newcastle all eyeing a move for the forward.

Asensio, 26 — who has a year left on his current deal at the Bernabeu — recently parted ways with long-term agent Horacio Gaggioli to sign with Jorge Mendes and Gestifute, who are now looking at Asensio’s options overseas.

Asensio has had his best-ever goal-scoring season for Madrid this term, scoring nine goals in 28 LaLiga appearances, but coach Carlo Ancelotti has preferred Rodrygo and Federico Valverde in recent weeks.

08.47 BST: Manchester United have told Erik ten Hag he will have to oversee an evolution rather than revolution of the squad when he takes over with club chiefs distancing themselves from Ralf Rangnick’s suggestion that as many as 10 players could arrive in the summer, sources have told ESPN’s Rob Dawson.

Ten Hag will be allowed significant funds to shape the squad ahead of his first season in charge but sources have told ESPN the recruitment department are working to a plan of bringing in three new players. The Dutchman will get a veto on any signings and has also been given scope to influence shortlists of targets for key positions he believes he strengthened.

Rangnick said after the 4-0 defeat to Liverpool last week that 10 new players could arrive in the summer window, but sources have told ESPN that remains highly unlikely.

Ten Hag’s summer budget — set at between £100-£150m — will be bolstered by any outgoings, and the club are willing to listen to offers for Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Anthony Martial, Alex Telles and Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Nemanja Matic, Edinson Cavani and Juan Mata are set to leave on free transfers. Dean Henderson also wants to move but so far the club have insisted their preference is to organise a season-long loan for the England goalkeeper.

08.00 BST: Real Madrid have reached a preliminary agreement with Antonio Rudiger for the Chelsea centre-back to move to the Bernabeu on a free transfer this summer, sources have told ESPN’s Alex Kirkland and Rodrigo Faez

The club and the Germany international’s representatives are still working on aspects of the deal, but Rudiger, 29, is now on track to sign for Madrid on a four-year contract, sources said.

ESPN reported last week that Madrid were looking at the possibility of signing Rudiger — having distanced themselves from a deal earlier in the season — after club executives were impressed by his performances in their Champions League quarterfinal tie with Chelsea.

Rudiger scored Chelsea’s second goal at the Bernabeu on April 12 in a dramatic 3-2 win that saw the Premier League club eliminated 5-4 on aggregate after extra time.

Madrid began working on a agreement for the defender after that second leg, and sources said the deal could now be sealed “in record time.” Negotiations have moved fast, sources said, because Rudiger is keen to join Madrid, and has also considerably reduced his wage demands.

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Julien Laurens details what he expects Manchester City’s starting XI to look like in their Champions League matchup vs. Real Madrid.

PAPER GOSSIP (by Danny Lewis)

Real Madrid are watching on as Bayern Munich forward Serge Gnabry‘s future remains uncertain, according to Sky Sport Deutschland. The Germany international’s contract ends in 2023, and Bayern are reluctant to lose him as a free agent, as has they have seen with defender Niklas Sule. Gnabry is yet to decide whether he wants to stay in Bavaria or move, and while Los Blancos are interested, their priority continues to be PSG’s Kylian Mbappe.

Xavi Hernandez wants to ensure there are two players to compete in each position in his Barcelona squad, with Sport suggesting this could see the Blaugrana sign up to seven players in the summer. Pending free agents Andreas Christensen and Franck Kessie have already reportedly signed from Chelsea and AC Milan, respectively, and will join in the summer. Barca also hope to sign Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta, while they like Valencia’s Jose Gaya but aren’t willing to spend big on a left-back so will evaluate the likes of Celta de Vigo’s Javier Galan, Manchester United’s Alex Telles, Benfica’s Alejandro Grimaldo, Ajax’s Nicolas Tagliafico and Real Betis’ Alex Moreno. In the attacking areas, they are looking at Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski as well as Leeds United’s Raphinha.

Ekrem Konur reports that while no official bid has yet been made, Manchester United want to bring in Barcelona midfielder Gavi as a replacement for Paul Pogba, whose contract runs out in June. In another tweet, the journalist mentions that the Red Devils are also in talks with Ajax regarding a transfer for Antony and face competition from Chelsea.

– Barcelona are looking at the possibility of signing Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez. according to Foot Mercato. The report suggests the Blaugrana are not alone, stating that AC Milan are seriously looking at the Algeria international while Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain are also interested.

Newcastle United and Leicester City are both interested in signing Arnaud Kalimuendo after the 20-year-old impressed during his loan from Paris Saint-Germain to Lens this season, reports Foot Mercato. PSG are yet to decide whether they will aim to integrate the striker into their team next season or move him on, with a meeting between representatives of the player and club set to take place soon.

– Arsenal are willing to listen to offers for Nicolas Pepe, according to the Sun, which adds that they are resigned to taking a loss on the £72m transfer fee they paid Lille three years ago. They are said to be prepared to accept £25m before the winger’s value drops further, while Pepe has also grown frustrated with his lack of game time.

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