Man United, Liverpool, Arsenal eye Daka
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The January transfer window may seem like a distant memory, 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: Man United, Liverpool, Arsenal eye Daka
Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland is wanted by every team in Europe but, with sources telling ESPN his transfer would cost an eye-watering €180 million, clubs are starting to look at alternatives.
Manchester City, Chelsea, Barcelona and Real Madrid are all in the hunt for Haaland, with his agent Mino Raiola travelling around the continent to talk to interested parties. However, The Daily Star claims that there is another option for anyone looking for a cheaper deal.
Haaland’s breakthrough came at Austrian Bundesliga side FC Salzburg before he moved to Dortmund and now Patson Daka could follow a similar career trajectory.
Daka, 22, has 23 goals in 19 games for Salzburg this season, including an an 11-minute hat trick against Sturm Graz on Sunday.
The Zambia international has been linked with Premier League clubs Liverpool, Man United, Arsenal and Everton before, and speculation over his future has only increased with his recent form.
Daka’s contract is reportedly available for as little as €20m, which is a bargain in the current market.
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17.42 BST: Man United reportedly are keen on young Portuguese left-back Nuno Mendes, and according to Record, could use autumn signing Alex Telles to help get a deal over the line.
Sporting want at least €40 million and a long-term loan for the 18-year-old, and Telles would fit the latter description, as he not only would he be a ready-made replacement, but he also has extensive experience playing in Portugal’s Primeira Liga.
Telles has made just seven league appearances for United since arriving from Porto in October for a reported £15.4 million.
17.00 BST: Might Atletico Madrid be looking for a new manager if they can’t secure the title in Spain this season?
Julien Laurens questions Diego Simeone’s tactics after Atletico Madrid’s 1-0 loss to Sevilla in La Liga.
16.31 BST: You might have heard that Barcelona forward Lionel Messi is being linked with a move away this summer.
Messi, 33, has a contract which expires this summer and he was vocal about departing Camp Nou last year before performing a U-turn.
PSG and Manchester City are really the only two clubs who could afford him, but Mundo Deportivo claims that the legendary No. 10 will wait to listen to new president Joan Laporta’s proposals for the future of the club before deciding to stay or depart.
15.52 BST: Pep Guardiola has said that Manchester City do not need to spend £100m on one player to compete with the best teams in Europe.
City have spent heavily since their takeover by Abu Dhabi United Group in 2008 but their record transfer remains the £63.6m they paid Atletico Madrid for Rodri in 2019.
Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Bayern Munich and Inter Milan have all spent more on a single transfer but Guardiola said City do not need to splurge on one player.
“No, not at all,” Guardiola told a news conference on Monday. “Not for the fact we have not spent for one player a lot of money, gives you advantage. Football is a team game, everyone makes his contribution. The guys who doesn’t play makes his contribution, the backroom staff and everyone, so it’s not just one player, it’s for absolutely everyone.
“So far the club has decided not to spend not close to £100m for a player, or more than £100m on a player, maybe in the future it is going to happen if they decide it is necessary to improve the team for the next five, 10 years, for many reasons. But so far the club, the organisation, the CEO, the sporting director decided not to do it and that’s why they didn’t do it. But maybe in the future, I don’t know.”
15.24 BST: Football Insider reports that Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard wants to leave the club this summer, regardless of who replaces Neil Lennon as manager.
Celtic are set to appoint former Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe, but the 23-year-old striker is keen on a new challenge after scoring 11 goals in 23 games this season.
Arsenal and Leicester have been linked with Edouard, who could move for around £40m.
14.50 BST: Chelsea spent £47.7m to sign Timo Werner from RB Leipzig in the summer but things haven’t gone to plan.
Craig Burley sheds some light on what could be going wrong for Timo Werner as his struggles continue.
14.16 BST: Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke says the club want to keep Erling Haaland and are not looking for a replacement amid speculation the 20-year-old striker could move in the summer.
Haaland has scored 49 goals in 50 games since joining Dortmund from FC Salzburg in 2019 for around €20m. Now the Norway international is rated at around €180m, sources have told ESPN, with Barcelona, Real Madrid, Man City and all Europe’s elite clubs keen.
“We do not have a parallel plan. We’ll discuss this with Erling, his father and his agent Mino Raiola,” Watzke told Goal and DAZN. “We also want him to be happy to stay with us, to score goals for BVB next year with conviction. There is no alternative plan.”
Another Dortmund star to attract attention has been winger Jadon Sancho, who has consistently been linked with a €120m move to Manchester United.
Asked if the two players would still be at the club in 2021-22, Watzke replied: “I’m not getting involved in probabilities, it’s no good. Jadon Sancho has been with us much longer than Erling Haaland. We’ll have to speak to Jadon too.
“If there is an exceptional offer we will discuss it with the player and the agent, as always. Nonetheless, I am very sure that the transfer market will only run to a very limited extent this summer.
“Especially at the really big clubs you can see what kind of wounds coronavirus has inflicted, and they are not small ones that heal within two weeks.”
13.47 BST: Liverpool can tolerate Mohamed Salah transfer speculation while he continues to shine, writes Mark Ogden.
Jurgen Klopp is prepared to accept the noise surrounding Mohamed Salah’s future at Liverpool while the Egyptian forward continues to perform at the level he has maintained throughout his four years at Anfield.
But speculation linking the 28-year-old with a move to Spain has once again resurfaced, in tandem with the player speaking to the Spanish media last week.
Sources have told ESPN that, rather being irritated by Salah’s readiness to discuss the prospect of a move away from Anfield, Klopp is relaxed about the situation and unfazed by the focus on one of his star players. The dire financial situation at La Liga’s two biggest clubs, meaning they would struggle to get close to affording Salah, no doubt plays its part too.
One source told ESPN that Salah “continues to train superbly, is always available to play and is a positive and popular figure within the Liverpool dressing-room; he also produces on the pitch and these are the only things that matter to Jurgen and the club.”
12.44 BST: Tottenham aren’t looking good, except for Harry Kane. And Jose Mourinho has done his usual thing.
Frank Leboeuf believes Tottenham aren’t playing as a cohesive unit after Spurs’ draw with Newcastle.
12.11 BST: Manchester City are dominating the Premier League, but signing Erling Haaland or Harry Kane up front would make them unstoppable, writes Mark Ogden.
The day before Manchester City moved three points closer to the Premier League title with a 2-0 win at Leicester, Pep Guardiola had the rest of football breathing a sigh of relief when he said that his club cannot afford to sign a world-class striker as replacement for the departing Sergio Aguero.
Frankly, if Erling Haaland or Harry Kane are not wearing a City shirt next season, the rest might still have a chance. Time will tell if Guardiola gave a genuine reflection of reluctance to break the bank for the likes of Borussia Dortmund’s or Tottenham’s star striker, or whether the comments were tactical and designed to distract their rivals in the transfer market.
But whatever Guardiola’s intentions, the general sense of supporters around the world would have been: “Who are you trying to kid?” Make no mistake, it would be a gamble on City’s part if they have not signed a proven goal scorer by the time next season comes around. And that is whether or not they are able to lure Lionel Messi to Manchester.
11.42 BST: Fabrizio Romano reports that AC Milan are “confident” that an agreement will be reached with veteran striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic over a new contract.
Ibrahimovic, 39, has scored 17 goals in 24 games this season but his contract expires at the end of the season. Both club and player reportedly want to sign another deal until June 2022.
11.21 BST: Barcelona will continue to pursue the signing of Erling Haaland after meeting with his representatives last week, but several sources at the club have told ESPN’s Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens that it will be “very difficult” to do a deal for the Borussia Dortmund striker.
New Barca president Joan Laporta met with Haaland’s agent, Mino Raiola, and his father, Alf-Inge, in the Catalan city last Thursday to discuss a transfer. Raiola and Haaland Sr. also met with Real Madrid representatives later in the day.
Sources said Laporta left the meeting committed to trying to sign the Norway international but there’s also an acknowledgment that Barca’s financial situation is likely to impede a potential deal.
Barca’s gross debt has risen to nearly €1.2 billion and the club need to reduce their wage bill. Laporta said in his inauguration speech that he will have to make big decisions and Barca would have to move on several players for sizeable fees to even consider Haaland, who has a €75m release clause that kicks in in 2022, this summer and is valued at €180m now.
Last summer saw Barca focus on reducing the wage bill, with several big earners, such as Ivan Rakitic, Arturo Vidal and Luis Suarez, allowed to leave for nominal fees. One source said, in the current financial climate, a similar transfer window is expected this time around.
However, Laporta is planning for all eventualities. He met with manager Ronald Koeman during the international break to start planning for next season. The Barca coach wants a striker added to the squad, with Haaland’s name at the top of the list of targets.
10.32 BST: Arsenal have had a horrible season but Mikel Arteta is still in charge.
Craig Burley wonders when Mikel Arteta will face the same pressure as his colleagues throughout the Premier League.
09.41 BST: Ousmane Dembele‘s Barcelona career has turned around in recent weeks, but Mundo Deportivo reports that the winger is still being tracked by a host of clubs.
Juventus and Man United are reported to be the most keen, with Liverpool and PSG monitoring the situation too.
Barca want to renew Dembele’s contract, which expires in 2022, but the 23-year-old has struggled with injuries since arriving from Dortmund for €105m back in 2017.
09.13 BST: ICYMI – Liverpool are facing a conundrum over the future of Mohamed Salah this summer, sources told ESPN’s James Olley.
There is a growing sense within the Liverpool squad that Salah is eyeing a new challenge elsewhere, and intermediaries who have worked closely with the club previously have privately expressed the belief that a transfer might be possible.
Liverpool might look to defer the decision over Salah’s future for another year, but he would then have 12 months left on his deal and would command a much smaller fee than he would this summer.
A new Liverpool contract might be the best outcome for all parties, allowing the club to protect their star man, giving Salah the “love” he craves and granting his potential suitors another year to replenish their transfer funds.
08.30 BST: Juventus captain Giorgio Chiellini says he has not made a decision regarding his future. The veteran Italian defender, who has scored 43 goals in 637 appearances since joining Juventus in 2005, becomes a free agent this summer.
Juventus are reportedly looking to rejuvenate the squad and Chiellini, 36, would like to continue playing, preferably at the club.
“I’m rather surprised that there is talk about my future,” Chiellini said. “Right now, it’s not a problem and not something that has to be dealt with. I haven’t made a decision and I’m very focused on playing. I don’t see what the problem is. We will try to finish the campaign as well as possible and then the club will take a decision. Neither I nor [Gianluigi] Buffon [also a free agent this summer] will ever be a problem for Juventus.”
Gab Marcotti admits Champions League qualification is now a genuine concern for Cristiano Ronaldo and Juve.
– Juventus may turn down the option to extend striker Alvaro Morata‘s loan from Atletico Madrid, which would see him return to the Spanish giants, reports AS. Juve have always been unlikely to sign him outright, as the €45m that would take is out of their reach due to the financial implications of the COVID-19 pandemic. It now seems the monetary troubles are so severe they may not even be able to get together the €10m it would take to keep the 28-year-old for another season on loan despite his solid form.
– Both AC Milan and Atletico Madrid are showing an interest in 21-year-old Fiorentina striker Dusan Vlahovic, according to Calciomercato. The Serbian has impressed this season, scoring 13 Serie A goals so far, and it is suggested that Fiorentina want €40m to sign him, though that expected fee could rise further before the campaign comes to an end. AS Roma also made an attempt to sign him last summer.
– AC Milan have not yet held contract talks with club captain Alessio Romagnoli amid interest from Barcelona, according to Calciomercato. The 26-year-old’s deal comes to an end in the summer of 2022, so it may be felt by the Rossoneri that there are more pressing matters at this time. While contact hasn’t been made, Barcelona hold an interest in the Italian should a new deal with Milan fail to be agreed in the coming weeks. The report also claims that Chelsea have previously made an inquiry into Romagnoli’s services.
– Everton centre-back Yerry Mina wants a move to Serie A, with Internazionale and Fiorentina taking notice, according to the Sun. The Toffees may already have their eye on the Colombian’s replacement, as they have recently been linked with a move for Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly, whom Carlo Ancelotti has previously worked with.
– West Ham United boss David Moyes has been speaking about what it would take for any club to sign midfield duo Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek. The pair have been among the Hammers’ top performers this term and, as quoted by the Mirror, the Scotsman told reporters: “Yes, any club can make offers for players but we’ve not had any big offers, I hope we don’t get any but if we do, like any other club, we would consider them. I don’t know where the Bank of England is for Tomas Soucek but I’ve said with Declan, it would take the Bank of England and the Royal Bank of Scotland to get him. It will have to be the Bank of [the Czech Republic] as well for Tomas.”