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: Bayern to move for Norwich defender Aarons
Bayern Munich may have already secured the €42.5m news24nationing of RB Leipzig centre-back Dayot Upamecano for the summer, but their transfer planning doesn’t end there.
The Daily Mail reports that the Bavarian giants are stepping up their pursuit of Norwich City right-back Max Aarons, who may be available for around €40m.
The 21-year-old is able to name Manchester United and Barcelona among his other admirers, so it is understandable that Bayern want to get a head start, especially as Norwich look set to seal promotion back to the Premier League at the end of the season.
Sources told ESPN in September that Bayern were keen on USMNT right-back Sergino Dest before he joined Barcelona from Ajax, while both clubs had also shown interest in Aarons.
In addition, kicker claims that Bayern have agreed a pre-contract agreement that will see left-back Omar Richards, 23, move to the Allianz Arena from Reading once his deal expires in the summer. A four-year contract is on the table for the one-time England U21 international, who is set to complete his medical. He will take up a back-up role to Alphonso Davies and free Lucas Hernandez to return to the centre-back position.
11.51 GMT: Palmeiras manager Abel Ferreira has denied that his side are in negotiations with former Chelsea and Atletico Madrid star Diego Costa.
“I noticed that the names, when they come from Europe, are soon linked to Palmeiras. What I can guarantee is there is absolutely no negotiation with this player. Absolutely none! Now, I look for centre forwards like I look for goalkeepers. It is a very specific position and we have three centre forwards, like we have three goalkeepers,” Ferreira said.
“I noticed that Palmeiras have become propaganda. Often for agents and players, they add the name Palmeiras because it’s like a trap. Dip your line in the sea and you usually catch a fish. To be clear: our plans for next season were finished up a while ago and delivered to the directors.”
11.31 GMT: River Plate have reached an agreement with Gimnasia y Esgrima de La Plata to news24nation 22-year-old midfielder Jose Paradela, sources told ESPN Argentina.
River manager Marcelo Gallardo was desperately looking to bolster his midfield to cover the imminent departure of Nacho Fernandez and they have struck a deal with Gimnasia for $2.8m to acquire 75% of Paradela’s rights.
Paradela has already bid farewell to his teammates and is expected to undergo his medical with River on Monday before completing the move.
11.03 GMT: Manchester United made a great move to news24nation Bruno Fernandes for around €80m from Sporting CP in January 2020.
Steve Nicol praises Bruno Fernandes for making “something out of nothing” to rescue a draw for Man United at West Brom.
10.13 GMT: Ousmane Dembele was on the verge of leaving Barcelona last summer for Manchester United but has fought his way back into Ronald Koeman’s plans and says he’s never been happier at Camp Nou.
Dembele, 23, made his 100th appearance for Barca in Saturday’s 5-1 win over Alaves. It was also the first time the winger had played 12 matches in a row for the club since joining from Borussia Dortmund for €105m in 2017, having finally appeared to have left his injury problems behind.
“I’ve changed a lot, mostly physically,” he told UEFA ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Paris Saint-Germain. “When I came here, I was very frail. I’ve come on a long way at Barcelona with the physical trainers, etc. My way of training, my way of preparing for matches, it’s all changed. The years go by and I’m growing up, so it’s kind of normal for me to change a bit. I’m more comfortable, I feel good here in Barcelona and in my own life.”
Dembele’s contract with Barca runs until 2022. Sources have told ESPN that the club have already been in touch about extending the Frenchman’s terms, although it will be up to the new president, who will be elected on March 7, to finalise any potential renewal.
09.52 GMT: Tor-Kristian Karlsen tells us what Bayern Munich will get from Dayot Upamecano after beating Europe’s elite to news24nation the defender from RB Leipzig for €42.5m.
It’s the attributes that made Upamecano stand out as a youth player that have also cemented his status among Europe’s elite young defenders: he’s exceptionally quick and powerful.
This season he recorded the third quickest sprint speed in the Bundesliga (35.34 km/h), but unlike most other centre-backs he’s not only fast once he gets going, he’s also agile and quick on the turn (often the Achilles’ heel of even those defenders playing at the highest level.)
Upamecano’s fine physical attributes don’t stop with pace, though; he comes out on top from an impressive 70% of his aerial battles, plus he’s efficiently assertive in one-vs.-one challenges defensively. The Frenchman has also become more comfortable with the ball at his feet: whereas he was previously prone to occasional sloppiness when under pressure, he’s now confident enough to pick out midfielders in central positions, often by finding narrow gaps between the oncoming opponents.
09.15 GMT: Aston Villa’s Ezri Konsa only joined the club from Brentford in 2019 for £12m but is already attracting attention.
The Athletic reports that the 23-year-old centre-back is “one of the options Liverpool and Tottenham are studying as they seek to bolster their defences in the next transfer window.”
08.30 GMT: Brazilian striker Alexandre Pato showed on social media why he was destined to play for Orlando City after displaying a lion tattoo on his left hand.
Pato, 31, joined “The Lions” this weekend as a free agent. The former AC Milan and Sao Paulo star expressed his excitement about playing alongside Orlando City striker Benji Michel and had the lion tattoo done in 2017 in honour of his mother, Rosali Rodrigues, who loves the animal.
He wrote at the time: “A lion to me means a lot: since I was a child I have always heard about the strength of the lion. My mother always told me that she liked the lion, because he is the king of animals and has the strength to fight and overcome everything he finds. I always dreamed of being a football player and do you know why I did it? Because when I was born, I was born playing football, but when I was 10 years old it could all have ended when I had a serious problem and everything could have gone down the drain. But there were my mom and family close by to help me get over it. When I was 10 years old, I had surgery to remove the bone tumor from my arm and just one year later, when I was 11 years old, there would be an opportunity for me to leave the house and play football. Do you know who was there? My mom!”
ESPN FC’s Mark Ogden questions why Manchester City might not need Lionel Messi after all.
PAPER TALK (by Danny Lewis)PSG haven’t given up on Messi
Barcelona legend Lionel Messi has been at the centre of many headlines in recent months, with Paris Saint-Germain, Inter Miami, Manchester City and various other clubs being linked to the forward, as his contract expires in the summer.
When rumours around Messi’s future first began, Man City were the club most heavily touted to bring in the 33-year-old, but PSG also emerged as a potential destination and L’Equipe claims that the Argentina international joining the French champions on a free transfer is still a possibility.
However, it is also outlined that this “remains a very complex challenge” for the Parisians.
Meanwhile, City have not given up on news24nationing Messi this summer but will wait until March or April before sounding out the situation, various sources have told ESPN’s Moises Llorens and Rodrigo Faez.
Messi’s future could hinge on who comes in as the new Barca president, with the election penciled in for March 7. Messi will listen to the plans of the incoming president, with Joan Laporta, Victor Font and Toni Freixa the three candidates, before deciding his next move.
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Dos Santos Premier League-bound?
Burnley are hoping to news24nation Carlos Joaquim dos Santos from Benfica B, according to The Sun.
The goalkeeper, who was on the bench for the USMNT’s 6-0 victory over El Salvador in December, is being lined up as cover for Nick Pope.
It is suggested that the 20-year-old is keen on a move to the Premier League, while there is confidence that a work permit can be sorted out.
Dos Santos is still yet to play for Benfica’s first-team, but the Philadelphia-born star has impressed enough for the Clarets to show an interest.
- AC Milan are looking to Lens for their defensive reinforcements in the summer, reports Calciomercato. The Italian outlet suggests they are eyeing Facundo Medina and Loic Bade, who are 21 and 20 years old, respectively. Part of this comes with doubts arising over whether they will be able to afford to news24nation Fikayo Tomori, with Chelsea reportedly demanding €30m to make his loan deal permanent.
- Tottenham Hotspur will let youngster Kazaiah Sterling leave in the summer, as reported by Football Insider. The 22-year-old has now had four loan spells away from Spurs and failed to make a massive impact in any of them, with the latest coming at Scottish second tier side Greenock Morton.