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: Bayern to bring Nkunku from Leipzig
The France international has captured attention this season, scoring 30 goals and assisting another 20 in 48 appearances across all competitions.
This includes the 24-year-old directly contributing to 12 goals across the Champions League and Europa League this term, helping Leipzig to the Europa League semifinal, where they hold a 1-0 advantage over Rangers with the second leg to play on Thursday.
Nkunku’s performances have resulted in various clubs showing interest in signing him, with Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and AC Milan among those who have been linked with a €60 million move ahead of the summer.
Having once again confirmed their status as Bundesliga champions, Bayern are also now seemingly vying to bring in Nkunku.
The Bavarian club are notorious for attracting the biggest talent from within the Bundesliga — such as the transfers of Marcel Sabitzer from Leipzig in 2021 and Robert Lewandowski from Borussia Dortmund in 2014 — but Leipzig have shown a determination to keep Nkunku as his contract doesn’t run out until the summer of 2024.
14.03 BST: Barcelona are ready to listen to offers for midfielder Frenkie de Jong, reports Sport.
De Jong, 24, was signed from Ajax for €75m in 2019 but is deemed replaceable at Camp Nou as the club need to move some players on to bring new ones in.
The Netherlands international has been linked with Manchester United above others, as Ajax boss Erik ten Hag heads to Old Trafford this summer.
13.15 BST: Arsenal are ready to hand striker Eddie Nketiah one last contract offer, says the Daily Mail.
Nketiah, 22, is a free agent in the summer and has gone on record to say he wants to play more games, having netted seven goals in 24 games this season.
Arsenal are keen to keep the England U21 international but won’t go overboard in terms of the salary on offer.
12.33 BST: Bayern Munich have reached an agreement to extend the contract of Thomas Muller until 2024.
Muller, 32, has been with the club since the age of 10 and has made over 620 competitive first-team appearances, winning 11 Bundesliga titles, two Champions Leagues, the FIFA Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup, and the DFB Cup six times, among other honours.
“I’m delighted to have extended my contact with FC Bayern Munich until 2024 today,” he said. “The journey we’ve been on since I joined the FCB academy in 2000 has been a fantastic success story up to now. It gives me immense pleasure to hold up the red colours year after year, on and off the pitch — even if the wind blows in your face from time to time. So, let’s keep going together!”
12.22 BST: Manchester United have tried and failed to lure FC Salzburg striker Karim Adeyemi to the club, says Sport1.
Adeyemi, 20, is set to join Borussia Dortmund for around €40m, having scored 21 goals in 41 games this season.
United wanted to sign the Germany international and reportedly offered him around €170,000-a-week, but the player wanted to join Dortmund and will complete his move soon.
11.39 BST: USMNT midfielder Christian Pulisic‘s future at Chelsea has been the subject of some debate recently.
Craig Burley explains why regular playing time at a “smaller” club than Chelsea would be best for Christian Pulisic.
10.50 BST: Arsenal are stepping up interest in signing Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez this summer, says The Times.
Martinez, 24, has 21 goals in 45 games this season and is rated at around €60m as Inter are struggling financially.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta plans to bring in two strikers and has a shortlist which includes Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus and Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin, but qualifying for the final Champions League spot in the coming weeks will be key to which players he can bring in.
10.27 BST: Chelsea defenders Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta want to join Barcelona this summer, Mundo Deportivo reports.
Barca believe they need to strengthen their defensive line this summer but don’t have a lot of money to spend and have reportedly already agreed a free transfer for Chelsea’s Andreas Christensen.
His current teammates Alonso and Azpilicueta remain hopeful that Chelsea will be open to negotiating their departures this summer for an affordable transfer fee, considering their contracts expire in June 2023.
The Spain internationals have no intention of remaining with the London outfit next season with both hopeful of returning to LaLiga. Alonso was close to joining Barcelona on loan in January 2021 but the deal did not materialise.
09.52 BST: Mark Ogden has given an update on Manchester United’s pursuit of Declan Rice, and wonders if the West Ham midfielder might be looking elsewhere:
Manchester United are likely to have a clear run to signing Rice this summer, sources have told ESPN, but it will be a test of the pulling power of the Premier League’s most successful team as to whether they can even come close to doing a deal for the England international. They are still Manchester United, one of the world’s great clubs, but they have become a byword for failure and mismanagement in recent years and look set to miss out on the Champions League next season as they slipped eight points behind fourth-placed Arsenal, who have one game in hand, this weekend. United’s reputation has taken such a battering that they could find the next transfer market tricky to navigate, and Rice might just be the type of player who looks at United and thinks that his career will be better served by waiting for something more appealing to come along.
09.26 BST: Paris Saint-Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino has said Lionel Messi has been judged unfairly in what has been a transitional season for the former Barcelona captain.
Messi was among the PSG stars booed by the club’s fans in the aftermath of the team’s elimination from the Champions League round of 16 by Real Madrid in March.
PSG’s ultra supporters have not forgiven Messi or his teammates for that debacle and walked out of the stadium early as a sign of protest instead of staying and celebrating the league title following their 1-1 home draw with Lens.
“To judge Messi in this way is unfair,” Pochettino said. “You can’t talk about Messi that way. It is like when I talk about Maradona. I’m not talking about an ordinary player. Messi is on the same level as Diego Maradona.
“I have no doubts about his quality. Messi has enough talent to do what he has to do. He will do it. Next season will be completely different for him. It was a year of learning, and not just on a professional level coming to Paris Saint-Germain, in a new league and with new teammates, but also on a family level. You must take that into account. It is a significant upheaval that can affect a player.”
Messi, 34, only scored nine goals and set up 13 in 31 appearances across all competitions after joining PSG as a free agent in August following his 20-year career at Barcelona. In his last season with the Catalan giants, Messi had a total of 38 goals and 14 assists in 47 appearances.
The Argentina captain has one year left on his contract with PSG.
08.43 BST: Valencia have denied they have agreed to let midfielder Carlos Soler join Barcelona this summer for a fee of €20m.
Reports in Spain on Monday said that Barca had reached an agreement with Valencia and the player over a transfer, although added that any deal was dependent on Frenkie de Jong being moved on first.
“Don’t lie,” Valencia wrote on Twitter in response to the report, adding in a separate statement that they “deny the existence of any agreement — or any ongoing negotiation — with Barcelona for the transfer of Soler.”
Soler, 25, is out of contract in 2023 and sources close to Barca have told ESPN that he is a player of interest to the Catalan club, who are targeting players in the final years of their contracts.
08.00 BST: Jesse Lingard is likely to have played at Old Trafford for the final time as a Manchester United player with AC Milan and Juventus leading the chase to land the England midfielder on a free transfer in the summer, sources have told ESPN’s Rob Dawson.
Lingard is out of contract at the end of the season and said his goodbyes to United fans following Monday’s 3-0 win over Brentford at Old Trafford.
It will bring to an end a career at the club which has spanned 20 years and more than 200 senior appearances. He was part of the team which won the 2011 Youth Cup and went on to score in two finals for United — the 2016 FA Cup final and 2017 League Cup final. He also scored in the 2016 Community Shield and was part of the team which won the Europa League under Jose Mourinho in 2017.
Milan and Juventus have both registered their interest in signing the 29-year-old ahead of next season, but there is competition from clubs in the Premier League and abroad. Lingard is keen to move in a bid to find more regular first team football and force his way into the England squad ahead of the World Cup in Qatar, which begins in November.
Lingard is one of a number of players set to leave United on free transfers this summer including Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, Edinson Cavani and Nemanja Matic.
Shaka Hislop discusses if Monday’s win over Brentford was Cristiano Ronaldo’s last game at Old Trafford with Manchester United.
PAPER GOSSIP (by Danny Lewis)
– Lazio are looking to offload Sergej Milinkovic-Savic in the summer to fund a rebuild of their squad but are unwilling to let the Serbia international leave for anything under €80m, reports Sky Sports Italia. Manchester United and PSG are the two clubs who have asked for information about the midfielder so far.
– Speaking of the aforementioned Lewandowski, Fabrizio Romano has claimed that Barcelona still haven’t given up on signing the Bayern Munich striker, despite official statements from the two clubs. The Poland international is said to be Barca’s priority in the summer transfer window and they are willing to offer him a three-year contract or two years with the option for another. Bayern still want the prolific striker to stay with them.
– Juventus are hoping to sign PSG midfielder Leandro Paredes, reports Tuttosport, who add that it could take €20m to bring in the Argentine. The two clubs have been in contact to discuss a possible move, as Paredes is a player PSG could be willing to move on.
– Borussia Monchengladbach defender Matthias Ginter will re-join SC Freiburg, having last played for them in 2014, according to Sky Sports Deutschland. The 28-year-old’s contract comes to an end in the summer and clubs across the continent have shown an interest in signing the Germany international. However, he is set to re-join his first club in professional football.
– Dries Mertens will accept a reduction in wages to stay with Napoli past his contract’s culmination in the summer, as reported by Calciomercato. The Belgian has shown his worth on the pitch this season with 11 Serie A goals so far, but he is willing to see his wage go down from its current rate of €4.5m-per-season to €1.2m.