Welcome to the Evening Standard’s live blog covering the latest transfer news and rumours from the Premier League and beyond.
English football has been suspended ‘indefinitely’ following the governments’s imposed lockdown to help battle the coronavirus pandemic, and while hopes remain to resume the season by June 30, speculation around potential transfer for the 2020-21 season remains in full swing.
We’ll keep you abreast of all the news from our correspondents, and the talking points and rumours from the rest of Europe.
Latest transfer news and rumours…
Arsenal chief: Don’t expect a big transfer window
Arsenal’s head of football Raul Sanllehi has told club staff not to expect big spending on transfers in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
In the weekly video call with all non-playing employees, hosted by Sanllehi and chief executive Vinai Venkatesham, the Spaniard is understood to have explicitly played down the prospect of expensive signings in the next transfer window and said transfers are not considered a priority at present.
The Gunners have been linked with Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey, who has a release clause of €50million.
Ferran Torres backed to be a success at Liverpool
Valencia winger Ferran Torres has been backed to be a success at Liverpool by the Spanish club’s former sporting director.
Fernando Gomez told Tribalfootball.com: “He can perform well in any team and in any league. In England too, of course, at Liverpool or any other team.”
“Klopp’s system fits him and he is mentally very strong to cope with pressure and demands.”
Liverpool have been heavily linked with the 20-year-old.
Werner eyes Liverpool as he turns down Bayern
RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner appears to have once again nailed his colours to the Liverpool mast after reportedly turning down the chance to join Bayern Munich.
Ndombele considering his future at Tottenham
The France midfielder became Tottenham’s record signing last summer when he arrived from Lyon for £53.8million, but he is already considering his future at the club.
Sky Sports report that the 23-year-old is unsettled following a disappointing start to his career in England, but has no issues with manager Jose Mourinho.
Ndombele was signed by Mauricio Pochettino, who was sacked in November, and has come under heavy criticism from Mourinho since he arrived at the club.
Barcelona are said to be interested in signing the midfielder.
MAN UTD NEWS
Latest on Sancho to Man United
Manchester United are ready to hand Jadon Sancho their iconic No.7 shirt should he complete a move from Borussia Dortmund this summer.
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Premier League clubs join Van de Beek race
Le10 Sport claim that Everton and Newcastle have emerged as surprise contenders in the race to sign Donny van de Beek from Ajax.
The Dutchman has been linked with the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester United, having stayed with the Eredivisie side when Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt left last summer.
Arsenal and Spurs keen on Reguilon
North London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham are among ten clubs interested in signing Real Madrid left-back Sergio Reguilon, according to ABC Sevilla.
The 23-year-old has spent the current season on loan at Sevilla, but looks unlikely to be able to force his way into the first-team picture at the Bernabeu, with the likes of Ferland Mendy and Marcelo well established.
The Gunners appear to be well stocked at left-back in terms of numbers but Kieran Tierney has been plagued by injury problems while Bukayo Saka is yet to sign a new contract and may see his future higher up the pitch anyway.
Tottenham, meanwhile, have Danny Rose out on loan at Newcastle and about to enter the final year of his deal, while Jan Vertonghen, who can deputise in the position, looks likely to leave.
Right, that’s your lot for now – we’ll be back in the small hours of Thursday morning with more transfer news, gossip and rumours.
Chelsea accept Willian will leave this summer
Frank Lampard and Chelsea are resigned to the fact fan-favourite Willian will depart this summer when his contract expires, according to Sky Sports reporter Kaveh Solhekol.
Timo Werner and Kai Havertz are reportedly being targeted as replacements, while Belgian Dries Mertens has also been linked.
“As far as Chelsea are concerned, it’s fair to say they’ve moved on [from Willian],” Solhekol said. “They’ve signed Hakim Ziyech from Ajax, he will be joining in the summer.
“They are looking for other wide players though because Pedro’s contract is up as well. There’s been more interest in signing someone like Kai Havertz, who is at Bayer Leverkusen, and even at Timo Werner of RB Leipzig.
“He would be a dream signing along with somebody like Jason Sancho.”
Arthur staying at Barca
Barcelona midfielder Arthur Melo has played down the rumours of a potential Juventus switch, insisting he is only interested in staying at Camp Nou.
News had emerged from the Catalan media that the Brazilian would be allowed to leave this summer, Tottenham and Juventus both linked.
But in a statement released by his communications company, the 23-year-old said: “There are always speculations but honestly my idea is very clear, the only option that interests me is to continue in Barcelona.
“I am very safe and calm. I feel very good here and I also thank the club and the coaching staff for their trust. That is another reason to be totally clear that my only wish is to continue.”
“Barca is where I have always wanted to be and I want to be an azulgrana player for a long time, above all other questions. Every day I feel more comfortable and good here, in the team, in the club and in the city.
“I also love both the people and the culture here and I have a lot of support from the fans.”
MAN UTD NEWS
Woodward vows United will be competitive in transfer market
Edd Woodward has reassured Manchester United will remain “highly competitive” in the transfer market, despite acknowledging even top clops will be hit financially by the coronavirus pandemic.
Strengthening Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad remains a “top priority” for Woodward, with United targetting moves for both Jadon Sancho and Jack Grealish.
Woodward – speaking to a fan forum – said: “I would say that once we have that visibility of a path through the crisis and coming out of the other side to relative normality, then of course, we aim to remain highly competitive in the market.
“I’ve said this many times – we remain committed to backing Ole to win trophies. That’s our core objective as a club.”
He added: “It is not necessarily going to be business-as-usual for clubs this summer. It feels somewhat inappropriate to see speculation about transfers for hundreds of millions in current circumstances.
“Clearly it’s true we are fortunate to be in a strong financial position compared to many clubs, but we are not immune from the financial impact of what this virus is doing.”
Pochettino dreaming of a Tottenham return
Mauricio Pochettino insists there is unfinished business for him at Tottenham, revealing he is dreaming of returning one day.
The Argentinian – now heavily linked with a move to Newcastle – was dismissed after five years in charge in November, subsequently replaced by three-time Premier League winner Jose Mourinho.
“It was an amazing journey that finished in the way that, of course, no one wants. But deeper in my chest, my soul, my heart – I am sure that we will cross [paths] again,” Pochettino said on BT Sport.
“From the day that I left the club, my dream is to be back and to try to finish the work that we didn’t finish.
“We were so close to winning the right trophies. The Premier League and the Champions League.
“But we stopped and, of course, I am looking forward to move on and I am so motivated for the next project. But deep inside I would like to be back one day because the club is special. The fans are so special.”
MAN UTD NEWS
Rio Ferdinand believes both relentless criticism and a desire for trophies may eventually drive Paul Pogba away from Manchester United.
“If I’m him and I’d been treated the way I have with the media here, I’d be saying: ‘You know what, I don’t need this in my life. There’s more to life than just coming here and getting criticised when I’m not even playing’,” Ferdinand said in a Q&A on his YouTube channel.
“Manchester United fans won’t thank me for it but I would be saying that.
“A career’s not a long time in this game. He’s sitting there and thinking: ‘I’ve given probably three years to the club, we’re still no closer to winning the league.’
“You’re thinking to yourself: ‘I want to win stuff so I might have to go now. I might have to go to a team where I can win things and now might be the time to leave.’”
Ferran Torres would be a perfect fit for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, according to former Valencia sporting director Fernando Gomez.
Torres, 20, has been impressing in LaLiga, and the Valencia winger has been linked with Liverpool and Chelsea along with Clasico rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Gomez believes the forward could slot into the current Liverpool squad well, telling TribalFootball.com: “Ferran Torres is a great player. He has emerged very young and that is proof of his maturity.
“He’s skilful, he’s great one-on-one, he’s quick and he even scores goals. He also plays on the inside, takes advantage of spaces and can be part of a team that plays on the counter-attack or a dominant team in terms of possession.
“He can perform well in any team and in any league. In England too, of course, at Liverpool or any other team. Klopp’s system fits him and he is mentally very strong to cope with pressure and demands.”
MAN UTD NEWS
Three Man United midfield targets
“I’d maybe get [Thomas] Partey from Atletico Madrid or [Wilfred] Ndidi from Leicester,” Ferdinand told The Beautiful Game podcast on Monday.
“I like Saul Niguez. He’s a very, very good player in midfield.”
Blow for Barca Martinez pursuit
Barcelona’s hopes of signing Lautaro Martinez this summer look to have taken a significant hit, with Mundo Deportivo claiming that Inter Milan will only sell if his €111million release clause is triggered.
With finances severely impacted by the coronavirus shutdown, Barca are reportedly hoping to use players as part of an exchange to sign the Argentine, but this latest update would suggest it’s cash or nothing.
Thomas Partey’s representatives are not exactly making an effort to play down rumours linking him with a move away from Atletico Madrid this summer.
Here’s a screenshot, subsequently deleted, of his management agency’s Instagram story earlier on today…
PSG to low-ball Porto over Telles
A Bola claim that Paris Saint-Germain will try to get a deal for Porto left-back Alex Telles over the line on the cheap.
The left-back, who has been heavily linked with Chelsea, will be out of contract at the end of next season and with the coronavirus shutdown meaning Porto will be even more desperate to cash-in now rather than risk losing him for free next summer, PSG will look to take advantage.
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Premier League trio monitoring Milinkovic-Savic
Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United have all made enquiries over Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, according to The Mail.
The Serbian has been linked with big money moves in each of the past two summers, but has thus far remained in Serie A.
His form has helped Lazio emerge as genuine title contenders, just a point behind leaders Juventus at the time of the coronavirus shutdown kicking in, but he looks likely to move on.
Upamecano could sign Leipzig extension
Sky Sport in Germany claim that Dayot Upamecano could yet extend his contract with RB Leipzig by an extra year to 2022, ruling out the prospect of him joining Bayern Munich for free next summer.
The Bavarians are reportedly Upamecano’s preferred destination, but they are unlikely to stump up the £53m release clause that would force Leipzig to sell this summer.
That has led to speculation that the Frenchman could stay and run down his contract.
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When does the 2020 summer transfer window open?
The summer window opens in England at the end of the season – currently May 18, but that will almost certainly not be when it finishes due to Covid-19 delays.
Players can be officially registered with their new clubs when the Fifa international window opens on July 1.
From January 1 onwards, Premier League players with six months left on their contract have been able to negotiate and agree pre-contract deals with foreign clubs.
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