Welcome to the Evening Standard’s live blog covering the latest transfer news and rumours from the Premier League and Europe.
After the UK Government green-lit sport to return from June 1, Premier League clubs remain in talks over Project Restart with the hope of resuming the 2019-20 season amid the coronavirus pandemic in the middle of next month. Meanwhile, 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 are reportedly mulling over a swap deal which would see Alexandre Lacazette head to Atletico Madrid – and Thomas Lemar join the Gunners.
According to AS, Atletico have a long-standing interest in Lacazette and tried to sign him before he left for Arsenal when he was at Lyon.
Lemar was also wanted by Arsenal but the north London side, then managed by Arsene Wenger, failed in a big-money bid.
But it is claimed the pair could finally end up where they were initially first wanted if a swap happens this summer, although it could depend on whether Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang stays at Arsenal this summer.
Yesterday it was Erling Haaland. Now reports in France are linking Paris Saint-Germain with a bid for Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The 30-year-old is yet to sign a new deal with only 13 months to run on his current contract with the Gunners and head coach Mikel Arteta may be forced to sell his star striker this summer.
According to Le10 Sport, PSG are keen on the Gabonese, who used to play in Ligue 1 with St Etienne.
But the report says Arsenal’s £50m asking price is likely to be too steep for the French champions, who are set to lose Edinson Cavani on a free transfer this summer.
Jose Mourinho’s search for a defender could take him to Ligue 1 as the Tottenham boss is reportedly tracking AS Monaco’s Guillermo Maripan.
The 26-year-old joined the French outfit from Alaves in 2019 and he made 20 appearances, scoring two goals, before the Ligue 1 campaign was cancelled.
The player has revealed his ambition to play in the Premier League and Spurs could be his ticket to the UK.
“Personally I have always liked the Premier a lot, I have always wanted to play there, so I am aiming there,” he told Chilean outlet Alaire Libre.
However, with Monaco ready to demand £35m and Spurs understood to be lining up free transfers and loans, a deal this summer may prove to be difficult to finalise.
Liverpool are prepared to wait another season to sign Timo Werner from RB Leipzig which will save them £18 million.
According to The Express, the 24-year-old is content to stay another season with the Bundesliga outfit if no club matches his reported £53m release clause.
The German club have made it clear Werner will not leave on the cheap this summer and it is believed Jurgen Klopp is willing to wait in order to secure the 27-goal striker for £35m in 2021.
Lionel Messi and Pep Guardiola made history together at Barcelona, but Getafe president Angel Torres has revealed the pair could have ended up at the Madrid-based club.
Under Guardiola, Messi took his game to new levels and the two men helped the Catalan club to 14 trophies out of a possible 19 between 2008 and 2012 – including a historic sextet in 2009.
But in the Argentine’s early years, Barca had considered sending out the talented winger on loan.
“In Messi’s first or second year, we had it virtually done for him to come to Getafe on loan,” Torres told Marca. “In the end, [coach Frank] Rijkaard didn’t accept and we were left disappointed.
“One day, we were at a European draw in Switzerland,” he said. “Txiki [Begiristain, Barca’s technical secretary at the time] and I, and the idea was that [Michael] Laudrup would coach Barcelona and we would have Guardiola as his substitute.
“Because [Barca president Joan] Laporta wasn’t at all convinced about signing Pep at first.”
MAN UTD NEWS
Diogo Dalot will not be leaving Manchester United this summer amid interest from European clubs.
That’s according to ESPN’s report, which says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is keen to keep the Portuguese youngster despite only handing the Portuguese limited first-team opportunities.
PSG and Tottenham have both been linked with the 21-year-old, but Solskjaer is apparently keen for Dalot to fight for his place at Old Trafford.
Following the news of Willy Caballero’s contract extension, Chelsea have announced Olivier Giroud will now stay at the club for the 2020/21 season.
The Blues activated a clause in his contract for the option of a further year after the Frenchman’s recent performances in the absence of Tammy Abraham.
The 33-year-old had looked set to join Inter Milan or Lazio in January but will now remain at Stamford Bridge for a fourth season.
Chelsea full-back Emerson has hinted he could return to Italy amid reported links with Juventus.
The 25-year-old arrived at Stamford Bridge from Roma in January 2018 after being signed by Antonio Conte to compete with Marcos Alonso for a spot in the first-team.
Emerson featured prominently under Maurizio Sarri when the Italian coach arrived but has played just 15 times for the Blues since Frank Lampard took over as coach.
It has been heavily speculated that Sarri is keen on reuniting with Emerson in Turin and while the Brazilian-born defender insists he is in “no rush” to leave Chelsea, he admits a future move back to Italy “could happen”.
“I was very happy in Serie A, including with the culture, which is also why I chose to play for Italy,” he told Sky Sport Italia.
“A return to Serie A could happen, but I have a contract with Chelsea and I’m in no rush to go anywhere.”
Barcelona have seen an offer worth €75 million for defender Matthijs de Ligt turned down by Juventus, according to reports in the region.
Diario Sport report the Dutch defender is unsettled in Turin and wants to leave after just one season in Italy.
But Barca’s offer has been rebuffed by the Bianconeri, who are not interested in selling the 20-year-old.
Arsenal fans have been looking anxiously for news over Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s future after contract talks stalled.
Fortunately, his latest ‘deal’ will not affect where he will be playing his football next season.
The Gunners star has agreed to race for McLaren in the next round of Formula 1’s Virtual Grand Prix series at the Monaco Grand Prix.
The Gabonese will link up with Lando Norris driving for McLaren in the race around the virtual representation of Monaco’s famous street circuit.
Aubameyang becomes the latest footballer to join the grid, with Sergio Aguero, Thibaut Courtois, Alessio Romagnoli and Arthur Melo all appearing in the esports series so far.
Former Barcelona and Inter player Luis Suarez Minamontes (not *that* Luis Suarez) has told Lautaro Martinez not to head to Camp Nou this summer.
The Argentinian has been linked with the Catalan giants this summer as a long-term replacement for Suarez, 33.
But Minamontes thinks he has more importance at Inter and should remain for that reason, with a view of moving later in his career.
“If I were him, I wouldn’t change teams,” Suarez explained in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport.
“Making a decision on whether to stay or not is very complicated, although if Messi called him then it would be easy to think about it.”
However, we’re talking about a boy who is still very young, and he has all the time in the world to go for other challenges in the future.”
MAN UTD NEWS
Wilder confident of Henderson stay
Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder believes Manchester United will allow Dean Henderson to extend his loan spell at the club to cover the revised end of the Premier League season.
The 23-year-old has been one of the Blades’ standout performers in between the sticks and Wilder hopes the two club will come to an agreement.
“But I am very confident that Manchester United will let Dean stay with us to the end of the season. I don’t think it is worth asking what Dean wants to do because I think you know the answer and vice-versa.
“If it was role reversed, I wouldn’t think it would be an issue. But I have got to respect that Dean is a Manchester United player and we have got to respect every decision they make.
“If he goes back, he can’t play. But I am sure Dean wants to finish off an outstanding season that he has already had playing for Sheffield United.”
Sergio Aguero has previously committed himself to Manchester City until after they win the Champions League – but could the striker be swayed by a move to Inter Milan?
The 31-year-old is reportedly a target for the Nerazzurri to replace Lautaro Martinez, who has been linked with Barcelona, Chelsea and, ironically, Man City.
The Argentine’s contract expires in 2021 and while there are no current concerns over Aguero penning another deal, according to Italian journalist Alfredo Pedulla, Aguero would be on the Serie A side’s shortlist.
Chelsea have confirmed goalkeeper Willy Caballero has signed a new one-year contract with the club.
The 38-year-old has made four appearances in the Premier League – nine in all competitions – and briefly replaced Kepa Arrizabalaga as first-choice goalkeeper before the Spaniard won back his place.
Caballero’s contract was due to expire in the summer but the Argentinian veteran will now remain at Stamford Bridge until 2021 at least.
Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen is closing in a new deal following the news that Manuel Neuer has signed a new contract at Bayern Munich.
The 28-year-old has been stalling over a new deal amid reported interest from the Bundesliga giants, with ter Stegen reportedly using their interest as a bargaining tool to claim a better wage.
But a report from AS suggests talks will now restart between the two parties and the German is likely to extend his six-year stint in Catalonia.
A sad day for LaLiga football as Athletic Bilbao’s veteran striker Aritz Aduriz announces he has retired from football.
The 39-year-old has been told he needs a prosthetic hip by a surgeon and has decided it’s time to call it quits after a phenomenal career.
Aduriz won’t get the opportunity to see off his 21-year career in the Copa Del Rey final against rivals Real Sociedad, but will surely be in the stands cheering on his boyhood club.
He scored 172 goals on 407 appearances for Athletic, winning the Supercopa in 2015.
Liverpool may have to brace themselves for an approach for Sadio Mane from Real Madrid after shelving a deal for Kylian Mbappe until 2021.
Le10 Sport report the LaLiga giants have set their sights on the Senegalese forward as Zinedine Zidane looks to strengthen his squad this summer, with PSG refusing to sell Mbappe.
Mane, 28, has enjoyed a fine season for the Reds, scoring 16 goals in all competitions, as Jurgen Klopp’s side look set to wrap up the Premier League title when the season resumes.
But Mane may welcome the chance to play in Spain after spending five years at Anfield since his £34m move from Southampton.
Blades pair in contract talks
Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder has confirmed that the club are looking to tie John Ludstram and John Egan to new deals.
The pair have been impressive performers in the Blades’ outstanding first season back in the Premier League, but Lundstram’s contract is expiring at the end of the season, thought the club can trigger a one-year extension.
“I said two or three weeks ago it wasn’t the right time to be discussing with agents and players about their contractual situation,” Wilder said.
“Obviously, behind the scenes there has been work done on so many things with contact between myself and Stephen (Bettis), the board and Carl Shieber (head of football administration).
“We are always looking at it. Now that the boys are in full-time training we can accelerate those conversations to resolve those situations.”
Manchester City winger Leroy Sane is reportedly prepared to accept a cut in his wages in order to secure his move to Bayern Munich.
The 24-year-old has reportedly agreed to join Bayern on a five-year deal, according to reports in Germany, taking the No10 shirt – and all that is left is for Bayern to agree a fee with Man City.
Bild say the Germany international has agreed to drop his wage demands by 30 per cent to reach a deal on personal terms, suggesting the former Schalke man is ready for his Bundesliga return.
MAN UTD NEWS
Can: I would never play for United
Emre Can has ruled out ever signing for Manchester United because of his ties with Liverpool.
The German midfielder was talking with Bild about the similarities between United and Bayern Munich, where he began his professional career, and said: “The comparison fits.
“Both are record champions and have huge strength. In addition, big names like Bastian Schweinsteiger and Owen Hargreaves played for both clubs.
“But I would never play for United because of my time in Liverpool. My heart won’t let me do that. The rivalry between the clubs is really huge.”
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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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