Welcome to the Evening Standard’s rolling transfer news and rumours live blog.
Premier League football will return after a 100-day absence on June 17 after the government green-lighted their Project Restart proposals to resume the 2019-20 season after it was halted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Fixtures will be played behind-closed doors, and with clubs across Europe facing reduced revenues there will be implications for this summer’s transfer window, and how much clubs are able to spend.
This will force clubs to reconsider their transfer strategies for the summer, and we’ll bring you all the latest news and rumours in our live blog below…
Latest transfer news and rumours…
PREMIER LEAGUE NEWS
So not the big transfer story that some fans – mainly Manchester United ones – were hoping for, but not the cynical ‘new boot deal’ that many were expecting either.
Atletico Madrid star Saul Niguez has announced the creation of a new academy for 4-18-year-olds.
Saul Niguez announcement
Atletico Madrid star Saul Niguez has confirmed this “new club” after three days of teasing, revealing it to be… the creation of a new team.
The 25-year-old has been linked with a host of clubs in recent months, namely Manchester United and Premier League rivals Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal, and leaned into the transfer speculation in a big way with a vague tweet on Sunday.
According to initial reports, Saul and his brother Aaron have announced the creation of the Costa City club.
The project will be based in Elche and bring together over 30 teams and 500 youth players in all age categories in the area.
Gunners told to gamble on Aubameyang
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher believes Arsenal should hold on to captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang this summer, even if it risks losing him for nothing in a year’s time.
The Gabon star is out of contract next summer and is yet to agree a new deal, meaning the Gunners could cash in now. But Carragher believes keeping him at the club and hoping his goals can fire them back into the Champions League next season is a risk worth taking.
“I would keep Aubameyang and see what you could do,” Carragher told Sky Sports’ The Football Show.
“Could you bring players around that and hopefully have a successful season?
“Maybe in the next 12 months convince him to stay, but if not, I think it gives Arsenal a greater chance of getting into the top four, and that’s where they need to be.”
Saul Niguez announcement
Fashionably late? Hope he’s not like this turning up to Diego Simeone’s training sessions…
Atletico Madrid star Saul Niguez has got a countdown clock running on his Instagram until his big announcement.
In 12 minutes’ time we’ll know what this big charade has been all about…
Jadon Sancho is Manchester United’s number one transfer priority, but there are doubts over a summer deal.
Standard Spprt understands United want Sancho this summer, but Dortmund are standing firm over a £100m+ deal – and that could put a spanner in the works.
BVB are perfectly happy to keep Sancho for another year at least, and Spanish paper AS has put Sancho on its front page today and declared that Real Madrid will consider signing the England forward in 2021.
Los Blancos will not have the money to sign Sancho this summer, but if he’s still at Dortmund next year, they may make their move – so the pressure is on United as they ponder an expensive move at a tough time.
So, there will be plenty of buzz around Saul Niguez’s big announcement today after the Atletico Madrid midfielder teased on Twitter at the weekend that he would be naming his “new club”.
Saul has been heavily linked with Manchester United and less so with Arsenal, but transfer guru Fabrizio Romano has the scoop (again), it seems.
The Italian journalist says Saul will “announcement something related to personal business – nothing about transfers or leaving Atletico de Madrid.”
PREMIER LEAGUE NEWS
Longstaff offered big contract by Udinese
The 20-year-old – earning just £850 per week as things stand – has been offered £30,000 by the Italian club.
The Englishman flew out to Italy to hold talks with Udinese prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and faces a tough decision ahead, with the midfielder reportedly desperate to stay with The Magpies.
However, Longstaff reportedly turned down an offer in the region of £15,000 from Newcastle earlier in the season, with no further negotiations since.
Tottenham should try to sign Philippe Coutinho on loan, says former striker Darren Bent.
Chelsea have reportedly been in talks with his agent Kia Joorabchian about a loan deal, but Bent thinks Spurs should throw their hat into the ring.
“You’re talking about a top, top player who knows the Premier League very, very well. It’s not like you’re taking a risk,” he told Football Insider.
“Coutinho’s a top player, he’s a superstar signing that Spurs need and even if it’s on loan, that’s the sort of superstar that they need to maybe encourage other superstars to come there.
“For me, I’d go all out and pay that £8 million, pay that and try and get him. £8m for a top player like him for a year?
“You take that risk because at the end, you never know, at the end of the year it might work out really, really well. He could transform Spurs into an absolute powerhouse of a team. I wouldn’t even consider it – I’d just do it.”
Real Madrid have turned down the chance to sign Chelsea winger Willian on a free transfer.
Both Tottenham and Arsenal are reportedly keen to bring the Brazilian to north London, with Willian failing to agree an extension to his expiring contract.
The Mirror report Real Madrid were sounded out about their interest but Zinedine Zidane has refused to offer the three-year deal Willian is demanding.
Wenger heading back to Arsenal?
Arsenal should bring Arsene Wenger back… as chairman, believes former Gunner Martin Keown.
Sir Chips Keswick announced he would be leaving his post as Arsenal chairman last week, and Keown says the club should consider a “special” appointment, although acknowledging a move was unlikely.
He told talkSPORT: “It would be something special to see Arsene Wenger come onto the board. I don’t think so somehow, I think he’s said recently he doesn’t want to do that, never saw himself as someone who would sit on the board but they could do a lot worse.
“You know that I feel that would be almost the perfect answer for Kroenke, the young Josh Kroenke, he needs that older person perhaps around, someone with the experience.
“Other people would think that it would be intimidating for [Mikel] Arteta – I don’t think so. If you’re a successful-type personality, you don’t really mind who else is in the building. You embrace that knowledge that could come in through the door.
“So I would applaud that if Arsenal Football Club were to bring Arsene Wenger onto the board.”
Chelsea plotting Werner move with Liverpool delaying
Timo Werner has been heavily linked with a move to Liverpool in recent weeks, but Chelsea are now preparing a move of their own, according to The Telegraph.
While RB Leipzig manager Julian Nagelsmann has admitted the power is entirely with Werner, his reported £53million release clause – which expires on June 15 – is not as attractive as it once was due to the financial implications of the coronavirus pandemic.
Werner is believed to be keen on a move to Anfield, while Klopp is also an admirer of the German, but no offer has yet been made.
And while Chelsea are now also said to be interested, The Telegraph report both may wait it out, with Werner’s release clause dropping to just £36million in 12 months’ time.
So, will either side trigger the £53million buy out clause? Or will they risk it and wait? Only time will tell.
Feddal as Vertonghen replacement
Vertonghen, 33, looks likely to leave the north London club this summer when his contract expires, the Belgian linked with a move to either Italy or Spain with no signs of an extension as of yet.
Feddal – who has just on year left on his contract – has made just 11 appearances for Betis this season.
And at the age of 31, while Tottenham have Davinson Sanchez and Japhet Tanganga competing for a place alongside Toby Alderweireld, a move would perhaps be surprising.
Barcelona to activate Maia purchase option
The Sao Paulo teenager is reportedly already learning Spanish ahead of a move after the Spanish giants earlier this year paid £880,000 for an option to sign him for just £3million.
While Sao Paulo state nothing is yet official, his agent Danilo Silva told Radio Transamerica: “We are sure Barcelona will complete the purchase.
“There was already a signal from the club and [on Monday] Maia started private Spanish lessons to get more prepared. Other clubs came to us in the last few months but he never had any doubt, he always wanted Barcelona.”
Liverpool and Atletico Madrid were both reportedly interested in the 19-year-old.
Manchester United agreed to pay a whopping £10.5 million in order to extend Odion Ighalo’s loan, according to The Daily Mail.
The Nigerian striker will remain at Old Trafford until January 2021 after the Red Devils reached an agreement with his club Shanghai Shenhua.
And the details involved will see United reportedly pay a hefty fee up front while also covering half of Ighalo’s £300,000-a-week wages.
First it was Aubameyang. Now reports in Italy suggest Alexandre Lacazette.could be ready to jump the Arsenal ship too.
Inter Milan are apparently looking at the French striker to replace Lautaro Martinez this summer, who has been heavily linked with Barcelona.
The 29-year-old has featurely regularly for Arsenal this term, with nine goals in 26 appearances, but may welcome the opportunity to challenge for silverware in Italy.
With Aubameyang reportedly edging closer to the exit, however, Arsenal are likely to demand a large fee for the player they signed for £52m three years ago.
Spurs have a problem when it comes to back-up for Harry Kane.
The England striker is Spurs’ undisputed No.1 forward, and is only ever unlikely to play if he’s either injured or being rested.
L’Equipe reports that Rennes striker Mbaye Niang is on Spurs’ radar, though the playing time on offer is ‘very minimal’.
Niang has also been linked with Marseille – who Andre Villa-Boas coaches – and a move to OM looks more likely at this point than sitting on the bench behind Kane.
RB Leipzig manager Julian Nagelsmann has conceded that there is ‘nothing we can do’ to keep Timo Werner at the club.
The 24-year-old is one of the most highly-rated strikers in Europe, and is admired by Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United.
“He knows what he has in Leipzig and also what he has with me,” Nagelsmann told reporters on Monday evening. “I show him that — he gets many chances to develop himself. I don’t know if it will help him that much if I tell him every day.
“A player has to feel that he can get better. If he doesn’t feel that, it wouldn’t do any good if I kept on telling him to stay here.”
Bernardeschi to Chelsea in Jorginho swap
Jorginho, who acclimatised well to Premier League football after a perhaps somewhat sub-par start, is wanted by former manager Maurizio Sarri, who worked with the Brazilian both at Chelsea and Napoli.
Italy international Bernadeschi, albeit two years Jorginho’s junior, may not be the most inspiring of replacements should the Brazilian leave, however.
He has failed to register a single goal or assist in 18 league games for the Italian champions this season.
MAN UTD NEWS
Manchester United have made contingency plans in case their move for Jadon Sancho fails with Velez Sarsfield youngster Thiago Almada on their radar.
The 19-year-old has caught the eye of several European clubs after becoming a regular for the Argentinian outfit.
And the Manchester Evening News claim United would be able to secure Almada for a much lower fee than Sancho, should they fail to convince Dortmund to sell the England international.
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When does the 2020 summer transfer window open?
The summer window opens in England is set to open at the end of the season – though the specific date remains to be seen due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Players can be officially registered with their new clubs when the Fifa international window opens on July 1 – though Fifa guidelines suggest players joining in July will not be able to play for their new clubs during the current 2019/20 season.
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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