Welcome to the Evening Standard’s rolling transfer news and rumours live blog.
Top-flght football in England will return after a 100-day absence on June 17 after the government green-lighted the Premier League’s 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…
Some big news reaching us which could give some insight into how Premier League clubs will be impacted in the transfer market this summer.
Tottenham have taken out a £175million loan from the Bank of England under the government’s Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility scheme, with the club estimating revenue losses of £200m due to the pandemic.
Standard Sport revealed last month that Jose Mourinho would be limited to free transfers and loans this summer – and the scale of their losses certainly indicates why.
Charlton’s Lyle Taylor hopes Addicks fans will not remember him with “hatred and disgust” following his decision not to extend his contract to see out the season with the club.
The 30-year-old in demand striker is one of three Charlton players to decide against contract extensions in order to play out the season beyond June 30 once it resumes.
Taylor is set to leave The Valley this summer and has cited concerns over sustaining an injury that could jeopardise any move in the remaining games as the basis of his decision and hopes the fans won’t hold it against him.
“I hope people can look at this and not hate me,” Taylor told Sky Sports. “I’d like to think people will listen to this with more of an open mind and look into my journey and where I’ve came from.
“I’ve played at every level from the Championship to step four of non-league football. There is no doubt I have gone the longest route around to get to where I am today.”
The coronavirus pandemic has had a crippling effect on some football clubs and perhaps none more so than Barcelona.
According to ESPN, the Catalan giants will not be able to recruit any new players until they sell first.
That could put their move for Lautaro Martinez in jeopardy unless they manage to sell Philippe Coutinho, Nelson Semedo and Ousmane Dembele – all of whom have been linked away from the club
Gareth Bale is happy with life in Spain and does not want to return to the Premier League, his agent has revealed.
The 30-year-old has been tipped to leave the Santiago Bernabeu since Zinedine Zidane returned for a second spell as coach, with the Welshman no longer an integral part of Madrid’s squad.
Bale nearly joined Chinese Super League outfit Jiangsu Suning in January before the move collapsed and his been linked with a return to Tottenham but his representative, Jonathan Barnett, insists he is settled in the Spanish capital.
“As I’ve always said, he’s quite happy at Madrid. He has a very nice lifestyle, I don’t see why he wouldn’t see his career out in Madrid probably,” he told BBC Radio 4.
“It’s his life that he wants to lead. Financially he will want enough for the rest of his life and all his children and grandchildren. He’s won nearly everything in the world except the World Cup.
“To come back and play [in the Premier League] would be a big thing but I don’t think he wants to do that at the moment as he’s quite happy to play at Real Madrid.”
MAN UTD NEWS
Manchester United defender Brandon Williams is set to receive a sizeable wage increase after impressing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The 19-year-old has established himself as a regular member of Solskjaer’s first-team squad, making 25 appearances in all competitions.
The Athletic report Williams, who owns £4,000-a-week and has two years left on his current deal, has done enough to convince the United hierarchy to hand him improved terms with a long-term contract on the table.
Southampton striker Shane Long has agreed a new two-year contract extension which secures his future at the club until 2022.
The Republic of Ireland international, 33, has been at the club since 2014 after arriving from West Brom and says he is delighted to be staying on the South Coast.
“I love the way the club is run, I love what the club stands for and I’m excited about what the club will do over the next couple of years,” he said.
“I can see the club pushing up the league, back to where we all want to be, and I want to be part of that. I’m just delighted to get it done.”
Arsenal only have themselves to blame for being left with a difficult decision to make over Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s contract, says Charlie Nicholas.
“We’ve had a problem at the top level for a long time. It goes as far back as David Dein not being present any more.
“We have a problem identifying the players and then what we did was start paying £30m for Shkodran Mustafi and defenders who have not cut it for Arsenal. We’ve been buying wrong and the players have realised they’re not a threat to the Premier League and the Champions League.
Arsenal haven’t got an identity problem, they’ve got a decision-making policy problem, and it has to be sorted at the top end.”
MAN UTD NEWS
Kai Havertz is apparently keen on a move to Manchester United should the club lodge a bid for the Bayer Leverkusen starlet.
Havertz has scored 14 goals in the Bundesliga this season and is rated as one of the Bundesliga’s brightest prospects,
The 20-year-old, who has also been linked with Chelaea and Bayern Munich, regards a move to Old Trafford as “a very realistic option” this summer, according to the Manchester Evening News.
Whether it’s Havertz or Jadon Sancho they sign, it seems United are planning on shopping in the Bundesliga.
Arsenal could reportedly lose striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the summer transfer window as he waits on a bid from Barcelona.
A report from Catalan publication Diario Sport claims the 30-year-old, who’s contract expires next summer, is waiting to see if the LaLiga giants move for Lautaro Martinez.
However, with the club’s finances likely to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic and Martinez valued at over £100m by Inter Milan, Aubameyang could be a cheaper alternative.
It has emerged in recent days that there is no contract offer for Aubameyang from the Gunners, which would suggest they could cash in while they can.
Peterborough starlet Ricky-Jade Jones has admitted he was flattered to hear interest from Premier League teams but says he’s focused on enjoying his football at the club.
The 17-year-old has attracted interest from Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United, according to the League One outfit’s chairman Barry Fry. But Jones insists he isn’t looking to leave.
“As a 17-year old hearing that is really nice,” Jones told Sky Sports.
“But I’m in a good position right now and I’m enjoying football so it doesn’t distract me. It just gives me more motivation to show everyone what I can do.
“For developing young players [Peterborough is] probably one of the best clubs in England. It’s a very good club and you’ve seen many players come through Posh and go on to have a great career.”
As several clubs chase RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner, it has been widely reported Liverpool have the upper hand to sign the Germany international.
David Lynch has the latest update on the Reds’ interest…
“Liverpool’s summer business could well be affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the financial implications of which have yet to be understood.
“It is this consideration that has led to a delay in the club’s pursuit of RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner.
“The Reds head the chase for the German, but could wait until late in the transfer window – whenever that takes place – to make their move.”
David Lynch | Liverpool football correspondent
Liverpool have not made a loan offer for Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele, Standard Sport understands.
The Frenchman has failed to live up to his £135million price tag since arriving from Borussia Dortmund in 2017, and while head coach Quique Setien is a fan of the player, his fitness record means that Barcelona would listen to offers.
While a series of devastating injury setbacks have undoubtedly played a part in his troubles to establish himself at Camp Nou, Dembele has also been regularly subjected to accusations of unprofessionalism by the Spanish media.
Those suggestions do not seem to have put off potential suitors, however, with reports emerging this week suggesting that a number of European clubs are keen on taking advantage of the situation.
Juventus are said to have already entered talks with Barca over a move for the 23-year-old, who is said to be receptive to the idea of playing in Serie A.
It was also reported that Liverpool have entered the battle for his signature, making a sizeable loan offer featuring a purchase option. However, Standard Sport understands that the Reds are currently not considering a summer swoop for Dembele.
The Premier League leaders tracked the France international extensively during his time at Rennes, but were beaten to his signing by Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2016.
And they have no plans to revisit that interest, with Jurgen Klopp not believed to be keen on bringing Dembele to Anfield.
Barcelona are set to take up their option to sign Brazilian starlet Gustavo Maia from Sao Paulo this summer, the player’s agent has confirmed.
The 19-year-old impressed playing in the Copa Sao Paulo earlier this year, leading the Catalan club to pay €1 million (£900,000) to secure a first option on the teenager.
Barca will now have to pay an additional €3.5m (£3.1m) to seal Maia’s signing and his representative Danilo Silva is confident it will happen.
“We are sure Barcelona will complete the purchase,” he told Radio Transamerica, via Globo Esporte.
“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.”
Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr has backed Victor Osimhen to join a ‘big club’ in the Champions League to help boost the Super Eagles’ chances of international success.
Osimhen, 21, has been in fine form for Lille this season to earn a host of transfer links with the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool.
It appears as though Osimhen could be on the move for the right price this summer, and Super Eagles coach Rohr has backed the striker to shine on the big stage.
Rohr told Channels Television: “Victor Osimhen will have a very big opportunity to go from Lille perhaps to the Premier League or Italy to a very, very big club.
“This is a success for him but also for the Super Eagles to have players at Champions League clubs.
“If we have players playing at a very high level for their clubs, our level in the Super Eagles will be growing also.”
Jan Vertonghen is expected to complete the season with Tottenham before leaving the club on a free transfer in the summer, writes Dan Kilpatrick.
Vertonghen is out of contract on June 30 but Spurs have offered him a deal for the remaining nine matches of the extended campaign.
Under new Premier League rules, clubs should negotiate temporary extensions with out-of-contract players by June 23 and there is optimism that Vertonghen will play on, although nothing has been agreed.
The Belgian, who has returned to contact training, is thought to want to honour his commitment to Spurs after eight years in north London, while he would not be able to play for another club until next season.
Some players in Vertonghen’s position fear a serious injury could jeopardise their next transfer but the Belgian is conscious that he is unlikely to feature in every remaining match, thereby reducing his own risk.
In December, Spurs manager Jose Mourinho said he hoped Vertonghen would follow Belgium teammate Toby Alderweireld in agreeing a contract extension but talks have since ended, with acceptance on both sides that the 33-year-old will move on in the summer.
Santos striker Kaio Jorge is a wanted man, with the 18-year-old earning favourable comparisons to Cristiano Ronaldo – no pressure there, then.
Juventus and Bayer Leverkusen have been linked with Jorge, but kicker reports that Chelsea will make a move for the youngster this summer.
According to The Sun, Chelsea could have the edge given Jorge has the same representative – Giuliano Bertolucci – as David Luiz and Oscar, which could smooth negotiations.
MAN UTD NEWS
Bruno Fernandes was widely seen as a replacement for Paul Pogba, but Manchester United will be able to play the pair together – for the run-in, at least – and Luke Shaw is excited.
“[Bruno]’s been so important, with the chances he’s created, the goals he’s scored and, hopefully, there’s still much more to come from him,” said Shaw.
“I’m sure he’s still settling into the Premier League to an extent, which makes what he’s done all the more impressive.
“He was paired with Paul in a small training group last week, which people saw on the videos, and we saw flashes of what they were capable of.
“The coaches have switched it up so it’s not just them on the same team and it’s quite nice to see them battling against each other – they’ve already had some great games against each other – but, personally, I’m really looking forward to seeing them line up together.”
“They’re probably two of the best midfielders in the [Premier League] right now, I’d say, so it’s going to be fascinating to see them play together.”
Pedro heading to AS Roma
Tottenham out of Coutinho race
Tottenham are out of the running to sign Philippe Coutinho from Barcelona.
The Spanish giants are prepared to let the former Liverpool star leave on loan for the season for a fee worth £9million.
MAN UTD NEWS
Bruno Fernandes reveals he cried over ‘dream’ Old Trafford move
Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes has opened on his emotional reaction to getting the chance to finally complete a long-rumoured switch to Old Trafford.
“You know, I will say the truth that I was scared,” Fernandes said. “It was a dream [come true] but it was a big dream.
“For me, playing in England and for Manchester [United] was the highest part of my career. To play in the Premier League, for one of the best teams in the world.
“When I received the call saying: ‘Bruno, you have the chance of moving to Manchester’, I called my wife, my brother, my sister, my mother and just started crying.
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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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