Welcome to the Evening Standard’s rolling transfer news and rumours live blog.
Top-flight football in England will return after a 100-day absence in less than a week 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 five substituted will be permitted, 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.
Latest transfer news and rumours…
PREMIER LEAGUE NEWS
Schneiderlin to Nice?
Morgan Schneiderlin may be on his way to France, with Nice Matin reporting the Everton midfielder have reached an agreement with Nice.
The 30-year-old will reportedly complete a £2million-plus add ons move, a shadow of the £24million Everton paid for him back in 2017.
Schneiderlin is expected to undergo a medical at the start of next week before completing his move.
MAN UTD NEWS
Saul dismisses Man Utd links; Atletico his ‘home’
Saul Niguez has played down speculation regarding a potential summer departure, insisting Atletico Madrid remains his “home”.
The midfielder has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United, though Standard Sport understands they are targetting moves for Jack Grealish, James Maddison and Jude Bellingham.
“I see things on Instagram or in newspapers which you publish, but I haven’t heard anything from any club,” Saul told Radio Marca.
“I’m focused on finishing this season, achieving the objective [of finishing in the top four] and then dreaming about the Champions League.
“I have a long-term contract, which I signed because I want to stay here. I don’t have any problem staying here because my family are here, it’s my home.
MAN UTD NEWS
Gomes close to Man Utd contract extension
Angel Gomes is close to securing a contract extension with Manchester United, report The Athletic.
The 19-year-old midfielder has been locked in negotiations for some time now, with The Athletic reporting gam-time to be the issue.
However, the deal is reportedly edging towards its conclusion, with United looking to pay around £25,000 per week.
Gomes has been pictured taking part in full first-team training sessions of late, perhaps implying a deal is, in fact, close.
Liverpool winning race for Sancho
Liverpool are leading the race to sign Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho this summer, according to Le 10 Sport.
The 20-year-old is in high demand, having scored 20 goals, also providing 20 assists, in 40 appearances for the German giants this season.
Standard Sport understands Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had made the Englishman a priority signing this summer, however.
And while Liverpool opted against a move for Timo Werner due to the financial weight of a potential deal, a move for Sancho would certainly raise some eyebrows.
Abramovich’s clever transfer plot
Chelsea’s surge in transfer activity is part of Roman Abramovich’s cunning plan to exploit a weakened market and propel his side towards Premier League glory, believes Paul Merson.
“It’s a sign of what a great businessman Roman Abramovich is that he’s doing this now, when other clubs are going to be hit hard by the coronavirus,” Merson wrote in his Daily Star column.
“I think over the last few years he’s looked at it and wondered if there was any point in trying to compete with Manchester City and Liverpool.
“The way things were going it would have cost £400-500million just to get close. But he’s looked at what’s happening financially with the virus and thought, ‘This is the time.’
“He’s a winner. He wants Chelsea to be a threat again. And he’s realised if he spends now, they have a chance to close the gap. I think it’s clever.”
How Chelsea could line up next season
Ziyech is through the door, Werner is all-but done.
Now there is increasing confidence in west London – and an acceptance at Leicester – that they will also land England international Ben Chilwell to solve their problem position at left-back.
Attention has similarly been turned to Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Kai Havertz, though Chelsea face stiff competition in the race for the 21-year-old.
Here is how they could line up in 2020-21 with a blend of academy graduates and new signings in Lampard’s preferred formation…
Chelsea XI (4-3-3): Kepa; James, Rudiger, Tomori, Chilwell; Kante, Loftus-Cheek, Havertz; Ziyech, Werner, Abraham
Arsenal target Edouard wins Writers’ Award
Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard has been crowned the Scottish Football Writers’ Association player of the year.
The 22-year-old Arsenal target saw off competition from team-mate Callum McGregor, Rangers forward Alfredo Morelos and Dundee United striker Lawrence Shankland.
The Frenchman netted 28 goals for Celtic last season including 22 in 27 league matches.
MAN UTD NEWS
James Robson | Manchester football correspondent
Borussia Dortmund are convinced they have beaten Manchester United in the race to sign Jude Bellingham.
Inside Old Trafford, they are still hoping a guided tour around Carrington and a pitch to be part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s revolution will see him reject the chance to follow in the footsteps of Jadon Sancho and try to make his name in the Bundesliga.
Sources in Germany claimed he was on his way to Dortmund even before he turned up at United’s training ground in March, which convinced Solskjaer there was a deal to be done for the 16-year-old Birmingham starlet.
There he met with Ed Woodward and was given the hard sell. Sir Alex Ferguson is also claimed to have been in attendance.
Bellingham was told how he would be expected to immediately compete for a place in the first team despite his tender years, and how he would join an exciting crop of homegrown young talent led by Marcus Rashford and including Mason Greenwood, Scott McTominay and Brandon Williams.
Bakayoko in AC Milan talks
AC Milan have opened talks over a permanent move for Tiemoue Bakayoko, according to Foot Mercato.
The player is reportedly not willing to stay at Chelsea this summer after failing to settle since his move to Stamford Bridge in 2017.
He went out on loan to Milan, where he impressed after an uncertain start, before this season heading back to Monaco on loan.
The Blues want a large chunk of the £40million they invested in Bakayoko three years ago, and hope the wide interest in the midfielder will help trigger an auction.
Real Madrid want Kante
Real Madrid want to sign 29-year-old France international N’Golo Kante from Chelsea, according to AS.
The Liga giants are prepared to offer up to £71m for the midfielder.
Real hope to pounce if the Blues slip up in their battle for a Champions League spot, with Kante keen to play in Europe’s leading club competition.
It is also thought Roman Abramovich would need to cut down his transfer wishlist or offload current players if the Blues miss out on the Champions League.
Rose staying at Newcastle
Danny Rose has extended his loan deal at Newcastle until the end of the season, according to The Star.
Rose will return to Spurs when the season is finished.
Chelsea get £10m boost
Chelsea are set to make a £10million profit on Mario Pasalic, according to The Sun.
The Blues signed Pasalic for £3million in 2014 and Atalanta have confirmed they will trigger an option to sign him permanently for more than four times that figure.
The midfielder, 25, has spent the past two seasons on loan with the Italian side, scoring 15 goals.
Atalanta sporting director Giovanni Sartori said: “We’re going to buy Pasalic on a permanent deal from Chelsea.”
PREMIER LEAGUE NEWS
ICYMI: Juve to sell Ramsey?
Could Aaron Ramsey be set for a return to the Premier League after just one season in Italy?
According to MailOnline, Juventus are considering offloading the 29-year-old due to his £400,000-a-week wages.
The report claims two Premier League teams – believed to be Manchester United and an unnamed club – have been offered the chance to sign the Wales star.
MAN UTD NEWS
Man Utd’s €300million rebuild
Falk also states that Manchester United are preparing a €300million rebuild under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
This summer’s window will form a key part of that overhaul, with Jadon Sancho earmarked as the priority target.
Kai Havertz is considered a solid alternative should the Sancho deal fall through, while Jack Grealish is another high up on United’s hitlist.
“I have heard from my sources that United’s management is ready to invest €300million to build a new team.
“This is also a sign to players like Sancho that a big team is ready to be built up at United – there is a huge incentive.
“United weren’t convincing enough for Timo Werner’s poker. The next player will be moved on more aggressively.
“The €300million can also be spent during this summer – if the needed players are on the market, and if they can sell some players.”
Chelsea leading race for Havertz
Kai Havertz is open to a move to Manchester United this summer, but Chelsea lead the race.
That’s according to Bundesliga expert Christian Falk.
“Manchester United is an option for Kai Havertz, because his management have been told about the big plans of the new team,” Falk told Utd Report.
“But, Chelsea are more concrete in the talks at the moment.
“Perhaps Chelsea are again faster than United, like in the case of Timo Werner.”
Klopp targets £110m raid on Wolves
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is preparing a £110million double swoop for Ruben Neves and Adama Traore, according to The Sun.
Klopp wants Neves to freshen up his midfield ahead of their title defence next term.
MAN UTD NEWS
Sheffield United have reached an agreement with Manchester United to extend Dean Henderson’s loan for a third season.
The 23-year-old has only missed two Premier League games for the Blades this season and has emerged as a key player for Chris Wilder’s side as they attempt to qualify for Europe.
The Daily Mail report that after protracted negotiations, United have agreed to let Henderson spent the next campaign at Bramall Lane on loan – a move that will surely benefit all three parties.
It wasn’t the best nights of Timo Werner’s career in front of goal but RB Leipzig showed their class to see off Hoffenheim in a game dominated by VAR.
The hosts had a penalty awarded and then rescinded by VAR in the seventh minute before Dani Olmo scored the opener just two minutes later from the spot. Olmo then doubled his tally two minutes later after a fine team move.
Still, the Germany international has 25 Bundesliga goals to his name – a tally only bettered by Robert Lewandowski – showing that one off-night is unlikely to affect him too much ahead of his £53m move to the Premier League.
Chelsea are confident they will convince Ben Chilwell to join the club this summer if they secure qualification for the Champions League.
Frank Lampard’s side are fourth in the Premier League with nine games remaining and a three-point gap to Manchester United in fifth, who could also qualify if Manchester City’s ban from European competition is upheld.
And according to the Daily Mail, the west London side believe offering Champions League football will be crucial in landing the 23-year-old, as Leicester remain on course to qualify.
However, the Foxes are likely to resist any approach for the left-back, who has four years to run on his contract, and are likely to demand £80m for the England international.
Arsenal youth team goalkeeper Pedro Virginia has confirmed he will head back to his native Portugal to join Porto.
The 16-year-old, who joined the Gunners four years ago, says he is fulfilling a dream by signing for the Primeira Liga giants.
“It was a very good experience in England. It was four great years with a great team, but now I came to FC Porto, a super team, one of the best in Europe, and I am very happy,” he told Record.
“The scouts have been following me for eight years now and it was a dream of mine for a long time. The collective goals are to win as many competitions in training and the individual goal is to play at Estádio do Dragão.”
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When does the 2020 summer transfer window open?
The Premier League’s chief executive, Richard Masters, has confirmed that the window is not set to open until the end of the season.
The campaign is currently scheduled to finish on Sunday July 26th, though the FA Cup Final will be held on August 1.
Therefore, August 2 seems a likely date for the window to open, though Masters admitted there is not yet a plan for how long it would go on for – especially with no dates yet confirmed for the 2020/21 season.
A summer transfer window usually lasts at least 12 weeks. Recent reports suggest Fifa will allow leagues to open their windows up to four weeks before the culmination of the season.
Players can be officially registered with their new clubs when the Fifa international window opens on July 1 – such as Hakim Ziyech with Chelsea – 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.
Some players have signed short-term deals with their clubs to finish the current season, but there is no obligation for players to do so. However, they will not be able to play for a new team this season even if they become a free agent due to Fifa regulations on registrations.
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