Welcome to the Evening Standard’s rolling transfer news and rumours live blog.
Premier League football takes a back-seat this weekend as the FA Cup has the spotlight with matches being played in June for the first time in the competition’s history.
Sheffield United host Arsenal in the early kick-off at 1.00pm, before Chelsea travel to Leicester and Newcastle welcome Manchester City in today’s quarter-final ties.
Meanwhile, and despite the unseen economic strain on clubs brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, transfer activity and speculation remains bouyant ahead of this summer’s window.
Latest transfer news and rumours…
Castagne eyes Tottenham move
Atalanta right back Timothy Castagne says that he could not turn down the chance to join Tottenham if Spurs make a move for his this summer.
The 24-year-old Belgian international has been linked with a move away from Serie A at the end of the season, with PSG and Tottenham said to be interested.
Castagne said in May that he would ‘lead towards England’ if an opportunity arose, but PSG remains an option after Belgian compatriot Thomas Meunier left the Ligue1 champions to join Borussia Dortmund.
“You have to be honest with yourself. When a team like PSG or Tottenham come knocking on your door, you can’t say ‘no’.”
Ceballos open to Betis move
Dani Ceballos insists he’s not “closing the door on any club”, revealing a move to Real Betis is a possibility.
The Spaniard, who is currently on loan at Arsenal, has been linked with a number of clubs, with a stay at parent club Real Madrid unlikely.
“Betis? It’s an option,” he told Cadena SER. “I’m not closing the door on any club. La Liga sounds good to me, but I’m also happy at Arsenal and I have to respect them.”
MAN UTD NEWS
United ‘have to sign’ Sancho
Jadon Sancho was also a hot topic of discussion during the post-match analysis following Manchester United’s last-gasp FA Cup quarter-final victory over Norwich City earlier this evening.
“That’s the kind of signing they have to make if they’re going to be challenging City and Liverpool,” said BBC pundit and Arsenal legend Ian Wright.
“Martial and Rashford, both of them 19 goals each, last time any Man Utd players got that was Chicharito (Javier Hernandez) and (Dimitar) Berbatov.”
Arsenal in advanced talks over Dominik Szoboszlai
Arsenal are in advanced talks to sign Red Bull Salzburg midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai, according to French journalist Manu Lonjon.
Arsenal’s interest in Szoboszlai since last summer, with reports linking the club with another swoop this summer.
The 19-year-old, who has ten goals and 16 assists in 37 games in all competitions this season, has been earmarked as a replacement for Mesut Ozil.
Lonjon told his social media followers: “PSG asked about Dominik Szoboszlai (RB Salzburg). Profile quite similar to that of Milinkovic-Savic.
“Other big clubs on it. The player’s entourage was probed and not insensitive to interest. Cost 25/30M.”
“Arsenal and AC Milan well advanced,” he added.
Chelsea move for Declan Rice
Chelsea are once again being linked with a move for West Ham midfielder Declan Rice.
The England international was released by Chelsea as a teenager but Frank Lampard is keen on bringing the midfielder/centre back home to Stamford Bridge.
Versatility is an attractive part of Rice’s USP, but Chelsea reportedly want him to play a central role in a three-man defence.
ICYMI: Klopp: ‘A red jersey would look very good on Sancho’
Jurgen Klopp admits a Liverpool shirt would “look very good” on Jadon Sancho, but insists a move is unlikely.
Liverpool have been linked with the Borussia Dortmund star, though rivals Manchester United and Chelsea are also reportedly interested.
Asked about Sancho live at an event hosted by BILD, Klopp replied: “A red jersey would look very good on Jadon. But I don’t think such a transfer will take place this summer.
“He is a very interesting player. If he moved to Liverpool, I would be the most surprised of all!”
MAN UTD NEWS
Solskjaer coy on Sancho interest
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would be drawn on Manchester United’s interest in Jadon Sancho when asked about the England international after their FA Cup win at Norwich.
Compatriot Jan Age Fjortoft tried to press the Red Devils boss on the chances of United agreeing to sign a Dortmund player this summer.
“Ha ha. I’m good at math, but I can’t answer that question,” Solskjaer said.
“There are many good footballers on many teams.”
Arthur travels for Juventus medical
Here is the very latest from Standard Sport’s Spanish football correspondent Ben Hayward on the proposed Arthur Melo/Miralem Pjanic part-exchange deal between Barcelona and Juventus…
Barcelona midfielder Arthur Melo has travelled to Turin for a medical with Juventus ahead of his summer transfer to the Italian champions.
The 23-year-old appeared as a late substitute in Barca’s 2-2 draw away to Celta Vigo on Saturday and then flew to Italy for his examinations, which will take place on Sunday.
Arthur has agreed to join Juventus in a €70million deal which will see Miralem Pjanic move in the opposite direction at the end of the season.
The Brazilian, who has been accompanied by a Barca doctor on the trip to Italy, is expected to sign a five-year deal which could be announced as soon as Sunday.
With Barca in action at home to Atletico Madrid in LaLiga on Tuesday night, the midfielder will return to the Catalan capital on Sunday evening.
Arthur has made 72 appearances since signing for Barcelona from Gremio in 2018 and coach Quique Setien said on Friday that the Brazilian would continue to be important until the end of the season.
Klopp: Sancho would look good in Liverpool shirt
Jurgen Klopp has admitted that Jadon Sancho would look ‘very good’ in the red of Liverpool, but has played down the chances of a switch to Anfield this summer for the Borussia Dortmund and England star.
“A red jersey would look very good on Jadon Sancho,” Klopp told Bild.
“But I don’t think such a transfer will take place this summer.
“He is a very interesting player. If he moved to Liverpool, I would be the most surprised of all.”
Werner breaks record in final Leipzig game
Chelsea-bound Timo Werner made history in his final game for RB Leipzig, with two goals sealing his place as the club’s all-time top scorer.
The 24-year-old has sealed a £53million move to Chelsea this summer and guided Leipzig to third place in the Bundesliga table with a 2-1 win against Augsburg in their final game of the season.
The German has rejected the chance to play in Leipzig’s remaining Champions League fixtures this season, meaning he entered the game knowing it was his last for the club.
And Werner certainly didn’t disappoint, taking his goal tally to 95 in 159 matches with a special double.
Werner needed just 30 minutes to break Daniel Frahn’s long-standing record, rounding Augsburg goslkeeper Tomas Koubek to strike home into an empty net.
Leipzig needed to match Borussia Monchengladbach’s win to secure a top-three finish, and Augsburg looked to spoil the party, with Ruben Vargas providing an equaliser.
Typically, it was Werner who settled the tie with 10 minutes remaining. The forward beat the offside trap before smashing home from a tight angle.
The offside flag did go up, but fortunately – both for Werner and Leipzig – the decision was overruled by VAR.
Leipzig took the three points and third place, while Werner cemented his position in club history.
Werner was immediately brought off, with his final involvement being that second goal.
The striker – who finished the season with a total of 28 league goals – will be able to join up with Chelsea from June 30, but he is not eligible to play until next season.
Arthur, Pjanic to undergo medicals
Barcelona midfielder Arthur Melo will make his way to Turin tonight, before undergoing a medical with Juventus tomorrow, report Sky Sports.
The midfielder will complete a £72.5million switch, before flying back to Spain ahead of their game against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday.
Arthur played today against Celta Vigo, coming on as a late substitution after starting from the bench.
Sky also report Miralem Pjanic will undergo a medical in Turin this weekend. He will make a switch to Barcelona for around £60million.
Mourinho keen on Sanchez reunion
Surely not! Could we actually see Alexis Sanchez is a Spurs shirt?
Jose Mourinho would be open to a reunion with Manchester United forward Sanchez at Tottenham report 90min.
Mourinho was in charge when Sanchez transferred to United, arguably when his sharp decline in form began.
But regardless the three-time Premier League winner is reportedly interested in bringing him back to north London.
Di Matteo a ‘big fan’ of Werner
Roberto Di Matteo has stated he is a “big fan” of Chelsea signing Timo Werner, revealing he’s tried to sign the striker twice.
“When I was at Schalke he was at Stuttgart and he was just coming on to the scene,’ Di Matteo told Chelsea’s official website. “During the second part of the season, before I left, I was planning with my sporting director.
“I was saying I wanted to sign this guy, he’s good. He was young, quick, technically good. I said ‘can we not sign this boy Timo’.
“We didn’t in the end and then I resigned and so on. Then I went to Villa. Stuttgart, the season after, they got relegated, and so I enquired again to sign him, but then Leipzig signed him on.”
Di Matteo added: ‘I’m a big fan of his and he’s developed really, really well as well.
“He’s a goal scorer, he scores goals, so he can guarantee a certain amount of goals for the team, which is very good, and he’s very pacey as well, he’s fast.”
Werner makes a record-breaking Leipzig farewell
Timo Werner scored with his last kick in an RB Leipzig shirt, also becoming their all-time top scorer with a double against Ausburg.
With the Bundesliga coming to a close, while Werner has opted out of Leipzig’s remaining Champions League games, it was his last time to impress.
And impress he did. The 24-year-old – who has sealed a £53million move to Chelsea this summer – ended his Leipzig career in style by taking his tally to 95.
It certainly looks like smart business by Frank Lampard.
Robben comes out of retirement
Arjen Robben has announced he is to come out of retirement to play for his hometown club FC Groningen.
The 36-year-old announced his retirement a year ago, leaving Bayern Munich to bring an end to a 19-year career.
The winger – who also played for PSV, Chelsea and Real Madrid – announced his decision video on Groningen’s social channels.
“It will be a tough physical challenge but I am going for it,” he said.
Hakimi wants Inter move to work with Conte
There were three decisions behind Achraf Hakimi’s decision to join Inter Milan according to AS, one of which was to work with Antonio Conte.
The former Chelsea boss certainly has some pulling power, with Victor Moses recently saying the very same.
Additionally, the full-back does not want to return to parent club Real Madrid and play second fiddle to Dani Carvajal, though he doesn’t rule out a reunion in the future.
The financial package offered to Hakimi was also reportedly a factor.
Cole questions who’s making Arsenal’s transfer decisions
Former Chelsea forward Joe Cole has revealed he “feels sorry” for Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, insisting questions should be asked of technical director Edu.
“The one person I feel sorry for in all this is Mikel Arteta,” he told BT Sport. “Because he looks like a great coach and it looks like there is some kind of system he is trying to implement.
“We know David Luiz has been a top player and won everything in the game, but the performances this season, I don’t know who’s taking the decision to make him another year’s contract.”
“Arguably one of their biggest games of the season, Arteta left him out.”
He added: “For me that’s a big signal, he’s left his most experienced player out of the biggest game against Man City – and then you give him another years contract. [It’s] muddled thinking.”
Before adding: “Cedric – if you’re looking to go and compete with Liverpool and Chelsea and you go and sign a 29-year-old full-back who’s arguably not played at that level where he’s regularly competing against top sides, and you’re asking him make a difference, then giving him a four-year contract.
“If I’m an Arsenal fan, I would be asking questions of Edu and the people making these decisions. I feel sorry for Arteta because he’s got a lot of promise as a young coach.”
PREMIER LEAGUE NEWS
Premier League battle for Todibo
Barcelona youngster Jean-Clair Todibo is a man in demand, with a number of Premier League clubs chasing his signature, report Mundo Deportivo.
The Frenchman plays his final game for Shalke on Saturday, with his future very much up in the air.
And Southampton, Everton and Watford are all reportedly keen on the centre-back, alongside both Sevilla and Cologne.
PREMIER LEAGUE NEWS
Newcastle sign Gillespie
Newcastle have signed goalkeeper Mark Gillespie on a three-year deal with an option of a fourth, according to Sky Sports.
The 28-year-old has been brought as a replacement for the outgoing Rob Elliot and will arrive as a free transfer after leaving Motherwell.
Newcastle are yet to confirm the signing, but Sky report they will do so in the coming days.
Quique Setien ‘still counting’ on Arthur
Barcelona coach Quique Setien insists he’s still “counting on” Arthur Melo, despite the midfielder being close to agreeing a deal with Juventus.
“In principle I’m still counting on him,” Setien said, as per Sky Sports. “He’s a player we are going to need. He’s important. In principle, he’ll take part in training and then he will travel, with the possibility of playing. It is what it is.
“We have to try to ensure all this noise doesn’t affect him and in the event of him going out to play, that he gives the best of himself.
“What’s happening is not normal. I suppose any player in a situation like this has to be clear that the season is not finished, and that there are really important games left for him, like the rest.
“I’m sure he will want to end well, if that’s the case, win a trophy and leave a good impression up until the last day.”
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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 and Timo Werner 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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