Welcome to the Evening Standard’s rolling transfer news and rumours live blog.
Premier League football returns to spotlight today after a blockbuster weekend of FA Cup football. Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United all progressed to the semi-finals with wins this weekend, in what is a mouth-watering final four of the competition.
Tonight, Crystal Palace are in action as they take on Burnley at Selhurst Park.
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…
Xavi preparing for Barca job
Former Barcelona great Xavi Hernandez has said he hopes to return to the Spanish club as head coach when the timing is right
Xavi said his technical team is already preparing for the move.
Xavi, who coaches Qatari club Al Sadd, was approached by Barca to replace Ernesto Valverde before Quique Setien was appointed in January.
Barca are two points behind leaders Real Madrid with six matches remaining in the campaign.
“The biggest hope I have now is to be Barca coach and get Barca back to winning ways,” Spanish daily Sport quoted Xavi as saying in a video call where the 40-year-old outlined his plans for the future.
Chelsea and Barcelona circling for Gomes
Manchester United were believed to be prepared to hand Gomes a deal worth over £30,000-a-week to remain at Old Trafford amid links with Barcelona and Chelsea.
But a lack of first team opportunities for the 19-year-old has been a concern – particularly with United strengthening in midfield with the signing of Bruno Fernandes, as well as pursuing Jack Grealish.
There is still the possibility of a deal being struck – but Solskjaer’s tone was not a positive one after failing to even agree a short-term extension to see out the rest of the season.
Gomes was considered one of the brightest prospects to emerge from United’s academy – but he has been overtaken by the rapid development of Mason Greenwood this season.
Lampard warned over ‘nightmare’ Ziyech
Ajax boss Erik ten Hag has warned Frank Lampard that new signing Hakim Ziyech can be a “nightmare” to handle.
Ziyech will team up with his new Chelsea team-mates in July after agreeing a £37.8m transfer in February.
“Sometimes he is a trainer’s nightmare, but you have to give him space,” Ten Hag said.
“Hakim is ‘what you see is what you get’. You see what his emotions are doing to him today.
“It is an emotional day for Hakim, but I hope he looks back on it in a good way.”
MAN UTD NEWS
Gomes to leave Man Utd
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer expects Angel Gomes to leave to Manchester United after failing to agree a new deal with the starlet.
Despite months of negotiations, Solskjaer revealed there has been no progress, with the player’s contract expiring at the end of this month.
Asked if Gomes would remain at the club, the United manager said: “I’ve got no news – nothing. So it doesn’t look it.
“I’ve not heard from them (the club) last night or this morning, so it seems like they haven’t managed to agree. So the answer is probably short and yes (he’s going to leave).”
Chelsea want £45m Rice
Chelsea want Declan Rice to lead their defence next season, according to The Sun.
Frank Lampard is keen to bring in a new central defender and hopes to land the West Ham star.
Rice started life as a centre-back and, despite thriving in deep midfield for West Ham, Lampard wants to return him to the heart of defence.
Chelsea are confident they can do a deal for £45million. West Ham value Rice at nearer £70million but much will depend on which division the Hammers are in next term.
MAN UTD NEWS
Man Utd in talks over Sanchez extension
Manchester United are in talks with Inter Milan over an extension to Alexis Sanchez’s loan deal.
United are prepared to let the Chile international remain in Italy, with the forward not part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s plans.
But Inter chief executive Beppe Marotta has revealed negotiations for Sanchez have been difficult, along with talks over another loanee Victor Moses from Chelsea.
“This is a great regulatory anomaly that needs to be resolved because we are still dealing with Chelsea and Manchester United today to try to extend their loans,” he told Sky Sport Italia.
“It is not a simple thing. We are also dealing with Bayern Munich over Ivan Perisic.”
MAN UTD NEWS
Sancho to Man Utd latest
Borussia Dortmund’s chief executive Hans-Joachmin Watzke doubts Manchester United – or any club – will offer the asking price for Jadon Sancho this summer.
Watzke says Sancho will only leave if their valuation is met.
He said: “If Jadon approaches us and says he wants to leave no matter what – which has not happened so far – and a club wants to spend what we are asking for, we will discuss it.
“But I don’t think a club will pay the fee we want.”
PREMIER LEAGUE NEWS
Chelsea and Arsenal on alert for Forster
Southampton will consider loaning out Fraser Forster for another season, according to The Mail.
Saints are anticipating an approach from Celtic this week, while Chelsea and Arsenal have also been linked with a move for the 32-year-old.
Forster has been on loan at Celtic this term.
ICYMI: Arteta says Tierney will get ‘better and better and better’
Mikel Arteta heaped praise on Kieran Tierney following Arsenal’s FA Cup triumph against Sheffield United.
The defender hadn’t made an appearance for the Gunners under Arteta prior to the outbreak of coronavirus, but has featured in all four games since the restart.
“He’s been training incredibly hard through [the] COVID-19 [lockdown,” he said.
“It’s been a tough moment for him in the last six or seven months and to move here from a different city, a different football club.
“He is a kid with an incredible attitude and he is so willing to learn and to put in everything he has. He has a massive heart and I am delighted to have him in the team.
“He’s a kid who is going to get better and better and better.”
MAN CITY NEWS
City target Skriniar for sale?
Inter Milan are weighing up whether to sell Manchester City target Milan Skriniar, according to Calciomercato.
City are among a number of clubs who have been linked with the Slovakia defender, and the report claims Sergio Aguero could be included as part of any deal.
MAN CITY NEWS
City to sign Moreno
Manchester City are set to sign Juventus forward Pablo Moreno, according to Goal.
The 18-year-old is set for a medical in Manchester on Monday ahead of signing a four-year contract.
The deal will see City’s Felix Correia move in the opposite direction.
City may send Moreno out on loan immediately.
PREMIER LEAGUE NEWS
Villa to stick with Smith
Aston Villa are set to stick with Dean Smith for the final six games of the season, according to the Telegraph.
Villa are right in the relegation mix at the bottom of the Premier League, but with a difficult run-in including fixtures against Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal.
Smith’s side have played a game more than drop rivals West Ham and Bournemouth and remain in the relegation zone on goal difference.
Kalou to leave Hertha Berlin
Former Chelsea forward Salomon Kalou is close to agreeing a free transfer to Brazilian side Botafogo.
The 34-year-old is out of contract at Hertha Berlin at the end of the season.
Botafogo have reportedly offered the 34-year-old an 18-month contract amid interest from European clubs.
Chelsea boost over Tagliafico and Onana
Ajax with manager Erik ten Hag suggesting that Nicolas Tagliafico and Cameroon goalkeeper Andre Onana (below) could leave this summer.
Chelsea have been linked with the pair as Frank Lampard continues his overhaul. Tagliafico has been identified as one option at left-back, while Lampard is also looking to sign a goalkeeper to compete with Kepa for starts.
“The transfer market will start in August – the top leagues are now being played out, so the money flows are maintained,” Ten Hag told Het Parool.
“The market value of players will be slightly depressed, but not much. Based on their performance and ambition, a number of our players also want to make the move abroad.
“Agreements have been made with Andre Onana, Donny van de Beek and Nicolas Tagliafico, but it remains to be seen whether the market is indeed breaking loose.
“For Onana and Van de Beek, another year of Ajax could certainly be an option, for Tagliafico it is slightly different because of his age.
“In the preparation I am going to try Lisandro Martínez in that position. He has also played in midfield with us, but he is a defender.”
Inter close in on Hakimi
Inter are in “advanced negotiations” for Real Madrid defender Achraf Hakimi.
Hakimi has impressed on loan at Borussia Dortmund this season but now looks set for a £36m move to Inter.
Inter chief Giuseppe Marotta told Sky Sports: “The will of [owners] the Zhang family is to continue buying important players,” Marotta told Sky Sports.
“I confirm that we are in an advanced negotiation for Hakimi. [Inter sporting director Piero] Ausilio has been very good, but we must now conclude the negotiation.
“[Monday] will be an important day, I am optimistic. It is a job done from Ausilio in these two months. This is an operation that, with the times that are going, is really very, very important.”
WEST HAM NEWS
Boost for West Ham in Aina pursuit
West Ham have received a boost in their pursuit of Torino’s Ola Aina.
The Hammers are one of the clubs being linked with a move for the former Chelsea defender, with Calciomercato reporting that the Italian club could be ready to cash-in on the 23-year-old.
West Ham are in the market for a new full back with 19-year-old Jeremy Ngakia set to leave the club on a free transfer having failed to reached an agreement with the club.
Benfica target Pochettino
Portuguese side Benfica want to appoint former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino.
The rumours will come as concern to Newcastle fans, with the Magpies having been linked with the Argentine should the club’s takeover be completed.
PREMIER LEAGUE NEWS
Inter yet to renew loans for Alexis Sanchez and Victor Moses
Inter Milan chief executive Beppe Marrotta says the club are yet to agree loan extensions with Manchester United and Chelsea for Alexis Sanchez and Victor Moses.
Both players signed season-long loan deals with the Serie A side, but those deals are set to expire next week and Inter could be left short if an agreement cannot be reached.
“This is a great regulatory anomaly that needs to be resolved because we are still dealing with Chelsea and Manchester United today to try to extend their loans,” Marrotta told Sky Sports.
Werner defends decision to join Chelsea and miss Leipzig finale
Timo Werner has defended his decision to miss RB Leipzig’s finale Champions League games ahead of joining up with his new Chelsea team-mates.
“Of course it hurts me that I can’t help out [RB Leipzig] to play in the Champions League,” Werner told Sportbuzzer. “But I’m a Chelsea FC player from July 1st and I’m being paid by Chelsea from then on.”
“It was clear that all parties – Chelsea, RB and my side – should and must settle this. Of course I tried to keep out of the Champions League issue as much as I could because it was clear that I would have to hurt one side. That’s why my agent finally agreed it with the clubs.”
Latest on Kai Havertz to Chelsea
Bayer Leverkusen manager Peter Bosz insists Chelsea target Kai Havertz is “not thinking too much” about a summer transfer.
“I don’t feel that he is thinking too much about transferring,” he said, as per Goal. “Neither are we. I certainly don’t have the impression that this will be his last game for the club.
“He is still under contract with us and I have to assume that he will be with us next season too. That will include the German Cup final next month and the next Europa League game against Rangers in August.
“Of course, that’s all dependent on nothing happening before then.”
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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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