Euro 2020 and the Copa America are over and the summer transfer window is open, leaving Europe’s biggest clubs clear to make a splash in the market. Check out the latest gossip below, and see all official deals here.
TOP STORY: Atletico back in for Arsenal star Lacazette
Atletico Madrid are considering a move for Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette, according to Calciomercato.
The Frenchman’s contract is set to expire in 2022 and so he is widely expected to leave the North London club this summer. Atletico’s offer — which could be as low as £12 million — would at least prevent the Gunners losing him for nothing next summer, and in turn could help them fund a move for Tammy Abraham from Chelsea.
Atletico were interested in signing Lacazette in 2017 when he joined Arsenal from Lyon, but the move failed to materialise because of the Spanish club’s transfer ban at the time. Four years later, Atleti boss Diego Simeone is hoping to land his man in an attempt to bolster his strikeforce.
Lacazette, 30, joined Arsenal for £46.5m four years ago and Gunners boss Mikel Arteta has decided against extending his contract as the striker has scored 65 goals in 170 games.
Arteta is, however, said to be prepared to keep Lacazette next season if no deal is forthcoming, but any move for Abraham then would fall through as a consequence.
Arsenal are one of several clubs keen to sign Abraham, who has dropped down the pecking order at Chelsea, alongside Aston Villa and West Ham United.
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15.21 BST: Borussia Dortmund are set to announce the signing of PSV forward Donyell Malen until June 2026, says Fabrizio Romano.
Malen, 22, featured at youth level for Ajax and Arsenal before moving to PSV in 2017. He scored 27 goals in 45 games last season and was called up to Netherlands’ squad for Euro 2020.
At Dortmund he will replace Jadon Sancho, who moved to Man United for €85m on Friday.
15.05 BST: Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman could be prepared to call off the search for a new left-back following Alejandro Balde‘s impressive performances in preseason.
Mundo Deportivo reports that the Dutchman wanted a replacement for Junior Firpo, who joined Leeds United for €15m earlier this summer, to provide competition for Jordi Alba.
However, La Masia graduate Balde has been one of the star performers in Barca’s friendly wins over Gimnastic de Tarragonna and Girona.
In Saturday’s 3-1 win against Girona, he played over an hour, winning the penalty which led to the first goal and producing two impressive blocks to prevent goals at the other end.
Balde, 17, signed a new three-year deal last week, with the club including a €500m release clause in his new terms. Koeman had initially been reluctant to promote him to the first team too soon but reports suggest he may have changed his mind.
14.40 BST: Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar have settled a number of long-running legal disputes out of court, the Catalan club have confirmed.
Barca did not specify the details of the agreement, nor did they reveal which issues had remained unsettled prior to Monday’s agreement.
Neymar’s €222m move to PSG in 2017 had led to several court cases between the two parties, with Neymar demanding Barca pay him an unpaid renewal bonus and the club responding by suing him for breach of contract.
“Barcelona have ended out of court in amicable fashion the various labour and civil litigation cases that were open with the Brazilian player Neymar,” the Blaugrana said in a statement on Monday. “As such, a transactional agreement between the club and the player has been signed to end the legal cases that were pending between the two parties.”
14.21 BST: Why did Georginio Wijnaldum opt to leave Liverpool on a free transfer for PSG?
Luis Garcia reacts to Georginio Wijnaldum saying he was blamed for losses on social media during his time at Liverpool.
13.46 BST: Barcelona stand to make a small profit if Paris Saint-Germain manage to move on midfielder Rafinha this summer, says Diario SPORT.
Rafinha joined PSG last summer for a fee worth a potential €3m, with Barca due 35% of any future transfer.
According to SPORT, PSG will listen to offers for the Brazilian and are hopeful they will be able to get at least €10m for him.
That would mean an unexpected €3.5m for Barca, who are working hard to raise money through transfers and to reduce their wage bill to be able to register their new signings and Lionel Messi‘s new contract with La Liga.
PSG, meanwhile, also need to free up some room on their wage bill following the signing of Georginio Wijnaldum, Sergio Ramos, Achraf Hakimi and Gianluigi Donnarumma.
13.18 BST: ESPN revealed earlier this month that Barcelona and Lionel Messi have reached an agreement over a new five-year contract, although the official announcement has still not arrived.
Diario SPORT reports on Monday that Barca are “in a rush” to confirm the deal and hope to do so within the next week, preferably at the beginning of August.
However, as explained by ESPN, the Catalan club still need to make room on their wage bill to be able to register Messi’s new contract while complying with La Liga’s spending limit.
“There’s a desire to get it signed soon,” a source told SPORT. “There’s a rush but we can’t get ahead of ourselves. There are certain things that must be respected.”
Messi, 34, is on holiday with his family after winning the Copa America with Argentina. He’s technically a free agent until he signs a new deal with Barca, although SPORT claim the club expect him back for preseason training on Aug. 2, along with international teammate Sergio Aguero.
13.00 BST: Tottenham have signed Spain winger Bryan Gil from Sevilla for a reported fee of €25m… plus…
Erik Lamela has joined Sevilla on a contract until 2024 as part of the transfer.
Gracias, agent @sergio_regui 😎
Welcome to Spurs, @11BryanGil! pic.twitter.com/S9782r48eI
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) July 26, 2021
12.09 BST: Manchester United’s bid to sign Raphael Varane from Real Madrid is nearing the final stages after successful negotiations over the weekend, sources told ESPN’s Rob Dawson.
Talks with Varane’s representatives over personal terms and with Real Madrid over a fee are being described as “positive,” fuelling increasing optimism at Old Trafford that a deal for the Frenchman can be concluded.
The 28-year-old has one year left on his contract at the Bernabeu and has so far been reluctant to enter talks over a fresh agreement. If the stand-off continues, Real Madrid risk losing the defender for free in 12 months’ time if they do not sanction a departure this summer.
Sources have told ESPN that United still hope to drive down an asking price of around €50 million but the gap in valuation is not considered to be overly problematic provided Real Madrid’s position does not change.
11.51 BST: Arsenal are keen on Pacos de Ferreira winger Matchoi Djalo, says The Sun.
Djalo, 18, is the youngest player to ever play in the Portuguese Primeira Liga (when he made his debut at 16 years and 122 days) and has attracted attention from Juventus, Everton, Southampton and Newcastle in the past.
The Portugal Under-19 international could now be available for €1m as the Gunners target a long-term addition on the flanks.
11.25 BST: The Daily Mail claims that Man United want to sign Sevilla defender Jules Kounde this summer as well as Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane.
Varane, 28, is closing on a €50m deal as he has one year left on his contract. The France international did not feature in Madrid’s 2-1 loss at Rangers in their first official preseason game and remained in Madrid to train with several other players that participated in Euro 2020, but he wants to move on.
Kounde is one of the top young defenders in Europe and, at 22 with three years left on his contract, would cost around €80m to sign. The key to United’s interest appears to be that the Frenchman is capable of playing at right-back as well as centre-back.
11.20 BST: Southampton have confirmed midfielder Mario Lemina has signed for OGC Nice.
11.01 BST: Man United have handed manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a new contract. But was it too early?
Craig Burley doesn’t understand the thinking behind Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s contract extension at Man United.
10.47 BST: Aston Villa have confirmed that assistant manager John Terry has left the club.
10.30 BST: AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie says he is keen to commit his future to AC Milan.
Despite reported interest from Tottenham and Inter Milan, Kessie, who is competing at the Olympics with Ivory Coast, has no intention of leaving the San Siro.
Kessie, 24, becomes a free agent next summer and has yet to agree terms over a new deal. But it appears that won’t be an issue.
“Right now I’m at the Olympics but as soon as I return, I will sort everything,” he told Gazzetta. “I only want Milan and both [AC Milan directors Paolo] Maldini and [Frederic] Massara know what my thoughts are. I’m proud to have chosen Milan and I don’t want to leave. In fact, I want to remain forever.”
AC Milan signed Kessie from Atalanta on a two-year loan in 2017 then permanently for around €24m in 2019. He impressed last season scoring 13 goals and setting up six more in 37 league appearances.
09.58 BST: Sporting Lisbon are closing in on the permanent signing of Manchester City full-back Pedro Porro, according to A Bola.
Porro, 21, was loaned to the Portuguese champions last summer on a two-year deal. An option to sign him permanently for €8.5m was included in the deal and Sporting are set to exercise it in the coming days.
The Spaniard joined Sporting last week for preseason and revealed there could be news regarding his future soon.
“I can’t say anything, all I can say is that this week there could be something big happening,” he told A Bola.
Porro, who made 30 league appearances to help Sporting win the league title, is expected to sign a contract with Sporting until June 2025. He has not made a single appearance for Manchester City since joining the Premier League giants in an £11m deadline-day deal from Girona.
Porro spent the 2019-20 campaign on loan at Spanish club Real Valladolid before being sent again on loan last season. He has said: “I never spoke to Pep Guardiola”, and joked: “I don’t think he even knows they signed me. But they must be attentive to what I have been doing.”
09.21 BST: Manchester United have started negotiating with Real Madrid for the transfer of defender Raphael Varane, according to Marca.
Varane, who joined up with his Real Madrid teammates for preseason training on Friday, has reportedly already agreed personal terms with the Red Devils.
The 28-year-old completed his 10th season with Los Blancos before featuring for France at Euro 2020. However, he has turned down offers to extend his stay in Madrid beyond next summer when his contract runs out and is keen to leave for a new experience, preferably in the Premier League.
Real Madrid reportedly want at least €50m for Varane, who made 41 appearances in the 2020-21 campaign.
08.43 BST: The Daily Express claims “West Ham could look to Liverpool’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to boost their midfield this season.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain, 27, hasn’t cemented his place in the first team at Liverpool after moving from Arsenal for £35m and made only 13 league appearances last year after recovering from a serious knee injury.
West Ham are in talks with West Brom’s Matheus Pereira over a £25m move — on loan, but with an obligation to sign him permanently next summer — but Oxlade-Chamberlain and Chelsea’s Ross Barkley are on the radar if it doesn’t work out.
08.30 BST: ICYMI – Barcelona’s drive to reduce their wage bill has hit a significant obstacle as they struggle to make room to register their new signings and Lionel Messi’s new contract, various sources told ESPN.
The club must reduce their outgoings to ensure they comply with La Liga’s spending limits next season. If they can’t, they risk not being able to register Messi’s new contract or new signings Memphis Depay, Sergio Aguero, Eric Garcia and Emerson Royal.
Barca have until the end of the transfer window on Aug. 31 to submit Messi’s deal and their new signings to La Liga, but internally they want everything resolved before Aug. 15, when they kick off their league season at home to Real Sociedad. League president Javier Tebas has said he will not relax the rules for Barcelona, and a failure to get their finances in order could see Messi, if he signs the five-year deal revealed by ESPN last week, unable to play until at least January, as happened with Getafe midfielder Pedro Leon in 2014.
Barca managed to move on several youngsters and fringe players earlier in the transfer window, including United States international Konrad de la Fuente‘s move to Marseille, but they are struggling to get rid of the big earners. The club have also failed to agree to terms on a pay cut with long-serving players Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba and Sergi Roberto. Sources said director of football Mateu Alemany has spoken with the trio’s agents, but none have shown an appetite to cut their earnings to help the club yet. Busquets earns around €16m a year at the club, while Alba is on €13m and Roberto €10.5m.
ESPN previously explained that the quickest way to make those savings was through Antoine Griezmann, but talks for the forward to return to Atletico Madrid have stalled. Barca and Atletico had been in negotiations over a swap deal, which would see midfielder Saul Niguez move in the other direction to Camp Nou, but they cannot agree on player valuations.
Rob Palmer joins ESPN FC to shed some light on Barcelona’s struggles to reduce their wage bill to fit Lionel Messi’s contract.
PAPER GOSSIP (by Nick Judd)
– Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti has fallen out of favour under boss Ronald Koeman and his appearances in preseason appear to be an attempt by the Catalan club to find him a new club. That’s according to Sport, who believe Koeman won’t be counting on the 27-year-old in 2021-22. Umtiti has found it hard playing consecutive games in the last few seasons as a result of numerous injuries and, by allowing him to leave, Barca believe they can free up some much needed wages to ease their financial woes.
– Arsenal midfielder Joe Willock remains a priority for Newcastle United, but they’re already eyeing up Chelsea’s Ross Barkley as an alternative, according to the Athletic. Steve Bruce is yet to make a signing this summer and so the pressure is on to enhance his side, with central midfield an area of priority. Willock, 21, impressed during a loan spell at St James’s Park last season, but Bruce admits that any permanent move remains firmly in Arsenal’s hands. Therefore, the Magpies could turn their attentions to Barkley, 27, who was on loan at Aston Villa last season, and who could be a much easier deal to sort.
– Erik Lamela is ready to undergo a medical in Sevilla this week ahead of a swap deal that will see Bryan Gil head in the opposite direction, reports Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano. Tottenham midfielder Lamela, 29, has been spotted at Sevilla’s ground and will undergo his medical later this week. Gil is set to arrive in London this week as part of the swap in a deal that will see the 20-year-old winger sign until 2026.
– Borussia Dortmund are close to announcing forward Donyell Malen after the first part of the necessary paper was completed at the weekend, according to Fabrizio Romano. Malen is in Germany to complete his medical, and Romano reveals that PSV Eindhoven will land a €30m transfer fee for the 22-year-old. Liverpool were also reported to be in the hunt for the prolific attacking player, but despite their interest, no official bid was ever made.
– Roma boss Jose Mourinho has offered Barcelona €15m for defender Clement Lenglet in an effort to boost his backline, according to Sport. Roma boss Mourinho is looking to strengthen his defence and 26-year-old Lenglet is one of several players being targeted. However, Barcelona are said to want closer to €25m, given that the Frenchman has five years remaining on his contract. Sport believe negotiations could begin between the two clubs in the new few days, despite the difference in valuation.