Haaland prefers Real Madrid over PSG amid Dortmund’s secret pact


The summer transfer window is closed for the top leagues in Europe! After a summer full of international football, countless clubs waited until the last minute to pull off their transfers. See all the major deals here and check out how we graded the biggest signings. But just because the window is shut until January, that doesn’t mean the rumours won’t keep coming.

TOP STORY: Haaland prefers Madrid move

Erling Haaland will leave Borussia Dortmund next summer after a secret pact was made between the player’s agent Mino Raiola and the Bundesliga side, according to AS.

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Raiola reportedly has a verbal agreement with Dortmund that will see the Norway international’s move facilitated in 2022, with Real Madrid the preferred destination chosen by the 21-year-old.

But if Real Madrid prioritise a move for Kylian Mbappe, it is reported that Paris Saint-Germain will go all-out to replace the France international with Haaland, leaving two clubs at the front of the queue for one of the most sought-after players in world football.

The Norway international has remained in fine form so far this season, scoring 13 goals and assisting three in 10 games for club and country. He has a reported release clause of €75m which comes into effect in September 2022.

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20.18 BST: AC Milan defender Simon Kjaer is nearing a contract renewal with the Rossoneri, according to Calciomercato.

The Denmark captain has made 62 appearances for AC Milan since joining in 2020 from Sevilla and has been an important part of the rebuild at the San Siro. His leadership was also key for his nation in the summer, leading them to a European Championships semi-final.

19.45 BST: Leeds United have opened talks with Kalvin Phillips over a new contract to keep the midfielder from rivals Manchester United, according to the Daily Star.

England Men’s Player of the Year, Phillips has impressed since arriving in the Premier League from the Championship with Leeds. The 25-year-old has reportedly been listed as a potential target at Old Trafford, who have been looking to bolster their central ranks.

19.12 BST: Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis met with the agent of Lorenzo Insigne to open talks over a new contract, according to Fabrizio Romano.

The 30-year-old captain has spent his whole career at the club but is out of contract next summer, making him free to discuss a move abroad in January. The winger was also a key player in the summer for Italy, scoring two goals in six appearances at Euro 2020.

18.39 BST: Poland’s next up and coming youngster, Kacper Kozlowski, has attracted the attention of some of Europe’s biggest sides in the transfer market according to Calciomercato.

The 17-year-old has been likened to a mix between Paul Pogba and Kevin de Bruyne in midfield and has already made five appearances internationally for the senior Poland side. Juventus, Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig, FC Salzburg and AC Milan all have serious interest in the youngster, whilst Bayer Leverkusen saw an approach in the summer turned down.

18.06 BST: West Ham have opened talks to sign Juventus and U.S. international midfielder Weston McKennie, reports Football Insider.

The 23-year-old only joined the Serie A outfit from Schalke last summer for roughly £18m, however there could be a midfield shakeup at the club. The Hammers on the other hand are said to be on the lookout for a potential successor to Declan Rice, with McKennie viewed as the main target.

17.33 BST: Chelsea, Liverpool and Everton are interested in Newcastle United playmaker Allan Saint-Maximin, according to Calciomercato. Staring down a potential relegation scrap this season, the Magpies would be unlikely to let the 24-year-old leave in January, but the report claims that all three clubs view next summer as an opportunity to land the tricky forward.

17.00 BST: Liverpool are keen on Villarreal forward Arnaut Danjuma, says Football Insider.

Danjuma, 24, impressed against Manchester United in the Champions League this week and now Liverpool want to add the forward to their squad.

The Netherlands international only moved to Villarreal from Bournemouth this summer for around €25m and signed a five-year contract.

16.04 BST: Serie A champions Inter Milan have posted an Italian football record of €245.6m in losses for the 2020-21 financial year, the club announced on Thursday.

Earlier this month, Juventus had announced losses of €210m, which at the time was the most of any team.

“The entire 2020-2021 financial year was significantly affected by the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic — both in Italy and worldwide — and the restrictive measures adopted to safeguard public health and production activities,” an Inter statement read.

“Within this context, consolidated revenues were €364.7m. The financial year recorded losses of €245.6m, most of which due to the complete lack of matchday income following the closure of stadiums [compared to 2020, when stadiums closed in early March], the reduction in sponsorship contracts as a result of the club being unable to provide benefits and the liquidation of sports contracts.”

15.42 BST: Manchester United’s move for Cristiano Ronaldo is working out nicely.

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Craig Burley praises Cristiano Ronaldo for being a difference-maker, but says Man United have shown no progress under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

15.05 BST: From the American second tier to LaLiga, Louisville City FC defender Jonathan Gomez will move to Real Sociedad following the 2021 USL Championship season.

Gomez, 18, will remain with LouCity for the final six regular-season games and the USL Championship playoffs but will move to Spain afterwards.

Congrats are in order 👏

It’s official! Upon our season’s end, @jonathang_42 will complete a historic transfer to La Liga side @RealSociedadEN: https://t.co/cwhMsDv6aV

In the meantime, let’s chase that 🏆 pic.twitter.com/pQIbzysElN

— Louisville City FC (@loucityfc) September 30, 2021

“I’m honored to take this next step in my career,” Gomez said. “I visited a few other clubs, and Real Sociedad stood out when I was able to see the training grounds and stadium as well as meet the staff. I think my game — my technical, tactical and physical abilities — fits well into their system.

“Obviously, Louisville City FC has played a big part in my development these past two years. I’m 100% concentrated on trying to win a championship here before turning my focus to Spain.”

14.57 BST: Real Madrid still need a backup for Karim Benzema and El Nacional says they could move for Manchester United striker Edinson Cavani now Cristiano Ronaldo is keeping him out of the XI.

Cavani, 34, joined United in the summer of 2020 as a free agent and has 17 goals and six assists in 42 games. However, Ronaldo’s return to Old Trafford has seen him relegated to the bench.

Madrid want to sign both Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe eventually, but need a short-term fix first as Luka Jovic and Mariano Diaz are not up to the task.

14.13 BST: Mohamed Salah still hasn’t signed a new contract at Liverpool and could be available in 2022 if he doesn’t put pen to paper before it expires a year later.

El Nacional claims rather hopefully that Barcelona are looking at the Egypt winger. But their financial situation surely won’t be fixed by then and Liverpool will be demanding a hefty fee to sign him.

13.27 BST: Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Manchester City want to sign Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic.

Vlahovic, 21, has a contract which expires in 2023 and has been linked with a €70m move to Atletico Madrid. He has scored 35 goals in 91 games for Fiorentina since arriving from Partizan in 2018.

The Serbia international is also being tracked by Juventus and Milan, but Fiorentina president Rocco Commisso is working to try and get him to sign a new deal.

12.21 BST: Barcelona continue to seek alternatives to replace Ronald Koeman with former Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo and River Plate manager Marcelo Gallardo the latest names added to the list of candidates, several sources have told ESPN’s Moises Llorens.

While ex-Barcelona captain Xavi Hernandez and Belgium coach Roberto Martinez remain on the list, several sources have not ruled out to ESPN that Barca president Joan Laporta could opt for Albert Capellas, who works in Barca’s youth academy, as an urgent solution.

Barca vice-president Eduard Romeu announced earlier this week that money would not be a problem for the club to part company with Koeman but there are several discrepancies as to how to carry out the coach’s dismissal without breaking LaLiga’s rules on salary caps.

LaLiga announced on Wednesday that Barca’s spending limit for the 2021-22 campaign is €97.9m and that the club will only be able to spend 25% of what they save in wages or make in transfer fees on registering new players or making signings.

Nevertheless, various sources told ESPN that those limitations would not affect the hiring of a new coach as Koeman’s dismissal would not count as a saving but rather as an expense as it is a termination of employment. Thus, Barcelona could increase its salary limit by 4% to sign a new coach based on Article 74 of the economic control regulations.

12.00 BST: Drawing inspiration from David Schoenfield’s look at the biggest star every MLB team has traded, we scanned the world of soccer — more specifically, the top clubs around Europe. (You can read the Premier League version here.)

Cristiano Ronaldo has returned to Manchester United from Juventus for €15m plus add-ons, but it wasn’t so long ago that he was departing Real Madrid for Turin. Barcelona landed superstar Ronaldinho from PSG back in 2003, but the Spanish club had little choice when PSG offered them Neymar‘s €222m release clause.

Here’s a rundown of the biggest stars ever traded by top clubs around Europe.

11.22 BST: Barcelona are really in trouble.

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Julien Laurens calls Barcelona’s 3-0 defeat vs. Benfica “a joke” while explaining their myriad of issues.

10.33 BST: Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius could move on in January.

Karius, 28, has been ruled out of action with a shoulder injury but isn’t competing for a first-team spot and has not made a competitive appearance for Liverpool since 2018 after his nightmare in the Champions League final against Real Madrid. He is in the final year of his contract and has attracted interest from Bundesliga clubs and Swiss side FC Basel.

“I’ve been out for about six weeks and I’ll try to rejoin training after the international break and get back in top shape,” he told Bild. “We’ll see what will happen in the winter. My goal is to be under the bar every week. And we’ll see where that is.

“There were a few clubs in the picture [in the summer], but that didn’t get off the ground for various reasons.”

09.45 BST: Sergio Busquets said Barcelona’s situation is “critical” after Benfica inflicted a second successive 3-0 Champions League defeat on them to leave Ronald Koeman‘s job hanging by a thread.

Two goals from Darwin Nunez sandwiched a Rafa Silva strike in Lisbon on Wednesday as Benfica followed Bayern Munich in putting three goals past Koeman’s struggling side.

It’s the first time Barca have suffered back-to-back defeats in the group stage of the Champions League since 2000 and raises the prospect of them failing to make the knockout rounds for the first time in 21 years.

“That’s the easiest thing in the world of football, but everyone has their share in the responsibility, [including] the players,” Busquets told reporters when asked if firing Koeman could help turn Barca’s season around. But we’re in a critical situation, that’s the truth.”

09.16 BST: Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says midfielder Jesse Lingard is unhappy over his lack of playing time.

Lingard, 28, came off the bench against Villarreal on Wednesday to set up Cristiano Ronaldo‘s late winner but is yet to start a game in the Premier League or Champions League this season.

The England international was linked with a move to West Ham over the summer but chose to stay and fight for his place.

“Jesse is unhappy at not playing more,” said Solskjaer. “But you come on an make an impact. That’s what you do when you’re a sub at this level.”

08.48 BST: Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong believes a change of coach is not the solution to their problems.

Wednesday’s 3-0 defeat at Benfica, their second straight loss in the Champions League following their 3-0 defeat against Bayern Munich, piled further pressure on Ronald Koeman.

“I don’t think changing the coach will solve anything,” De Jong said. “We lost and we didn’t score. We are in a very complicated situation.

“There are still games left and if we win our remaining (group) games, there is a chance. I’m still confident that we can progress to the next round. We need to keep fighting, stick together and overcome this situation. You only get out of situations like this one when you work hard and you are united as a team. We need to continue and look ahead. We are trying everything, working very hard in training and trying to give our all on the pitch but clearly against Benfica it wasn’t our day.”

Sport and Mundo Deportivo both report that while Barcelona will not rush into a decision regarding Koeman’s future, Barca president Joan Laporta has already got a list of candidates to replace him, with former Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo now added to the shortlist that includes Xavi, Robert Martinez and Oscar Garcia. Koeman’s sacking would reportedly cost Barca up to €12m, which would be a further burden on the financially stricken club..

– Barcelona ratings: 3/10 Garcia sums up Barca woes

08.00 BST: Declan Rice insists he is happy at West Ham United and is focused on guiding the club to Europa League glory this season.

The England midfielder is a long-term target for Manchester United and Chelsea, and talks over a new contract at the London Stadium have reportedly stalled.

“We’ve spoken about it lots in the past,” the 22-year-old told a news conference. “Everyone knows how I feel about West Ham and how I feel about playing under the manager and what it’s like playing with the group of players I’m playing with.

“I feel you can see in my performances nothing’s up, nothing’s concerning me. I’m playing with a smile on my face, I’m going out there, I’m leading the team.

“I think you could see a difference if I wasn’t going out there and giving 100% but every time I’m putting on the shirt – I’ve got the armband on at the moment — my only objective is to go out there and give everything for the club and get three points.”

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Janusz Michallik discusses the benefits for both Arsenal and Juventus should they decide to swap Granit Xhaka and Weston McKennie.

PAPER GOSSIP (by Adam Brown)

– Juventus are ready to make Dusan Vlahovic the prime target in their plans to recruit a striker, reports Calciomercato. The Serbia international has been on the radar of a number of clubs throughout the summer after an impressive 2020-21 campaign. Despite reports that he would sign a new deal with Fiorentina, the club are beginning to lose confidence in the 21-year-old’s commitment to La Viola. A fee of around €70m is reported to be required to get a deal over the line.

– AS Monaco are prepared to reject any bids which fall below €40m for Aurelien Tchouameni. That’s according to Ekrem Konur, who says that the midfielder remains on Chelsea’s radar ahead of the next transfer window. The 21-year-old has been a standout performer in Ligue 1 this season while playing in a deep central midfield position.

– Real Madrid target Lorenzo Pellegrini looks set to extend his contract with AS Roma, writes Nicolo Schira. The Serie A club was keen to remove the midfielder’s release clause, which was set at €30m, and the new deal will also see the 25-year-old extend his stay at the Stadio Olimpico until 2026. Pellegrini has registered five goals and one assist in his last six games for the Giallorossi.

– Sky Italy reports that everything has been agreed regarding the contract extension between Barcelona and Pedri. The Catalan club has been prioritising locking down their young stars to long-term deals at Camp Nou, and Pedri looks to be the latest player to have penned new terms. The 18-year-old featured in 37 LaLiga games last season and had a solid Euro 2020 performance for Spain.

– Manchester City are looking to offer a one-year extension to Fernandinho that will see him remain at the club until 2023, according to Ekrem Konur. The Brazilian’s current deal will end next summer, but the new terms will see the defensive midfielder reach a decade as a player at the Etihad Stadium, after joining from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013.





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