The transfer window may have slammed shut, but that doesn’t mean the rumour mill has shut down! Speculation over summer moves is heating up so check out the latest gossip below, and see all official deals here.
Varane could leave Real Madrid
Real Madrid believe Raphael Varane may not renew his contract with the champions before it expires in 2022, Marca reports.
There’s set to be plenty of change at the Bernabeu at the end of an underwhelming season and, if Real can’t convince Varane to sign a new deal, they may allow the France international to leave during the summer transfer window.
The Spanish outlet reports that the fee could be around €50 million, with Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United mooted as Varane’s most likely destinations.
Varane, 27, has won four Champions Leagues and three La Liga titles for Madrid playing alongside Sergio Ramos, whose own contract is due to expire at the end of the season.
– Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ (U.S. only)
– ESPN+ viewer’s guide: Bundesliga, Serie A, MLS, FA Cup and more
16.09 GMT: Argentinos Juniors president Cristian Malaspina has said he is waiting on former AC Milan and Chelsea striker Alexandre Pato to decide if he wants to join the club.
Pato terminated his contract with Brazilian side Sao Paolo in August 2020 and his next stop could be in Argentina.
“We made an offer and are waiting for an agreement,” Malaspina told TyC Sports. “It’s possible, but he still needs to decide if he wants to move to Argentina.
“We knew he was a free agent and there were many reasons we decided to take the decision to call him. Now we are waiting.”
15.26 GMT: Major League Soccer’s FC Cincinnati have announced the signing of former Brazil youth international Brenner from Sao Paulo.
The 21-year-old forward, whose full name is Brenner Souza da Silva, arrives at the West End Stadium as a Young Designated Player.
Since the resumption of the Brazilian last August, Brenner scored 21 goals and registered four assists in 39 appearances for Sao Paulo, where he was a teammate of Brazil great Dani Alves.
Bem-vindo ao Cincinnati, @09brenner! #FCCincy have acquired Brazilian striker Brenner from São Paulo FC as a Young Designated Player.
📰: https://t.co/VgUZzk49wS pic.twitter.com/UDUyaLjk9R
— FC Cincinnati (@fccincinnati) February 9, 2021
14.38 GMT: Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman has said Paris Saint-Germain can keep talking about Lionel Messi if they want as the tension grows ahead of next week’s Champions League game between the two sides.
PSG’s pursuit of Messi, who is out of contract in June, has spilled into the media in recent months. Sporting director Leonardo, Neymar and Angel Di Maria have all spoken about the French club’s desire to sign the Barca captain.
Speaking last week, Di Maria said there was a “big chance” of Messi moving to Paris, prompting Koeman to brand PSG “disrespectful” and accuse them of stirring the pot ahead of the first leg of their round-of-16 tie at Camp Nou on Feb. 16.
“I don’t know why [PSG] do it,” Koeman said in a news conference on Tuesday when asked about another week of speculation surrounding Messi’s future. “If they want to speak about Leo, let them do it.”
Lyon manager Rudi Garcia even became embroiled in the transfer saga this week, accusing Koeman of hypocrisy for condemning PSG’s actions at the same time as publicly courting Lyon forward Memphis Depay.
“And now the Lyon coach gets involved,” Koeman added. “It seems he likes to have prominence in the press. For me, it’s not important.
“Look, what we have to do is prepare for the Copa del Rey semifinal against Sevilla [on Wednesday], then for Alaves on Saturday and then for PSG in the Champions League next Tuesday.”
13.53 GMT: Edinson Cavani is a target for South American giants Bocas Juniors and there has already been contact with the Manchester United striker, sources have told ESPN Argentina’s Augusto Cesar.
Uruguay international Cavani, who has a contract at Old Trafford that runs until the end of the season, has said several times in the past that he would love to play for Boca one day.
Cesar reports that here have already been some phone calls between the player and Boca sporting director Juan Roman Riquelme over a deal to take place next year. Riquelme plans to make a marquee signing like Cavani in 2022 as it will be his last year at the club.
13.09 GMT: Real Madrid are favourites to sign Bayern Munich’s David Alaba with Chelsea unwilling to meet the defender’s wage demands, sources have told ESPN’s James Olley.
The 28-year-old is out of contract this summer and rejected Bayern’s offer of a new five-year deal worth around £250,000-a-week including bonuses.
Madrid have been in talks with Alaba since last month and are thought to be close to securing Alaba’s signature on a four-year contract worth almost £400,000-a-week.
Other interested clubs have been told they will need to match that figure to enter the running but Chelsea have so far proved reluctant to break their current wage structure.
12.32 GMT: Former Uruguay international striker Sebastian Abreu has been unveiled at Brazilian outfit Athletic Club MG, the 30th club of his career.
Abreu, 44, made his senior debut with Uruguay’s Defensor Sporting in 1994 and set a Guinness world record for the most professional clubs played for when he joined Chilean side Audax Italiano in 2017 — his 26th professional team.
South America’s football governing body, CONMEBOL, congratulated Abreu on Twitter and wrote: “Sebastian ‘El Loco‘ Abreu definitely thinks big and breaks his own record, now at 44 signing for his 30th team Athletic Club de Minas Gerais.”
Sebastián “El Loco” Abreu definitivamente #CreeEnGrande y vuelve a romper su récord 💪, ahora con 44 años es fichado por su equipo #30, el Athletic Club de Minas Gerais 🇧🇷 ⚽👏🏼 pic.twitter.com/NeGxUX2Py0
— CONMEBOL.com (@CONMEBOL) February 8, 2021
11.55 GMT: Manchester City will begin talks over a new contract with defender John Stones in the summer, The Times reports.
England international Stones is still on the contract that he signed when he joined the club from Everton in 2016, which runs until the end of next season.
The 26-year-old had fallen out of favour at the Etihad stadium and had looked set to leave City last summer, but his career has been reinvigorated by his partnership with Ruben Dias. In 14 games which the pair have played together at centre-back, City have conceded two goals.
11.16 GMT: Former Argentina and Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli is the top candidate to succeed Andre Villas-Boas at Olympique Marseille, according to L’Equipe.
Marseille are looking for a new manager after the club suspended manager Villas-Boas last week, hours after the Portuguese coach said he had offered to resign over disagreements with the club’s board.
Sampaoli, 60, would have to reach an agreement with Brazilian club Atletico Mineiro to terminate his contract, which runs until the end of 2021.
10.39 GMT: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have to wait until the end of the season before opening talks over a new contract with Manchester United, The Sun reports.
Solskjaer, 47, has led United to within five points of Premier League leaders Manchester City, the club’s first sustained period at the top of the table since he took over as manager in December 2018. The former Norway international has 16 months left on his current deal.
According to The Sun, Old Trafford chiefs want to have Champions League qualification for next season before a new two-year contract worth around £6m a year is put on the table.
09.54 GMT: AC Milan director Paolo Maldini has said he sees no reason why Zlatan Ibrahimovic shouldn’t extend his contract with the Serie A leaders despite the Swede turning 40 in October.
Ibrahimovic has been inspirational for the Rossoneri and his two goals in Sunday’s 4-0 win against Crotone (stream the replay on ESPN+ in the U.S.) brought his Serie A tally for the campaign to 14 — with only Cristiano Ronaldo outscoring him, having played six games more — and took him past the milestone of 500 career goals in club football.
Asked about a potential renewal for Ibrahmovic, whose contract expires at the end of the season, Maldini told Bein Sports: “He told us it will depend on his body. But if he continues like this, I don’t see why he shouldn’t still be with us next season.”
09.21 GMT: Hernan Crespo has revealed he is had talks with two Brazilian clubs and the Chile national side over their coaching vacancies.
Former Inter Milan and Chelsea striker Crespo, 45, stepped down as coach of Argentine side Defensa y Justicia recently after winning the Copa Sudamericana.
“I have spoken to Santos, Sao Paulo and with Chile’s federation but I haven’t made a decision,” the former Argentina international said. “I believe it was only right to be honest with the [Defensa y Justicia] club executives as the phone is constantly ringing. “A beautiful chapter has ended.”
08.43 GMT: Borussia Dortmund’s struggle on and off the pitch continued on Monday when the club reported their preliminary figures for the first half of the 2020-2021 financial year, which could have an impact on the future of Jadon Sancho.
Despite generating a net profit for the second quarter, the total losses in the first half of the fiscal year amount to over €26m and their turnover decreased by almost €60m to €177.4m, down from €236.6m the previous year.
Dortmund have previously stated they are expecting losses in the region of €75m for the year, and, as they are in danger of missing Champions League qualification in the domestic league, they could be forced to cut their losses in the summer and make England international Sancho available for a lower transfer fee.
Manchester United made Sancho their top transfer target last summer, but Dortmund insisted the Premier League club would have to meet their €120m valuation of the 20-year-old, who ended up staying in Germany. Last week, Sport Bild reported that Dortmund could now ask for just €100m, still a rather optimistic valuation.
Should Dortmund fail to bridge the four-point gap to Eintracht Frankfurt, the last team on a Champions League qualification spot in the Bundesliga, Sancho is not likely to be the only high-profile exit at the Westfalenstadion where profits on the transfer market have been essential for the club’s growth in recent years.
– Bundesliga on ESPN+: Stream LIVE games and replays (U.S. only)
08.00 GMT: Manchester City have not given up on signing Lionel Messi on a free transfer this summer but will wait until March or April before sounding out the situation regarding the Barcelona forward, various sources have told ESPN’s Moises Llorens and Rodrigo Faez.
Messi, 33, is out of contract in June and has been free to negotiate with other clubs since Jan. 1. City led the chase for the Argentina international last August when he asked Barca to let him leave but the Premier League leaders have kept a low profile in recent months.
In contrast, Paris Saint-Germain have been making a lot of noise about their desire to sign Messi at the end of the season.
City will bide their time and see how the situation develops, even if PSG have taken a different approach, an approach which sources at Barca have told ESPN is completely the wrong way to try and seduce Messi.
“PSG are making a mistake with the strategy they’re using,” one source said. “Leo doesn’t like all that noise in the media and even less the type of comments [which have been made].”
PAPER TALK (by Harry Kettle)
Chelsea struggle with Alaba’s wage demands
• Barnwell’s best moves: 100-51 | 50-1
• Summer transfer grades
• Latest completed major transfers
Bayern Munich defender David Alaba has demanded £400,000-per-week to move to Chelsea, the Telegraph reports.
Alaba has just six months left to run on his current contract with the German champions and the Blues are believed to be one of the frontrunners in the race to sign him.
Thomas Tuchel’s side are in the running alongside Real Madrid, but if they’re going to put forward an actual offer, they’ll want Alaba to lower his demands.
Strakosha open to Lazio exit
Lazio keeper Thomas Strakosha is open to the idea of leaving the Italian club, he revealed during an interview with Sky Sport Germany.
As a backup option to Pepe Reina, Strakosha is looking into the possibility of bringing his near-decade-long spell with Lazio to an end.
“I am open to new challenges. For me Rome is like a second thing, but the Bundesliga is really interesting,” he said. “It would certainly be a great next stop for me.”
– The Daily Mail is reporting that Inter Miami are still interested in trying to sign Stoke City defender Ryan Shawcross. The veteran is believed to be attracted by the prospect of a new challenge after a handful of injury problems recently, and with over a decade under his belt with the Potters, Miami are confident that they can land their man.
– Newcastle United will not be able to recall Florian Lejeune from his loan spell with Alaves, Chronicle Live reports. The Magpies had hoped to use Lejeune as a solution to some of their lingering defensive issues after a string of players recently went down through injury, but the option to recall him expired at the end of the January transfer window.