Real Madrid ponder Vinicius exit to sign Mbappe, Haaland


The January transfer window may seem like a distant memory, 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.

TOP STORY: Real Madrid eye Vinicius exit for Mbappe, Haaland deal

Real Madrid are plotting ways to land one or both of their marquee targets this summer, Paris Saint-Germain‘s Kylian Mbappe and Borussia Dortmund‘s Erling Haaland, and one way is to raise €60 million by letting Vinicius Junior leave, says OK Diario.

The 20-year-old arrived at the Bernabeu for €45m from Flamengo in 2017, but four years on he continues to split opinion in the Spanish capital. He has scored just four goals in 33 appearances this season.

Madrid were convinced they’d landed the next Neymar when they signed Vinicius, and yet while he boasts electric speed and technical qualities, he’s not quite had the impact it was hoped he would.

The report also claims that Eden Hazard and Raphael Varane could be allowed to leave by manager Zinedine Zidane, with the combined fees to sign both Mbappe and Haaland likely in excess of £200m. Hazard has made just six starts this season in La Liga after joining from Chelsea in 2019, while Varane has been linked with a move away from the Bernabeu to Manchester United in the summer.

Madrid will face plenty of competition for the signature of Haaland and Mbappe, but they will need to streamline their squad first to even be in a position to bid for both.

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– Insider Notebook: Haaland fee set at €180m

LIVE BLOG

21.30 GMT: Uruguay assistant coach Mario Rebollo has urged Edinson Cavani to go where he is comfortable amid links to Boca Juniors. Ex-PSG star Cavani joined Manchester United for this season but has yet to decide whether to take an option for a second campaign.

“It would be good for us if Cavani plays where he feels most comfortable. It makes no difference to me if it’s Boca or another place, where he’s better,” Rebollo told 2 de Punta.

20.00 GMT: A bit of Major League Soccer drama as The Athletic reports that Atlanta United have not finalised the deal for defender Alan Franco. The Argentine centre-back was initially set for a move to Atlanta from Independiente before Sao Paulo FC jumped into the fray.

That deal fizzled amid a sweetened counter-offer from Atlanta. After manager Gabriel Heinze said on Saturday that deal was done, it now seems as its still pending.

19.30 GMT: The Star reports that Raheem Sterling‘s contract extension at Manchester City has been put on hold until the summer. With two years left on the deal, there is a “relaxed” feeling about getting something done. Nonetheless, the ex-Liverpool man is eyeing a pay raise beyond his £300k-a-week salary.

18.15 GMT: Manchester United are making moves for Marcos Llorente and are willing to pay Atletico Madrid €80m, according to AS.

While the club have no plans to sell him, the bid from United is impressive enough to make them consider a move for the midfielder.

The player is said to be happy in Madrid, however, and his unwillingness to move could make a possible transfer more difficult for United.

This wouldn’t be the first time United tried to sign him with negotiations falling apart in the latter stages of the January transfer window.

17.36 GMT: Despite Arsenal’s interest in keeping Martin Odegaard in London, Real Madrid still have no intentions of selling the Norway international.

Marca are reporting that the La Liga club are “not even contemplating” a more permanent move for the 22-year-old as he is still seen as an important part of their future.

Odegaard struggled to secure game time at Real Madrid but has already become an integral part of Mikel Arteta’s side.

18.08 GMT: AC Milan honourary vice president Franco Baresi has said the club will “do everything” to sign Fikayo Tomori on a permanent deal from Chelsea.

The defender has made 12 appearances in Serie A since his loan move in January and the club are reportedly keen to keep him in Italy past this season.

“We’ll do everything to sign him on a permanent deal,” Baresi told Gafzzetta dello Sport.

“Two months are remaining until the end of the season, and it’s not only up to Milan.

“Tomori is imposing himself with talent and determination. He has shown no fear to play in a new league. Potentially, he can become a great champion. I hope he lives up to expectations.”

17.00 GMT: Xabi Alonso won’t be the new manager of Borussia Monchengladbach but he’s got plenty to keep him busy.

16.22 GMT: O Jogo says that Chelsea have reignited their interest in Porto winger/right-back Jesus “Tecatito” Corona.

Corona, 28, could reportedly be signed for €25m now, but his release clause is only active until June and will rise to €40m after that.

The Mexico international caught the eye at the 2018 World Cup in Russia and has three goals and 11 assists for Porto this season.

15.39 GMT: Sir Alex Ferguson knows a thing or two about signing good players. The former Manchester United manager spent 27 years in charge at Old Trafford and became one of the best in history with 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups, four League Cups and two Champions League trophies.

Ferguson oversaw the signings of Cristiano Ronaldo, Eric Cantona, Wayne Rooney, Roy Keane, Rio Ferdinand and Ruud van Nistelrooy, and was asked what makes a good player.

“I think that it could be divided into maybe a few parts,” he told the club’s website. “Some players I had were absolute natural footballers, with natural talent. But there were other players who shared my determination, who maybe weren’t the best players but they made themselves the best players, because they had something inside them too.

“I go back to one of my first defeats as a manager, at 32 years of age. I didn’t expect it. I went into the game eyes wide open, that this was going to be easy. We lost 5-2 to Albion Rovers. I was the manager of East Stirling, the players were on £5 a week, or something like that. I came home and I said ‘if I don’t get Alec Ferguson in my team, I’m not going to succeed’. So I made sure that my players had a mental toughness about them, from that moment on.

“I believe in instinct. I had a good instinct about players and I had a good instinct about watching players who I maybe wanted to buy. I knew that, looking at certain players, I could see traits that told me they were Manchester United players, or Aberdeen players, or St Mirren players. I could see that in certain players I watched.

“Instinct was really important. Also on instinct, sometimes it’s picking the team. We’re playing certain teams and I’d have an instinct: ‘right, I’m not going to play certain players. I’ll play other players.’ I wouldn’t say it’s intuition, I’d say it’s instinct.”

14.54 GMT: Manchester United are keeping faith with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer it seems.

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Stewart Robson says Manchester United missed a window to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with a better manager.

14.20 GMT: Interested in the next young talent coming through in South America?

Tim Vickery is your guide for players like Nicolas Siri of Danubio and River Plate’s Julian Alvarez.

14.00 GMT: Arsenal are considering a move for Real Betis midfielder Nabil Fekir, says Mundo Deportivo.

Fekir, 27, has three goals and six assists in 25 La Liga appearances this season and has been on the club’s radar for some time.

The France international almost joined Liverpool a few years back, and Arsenal want a replacement for Dani Ceballos when he returns to Real Madrid after his loan spell ends in the summer.

13.27 GMT: Watford forward Ismaila Sarr was the talk of the town in the last summer transfer window but nobody came in for him.

Sarr, 23, could have moved when Watford were relegated but Liverpool opted to sign Wolves’ Diogo Jota instead. And now The Daily Express claims Manchester United are reportedly keen, if their move for Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho doesn’t come off.

A deal would cost around £40m, but that’s considerably less than what Dortmund are asking to sign Sancho.

12.48 GMT: Gareth Bale‘s comments about a planned return to Real Madrid this summer were “taken completely out of context” his agent Jonathan Barnett has told ESPN’s Alex Kirkland.

The Tottenham forward is on a season-long loan from the Bernabeu and caused a stir in a news conference with Wales on Tuesday when he seemed to state his intention to re-join Madrid when his loan spell ends.

“The original plan was to do a season at Spurs and after the Euros still have a year left at Real Madrid,” Bale said. “My plan is to go back and that’s as far I’ve planned, to be honest.”

Barnett told ESPN it was “too early” to draw any conclusions about where Bale, whose Madrid contract expires in 2022, will play his football next season. Bale’s words were intended as a statement of fact, reflecting the reality of a one-year loan, rather than a statement of intent.

11.54 GMT: Eric Bailly will ask for assurances over playing time before committing his long-term future to Manchester United, sources told ESPN’s Rob Dawson.

The club have started negotiations with Bailly’s representatives over extending the defender’s deal, which is due to expire in 2022. Bailly is keen to stay at Old Trafford but has concerns over how much playing time he will get if United push ahead with plans to sign a new centre-back.

11.15 GMT: Juventus striker Paulo Dybala has been linked with plenty of big clubs in recent months.

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Gab Marcotti shares his thoughts on whether or not Juventus will move on from Paulo Dybala this summer.

10.32 GMT: PSV striker Donyell Malen is on the radar of Liverpool, AC Milan and Juventus this summer, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

Malen, 22, has become a star in the Netherlands after leaving Arsenal’s academy in 2017 in search of first-team football. His 51 goals in 110 appearances for PSV have helped the side compete with Ajax for the Eredivisie title and it would reportedly take around €35m to sign him.

09.43 GMT: Tottenham Hotspur boss Jose Mourinho said he had learnt to turn a deaf ear to the criticism of his coaching methods and that he remains “one of the most important managers” in the game.

Mourinho started his managerial career with Benfica in 2000 and has since managed trophy-winning sides at Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Manchester United.

The Portuguese boss was hired to replace Mauricio Pochettino at Spurs because of his record of claiming trophies but finds himself under pressure with his team slipping to sixth in the Premier League after leading the table in November. The north London club were also knocked out of the Europa League this month after losing 3-2 on aggregate to Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb in the round of 16.

“I don’t think anybody is going to discuss rocket science with the guys from NASA, with everybody around the world,” Mourinho said in a virtual event organised by the club’s sponsor. “They think they can discuss football with one of the most important managers in the game. That’s the beauty of football. I got used to it. I appreciate that. So that’s fine for me.”

09.24 GMT: Sevilla, Roma and Atletico Madrid are among a growing list of teams monitoring the ongoing uncertainty over Alexandre Lacazette‘s Arsenal future, sources told ESPN’s Julien Laurens.

The striker will enter the final year of his contract at Arsenal this summer and the club face a decision whether to offer him a new deal or listen to offers for the 29-year-old, who would be able to negotiate with foreign clubs from next January if he hasn’t signed a contract.

09.00 GMT: Erling Haaland‘s transfer fee this summer has been set by Borussia Dortmund, sources told ESPN’s Stephan Uersfeld and Rodri Faez, with interested clubs needing €180 million in order to land one of the most sought after players in world football.

Haaland has been a revelation in Germany, scoring 49 goals in as many matches after his move from FC Salzburg in January 2020. He has scored 32 goals in 31 appearances this season, including 10 in six Champions League matches, and his agent, Mino Raiola, has said 10 clubs are in a position to sign him.

The striker moved to Dortmund last year amid fierce interest from Manchester United, but the Bundesliga side managed to secure a deal after agreeing to include a release clause in his contract. That clause is not active until the summer of 2022. Clubs can sign Haaland this summer, but the €180m Dortmund are asking for represents a premium for losing him before the clause kicks in next year.

Dortmund underlined their stance on their star names last summer when United attempted to negotiate a lower fee for England international Jadon Sancho. The Premier League side attempted to bargain with BVB in order to lower their €120m valuation of the forward, but Dortmund refused to negotiate.

The same hardline tactic is in place this summer for Haaland, sources told ESPN, in a move that is designed to warn Europe’s heavyweights off making a bid. United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich all have varying levels of interest in the Norway international, but in a transfer market impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, Dortmund hope their €180m valuation will keep Haaland at the club for another year.

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ESPN FC’s Frank Leboeuf weighs in on where Kalidou Koulibaly could land this summer.

PAPER GOSSIP

Juventus are continuing to plan a summer rebuild and the Serie A titleholders are monitoring the situation of Valencia‘s Kang-In Lee, according to Calciomercato. Juve’s new approach, which has seen the club looking to retain the likes of Federico Chiesa, is to acquire young talents who can be developed quickly to move into the first team. The 20-year-old South Korean attacker predominantly plays as a centre-forward but is yet to score a goal in La Liga.

Jesse Lingard‘s performances following his loan move to West Ham United could revive the 28-year-old attacking midfielder’s Old Trafford career, according to the Sun. The Hammers are keen to make Lingard’s loan move permanent, as the attacker has contributed directly to seven goals in the last seven matches, and believe a deal can be struck for a fee in the region of £15m-£20m, with Lingard close to running into the final year of his contract. But United may want him back.

– Manchester United goalkeeper Sergio Romero is set to leave the Premier League at the end of the season, according to Fabrizio Romano. Boca Juniors are interested in bringing the 34-year-old goalkeeper back to his home nation. The former AS Monaco goalkeeper was a regular feature in Solskjaer’s Europa League squad last season but has since found himself as the third-choice goalkeeper behind Dean Henderson and David de Gea.

Barcelona are looking to secure the signature of 17-year-old Valencia U19 winger Fabio Blanco. According to Sport, the young Spanish star is attracting a lot of interest from a host of European clubs due to his comparison to Ferran Torres. Blanco is set to be out of contract on June 30, but Barcelona are optimistic of beating the competition after initial talks.

– Chelsea are considering a return move for Romelu Lukaku should the West London club fail to sign the aforementioned Haaland to Stamford Bridge this summer, according to the Telegraph. The 27-year-old striker has been a stand-out performer in Serie A with Internazionale, having scored 29 goals in 34 appearances this season. The report stats that Blues manager Thomas Tuchel is keen on Lukaku due to his disappointment in £53m signing Timo Werner.





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