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TOP STORY: Neymar to return as Barca offer stars in exchange
Barca sold Neymar to PSG for a fee of €222 million two summers ago, and they’re now looking to offload either Dembele or Coutinho — both of whom have disappointed this season — in an effort to get reacquainted with the Brazilian.
Barca will need to cover Neymar’s eye-watering salary of €30m a year after tax, but the PSG forward himself has made no secret of his desire to return to Spain.
The Ligue 1 champions will be reluctant to let their star man go, but their stance would appear to have softened this year, which could be the result of reports of dressing room unrest, alongside the club’s repeated failures in Europe.
After their disappointing exit to Manchester United, PSG won just three of their last 10 league games, which could prompt a shake-up in the French capital. The club could be tempted if they can strike the right deal … and land the right player in return.
22.47 BST: We’ll bring Wednesday’s live edition of Transfer Talk to a close with news emerging from France. Calciomercato cites L’Equipe as reporting that Lyon have rejected a €35m offer from Tottenham for midfielder Tanguy Ndombele, opening the door for Juventus, who are also interested in the France international Lyon have valued at €80m.
21.35 BST: TalkSPORT reports that Stoke City goalkeeper Jack Butland has said he “needs” to be back in the Premier League if he’s to have any hopes of saving his England career. Could he be leaving the Potters and the Championship behind this summer?
19.58 BST: Mauricio Pochettino wants to add Leicester playmaker James Maddison to the ranks at Tottenham, the Mirror reports, but the Foxes are said to want “significantly more” than the £22.5m they paid Covenrty for the 22-year-old last summer.
18.21 BST: With Jordan Veretout having been linked with a move to Napoli to replace Allan, who himself has long been linked with a move of his own to Paris Saint-Germain, Veretout’s agent has now said his client could move to Naples if Allan’s Parisian switch fails to materialise, according to Calciomercato.
16.44 BST: Manchester City forward Patrick Roberts seems to have been on loan for years. The 22-year-old winger joined in 2015 and has been out at Celtic and Girona, but now he’s set to get some Premier League minutes under his belt with a stint at Norwich City.
The Sun claim that talks are underway for another season-long loan.
16.01 BST: Real Madrid won’t be too upset about that as they have a pretty good strikeforce already and are lining up Eden Hazard of course.
Catalan publication Mundo Deportivo also reports that Real are looking for a partner for Raphael Varane and have decided on Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt. That may upset Manchester United and Barcelona of course, who are leading the way.
15.21 BST: Liverpool’s Sadio Mane is about to play in one of the biggest games of his life, but he’s still being asked about a move to Real Madrid.
“For me, the more important thing is that I am with Liverpool and I am very happy here, and I am preparing for one of the club’s biggest games,” he said. “Let’s focus on this first, and on winning it.”
14.31 BST: Well this is absolutely brilliant… PSG superstar Kylian Mbappe is being linked with a move to Newcastle United after the club were revealed to be in talks with the cousin of Manchester City’s owners: Sheikh Khalid bin Zayed al Nahyan.
Nothing much to see here, just Newcastle as third-favourites to sign Kylian Mbappe this summer pic.twitter.com/IhbWsJT5sV
— FourFourTwo ⚽️ (@FourFourTwo) May 28, 2019
14.01 BST: West Ham United have announced a few players will be leaving the club on June 30 when their contracts expire.
13.55 BST: Juventus president Andrea Agnelli is evidently staying at the same hotel as Chelsea and Maurizio Sarri in Baku…
Tuttosport reports that the pair poke this morning and that Sarri will be named the new Juve manager after the Europa League final against Arsenal.
Aurier, 24, joined from PSG for £23m two years ago but it seems the club are willing to move him on for around £15m now.
Hermoso, 23, joined the Catalan club in 2017 from Real Madrid in a €400k deal and is contracted through June 2020, with a €40m release clause set. Madrid possess a €15m buyback clause while they also are reported to still own 50 percent of his rights, so Atleti would have to contend with that if they are to secure a deal.
12.12 BST: Manchester United are hopeful Eric Bailly will be fit to fly out to Australia for the first leg of their preseason tour, sources have told ESPN FC, giving the defender a chance to cement his place in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad for next season.
Solskjaer is still looking to sign a defender during the transfer window but sources said that the Norwegian has prioritised bringing in a new right-back to add competition for 33-year-old Ashley Young and 20-year-old Diogo Dalot.
The Bosnia and Herzegovina left-back left the Veltins Arena in 2017 when he joined the Gunners on a free transfer. And, following a miserable Bundesliga season, the Royal Blues have appointed former player and former Huddersfield boss David Wagner as their new coach.
Now they are evidently keen for the former fan favourite to find his way back to Gelsenkirchen. However, given Schalke’s slim transfer budget of €20m and Arsenal’s desire to keep him, it appears highly unlikely Kolasinac will be back anytime soon.
11.34 BST: Marco Friedl has joined Werder Bremen on a permanent transfer from Bayern Munich. The Austrian defender had already spent the last 18 months on loan at the Weserstadion, while Bayern are busy trying to buy the best defenders in the world so this was a simple one.
11.12 BST: Atletico Madrid are interested in signing Napoli right-back Elseid Hysaj, along with Juventus, Inter Milan and two Premier League clubs, a source close to the player has confirmed to ESPN FC.
Hsyaj will either sign a new Napoli contract this summer or leave the club. The 25-year-old Albania international has a €55m release clause but Atletico are trying to land him on a cut-price deal, having already made a bid for him last January.
Inter and two English clubs have also made approaches, while Juventus would also make a move should Hysaj’s former coach at both Empoli and Napoli, Maurizio Sarri, become their new manager.
Atletico are looking for at least one right-back this summer, with veteran Juanfran Torres‘ departure confirmed, and doubts over the futures of Santiago Arias and Sime Vrsaljko (who was on loan at Inter Milan last season.)
The former Chelsea boss had wanted to sign Lukaku at Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2017, but saw the Belgium international join Manchester United before the Blues brought in Alvaro Morata.
A new central striker is at the top of Conte’s priority list at Inter with doubts over Mauro Icardi‘s future.
Cavani, 32, has been linked with a move away from PSG but reports are that a contract extension has also been suggested by sporting director Antero Henrique. It’s anyone’s guess where he might end up.
Gotze, 26, revived his career last season when he scored seven goals and set up a further seven, with the majority coming in the second half of the campaign. Having returned to Dortmund from Bayern Munich in 2016, last season served as a reminder that Gotze’s best days might not yet be behind him.
Dortmnd CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke has recently voiced his confidence that Gotze, who is under contract until 2020, will remain at the Westfalenstadion beyond the summer despite a possible pay cut from his current €10m-a-year terms.
However, German outlet Bild has now claimed that Arsenal are interested in adding Gotze to their contingent of former BVB stars with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Sokratis Papastathopoulos all at the Emirates. The paper said that Gotze could come in as a replacement for Aaron Ramsey, who will join Juventus as a free agent this summer.
Gotze has not been called up to the next round of European qualifiers for Germany and is currently on holiday in the United States.
09.05 BST: Manchester United and Manchester City target Bruno Fernandes says he has “dreams to be fulfilled” and doesn’t know if the midfielder will continue at Sporting Lisbon next season.
Sources told ESPN FC earlier this month that both clubs in Manchester are interested in signing the 24-year-old, while Record reports that City are leading the race to acquire him. According to Portuguese outlet Record, Sporting are willing to negotiate but will only accept offers of €70m for their captain. The Portugal international has a €100m release clause.
Fernandes revealed the Premier League is his favourite competition but refused to speak abouty the offers he has received. Asked where he will play next season, he told Portuguese TV channel
“As soon as I wear this badge it’s really important to focus on England and nothing else. At the moment, nothing is going through my head in terms of club football.
“I’m fully focused on the two games coming up and that’s where my head is at.”
08.00 BST: Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has told ESPN FC that Ernesto Valverde will remain as the club’s manager next season despite reports he was set to be sacked on Tuesday.
Bartomeu explained that he “already said as much last weekend, after the Copa del Rey final” defeat to Valencia, when he said that Valverde would move into his third year with the Spanish champions after extending his contract in February.
Barca had not planned to comment on Valverde’s future until after a series of internal meetings this week following a disappointing end to the season. However, they have changed tack in a bid to reduce the noise surrounding the coach’s position.
Sources close to Bartomeu have told ESPN FC that he is not someone who rushes into decisions and that he was always keen to keep Valverde on despite pressure from elsewhere. “The president is someone who doesn’t like to rush into things and won’t be influenced by others,” a source said. “He won’t make drastic decisions in the heat of the moment. That’s not his style.”
PAPER TALK (by Nick Judd)
Pogba to Madrid
There must be something in the water in Spain, for the other big story tonight comes courtesy of AS, who are reporting that Spanish journalist Eduardo Inda is ahead of the curve on a deal involving Paul Pogba and Real Madrid and Manchester United.
Pogba has been linked with a move to the Spanish capital for months, even more so following the return of Zinedine Zidane to the dugout there, and a deal is said to be “practically done,” with Pogba allegedly prepared to take a €3m pay cut to land his move.
Madrid are keen to partner Pogba with another expected arrival in Eden Hazard this summer, as they look to improve on a disappointing season.
Inda also suggests that Adidas is keen for the Pogba move to happen, as he is one of its biggest athletes and a move to the Bernabeu would be good for its brand.
Modern football, eh?
Anyone for Wilson?
Wilson was part of the Derby County side that lost to Aston Villa in the Championship final, but his opportunities under Frank Lampard during his loan spell have given him a taste of first-team football, which means quitting his employers. Crystal Palace, Newcastle, Southampton and Brighton are all said to be keen.
– Speaking of Hazard, the narrative around his move to Madrid has been going on for so long, it’s hard to believe the deal hasn’t happened yet; but that finally looks set to change, according to The Sun. The club are confident they have agreed a fee of up to £115m, with Hazard set to be paid £400k a week. The news is expected to be confirmed following Chelsea’s Europa League Final against Arsenal on Wednesday.
– In a move that will make those of us over the age of 30 feel incredibly old, Napoli have pulled the plug on the signing of Kieran Trippier … because of his age. The 28-year-old right-back is said to not fit Napoli’s transfer strategy, and instead they’re keen on switching their attentions to someone younger with a potential greater resale value, says The Sun.
– Clubs looking to add Jack Grealish to their armoury this summer might have to think again, according to reports in the Express & Star. Grealish starred as he helped lead his boyhood club back into the Premier League with a victory over Derby County at Wembley. And while he will no doubt have his suitors again this summer, the club aren’t willing to listen to any offers.