Transfer Talk: Liverpool open to Coutinho return?

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TOP STORY: Coutinho to return to Anfield?

Philippe Coutinho could make a remarkable return to Liverpool this summer, if the Mirror is to be believed.

The paper, citing reports in France, has confirmed that the Champions League winners have “opened the door” on negotiations to bring the Brazil international back to Anfield just 18 months after his £142 million move to Barcelona.

The 27-year-old, previously seen as the successor to Andres Iniesta, hasn’t integrated well into Ernesto Valverde’s setup and has gradually fallen down the pecking order at Camp Nou.

Now, with both Neymar and Antoine Griezmann potentially set to sign with Barca, cashing in on Coutinho is a top priority for the Catalans.

Will Liverpool be willing to part with an eye-watering amount of money to bring a player back to a club he abandoned not two seasons prior? The ball is in Jurgen Klopp’s court.


23.02 BST: We’ll wrap up Monday’s live edition of Transfer Talk with some news from Chelsea. After a year on loan at AC Milan, Tiemoue Bakayoko is set to return to Chelsea, according to the Independent, which adds that the 24-year-old France international will find minutes hard to come by amid the Blues’ glut of central midfielders.

22.29 BST: Sevilla have confirmed the capture of PSV Eindhoven forward Luuk de Jong on a four-year contract.

21.56 BST: West Ham United striker Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez wants to play for a club that has confidence in him next season, with sources telling ESPN FC that the Hammers are willing to let the Mexico international leave for between $10m and $15m.

21.23 BST: Monaco have announced that they’ve made the loan signing of Gelson Martins from Atletico Madrid a permanent transfer, and the 24-year-old Portuguese attacker has signed a five-year contract with the principality club.

20.50 BST: Marca reports that while Real Madrid’s priority in midfield remains Paul Pogba, they will meet with the agent of Christian Eriksen to discuss a potential move for the Tottenham creator, following the Denmark international’s decision not to enter into contract negotiations with Spurs as he enters the final 12 months of his deal in North London.

20.17 BST: France midfielder Adrien Rabiot has joined Serie A champions Juventus on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain after his contract expired, the Italian club have confirmed. Read the full story.

19.44 BST: Borussia Dortmund have signed United States youth international Giovanni Reyna from New York City FC, the club announced on Monday. Read the full story.

19.11 BST: Arsenal have tabled a £40m bid for Crystal Palace attacker Wilfried Zaha, according to Sky Sports, which adds that Palace value the 26-year-old at double that figure.

18.38 BST: The Washington Post’s Steven Goff reports that Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning have lodged a $10m bid with MLS side Toronto FC for U.S. international striker Jozy Altidore, which would see the 29-year-old earn $25m over the course of a three-year contract. The Post adds that it is unlikely that Altidore would be interested in the move.

18.05 BST: Chelsea have announced they have completed the permanent signing of Mateo Kovacic from Real Madrid in a deal worth just over £40.3m. Read the full story.

17.18 BST: As Barcelona continue to work toward a sensational return of Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain, the Catalan club faces a problem: they already have three non-EU players in their squad, meaning one of Arturo Vidal, Arthur or Malcom will need to be sold to accommodate the Brazilian star. And AS reports that the most likely outcome is Malcom making way for his compatriot, with Borussia Dortmund interested in the 22-year-old winger, although Barca would prefer to sell to a deep-pocketed Premier League club instead.

16.31 BST: Chelsea expect to finalise the appointment of Frank Lampard as their new manager soon, sources have told ESPN FC, but Derby are lining up his replacement and have targeted Dutch legend Philip Cocu.

Derby excused Lampard “from reporting back for preseason training on Monday and Tuesday to allow his discussions regarding a potential move to Chelsea to be concluded as soon as possible.”

And the Rams want a new man in place, with former PSV Eindhoven and Fenerbahce coach Cocu the favourite, before they leave for Florida on Thursday.

16.04 BST: Man United do like to pay a lot of money for players, see Aaron Wan-Bissaka for evidence, but the Sun‘s report that they are willing to splash £50m on Aston Villa’s John McGinn takes that to a whole new level.

McGinn, 24, is a decent midfielder and was named Villa’s Players’ Player of the Year in 2018-19 after helping them back to the Premier League via the playoffs, but surely United are not actually thinking about paying so much for him…

15.31 BST: Watford have completed the signing of West Brom defender Craig Dawson.

The 29-year-old centre-back moves back to the Premier League for a reported fee of £5.5m on a four-year deal.

15.26 BST: The Belfast Telegraph report that Northern Ireland striker Kyle Lafferty is set to move to either Qatar or Saudi Arabia.

Cypriot rivals AEL Limassol and Apollon Limassol are also interested, with the 31-year-old having been left out of Rangers’ preseason plans. 

14.57 BST: Leonardo, who signed Lucas Paqueta for AC Milan over PSG for €35m when he was sporting director in Italy, wants to bring his compatriot to Paris now he has a new job, according to Corriere dello Sport.

PSG need a replacement for Juventus-bound Adrien Rabiot, though Ander Herrera is expected to arrive after his contract with Man United ended.

14.28 BST: Barcelona defender Mateu Morey ran down his contract and now the 19-year-old has joined Borussia Dortmund on a five-year contract.

14.09 BST: Romelu Lukaku has returned early to preseason training with Manchester United in a bid to impress manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in case a move to Inter Milan does not materialise, sources have told ESPN FC.

The striker is open to linking up with Antonio Conte at Inter because of fears he may be second choice behind Marcus Rashford at Old Trafford next season. However, sources have told ESPN FC that Lukaku will not try to force a transfer and reported back to Carrington on Monday — three days before his scheduled arrival on Thursday.

Sources said that the Serie A side are yet to lodge a formal bid and that a loan offer with an obligation to buy after two years is likely to be rejected. United are holding out for around £80m for the 26-year-old, who has scored 42 goals in 96 games since joining from Everton in 2017.

14.07 BST: Great news for Manchester United fans.

13.51 BST: While we’re looking through Portuguese papers, Yacine Brahimi is on his way to Arsenal, report A Bola.

Brahimi, 29, played for Porto before his contract expired and is now a free agent. Arsenal have only £45m to spend this summer so landing the Algeria winger for nothing allows them to spend big elsewhere.

The report says he will be presented once Algeria have completed their Africa Cup of Nations campaign.

13.26 BST: Manchester City are set to land Sporting Lisbon youngster Felix Correia, according to newspaper O Jogo.

Correia, 18, has been likened in playing style to Nani and will move to City for around €7m to play for the academy after reported interest from Barcelona and Juventus.

13.04 BST: Reports that Gareth Bale could leave Real Madrid for Inter Milan this summer are “rubbish,” the Wales international’s agent has told ESPN FC.

Bale, 29, was completely frozen out of the first team picture by Zinedine Zidane at the end of last season, but his agent Jonathan Barnett says the player still has no intention of leaving the Bernabeu and is looking forward to heading to Montreal with the squad for preseason next week.

Italy’s Sport Mediaset claimed last week that Barnett had met with Inter Milan directors to discuss a potential loan deal for next season, following previous reports that Bayern Munich or Manchester United were looking to bring in the four-time Champions League winner.

However, Barnett has told ESPN FC that Bale is still fully focused on returning to Madrid, where he remains under contract until 2022, and that “of course” the summer 2013 summer signing will be reporting for duty when Zidane’s players come back from their summer holidays next Monday.

12.36 BST: The Sun claim that Manchester United have signed Mateo Mejia from Real Zaragoza.

The 16-year-old winger is considered one of the best young players in Spain and United have reportedly parted with £600,000 to bring him into the youth squad.

12.25 BST: Barcelona are working on finalising the signing of Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann after his release clause dropped to €120m on Monday, various sources at the Catalan club told ESPN FC.

An official announcement is not imminent but should arrive within a week.

The sources added that Barca will not look to negotiate the fee with Atletico and they will not pay “a penny more” than his clause, which was previously €200m. There had been speculation the Spanish champions would look to strike an agreement with Atletico to pay slightly more with the sum spread out in instalments, rather than outright.

12.09 BST: Roma have signed midfielder Amadou Diawara from Napoli for around €21m.

“We have been following Amadou for a while now,” said Guido Fienga, Roma’s chief executive. “He is a player whose talent has been clear to those in Italy for a number of years. We are pleased to welcome him to Roma, with the confidence that he can become an important player for the club.”

12.00 BST: Southampton may have lost Targett but they have reached an agreement to sign forward Che Adams from Birmingham City.

According to the club statement: “The 22-year-old, who was shortlisted for the Championship Player of the Year and named in the Team of the Season at the EFL Awards, has agreed a five-year contract at St Mary’s.”

Adams said: “I’m delighted. There was interest in January, when it didn’t quite happen, but I’m happy now that it’s all gone through. You can see with the track history — the amount of young players they’re playing, the gaffer’s belief in the young players, the squad in itself — where the club is going to be. I want to be part of that.”

11.54 BST: Aston Villa have signed Matt Targett for around £14m from Southampton.

11.45 BST: Leeds United have announced the signings of Jack Harrison and Ben White on season-long loan deals from Manchester City and West Brom.

11.22 BST: Scottish forward Jack Harper, once of Real Madrid and Brighton, has swapped second division Malaga for Europa League side Getafe.

11.00 BST: Marko Grujic will spend another season with Hertha Berlin, who will pay Liverpool a £2m loan fee for the midfielder plus £500,000 in potential bonuses.

The 23-year-old, pursued by Werder Bremen, Eintracht Frankfurt, Atalanta and Brighton, had an impressive 2018-19 at the Olympiastadion despite suffering two ankle injuries. He provided five goals and one assist in 22 Bundesliga appearances, establishing himself as one of Hertha’s standout performers.

10.55 BST: Sky Sport Germany report that RB Leipzig will announce the signing of Christopher Nkunku from PSG shortly.

PSG will get at least a fixed €15m that could rise to €20m through various bonuses. Arsenal were close to signing the midfielder last January but the German side appears to have beaten them to the punch.

10.35 BST: Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola has given a lengthy interview to Gol TV in which he says he is fully satisfied at City.

“I have everything and I can’t find a better place than this one,” he said. “The club doesn’t judge me on whether I win or lose. I have a young team and I feel loved. The fans tell me that even if things go badly they will be to the death with me. It’s one of the best clubs of the last decade. I would give everything to win a Champions League but there are seven very difficult games where you depend on minor factors.” 

Guardiola also spoke of City’s director of football, Txiki Begiristain, as being key in his coaching career. Begiristain promoted Guardiola to coach Barcelona’s first team before hiring him for City’s hotseat in 2016.

“Txiki Begiristain is the most important person in my career because he trusted me without me having experience,” he said. 

10.17 BST: Valencia have announced they have reached a preliminary agreement to sign Villarreal midfielder Denis Cheryshev on a permanent transfer. The Russian rejoined Valencia on a season-long loan last summer having spent six months at the Mestalla in 2016.

Meanwhile, Diario AS report that Valencia want to complete the transfer of Brazilian midfielder Rafinha this week. Los Che have reportedly reached an agreement with the player but have yet to agree terms with Barcelona. 

According to the Spanish newspaper, Valencia are unwilling to meet Barca’s €15m asking price and are hoping to lower that figure in order to complete the deal.

Rafinha made just five league appearances for Barca before suffering a knee ligament injury that ruled him out for the rest of the season, but the 26-year-old was recently given the green light to return to training.

10.01 BST: Corriere dello Sport report that Cagliari midfielder Nicolo Barella is close to joining Roma.

Inter Milan have been linked with the 22-year-old, along with Chelsea, but he seems set to stay in Serie A and could move for around €50m.

09.47 BST: Newcastle Jets have boosted their A-League striking stocks by signing Panama international, Abdiel Arroyo on a season-long loan deal.

The 25-year-old forward joins from parent club, Arabe Unido, who finished second in the Panamanian Football League in 2018-19. Arroyo has scored seven goals in 47 internationals since making his debut in 2014.

09.44 BST: Barcelona are still looking for a backup left-back for Jordi Alba and La Repubblica report that AC Milan defender Ricardo Rodriguez is now top of their list.

09.29 BST: Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich have announced the signing of Wellington Phoenix playmaker Sarpreet Singh in a historic move for a New Zealand professional.

The 20-year-old has signed a three-year deal, starting initially with Bayern’s reserve team in the third-tier 3.Liga competition.

09.20 BST: La Liga president Javier Tebas says he does not want Neymar to play for a Spanish club because he is not a good example.

The Brazilian forward left Barcelona two year ago to sign for Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record €222m transfer and is reportedly keen to rejoin the Spanish champions this summer.

“We are always interested in having great players and coaches in La Liga, the more the merrier for the competition,” Tebas told Onda Cero radio. “With regards to Neymar, in my opinion, the behaviour off the pitch doesn’t seem very adequate, it’s not good for the competition.”

08.49 BST: Real Madrid forward Raul De Tomas has reached a preliminary agreement to join Benfica on a permanent transfer, A Bola reports.

The 24-year-old forward spent the last two seasons on loan at Rayo Vallecano from Madrid and scored 38 goals in 66 appearances. According to the Portuguese outlet, the Spaniard will sign a five-year contract with Benfica and earn €2m per season. Benfica are looking to strengthen their attack as they are set to sell Joao Felix to Atletico Madrid this summer.

08.31 BST: Juventus REALLY love a free transfer, don’t they?

08.14 BST: Clubs are also releasing players, from loans or even from their contracts. Chelsea won’t be keeping Gonzalo Higuain, as they say here, so he’s going back to Juventus where he will meet up again with manager Maurizio Sarri.

08.00 BST: Welcome to July 1, the day when the window in Europe opens. That means there are plenty of deals to get the rubber stamp and you can read those here.

One such is Inter Milan’s capture of Diego Godin from Atletico Madrid on a free transfer.

Antonio Conte loves a good defender, and he’s got one now.

PAPER TALK (by James Capps)

United not giving up on Ndombele deal

Sources have told ESPN that Tottenham have agreed a €62 million deal for Tanguy Ndombele, but L’Equipe says Manchester United could still hijack the move.

Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs have agreed a fee with their Ligue 1 counterparts for 22-year-old Ndombele but have so far yet to finalise personal terms with the six-cap France international, leaving the door ajar for United to make a last-ditch move.

Such a move depends on the future of Ndombele’s international colleague Paul Pogba, who continues to be linked with a move to Real Madrid, and he would have to depart Old Trafford to make way for a new arrival in the heart of midfield.

Ndombele is unlikely to be willing to wait for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, however, after Pochettino impressed him during initial talks at Spurs’ training ground.

Barca like the look of Lautaro

Marca claims Barcelona are keen on Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez following the Argentine’s impressive form at Copa America.

The 21-year-old had an uninspiring season in front of goal at the San Siro, netting just six times in 27 Serie A appearances, but two goals in three games at Copa America have impressed Barca chiefs. Martinez’s impressive chemistry with Lionel Messi in the tournament thus far has also made a compelling case that he could seamlessly fit into the Nou Camp setup.

According to reports, the La Liga champions would be willing to pay up to €112 million for Lautaro, and the club have already made contact with Martinez’s agent regarding a move.

A hefty transfer price tag would be great news for Martinez’s former side, Racing Club, with the Buenos Aires club set to pocket 10% of the fee, thanks to a sell-on clause in the deal that took Martinez to Inter.

Conte closes in on Lazaro swoop

Inter Milan are closing in on the signing of midfielder Valentino Lazaro from Hertha Berlin, according to Calciomercato.

Italian sources claim the Austria international has arrived in Milan for a medical ahead of signing a five-year, €7.5 million deal at the San Siro.

The 23-year-old has impressed in the Bundesliga after signing on a permanent basis from Red Bull Salzburg a year ago and was involved in 10 goals in 31 league appearances in Germany. That form caught the eye of Antonio Conte, who made the midfielder one of his top transfer targets upon his arrival as the Nerazzurri’s new manager at the end of May.

The fee for Lazaro is believed to be in the region of €22 million, and the deal is unlikely to be the last of what is expected to be a busy summer of arrivals on the blue side of Milan.


AS claims that Leganes are one of a host of European clubs chasing the signature of Cagliari forward Diego Farias. Fiorentina, Sassuolo and Lecce are also believed to be interested in the Brazilian, who could be available for around €6 million.

— Barcelona’s summer overhaul is set to continue on Monday, with the Mirror reporting that four more players will leave the Nou Camp at the start of the week. Former Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen and Brazilian Douglas Pereira are leaving on free transfers, and the club have decided not to take up permanent deals on loan duo Kevin-Prince Boateng and Jeison Murillo.

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