Transfer Talk: Barcelona ready to pounce as De Ligt’s Juve deal stalls

Ajax Amsterdam, Barcelona, Blog - Transfer Talk, Blog Post, Italian Serie A, Juventus, Leagues, Matthijs de Ligt, Spanish Primera División, Transfers
If all the transfers fall into place for Barcelona, will they be able to play Messi, Suarez, Griezmann and Neymar all at the same time?
Mina Rzouki breaks down the key reasons Juventus have emerged as the likely landing spot for Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt.

The European transfer window is open. Click here to review all the latest transfers, and keep up to date with the latest gossip below.

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TOP STORY: Barcelona wait in the wings for De Ligt

Barcelona are waiting in the wings should Juventus’ deadlock with Ajax over the transfer of Matthijs de Ligt continue, according to Marca.

The Spanish daily claims that Juve have an accord with the player’s camp but have been unable to meet Ajax’s demands for their captain — and that could open the door for Barca to swoop in.

It appears Juve will offer €65 million with a further €10m in bonuses, while Barca’s agreement of a straight €75m offer remains intact. However, Juve have agreed terms with De Ligt over a deal. Something Barca have failed to achieve at this stage, despite sources telling ESPN FC as far back as April that the Spanish champions were close to an agreement with Ajax.

How Barca plan on executing deals for De Ligt, Antoine Griezmann and Neymar in the same transfer window remains to be seen. It looks like this will rumble on for some time yet.


23.00 BST: We’ll close Thursday’s live edition of Transfer Talk with a done deal! Newly promoted Union Berlin have announced the signing of defender Neven Subotic on a two-year contract.

22.13 BST: Tijuana forward Gustavo Bou is in negotiations to join the New England Revolution, sources have told ESPN FC.

21.26 BST: He’s coming home! Sheffield United have celebrated their return to the Premier League by confirming the return of Phil Jagielka 12 years after he left the club for Everton.

20.39 BST: After spending last season on loan at Napoli, David Ospina has made his move from Arsenal to the San Paolo on a permanent basis, the Italian club has confirmed.

19.52 BST: With Chelsea expected to announce a new five-year contract for Ruben Loftus-Cheek any day now, and reports that the club is growing increasingly confident that Callum Hudson-Odoi will do the same, the Blues’ youth movement continues with news from Goal that highly rated 20-year-old Mason Mount — who spent a successful season on loan at Derby under Frank Lampard — is expected to sign a five-year deal of his own.

19.05 BST: New Le Havre manager Paul Le Guen is hoping to convince Samir Nasri to join him at the Ligue 2 outfit, according to L’Equipe.

18.18 BST: Paris Saint-Germain have confirmed the capture of Ander Herrera on a free transfer from Manchester United, signing the Spanish midfielder to a five-year contract.

17.31 BST: While Dejan Lovren has been linked with a move to AC Milan this summer, the Liverpool Echo reports that Jurgen Klopp has no plans to sell his centre-back and has received no offers for the soon-to-be-30-year-old.

16.44 BST: Madrid based Marca calls Barcelona’s quest to add both Antoine Griezmann and Neymar this summer a “puzzle.” Between the club’s already massive wage bill, Griezmann’s €120m release clause and the €250m fee Paris Saint Germain have set for the Brazilian, there presently aren’t enough resources to accommodate both additions.

Barca have contemplated raising funds through the sales of Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele at €100m each, they’ve considered adding one or both to a mountain of cash in hopes of the Parisians releasing Neymar, and there’s even the possibility of convincing Griezmann to join PSG rather than Barca as the Blaugrana players would prefer Neymar’s return rather than the arrival of the Frenchman, if they’re forced to choose.

One option that could ease Barca’s situation is an agreement with Atletico Madrid to pay Griezmann’s €120m release clause in installments, however the Madrid club are unwilling to accommodate their rivals. What Atleti would be willing to do, however, is accept Nelson Semedo in addition to a smaller fee, to facilitate Griezmann’s exit from the Wanda Metropolitano.

15.57 BST: Catalan outlet Sport has reported that Marcelo has asked to leave Real Madrid as the 31-year-old seeks one final contract in his playing career, and has received interest from Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal and AC Milan.

15.10 BST: Juventus have re-signed Gianluigi Buffon on a free transfer following the Italy international’s 12-month spell with Paris Saint-Germain.

Buffon, 41, had been with the Bianconeri for 17 years before his departure last summer when he moved to the French capital.

He won the Trophee des Champions and Ligue 1 title during his solitary season in Paris. However, PSG announced they would not be extending his contract and he left the Parc des Princes on a free. Buffon agreed a deal to return to Turin and the move was confirmed once he passed a medical.

Buffon first joined Juve from Parma in 2001 and remained until 2018, winning 12 Serie A titles — though two were later taken away following the Calciopoli scandal — and the Coppa Italia on four occasions. But Champions League glory eluded him, as he was a losing finalist on three occasions.

14.55 BST: Romelu Lukaku‘s agent insists that Inter Milan are “going all out” to sign the Manchester United striker, but there is a long way to go before a deal is struck.

Sources have told ESPN FC that the Belgium international and United teammate Paul Pogba will hold talks with the club about their futures, Lukaku wants his future resolved before the squad leave for their preseason tour.

Lukaku is keen on a move to Inter Milan but in the absence of an acceptable bid from the Serie A side will be expected to fly to Australia with the rest of Solskjaer’s squad on July 7.

Lukaku’s agent, Federico Pastarello, told Sky Italia: “It was just a chat,” Pastorello told Sky in Italy. “I spoke with the director [Giuseppe Marotta] to understand the club’s intentions with the player. They will take the decisions, we can’t put a time frame on it.

“What is clear is that if Inter want the player, they will need to get a move on. “Inter are seriously trying to sign him, they are all out for him. Goals are not always there to be reached, but it’s a declared target. At the moment, it remains a complicated dream.”

14.24 BST: Gabriel “Toro” Fernandez has been confirmed as a Celta Vigo player. It was first revealed the Uruguayan striker would be joining the Spanish club in January from Penarol, but the deal has now been made official. The fee is undisclosed.

Maxi Gomez is close to joining Valencia from Celta Vigo, sources have told ESPN FC. The striker has been in advanced talks on Wednesday with Los Che, and a deal could be made official as soon as this evening. The deal will see Valencia pay money for the Uruguayan and also include Santi Mina going the other way

13.42 BST: Villarreal have announced an agreement to sign centre-back Raul Albiol from Napoli, subject to a medical.

The 33-year-old, who has won 52 caps for Sapin and was part of the squads that won the 2010 World Cup and two European Championships, moves to El Madrigal on a three-year deal.

13.13 BST: Manchester United‘s search for a person to fill the newly-created role of technical director, for which former players such as Rio Ferdinand and Darren Fletcher have been linked, continues.

But one Old Trafford hero who is definitely returning to the club is Quinton Fortune. The ex-United winger has join United’s re-structured youth set-up as assistant to U23s coach Neil Wood.

United’s academy head Nicky Butt will undertake increased involvement in the team’s overall programme,” the club announced.

12.45 BST: Marcus Thuram is set to join Borussia Monchengladbach from Guingamp. The Bundesliga club have reportedly beaten Marseille to the signature of the France under-21 winger. According to French outlet L’Equipe,

Gladbach will pay just €12m for the son of former France great Lilian Thuram. The 21-year-old will not go into Ligue 2 with Guingamp and instead will get his chance to shine in Europa League next term.

12.13 BST: Leicester City have announced the signing of Ayoze Perez from Newcastle United.

The Spanish forward joins the Foxes on a four-year deal, with reports putting the fee at around £30m.

Perez, 25, scored 12 Premier League goals last season for Newcastle, who have now lost their top striker and their manager in the past two weeks.

12.05 BST: Manchester City have signed Rodri from Atletico Madrid for €70m, making him the most expensive signing in their history.

City had made the central midfielder one of their top transfer targets this summer but, according to ESPN FC sources, faced competition from Bayern Munich. After Rodri made it clear he wanted to leave Atletico, City deposited the €70m to secure the 23-year-old’s signature.

Rodri moved to the Wanda Metropolitano from Villarreal last summer for an up front payment of €20m and the Rojiblancos have made a significant profit on their original outlay. City’s previous most expensive signing was Riyad Mahrez, who joined from Leicester for £60m last summer.

11.42 BST: Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann could be Daniel Farke’s latest addition to Norwich’s Bundesliga contingent. The 30-year-old lost his place to Germany’s rising goalkeeping star Alexander Nubel, 22, and he is now hoping to boost his career with a move to Carrow Road.

Under contract at Schalke until 2022, German media reports is set to join Norwich on an initial one-year loan. The Royal Blues are likely to replace Fahrmann with Germany under-21 back-up keeper Markus Schubert, who was briefly linked with Arsenal ahead of the U21 European Championships last month.

11.19 BST: Portugal international Raphael Guerreiro is moving closer to joining former coach Thomas Tuchel at Paris Saint-Germain, Bild reports. The Borussia Dortmund wing-back is set to enter his last 12 months of his deal at the Westfalenstadion and BVB are prepared to let him go on a cut price, according to the German outlet.

Having already been linked with PSG and Tuchel last summer, the 25-year-old could now seal his return to Ligue 1 three years after leaving Lorient for Dortmund in a €12m transfer. Following an impressive first season under Tuchel, Guerreiro mostly failed to live up to his first year in Germany’s top flight under Dortmund’s next three coaches — Peter Bosz, Peter Stoger and Lucien Favre.

And after just 56 of a possible 102 Bundesliga matches in his three seasons in Germany, Dortmund could now allow the versatile wing-back to reunite with his former boss Tuchel for a cut price of just €15m.

10.55 BST: Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez will not be joining Manchester United this summer, the player’s agent has told ESPN FC.

Sources had told ESPN FC last month that United were considering the Spain international as a midfield target should Paul Pogba be sold this summer, while there were indications that Saul himself was interested in the move, which would necessitate his €150m release clause being triggered.

However the 24-year-old was back at preseason with his team on Thursday morning, and his agent Jonathan Barnett has told ESPN FC that there is “nothing happening” and his client will not be joining the exodus from the Wanda Metropolitano this summer.

10.28 BST: Borussia Dortmund have exempted 2014 World Cup winner Andre Schurrle and former Manchester United midfielder Shinji Kagawa from team training. The two players are looking for new challenges and did not join their teammates as they began preseason with a two-day performance diagnostic on Wednesday.

Schurrle, 28, made 24 Premier League appearances for Fulham last term, but his two-year loan was cut short after the Cottagers were relegated after just one season. Having already commanded a career total of €92.9m in transfer fees, the former Chelsea winger could break the €100m mark with a permanent move away from the Westfalenstadion.

Kagawa, 30, meanwhile, is set to leave Dortmund for good following a loan spell with Besiktas in the first half of 2019. The Japan international’s stock at Dortmund plummeted under coach Lucien Favre and the midfielder is reportedly hoping for a move to La Liga before putting an end to his European career.

Dortmund currently have 36 players on the books and are hoping to offload several of them before the start of the domestic season in mid-August.

10.00 BST: Bayern Munich are in pole position to sign Juventus defender Joao Cancelo, according to TZ.

The Portuguese right-back is also a target for Manchester City, but Bayern are reportedly favourites to sign the 25-year-old.

Bayern are looking to boost their defensive options following Mats Hummels’ departure for Borussia Dortmund and Jerome Boateng also likely to leave this summer.

09.27 BST: Arsenal have the capacity to almost double their initial £40m bid for Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha, according to Sky Sports.

The Gunners have made an initial for the Ivory Coast international, but Palace value their homegrown prize asset at £70m.

09.05 BST: Chelsea have appointed club legend and all-time top scorer Frank Lampard as their new head coach.

Lampard was identified as the preferred choice to succeed Maurizio Sarri at Stamford Bridge despite having only one year of managerial experience at Derby, who he led to the Championship playoff final but lost to Aston Villa.

Lampard, 40, becomes the first Englishman, and the 11th man overall, to be appointed as a permanent Chelsea manager by owner Roman Abramovich.

He will be accompanied by Jody Morris, who spent four years coaching at Chelsea’s academy before leaving to become Lampard’s assistant at Derby in 2018.

08.49 BST: Dinamo Zagreb midfielder Dani Olmo, who has been linked with Manchester United, says he is ready to embark on a new chapter in his career.

The Spanish midfielder was among those that stood out at the European Under-21 Championship, scoring three goals including one in the final. Spain beat Germany 2-1 to lift the title.

Olmo, who was named man of the match in the final, said as reported in AS: “I believe this is the time to take a step forward in my career but we shall see what happens. The summer is long.”

Reports in Croatia claim United have made a €40million (£35m) offer for Olmo, 21, who is also a reported target of top European clubs, including Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

Tied to Dinamo until June 2021, Olmo arrived to Zagreb in 2014 from Barcelona and scored 12 goals and set up nine more in 44 games across all competitions last season.

“The decision to switch Barcelona for Dinamo was a difficult one but it has been the best thing for me,” he added. “Now I’m reaping the rewards of that decision and I’m thrilled to have played in Croatia.”

08.26 BST: Gianluigi Buffon is nearing his return to the Italian giants after arriving for his medical on Thursday morning.

The 41-year-old ended his 17-year stretch in Turin last summer, joining Paris Saint-Germain as a free agent after his contract expired.

But, after just one season in France, where he played 17 games in PSG’s Ligue 1 title-winning campaign, the veteran keeper is coming back to the club where he won nine Serie A titles and four Coppa Italias.

08.00 BST: Samir Nasri‘s potential move to join A-League club Western United has broken down due to financial constraints.

The expansion club attempted to sign Nasri on a marquee contract but the former Arsenal and Manchester City midfielder turned them down, saying through his agent that the deal “was not possible” for financial reasons.

Western United remain in contact with the Frenchman, who is weighing up lucrative offers from clubs in the Middle East.

“Speaking to Samir, obviously he had a lot of offers around the world but huge ones in Qatar,” Rudan told AAP. “We just can’t compete. What we can try and tell these players is that the lifestyle here is fantastic. Melbourne is the sporting capital of the world and that’s one thing that really interested him and his young family, that he was able to potentially leave somewhat of a legacy.

“I was actually taken aback by how much he knew about the city and about the A-League as well. Word is getting out about the A-League but unfortunately there’s only so much that we can offer financially.”

Former France international Nasri, 32, made five Premier League appearances for West Ham last season after joining the Hammers on a short-term deal.

PAPER TALK (by James Capps): Arsenal beg Kroenke for Zaha funds

Recruitment chiefs at Arsenal are set to appeal to owner Stan Kroenke in a desperate bid to secure additional transfer funds to help clinch the signing of Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha, according to reports in the Daily Mail.

Arsenal had a £40 million bid soundly rejected by their fellow Londoners earlier in the week, with the Eagles looking for double that price.

Unai Emery also has Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney on his summer shopping list, while a central defensive signing remains a priority.

Failure to qualify for next season’s Champions League has resulted in a significant cut in Emery’s transfer kitty, but the sales of fringe players are set to provide timely boosts to the modest warchest as they continue to pursue Zaha.

The Ivory Coast international has made Palace aware that he wants to leave Selhurst Park, and Eagles chairman Steve Parish is believed to be willing to do a deal at the right price.

Madrid cool interest in Eriksen

Real Madrid have opened transfer talks with Tottenham Hotspur, but AS claims discussions over a move for Spurs midfielder Christian Eriksen was not on the agenda.

The Denmark playmaker is not believed to be a priority for Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane, who would rather the Real hierarchy make moves for Manchester United’s Paul Pogba and Donny van de Beek of Ajax.

A move that would see Los Blancos midfielder Dani Ceballos head to north London was discussed between Madrid and Spurs bosses, however, with the Spain international becoming increasingly frustrated over a lack of playing time at the Bernabeu.

The 22-year-old, who has just returned home after winning the European Under-21 Championship, recently said: “next year I want to play 40 games and aspire to win.” Zidane has since told Ceballos that 40 appearances is an unrealistic expectation, and encouraged him to leave the club.

Roma with work to do in Veretout hunt

Negotiations continue between Roma and Fiorentina over the signing of La Viola midfielder Jordan Veretout, with Calciomercato reporting that the two Serie A clubs are almost €10m apart in their respective valuations of the Frenchman.

Roma’s offer of €16m was swiftly rejected by the Tuscany-based side following meetings between Fiorentina officials and Roma sporting director Gianluca Petrachi, with Vincenzo Montella’s side demanding around €25m for the ex-Aston Villa schemer.

Former France Under-21 midfielder Veretout has been a mainstay in the Fiorentina midfield since signing on a permanent deal from Villa in the summer of 2017 for around €7m, missing just seven Serie A games in 76 matches across two seasons.

It is believed that Montella is happy to let the 26-year-old leave the club so he can reinvest funds in a squad that finished last season in 16th place in the Italian top flight.

Tap Ins

The Sun claims Brighton will demand a £40m fee from Leicester for centre-back Lewis Dunk — if the Foxes lose Harry Maguire to either Manchester United or Man City. Brendan Rodgers’ side are hoping to receive up to £85m for Maguire, after rejecting an initial £70m bid from United.

– Sevilla have completed the signing of Lucas Ocampos from Marseille, with Marca reporting that the deal is worth in the region of €15m. The winger will be expected to fill the void left by the outgoing Pablo Sarabia and Quincy Promes, and the 24-year-old has signed a five-year deal at the club.

– West Ham have slapped a £40m price tag on wantaway Hammers striker Marko Arnautovic, according to reports in The Sun. The Austrian was the subject of a rejected £19.7m bid from an unnamed Chinese Super League club, and the Londoners are prepared to play hardball over the 30-year-old.

– According to reports at AS, Getafe are willing to pay up to €6m for Huesca striker Enric Gallego, but face competition from other La Liga clubs for the 32-year-old. The Madrid-based club are seeking reinforcements after securing a Europa League place for next season.

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