Transfer Talk: Gundogan leaving Man City for Barcelona picking up steam

The January transfer window is closed around Europe, but teams are looking ahead to the summer and there’s plenty of gossip swirling around. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz on rumours, comings, goings and, of course, done deals!

Barcelona are increasingly interested in midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, with manager Xavi Hernandez making a special request to the club’s hierarchy in order to sign the Manchester City captain, as per The Athletic.

The Germany international sees his contract expire at the end of the season and looks unlikely to extend his stay despite Pep Guardiola’s desire to keep him. The report reveals that individuals involved in negotiations over Gundogan’s future believe that a move to LaLiga is likely.

Gundogan joined the Premier League champions in 2016 and has made 290 appearances for the club, contributing to four domestic titles, four Carabao Cup triumphs and one FA Cup. While City are reluctant for the German to leave, it is thought the club will be targeting midfield reinforcements in the summer, with Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham heavily linked with a €150 million a move to the Etihad.

It is believed that Barcelona will have to cut their wage bill by €200m to ensure they comply with LaLiga’s Financial Fair Play rules. However, the chance to sign Gundogan is seemingly an offer too good to turn down.

The 32-year-old would add much-needed experience to a young Barcelona side that will be aiming to become a force in Europe once again, following a period of general failure in the European competitions.

17.56 GMT: Chelsea are planning a summer move for Southampton defender Mohammed Salisu, according to Football Insider.

The centre-back was linked to a move to Chelsea back in Jabuary but a move never transpired, and now the Blues are ready to revisit negotiations with Salisu.

He is reportedly under contract at Southampton until 2024 after his from from Real Valladolid in 2020, and Chelsea believe £25m could be enough to woo Salisu to Stamford Bridge.

16.58 GMT: PSV Eindhoven defensive midfielder Ibrahim Sangare has caught the eye of Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham.

According to 90min, the 25-year-old is available for €37m due to a release clause in his contract and wants to challenge himself in the Premier League.

The Ivory Coast international has a deal until 2027 and was linked with a move to Man United last summer, as well as Leicester, Everton and Southampton.

15.51 GMT: Could Liverpool make a move for Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot?

15.03 GMT: PSG want to sign AC Milan forward Rafael Leao to replace Lionel Messi in the summer, says Calciomercato.

Leao, 23, has been in talks over a new contract with his terms expiring in 2024, but looks set to leave Milan for a bigger club.

The Portugal international has nine goals and 10 assists from 35 games this season and a reported release clause of €150m, though PSG would want to negotaite a lower fee.

PSG sporting director Luis Campos is keep to land the winger as the 35-year-old Messi could depart, while the French giants are also looking to move on Neymar.

14.19 GMT: Sassuolo midfielder Davide Frattesi is being scouted by Manchester United, according to Calciomercato.

Frattesi, 23, has six goals in 23 Serie A games this season but could make a move even though his contract doesn’t expire until 2026.

United are reportedly ready to offer 20-year-old forward Amad Diallo — who they signed for €21m, plus another €20m in add-ons, from Atalanta in 2020 before sending him on loan to Rangers and Sunderland — as part of the deal.

13.46 GMT: Manchester United defender Raphael Varane has named the three clubs where he could retire eventually.

Varane, 29, has already retired from international football earlier with France and, despite his age, the former Real Madrid and Lens centre-back is already thinking about where he might hang up his boots.

“I will finish my career either in Madrid, or in Manchester, or in Lens,” he told GQ Magazine. “I will not move to another club [other than those].

“But Madrid seems complicated to me. Players don’t usually go back there. The most likely outcome today is that I will finish [my career] in either Manchester or Lens.”

Asked why he retired from international after losing the 2022 World Cup final to Argentina, he said: “The calendar is already more than full, the players are overworked and it will get even worse. I’m afraid that we will witness much shorter careers and that players will have to give up the France team very early because, physically or mentally, what we are asking for today is simply beyond limits.”

12.58 GMT: Former Chelsea and Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel has been talking about his appointment as the new Bayern manager after Julian Nagelsmann was dismissed on Friday.

“The timing was surprising, I didn’t expect it and there was no contact beforehand,” Tuchel said. “I assumed that I would continue my career abroad. The first interview was on Tuesday evening. The size of the challenge was the deciding factor that I wanted to do it. I’ve been in very close contact with Bayern before. But back then I couldn’t wait. It would never be appropriate to pressure anyone. Things went very quickly this time, it’s a top solution for me.”

Asked what he he expects with Bayern, he replied: “The DNA of FC Bayern is all about winning, also about the way you play football. This squad is one of the most talented and best squads in Europe. I’m looking forward to working with this squad. You can compete for every title with this squad. That’s a big responsibility too.

“In the end, there’s also a personal reason for me to work here close to my family and in the state where I was born. There are many reasons that made me accept quickly …

“The position that Julian created with the team, that we have a chance of winning the title in all three competitions, has to be exploited. Of course, there are also risks involved. But we love the pressure and the stress. My love for the game is way bigger than the concerns. It’s about approaching the task with confidence and we want to compete for all three titles.”

12.17 GMT: Torino defender Per Schuurs is on Liverpool’s radar, according to Tuttosport.

Schuurs, 23, left Ajax to move to Torino for €9m last summer and could now be signed by Liverpool for around €50m.

The Netherlands U21 international also has Spurs and Manchester United tracking his progress.

12.00 GMT: Could Carlo Ancelotti leave Real Madrid for Brazil?

11.12 GMT: Arsenal will move on €80m club-record signing Nicolas Pepe in the summer, along with seven other players, says The Sun.

Pepe, 27, is on loan at Nice after falling out of favour under Mikel Arteta but the Gunners will struggle to raise much of a transfer fee for a player who cost them so much to sign from Lille in 2019.

Arsenal are reportedly also ready to listen to permanent offers for loanees Folarin Balogun, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Nuno Tavares, Pablo Mari, Cedric Soares and Alex Runarsson.

Two other first-team players, Kieran Tierney and Rob Holding, could also depart as they have seen little action this season.

10.24 GMT: Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic is being tracked by Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool, says 90min.

Kovacic, 28, will enter the final year of his contract this summer and is unsure of his place in the squad as the Blues have spent over £600m in recent transfer windows.

The Croatia international is keeping his options open but will have plenty of suitors if he does decide to move on.

09.35 GMT: Barcelona president Joan Laporta says his club must work to “improve” its relationship with former captain and potential target Lionel Messi.

Messi, 35, spent 20 years at Barca and helped the club win 35 trophies but left for Paris Saint-Germain in August 2021 because of a financial crisis at Spotify Camp Nou.

There has been speculation that Messi, who becomes a free agent in June, will consider a return to Barca.

“He [Messi] has the doors of Barca open,” Laporta told the Joe Pomp show. “He knows that. He’s part of our emblem. Messi is a player of PSG and I have to be careful what I say. I have to respect his club and respect him. Messi knows that we have Messi in our heart, Messi is part of our blood.

“I need to find a way to improve this relationship between Messi and FC Barcelona. We will see. Right now he is a PSG player.”

09.00 GMT: ICYMI – Bayern Munich have announced the sacking of manager Julian Nagelsmann and the arrival of his successor, Thomas Tuchel.

Nagelsmann has been relieved of his duties, with the club just one point off top spot in the Bundesliga and days ahead of a Champions League quarterfinal showdown with Manchester City.

The move also comes ahead of Bayern’s season-defining clash with league leaders Borussia Dortmund on April 1.

ESPN reported on Thursday that Bayern had dismissed the former RB Leipzig coach and were ready to bring in former Chelsea boss Tuchel as a replacement. The club confirmed the news on Friday.

– Barcelona are not interested in joining the race to sign Eintracht Frankfurt defender Evan N’Dicka amid Paris Saint-Germain interest, as per Sport. The France defender’s deal expires at the end of the season, however, Barcelona are reluctant to move for N’Dicka, with their current financial woes contributing to this. The report reveals that clubs in England and Italy also have the 23-year-old on their radar.

– Newcastle United, West Ham United and Everton are monitoring the situation of forward Folarin Balogun, according to Ekrem Konur. The 21-year-old has impressed on loan at Stade Reims, scoring 18 goals in all competitions, however, his situation at parent club Arsenal remains uncertain. With Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah above Balogun in the pecking order, the Hale End graduate could be tempted to depart in the summer to secure first-team football. Balogun’s international future also looks unclear, with United States national team interim coach Anthony Hudson confirming that talks with the striker have been held regarding switching his international allegiance from England.

– Arsenal are in pole position to sign midfielder Declan Rice this summer, as per Football Insider. The report reveals that while there is competition from rivals Chelsea for the England international, Arsenal lead the race for the 24-year-old. Rice has rejected several new contract offers from West Ham, who may decide the summer is the correct time to cash in on the playmaker, with his deal expiring within the next 12 months.

– Forward Victor Boniface is attracting the attention of AC Milan, report Calciomercato. The striker has netted 19 goals in all competitions for Union Saint-Gilloise, with the report revealing that Boniface’s transfer would cost roughly €10m. Milan are thought to be in the market for a striker to play second fiddle to Olivier Giroud next season, and Boniface has been earmarked as the ideal signing.

– Juventus are interested in signing West Ham forward Gianluca Scamacca, according to Football Insider. The report states the 24-year-old is likely to depart the club if the Hammers do not avoid relegation, with several clubs in Italy interested. The Italian joined the Premier League outfit last summer from Sassuolo, and has netted eight goals this season, but with West Ham currently occupying a relegation spot, they could lose the forward in the summer.

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