Transfer Talk: Kyle Walker set to leave Man City and sign with Bayern Munich

The summer transfer window is open for some leagues in Europe 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!

Manchester City defender Kyle Walker is eager to join Bayern Munich permanently, with advanced talks taking place between him and German champions, reports Sky Sports Deutschland’s Florian Plettenberg.

It has been reported that the 33-year-old would like to depart the Etihad in the summer after six years at Man City, following a difficult season where Walker struggled for consistent minutes under manager Pep Guardiola. Walker did not start in the Champions League final triumph against Internazionale, with Manuel Akanji being favoured ahead of Walker, which has left the England international open to a move away.

The report reveals that whilst Manchester City and Bayern Munich have not yet reached an agreement, all parties are optimistic that a deal can be reached, with Bayern’s head coach Thomas Tuchel proving to be vital in convincing Walker to join the Bavarian club.

The Premier League champions will be eager to offload Walker this summer to ensure he does not depart on a free transfer next year, with the right-back having just one year remaining on his current deal.

Walker has also been linked with a return to his boyhood club Sheffield United, however, this now looks unlikely, with the Blades unable to offer Champions League football.

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10.41 BST: Barcelona have completed the signing of Spain full-back Ona Batlle from Manchester United as a free agent, the Catalan club announced on Monday.

Batlle, 24, has agreed a three-year deal with Barca with her contract with United due to expire at the end of June. She returns to the club where she previously spent six years before leaving in 2017.

After coming through the academy and playing for the B team, Battle left Barca for Madrid CFF in 2017 in search of regular first team football. She spent one season in Madrid before signing for Levante. She then joined United in 2020, making 77 appearances across three years with the Women’s Super League side and helping them qualify for next season’s Champions League for the first time in the club’s history.

Batlle becomes Barca’s first signing of the summer and will find a very different team to the one she left six years ago. Since then, Barca have reached four Champions League finals, having never previously been in one, winning the competition two times, in 2021 and again this season, beating Wolfsburg in the final.

Jonatan Giraldez’s side have also won Liga F in each of the last four seasons and recently, after already wrapping up the title, saw a 64-game unbeaten league streak ended.

10.16 BST: Real Madrid have signed Espanyol and Spain forward Joselu on a season-long loan with an option to make the deal permanent, the club announced on Monday.

Joselu, 33, scored 16 LaLiga goals for Espanyol last season — only Robert Lewandowski and Karim Benzema scored more — as they were relegated from Spain’s top flight.

He was part of Spain’s squad for the UEFA Nations League final four, scoring the winner against Italy in their 2-1 semifinal victory after coming on as an 84th-minute substitute.

Madrid have been looking to bring in a striker after Benzema and Mariano Diaz left this month, leaving Vinicius Junior and Rodrgyo as the club’s only senior forwards.

09.34 BST: England manager Gareth Southgate has joked that many of his players are “tapping each other up” but warned them not to worry about uncertain futures this summer.

Several members of Southgate’s squad including captain Harry Kane, Declan Rice, Harry Maguire, Kyle Walker, James Maddison and Conor Gallagher could move clubs in the coming weeks.

England are training at Manchester United’s Carrington base ahead of their final fixture of the season — Monday’s Euro 2024 qualifier against North Macedonia.

When asked how the speculation could affect his players at international level, Southgate said: “The players are tapping each other up anyway on the quiet so I can’t do anything about that! What I have said is these things run their course, they happen in their own time, you can’t force it as a player. Don’t get frustrated, don’t be asking all summer.

“You don’t need to be updated on every call that happens. A lot of negotiation goes on. I remember as a player getting too wrapped up in every detail of that.

“In the end, there is only a small amount that you can actually control. I think all of those things will happen later on in the summer, and I think the players understand that. They know the focus for the next 36 hours is this game, finishing the season well, making sure we’re set on 12 points and we will be in a very healthy position if we do that.”

Manchester United defender Luke Shaw was asked about the possibility of Kane and Kane moving to Old Trafford this summer, to which he replied: “I would love a few of them to join — I am not going to lie.

“I am speaking to them, telling them how good Manchester is, because I know their qualities.

“I know they are world-class players and they would be a massive help to us but I can only say so much. It is up to the club and whatever they decide, so we have to go from there.

“It is not normally discussed but, because of the time of the season and what is going on, there is a lot of talk, a lot of banter.”

08.41 BST: European clubs should not be afraid of a player exodus to Saudi Arabia, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said on Sunday, suggesting the country was making a mistake investing in stars at the end of their careers.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema have been paid record-high contracts to join Saudi Arabian clubs this year, and similar offers were made to Lionel Messi and Luka Modric. They have combined to win every Ballon d’Or awarded since 2008, and all are at least 35.

More players are expected to follow after four top Saudi Arabian clubs were effectively nationalised this month when taken into majority ownership by the Public Investment Fund sovereign wealth operation chaired by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

Portugal international Ruben Neves is the latest player to be linked with a move, with Sky Sports reporting that Wolverhampton Wanderers have accepted a £47m bid from Al Hilal for the 26-year-old, who had been a target for Barcelona.

Ceferin was asked by Dutch broadcaster NOS if he was afraid of a player exodus, and answered emphatically: “No, no, no.”

“I think that it’s mainly a mistake for Saudi Arabian football. Why is that a problem for them? Because they should invest in academies, they should bring coaches, and they should develop their own players.”

“The system of buying the players that almost ended their career is not the system that develops football,” he added. “It was a similar mistake in China when they all brought players who are at the end of their career.”

Didier Drogba was the star recruit to the Chinese league in 2012 as clubs there bought Europe-based forwards such as Nicolas Anelka and Frederic Kanoute. However, the Chinese league and men’s national team have made little progress internationally in the years since.

“Tell me one player who is top, top age and who starts his career and went to play in Saudi Arabia?” Ceferin asked during the interview on the sideline of the Nations League Finals hosted in the Netherlands. “But it’s not about money only. Players want to win top competitions. And top competition is in Europe.”

08.00 BST: Talks between Barcelona and Athletico Paranaense over the transfer of forward Vitor Roque are progressing well, sources have told ESPN’s Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens.

Barca are in the market for a backup striker to Robert Lewandowski and have turned their attention to Roque, with new sporting director Deco leading the negotiations.

Roque, 18, is the club’s first option because as well as helping take some of the load off Lewandowski this season, he is also viewed as a player who could one day replace the Poland international, who will turn 35 years old in August.

Reports in Spain suggested this weekend that Barca have reached an agreement with Athletico worth a potential €45m including add-ons. Sources close negotiations did not confirm an agreement to ESPN but did say that talks are advancing and there is optimism a deal will be concluded this summer.

However, agreeing a fee with Athletico is only part of the puzzle, sources added, with Barca also needing to free up salary space and room in their squad before committing to signings.

– AC Milan have set their sights on Chelsea winger Christian Pulisic, report Calciomercato. The 24-year-old has one year remaining on his contract at Stamford Bridge, and after just netting one goal last season, could be on his way out of the club this summer. The report suggests that alongside discussing a move for Chelsea midfielder Carney Chukwuemeka, the two clubs will meet to discuss a potential deal for Pulisic, with the United States international possibly open for a loan switch to the San Siro.

– Liverpool are monitoring the situation of Crystal Palace attacking-midfielder Eberechi Eze, per Ekrem Konur. The 24-year-old netted 10 goals, alongside four assists, in thePremier League last season, attracting the attention of many top clubs in the process. Eze is under contract at Selhurst Park until 2025, which would suggest that the Reds will need to dig deep into their pockets to secure the services of the recently-capped England international.

– Hakim Ziyech is nearing a Chelsea exit, with negotiations progressing well between the midfielder and Al Nassr, according to Fabrizio Romano. The west London outfit are keen for a deal to be struck and want the move to be completed next week. The 30-year-old is reported to be keen on the transfer, with a move to Al Nassr offering the Moroccan the chance to play alongside Cristiano Ronaldo. Ziyech has struggled at Stamford Bridge, since his move from Ajax in 2020, which has left the Blues happy to part ways with the midfielder.

– West Ham forward Gianluca Scamacca is closing in on completing a move to Roma, according to Football Insider. The report reveals that the 24-year-old has agreed terms with the Italian giants, whilst West Ham are willing to let Scamacca exit on a loan, or loan-to-buy deal. However, the Conference League winners need to find a replacement for the Italy international before allowing the forward to depart. Scamacca endured a difficult first season in England, netting just three Premier League goals.

– The Saudi Ministry of Sport has sent an official offer to midfielder Marco Verratti, with Al-Hilal showing interest in the 30-year-old, per Rudy Galetti. The Paris Saint-Germain playmaker could part ways with the Ligue 11 outfit, as PSG are set to undergo an overhaul this summer, following another disappointing Champions League campaign. Verratti is under contract with the French champions until 2026, and Galetti suggests the Italian will respond to the proposal from Saudi Arabia in the coming days.

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