Transfer Talk: Leipzig, Milan circling as Arsenal consider Balogun’s future

The January transfer window may be 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!

Bayern Munich will look to move on forward Sadio Mane when the transfer window opens in July, says Sky Germany.

Mane, 31, has 11 goals and five assists since moving to the German club in the summer from Liverpool for an initial €32 million. But new boss Thomas Tuchel is reportedly not planning to use him much as he doesn’t fit into the tactical system he wants to employ.

Mane was suspended and fined after his postmatch altercation with teammate Leroy Sane after Bayern’s 3-0 defeat to Manchester City in their first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal tie on Tuesday. Multiple reports said Sane suffered a cut lip after the two players clashed in the dressing room.

The Senegal international hasn’t settled in Munich — with only six league goals so far — and Bayern are ready to listen to offers, though former club Liverpool are not considering a move to re-sign him, according to Bild.

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22.26 BST: Ajax are set to join the race for Celtic winger Liel Abada, according to Sky Sports.

The 21-year-old has emerged on the radar of clubs in the Premier League this season following a number of impressive matches in the Premiership, where he has contributed to 14 goals in 29 matches, but with the majority of his appearances coming from the bench, it is reported that clubs will look to tempt him away from Celtic Park in the summer.

He is also believed to be attracting interest from Portugal.

21.55 BST: The deal involving Independiente del Valle attacking midfielder Kendry Paez and Chelsea is set to be approved by the Premier League, reveals Fabrizio Romano.

The Blues have had an agreement over a deal worth up to €20million to sign the 15-year-old Ecuador youth international since March, in a move that will see him make the switch to Stamford Bridge when he turns 18 in 2025 – and the latest indicates that it is now set to be confirmed.

21.14 BST: Midfielder Axel Witsel is set to remain at Atletico Madrid for one more season, reports Mundo Deportivo.

The 34-year-old, who is understood to have been keen to continue playing for Diego Simeone’s side, played his 24th league game of the season against Almeira on Sunday, and it is believed that match has activated a clause that will now automatically renew his deal at the Wanda Metropolitano.

20.30 BST: Manchester City defender Kyle Walker is on the radar of Aston Villa, understands Football Insider.

It is reported that Unai Emery has identified the right-back position as a key area to upgrade in the summer, and it looks as though the 32-year-old England international is currently at the top of the Villains’ shortlist.

Walker hasn’t featured as regularly for Pep Guardiola’s side this season, having made just 15 Premier League starts.

19.55 BST: Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is willing to include winger Amad Diallo as part of his squad next season, says Manchester Evening News.

The 20-year-old has had some time on loan this season with Sunderland in the Championship, where he has impressed with 12 goals from 33 appearances — with four coming in his last six matches.

That looks to have caught the attention of the Red Devils manager, and the latest suggests that he is planning to dismiss any further loan move offers for the Ivory Coast international.

19.17 BST: Inter Milan see Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino as a potential alternative for Romelu Lukaku, reports Goal.

It is reported that they currently have no plans to negotiate a new move to make the 29-year-old’s Belgium star’s stay permanent, and will instead look to take advantage of Firmino’s contract situation.

The 31-year-old Brazil international will become a free agent in the summer, though he is yet to make his decision on where he will be playing next season.

18.51 BST: Talks between Bayern Munich and wing-back Alphonso Davies are set to take place over a new contract extension, writes Ekrem Konur.

With Real Madrid believed to be interested in the 22-year-old, the Allianz Arena hierarchy are hopeful of securing him at the club on a new five-year deal until the summer of 2028.

The Canada international has been in impressive form of late, and scored his first goal of the season last month during the 5-3 Bundesliga win over Augsburg.

18.04 BST: Burnley are keen on signing Aberdeen forward Duk, reveals Fabrizio Romano.

The 23-year-old, who arrived from Benfica last summer, has been in excellent form this season with 16 goals in 32 league games, and it looks as though Clarets manager Vincent Kompany has identified him as one of the first potential reinforcements ahead of Burnley’s Premier League campaign next season.

Blackburn Rovers and Hull City are also understood to be keen on his services.

17.20 BST: Barcelona are interested in landing Liverpool Montevideo midfielder Fabricio Diaz, according to Sport.

It is reported that the 20-year-old’s representatives have already met with the Blaugrana over a deal in the region of €6million, with the LaLiga side believing he would be an ideal fit for their system.

Diaz has earned 19 caps for the Uruguay U20 national team, and has recently captained the side.

16.04 BST: Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele has a €50m release clause which will kick in this summer, but talks over a new contract have not started yet.

Fabrizio Romano reports that the France international is calm over his future and will open negotiations soon, having scored eight goals and put in seven assists from 28 games this season.

Dembele, 25, has been linked with Bayern Munich, Juventus, Liverpool and Man United in recent seasons and almost left Camp Nou on a free transfer last summer before signing a new two-year deal.

15.16 BST: Liverpool are interested in signing Bayern Munich midfielder Ryan Gravenberch, with the player keen on a move to Anfield according to Sky Sports.

Gravenberch, 20, moved to Bayern from Ajax for around €18m last summer but has only played 17 times in the Bundesliga, with only one appearance from the start, and was an unused sub for the 3-0 Champions League defeat to Manchester City.

Liverpool are looking to add to their midfield in the summer and have spoken with Gravenberch’s father, Ryan Sr., to sound out a move.

Man United boss Erik ten Hag has also shown interest in Gravenberch.

14.41 BST: Joel and Avram Glazer are increasingly confident of securing the outside investment that will enable them to remain as Manchester United owners and potentially double the value of the club over the next decade, a source has told ESPN’s Mark Ogden.

The Glazer family, who have owned United since 2005, announced last November they were considering “all strategic alternatives, including new investment into the club, a sale, or other transactions,” in order to generate the funds required to transform the team, training ground and the Old Trafford stadium, which has been overlooked as a potential venue for the joint United Kingdom and Ireland bid to host Euro 2028 despite being the biggest club ground in Britain.

While Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al Thani is fronting a Qatari bid to buy United in face of competition from Jim Ratcliffe, Britain’s richest man, a number of United States-based investment funds have contacted Raine Group, the New York bank overseeing the process, to register their interest in acquiring a minority stake in the club.

Elliot Investment Management, Ares Management Corporation, Sixth Street Partners and The Carlyle Group are all attempting to secure a stake in United, having lodged their interest with Raine Group ahead of the April 28 deadline for third bids.

14.15 BST: Chelsea are a mess under interim coach Frank Lampard and the owners are going from bad decision to bad decision, writes Mark Ogden.

13.40 BST: Liverpool are out of the running, but Manchester United are keen to sign Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham next season, according to The Times.

Bellingham, 19, is being tracked by Real Madrid, Manchester City, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain but his transfer would cost upwards of €130m.

The England international is reportedly ready to leave Dortmund but only for the right club.

13.01 BST: Newcastle are looking to the Netherlands for their future defence, according to Gianluca Di Marzio.

Having already spent €35m to sign 23-year-old centre-back Sven Botman from Lille last summer, Newcastle are eyeing Torino’s Perr Schuurs.

Schuurs, 23, signed from Ajax for €14m in 2022 and could be allowed to move for around €30m. He played for Ajax in the same youth team as Botman from 2018-2020.

12.12 BST: Barcelona president Joan Laporta insisted the club have never bought referees after a Spanish court opened an investigation into payments made to the former vice president of the refereeing committee.

In a news conference which lasted two hours on Monday, Laporta said there was a smear campaign against Barca, strongly criticised LaLiga president Javier Tebas and called out Real Madrid’s “cynicism” for joining the legal case against the Catalan club.

Barca paid ex-referee Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira’s company over €7m between 2001 and 2018.

Prosecutors allege the club sought to gain favour through the payments, but Laporta says they were paying for services related to scouting and technical reports about refereeing.

“Barcelona have never acted with the intention of altering or influencing competitions to gain a sporting advantage,” Laporta said. “The courts have found no proof otherwise because there is none. It is not possible. This is the result of a smear campaign against Barcelona. It is the fiercest attack ever against Barcelona and has been done to ruin the club’s reputation and destabilise us.”

11.55 BST: Brighton midfielder Alexis Mac Allister is expecting to leave the club this summer, says Fabrizio Romano.

Mac Allister, 24, won the World Cup with Argentina and has impressed in the Premier League. However, he has a contract until 2025, with Brighton having an option to extend by a year, and his transfer is reportedly valued at £80m.

Liverpool and Man United are reported to be interested in signing him.

11.20 BST: It’s safe to say Man City made the right decision to sign Erling Haaland.

10.35 BST: Brazil’s search for a new head coach includes Jose Mourinho, says The Athletic.

Tite left the position after Brazil’s quarterfinal exit at the 2022 World Cup with Ramon Menezes taking over in the interim.

Real Madrid’s Carlo Ancelotti is No. 1 choice and has been tipped to take up the job, but a backup list includes: Fenerbahce’s Jorge Jesus, Fluminense’s Fernando Diniz, Palmeiras’ Abel Ferreira and Roma boss Mourinho.

09.44 BST: Inter Milan have all but ruled out the option to negotiate a new loan deal for Romelu Lukaku, Gazzetta dello Sport reports.

After moving from Inter to Chelsea for €115m in 2021, Lukaku, 29, returned to Inter after one year on a season-long loan last summer, but injuries have limited the Belgium striker to 24 appearances in all competitions.

Inter spent €20m, €8m on the loan fee and the rest on the player’s wages, to bring Lukaku back and, according to Gazzetta, the Italian club have made a decision not to extend the player’s stay beyond June 30.

Lukaku is under contract with Chelsea until June 2026.

09.12 BST: Juventus are reportedly leading the race to sign Sassuolo midfielder Davide Frattesi.

Frattesi, 23, has scored six goals in 30 league appearances for the Serie A outfit and, according to Sassuolo general administrator Giovanni Carnevali, Juve are keen to sign the Italy international.

“We know Juve like Frattesi, but not just them,” Carvenali said. “There will be time to talk in depth. I think Davide is ready to play for a big club.”

Frattesi is under contract with Sassuolo until June 2026 and has also been linked with Manchester United. However, Carvenali said Italian clubs will have priority to sign the midfielder.

“As always, in the event that he [Frattesi] leaves, we hope to transfer him in Italy,” he added.

08.30 BST: Dries Mertens will continue at Galatasaray for a further season, according to Tuttomercato.

The Belgium striker joined the Turkish giants as a free agent last summer after nine years with Napoli.

Mertens, 35, had signed a one-year contract, with an option to extend it for a further season.

Having made his 25th appearance for Galatasaray in Friday’s 6-0 win against Kayserispor, Mertens’ contract has been automatically renewed until June 2024.

– Manchester United are leading the race to sign AS Monaco centre-back Axel Disasi despite Chelsea and Manchester City also registering their interest, reports Football Insider. The Red Devils have sent multiple scouts to watch the 25-year-old and all of them have come back with positive reports, which has seen him become a priority option as the Premier League side aims to improve coach Erik ten Hag’s defensive options.

– RB Leipzig will compete with AC Milan to sign Arsenal starlet Folarin Balogun in the summer, according to Calciomercato. The striker has impressed on loan at Stade de Reims this season, with only Kylian Mbappe, Jonathan David and former Gunners frontman Alexandre Lacazette bettering his 18 Ligue 1 goals so far this term. Even so, there is no guarantee that Balogun will stay in North London once his loan comes to an end, with strikers Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah already plying their trade at the Emirates. The striker has played most of his youth international football for England’s various age groups but is also eligible for the United States.

– AS Roma are turning their attention to signing Eintracht Frankfurt centre-back Evan Ndicka, according to Corriere dello Sport. The Serie A club missed out on signing the 23-year-old last summer but the Frenchman has now told Frankfurt that he won’t renew his contract, leaving the door open for Jose Mourinho’s Roma to sign the defender on a free transfer.

– Fabrizio Romano has suggested that Lille will demand €65m for Canada international striker Jonathan David during the summer transfer window. The 23-year-old has been linked with a number of big clubs in recent months, with his tally of 20 Ligue 1 goals this season catching the eye.

– Chelsea are monitoring Middlesbrough midfielder Finley Cartwright as the Blues aim to bring new talent into their academy, according to Fabrizio Romano. Born in 2006, he is currently playing for Middlesbrough’s Under 18s.

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