The 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!
TOP STORY: Man United to target Mbappe under Qatari ownership
Manchester United’s potential new owner from Qatar is planning to make waves in the transfer market with a move for Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe, says Bild.
Qatar-backed Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al-Thani submitted his third and final bid to buy Manchester United from the Glazer family at the end of April, with British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe also submitting a bid.
Sheikh Jassim is only interested in a a full takeover of the club, which would remove all debt and provide money for transfers. As such, a triple swoop of three France internationals is on the cards, with Mbappe being targeted alongside Real Madrid’s Eduardo Camavinga and Bayern Munich’s Kingsley Coman.
Mbappe, 24, is considered the best young player in world football and signed a new contract with PSG until the summer of 2024 after snubbing a free transfer to Real Madrid last summer. His transfer fee could break the €222m world record set by Neymar’s move to Paris from Barcelona in 2017.
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11.00 BST: Could Lionel Messi return to Barcelona?
Is bringing Lionel Messi back the right move for Barca?
Craig Burley and Steve Nicol debate whether a return to Barcelona would be beneficial for the future of the club.
10.23 BST: Liverpool are making moves to persuade Brighton midfielder Alexis Mac Allister to join them this summer, says Fabrizio Romano.
The club have reportedly presented their project and financial proposal to the 23-year-old Argentina international and are in talks over a deal.
Brighton want to keep Mac Allister, and have an option to extend his contract until 2026, but a bid of around £70m would be hard to turn to down.
09.45 BST: Former Benfica coach Nelson Verissimo has backed Joao Felix to succeed at Chelsea.
The Portugal forward is on loan at Chelsea from Atletico Madrid, whom he joined for €126m from Benfica in 2019, until the end of the season.
Verissimo, who has been out of a job since leaving Estoril earlier this year, met two former Benfica players, Felix and Carlos Vinicius in London this week. He wrote on social media: “In London, still time to be with Joao Felix. Also for Joao, I believe, it is a matter of time before his football can emerge. Joao is excited about the challenge ahead of him. Chelsea, unlike Fulham, are going through a more difficult phase, but the bets placed on this squad could bear fruit in 2023/24. The talent is there, and the project goes far beyond what you can see. I know that Joao will end up showing what we all know he never lacked: resilience and a natural talent that any football fan loves.”
09.22 BST: Neymar has posted a message on his Instagram stories after a small group of PSG fans gathered outside his house to demand that the Brazilian leave the club.
The group of fans are believed to have travelled to Neymar’s house in Paris on Wednesday and chanted for the forward to leave.
In a statement, PSG condemned the “intolerable and insulting actions” of those supporters.
Neymar wrote on Instagram: “Don’t let people put you in their storm, put them in your peace.”
Neymar, who is in his sixth season at PSG, is recovering from a season-ending ankle injury sustained in March.
08.56 BST: Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti has not yet signed a contract extension, with his deal ending this summer.
The coach says he will only remain at the club next season if he can continue to contribute to the team’s growth. Napoli, who want Spalletti to remain, need a point at Udinese on Thursday to win their third Scudetto, their first Serie A title in 33 years.
He said: “My contract to remain at Napoli? There are still beautiful things left to be done but what matters more than the contract for me is to get the job done and play well in our remaining games. Only then will we think about celebrating. I will ask myself if the conditions are there to give to the fans what they deserve. That will be the starting point.”
Spalletti, 64, took over Napoli from Gennaro Gattuso in May 2021.
“When Napoli contacted me, I said yes knowing that I had to win because before [Maurizio] Sarri, [Rafa] Benitez and [Carlo] Ancelotti had been here before me,” the former Inter Milan and Roma coach said.
08.30 BST: Real Madrid are optimistic of beating Manchester City to the signing of Jude Bellingham, but various sources have told ESPN it’s too early to talk about any sort of agreement being reached.
Bellingham, 19, is one of the most sought-after players in the world and ESPN first reported Madrid’s serious interest in the Borussia Dortmund midfielder last November.
Liverpool were thought to be the favourites to sign the England international at the time but Jurgen Klopp’s side pulled out of the running last month.
Following Liverpool’s withdrawal, sources told ESPN that Premier League champions City felt they were best positioned to land Bellingham’s signature.
However, as reported by ESPN in recent months, Madrid have never given up hope of signing the former Birmingham City player and now believe they are the favourites to do so.
Why a move to Real Madrid is a ‘no-brainer’ for Jude Bellingham
Steve Nicol explains why a potential transfer to Real Madrid would suit Jude Bellingham.
PAPER GOSSIP (by Adam Brown)
– Barcelona are confident of signing Paris Saint-Germain forward Lionel Messi in the summer, according to Footmercato. Sources confirmed to ESPN on Wednesday that the 35-year-old will leave PSG at the end of the season. Despite Barcelona’s continuing financial struggles that forced Messi to leave in 2021, the report claims that the club has no concerns of bringing him back. The Argentina international has also been linked with Saudi Pro League side Al Hilal and MLS club Inter Miami.
– AC Milan are planning to hold a new round of contract talks with forward Rafael Leao, reports Gazzetta dello Sport. It is believed that the Rossoneri are keen to make progress over the 23-year-old’s long-term future at San Siro before their Champions League semifinal clash with Internazionale, with hope that their proposal will be accepted to avoid distractions. Leao has been a key player for the Serie A side this season, having contributed to 19 goals in 31 league games.
– Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema is on the radar of Al Ittihad, reveals Footmercato. The Saudi Pro League side are looking to follow in the footsteps of their rivals by acquiring a notable star from Europe, but they are also lining up potential alternatives amid reports that the 35-year-old is set to extend his stay at the Santiago Bernabeu by another year.
– Chelsea and Manchester United are leading the race to sign Napoli striker Victor Osimhen, according to Sky Sports Deutschland’s Florian Plettenberg. Multiple clubs are keeping a close eye on the 24-year-old, who has scored 26 goals in 33 matches across all competitions this season. It is reported that the two Premier League rivals are ahead of PSG in the race for his signature.
– On-loan Manchester United striker Wout Weghorst wants to remain at Old Trafford beyond next season, writes The Telegraph. The 30-year-old will return back to Burnley at the end of the season, but could be moved on with previous reports indicating that manager Vincent Kompany didn’t see him as part of his system. It is reported that a decision is yet to be made on whether or not Erik ten Hag will choose to keep him at the club.