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06/04/2023
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Transfer Talk: Manchester United join Chelsea in race for PSG's Neymar

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 Utd join Chelsea in eyeing Neymar

Manchester United are joining Chelsea in keeping an eye on Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar, as has been reported by Foot Mercato.

The 31-year-old is out for the season following an ankle injury in a 4-3 win against Lille in February, which has fueled rumours that his time in Paris might soon be over.

– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)

Chelsea looked into the possibility of a move last summer that didn’t come to fruition, and they have continued to be linked with the Brazilian player in recent months. Sources told ESPN that Chelsea’s new ownership met with PSG officials in February to discuss Neymar’s future.

There was previously a clause activated that keeps Neymar with PSG until 2027, although Les Parisiens are now hoping that he will depart long before that point. Neymar’s salary is one of the reasons PSG want to see him leave, but that same factor also prevents many other clubs from signing him.

One club that could do so is Manchester United, who have reportedly been keeping an eye on him since the beginning of the year.

If they were to make a move, United would need to convince Neymar that Manchester is his best option, as he doesn’t want to leave Paris, then make an offer that satisfies PSG.

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09.27 BST: Mauricio Pochettino is in advanced talks with Chelsea to become manager at Stamford Bridge, replacing interim boss Frank Lampard before the start of next season, a source familiar with the negotiations has told ESPN’s Mark Ogden.

Pochettino, 51, has been out of work since leaving Paris Saint-Germain at the end of last season, but the former Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur manager has now emerged as the favoured candidate to take charge at Chelsea.

Sources told ESPN that Chelsea’s plan is to let Lampard see out the season and then hand the reins to Pochettino in the summer, adding that the Argentine coach feels the project at Stamford Bridge suits him because he will be able to build a young team that can play his style of football.

Pochettino would arrive following a lengthy process to identify a successor to Graham Potter, who was fired after just seven months in charge on April 3. Chelsea had drawn up a short list that included as many as seven names to replace Potter, with former Bayern Munich coach Julian Nagelsmann and Pochettino regarded as initial favourites of the club’s owners, Clearlake Capital.

Nagelsmann subsequently dropped out of the running, sources told ESPN on Friday, while talks with former Barcelona and Spain coach Luis Enrique did not progress beyond exploratory discussions.

Sporting Lisbon coach Ruben Amorim and Real Madrid’s Carlo Ancelotti were also considered by Chelsea, but a source has told ESPN that Pochettino is now in detailed discussions about taking over at the club.

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Ryan Reynolds interrupts interview for Ben Foster’s Wrexham jersey

Ryan Reynolds demands Wrexham’s promotion-winning jerseys from Ben Foster and Elliot Lee.

08.42 BST: Ben Foster has said he is considering whether to continue his playing career at Wrexham next season — one month after coming out of retirement to help the Hollywood-owned team end a 15-year wait for promotion back to the English Football League (EFL).

The former Manchester United and England goalkeeper, who retired at the end of last season following relegation from the Premier League with Watford, signed a short-term contract with the National League club in March after first and second choice goalkeepers Mark Howard and Rob Lainton were ruled out by injuries.

The 40-year-old has since become a crucial figure in Phil Parkinson’s team, saving a 97th minute penalty in the 3-2 win against closest rivals Notts County last month which put Wrexham on course for promotion as National League champions. And having initially said his return to Wrexham — Foster made his senior debut for the club in 2005 — was a short-term move, Foster said he will now consider whether to continue at the Racecourse Ground next season.

“I haven’t a clue yet [what I will do], I really don’t know,” Foster said. “It’s great to be a man of leisure and freedom and I really enjoyed my time [in retirement]. I had a great time — I really did.

“But what I will say is that I’ve enjoyed this so, so much. This is a special club — Wrexham is a really special club and everybody that plays for it can see it.

“There’s no big-timers. In football there are so many big-timers and there’s none of them in our dressing-room, and that’s the bit of it for me that has made me go: ‘I’ve really enjoyed this so much,’ so I’ll have to think about it. It’s a simple as that.

“You have to. You have to contemplate it, because to be part of this team and Wrexham is a special thing.”

– Ogden: How Hollywood owners guided Wrexham to promotion

08.00 BST: Western United’s Italian superstar Alessandro Diamanti, who helped United to their inaugural ALM title last season, will hang up his boots at the end of this campaign.

The attacking midfielder will call time on a decorated career spanning four countries, 23 years and over 550 professional matches for club and country.

“I am a happy man. I have always tried to be a footballer of the people, for the people. I have always followed the true values of football,” the 39-year-old Diamanti said. “I haven’t been a 100-trophy player, but I have been a player who felt loved, by my loved ones first and by all the thousands of people who have been following me for more than 20 years.”

Diamanti arrived in Australia in 2019, becoming Western United’s inaugural captain. In the club’s first season he won the Johnny Warren Medal, the Alex Tobin Medal and Western United’s player of the season awards. In 81 games in the green and black, Diamanti scored 11 goals and registered 18 assists.

Diamanti began his career at hometown club Prato. He debuted in Serie A with Livorno before also going on play for Bologna, Fiorentina, Atalanta and Palermo in Italy’s top flight. He featured in the Premier League for West Ham United in 2009-10 and spent the 2014 season in China with Guangzhou Evergrande, where he won a league title and gained his first exposure to Australian football as his side met both Melbourne Victory and Western Sydney in their Asian Champions League campaign.

Diamanti became a regular for the Italian national team in the early 2010s, playing 17 times and scoring once against Uruguay at the 2013 Confederations Cup.

PAPER GOSSIP

– Manchester City will compete to sign Napoli centre-back Kim Min-Jae for £40 million, claims the Sun, who add that Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur also are interested in the 26-year-old. In addition, City are said to be interested in RB Leipzig centre-back Josko Gvardiol.

– Barcelona have made Chelsea striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang the priority in their search for a new No. 9 in the summer transfer window, reports Sky Sports, who add that Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino also is being considered. The Blaugrana are looking at Borussia Monchengladbach’s Marcus Thuram and Athletico Paranaense’s Vitor Roque, as well.

– Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea will all send scouts to watch United States men’s national midfielder Yunus Musah during Valencia’s match against Real Valladolid on Thursday, according to Ekrem Konur. The 20-year-old is expected to play an important role as Valencia try to climb out of the relegation zone in LaLiga.

– Arsenal, Chelsea, PSG, Bayern Munich, AS Roma and Marseille are all interested in signing Wilfried Zaha if the winger leaves Crystal Palace as a free agent this summer, reports The Guardian. Palace are offering the 30-year-old a four-year contract worth over £10 million per season in an effort to keep him, but the Ivory Coast international also wants assurances over the Eagles’ ambition to play in Europe. Zaha is likely to delay his decision until the end of the Premier League season and is expected to turn down an offer from Saudi Arabian side Al Ittihad.

– Borussia Dortmund and Chelsea are both interested in signing a player from the other, according to Florian Plettenberg, who suggests that the Blues have internally discussed Swiss keeper Gregor Kobel and made contact with the 25-year-old’s agent. Plettenberg also states that BVB have put midfielder Conor Gallagher on their shortlist with his Chelsea future open, although there have been no concrete talks, and the Blues value the 23-year-old at around €50 million.

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