The summer transfer window is approaching, and there’s plenty of gossip swirling about who’s moving where. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz on rumours, comings and goings and, of course, done deals!
TOP STORY: Inter plan for Lukaku return
Inter Milan have made Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku their prime target for the summer, writes Calciomercato.
Having failed to defend their Serie A title, the Nerazzurri are planning to move quickly to add reinforcements and it is reported that they are already discussing ways in which a deal can be reached to bring the Belgium international back to San Siro.
Lukaku, 29, joined the Blues for €115 million last summer, but has failed to repeat his Serie A form on his return to Stamford Bridge, scoring just eight goals in 26 Premier League appearances.
Lukaku had to issue an apology to Chelsea fans and his teammates in January for an unsanctioned interview he gave to Sky Italy in which he said: “I really hope in the depths of my heart to return to Inter, not at the end of my career, but at a still good level to hopefully win more.”
But he could now have that wish granted and, while Thomas Tuchel could be prepared to accept a lesser fee after Lukaku’s displays this season, Inter are taking time to work out a way that they could structure the deal without limiting themselves for the rest of the transfer window.
Simone Inzaghi’s side are understood to see Lukaku as the first priority over a potential signing of Paulo Dybala, who is available as a free agent after failing to agree to a new contract with Juventus.
– Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ (U.S. only)
– Don’t have ESPN? Get instant access
09.52 BST: Tottenham Hotspur are expected to complete the signing of Inter Milan winger Ivan Perisic on a free transfer this week, sources have told ESPN.
The 33-year-old is due in London to complete a medical after agreeing terms on a two-year contract.
As ESPN reported earlier in May, Spurs were exploring the possibility of signing Perisic after receiving encouragement he was interested in a potential reunion with head coach Antonio Conte in north London.
Inter offered Perisic a contract extension while Juventus were also in lengthy negotiations but Conte’s relationship with the Croatia international is thought to have been a decisive factor in pulling off a deal which is something of a coup for Spurs.
Sources have told ESPN that Conte is demanding as many as six summer signings and is set to stay at the club following constructive talks with chairman Daniel Levy and managing director Fabio Paratici.
09.24 BST: Manchester United target Pau Torres says the “only offer I have right now is a Villarreal contract extension.”
Torres, 25, is considered one of the best defenders in LaLiga and has fully established himself within the starting XI for Spain, too. Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea have reportedly monitored Torres’ progress this season and are keen to sign him for around €60m this summer, with his contract expiring at Villarreal in 2024.
“No decision has been taken,” Torres said regarding his future. “The only offer I have right now is that of Villarreal’s contract extension. I have the peace of mind of being where they want me, where I have a valid contract and a renewal offer. The future will tell what happens next, but I am very calm, I don’t look further ahead. I’ve experienced two very good years at Villarreal, we have competed with the best at European level which is what every player wants. And if, in addition, you do it in the team of your town, that’s huge.”
Torres had an option to join Tottenham last summer but reportedly turned it down and knows there will be plenty of talk regarding his future in this transfer window.
“It’s something I’ve always talked about with the president, that different situations could arise,” he said. “The club loves me and I’m very grateful. I know I can stay here for many more years because the affection is mutual. We’ll see what we decide.”
08.27 BST: Marcelo will leave Real Madrid this summer, he confirmed on Saturday, after winning a record-breaking 25th trophy at the club in their 1-0 Champions League final victory over Liverpool.
The veteran defender was an unused substitute in Madrid’s win in Paris but lifted the trophy — his fifth Champions League having been involved in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018 — as club captain.
Marcelo, 34, had said earlier this week that he wanted to stay at the Bernabeu with his contract due to expire next month, but said after the game that he would be leaving Madrid after 15 years.
“It’s an incredible emotion because it’s my last game at Real Madrid,” he told journalists in the mixed zone at the Stade de France. “Leaving with a Champions League is a huge joy. It isn’t a sad day.”
08.00 BST: ICYMI – Manchester United are set to test Barcelona’s resolve over Frenkie de Jong despite doubts over whether they are the midfielder’s first choice if he leaves Camp Nou, sources told ESPN.
United want a midfielder this summer, and De Jong, who worked under Erik ten Hag at Ajax during the pair’s time there, is one of the names under consideration.
Despite playing a key role at Barcelona last season, there’s a feeling at Old Trafford that the LaLiga giants may have to offload the Netherlands international to fund their summer transfer business. Sources told ESPN that De Jong would have to be persuaded to join United, particularly after they dropped out of the Champions League, but a move has not been ruled out.
Intermediaries working on behalf of Barcelona have tried to find potential suitors for the 25-year-old, and although Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich have asked to be kept informed, United’s interest is the strongest. Sources told ESPN that Manchester City are distancing themselves from De Jong, instead choosing to focus on Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips as a replacement for Fernandinho, who will leave the club this summer.
United have also registered interest in Phillips, but sources said he would be reluctant to move to Old Trafford given Leeds’ intense rivalry with United.
Craig Burley explains why he doesn’t understand why Sadio Mane would leave Liverpool for Bayern Munich.
PAPER GOSSIP (by Adam Brown)
– Liverpool are looking for a fee of €30m if they are to allow Sadio Mane to leave one year before his contract expires, reports the Liverpool Echo. The 30-year-old forward has been heavily linked with Bayern Munich in recent weeks, with reports in Germany revealing that the Bundesliga champions had already met with his representatives. Mane made 51 appearances for Jurgen Klopp’s side this season.
– David Raya‘s impressive season in the Premier League has seen a number of teams begin to circle for the Brentford goalkeeper, but the Bees plan to offer him a new contract, according to Football London. It is reported that discussions are already in the way, as Thomas Frank’s side look to extend the 26-year-old’s deal beyond 2024. He made 24 league appearances last season.
– Barcelona will only allow Memphis Depay to leave if they can find a replacement first, writes Sport. Manager Xavi Hernandez is reported to be open to keeping the 28-year-old forward at Camp Nou if he does not acquire his targets in the summer and, with Depay keen on continuing his career in LaLiga, his future could remain there despite interest from Arsenal and Juventus.
– Montpellier and Strasbourg are set to join the battle for the signature of Gedeon Kalulu, according to Foot Mercato. It is reported that both clubs will do everything they can to acquire the 24-year-old defender who starred for AC Ajaccio in Ligue 2 this season.
– Barcelona have offered Oscar Mingueza to Getafe, reveals AS. The LaLiga side were reported to be keen on the 23-year-old defender in January, and they are now considering making a loan approach for his services. Mingueza’s contract is set to enter its final year next month, and while the Blaugrana would prefer to move him on permanently, it is reported that they are open to allowing him to leave on loan.