The summer window will be opening before you know it, and rumours around the world are picking up steam. As always, Transfer Talk has its finger on the pulse when it comes to the latest gossip. See the latest deals here.
TOP STORY: Messi to Man City not dead yet
No one really expected the rumour about Lionel Messi reuniting with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City to go away quietly, and according to the Sun, it hasn’t.
The paper reports that contract talks have stalled out between Barcelona and Messi and that the two sides are “miles apart” on a new agreement. The sticking point seems to be Barca’s reluctance to extend Messi’s current deal, which runs through the summer of 2018, for another three years. Club president Josep Bartomeu, says the Sun, has told the Argentine and his father that the club simply can’t afford to make that commitment.
– Nick Sutton (@suttonnick) March 31, 2016
Man City have reportedly said that price is not an issue to bring the Argentine to the Etihad (is it ever?), with the club ready to pay Messi £800,000 per week. Furthermore, City are also said to be willing to give Messi a five-year deal to lock him up for what would ostensibly be the remainder of his prime playing days.
It may not happen. It probably won’t happen, but in case you’re still wondering why it might just happen, ESPN FC’s Man City correspondent Jonathan Smith explains here.
Juventus, Madrid to do battle over Gimenez
Despite having one of the deepest, strongest defences in Europe, Juventus are in the market for another central defender. At the top of their wish list, according to Gazzetta dello Sport, is Atletico Madrid’s Jose Maria Gimenez.
The 21-year-old has established himself as a highly valuable young asset, partnering Diego Godin not only at Atletico, but also with Uruguay, where Gimenez has amassed 21 senior caps already. What could prove a stumbling block for the defending Italian champions, however, is the price tag.
With a €65 million release clause, and Atletico unlikely to sell for anything less, the Bianconeri may find themselves priced out of the market. If that’s the case, Real Madrid are reportedly keen to bring Gimenez across the Spanish capital as the team seeks to bolster their central defence (see more on that below).
Real after Marquinhos (again)
More from Real Madrid, who can be forgiven if they are looking past this weekend’s Clasico with Barcelona. With the Catalans having essentially wrapped up the Primera Division and Zinedine Zidane’s team preparing for a midweek Champions League quarterfinals first leg vs. Wolfsburg, Los Blancos are playing for little more than pride when they visit the Camp Nou.
But according to Marca, Real may be looking even further down the road with an eye already on the summer transfer window. Target No. 1 is Brazilian centre-back Marquinhos, who can also slot in at right-back and has been a target of Real’s in windows past. With injuries bogging down Sergio Ramos’ season and the ageing Pepe, 33, showing signs of slowing down, the PSG man be an heir apparent to a prestigious spot at the heart of the Real defence.
Marquinhos, 21, is said to be tiring of Laurent Blanc’s reluctance to make him automatic first-choice in PSG’s lineup. The Brazilian has started just 13 of the team’s 24 Ligue 1 matches this campaign and Blanc admits it’s a problem: “We cannot continue in a situation in which Marquinhos is not playing week in and week out. We’ll have to make a decision at the end of the season and we will.”
Stay tuned transfer fans.
Hammers may move for Toure
On Wednesday, Yaya Toure’s adviser Dimitry Seluk revealed that Bayern Munich, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain were among the big European clubs interested in signing the 32-year-old, who looks almost certain to leave the Etihad this summer. But don’t chalk the Ivorian up for a Premier League departure just yet, according to the Express, who say that West Ham are keen to join the transfer party.
And the Hammers may just have a leg up, as the report goes on to say that Toure would prefer to stay in England so that his family doesn’t have to leave the place they’ve called home since 2010. The midfielder is currently making £220,000 per week and it’s likely he’ll have to take a pay cut wherever he ends up, with Inter Milan reportedly already making a cut-rate offer of £60k per week as part of a two-year deal.
Toure may be past his prime and it’s understandable why incoming manager Pep Guardiola might be ready to move on. Surely there’s some club in need of a rangy, playmaking middle man who can finish with aplomb given the right look.
– Nick Sutton (@suttonnick) March 31, 2016
– All the talk about Manchester United’s next manager if and when Louis van Gaal and the club part ways this summer has centered around former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho. Not so fast, says the Mirror, who report that the power brokers at Old Trafford also have a serious interest in Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino.
– AC Milan blogger Sumeet Paul outlined the team’s complicated situation in keeping goalkeeping starlet Gianluigi Donnarumma. But fans at the San Siro will be encouraged to hear that, at the very least, the club won’t see the 17-year-old prodigy playing for another Serie A club. His agent says he would only leave to go abroad. Ummm, phew?
– Despite interest from Juventus and links to Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund are reportedly at ease over the future of playmaking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who has 16 goals and 18 assists in 43 appearances for the club in all competitions during the 2015-16 season.