The coronavirus pandemic has made the transfer market uncertain — and you can find out when the windows open and close here — but here are the rumours floating around Europe’s big leagues and beyond.
TOP STORY: Barcelona agree terms with Lyon winger Depay
Barcelona are trying to rebuild their squad, even if the future of their star player Lionel Messi is still up in the air.
With a new Dutch coach, Ronald Koeman, in at Camp Nou, the club have targeted a host of Dutch players and newspaper Algemeen Dagblad says they have agreed terms with Lyon winger Memphis Depay.
Depay, 26, has one year left on his contract and told NOS earlier this week that “I never said I want to leave … I feel good about myself but also have my dreams. I have always expressed that too.” Lyon reached the semifinals of the Champions League last season but missed out on Europe after only securing a seventh-place finish in Ligue 1, and talk of a €40m move for Depay has increased,
Elsewhere, Koeman has insisted that Barcelona sign Georginio Wijnaldum, sources have told ESPN’s Alex Kirkland and Moises Llorens, and wants the club to do whatever it takes to land the Liverpool midfielder.
– Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ (U.S. only)
12.21 BST: Lionel Messi is unlikely to stay at Barcelona, despite reports of a possible U-turn, according to club presidential hopeful Victor Font.
“It would be a surprise because it seems his decision is firm,” Font said. “It would be a very positive surprise. But, as I’ve always said until it is done there is always hope, so let’s keep hoping this will be the case.”
11.48 BST: Two from Sky Sports:
– Bournemouth have rejected an offer between £13m-£15m for striker Callum Wilson from Aston Villa.
– Fulham are in talks with Torino over a season-long loan for former Chelsea full-back Ola Aina.
11.27 BST: What’s up with Everton right now? Allan and James Rodriguez should be arriving shortly…
ESPN FC’s Gab Marcotti doesn’t fully comprehend Carlo Ancelotti’s transfer strategy at Everton.
11.21 BST: Bayer Leverkusen have an update.
A statement on Twitter read: “Kai Havertz has left the Stuttgart headquarters of the German national team to clarify matters surrounding a potential move to Chelsea. This took place after a discussion with Bayer 04 and DFB leadership.”
Havertz, 21, will undergo a medical today with Chelsea on the verge of completing an €80m move (plus €20m in add-ons) that will see the midfielder sign a five-year contract at Stamford Bridge.
The medical is not expected to raise any issues and the Blues are set to confirm Havertz as a Chelsea player by the end of the week, taking their summer spending spree past £200m with the acquisitions of Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner and Ben Chilwell in addition to free signings Thiago Silva and Malang Sarr.
It is, however, at this stage unclear when Havertz could make his Chelsea debut given the quarantine situation involving Switzerland, who Germany face in the Nations League on Sunday.
10.50 BST: Manchester United’s interest in Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago triggers an unwanted reminder to some at Old Trafford of the club’s first attempt to sign the player seven years ago, only for a deal to be vetoed by then-manager David Moyes.
Prior to announcing his retirement as United manager in May 2013, Sir Alex Ferguson had set up a £17m transfer for Thiago, then 22, after being made aware of his desire to leave Barcelona to secure first-team football. With Ferguson standing down in favour of Moyes, however, the final decision on Thiago was left to the new man following his arrival from Everton.
Moyes instead signed Marouane Fellaini from his former club on transfer deadline day.
10.09 BST: Alexis Sanchez has said he wanted to rip up his contract after one training session at Manchester United. The Chile international also said he only moved to Old Trafford in January 2018 after an agreement with Manchester City fell through.
“I accepted the opportunity to go to United, it felt tempting and it was something good for me, I liked this club a lot when I was a kid,” Sanchez said in a video on Instagram. “Eventually, I signed but I didn’t ask for information on what was happening inside the club. Sometimes there are things that you don’t realise until you get there and I remember the first training session I had, I realised a lot of things.
“After the session I got home and I told my family and my agent: ‘Can you not rip up the contract to go back to Arsenal?’ They laughed, I told them there’s something that doesn’t sit right, it doesn’t seem good.
“But I already signed, I was already there. After the first few months I carried on having the same feeling, we weren’t united as a team in that moment.”
09.32 BST: Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante has been linked with a move away. WHY?
Gab Marcotti outlines the impact N’Golo Kante has on the pitch for Chelsea and explains why he could be up for sale.
09.00 BST: ESPN’s Insider Notebook is live and there’s plenty of transfer news to follow, including:
– Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has told executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward to value dressing room harmony over transfer business as the club continue to deal with the fall-out from Alexis Sanchez‘s disastrous move, sources have told ESPN’s Rob Dawson.
– Real Madrid are considering a second round of temporary wage cuts for players as the club assesses the long-term financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic, sources have told ESPN’s Alex Kirkland and Rodrigo Faez.
– Atletico Madrid are yet to receive an offer for Arsenal target Thomas Partey, sources told ESPN, with PSG now in the running to land the midfielder.
08.26 BST: It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks in the European soccer universe, with teams attempting to cram a full offseason’s worth of both transfers and transfer rumors into the shortest offseason ever. But as moves have become official, they have created a few particularly interesting position battles among the top teams on the continent.
Here are a few of the most interesting, and most important battles on the docket, the outcomes of which could decide title races in Europe’s biggest leagues.
08.00 BST: Barcelona are not ruling out that Lionel Messi will see out the final year of his contract at the club after a meeting with the Argentina forward’s father, sources have told ESPN’s Moises Llorens and Rodrigo Faez.
Jorge Messi met with club president Josep Maria Bartomeu on Wednesday to discuss his son’s desire to leave Camp Nou.
The talks came after a week-long stalemate which began with Messi’s bid to unilaterally rescind his Barca contract on Aug. 25, believing that a clause enabled him to leave for free.
The FC boys assess Luis Suarez possibly joining Juve and how he’ll mend his relationship with Giorgio Chiellini.
PAPER TALK (by Nick Judd)
Juventus trying to navigate passport saga with Suarez
Italian champions Juventus are continuing to try and tempt Luis Suarez from Barcelona to Turin, according to Sky Sports Italy‘s Gianluca Di Marzio.
The Italian journalist reports that Juve, Barca and the player himself are working together to help ensure the deal goes ahead, with Barca in particular keen to remove the Uruguayan’s salary from their wage bill.
Di Marzio also revealed that a potential passport issue has been identified, with Juve already having filled their quota of non-EU citizens.
Suarez might need to cancel his Barca contract and take a work contract in Italy, which would then ease the issue and see him awarded a passport within 15 days. However, Juve don’t see this is a deal-breaker. The bigger issue, they feel, is Suarez’s severance pay, which could prove too costly.
Juventus are also still pursuing Arkadiusz Milik from Napoli, who has been made available this summer.
Manchester United are preparing to submit a new bid for Jadon Sancho, according to the Daily Mail.
United have been linked with Sancho all year in one of 2020’s longest-running transfer sagas, but the England international’s €120 million move to Old Trafford had gone quiet, particularly following the Reds’ signing of Donny van de Beek.
Until now, that is. Sources had told ESPN’s Mark Ogden that an inability to agree personal terms with the player and negotiate an agent fee with his representative was holding up a deal butm apparently, Man United are finalising those details now before approaching Borussia Dortmund with an official bid.
United are looking to capitalise on the momentum gained by the signing of Van de Beek, who signed for €45m earlier this week. And now they’ll seek out Sancho’s agent, Emeka Obasi — who looks after the likes of Bukayo Saka, Todd Cantwell and Eddie Nketiah — to help them seal the deal.
Arsenal are close to letting Lucas Torreira leave London for Fiorentina — but only once a pending loan move for Dani Ceballos is confirmed.
The Sun believes that Ceballos is close to sealing a second loan spell from Real Madrid and, should the deal go through as expected, Torreira will then return to Serie A for between £21m-£24m.
Torreira struggled to cement a starting place in Mikel Arteta’s side last season, as the Uruguayan made just 17 starts.
Arteta is keen to raise some cash in an effort to continue to rebuild his Gunners side ahead of the new season, with Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partay and Lyon’s Houssem Aouar at the top of his wishlist.
Fiorentina are willing to pay £8m for the 24-year-old this season, with the option of a further £16m next summer.
– Tottenham Hotspur have made a formal offer for Barcelona B star Lucas de Vega, but it looks as though the Blaugrana will be keeping their Brazilian rising star. Sport is reporting that Barca see the midfielder as one of the key players for Barca B this season. Spurs were reported to have offered €2m, and Barca are looking for double that amount.
– AC Milan are looking for goalkeeping backup following Pepe Reina‘s move to Lazio, and Sport believes that the Rossoneri are considering a move for Barca stopper Neto. Neto won two Scudetti as backup to Gianluigi Buffon at Juventus, and he has also played for Valencia and Fiorentina. Neto was looking to leave Barca before the pandemic, but the Catalans will want to replace him before they consider allowing him to leave Camp Nou.