The coronavirus pandemic made the summer transfer market unlike any before it, but there were still plenty of deals done, and you can check out the major ones here. The window might be closed across the top leagues in Europe, but here are the best rumours from around the globe.
Paris Saint-Germain will make a move for Sergio Ramos in January as the Real Madrid captain’s contract talks drag on, Diario AS reports.
Ramos’ deal at the Bernabeu expires at the end of the season and he’ll be free to negotiate with other clubs from Jan. 1.
Sources told ESPN’s Alex Kirkland and Rodrigo Faez earlier this month that initial conversations have begun over an extension, with both parties feeling positive about reaching an agreement.
According to AS, Real Madrid are only willing to offer the centre-back a one-year contract, in line with their policy for players over 30, with the option of a second year if certain criteria are met.
The newspaper claims that PSG want to tempt Ramos with a guaranteed three-year deal worth €20 million a season plus a hefty signing-on bonus — but he would reject that if Madrid give him a two-year contract, without reducing his current salary.
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09.00 GMT: Argentina’s most capped player Javier Mascherano has announced his retirement from football, aged 36.
Mascherano, a combative midfielder at River Plate, Corinthians, Liverpool, and Barcelona amongst other clubs, made his surprise announcement after his side Estudiantes lost 1-0 to Argentinos Juniors in a league match on Sunday.
“I lived my profession 100%, to the maximum that I possibly can, and for a while now that has been getting harder,” he told reporters. “Sometimes you don’t choose the end, it happens all by itself.”
Mascherano enjoyed his most successful spell at Barcelona, where he won 19 titles in eight years, including five La Ligas and two Champions Leagues.
He played 147 times for Argentina, appearing in four World Cup finals. He also won two gold medals with the Argentine Olympics team in 2004 and 2008.
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PAPER TALK (by Nick Judd): Guardiola targets Haaland or Martinez
Manchester City are prioritising a new striker at the end of the season, and 90min believe they’re prioritising Erling Haaland or Lautaro Martinez.
City are widely believed to be actively looking for a replacement for Sergio Aguero, and with Gabriel Jesus the only other out-and-out striker at the club, Pep Guardiola is in need of other attacking options.
Aguero is now 32 and increasingly suffering from injuries, which means City are unable to place as much reliance on their record striker. Haaland has emerged as one of the world’s hottest strikers and City see him as the perfect player to lead the line for the next few years.
However, Martinez is seen as the most-likely option to sign. Barcelona failed to sign him in the summer as they couldn’t agree on a fee with Inter, but City will feel they have the financial muscle to persuade the Italian club to part with the Argentine striker.
Rudiger among alternative defensive targets for Barca
Barcelona are increasingly unsure whether or not they’ll be able to re-sign Eric Garcia from Manchester City in January, so they’re turning their attentions to Chelsea‘s Antonio Rudiger, Liverpool‘s Joel Matip or Arsenal‘s Shkodran Mustafi.
That’s according to the Spanish outlet Diario Sport, which reports that while Garcia remains their priority, Barca are compiling a list of low-cost alternatives.
Ronald Koeman has been told he can sign one defender in the transfer window to add competition for places alongside Clement Lenglet, Gerard Pique and Ronald Araujo. However, Barcelona have limited funds to deal with as a result of the financial implications of the coronavirus, and while they can sign Garcia on a free next summer, they need cover sooner.
Rudiger appears to top their back-up list. The Blues defender was close to leaving last summer and would be interested in the move.
Matip is also on the list, but given Liverpool have their own injury worries it’s believed they would be against selling him this winter.
Mustafi is another option, alongside Roma’s Federico Fazio, Fiorentina‘s German Pezzella and Milan’s Mateo Musacchio.
Juve look to Mendes to sort Neto deal
Juventus are in talks with Wolves to sign their Portuguese winger Pedro Neto, according to Italian outlet Tuttosport.
Neto arrived at Molyneux only last summer from Lazio and he recently committed to a five-year contract with the Premier League side, so would be likely to command a big fee.
However, agent Jorge Mendes is believed to be behind the deal, and the Portuguese has already been involved with several moves involving Portuguese players to Wolves, and so might be able to make the move happen.
Juventus are keen on Neto because of his ability to play either as a central attacking midfielder or on the either wing. Neto was involved in Portugal‘s 7-0 win over Andorra last Wednesday.
– Kevin De Bruyne is in talks with Manchester City over a deal to extend his contract beyond 2023, say the Guardian. The Belgian midfielder, who was involved in Belgium‘s 2-0 win over England on Sunday, is currently representing himself, and he told Belgian TV station VTM Nieuws that he’s happy to stay at the club, and that talks are going progressing though not advanced.
– Brazilian club Vasco de Gama are interested in signing Italian forward Mario Balotelli, according to Sky Sport in Italy. Balotelli, 30, has been a free agent since his contract with Brescia was not renewed in the summer. Vasco are looking to strengthen their attack and have set their eyes on the former Manchester City and Liverpool player. Vasco appointed Italian Fabio Cordella as sporting director and he has been in contact with Balotelli since last week trying to convince the former Italy international to join them. Balotelli has been training with Serie D side Franciacorta since leaving Brescia.