The transfer window for Europe’s biggest clubs is closed, but click here for all the deals. Transfer Talk will continue to scour the world’s media and set correspondents loose to see what’s on the agenda for the summer.
TOP STORY: Ole’s agent’s at the wheel
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s agent has returned to England as Manchester United continue to discuss the possibility of the Norwegian becoming the club’s next permanent manager, sources have told ESPN FC.
Jim Solbakken, Solskjaer’s long-time representative, was in the UK over the weekend before returning on Wednesday. Solskjaer has also returned to Manchester after spending time with his family in Norway during the international break.
Solskjaer is leading the race to be named manager on a full-time basis after a successful caretaker stint, but the club have so far remained tight-lipped about their plans. The 46-year-old could be installed as permanent boss as early as this week, but sources have told ESPN FC that United are in no rush to make an official announcement.
It appears that Solskjaer’s first move as full-time boss would be to state that Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford are not for sale, even if keeping Pogba scuppers any potential move for Gareth Bale, according to the Telegraph.
Pogba was linked with a move away from Old Trafford during the first half of the season when he fell out with Jose Mourinho. The Frenchman even recently suggested it would be a dream to join Real Madrid and play under Zinedine Zidane. However, Pogba has been a key part of United’s change in fortunes under Solskjaer, and the Norwegian has said that Pogba remains a key part of his plans for next season.
Despite what the Telegraph says, Tuttopsort are reporting that Pogba’s agent is demanding a huge pay rise and a move to Madrid for his client.
Rashford also has been linked with Madrid (and Barcelona, although a source says the Catalans see that as about as likely as dating a supermodel), but Solskjaer is keen to tie the young striker down. The club are said to be in talks with Rashford over a long-term deal.
22.55 GMT: That’s going to bring Wednesday’s live edition of Transfer Talk to a close. Be sure to check back in a few short hours when we return with the latest gossip pulled from Thursday’s back pages.
21.56 GMT: Sao Paulo have signed former Brazil international striker Alexandre Pato until December of 2022, the club announced on Wednesday. Read the full story.
20.19 GMT: According to the Evening Standard, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has his doubts as to whether Alexis Sanchez will ever rediscover his Arsenal form at Manchester United, but the hierarchy at Old Trafford are unwilling to cut their losses on a player who’s reportedly earning £400,000 a week.
18.42 GMT: It’s time for the seemingly daily update on the future of Chelsea prodigy Callum Hudson-Odoi.
We begin with the Independent, who reports that the West London outfit are hopeful that the 18-year-old will sign a new contract after the impasse in negotiations has been stymied. The Blues are now prepared to offer Hudson-Odoi a new contract with wages in line with his standing as one of Europe’s most promising prospects, as well as assurances over playing time.
While various outlets have reported that Chelsea will not sell Hudson-Odoi this summer regardless of his contract situation — especially should their transfer ban be confirmed, and double especially if Eden Hazard is sold — Sport Bild writes that the Blues actually would be willing to do business at the princely sum of €50m. The German outlet also reports that in addition to Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool are also interested in the England international.
Finally, we come to the Mirror, who have a few more names of interested parties. The English tabloid reports that Hudson-Odoi’s performance in England’s win at Montenegro has “put all of Europe’s top clubs on alert,” and adds Manchester United and Barcelona to the list of clubs hoping to land Chelsea’s teenage sensation.
17.05 GMT: Bayern Munich have completed the much anticipated signing of Lucas Hernandez from Atletico Madrid after meeting the World Cup-winner’s €80m buy-out clause.
Hernandez will join on June 30 and, despite being sidelined with a knee injury, Bayern said they are confident he will be fit for the start of the campaign.
The left-back moves alongside fellow World Cup winner Benjamin Pavard, whose move to the Allianz Arena will also become official in June.
16.11 GMT: Fans of Aston Villa and Parma may remember this former forward, who will be starting his first managerial role.
— FC Bayern München (@FCBayern) March 27, 2019
📰 Savo Milošević is the new manager of Partizan!
He will be unveiled at Humska at 11:00 CET on Thursday, before taking training ahead of Sunday’s game at Napredak. pic.twitter.com/vBRLgOXoYs
— Partizan Belgrade 🇬🇧 (@FKPartizanEN) March 27, 2019
15.20 GMT: Barcelona face stiff competition for the signing of Luka Jovic from Bayern Munich, according to ESPN FC sources.
The Catalans have watched Jovic in action 20 times as they seek a long-term replacement for Luis Suarez.
However, Bayern are also in the market for someone to take the mantle of Robert Lewandowski and the Bavarian side’s manager Nico Kovac was behind the deal to sign Jovic for Frankfurt.
14.30 GMT: Zinedine Zidane has singled out Tanguy Ndombele as one his top summer targets at Real Madrid, according to AS.
Interest in the 22-year-old Lyon midfielder could signal the end of Madrid’s pursuit of Paul Pogba this summer, who Manchester United deem unsellable.
While the article suggests Ndombele’s arrival would mean an exit for either Casemiro or Marcos Llorente from the Bernabeu.
13:40 GMT: Manchester United are planning to focus on emerging youngsters and players in their mid-20s in future transfer windows, sources have told ESPN FC, with moves for older stars such as Alexis Sanchez and Nemanja Matic only to be considered in exceptional circumstances.
United expect to embark on this summer’s transfer window with a permanent manager — Solskjaer remains the only serious candidate for the job — working in tandem with a yet-to-be-appointed technical director, who will report to Old Trafford executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.
But although the technical director role is still to be filled, Woodward and Solskjaer have discussed the requirements for squad rebuilding, with the caretaker manager having already been involved in the sale of Marouane Fellaini in January.
And sources have told ESPN FC that a key factor in United’s transfer business going forward will be the determination to create a young, hungry squad of players with the best years of their careers in front of them rather than having already peaked elsewhere.
The policy is a return to that overseen by Sir Alex Ferguson and former chief executive David Gill during the 2000s and early part of this decade, when the club would only pay transfer fees for outfield players aged 27 and under until making an exception to the rule when paying £24m to sign Robin van Persie from Arsenal, then 29.
Since Ferguson’s departure, United have committed to paying huge fees and/or wages when signing Sanchez (29 at the time), Matic (29), Bastian Schweinsteiger (30) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (34).
12.50 GMT: With just over a year left on his current deal at Borussia Monchengladbach, Belgium international Thorgan Hazard has yet to put to paper on a new deal amid the club’s struggles in recent weeks.
Gladbach’s hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League are in serious doubt as they have been reeled in by Eintracht Frankfurt. Missing out would serve as a big blow to their chances of convincing Hazard to stay at the Borussia Park, and this summer would be the last chance to cash in on Eden’s younger brother.
Having been linked with Borussia Dortmund throughout the season, Sport Bild on Wednesday reported that Thierry Hazard, Eden and Thorgan’s father and agent, currently favours to unite his family in the Spanish capital. According to the German outlet, Hazard Sr. is hoping he can broker a deal for Thorgan with Atletico and move Eden from Chelsea to Real.
But work needs to be done still. Gladbach have put a €40m price tag on Thorgan, who scored all of his nine league goals this term in the first half of the season. Sport Bild claims Hazard Sr. believes a transfer fee in the region of €25m is more realistic.
12.05 GMT: Manchester United and Ander Herrera are facing a race against time to find an agreement to keep the midfielder at Old Trafford beyond the end of the season, sources have told ESPN FC. Both parties are keen to agree a new contract that would see the Spain international stay at United but, according to sources, there is still a significant gap to be bridged before a deal is sealed.
Sources have told ESPN FC that Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal, Juventus, Inter Milan and Barcelona are among the clubs ready to sign the 29-year-old on a free transfer if fresh terms are not agreed. If the stand-off continues, he will officially become a free agent on June 30.
Herrera would like to remain at United but so far the club, who also want him to stay, have refused to meet his demands and a compromise is yet to be found. There is a willingness of both sides to come to an agreement but there is also an acknowledgement that the clock is ticking and Herrera may soon be forced to seriously consider other options — especially with some of Europe’s biggest clubs circling.
11.10 GMT: Bayer Leverkusen’s 19-year-old midfielder Kai Havertz is on his way to following in Michael Ballack’s footsteps. The club’s youngest top-flight goal scorer has already become Leverkusen’s life insurance, clocking up 21 goals and a further 25 assists in 97 competitive appearances for the Bundesliga side.
However, his time at the Bay-Arena will come to an end at some point and top clubs are lining up for the Germany international. On Wednesday, Sport Bild reported that German powerhouse Bayern Munich are leading the race for Havertz with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City and Chelsea reportedly also keen on his signature.
Under contract at Leverkusen until 2022, Bayern are willing to spend €75m on Havertz in 2020, with Bayer not wanting to let go of their star player just now. But Leverkusen are seeking a transfer fee in the €100m region, Sport Bild claims. When contacted by ESPN, Havertz’s representatives said they are “not commenting on speculation.”
10.15 GMT: Barcelona remain optimistic of landing Ajax’s Matthijs de Ligt but haven’t moved any closer to signing him while in Amsterdam this week.
Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu took CEO Oscar Grau with him to the Dutch city for the ECA general assembly with the aim of also talking numbers with Ajax.
However, sources say there have been no major strides taken towards completing a deal for De Ligt in the past few days, but the Catalans are still confident of signing the young centre-back.
09.00 GMT: Barcelona have renewed their interest in Bayern Munich defender David Alaba, France Football reports.
Alaba, 26, has become a key player for the German giants since making his debut for them in 2010, not least because of his versatility.
He is able to perform at a high level in central midfield or in the heart of the defence as well as his usual left-back position.
Alaba’s contract with the reigning Bundesliga champions runs until 2021 but, with Bayern linked with a move for Atletico Madrid’s Lucas Hernandez, this summer could be the time for him to make a move.
The Austria international tops a list of left-backs that also includes Arsenal’s Nacho Monreal, Liverpool’s Alberto Moreno, Atletico Madrid’s Filipe Luis and Lyon’s Ferland Mendy
08.00 GMT: Paris Saint-Germain want to sign Benfica starlet Florentino for the 2019-20 season, according to Record.
PSG have monitored the 19-year-old this season, in which he has made four league appearances for Benfica and 20 league starts for Benfica’s reserves.
According to Record, the French giants have already approached Florentino’s agent, Bruno Carvalho, with a view to negotiate his transfer this summer.
Florentino, a Portugal U20 player, is tied to Benfica until 2023 and has a €60m release clause.
PAPER TALK (by Nick Judd): Mkhitaryan and Ozil out, Barella in?
Arsenal boss Unai Emery is reportedly looking to sell Henrikh Mkhitaryan in order to free up spending money for new players this summer, says the Mirror, and Mesut Ozil also could be on his way out, with Arsenal reportedly keen to offload their biggest earners.
Emery was restricted to loan signings in the January transfer window and could start the summer transfer window with only a small fund if Arsenal fail to finish in the top four. However, with Aaron Ramsey gone and Petr Cech retiring and a number of stars reported to be on their way out, including Danny Welbeck, Emery hopes to have enough money to make four new signings.
One of those targets, according to the Mirror, is Italy star Nicolo Barella. The Cagliari midfielder is seen as the ideal replacement for Juventus-bound Ramsey, but any deal for the 22-year-old could depend on whether Arsenal will be playing Champions League football next season.
– Everyone wants Kylian Mbappe, including Real Madrid. The Sun reports that the Frenchman’s father is in constant contact with Los Blancos, though the player himself has said he would like to win the Champions League with PSG before he departs. He could be in the French capital for some time then.
– The future of Mario Mandzukic is set to become a lot clearer in the next 48 hours, with Calciomercato reporting that the striker is set to stay at Juventus. They seem pretty confident that an official announcement will be made soon.