TOP STORY: Barca eye triple swoop for City stars Jesus, Laporte and Gundogan
Barcelona are already signing Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia when their respective contracts with Manchester City expire at the end of June. However, according to two reports from Sport, the Catalan giants are aiming to bring in three more players from Pep Guardiola’s squad.
The first report says that they will move for centre-back Aymeric Laporte, who, like Garcia, has struggled to get in the team ahead of Ruben Dias and John Stones this term. It is even hinted that Barcelona could look to include right-back/midfielder Sergi Roberto in a swap deal to bring down the transfer fee for the proposed move.
As previously mentioned, Barcelona have already confirmed that Aguero is joining them, while Lyon forward Memphis Depay could sign for free this summer after his contract expires. With that in mind, it is stated that Joan Laporta will only look to sign the Jesus if a deal is “irresistible.”
Finally, Barcelona are eyeing Germany midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, who was a leading figure for City this term. The 30-year-old is seen as an alternative to long-time target Georginio Wijnaldum, who now appears set to spurn Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain.
12.18 BST: Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola wants to sign Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish, with sources telling ESPN that the City manager regards the midfielder as important a target as Tottenham forward Harry Kane.
Grealish, in contention to be in the starting XI for England’s Euro 2020 opener against Croatia at Wembley on Sunday, is also on Manchester United’s shortlist for this transfer window, but sources said that City believe they can win the race for the 25-year-old, who is rated at £100m by Villa.
Guardiola has been a long-term admirer of Grealish and has previously spoken publicly about the player’s ability.
And although City are determined to find a world-class replacement for Sergio Aguero following his free transfer move to Barcelona last week — England captain Kane is the club’s No. 1 target for that position — Guardiola believes that the club should not miss out on the opportunity to sign Grealish if Villa are prepared to do business.
Sources have told ESPN that Villa’s £33m club record move for Norwich midfielder Emiliano Buendia has given City encouragement that a deal could be done for Grealish, who signed a five-year contract to stay at Villa Park in 2020.
11.30 BST: Paris Saint-Germain look set to hijack Barcelona’s attempt to sign Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum on a free transfer, multiple sources have told ESPN.
Shaka Hislop reacts to reports Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum is set to join PSG instead of Barcelona.
10.40 BST: Aston Villa have reached an agreement for the transfer of Norwich midfielder Emiliano Buendia.
Buendia, 24, will move to Villa for a reported club-record fee worth an initial £33m, having been linked with Arsenal.
A statement read: “As Emiliano is currently in the Argentina national team’s biosecure bubble, preparing for a World Cup qualifying match with Colombia on Tuesday evening, he will undergo a medical and complete the transfer after the game.”
10.34 BST: Cristiano Ronaldo‘s representatives are continuing to gauge interest from some of Europe’s top clubs despite holding talks with Juventus over the Portugal captain’s future, sources have told ESPN’s Rob Dawson.
Ronaldo has a year left on his contract with Juventus but that has not stopped intermediaries assessing whether there is appetite elsewhere for the 36-year-old.
Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Manchester United are among the clubs contacted in an effort to discover whether he could fit into their plans for the summer transfer window.
Ronaldo and his camp are yet to make a decision on his future and sources have told ESPN it is unlikely to be finalised until after the European Championship. Portugal begin their campaign against Hungary in Budapest on June 15.
Ronaldo has already spoken to new Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri after he replaced Andrea Pirlo as boss and more talks are planned before the Serie A side return for preseason training.
Sources have told ESPN that a move away from Turin has not been ruled out, but there is an acceptance wage demands and Juventus’ asking price may prove to be stumbling blocks to any potential exit while clubs are still recovering from the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
10.22 BST: Serie A club Atalanta will only be tempted to let Manchester United target Cristian Romero leave the club this summer if an irresistible offer is made for the defender, according to Tuttosport.
Romero, 23, had a strong season with Atalanta, making 42 appearances in all competitions. The centre-back made his debut with Argentina in Thursday’s World Cup qualifier draw with Chile.
He joined the Bergamo club on a two-year loan from Juventus in September 2020 and Atalanta have an option to sign him for €20m, which they are set to exercise this summer.
United have reportedly made a €45m bid, but Atalanta will only consider offers in the region of €60m.
09.34 BST: Chelsea forward Olivier Giroud says he is focusing on preparing for the European Championship and not on transfer speculation, amid reports that AC Milan have set their sight on the France international.
Chelsea recently announced it had triggered an option in April to extend Giroud’s contract for a further season, with his current deal ending this month.
Asked about Milan’s interest in signing him, Giroud said: “I’ve adored some Milan players, it’s a big club. But I’m not going to talk about my future. Chelsea activated in April the option to renew my contract and announced it. My focus is on the European Championship, and I will not talk about my future from a club standpoint.”
Giroud, 34, has also been a target of Juventus, Inter Milan and Lazio in recent transfer windows.
08.47 BST: Atletico Madrid right-back Kieran Trippier has told his England teammates that he is keen on a summer transfer to Manchester United, according to The Sun.
Trippier has taken his career to another level since leaving Tottenham hotspur to join Atletico in 2019, and he started 28 matches in their 2020-21 La Liga title-winning campaign.
United have been linked with interest in the former Manchester City youth player, whose final match for Spurs was the 2019 Champions League final loss to Liverpool.
The Sun reports that United hope to bring Trippier in to provide competition for Aaron Wan-Bissaka, and believe a deal could be done for a fee of £15-20m.
08.00 BST: Real Madrid are facing an uphill struggle to sign Kylian Mbappe this summer after Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi insisted the French club “will never sell [Mbappe] and he’ll never leave for free.”
Mbappe, Madrid’s top target for this transfer window, has just a year left on his contract in Paris and hasn’t yet shown any inclination to renew. However Al-Khelaifi sounded bullish in an interview with L’Equipe.
“Kylian will continue in Paris,” he said. “We’ll never sell him, and he’ll never leave for free… Which clubs, in terms of ambition and project, can compete with PSG?”
Gab Marcotti explains the holdup with agent Mino Raiola’s dealings for a new contract for Gianluigi Donnarumma.
PAPER GOSSIP (by Danny Lewis)
– AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma will decide his future in the coming days, reports Fabrizio Romano. Donnarumma is soon to be a free agent, and it is suggested that Barcelona’s current priority is a deal for Memphis Depay, while Paris Saint-Germain have met with Donnarumma’s agent, Mino Raiola, to discuss the goalkeeper. PSG are also negotiating with Raiola regarding a permanent deal for Everton’s Moise Kean and a new contract for young star Xavi Simons, while Juventus are still in the race to sign Donnarumma.
– Fresh off his new contract extension, Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone has asked to sign Inter Milan forward Lautaro Martinez, according to AS. It is suggested that there may be troubles in completing a deal, though, as the Serie A outfit are asking for €70m for the 23-year-old. Lautaro scored 17 goals and added 10 assists last season for Scudetto winners Inter, but has been linked with a move away due to the club’s financial worries.
– Atletico Madrid are hoping to sign Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin this summer, reports Marca. The Spaniard has long been linked with a move away from the Emirates and it is now stated that Atleti think the 26-year-old can either provide competition for Kieran Trippier or replace the England international if he leaves.
– Joaquin Correa could be set to leave Lazio this summer, but only if the Serie A side receive a transfer fee of €40m, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. It is suggested that there are a number of Premier League clubs looking at the Argentine forward, with West Ham United and Everton named by the outlet.
– Kristoffer Ajer has already admitted that he expects to leave Celtic this summer, and Kicker have stated that Bayer Leverkusen are interested in bringing in the Norwegian centre-back. It’s added that Premier League duo Newcastle United and Norwich City are also looking at the 23-year-old.
– AC Milan are looking to make Sandro Tonali‘s loan move from Brescia permanent for a lower fee than had originally been agreed, reports Calciomercato. They paid an initial €10m for the loan and are now hoping to land him for €10m plus add-ons, rather than €15m, though they will need to come to a deal before June 15 if this is to happen.
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