The summer transfer window is here, and there’s plenty of gossip swirling about who’s moving where. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz on rumours, comings and goings and, of course, done deals!
TOP STORY: De Jong urged to make Old Trafford move
The Catalan side have been unable to register new signings Andreas Christensen, Franck Kessie and Raphinha due to financial fair play restrictions. The LaLiga club need to transfer De Jong to balance their wage bills, with Sergi Roberto and Ousmane Dembele both agreeing to a pay cut with new contracts that keep them at Camp Nou. Mundo Deportivo reports that De Jong’s departure would save Barca €42 million.
United have agreed to pay a fee of £63m, which potentially includes an additional £8.47m in add-ons. However, financial complications have already stalled negotiations, with Barcelona reportedly owing De Jong around £17m in unpaid wages.
It is unclear if the midfielder, who has made 98 appearances for Barça after arriving from Ajax in 2019 for £86m, will join Xavi Hernández’s side in their preseason tour of the United States.
According to Sport, De Jong has told his Barcelona teammates that it is impossible that he will leave the club this summer, and he has no interest a transfer. He recently bought a house in Pedralbes, the most sought-after area of Barcelona and has no plans to leave the city any time soon.
18.11 BST: Bayern Munich and United States midfielder Malik Tillman is set to join Rangers on loan, according to Sky Sports.
Tillman, 20, made seven appearances for Bayern last season after making the step up from their youth ranks. Born in Nuremberg, the midfielder qualifies for the USMNT thanks to his American father and has made two appearances for them at senior level.
Sky Sports say that Tillman will undergo a medical with Rangers soon as he prepares to join the Glasgow club on a season-long loan deal.
17.34 BST: Chelsea are moving closer to a deal for Chicago Fire’s Gabriel Slonina after agreeing personal terms, according to Fabrizio Romano.
The 18-year-old goalkeeper’s agent informed the American side of the agreement, with the Blues set to submit an official bid of around $10m plus add-ons for the United States international. The teenage shot-stopper, who has already kept 12 clean sheets in 31 appearances in MLS, will remain in Chicago on loan if a deal is completed this summer.
16.35 BST: Cristiano Ronaldo is yet to speak publicly on his Manchester United future, which remains up in the air as we draw ever closer to the start of the 2022-23 season (see 10.21 BST). However, United fans desperately searching for cryptic clues might well have found one hidden in his most recent Instagram post.
What first appears to be a run-of-the-mill workout pic also feature Ronaldo wearing what could be a very deliberate choice of clothing — his Manchester United shorts. Granted, they are last season’s 2021-22 black-blue-and-yellow training shorts but they are United shorts nonetheless.
15.58 BST: Arsenal are hopeful of reaching an agreement to sign Manchester City’s Oleksandr Zinchenko, sources have told ESPN’s James Olley.
Mikel Arteta’s side have reignited their interest in Zinchenko, 25, after missing out on Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez, who is closing in on a move to Manchester United.
Talks are ongoing, with City expected to demand in the region of £35m for Zinchenko, whose versatility is a key factor for Arsenal boss Arteta.
The Ukraine international can play as a left-back or as a midfielder, two positions Arsenal are looking to strengthen this summer.
15.04 BST: Christian Eriksen has completed his move to Manchester United on a three-year contract, the club announced on Friday.
Eriksen, 30, was a free agent after leaving Brentford at the end of last season. The Denmark international signed for Brentford in January 2022 and made 11 appearances for the newly promoted side, scoring one goal.
Tottenham also lodged an interest in Eriksen, but after manager Antonio Conte stepped back from a deal, United were able to swoop in.
He was instrumental in helping Brentford finish 13th in the Premier League in their first season in the top-flight following promotion from the Championship, with his fine form ensuring interest from a host of clubs across Europe.
It is the latest step in a remarkable comeback for Eriksen, who suffered a cardiac arrest playing for Denmark at last summer’s European Championship.
His contract at Inter Milan was terminated in December 2021, and he signed with Brentford as a free agent soon after.
Eriksen becomes Erik ten Hag’s second signing of the summer after the capture of 22-year-old Netherlands left-back Tyrell Malacia from Feyenoord.
14.57 BST: Tottenham have agreed a £19m deal with Middlesbrough to sign defender Djed Spence, sources have told ESPN’s James Olley.
The 21-year-old will undergo a medical on Friday and is understood to have finalised terms on a long-term contract.
Spurs have agreed to pay an initial £12.5m with a further £6.5m in add-ons, £4m relate to club performance with the remaining £2.5m triggered by future involvement with England.
Talks had stalled in recent weeks over Middlesbrough’s valuation — they were asking at one stage for more than £25m including add-ons — but further talks between chairman Daniel Levy and his Middlesbrough counterpart Steve Gibson ended in agreement.
Spurs have beaten off interest from a large number of clubs with Borussia Dortmund, Roma, Brentford, West Ham and Nottingham Forest — where he spent most of last season on loan — all keen on signing the right-back.
14.24 BST: Carlo Ancelotti has said Real Madrid “won’t sign anyone else” this summer as they look to mount a defence of the LaLiga and Champions League trophies they won last season.
The club have signed defender Antonio Rudiger on a free transfer from Chelsea and midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni from Monaco for an €80 million fee but missed out on Kylian Mbappe after he opted to stay at Paris Saint-Germain.
Madrid are back in preseason training and will fly to the United States next week to take part in the Soccer Champions Tour, where they will face Barcelona, Club America and Juventus before returning for the UEFA Super Cup against Europa League winners Eintracht Frankfurt.
“I can’t talk about signings… but it’s all done,” coach Ancelotti said. “We won’t sign anyone else. We’re fine as we are.”
Madrid’s options at centre-forward have been reduced by the departure of Luka Jovic to Fiorentina, but Ancelotti said he was happy with his alternatives to first choice Karim Benzema.
“I think we have a lot of options to play in that position,” he said. “Of course Karim is the top one, but we have to take into consideration that it will be a strange season with the World Cup in the middle.
“My idea is to try to see Eden [Hazard] in that position. With the qualities he has, it can be good for us to have him there… [Marco] Asensio is the same, he did well last season.”
13.32 BST: ESPN’s Mark Ogden is full of praise for the way that Manchester City have gone about their business:
There isn’t a trophy for “winning the transfer window,” which is perhaps just as well for those clubs trying to catch Manchester City as the Premier League champions have already set a new standard for getting business done this summer.
While many of their rivals continue to struggle to negotiate ins and outs — Manchester United have made only one signing so far and raised just £10 million through player departures — City have been able to sign the hottest property in world football (Erling Haaland) and an established England international midfielder (Kalvin Phillips) and still end up £26m in profit from their transfer dealings to date.
Raheem Sterling‘s £47.5m move to Chelsea this week, following on from the £45m deal which saw Gabriel Jesus leave the Etihad for Arsenal earlier this month, is the latest example of City being able to trade players out for a significant fee having already recruited a replacement without breaking the bank to do so.
Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur have invested well so far during this window, but they have both spent far more than they have recouped. The same applies to Chelsea and Arsenal. United, meanwhile, continue to struggle to show any sign that they have a coherent plan for rebuilding the Old Trafford squad.
City, however, have now become so slick with their transfer dealings, led by director of football Txiki Begiristain, that they appear to have not only hit the sweet spot when it comes to signing players at the right time for reasonable fees but also offloading them at the perfect moment.
12.49 BST: AC Milan will offer winger Rafael Leao a new contract in a bid to ward off interest from Chelsea, according to Gazetta Dello Sport.
Leao, 23, enjoyed his most productive season yet at Milan last term, helping them to win Serie A for the first time in 11 years with 14 goals in all competitions.
That has reportedly led to enquiries from Chelsea among other clubs, but those interested parties may be disappointed if Leao signs a new deal to stay at the San Siro. The Portugal forward has two years left on his Milan contract, which expires in June 2024.
12.12 BST: Atletico Madrid are closing in on the signing of Udinese right-back Nahuel Molina, COPE reports.
The Argentina international is under contract with the Friuli outfit through June 2026. Atletico are willing to include Argentine defender Nehuen Perez in the deal that would bring Molina to the Wanda Metropolitano.
Atletico already considered Molina in the winter transfer window after Kieran Trippier departed in January to join Newcastle.
Molina enjoyed a strong 2021-22 season with Udinese scoring seven goals and setting up five more in 35 league appearances.
11.36 BST: Manchester City will join Barcelona in the race for Sevilla’s Jules Kounde if centre-back Nathan Ake leaves the Etihad this summer, sources have told ESPN’s Rodrigo Faez and Rob Dawson.
Sources have said that City will also consider a move for Villarreal’s Pau Torres as a replacement for Ake if the Netherlands international moves on.
Sevilla are looking to offload Kounde, 23, to balance their books, but Barca have so far been unable to act on their longstanding interest due to their precarious financial situation.
That could open the door for City to move for Kounde, although sources have told ESPN that they will only move for the highly rated France centre-back or Torres, 25, if Ake departs.
Kounde has made 133 appearances for Sevilla since joining from Bordeaux in 2019 and played a key role as the Spanish side won the Europa League in 2020.
Torres, meanwhile, is a mainstay at the back for Villarreal having risen through the ranks there, and has made 19 appearances for Spain.
10.58 BST: Bayern Munich winger Leroy Sane has been offered to Real Madrid, Marca reports, but the club are “totally focused” on players departing the club for the time being.
According to the newspaper, Sane’s name came up during conversations over Luka Jovic’s move to Fiorentina this month, as the two players share an agent.
Madrid executives agreed to assess the situation “without further details, expectations or commitments” Marca says, but that doesn’t mean a deal is imminent.
Sane, 26, has three years left on his contract at Bayern after joining from Manchester City in 2020, while Madrid are keen to move unwanted players on before thinking about any possible arrivals.
10.21 BST: Cristiano Ronaldo has expressed his desire to leave Manchester United amid frustration over the club’s lack of transfer activity and because he wants to play Champions League football next season, but two potential destinations appear to now be off the table.
Sources have told ESPN’s James Olley that Chelsea have ruled themselves out of the running to sign the Portugal captain. Ronaldo’s agent, Jorge Mendes, met with Chelsea chairman Todd Boehly, who has since discussed the proposal with head coach Thomas Tuchel. Sources have confirmed to ESPN that while Tuchel has huge admiration for Ronaldo, he would prefer to pursue other options to strengthen their attack.
Ronaldo, meanwhile, is set to turn down a mega-money offer from Saudi Arabia, sources have told ESPN’s Adriana Garcia. An unnamed Saudi Arabian club has made a €30m bid to United to sign Ronaldo while giving the Portugal captain the chance to become the world’s highest-paid player by offering him €275m in wages for the next two seasons.
09.38 BST: Cesc Fabregas is on the verge of joining Serie B side Como, according to Sky.
The veteran Spanish midfielder spent the last three seasons at Ligue 1 side Monaco and is a free agent.
Fabregas, 35, turned down a move to Spanish second division club Las Palmas and is expected to accept a two-year contract with Como.
According to Sky, Como have convinced the former Arsenal and Chelsea star to join them by including in the offer the possibility to coach the club once his playing career is over.
09.05 BST: Argentine midfielder Enzo Fernandez has signed a contract with Benfica until June 2027, the Portuguese club have announced.
Fernandez, 21, has moved to Lisbon from River Plate on a €10m transfer plus €8m in add-ons. His release clause has been set at €120m.
“I’m very happy to be here,” Fernandez said. “Benfica has always been the first option among many I’ve had. I come to a club full of history and prestige, so I’m going to prepare myself in the best way to win many things together. To be champion and to win many things at Benfica is a goal I have.”
08.41 BST: United States defender Sergino Dest has said he has no intention of leaving Barcelona this summer amid reported interest from Chelsea.
Dest, whose contact runs until 2025, made just 31 appearances across all competitions last season amid a series of injuries, and the defender had been linked with a move away from Camp Nou. However, the right-back has pledged to stay at the club.
“I’m happy at this club, and I will definitely stay here,” Dest said on Thursday.
Dest has won just a single trophy since joining Barca in October 2020, a period that has seen the club endure significant financial turmoil. Barca finished runners-up to Real Madrid in LaLiga last season, as well as falling to Eintracht Frankfurt in the quarterfinals of the Europa League and were eliminated by Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey in the round-of-16.
“I think we can’t play in the Europa League anymore,” Dest said. “I don’t know if we made big mistakes. We have a lot of talent. We are trying to create a new generation and that takes time. We are Barca. Everyone expects us to be the best. I believe we are going to have a great season. We are all extremely motivated, especially because there’s a World Cup coming up.
“We all still have to develop and have a long way to go at Barca. I feel like we have a lot of talent and I believe that if we all develop well, we can do similar to what other Barca teams before us achieved.”
08.00 BST: Manchester United are hoping Lisandro Martinez will be able to join up with the squad in Australia after completing a move for the Ajax defender, sources have told ESPN’s Rob Dawson.
United are set to sign the Argentina international after agreeing a fee of around €55 million. Martinez, who has stopped training with Ajax ahead of his transfer, rejected interest from Arsenal in order to seal a move to Old Trafford.
Sources have told ESPN the deal will be subject to international clearance and Martinez receiving a visa, but there is hope he will be able to travel to Australia where Erik ten Hag’s squad are preparing for the new season.
United face Melbourne Victory at the MCG on Friday before a game against Crystal Palace at the same venue on Tuesday. Ten Hag and his players are then due to fly to Perth for the final game of the tour against Aston Villa on July 23.
PAPER GOSSIP (by Abbie Ingham)
– Tottenham Hotspur are close to finalising a deal for Djed Spence, with a medical set to take place in the coming days, according to the Athletic. The 21-year-old full-back impressed last year in a season-long loan to Nottingham Forest from Middlesbrough, in a campaign that saw the Reds promoted to the Premier League. Daniel Levy is reportedly working hard to get the deal done as soon as possible, with final discussions over an initial fee of £12.5m for the England U21 international, which could rise to £20m with potential add-ons.
– Sassuolo CEO Giovanni Carnevali reveals that there has been no agreement for Gianluca Scamacca following €40m bid from West Ham United, whilst Paris Saint-Germain are offering €35m, as per Fabrizio Romano. The Serie A side have confirmed that they do not need to sell the in-demand 23-year-old striker and will likely wait for a club to match their €50 million price tag.
– Martin Braithwaite will look for Barcelona exit after missing out on the club’s pre-season tour of the United States. Mundo Deportivo reports that the 31-year-old previously had no intention to leave Camp Nou this summer, with his contract expiring in 2024. However, after being excluded from pre-season selection, the Denmark international will look to leave this transfer window, with Brentford and Real Sociedad already expressing interest in the forward.
– New PSG head coach Christophe Galtier wants to reunite with Nice‘s Kephren Thuram, according to L’Equipe. The new manager of Les Parisiens is a fan of the 21-year-old following their time together at Nice last season. PSG sporting director Luis Campos has reportedly spoken to the player’s father, former France great Lilian Thuram, about a move. However, Nice plan to keep the midfielder at the club for next season, and his contract does not expire until 2025.
– Lyon‘s Lucas Paqueta is open to signing for Arsenal, as sporting director Edu pushes a move to the Emirates, according to Media Foot. The 24-year-old, who secured 11 goals and seven assists last season, will reportedly cost the Gunners at least €50m to transfer, with Newcastle United having a €40m bid rejected ahead of the January window. The north London side are yet to make a formal offer for the Brazil international.