Transfer Talk: Barca eye Merino but face Arsenal competition

The summer transfer window is open for the Premier League and is set to open across Europe soon, and there are plenty of moves in the works and gossip swirling around. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz on rumours, comings, goings and, of course, done deals!

TOP STORY: Barca looking to bring in Merino

Barcelona boss Hansi Flick has high hopes of tempting Real Sociedad midfielder Mikel Merino to join his squad this summer, but he faces pressure from Arsenal, reports Sport.

Barcelona’s precarious finances mean they’re unable to make a formal offer. In contrast, Gunners boss Mikel Arteta is doing his best to pip the Spaniards and persuade the 28-year-old to return to England for the first time since spending a year at Newcastle.

Merino is contracted to Sociedad until 2025 and is not believed to be considering extending his contract, which means he would be available for around £21 million.

Merino impressed during his solitary season in the northeast of England, but he has flourished during his time in northern Spain. He has played 242 times for the Spanish club and become a regular at international level with 23 caps to his name.

Manchester United have also been linked with the defensive midfielder, but Arsenal are now reported to be in pole position, with Arteta even calling the player to explain his plans for him.

PAPER GOSSIP

Chelsea are facing a battle with Premier League rivals Aston Villa for Hoffenheim striker Maximilian Beier, reports Sky Sports Germany’s Florian Plettenberg. Both the Blues and Villa are said to be doing their due diligence on the 21-year-old and have made contact with the German club. The forward has a release clause of around €30m and is open to discussions after the European Championship. Beier scored 16 Bundesliga goals and added three assists in the 2023-24 season, and is currently contracted to Hoffenheim until 2027.

Napoli are willing to reconsider the valuation of striker Victor Osimhen to facilitate a smoother exit, with Chelsea still favourites to land the Nigerian, reports Calciomercato. Osimhen’s €150m release clause has so far proved an insurmountable problem. With only Saudi Arabian clubs willing to consider the fee, and with Osimhen himself preferring a move to England, Napoli are willing to listen to bids closer to the €100m mark. Chelsea remain interested in the 25-year-old but have so far been unwilling to be drawn into any discussions, while Paris Saint-Germain are also keen.

Bayern Munich are preparing a bid for Internazionale midfielder Hakan Çalhanoglu, with the Italian club unwilling to budge on his existing contract, and now hoping to recoup €70m for the Turkey star, reports Gazzetta Dello Sport. The Nerazzurri have stated they won’t be swayed into improving the 30-year-old midfielder’s salary of €7m a year, and so it looks likely that Calhanoglu will instead consider a switch to the Bundesliga. The former AC Milan and Bayer Leverkusen midfielder is contracted at Inter until 2027.

Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool are in competition with Paris Saint-Germain for the signing of Feyenoord and Netherlands defender Lutsharel Geertruida, reports Footmercato. The versatile 23-year-old, who can play in the middle or on the right, has scored eight goals and added five assists in 34 matches from defence, and he’s believed to have already received an offer from the French champions. However, the Dutch international is said to be considering his options while on international duty in Germany, and that now includes interest from the two English clubs.

Lazio are the latest Italian club to submit a bid for Manchester United striker Mason Greenwood, reports Football Insider. Juventus have already seen an offer for the 22-year-old rebuffed by the Red Devils, who continue talks with both clubs. United are keen to ensure a permanent transfer for Greenwood before his contract runs out in 2025, and are holding out for a fee of around £30m.