Transfer Talk: Miami, Barca to outbid Messi’s Saudi deal

The summer transfer window may not be open yet in Europe, but teams are getting ready for it, and there’s plenty of gossip swirling around. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz on rumours, comings, goings and, of course, done deals!

TOP STORY: Miami, Barca to team up and land Messi?

Inter Miami CF and Barcelona have joined forces in an unexpected collaboration to thwart Lionel Messi‘s proposed move to Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal, according to L’Equipe.

Speculation about Messi’s next destination is rife, with the 35-year-old set to leave Paris Saint-Germain as a free agent at the end of June.

Sources told ESPN in April that Al Hilal — city rivals of Cristiano Ronaldo‘s Al Nassr — had tabled an eye-wateringly lucrative deal to sign the Argentine superstar, and Fabrizio Romano confirmed on Tuesday that offer still remains. However, Inter Miami, co-owned by former Manchester United and England player David Beckham, and Barcelona have hatched a plan to intervene.

The partnership between the two clubs reportedly proposes that the Major League Soccer side signs Messi before immediately loaning him to Barcelona, allowing him to play one final season for the his beloved Blaugrana before heading off for international swansong with Argentina at the 2024 Copa America, which will be hosted in the United States.

The deal will have the dual benefits of allowing Barcelona to circumvent the strict financial restraints they face in LaLiga while also giving Inter Miami the perfect platform to parade their new signing, but will they pull it off? Watch this space.

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PAPER GOSSIP

– Liverpool are interested in Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Manu Kone, reports Bild. The Reds are understood to have already made an enquiry over the 22-year-old, identifying him as a potential midfield upgrade. Kone is also seen as a less costly alternative to Borussia Dortmund‘s Jude Bellingham, who has been linked with Real Madrid and Manchester City.

Villarreal are keen on Real Madrid centre-back Nacho Fernandez, says Marca. It is reported that the Yellow Submarine are actively on the lookout for a defender as they prepare for a summer where they could part ways with Pau Torres. The latest indicates that the 33-year-old Nacho, whose deal at Madrid expires next month, could be at the top of their shortlist. Internazionale are also believed to hold interest in his services.

– Inter striker Lautaro Martinez is on the radar of Real Madrid, writes Ekrem Konur. Carlo Ancelotti’s side are understood to be keeping close tabs on the 25-year-old Argentina international, as Los Blancos continue their search to identify a long-term replacement for Karim Benzema in the No. 9 position. Lautaro has previously been linked with Arsenal.

– Speaking of Karim Benzema, the Real Madrid forward is seriously considering an offer from Saudi Arabia, according to Fabrizio Romano. It is said that he is taking time over his decision as he discusses with those close to him over a potential switch to the Saudi Pro League, and it is expected that he will make his mind up by the end of the week. The 35-year-old has scored 18 goals in 23 LaLiga matches this season, remaining a key part of the Los Blancos forward line.

Atletico Madrid are willing to listen to offers for forward Joao Felix, understands the Here We Go Podcast. The 23-year-old has enjoyed a positive spell on loan in the Premier League with Chelsea this season but the latest indicates that Los Colchoneros would be willing to part ways with him on a permanent basis. According to Atletico president Enrique Cerezo, incoming Chelsea coach Mauricio Pochettino does not want Felix as part of his future plans.

Liverpool have made an approach to sign Nice midfielder Khephren Thuram, according to L’Equipe.

The 22-year-old has been on the radar of a number of Premier League clubs recently, but it is reported that the Reds are looking to position themselves at the front of the queue to land him as soon as the transfer window opens.