Transfer Talk: Napoli, AC Milan remain top spots for Balogun

The summer transfer window might 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: Italian giants eyeing USMNT’s Balogun

Folarin Balogun is a man in demand in Italy, with two Serie A giants — champions Napoli and rivals AC Milan — battling it out for the Arsenal youngster’s signature, according to the Mirror.

Napoli in particular are keen as they plan for life without star striker Victor Osimhen, who could leave this summer after an astonishing season. The recent Italian champions see Balogun — who scored 20 goals for Stade Reims in Ligue 1 matches on loan from Arsenal this season — as a potential suitor for Osimhen.

Among the clubs who are eyeing the 24-year-old Osimhen include Manchester United, Newcastle United, Chelsea and even Arsenal, who could include Balogun in any swap deal.

AC Milan, in contrast, are keen to sign more young players with big potential, and the 21-year-old Balogun certainly fits that bill. Balogun was called up on Thursday to the United States men’s national teams roster for the upcoming Concacaf Nations League final four round.

With both Italian clubs having made their interest known, Arsenal could be tempted to let Balogun leave only if they receive what they perceive to be the right offer. The Gunners are said to be looking for at least £30 million, which they’ll immediately offer to boss Mikel Arteta as he looks to strengthen his own squad for another title push.

Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)

PAPER GOSSIP

– Defender Joao Cancelo has ruled out a return to Manchester City and a permanent move to loan club Bayern Munich, according to Sport. The report states that the 29-year-old is instead keen on moving somewhere new with Barcelona in the mix to sign the left-back on a permanent deal. Cancelo believes his time at the Etihad Stadium is over following his temporary switch to the Bundesliga, but he’s said to favour a move to Camp Nou than a return to the Allianz Arena. Barcelona, however, would struggle to sign Cancelo on a permanent basis as a result of their precarious finances, which means — if interested — he might have to join the Catalan club on loan, and after having agreed a reduction in his salary.

Manchester United are looking to reinforce their attacking options for 2023-24 and Erik ten Hag is in talks with Atalanta‘s Rasmus Hojlund and Eintracht Frankfurt‘s Randal Kolo Muani, according to the Athletic. Ten Hag is looking beyond existing Reds forwards Wout Wehgorst and Anthony Martial who between them scored just 11 goals in 59 games this season. Ten Hag believes he needs to upgrade his strike force for United’s return to the Champions League, and he is making various plans alongside — or beyond — the desire to sign top target Harry Kane. Hojlund, 20, has scored eight goals and added four assists in Serie A this season, and has also scored five times for Denmark in the last international break. Muani, 24, scored a remarkable 23 goals and added 17 assists in 43 appearances, but could demand a transfer fee of up to €80m. Hojlund better fits the Reds’ desire to move for a developing player and would also be the perfect solution should United succeed in their pursuit of Kane.

Chelsea have rejected an offer of £30m from Brighton & Hove Albion for defender Levi Colwill, according to the Daily Mail. Colwill, 20, had an impressive season as he made 22 appearances at the heart of the Seagulls’ back line while on loan. Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi was understandably keen to make the defender’s move a permanent one this summer. However, Chelsea have responded by saying that Colwill, a product of their academy, isn’t available at for transfer with Blues boss Mauriccio Pochettino said to be a big fan of Colwill.

Kai Havertz is on Real Madrid‘s list of replacements should Karim Benzema leave the club this summer, according to Marca. Madrid’s bosses have been discussing plans for the 2023-24 season with boss Carlo Ancelotti, and much depends on the future of Benzema, has been linked with a surprise move to Saudi Arabian club Al Ittihad. Benzema is one of Madrid’s greatest strikers of all time and his replacement would have some big shoes to fill, but 23-year-old Havertz is included as one of the players Ancelotti is considering turning to for the No. 9 shirt next season.

Girona are looking to steal a march on their rivals by making early moves in the transfer market, and the Spanish side are eyeing a potential double swoop for Barcelona duo Pablo Torre and Estanis Pedrola, according to Mundo Deportivo. Attacking midfielder Torre, 20, featured in just over 300 minutes for Xavi Hernandez’s side this season, while 19-year-old forward Pedrola scored seven goals in 14 appearances for Barcelona B. Barca could be interested in letting both players leave, particularly as they’re looking to boost their own transfer funds, but a loan spell for one or both seems more likely.