Transfer Talk: Newcastle eye Atletico Madrid’s Joao Felix

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: Newcastle eye Atletico’s Joao Felix

Newcastle United are interested in a loan move for Atletico Madrid forward Joao Felix, but his wages could prove to be a stumbling block, according to the Sun.

The 23-year-old spent the second half of the season on loan with Chelsea, but new head coach Mauricio Pochettino has seemingly opted against signing Felix on a permanent basis, leaving the Portugal international in an uncertain situation.

Following a falling out with Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone earlier in the year, the Spanish club have been eager to offload Felix, who has struggled to impress for the club since his €126 million move from Benfica in 2019. Felix has managed just 36 goals in more than 100 appearances for Atleti, and another loan move looks to be the most likely option this summer, with a lack of permanent suitors.

The forward has been open regarding his desire to play in the Champions League, which increases the chances of a loan switch to Newcastle this summer, after the Magpies qualified for the competition for the first time since the 2002-03 season.

Chelsea reportedly spent €11m on the loan deal, alongside covering Felix’s wages in excess of €250,000, which might prove to be a stumbling block for Newcastle. Despite Newcastle’s financial backing from the Saudi Public Investment Fund, the club might not be able to finance a loan move for Felix unless the figures are lowered.

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13.04 BST: Why would Lionel Messi move to MLS only to then head to Barcelona on loan?



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12.45 BST: Lionel Messi will leave Paris Saint-Germain after two years at the club, head coach Christophe Galtier said on Thursday.

ESPN reported last month that Messi would leave PSG when his contract expires this summer, with the forward considering a move to Saudi Arabian side Al Hilal, the city rivals of Cristiano Ronaldo‘s Al Nassr.

Galter told a news conference ahead of PSG’s final Ligue 1 match of the season against Clement Foot: “I had the privilege of managing the best player in the history of football. This will be his last match at the Parc des Princes. I dare to hope that he will be welcomed in the best possible way,”

Messi joined PSG in 2021 after his 21-year association with Barca ended due to the club’s financial issues.

Alongside Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, he helped PSG to win Ligue 1 titles in both seasons he spent in the French capital. However, back-to-back round-of-16 exits from the Champions League meant the club’s search for a first European title continues.

12.22 BST: Tottenham plan to speak with former Australia manager Ange Postecoglou in the latest twist to their search for a new head coach, sources have told ESPN.

Spurs are re-evaluating their options after Feyenoord boss Arne Slot chose to resist their interest and sign a new contract with the Eredivisie club.

Sources have told ESPN that Celtic boss Postecoglou is now emerging as a strong contender, with the club set to hold talks after Saturday’s Scottish Cup Final.

Celtic face Inverness Caledonian Thistle and a victory would mean Postecoglu would deliver the club’s eighth domestic treble in its history. The 57-year-old has won five of the six trophies available since joining the club from Japanese side Yokohama F. Marinos.

Postecoglou, who was born in Greece but grew up in Australia where he later managed the Socceroos for four years, is on a 12-month rolling contract and would therefore be free to move this summer without Celtic owed any compensation, although they are expected to try and ward off Tottenham’s interest by offering him a longer deal on better terms.

However, Spurs are keen to hold talks with Postecoglu as chairman Daniel Levy comes under mounting pressure to bring some clarity to the club after sacking Antonio Conte on March 27.

12.06 BST: Fabrizio Romano says that Brighton midfielder Alexis Mac Allister could join Liverpool next week.

Mac Allister, 24, has been linked with a £70m move after helping Argentina to win the 2022 World Cup.

However, the report says the amount isn’t as high, so Liverpool will end up paying considerably less in order to land him.

11.00 BST: Real Madrid is the world’s most valuable soccer club in 2022 with a worth of $6.07 billion (£4.9bn), according to Forbes.

For a second straight year, the Spanish giants have topped the 30-club list compiled by the American business magazine, with Manchester United second, valued at $6bn (£4.8bn).

It’s the first time that two clubs have reached the $6bn mark. LaLiga champions Barcelona, who ranked first in 2021, are third with a valuation of $5.51bn (£4.4bn).

With respect to last year, Madrid have increased their value by 19% while United have climbed 30%.

“The Spanish side has made it to five of the last nine lucrative Champions League finals, winning all of them,” Forbes said on its report. “Real Madrid has also secured nearly $400 million from Sixth Street and Legends as part of a 20-year deal to enhance revenue at its Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, which has been undergoing a massive renovation that is expected to be completed next year.”

Madrid and Man United are the only two clubs that have ranked in the top five each time since 2004, when Forbes began publishing the annual soccer valuations. Six of the top 10 ranked clubs in the report are Premier League outfits.

10.51 BST: Bayern Munich women have confirmed the signings of defender Magda Eriksson and midfielder Pernille Harder on three-year contracts.

The duo left Chelsea after their contracts expired this summer.

10.27 BST: Javier Zanetti, meanwhile, ruled Inter out of contention to sign compatriot Lionel Messi this summer.

Messi’s contract at Paris Saint-Germain expires this month and the 35-year-old Argentina captain is considering his options, including returning to former club Barcelona as a free agent.

“Inter are doing the right things in terms of financial fair play,” Zanetti said. “Who wouldn’t like to have Messi but for us, we are not in a position to get Messi. There are few that can pay Messi and that should be the case for what Messi represents a World Cup winner. I would like to see him where he is happy.

“We can all agree that we would see Leo personally and professionally at Barcelona. We all know he is happy in Barcelona. If he is the best player in the world, he would make a difference in any league.”

10.05 BST: Inter Milan vice-president Javier Zanetti says he is calm regarding Lautaro Martinez’s future at the club.

Amid reports that Real Madrid have asked Inter for more information regarding Martinez as a potential candidate to replace Karim Benzema should he leave the Spanish club this summer, Zanetti said: “I can honestly say that the club has not received anything regarding that. It’s normal when you have players like him in your squad for clubs to come for them. But we are very calm. If that situation arises, we will listen. But Lautaro is a very important part of Inter’s present, and he is a reference player for us. I’m calm because I see that Lautaro is happy with us. I’m not worried.”

The Argentina forward has scored 28 goals and set up 11 more in 55 appearances to help Inter reach the Champions League final. A World Cup winner with Argentina, Martinez is in his fifth season at Inter and is under contract until June 2026.

“When we acquired him, he was young, but we knew what he could give us,” Zanetti said. “We didn’t make a mistake in signing him. He has improved every season and he is a reference point for us and for the national team. He has a winning mentality. He is humble, he is committed. That is why he makes the difference. He is our captain. Nothing has been given to him, all that he has he has worked hard to earn it.”

09.23 BST: Sevilla sporting director Monchi has confirmed that his club will trigger the option to sign Loic Bade on a permanent transfer this summer.

Bade, 23, had made 26 appearances for Sevilla, including starting in Wednesday’s Europa League final win over Roma, after joining on loan from Rennes in January.

Sevilla have an option to make his stay permanent for €13m and, after winning the Europa League in Budapest, Bade posted a video on Instagram with Sevilla sporting director Monchi pleading with the club executive to “Please sign me.”

Monchi replied: “It’s already done. We’ve acquired him.”

09.03 BST: Jose Mourinho has admitted he would like to remain at Roma but says he and his players “deserve more.”

Mourinho’s contract with Roma expires in June 2024 but his future at the club is uncertain after his team’s defeat on penalties to Sevilla in Wednesday’s Europa League final.

“I will go on holiday on Monday, if we are able to talk in the coming days, that’s fine,” Mourinho said. “I want to stay, but my players deserve more, and I deserve more too. I want to fight for more.

“I’m a little tired of being a coach, a communicator, of being the face that says we’ve been robbed. I’m a little tired of being so much. I want to stay with the conditions of giving more, and if we don’t play in the Champions League, that’s good news. It’s paradoxical, but we’re not yet a Champions League team.”

08.34 BST: Harry Maguire will hold talks with Erik ten Hag to discuss his Manchester United future after the end of the season, sources have told ESPN.

Maguire has endured a frustrating campaign at Old Trafford, making just 16 starts in all competitions and only eight in the Premier League.

After falling behind Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane in the pecking order at centre-back, Maguire is set to evaluate his options before making a decision about where to play next season.

Sources have told ESPN that United are willing to listen to offers for the 30-year-old and anticipate interest from West Ham United, who made an enquiry about his availability during the January transfer window.

08.00 BST: Manchester City are in talks to sign Mateo Kovacic from Chelsea, sources have told ESPN.

ESPN reported in February that the Croatia midfielder was one of several players likely to be made available as Chelsea plan a host of summer exits to trim their bloated squad and new manager Mauricio Pochettino will not stand in the way of his departure.

The 29-year-old has one year remaining on his contract and there have not been any meaningful conversations over an extension.

Although no fee has yet been agreed, sources suggest Kovacic has been given permission to discuss terms with City. Chelsea are thought to be willing to let him go for a fee in the region of £35m.



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PAPER GOSSIP (by Rajan Hothi)

Manchester United will allow forward Anthony Martial to depart the club this summer, reports Football Insider. The 27-year-old signed for the Red Devils in 2015 from AS Monaco, but poor form and injury issues have blighted his time at Old Trafford and he could move on. Despite his recent struggles, it is reported that the France international will have no shortage of potential suitors in the summer.

Arsenal have made an opening offer of €15m for Real Valladolid right-back Ivan Fresneda, per Ekrem Konur. The 18-year-old has endured an impressive season for the Spanish outfit, featuring 24 times across all competitions, with his performances also catching the eye of Borussia Dortmund. It is reported that the Gunners are keen to add a right-back in the summer, with Takehiro Tomiyasu enduring injury problems and Ben White forced to cover.

– Signing forward Lionel Messi is the priority for Barcelona this summer, according to Sport. Club president Joan Laporta has reportedly made it clear that securing a deal for the Argentine should take precedence over any other transfer target. A report by L’Equipe on Tuesday stated that Inter Miami CF and Barcelona are working together to thwart Messi’s proposed move to Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal, which would mean signing for Miami and moving on a year-long loan to Barca.

Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema has informed the club that he wants to sign for Al Ittihad, according to Foot Mercato. A source told ESPN on Tuesday that the French striker was mulling a huge contract from the Saudi club, which has seemingly turned his attention away from the Bernabeu. Benzema’s deal in Madrid runs until next summer, but the lucrative offer from Riyadh has changed the situation.