Chelsea ready to be patient as favourites in Erling Haaland chase

With most of the major European seasons now complete, the rumour mill has been sent into overdrive as clubs ponder their moves ahead of what will be a busy transfer window. Check out the latest gossip below, and see all official deals here.

TOP STORY: Haaland keen on Chelsea move?

Chelsea are hoping to sign striker Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund, and the forward appears to be just as keen on the idea, according to the Telegraph.

Dortmund are insisting Haaland won’t be allowed to leave this summer, but Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel isn’t willing to give up on his top target.

The Blues are prepared to wait a season and are willing to negotiate a deal that means the 20-year-old can stay in Germany for one more year before moving to London.

Chelsea have a good relationship with Dortmund following the €64m signing of Christian Pulisic in the summer of 2019, after having agreed the deal in January that year, and they’re hoping they can come to an agreement over a similar pre-contract arrangement.

Haaland’s transfer fee would be around €180m at the moment, but the Norway international has a release clause that means he could be available for €75m at the end of next season.

Chelsea’s biggest problem is that Haaland is wanted by a number of clubs including Manchester United, Manchester City and Real Madrid, though the striker is reported to favour a move to Stamford Bridge.

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LIVE BLOG

16.30 BST: Do Liverpool have an issue on the horizon with Mo Salah?

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Mark Ogden explains why Liverpool might be tempted to part with Mohamed Salah.

15.55 BST: This could have an impact on some transfer budgets…

The six English clubs that signed up to the breakaway European Super League (ESL) earlier this year have agreed to pay a total of £22m as part of a settlement with the Premier League, it was announced on Wednesday.

Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham also agreed to accept fines of about £20m each and 30-point deductions if they join a similar unsanctioned competition in the future — a punishment that would have seen Arsenal and Spurs relegated during the 2019-20 campaign.

15.25 BST: Goal claims that Barcelona are ready to listen to offers for 17 first-team players in a bid to raise funds.

The club are €1.2bn in debt and need to reduce their wage bill before they can sign anyone — though they’ve already added Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia on free transfers.

Goal says that a number of players are expendable… including: Philippe Coutinho, Miralem Pjanic, Martin Braithwaite, Matheus Fernandes, Samuel Umtiti, Neto, Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba, Sergi Roberto, Clement Lenglet, Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele, Sergino Dest, Gerard Pique, Riqui Puig, Francisco Trincao and Emerson Royal.

The report does state “club captain Lionel Messi, who is in talks over a new contract, Ronald Araujo, Ansu Fati, Pedri and Frenkie de Jong are considered untouchable.”

15.00 BST: FC Porto midfielder Fabio Vieira is of interest to Liverpool, reports TVI.

Vieira, 21, impressed at the U21 Euros for Portugal where he won the Player of the Tournament award this summer, but he isn’t a guaranteed starter for his club Porto and has a contract which expires in 2022.

Liverpool are keen to replace Georginio Wijnaldum when he depart on a free transfer to PSG and Vieira’s release clause of €30m should not prove to be an issue.

14.18 BST: Sky Sports reports that “Spotify owner Daniel Ek looks set to increase his bid to buy Arsenal to £2bn.”

Ek, 38, had a £1.8bn offer rejected by club owner Stan Kroenke last month, while Kroenke’s son Josh released a statement in April saying the company are “100% committed to Arsenal and are not selling any stake in the club.”

Gunners legends Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp have thrown their weight behind the Swede’s takeover plans as the club missed out on a place in Europe for the first time in 25 years by finishing eighth in the Premier League, while there fan protests over the failed efforts to play in the European Super League.

14.01 BST: Zinedine Zidane’s son Enzo Zidane has joined Ligue 2 side Rodez Aveyron Foot as a free agent.

Zidane Jr., 26, was part of the Real Madrid youth academy but left in 2017 and the midfielder went on to play for Swiss side Lausanne, Aves in Portugal, and Alaves and Almería in Spain.

13.45 BST: PSG’s Kylian Mbappe linked with an out-of-this world move to Moon FC.

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Kylian Mbappe can’t take his eyes off the ball as he talks with French astronaut Thomas Pesquet from the International Space Station.

13.23 BST: Barcelona could have a bit of midfield business to do this summer.

Miralem Pjanic says he will make a decision on his future when he returns for preseason in July.

Pjanic, 31, joined Barca for €60m in 2020, with Juventus paying €72m for Arthur as part of a swap deal between the clubs.

However, the Bosnia & Herzegovina international featured infrequently under manager Ronald Koeman this season, making just 13 starts in all competitions. Now he has been heavily linked with a move back to Italy, with former side Juventus and Serie A champions Inter Milan interested.

“Leave Barça? It’s difficult to talk about that now,” Pjanic told Bosnian television. “I am enjoying a break with my family at the moment and that’s all I am thinking about. Preparations for the new season begin in July and I will join up with the team. We will see what happens after.”

Meanwhile, Barcelona are encouraging offers for Carles Alena, with clubs from Spain and England interested in the midfielder, according to various reports.

Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers are the latest to enquire about Alena’s situation at Camp Nou, according to Diario Sport. Marca adds that Valencia, Getafe and Granada are also monitoring the former Spain U21 international, who could be available for around €8m.

Alena, 23, was tipped for big things at Camp Nou but has failed to break into the first team and spent the last two years on loan at Real Betis and Getafe respectively. With his contract expiring in 2022, this summer represents Barca’s last chance to bring in some cash for the La Masia graduate.

12.57 BST: Barcelona have narrowed down their defensive search to Juventus’ Matthijs de Ligt and Sevilla’s Jules Kounde, although signing either is highly unlikely this summer, according to Mundo Deportivo.

Barca have already landed Manchester City’s Eric Garcia on a free transfer and would like to sign another centre-back if they can move on Samuel Umtiti.

With the club’s well-documented financial problems, a big move is unlikely. However, if they can raise enough funds then the club’s technical staff have reportedly made De Ligt and Kounde the top targets.

France international Kounde has hinted he would like to move to a bigger club but his €90m release clause is prohibitive, even if Sevilla would be willing to negotiate.

De Ligt, meanwhile, chose Juve over Barca in 2019, joining the Italian side for around €75m. Juve would be reluctant to let him leave two years later for less than that.

12.20 BST: The Athletic says Arsenal are eyeing a move for Real Sociedad striker Alexander Isak, who reportedly has a release clause of €70m.

Isak, 21, is a favourite of technical director Edu after scoring 33 goals in 89 games for Sociedad over the past two seasons.

Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette could depart this summer, with the Gunners looking for reinforcements up front.

11.48 BST: Not a day passes in Barcelona at the moment without a story regarding Ousmane Dembele‘s future at Camp Nou. The France international is out of contract in 2022 and Barca will look to let him leave this summer if a new deal cannot be agreed.

Mundo Deportivo reports that both Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain have sounded Dembele out with regards to signing him for free next year. That would be the worst-case scenario for Barca, who paid an initial €105m to bring the forward to the club from Borussia Dortmund in 2017.

Dembele, 24, said last week while preparing for Euro 2020 with the France squad that he was in “no rush” to resolve his contract situation.

11.45 BST: Lazio have confirmed the arrival of new manager Maurizio Sarri on two-year contract.

Sarri, well known for his cigarette smoking, spent three years at Napoli then moved to Chelsea in July 2018 for one season before returning to Italy with Juventus. He won the Scudetto with Juventus in 2019-20 but was replaced by Andrea Pirlo in August 2020 after the club crashed out of the Champions League and he has been out of work since.

11.27 BST: Barcelona defender Gerard Pique is willing to take another wage cut to help the club through a financial crisis, according to various reports in the Catalan media.

Pique, 34, met with president Joan Laporta recently, Diario Sport report, to discuss several issues, including his future at Camp Nou. The centre-back expressed a desire to remain at Barca and a willingness to take a further reduction to his salary with the club’s debt standing at over €1 billion.

Last March, Pique, along with his Barca teammates, agreed to take a three-month pay cut worth up to 70% of their salaries during that period when the pandemic first halted football in Spain. He later signed a contract extension until 2024, agreeing to spread the money due from his previous deal out over a longer length of time.

11.09 BST: PSG look set to land one of the world’s best young goalkeepers on a free transfer from Milan this summer.

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Gab Marcotti has concerns about PSG offering a big-money deal to former Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.

10.30 BST: Celtic are on the verge of confirming Ange Postecoglou as their new manager, sources have told ESPN’s Tom Hamilton.

Postecoglou has agreed personal terms, and Celtic have settled compensation with J1 League side Yokohoma F. Marinos. Sources have told ESPN Postecoglou is due to take up the post in July.

Celtic also needed the approval of UEFA for the move, as Postecoglou does not hold a UEFA Pro License. With all terms agreed, he is set to replace Neil Lennon, who resigned as Celtic boss in February.

Postecoglou, 55, has been in charge of Yokohoma since 2018, and led them to the J1 title in 2019. He has also won the A-League with Brisbane Roar, and managed Australia from 2013 to 2017, where he won the 2015 Asian Cup.

10.22 BST: Wolves have confirmed the appointment of former Benfica boss Bruno Lage as their new head coach.

Lage, who was an assistant at Sheffield Wednesday then Swansea from 2015-18 and won the Portuguese title with Benfica in 2019 before departing a year later after failing to defend it, replaces Nuno Espirito Santo, who left Wolves at the end of the season.

“First of all, I’m very happy,” Lage told the club’s website. “It’s a big opportunity. I’m very happy because I’ve returned to this country, and to be the manager of a big team.

“It’s a team and a club that wants to do history and a chance to compete in the Premier League. So, I’m happy, excited, with a big ambition to do great things for this club.”

10.04 BST: Arsenal want around £20m for right-back Hector Bellerin, with Atletico Madrid and Real Betis interested, says CBS.

Sport reports that Juventus are also keen, and are willing to offer midfielder Aaron Ramsey in return, who may be keen to return to London after leaving the club on a free transfer in 2019.

09.38 BST: Paris Saint-Germain are set to beat Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the race to sign Liverpool star Georginio Wijnaldum on a free transfer, sources have told ESPN’s Julien Laurens.

Wijnaldum, 30, has agreed a three-year deal with PSG after he opted against signing a new contract at Anfield. His existing deal expires at the end of June.

Sources close to the negotiations said that the Ligue 1 side offered to double the terms agreed with Barca, and a phone call from coach Mauricio Pochettino also helped persuade Wijnaldum to change his mind.

09.17 BST: Real Madrid had been looking for around €70m from clubs to sign centre-back Rapahel Varane, but that has now dropped to €50m, says Mundo Deportivo.

Varane, 28, has a contract which expires in 2022 but has yet to agree new terms. The France international is being tracked by Manchester United, who are reportedly willing to offer him €12m-a-year in wages.

Madrid don’t want another scenario like Sergio Ramos, who now has a few weeks left on his deal and could leave for free this summer, so they will look to move Varane on if they can’t get him to sign a new contract.

08.30 BST: Manchester United will seek talks with Paul Pogba over fears the France international will run down his contract, sources have told ESPN’s Rob Dawson.

Pogba is set to enter the final year of his deal and will be able to negotiate with clubs outside the Premier League from January before a possible free transfer move in time for the 2022-23 season.

This summer is United’s last chance to receive a significant fee for the midfielder but sources have told ESPN there has been no firm contact from any of Europe’s major clubs and there remain doubts about whether Real Madrid, Barcelona or Juventus could afford the financial outlay needed to sign the World Cup winner without including players as part of the deal.

Sources close to Pogba’s camp have told ESPN that those clubs, and Paris Saint-Germain, would all be interested if he was available for free in a year.

Agent Mino Raiola has gone on record to say Pogba will not sign a new contract at Old Trafford but sources have told ESPN United have not given up hope that the 28-year-old will extend his stay.

There are, however, fears he could delay any decision beyond the summer in an effort to bring other bidders to the negotiating table.

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Mark Ogden assesses the stacked lineup of attacking talent Man City would have if Jack Grealish joins.

PAPER GOSSIP (By Nick Judd)

– Manchester City and Atletico Madrid are discussing a potential swap deal involving Saul Niguez and Bernardo Silva, according to the Times. Atleti boss Diego Simeone has been a long-term admirer of Silva and is reportedly confident that agent Jorge Mendes can engineer a deal. Saul has had a poor season by his standards and, like Silva, has played less minutes this season than in previous campaigns for La Liga’s champions.

AC Milan are the big movers in this transfer window. They already have an agreement in place to bring in Brahim Diaz permanently from Real Madrid, and they’ve now opened talks with Barcelona to sign Junior Firpo, according to Fabrizio Romano. The 24-year-old made just six La Liga appearances last season and, though he’s contracted until 2024, the left-back has been heavily linked with a move away from Camp Nou this summer.

– Milan are also plotting moves for Chelsea trio Olivier Giroud, Hakim Ziyech and Fikayo Tomori, according to Gazzetta dello Sport. Milan have a €28.5m option to sign defender Tomori after his loan expires but the Rossoneri may face stiff competition from Lazio for the other two, according to The Sun. They believe that former Blues boss Maurizio Sarri, who is set to take over at the Stadio Olimpico, has set his sights on both 34-year-old striker Giroud and out-of-favour forward Ziyech. Calciomercato, meanwhile, says that Milan are also lining up a move for Arsenal target Jonathan Ikone, who plays as a forward for Lille.

– Barcelona are keen to raise funds to land one marquee signing this summer, and Sport believes Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling is the most likely to move to Camp Nou. Barca are looking to excite their supporters with a big-name signing and 26-year-old Sterling has joined the club’s wanted list. However, Barcelona are aware that a deal for the England international might be difficult, and that they might need to include players in the opposite direction to make the move happen.

Juventus are planning to replace Cristiano Ronaldo with Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus, according to Gazzetta dello Sport. Max Allegri is keen to improve his forward line and, as well as 24-year-old Jesus, the new boss is also considering Paris Saint-Germain striker Mauro Icardi and Fiorentina forward Dusan Vlahovic. A renewal of Alvaro Morata‘s loan deal is also high on the agenda as Juve target goals galore in 2021-22.

– Newly promoted Turkish club Adana Demirspor are planning to start life in the top flight with 31-year-old striker Mario Balotelli, according to Calciomercato. The Italy international is at a career crossroads after having spent five months at Serie B side Monza, and he is currently out of contract.