The transfer window for Europe’s biggest clubs is closed, but click here for all the deals, and keep track of who has joined the big boys. Transfer Talk will continue to scour the world’s media and set correspondents loose to see what’s on the agenda for the summer.
TOP STORY: Jovic could be Barca’s striker of the future
Marca claims Barcelona director of football Eric Abidal was at the San Siro on scouting duty Thursday night, adding fuel to speculation that the Spanish giants are plotting a move for Eintracht Frankfurt striker Luka Jovic.
Abidal was joined by assistant Ramon Planes, as well as general manager of football Jose Segura, as the Barca hierarchy ran the rule over Eintracht’s top goal scorer.
The Serbian has notched 15 goals in just 23 Bundesliga appearances this season, and he found the net under the watchful eye of Abidal & Co. as the Germans knocked Inter Milan out of the Europa League.
It has been a remarkable rise for Jovic, who couldn’t get a look-in at parent club Benfica after signing from Red Star Belgrade in February 2016. However, a two-year loan in Germany has put the 21-year-old firmly on the goal-scoring map, and his form this season has alerted Europe’s elite.
15.21 GMT: ESPN Brazil report that RB Leipzig are set to sign Palmeiras left-back Luan Candido for €8m plus €2m in add-ons.
The Brazil U20 international has not made a senior appearance for Palmeiras, but has drawn interest from the likes of Barcelona and Manchester City
14.57 GMT: Pep Guardiola refused to be drawn on reports that Manchester City could face a transfer ban but said his squad is good enough even if he cannot bring in new signings in the summer.
Reports have claimed FIFA could ban City from making signings in the next two windows for allegedly breaking rules related to the protection of youth players and third-party ownership.
Guardiola has said he trusts those running the club and last week called for any investigations to be concluded quickly.
“I said what I said,” he told a news conference when asked about a potential ban. “I was clear in my opinion, the club have made their statement, so I don’t have any comments.”
Asked whether his squad was good enough to cope with a potential ban, he said: “It’s good, the squad is really good. Of course.”
14.16 GMT: The agent of Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, Pavel Zika, insists that Juventus and “Premier League clubs” are keen on the 30-year-old and that he deserves a pay rise after some fine performances for the club.
All sounds a bit like an agent trying to get his client a new contract to me.
13.42 GMT: Zinedine Zidane has said he would love to coach Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe one day.
Zidane, returning to the Bernabeu for a second spell in charge of the team, stressed that his job was to finish the season well before moving on to transfer plans.
Asked whether he would like to coach France international Mbappe at some point, Zidane said: “Like with all good players, I would love to.”
However, he said he had not asked Madrid president Florentino Perez to sign Mbappe, adding: “No, not at all. It’s not the moment to talk about this.”
12.40 GMT: We all know that PSG midfielder Adrien Rabiot is going to be a free agent this summer, but the Sun claim that Manchester United want him.
Liverpol, Tottenham, Chelsea and Barcelona are all reportedly keen, but given his attitude and falling out with PSG, we wonder if he’s worth the risk?
11.04 GMT: Fernando Gago has agreed to terminate his contract with Boca Juniors following his injury in the Copa Libertadores final.
10.31 GMT: Real Madrid are set to put James Rodriguez up for sale in the summer for around €50-60m if Bayern Munich opt against signing him on permanent basis after his loan expires, according to El Confidencial.
Manchester United, Arsenal and Juventus have all been linked with the Colombia midfielder. But at that price, there’s only going to be a few takers.
10.00 GMT: It’s Champions League draw day! Join our live chat here and see who will get who…
The Champions League teams left are: Manchester United, FC Porto, Tottenham, Ajax, Barcelona, Liverpool, Manchester City and Juventus.
09.52 GMT: Paris Saint-Germain have suspended wantaway midfielder Adrien Rabiot until March 27 due to his recent behaviour, sources have confirmed to ESPN FC.
As initially reported by L’Equipe, the France international was internally banned on Thursday after he was spotted in a nightclub after last week’s 3-1 Champions League round of 16 loss to Manchester United and for ‘liking’ Patrice Evra’s video on social media threatening former teammate Jerome Rothen.
According to ESPN FC sources close to both the club and player, Rabiot is not allowed to set foot in PSG’s Camp des Loges training centre again until he has met with the French champions’ hierarchy at the end of this month.
09.14 GMT: ICYMI: Real Madrid have announced an agreement to sign Porto defender Eder Militao in the summer, marking the club’s first signing since Zinedine Zidane’s return as manager.
Militao, 21, will move to the Bernabeu in June on a six-year deal, Madrid announced in a statement yesterday.
The Brazilian only joined Porto from Sao Paulo last summer for €4 million. In a separate statement, Porto confirmed the fee would be €50 million. Spanish outlet Marca reported this week that the release clause would rise by 50 percent to €75m if a deal is not completed by July 15.
08.30 GMT: Tuttosport claim that PSG’s Kylian Mbappe is a priority target for Juventus this summer — the Turin giants dream of pairing him with Cristiano Ronaldo, but that’s the thing with dreams…
Juve would have to cough up at least a new world record of €222m to land Mbappe, if they could even persuade him to move (which is doubtful). So mark this one under ‘not going to happen.’
PAPER TALK (by Nick Judd)
Spurs ready for life after Eriksen
After two transfer windows that have seen Tottenham Hotspur fail to make a single signing, the North Londoners look set to make a splash in the summer market, with manager Mauricio Pochettino targeting as many as five signings.
Those on the Spurs shopping list include Championship duo Jack Grealish and Jarrod Bowen of Aston Villa and Hull, respectively, while Valencia midfielder Carlos Soler and Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic are also on the Tottenham radar.
Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha remains a long-term target, but the size of any potential transfer fee is likely to deter the prudent Spurs hierarchy from making a big-money bid.
The Daily Mail claims the summer splurge is to be offset by the impending departure of Danish playmaker Christian Eriksen. The 27-year-old’s contract expires in just over a year’s time, and with no sign of an extension being agreed, it appears the club would rather sell their man now rather than potentially losing him for nothing in 2020.
Wijnaldum next in line for bumper Reds deal
Midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum is set to be the next high-profile Liverpool man to be handed a new contract by the club, and the Netherlands international says he remains relaxed about his future.
Wijnaldum still has over two years left on his contract, after agreeing a five-year deal when signing from Newcastle United in the summer of 2016, but Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp looks set to reward the 28-year-old with an extension following an impressive season in the heart of the Reds midfield.
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo following his side’s victory over Bayern Munich in the Champions League, the former PSV Eindhoven man said: “No, I did not speak with the club yet. That is something for the club. I will see what happens.
“I signed a five-year contract and I am still under contract. I just do my job to perform. A new contract has to come from the club.”
– West Ham and Manchester City are in the running for Argentina wonderkid Juan Sebastian Sforza. The 17-year-old is also wanted by European giants AC Milan, but TalkSport reckons a modest £1 million fee will be enough to secure the highly rated midfielder.
– Iker Casillas looks set to extend his career by another year at least after triggering a contract extension at Champions League quarterfinalists Porto. The 37-year-old has made 34 appearances for the joint leaders in the Portuguese top flight, and Marca reports he’s set to stay at Estádio do Dragao for another 12 months.
– Benfica left-back Alejandro Grimaldo is on the watchlist of Premier League big boys Manchester City and Arsenal. Pep Guardiola remains keen to strengthen on the left side of defence following Benjamin Mendy’s injury problems, while Sport claims incoming Gunners director of football Monchi has been a long-term admirer of the Spaniard.