Transfer Talk – PSG among options for Arsenal's Nicolas Pepe – ESPN
The summer transfer window is approaching, and there’s plenty of gossip swirling about who’s moving where. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz on rumours, comings and goings and, of course, done deals!
Arsenal are looking to move on Nicolas Pepe with Paris Saint-Germain as a potential destination, according to Foot Mercato.
Despite Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang‘s departure to Barcelona in January and both Alexandre Lacazette and Edward Nketiah coming to the end of their contracts next month, the 26-year-old Pepe is set to leave the Emirates this summer.
The Ivory Coast international became a club-record signing when he joined the North London side for £72 million from Lille in 2019. Since then, he has struggled to find form in the Premier League, scoring just 16 goals in 80 appearances. With Mikel Arteta preferring to start Bukayo Saka on the right wing this season, most of his appearances have been made off the bench.
The winger has been reportedly offered to many clubs, starting with PSG, who are looking to replace Angel Di Maria. However, the winger could be difficult to offload this summer, as he remains in contract until 2024 and reportedly earns around £140,000 per week.
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22.15 BST: Liverpool are interested in Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele, according to Sport.
The French forward has been in ongoing negotations with a new deal at Camp Nou. Amid the uncertainty of Sadio Mane’s future at Anfield, Liverpool could see Dembele shore up their offensive prowess next season.
Dembele’s camp has remain interested in seeing him stay at Barcelona, but the club hierarchy are unwilling to boost his salary to keep him.
21.30 BST: Tottenham are still interested in Spain wingback Adama Traore and USMNT’s Weston McKennie as new midfielder, according to Nicolò Schira. The club is ready to re-open talks with Wolverhampton and Juventus in the next days.
20.30 BST: Marcos Alonso has agreed to join Barcelona, but there is no deal yet between the LaLiga side and Chelsea over a transfer fee, according to Fabrizio Romano. According to the report, Barça have no intention to pay a big transfer fee as Alonso remains on contract with the Blues until June 2023.
19.30 BST: Paulo Dybala, long linked to an Inter Milan move after running out his contract at Juventus, has been offered to deal at AS Roma. According to Cesar Luis Melo, the Argentina playmaker is awaiting a formal offer from Inter and prefers the San Siro over the capital side.
18.30 BST: Ivan Perisic‘s deal to join Tottenham is almost complete, according to Fabrizio Romano. The Croatia midfielder will depart Inter Milan after helping the Serie A side win the Coppa Italia this season and the league title in the last campaign.
17.39 BST: Gareth Bale and Angel Di Maria have both been offered to Atletico Madrid as potential free transfers this summer, sources have confirmed to ESPN’s Alex Kirkland and Rodrigo Faez, but the LaLiga club have turned down the chance to sign either player.
Bale, 32, will leave Real Madrid after nine years at the club when his contract expires in June, while Di Maria, 34, is leaving Paris Saint-Germain when his deal runs out.
The Spanish radio station COPE first reported on Monday that Bale’s representatives had offered him to Atletico, saying the discussion had taken place in a meeting with the club’s sporting director Andrea Berta. Sources told ESPN that Atletico appreciated the offer but felt the finances involved in such a deal would make it difficult to justify, given Bale’s age. If they were to strengthen their attack, they would prefer to focus their efforts on a player who could contribute to the team over a longer period of time.
Bale is preparing for Real Madrid’s Champions League final against Liverpool in Paris on Saturday after an injury-disrupted season. Sources close to the player told ESPN that no decisions would be taken on his future until after he had featured for Wales in their June matches, which include a World Cup qualifying play-off final against Scotland or Ukraine. Bale and his family have been happy living in Madrid despite his reduced role in the team in recent years, and his family remained in the Spanish capital during his 2020-21 loan at Tottenham.
Atletico have also been offered Di Maria, who played his final game for PSG last weekend, starting and scoring in a 5-0 win over Metz at the Parc des Princes. He has played 295 games for the Ligue 1 club since signing from Manchester United in 2015, scoring 92 goals.
“I’m calm. There’s time, I have to think,” he told ESPN on Saturday. “It isn’t just my decision, I’ll always think about my family and then about me. I’ll decide what’s best for everyone.”
16.46 BST: Chelsea are planning to resurrect their interest in Sevilla defender Jules Kounde after failing to sign him last summer, the Daily Telegraph reports.
Once the takeover by the Todd Boehly-led consortium is confirmed next week (see 11.28 BST) and the club is able to conduct transfer business again, France international Kounde is reportedly top of the Blues’ wish list.
Chelsea tried to sign Kounde, 23, a year ago, but after agreeing personal terms with the player they could not reach an agreement over a fee with Sevilla. However, with a year less on his contract, Chelsea are hopeful that they can sign him for a fee in the region of the £42m they bid 12 months ago.
15.57 BST: Barcelona will tell more than 10 players that they are free to leave the club this summer as Xavi Hernandez plans to overhaul the squad following a trophyless season at Camp Nou, sources told ESPN’s Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens.
However, sources add it will not be easy to relocate many of the unwanted players due to their reluctance to leave and their high salaries.
Xavi has already confirmed conversations with Riqui Puig, Oscar Mingueza, Martin Braithwaite and Samuel Umtiti in which he informed them they are not part of his long-term plans. Clement Lenglet, Ferran Jutgla, loanees Luuk de Jong and Adama Traore and those returning from loans elsewhere, such as Francisco Trincao and Miralem Pjanic, are also likely to be invited to leave.
There is also uncertainty surrounding the futures of Ousmane Dembele and Dani Alves, who are both out of contract next month, while sources add that Barca’s financial situation could force them to listen to big offers for Memphis Depay and Frenkie de Jong.
Despite Barca’s desire to ring the changes, though, they are already encountering hurdles. Both Braithwaite and Pjanic have spoken of their desire to fulfill the final two years of their contracts, while the high salaries earned by players like Lenglet are making finding a suitor difficult.
15.12 BST: Paris Saint-Germain have made Neymar available for transfer this summer, sources told ESPN’s Julien Laurens, with the club seeking a new direction following Kylian Mbappe‘s surprise contract extension.
PSG’s stance marks another U-turn at the club, following on from Mbappe’s decision to stay when he looked certain to leave on a free transfer. Neymar signed a new contract at the club last year and it has three years to run, but PSG are hoping to offload him this summer.
Mbappe’s new deal, which runs until 2025, marks a new era for the club, with sporting director Leonardo expected to leave his position soon, to be replaced by Luis Campos — an Mbappe ally, following their successful spell at Monaco together.
Campos was at Monaco when Mbappe burst onto the scene and won the Ligue 1 title in 2017, as well as reaching the Champions League semifinals. The 57-year-old has a reputation for unearthing top talent and securing large transfer fees for hidden gems, with Mbappe one of many notable successes. Campos joined Monaco in 2013, and four years later, the club had won their first title in 17 years. He will be officially announced as PSG’s new director in the coming days but is already at work shaping the squad, according to sources, with a focus on younger players.
Neymar, 30, is in Qatar with some of PSG’s sponsors and said this week that he wants to stay at PSG, but the Ligue 1 champions want to generate transfer funds to shape their squad. The Brazil international joined PSG for a world record €222m from Barcelona in 2017 but has featured in only 50% of the club’s matches since joining, amid a recurring run of injuries.
Neymar’s sizable salary, which costs PSG around €35m a year, may prove a stumbling block in the event of any interested clubs coming forward to make an offer, but Chelsea have a long-standing interest in the forward.
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14.25 BST: Tottenham Hotspur are up against north London rivals Arsenal in their pursuit of young Middlesbrough right-back Djed Spence, The Sun reports.
Spence, 21, has caught the eye of many clubs during his loan spell at Nottingham Forest this season, helping them reach the quarterfinals of the FA Cup and Sunday’s Championship playoff final against Huddersfield Town (stream LIVE at 11:30 a.m. ET on ESPN+ in the U.S.).
Spurs have held an interest in Spence for some time. ESPN revealed in January that the club had two bids rejected, and The Sun reports that he could be available for £15m this summer.
ESPN also revealed last week that Spurs have made contact with Ivan Perisic as the Croatia winger considers leaving Inter Milan when his contract expires in the coming weeks while Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans is another target.
13.40 BST: Sadio Mane could make himself a target for Real Madrid if he performs well against them in the Champions League final, according to Diario AS.
Mane, 30, has one year left on his Liverpool contract, and said earlier this week that he would reveal his future after Saturday’s game in Paris.
The Senegal forward has been linked with a move to Bayern Munich, with AS saying they have confirmed L’Equipe’s report that the Bundesliga giants are leading the race for his signature, although no terms have been agreed.
AS quote a source as saying “if he plays a great game in the final, Madrid could still be an option,” although the newspaper admits that Mane would face competition from Vinicius Junior in his preferred left-sided role and Karim Benzema at centre-forward.
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12.57 BST: Manchester United are set to test Barcelona’s resolve over Frenkie de Jong despite doubts over whether they are the midfielder’s first choice if he leaves Camp Nou, sources told ESPN’s Rob Dawson.
United want a midfielder this summer, and De Jong, who worked under Erik ten Hag at Ajax during the pair’s time there, is one of the names under consideration.
Despite playing a key role at Barcelona last season, there’s a feeling at Old Trafford that the LaLiga giants may have to offload the Netherlands international to fund their summer transfer business. Sources told ESPN that De Jong would have to be persuaded to join United, particularly after they dropped out of the Champions League, but a move has not been ruled out.
Intermediaries working on behalf of Barcelona have tried to find potential suitors for the 25-year-old, and although Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich have asked to be kept informed, United’s interest is the strongest. Sources told ESPN that Manchester City are distancing themselves from De Jong, instead choosing to focus on Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips as a replacement for Fernandinho, who will leave the club this summer.
United have also registered interest in Phillips, but sources said he would be reluctant to move to Old Trafford given Leeds’ intense rivalry with United.
Barcelona are already looking for replacements for De Jong, whose transfer fee is said to be around £75m. United are unlikely to meet those terms and would have to seek to agree a lower fee, but there is a belief Barcelona’s financial situation could leave room for compromise.
12.12 BST: Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard is considering bringing another former Liverpool teammate to Villa Park in Luis Suarez, the Daily Telegraph reports.
Suarez, 35, is a free agent after being released from Atletico Madrid but is still keen to play in one of Europe’s top leagues. The Uruguay international played with Gerrard at Anfield for two-and-a-half years before joining Barcelona in 2014.
Gerrard has already reunited with one former teammate, signing Philippe Coutinho on loan from Barca for the second half of the 2021-22 season. The Brazil international joined Villa on a permanent basis earlier this month.
11.28 BST: A consortium led by Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly has completed its takeover of Premier League club Chelsea in a deal worth up to £4.25 billion.
The deal was formally announced on Saturday, bringing Roman Abramovich’s 19-year tenure to an end and freeing Chelsea from restrictions relating to sanctions imposed on their former owner for alleged ties to Russia president Vladimir Putin.
Chelsea will now be granted a new licence to compete in the 2022-23 season, bringing to an end three months of uncertainty during which it was feared the club might cease to exist.
Chelsea had been unable to acquire or unload players or renegotiate contracts with existing squad members while operating under a special licence, contributing to the impending departures of Antonio Rudiger to Real Madrid and Andreas Christensen to Barcelona.
Sources have told ESPN’s Jame sOlley that Chelsea’s new owners are expected to back coach Thomas Tuchel with significant funds to improve the squad while contract negotiations with players, including midfield trio N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mason Mount, will now resume. Further restrictions that prevented the club’s megastore and stadium hotel from opening will also now be lifted
10.41 BST: Angel Correa “has opened the door to leaving Atletico (Madrid),” Marca reports, claiming the forward is “tired” of being left out of the starting XI in key matches.
Correa, 27, made ten Champions League appearances for Atletico this season, but seven of them came as a substitute, including both legs of their quarter-final with Manchester City.
The Argentina international only renewed his contract at the Wanda Metropolitano in January, signing a new deal until 2026.
Correa has impressed when he’s featured, but faces competition from Joao Felix, Antoine Griezmann and Matheus Cunha in attack, while Atletico are expected to look to bring in another forward this summer to replace the departing Luis Suarez.
09.49 BST: A number of Premier League clubs are eyeing up a summer move for Braga centre-back David Carmo, sources have told ESPN’s Rob Dawson.
The 22-year-old is highly rated in Portugal and has been called up to Fernando Santos’ squad for their Nations League games against Spain, Switzerland and Czech Republic in June.
Sources told ESPN that a bid of around €25 million would secure a move away from Braga, with a number of English clubs having already registered their interest.
Manchester United are among the clubs looking for a left-footed centre-back this summer to bring more balance to their defence and have placed Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres on their shortlist of options.
09.00 BST: Antonio Conte is expected to stay on as Tottenham Hotspur head coach next season following positive talks with the club’s managing director Fabio Paratici in Turin on Friday, sources have told ESPN.
Despite qualifying for next season’s Champions League with a 5-0 win at Norwich City on the final day of the Premier League campaign, Conte was coy over his future as he sought discussions over the club’s ambitions for next season.
Spurs have since announced a cash injection of £150m ($187.64m) from the club’s majority shareholder, Enic, to help provide “greater financial flexibility and the ability to further invest on and off the pitch.”
After questioning his own value to the club as their top four hopes faded earlier in the campaign, sources have told ESPN that Conte has demanded as many as six summer signings to transform the club into Premier League title challengers.
Conte, who has won league titles with Juventus, Inter Milan and Chelsea, wanted to see that level of ambition reflected by the board, Paratici and chairman Daniel Levy, once all parties had a few days’ holiday to reflect on the situation.
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– Newcastle United are keen on Bayer Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby, reports the Telegraph. The 22-year-old, who registered 17 goals and 14 assists in 42 appearances this season, is valued well above £40m. Due to his contract expiring in 2025, it is likely the Bundesliga side will look to negotiate a substantial fee.
– Juventus are set to terminate Aaron Ramsey‘s contract when he returns from Rangers, reports TuttoSport. The Serie A side are prepared to cut their losses and release the 31-year-old from his £400,000-a-week contract 12 months early. Ramsey missed his penalty in the Europa League final loss to Eintracht Frankfurt.
– Arsenal and Leicester are among several Premier League sides who are interested in young Chelsea star Levi Colwill, reports Goal. The 19-year-old has impressed on a loan spell to Huddersfield Town, making 36 appearances for the Championship side so far this season. The Terriers will take on Nottingham Forest in the Championship play-off final on Sunday.
– Newcastle and Everton are set to lead race for New York City FC forward Valentin Castellanos, according to Tuttomercato. The 23-year-old, who has been closely linked to Bologna, scored 23 goals in 36 matches for NYCFC last season are their way to winning the MLS Cup. River Plate have already had a €14m bid turned down for the in-form striker.
– Fenerbahce are interested in permanently signing Trezeguet from Aston Villa, reveals Ekrem Konur. The 27-year-old, who is currently on loan from the Premier League side, scored six goals and assisted three in his 13 appearances in the Süper Lig this season. The side from Istanbul reportedly leads interest from Turkish rivals, alongside clubs from Spain, France and Italy.