The summer transfer window may 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: Mac Allister nears Liverpool move
Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder and World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister is set to join Liverpool this summer, according to TyC Sports journalist Gaston Edul.
Edul believes the Merseysiders have beaten Chelsea and other Premier League teams to the 24-year-old’s signature, and that while Liverpool have been negotiating with the Argentina star for some time, they’re getting closer to announcing the move in June.
Mac Allister, who has three games left for Brighton until the end of the season, is keen to play Champions League football. Liverpool, therefore, would need to persuade him to be patient after their defeat at home to Aston Villa will likely see them finish behind Manchester United and Newcastle United in the race to a top-four spot.
Mac Allister has a clause in his contract that means clubs can bypass negotiations with Brighton if the fee is significant enough, which means Liverpool just need to convince the midfielder that they’re the right destination for the next phase in his career.
The report was corroborated further by Fabrizio Romano who went further to suggest that personal terms had been agreed, though the Italian journalist added that incoming Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino would also be interested in adding the midfielder.
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16.57 BST: Manchester United owners the Glazer family are considering delaying a decision about whether to sell the club until after the end of the season, sources have told ESPN’s Rob Dawson, with that decision potentially having a knock-on effect for manager Erik ten Hag’s summer transfer plans.
INEOS, led by British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe, and Qatari businessman Sheikh Jassim have lodged bids to buy United with merchant bank Raine Group. The Glazers are also considering offers of minority investment from a number of U.S.-based investment groups. The club’s American owners announced in November that they were looking into “strategic alternatives,” including a full sale or accepting outside investment.
Staff were told in March to expect “clarity” on the ownership situation by the end of the campaign at the latest but sources have told ESPN that there are now concerns the Glazers are delaying a decision until after the end of the season.
United end their Premier League campaign against Fulham at Old Trafford on May 28 before facing Manchester City in the FA Cup final at Wembley on June 3.
Ten Hag is hoping for a successful summer transfer window after a positive first season in charge but that would be complicated by ongoing uncertainty over the club’s ownership.
16.01 BST: Manchester United will offer goalkeeper David de Gea a testimonial in a bid to convince him to sign a new contract, the Daily Star reports.
De Gea is out of contract this summer, and could leave Old Trafford after 12 years if he decides not to sign a new deal on vastly reduced wages. However, United are reportedly hoping that the offer of a testimonial match — for which the gate receipts of a one-off exhibition match in the goalkeeper’s honour would be given to him — will provide enough of a financial incentive for him to stay.
De Gea had been due a testimonial as part of the contract extension he signed in 2019, only for the COVID-19 pandemic to rule that out.
15.09 BST: ESPN’s Mark Ogden takes a look at the biggest of the many big issues facing Liverpool this summer:
“Goal scorers win games, but midfielders win trophies. If a team can’t dominate the central area of the pitch, even the best strikers in the world can only take a side so far, and that is a reality that might be causing sleepless nights for Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.
“Liverpool are approaching a fork in the road. One direction leads toward the Champions League, while the other heads to the much less glamorous, and less lucrative, destination of the Europa League. But whichever route Klopp’s side take this summer, they will need to rebuild their midfield before embarking on next season’s journey.
“This week’s confirmation that James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will leave Anfield at the end of their contracts this summer was no surprise, but it nevertheless brought into sharp focus the primary issue facing Klopp and the club’s recruitment team during the transfer window. With three midfielders heading out of the club, and Jordan Henderson (33 next month) and Thiago Alcantara (32) already showing signs of age and injuries catching up with them, Liverpool must overhaul their midfield department in order to have any hope of challenging for the Premier League title next season.”
– Ogden: Can Liverpool revamp their midfield to challenge next season?
14.12 BST: Chelsea have made Dusan Vlahovic their No. 1 target for the summer and have made an €80m offer for the Juventus striker, sources have told ESPN’s Julien Laurens.
Vlahovic, 23, arrived in Turin from Fiorentina in January 2022 for €81.6m and has three years left on his contract. He has scored 23 goals in 62 games in all competitions for the Bianconeri but has failed to settle, due to coach Massimiliano Allegri’s defensive approach and the uncertainty over Champions League next season for the club.
With Vlahovic unhappy at Juve, Chelsea have seen an opportunity to attract a player they had targeted during his time at Fiorentina, while Juventus would consider a transfer for the Serbia international. Incoming Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino has been told that a top No. 9 would be signed this summer. Vlahovic, who is keen to move to Stamford Bridge, also has interest from Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid.
Lampard reveals he tried to get Chelsea to sign Haaland before Dortmund
Frank Lampard says he was pushing Chelsea to sign Erling Haaland while he was at Red Bull Salzburg.
13.20 BST: Chelsea interim boss Frank Lampard has said he was “pushing big” to sign Erling Haaland during his first spell as manager at Stamford Bridge and questioned how much other senior figures at the club wanted to pursue a deal.
Haaland has enjoyed a stunning first season in England since joining Manchester City from Borussia Dortmund in a €60m transfer last summer, scoring 52 goals in all competitions including 36 in 33 Premier League games.
City stand on the brink of a Treble-winning season as a result and have clinched their fifth league title in six seasons this weekend even before Sunday’s game against Chelsea at Etihad Stadium.
Lampard continues to take charge of Chelsea on a caretaker basis following Graham Potter’s dismissal last month, returning to the scene of his sacking by the club in January 2021 after 18 months in charge. A year earlier, in the January transfer window of 2020, Haaland moved from FC Salzburg to Dortmund after the German club triggered a €20m release clause. Lampard revealed that he wanted to bring the Norway striker to the Premier League before he went on to impress for the Bundesliga club.
“I don’t know whether he would have decided to come here anyway but I was a big fan of that [signing Haaland],” Lampard told a news conference. “There are some of those that happen, aren’t there, that people know about or it could have been this way.
“People talk a lot about mistakes or things that could have been in football. Whether he would have come here, I don’t know but I was pushing big and on a few other players at the time. But he was the outstanding one.
“Was it close? He’ll only know the answer to that. What stage did it get to? From our point, I was certainly pushing it. I’m not sure what the appetite was everywhere else in the club to do it. The competition was big to take him because he was an outstanding player and I think there was a buyout clause at the time which was relatively reasonable, maybe, considering the player.
“So all those things. I don’t have enough detail to say how close it was, it’s by the by, really.”
Arne Slot responds to Tottenham links
Arne Slot reacts to questions about his future at Feyenoord and whether a job in the Premier League interests him.
12.28 BST: Feyenoord general manager Dennis te Kloese has revealed he turned down an approach to join Tottenham Hotspur and expects the club’s head coach Arne Slot to also resist interest from the north London club to become their next head coach.
Spurs are without a sporting director after Fabio Paratici resigned last month as he fights to clear his name amid a FIFA ban from football activities relating to his time at Juventus. The club have appointed chief executive of City Football Group China, Scott Munn, to a newly created chief football officer from July 1 but are also looking for a new recruitment chief with reports in Italy suggesting Napoli’s Cristiano Giuntoli is one name under consideration.
However, Te Kloese said that he had rejected an offer from Spurs and wants to continue work in Rotterdam, telling ESPN Netherlands’ morning show “Goedemorgen Eredivisie” that: “It’s not an option right now.”
ESPN reported on May 1 that Slot was emerging as a serious contender in Tottenham’s thinking to replace Antonio Conte, who was sacked as head coach on March 27 after 16 months in charge. The 44-year-old led Feyenoord to their first Eredivisie title in six years this season.
However, Te Kloese said: “He still has a contract for two years. That has been said before and we have not been approached by any club. It is up to Arne to say something about that [his future]. But for us there is no ambiguity about it. We assume that he will remain the trainer of Feyenoord.”
Other names under consideration include former Spain boss Luis Enrique and Bayer Leverkusen’s Xabi Alonso. Mainz’s Bo Svensson also attracted interest but is thought to be behind the other candidates at present. Sources close to Tottenham continue to insist they have ended their interest in former Bayern Munich manager Julian Nagelsmann.
On Friday, Slot told a news conference that he wanted his next job to be outside of the Eredivisie, saying: “I think when it comes to the next step, it won’t be in Holland,” said Slot. “If the next step is in Holland I’ll have failed completely in the last few years. The next step is to go abroad. I’ve always said the Premier League is the best league in the world. Italy have three teams in European finals. But the Premier League is the biggest league.”
11.36 BST: AC Milan are considering a loan move for West Ham United striker Gianluca Scamacca, according to Gazzetta Dello Sport.
Scamacca had been a target for Milan last summer when he was at Sassuolo but they were unwilling to match the £30.5m transfer fee that West Ham bid for the Italy international.
The 24-year-old’s first season in England has been disrupted by injury problems, and after playing two matches for Italy at the end of March he was ruled out for the rest of the season.
Scamacca has scored only three goals in 16 Premier League appearances for West Ham, although his five goals in Europe have helped the Hammers reach the Europa Conference League final.
Will Carlo Ancelotti continue as Real Madrid coach after lopsided UCL loss?
Alex Kirkland weighs in on Carlo Ancelotti’s future following a 4-0 defeat in the return leg against Manchester City.
10.43 BST: Carlo Ancelotti has said Real Madrid have assured him he will be in charge next season despite this week’s 4-0 Champions League defeat to Manchester City, calling the past two seasons “unforgettable” and arguing that the team’s transition to a new generation is already underway.
Madrid’s semifinal second-leg loss at the Etihad Stadium means they will end the season without lifting the Champions League or LaLiga, although they did pick up the Copa del Rey this month and won the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup earlier in the campaign.
ESPN reported on Friday that Ancelotti’s job as manager was not at risk, and that the coach was set to meet with president Florentino Perez to discuss plans for next season.
“[Perez and I] spoke yesterday,” Ancelotti confirmed in a news conference on Saturday ahead of Madrid’s LaLiga game at Valencia. “We had a meeting, and he showed me his support. We talked about Wednesday’s game [against City], we talked about the season we’ve had and the two seasons that we’ve had. We move forward, with the same desire to do things well.”
When asked if the club had guaranteed that he would remain in charge next season, Ancelotti replied: “Yes.”
Ancelotti has been repeatedly linked with taking over as Brazil national team coach — with the president of the Brazilian football federation Ednaldo Rodrigues describing the Italian manager as their “Plan A” and “our favourite” — but on Saturday, Ancelotti appeared to rule that out.
“I think everyone knows my situation,” he said. “I have a contract until June 30, 2024, and I want to see it out. Everyone knows that.”
Valencia vs. Real Madrid: Stream LIVE at 12:30 p.m. ET (U.S.)
09.51 BST: Manchester United are confident Marcus Rashford will commit his future to the club, according to manager Erik ten Hag.
Rashford will enter the final year of his contract over the summer and if fresh terms aren’t agreed, the striker could leave Old Trafford for free in 2024.
But Ten Hag believes that’s unlikely and is hopeful talks will result in a new long-term contract.
“Marcus wants to stay and we want him to stay, so I think we will find each other,” said Ten Hag ahead of Saturday’s 1-0 win at Bournemouth, which Rashford missed through illness.
United have made progress with some contract negotiations and announced a new deal for Luke Shaw in April, before the defender entered the last year of his contract. Ten Hag says he knows why the club have not been able to find an agreement with Rashford, who has scored 29 goals this season, but insists he’s not concerned by the delay.
“Yes, I know [why], but I don’t talk about the process,” he added. “Let the process go.
“Once again, this is not important at the moment for me or Rashy. For him, it is to get more goals this season and he is playing a wonderful season and the team is playing a wonderful season. We have to get into the Champions League and focus on that.”
09.00 BST: Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti denied he has had offers from other clubs as rumours intensified in Italian media this week that he is set to leave the Serie A champions in the close season.
The 64-year-old led Napoli to their first Serie A title in over 30 years and reached the Champions League quarterfinals, but the speculation around the future of Italian coach came amid comments from President Aurelio De Laurentiis who said he didn’t want to ‘clip the wings’ of his tactician.
“I don’t know what he meant by that, you’d have to ask him. It is not linked to what we said to each other at dinner. As far as I am concerned, I don’t need a pair of wings, but a pair of boots. I don’t need wings to fly anywhere,” Spalletti said in a press conference on Saturday.
“There was no need to negotiate anything. I did not reject any salary increase… It is not true that I received offers from other clubs, that is false. It is false to say I am waiting for other clubs or that I turned down any proposals.”
Spalletti added that the future was bright for Napoli and that the next goal would be European domination.
“Even the president spoke of a great future, I think he said he has Champions League ambitions and he brought them from zero to here,” he added. “You all agree that we have to fight to win the Champions League.”
PAPER GOSSIP (by Nick Judd)
– Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has been offered a contract extension until 2024, according to Fabrizio Romano. Romano believes that the club captain has been offered an additional 12 months with the possibility of a further extension until 2025. Talks between the 32-year-old and club are ongoing, with Gundogan also said to be considering a proposal from Barcelona.
– Among Barcelona’s numerous unresolved issues to sort this summer is the future of left-back Jordi Alba, but the 34-year-old is a target for both Juventus and Internazionale, according to Sport. Barcelona are struggling to incorporate Alba’s salary into their economic plans for the 2023-24 season, and they already have Alejandro Balde and Marcos Alonso battling it out for the left-back position as well. A perfect-case scenario for the Blaugrana is that Alba leaves this summer, but it would appear as though the Spaniard is not as keen to depart Camp Nou. Inter have previously — and unsuccessfully — tried to sign Alba on loan, but this time they’re hoping for something more permanent.
– Real Madrid are looking for a new striker this summer to compete with Karim Benzema next season, and their shortlist includes Juventus’ Dusan Vlahovic, Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane and Benfica’s Goncalo Ramos, according to AS. While Madrid see Kylian Mbappe or Erling Haaland as long-term options, they need more firepower for the upcoming season. Vlahovic, 23, and Ramos, 21, are both young players that would be easier options than to sign over the 29-year-old Kane. Vlahovic was set to join Manchester United in the winter for between €75-€100 million until he pulled out of the deal.
– Newcastle United are set for a summer of further reinforcements, and Football Insider believes the Magpies will beat Manchester City to the signing of Arsenal left-back Kieran Tierney. Aston Villa are also said to be interested in the 25-year-old defender, but Newcastle are favourites because of Tierney’s desire to be closer to his family in Scotland. Tierney has fallen out of favour with the Gunners this season, but his experience could be vital for Newcastle as they look to strengthen their squad for the new campaign.