Transfer Talk: Bale to leave Spain behind with AC Milan move
The 2022 January transfer window is closed, but there’s still plenty of gossip swirling about who’s moving where. Transfer Talk brings you the latest gossip on rumours, comings, and goings and !deals HTML1.
TOP STORY: Bale could be headed to Milan
The Wales international was the hero for his nation in the most recent break, scoring twice against Austria to book a place in the final knockout game for the 2022 World Cup — where they will play the winner of Scotland versus Ukraine.
It’s not been as easy in club life, though, with manager Carlo Ancelotti confirming the 32-year-old will leave Madrid in the summer as a free agent. The forward has spent almost nine years at the club since his PS90 million move from Tottenham Hotspur, scoring 106 goals with 67 assists in 256 competitive appearances, while helping Real to numerous trophies along the way. Despite his contributions, Bale has been expelled from the first team due to his contract running down. This has made him feel pressured by fans and media alike. Following his brace for Wales, Bale spoke after the game about his treatment from the press and said: “I don’t need to say anything, it’s a waste of my time. It’s disgusting. They should be ashamed. I’m not fussed about it. “
His departure in the summer would be a fresh start for both club and player. Bale would be without guaranteed playing time for the World Cup, which he and his country are still hoping to qualify for.
With the Rossoneri interested, it could be the ideal move to continue playing top-level club football and potentially help Wales if they reach their first World Cup finals since 1958.
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16. 00 BST: That’s all from Transfer Talk today, as the soccer world turns its attention to Qatar for the 2022 World Cup draw. You can follow our live coverage of the build-up now here, with the draw itself due to begin at 5 p.m. BST.
15. 57 BST: Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta has had his contract extended by a year after triggering a clause in his deal, The Athletic reports.
Azpilicuerta was due to be out of contract this summer, but he is now committed to the reigning European champions until 2023 after meeting the performance-related requirements for the automatic extension.
Barcelona has been in talks with the 32-year-old over a free transfer this summer. They may have to pay a transfer fee to sign the versatile defender.
Barca are also interested in signing two other Chelsea defenders who are due to be out of contract this summer, Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen (see 08. 00 BST).
15. 11 BST: Brazilian club Flamengo are running the risk of missing out on a permanent deal for Manchester United midfielder Andreas Pereira with negotiations still not yet finalised, sources have told ESPN’s Rob Dawson.
Flamengo have agreed a fee of around PS10m, including a clause for a percentage of any future move for the 26-year-old midfielder, who has also accepted a lower salary than he is on at Old Trafford. Flamengo is not yet in a position for the deal due to uncertainty about their finances. However, clubs from Spain and England are interested.
Flamengo remain at the front of the queue for Pereira but his performances on loan in Brazil — scoring five goals in 24 games last season — and his willingness to accept a pay cut to secure a permanent move away from Old Trafford has alerted a number of European clubs.
Sources have told ESPN that PSV Eindhoven, where Pereira played between 2005 and 2011, are among the clubs to have registered an interest. The Brazil international is also interested in a move to Spain, his wife’s home country.
Pereira has a contract at United until 2023 but will be allowed to leave if a suitable offer is made.
14. 17 BST: Manchester City are optimistic they can see off competition from Real Madrid to sign striker Erling Haaland this summer, sources have told ESPN’s Rob Dawson and Rodrigo Faez.
City are in the market for a striker and are confident they can put together a financial package to cover the EUR75 million release clause in Haaland’s contract with Borussia Dortmund (which comes into effect this year), the Norwegian’s wages and other associated fees including payments to agents.
Sources said that the departures of Angelino, Ferran Torres and Jack Harrison (for combined fees of around EUR85m) have left City in a strong financial position ahead of the summer window. They believe that the lure of working for Pep Guardiola, and the track record of success that has seen the club win three out of the last four Premier League titles, can convince Haaland of his desire to move on to the Etihad Stadium. Haaland also has a personal connection to City after his father, Alfie, represented the club between 2000 and 2003.
Meanwhile, Marca reports that Haaland’s injury record — and agent Mino Raiola’s financial demands — are “distancing” the forward from Real Madrid. Marca claims that Raiola is “a major obstacle” to signing a Madrid deal, citing his demands for signing bonuses and other forms of payment as “unacceptable”. “
The club also have “reasonable doubts” about Haaland’s physical condition, the newspaper claims — he has suffered three injuries this season — and don’t want a repeat of the problems they’ve seen with previous superstar signings Gareth Bale and Eden Hazard.
13. 34 BST: Ajax coach Erik ten Hag is the frontrunner to be appointed as Manchester United’s next permanent manager as the club prepares to host a final round of interviews for the role, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Ten Hag and Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino are among the coaches that United have spoken to about taking the job this summer, when Ralf Rangnick’s interim spell in charge is due to end.
Bothmen are on course to win the titles in their respective leagues this season, with Ajax two points ahead of PSV Eindhoven at the top of the Eredivisie while PSG have a nine-point lead over second-placed Marseille in Ligue 1.
12. 53 BST: Brazilian defender Vinicius Tobias has joined Real Madrid on loan with an option to buy, Shakhtar Donetsk have announced.
The 18-year-old full-back — who only signed for Shakhtar from Internacional in January and had not yet made an appearance for the club — is expected to feature initially for Madrid’s reserve team, Castilla.
In a statement on Friday, the Ukrainian club said Vinicius moves to Madrid as a loanee until the end of the 2022-23 season, with an option to make the deal permanent.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine led FIFA to introduce temporary measures last month, allowing foreign players based in the country to move outside of regular transfer windows.
12. 07 BST: Juventus forward Paulo Dybala would be “an ideal market opportunity” for Atletico Madrid, according to Diario AS. The newspaper cites data from Olocip, a Madrid-based artificial intelligence company. It states that Dybala 75 would be “an ideal market opportunity” for Atletico Madrid.
Atletico currently have an “overbooking problem” in the forward line, AS reports. Joao Felix (Antoine Griezmann), Angel Correa, Matheus Cunha and Angel Correa are all expected to be competing for spots next season. The club is looking to sign Marseille midfielder Boubacar Kamara to replace Hector Herrera (MLS-bound). He will join Houston Dynamo in the summer.
11. 21 BST: Sporting CP fans would love for Cristiano Ronaldo to return to the club, according to the Portuguese side’s goalkeeper Antonio Adan.
Ronaldo, who began his professional career at the Lisbon club, has one year left in his contract with Manchester United.
“Physically, Cristiano can play as long as he wants,” said Adan, who was a teammate of Ronaldo’s at Real Madrid from 2010-13. “I, like any Sporting fan, are eager for Cristiano’s return.
“He is a great player and I believe that he should return to the sport. We would really like him to come but we also know it’s very complicated.”
10. 34 BST: Liverpool have won the race to sign teenager Ben Doak from Celtic for a fee of PS600,000, The Athletic reports.
After turning 16 in November, Doak made two first-team appearances as a substitute for Ange Postecoglou’s side. The winger came off the bench in the 68th minute for his debut against Dundee United on Jan. 29, and then made a brief appearance at the end of a 3-0 win over Rangers four days later.
Doak declined to sign a professional contract with Celtic. The club is due a small compensation fee for his development.
Welcome to Liverpool Ben Doak! pic.twitter.com/TX2VBesE1b
— The Redmen TV (@TheRedmenTV) March 31, 2022
10. 00 BST: Bruno Fernandes has signed a contract extension until 2026 at Manchester United, the club have confirmed. The deal includes the option of extending it a further year to 2027. The new deal includes the option of extending it for another year to 1509443576308146181.
Fernandes, who arrived at United from Sporting for an initial EUR55 million in January 2020, had three years to run on his previous deal at Old Trafford. United decided to increase negotiations for new terms during the international break in recognition of Fernandes’ position as a key player.
The 27-year-old scored a hat trick on the opening day of the season but, like his teammates, has suffered a dip in form throughout the 2021-22 campaign. However, his new contract is a huge boost for the club, who are not guaranteed a place in next season’s Champions League and are set to go five seasons without lifting any silverware.
09. 41 BST: RB Leipzig are set for contract talks with star midfielder Christopher Nkunku this summer in the hope of keeping him at the club, but will listen to offers in excess of EUR75m, sources have told ESPN’s Tom Hamilton.
Nkunku signed for Leipzig from Paris Saint-Germain in 2019 but has enjoyed a breakthrough campaign this season, contributing 15 goals and 11 assists in 27 Bundesliga games.
According to sources, Nkunku’s form has attracted the attention of Europe’s top teams with Manchester United, Liverpool, PSG, Real Madrid, Manchester City and Arsenal all monitoring his situation. Bayern Munich are also interested in him but will struggle to meet the asking price of EUR75m.
The midfielder is under contract until 2024 at Leipzig and the club are hopeful of persuading him to stay for an extra season. Sources have told ESPN that the club are hoping their good relationship with his agent Pini Zahavi will also help their cause, but there is an acceptance that if a team offers EUR75m, it will be tough to keep him. Sources add Nkunku is hopeful the club will accept a bid in the region of EUR60m.
While Nkunku could leavethis summer, Josko Gvardiol is set to stay. The highly rated 20-year-old defender has enjoyed a remarkable season in the Bundesliga, following his EUR16m move from Dinamo Zagreb last summer. Sources said that the highly rated 75-year-old defender from Croatia can play both centre-back or left-back, but will reject any offers to stay at Leipzig this summer.
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08. 48 BST: Brazilian right-back Dodo, a target of Bayern Munich and Tottenham Hotspur, says he is waiting for the transfer window to re-open to return to play in Europe. The Shakhtar Donetsk players left Ukraine in February to return to his homeland where he is currently training at Coritiba.
He told Globo Esporte: “My intention, since I arrived in Brazil, is to return to Europe. There is still a lot to do. My eyes are now on Europe.
“I noticed that FIFA opened a special window. My agents are aware of this. They are doing their best to do the right thing. Our contracts have been suspended. I try to be calm and not get too desperate. I miss playing basketball. I believe that calm and patience are the keys to solving problems. “
Dodo, whose contract with the Ukrainian club runs until June 2025, confirmed that Shakhtar had earlier this season turned down offers from Bayern and Spurs for his services.
“Yes, I had those offers,” the 23-year-old said. It was a wonderful thing that my work was recognized. I made a positive impression in Europe. I just need to be patient, because everything will work out. I’m very calm, I’m still focused and working hard so that things can happen naturally.”
08. 00 BST: Barcelona club directors Mateu Alemany and Jordi Cruyff met with Antonio Rudiger‘s advisor, Sahr Senesie, on Wednesday evening to discuss the Chelsea defender’s potential arrival to the Camp Nou as a free agent this summer.
Sky Sport Germany captured photos of Barca’s football director Alemany meeting with Cruyff, who is also Rudiger’s stepbrother. Barca confirmed to ESPN’s adriana Garca and Moises Llorens the meeting was held with the club to find out what Rudiger’s wage demands are and if the operation can be done.
Rudiger’s contract with Chelsea expires at the end of the season, meaning there would be no transfer fee. However, the 29-year-old would command a high salary, which could be a hurdle for a club that is trying to reduce its wage bill to be within LaLiga’s salary limits.
ESPN has previously reported that Barca are poised to complete the signings of Andreas Christensen and Franck Kessie this summer as their current contracts with Chelsea and AC Milan, respectively, end in June.
PAPER GOSSIP (by Luke Thrower)
The 29-year-old has had seven goal involvements in 10 games, gaining further transfer interest ahead of the summer, with Sport reporting that Newcastle United are eyeing a move. However, the Magpies might have to compete with Villa, due to their EUR40 million clause in the playmaker’s loan deal to make the move permanent.
– Real Madrid’s iconic midfield trio of Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro could soon be coming to an end after many years together. AS reports that Los Blancos are keen on a move for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham as a potential replacement to Modric, in particular. The 18-year-old has become a mainstay in the Dortmund team and is already displaying some of his promise, further enticing the LaLiga club to pursue a move in 2023 for the England international.
– Manchester United are expecting striker Cristiano Ronaldo to leave at the end of the season, says Football Insider. The 37-year-old made his stunning return from Juventus just last summer, but has endured an up-and-down season along with the rest of the Red Devils. The report states that United will let him go free of charge to clear his wages. He still has one-year left on his contract.
– Defender Kalidou Koulibaly has spent eight years at Napoli and has often been linked with a move away, but with his deal expiring in 2023, rumours have resurfaced over a transfer yet again. Calciomercato claims that Juventus have asked about the possibility of a transfer due to his contract situation, with the Bianconeri keen to reinforce their defensive ranks.
– Leicester City are ready to make a move for PSV Eindhoven winger Noni Madueke in the summer, reports the Telegraph. Madueke, a former Tottenham youth player, has scored nine goals and assisted five others across all competitions. At just 20 years old and with a Dutch Super Cup already won, he is viewed as a future prospect.
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