The transfer window may have slammed shut, but that doesn’t mean the rumour mill has shut down! Speculation over summer moves are heating up so check out the latest gossip below, and see all official deals here.
TOP STORY: Bayern to battle Liverpool and Chelsea for Upamecano
Bayern Munich are in pole position to sign RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano for his release clause of €42.5m in the summer — but will face competition from two Premier League clubs.
“We agreed on a release clause because the player decided that he wants to make the next step at some point,” his agent, Volker Struth, said on Sport 1 Doppelpass on Sunday. “There is a good chance he will leave [Leipzig] in the summer.”
Bayern met with Struth late last week and the agent confirmed that the German champions “underlined they are very interested” in Upamecano.
“The release clause is at €42.5m,” Struth said. “It’s a lot in corona[virus] times. It was different back in the summer of 2019.”
With the price set, not a lot of clubs can weigh in, and the defender’s decision will be between Bayern “or the Premier League,” the agent said. “The Spanish clubs in question currently are not capable of it. It’s no secret there are two interested Premier League clubs,” he added. “There will be a decision in the coming weeks and it’ll be announced.”
Helpful then that Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge managed to narrow the field down a bit when he revealed: “The fact that Chelsea and Liverpool are also interested in him proves that he has very good qualities. He can replace David Alaba.”
09.24 GMT: Real Madrid used to be famed for big-money Galactico signings — but their failure to bring in a player in January means the club will go two years without spending on the first-team squad, as Diario AS’ front page on Tuesday points out.
“Two years without signing” is the newspaper’s headline, noting that full-back Ferland Mendy was Madrid’s last reinforcement, in June 2019, and that won’t change now until the next window.
Zinedine Zidane’s only notable addition last summer was the return of Martin Odegaard from Real Sociedad, now loaned out to Arsenal after failing to make an impression.
Madrid’s outlay in 2020 was limited to Brazilian playmaker Reiner, 19, who featured for B-team Castilla before being loaned to Borussia Dortmund in August.
Instead, transfer activity has focused on player sales like Achraf Hakimi‘s €40m move to Inter, and getting high-earners such as Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez off the club’s books.
08.30 GMT: PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino says his club will continue to monitor the transfer window with the possibility of strengthening the squad this summer.
Asked about the possibility that Lionel Messi will join PSG as a free agent this summer, Pochettino told RMC: “A club like PSG always has to pay attention to the options on the market. The club has a strategy which is to improve. If that opportunity comes along (to coach Messi) it will be very beautiful, but if not, it’s fine. We shall see, we don’t know what the future holds and if our paths will cross.”
ESPN FC’s Sid Lowe on Atletico Madrid’s stipulations towards Diego Costa after being released from the club.
PAPER TALK (by Harry Kettle)
West Ham move for Diego Costa
Sky Sports reported that “an unnamed club in the Premier League top six” were making a move for the Spain international and that looks like it could be the Hammers.
The former Chelsea star is a free agent and has been heavily linked with some form of return to the Premier League. With West Ham on the lookout for a new forward after letting Sebastien Haller move to Ajax, a short-team move could end up serving both parties perfectly.
As Costa has no contract, he’s not tied to the deadline, so West Ham (or any other club) could move for him at any point.
Man United eye Pedro Goncalves
The former Wolverhampton Wanderers man has been making quite the impression in the Primeira Liga this season, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is reportedly keen to add the 22-year-old to United’s growing Portuguese contingent.
Sturridge attracting MLS interest
Daniel Sturridge is being followed by clubs in MLS clubs, says The Daily Mail.
Sturridge, 30, left Trabzonspor last summer after scoring seven goals in 16 appearances and “is understood to have turned down big money offers from Saudi Arabia and Egypt with his focus on finding the right club rather than bumper wages.”
Championship clubs have reportedly shown interest in the former England international, who is a free agent, but he could choose to continue his career in America.
– AS says that Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane’s future is at stake if he doesn’t bring home the Champions League. But then he’s a manager of Real Madrid, so he should know that already.
– Sky reports that Liverpool rejected a loan offer from Southampton for defender Neco Williams before the deadline.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by WCT staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)