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: Chelsea’s Kovacic could head to Man City
Manchester City are looking to sign Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic, according to The Daily Mail.
Kovacic, 29, is reportedly ready to leave Stamford Bridge and would be keen to join City, with Pep Guardiola a big admirer of his. With Mauricio Pochettino set to become Chelsea manager, the club could see several player departures such as Mason Mount, Conor Gallagher, and Edouard Mendy, as they look to raise funds and balance the books after £600m of spending in recent transfer windows.
Premier League champions-elect City will look to add to their squad at the end of the season and are waiting to see whether Ilkay Gundogan will to choose to stay, with the 32-year-old’s contract running out this summer and Barcelona keen to sign him on a free transfer.
City have also discussed West Ham United‘s Declan Rice — though Arsenal are deemed favourites to sign the Hammers captain — and Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham, with Real Madrid head of the queue there.
– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)
14.45 BST: El Nacional says that Barcelona, Bayern Munich and PSG are keen on signing Arsenal midfielder Martin Odegaard.
Odegaard, 24, is the club captain and scored 15 goals this season to help the Gunners into a surprise title challenge that has faded in recent weeks.
The Norway international has blossomed since moving to the Emirates from Real Madrid for around €40m in 2021 and his contract expires in 2025, with the club expected to offer him new terms soon.
13.52 BST: The United States can select Folarin Balogun after the England under-21 forward, who has starred for Ligue 1 side Reims this season, opted to represent the 2026 World Cup co-host.
FIFA said on Tuesday it approved a request by the U.S. Soccer Federation to change Balogun’s national eligibility from England. The 21-year-old New York-born player also was eligible for Nigeria.
Balogun has enjoyed a breakout season in France’s top tier, on loan from Arsenal, scoring 19 goals and dueled with Kylian Mbappe for part of the season to be the league’s top scorer. Mbappe now leads with 26 goals for Paris Saint-Germain.
Balogun was born in Brooklyn though his Nigerian parents had been living in London.
12.27 BST: With the LaLiga title wrapped up, Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez will tell Ferran Torres, Ansu Fati, Franck Kessie and Jordi Alba they can leave the club this summer, according to Sport.
Barca need to make savings of more than €150m to be able to register contract renewals signed by Gavi and Ronald Araujo, among others, and to make any signings this summer.
Therefore, they need to reduce the wage bill and, if possible, bring in transfer fees for the players that have not played regularly under Xavi this season.
Sport says Xavi will begin to communicate the bad news this week with Barca keen to move unwanted players on before June 30 if possible to balance the accounts for the 2021-22 season.
Ferran, Ansu, Kessie and Alba are said to be the players Barca will look to move on first, although their financial situation dictates they could also be forced to listen to offers for other players, too.
11.30 BST: Brining Lionel Messi back to Barcelona might not work out.
Why Lionel Messi might not fit Barcelona right now
Gab & Juls debate what would happen to Barcelona if they can make a Lionel Messi move work financially.
10.58 BST: Raphinha has told ESPN Brasil he will continue to fight for his dream of playing for Barcelona despite being linked with a return to the Premier League.
Recent reports claim Barca are open to offers for the former Leeds United winger, with Newcastle United and Chelsea said to be among the interested clubs. However, after winning LaLiga with Barca this week, the Brazil international says he wants to stay and fight for his place at Spotify Camp Nou.
“I fought with a lot of people to get my move here,” Raphinha said. “I gave up many other offers. It was a dream of mine and that dream still stands. I’m very happy here. I see myself wearing the Barcelona shirt for many years and winning many titles. I’m not going to give up on that. It’s a dream that I have and if I can fight anyone for my dream, I’ll fight.”
There is fierce competition on the right of Barca’s attack, with Raphinha vying for a place with Ousmane Dembele and Ferran Torres, while the Catalan club are also interested in re-signing Lionel Messi.
Raphinha, though, insists he has no reason to believe anyone wants him to leave the club this summer.
“I believe the fans are happy with me and the board is happy with me, so I will do my best to correspond,” he added. “I believe it is my first title of many for Barcelona.”
In his debut season in Spain, Raphinha has scored 10 goals and set up 12 more in 46 appearances across all seasons, benefitting from Dembele’s injury layoff in the second half of the campaign.
10.11 BST: Dani Ceballos is “getting further away” from extending his stay at Real Madrid, Marca reports, while there’s “optimism” at the Bernabeu about a new deal for Marco Asensio.
Both players are currently due to be out of contract this summer, and the newspaper claims that while both have been offered extensions by the club, their reactions have been very different.
According to Marca, Asensio was happy with his second, improved contract offer — reflecting his useful contribution to the team this season, with 12 goals in all competitions — while neither Ceballos nor his representatives were impressed with the club’s proposal.
The midfielder has received an “important offer” from Italy, Marca says, and has spoken to boyhood club Real Betis, although their finances would make a deal difficult.
09.13 BST: AC Milan winger Rafael Leao has revealed he would like to play one day in the Premier League.
Leao, 23, has verbally agreed to sign a contract extension with the Rossoneri until June 2028, with his current terms expiring this summer amid interest from Man City, Chelsea, Real Madrid and a host of other top clubs in Europe.
“Anyone would like to play in the Premier League because it’s a very competitive league,” Leao said to Record. “It has engaging football, great teams and a worldwide audience. Serie A is currently very well positioned in international football … The Premier League in the future.”
The Portugal international’s new deal reportedly contains a release clause of €175m.
08.28 BST: Spain striker Fernando Llorente has posted an emotional message after confirming his retirement from football.
Llorente, 38, played for Athletic Bilbao, Sevilla, Juventus, Tottenham Hotspur and Napoli, winning three Serie A titles, two Italian Cups and a Europa League, but had been without a club since his contract with Eibar expired last year. He also won the 2010 World Cup and 2012 European Championship with Spain.
He wrote on social media: “I dreamed of becoming a professional footballer from a very young age. Who would have thought that I’d end up living out that dream, complete with all the wonderful opportunities that football has brought me throughout my career? I’ve been so lucky to be able to dedicate myself to doing the thing that I love for so many years.
“It’s been a long road, and with work, sacrifice, humility and passion, I’ve enjoyed being part of truly great teams, where I always performed with pride and gave my all. I would like to thank everyone for the opportunities they have given me, and the fans for their love and support over all these years. I feel deeply privileged to have had so many fantastic experiences through football, and to have met so many great people along the way. THANK YOU.”
08.00 BST: Manchester City have not given up hope of agreeing a new contract with Ilkay Gundogan and have not been informed that he intends to leave this summer, sources have told ESPN.
Gundogan’s deal is set to expire in June and if fresh terms are not agreed, the Germany international will leave the Etihad on a free transfer. His contract situation has alerted Barcelona and at least one club in Italy but City would also like the 32-year-old to stay for at least another season.
Sources close to Gundogan insist he is focused on finishing the campaign with City, who are still in the hunt for three trophies, and will only make a decision about his future at the end of the season.
City are keen to keep the former Borussia Dortmund star, in part because of doubts about other midfielders in Pep Guardiola’s squad.
Dawson: Mood at Man United could disintegrate if they miss top 4
Rob Dawson feels the mood at Manchester United is on a knife edge as the race for the top 4 heats up.
PAPER GOSSIP (by Danny Lewis)
– Manchester United and Chelsea are both hoping to capitalise on the clause in Napoli centre-back Kim Min-Jae‘s contract that means he can be signed for €48m during the first two weeks of July, according to Gazzetta dello Sport. Preparing to lose the 26-year-old, Napoli are already looking to bring in Jurrien Timber from Ajax.
– Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur are all monitoring the situation of Crystal Palace attacking midfielder Eberechi Eze, according to Ekrem Konur. Not only has the 24-year-old winger impressed with his attractive style of football, but he has also recorded 10 goals and three assists in the Premier League this season.
– With Juventus preparing to do without midfielders Leandro Paredes and Adrien Rabiot, Calciomercato has stated that the Bianconeri are looking at Atalanta midfielder Teun Koopmeiners, who is said to be valued in the region of €35m-€40m. There is also set to be competition from Liverpool and Napoli, with the latter potentially having mentioned the 25-year-old during a meeting to plan their future.
– Newcastle United are monitoring the situation of 19-year-old Leeds United forward Wilfried Gnonto, according to Ekrem Konur. Football Insider has also suggested that Newcastle are looking at Manchester City centre-back Taylor Harwood-Bellis, with Burnley also wanting to sign the 21-year-old after his impressive loan spell helped them earn promotion. Fulham and West Ham are also tracking him.
– Brentford have a verbal agreement for the signing of SC Freiburg goalkeeper Mark Flekken and will activate his release clause worth around €13m, reports Florian Plettenberg, who adds that the 29-year-old’s contract should run until 2028. The Daily Mail have also suggested that the Bees have opened talks over a move for Seongnam FC‘s 18-year-old centre-back Kim Ji-Soo, whose release clause is £560,000.