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PSG in for Lionel Messi as battle over release clause continues

The coronavirus pandemic has made the transfer market uncertain — and you can find out when the windows open and close here — but here are the rumours floating around Europe’s big leagues and beyond.

TOP STORY: PSG going in for Messi

Any club in the world would want Lionel Messi, and Sport in Spain has reported that Paris Saint-Germain are one of the few who have decided they can pull a move off — presuming he is allowed to leave Barcelona.

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Sources told ESPN earlier this week that PSG were monitoring the Messi situation, and that the Barca star has even chatted with Neymar about reuniting in Paris, and Sport now says the Parisian club are going to step up their interest.

The Argentine’s wages will be of no concern to the Champions League finalists, though if a fee is required, they will need to sell before signing him to satisfy Financial Fair Play regulations.

The powerbrokers at PSG feel that linking Messi up with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe would take the club to the next level.

However, La Liga have backed Barcelona’s contention that Messi’s €700 million release clause must be paid if the player is to leave the club this summer.


13.45 BST: Could Tanguy Ndombele escape his nightmare at Tottenham Hotspur? Inter Milan are keen on signing the midfielder, but the Daily Express says that the £55m asking price is too hot for them.

Spurs boss Jose Mourinho has criticised Ndombele’s application several times and there seems to be no future for him. The club want to recoup the £55m they paid Lyon just 12 months ago, but Inter are not prepared to play ball on that.

12.57 BST: Eight years since they parted company and five years since he last won the European Cup, Lionel Messi picked up the phone and dialed Pep Guardiola’s number.

Time will tell whether the reunion happens at Manchester City, but there are plenty of reasons to try. Not least the memories of who they were at Barcelona and the hope that they might be again. Of how happy they were and how much they achieved.

Sid Lowe on why Messi and Guardiola really do want to be reunited.

12.21 BST: Jack Grealish to Manchester United? Yep, that old transfer rumour has reared its head once again, this time in the Mail on Sunday. The paper reports that United have opened talks with Aston Villa as they look to push through a deal ahead of the new season. Villa are said to want £80m if they are to part with Grealish.

11.45 BST: ICYMI … Juventus signed United States midfielder Weston McKennie on loan from Schalke late on Saturday. McKennie, 22, has put pen-to-paper on a one-year loan deal with an option to permanently join at the end of the season.

11.08 BST: The Daily Star reckons that Tottenham Hotspur tried to offer Serge Aurier to Wolverhampton Wanderers as part of the deal that took Matt Doherty to north London. However, the Ivory Coast international is said to favour a move back to mainland Europe with AC Milan and Bayer Leverkusen both linked.

10.30 BST: Time for a Messi update! Lionel Messi has followed through on his threat and not turned up for the start of preseason as he continues to push for a move away from Barcelona. The Barca players were due in for coronavirus tests on Sunday ahead of Monday’s first training session since Ronald Koeman was appointed as coach. Messi was due at 10.15 a.m. CET but did not show up.

10.09 BST: Another done deal! Tottenham Hotspur have confirmed the signing of Matt Doherty from Wolverhampton Wanderers. The deal is believed to be worth around £15m and the Republic of Ireland international has signed through to the summer of 2024.

09.30 BST: Leeds United completed the signing of SC Freiburg defender Robin Koch late on Saturday night, who Bild says will become one of the highest-paid German defenders in the game. He flew into Yorkshire earlier that day for his medical and to agree a deal which will tie him to Leeds until the summer of 2024.

Leeds reportedly paid around €14.5m to land the 24-year-old former Kaiserslautern player. Koch has two full caps for Germany and was part of the squad which finished runners-up in last year’s European Under-21 Championship, losing in the final to Spain.

He was the second signing of the day for Leeds, who had sealed a €30 move for Rodrigo of Valencia in the morning.


Inter have change of heart in transfer policy

Inter Milan have made a complete U-turn in their transfer plans, according to Calciomercato.

The Italian giants had previously been taking a youthful approach, hoping to sign 20-year-old duo Sandro Tonali and Marash Kumbulla from Brescia and Verona, respectively.

The Nerazzurri have now turned their attention to 33-year-old Arturo Vidal and 34-year-old Aleksandar Kolarov from Barcelona and AS Roma respectively.

Calciomercato reports that this decision has been made with the hope of adding extra leadership to the squad, rather than relying on youngsters, with the likes of Alessandro Bastoni and Nicolo Barella already playing important roles for the team.

Pressure on Pickford as Ancelotti targets Romero

Carlo Ancelotti is looking to bring Manchester United goalkeeper Sergio Romero to Everton, reports The Sunday Mirror.

Jordan Pickford has made a number of high-profile mistakes, and it seems as though he may be losing the manager’s faith.

If he were to lose his place, this could be a big blow for the 26-year-old’s England career, with Nick Pope and Dean Henderson, of Burnley and Man United respectively, already providing him with competition.

It is Henderson returning to Old Trafford — after a two-year loan with Sheffield United — that could facilitate Romero’s potential move to the Toffees..


– Rennes manager Julien Stephan is keen on signing Juventus centre-back Daniele Rugani, reports Calciomercato. It is suggested that they are looking for reinforcements in their back line after qualifying for the Champions League with a third-place finish in Ligue 1 last term. Andrea Pirlo is aiming to overhaul the squad having taken over from Maurizio Sarri, with Rugani among the players he is willing to let go in order to bring in his own signings.

– Marseille are hoping to sign 33-year-old Japanese left-back Yuto Nagatomo, reports Foot Mercato. In Friday’s press conference, Andre Villas-Boas admitted that his side were looking to bring players in on free transfers and loans. Nagatomo will be available for free after departing Galatasaray at the culmination of the latest Turkish Super Lig campaign.

– Rennes have already identified a potential replacement for Chelsea target Edouard Mendy, as they have turned their attention to Alphonse Areola, according to Foot Mercato. The 27-year-old spent last season on loan at Real Madrid from Paris Saint-Germain, making just eight appearances across all competitions. The outlet reports that the Ligue 1 outfit are hoping to bring the World Cup winner in on loan, to help them facilitate numerous acquisitions ahead of their Champions League campaign.

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