Welcome to the Evening Standard’s transfer news LIVE blog, bringing all the latest talk, rumours and gossip.
With no on-pitch football action to enjoy, we will keep you up to date with all the latest transfer news in relation to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Latest transfer news, rumours and gossip…
Ben Chilwell to Chelsea latest
Chelsea could help fund a move for Leicester City’s Ben Chilwell by selling Emerson Palmieri and Victor Moses, according to the Sun.
As previously reported by our chief football correspondent, James Olley, Chelsea consider England left-back Chilwell one of their top targets ahead of the summer transfer window (whenever that will be…).
Man Utd lead Jadon Sancho race
As reported by our Manchester Correspondent James Robson, Manchester United are leading the race for Jadon Sancho, with figures at Borussia Dortmund increasingly believing he is on his way to Old Trafford.
The England international is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s primary target this summer and United are ready to make him the most expensive player in their history.
It is expected to take upwards of £100million prise the 20-year-old away from Dortmund – and there is a growing acceptance in Germany that he will move on at the end of the season.
United are one of only a handful of clubs with the financial power to meet that valuation, with Chelsea also undeterred by a price tag that could reach £120m.
But United are seen as the favourites by well-placed sources at Dortmund, while some at the Bundesliga club are still anticipating an approach from Liverpool.
Click here for the full story.
MAN UTD NEWS
Manchester United are still interested in signing Edinson Cavani this summer, according to reports in Spain, but face a battle with three other clubs to sign him.
AS say United, Boca Juniors, Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan are all in the race to capture the Uruguayan frontman this summer.
Any interest from United could depend on their deal for Odion Ighalo, whose loan is set to expire at the end of the season.
But the opportunity to snap up the 33-year-old – who is available on a free transfer with his PSG contract expiring in the summer – may be too good to turn down.
MAN CITY NEWS
Reports in Germany suggest Manchester City have been knocked back in their approach for Bayern Munich full-back David Alaba.
Bild report the Austrian has turned down the chance to move to the Etihad in a swap deal that would see Leroy Sane, who has been a long-term target for Bayern, move in the opposite direction to Germany.
Alaba, 27, apparently favours a move to Spain over the Premier League which means City may have to look at alternative targets in the summer.
Chelsea fans would have winced witnessing Eden Hazard’s struggles at Real Madrid this season and the Belgian star admits his first season in Spain has been “bad”.
Hazard has managed just one goal and five assists in 15 appearances since his £88m switch from Chelsea, having been plagued by injury.
But the 29-year-old is hoping he will be judged next season when he is free of injury and has challenged himself to get in shape after arriving at pre-season overweight.
“My first season at Madrid is bad, but not everything is bad,” Hazard told RTBF.
“It is an adaptation season. I will be judged in the second. It is up to me to be in good shape next year.
“The group is good, I have met new people. For me it is a great experience. I still have four years of contract, I hope be in good shape.”
Henrikh Mkhitaryan has had quite a few transfers in his career and it’s safe to assume the Armenian is well-rehearsed in the language of transfer gossip.
The Arsenal midfielder is on loan at Roma and the Giallorossi have hinted they want to make his move permanent, while Gunners boss Mikel Arteta has previously said the 31-year-old would be welcomed back if he returns to north London.
But Mkhitaryan is staying tight-lipped on his plans for the future due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I can’t say anything at the moment because the season is stopped, we don’t know when we will return to play and what will happen this summer,” he told The Times.
“In football everything changes quickly. One day you’re here, the other you’re there. You never know what will happen.”
MAN UTD NEWS
Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand admits he has been proven wrong by Odion Ighalo after questioning the signing of the Nigerian striker.
Ighalo has hit four goals since arriving from Shanghai Shenhua on loan in January and has become an instant hit with the United fans.
And Ferdinand, answering fans’ questions on Instagram Live, said: “All them people that out there that were saying: ‘What are we doing signing Ighalo? What’s going on? What’s Ole thinking?’ – I was one of them, I have to admit it.
“Ighalo’s been in China, the league’s nowhere near what the Premier League is so how’s he gonna get up to speed? Is he gonna be ready straight away? We need somebody to come and make an impact immediately. Coming from China, impossible.
“Well he’s proved us all wrong. This guy has proved us all wrong. It’s refreshing to see someone who is like a supporter, who is thankful. He looks like he’s absolutely delighted to be at Manchester United.
“He’s been a Manchester United supporter his whole life. He looks like he’s saying ‘thank you’ every day he walks up to Ole for giving him this opportunity.”
The 22-year-old has had a mixed debut season at Vicarage Road, though in mitigation, the Hornets have had three different coaches.
Sarr seems to have found his feet with current boss Nigel Pearson, with his starring role in the 3-0 win over Liverpool – with two goals and an assist – evidence of the huge potential he has.
SmarterScout shows favourable stats for Sarr, who scores highly for attacking output (88/100), defending quality (79/100), and ranks 99/100 for shooting, dribbling and receiving the ball in the box.
This summer may come too early for Sarr to make a switch to a bigger club, but Everton’s big-money move for Richarlison suggests the Hornets are open to selling on young talent for a premium.
Sarr could well be better served by spending another year at Watford, providing they stay up – but should they be relegated, Chelsea may fancy their chances of a cut-price deal.
3) Lucas Ocampos | Sevilla
Like Ziyech, he would fit Lampard’s high-energy game with excellent defensive numbers: 96/100 for defending quality, including 80/100 for disrupt and 91/100 for recover).
Ocampos boasts strong scores across the board, and his ability to dribble (85/100) and receive the ball in the box (89/100) mark him out as somebody who could play well with Tammy Abraham and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Solid in the air and with some height, Ocampos would also be an asset at set-pieces, and wouldn’t cost the earth.
The 25-year-old has scored 10 LaLiga goals this season, but his output in terms of assists – just two – mean if Lampard is looking for more of an outright winger, Ocampos is more of a Pedro than a Willian.
The 24-year-old failed to make the grade at Arsenal, but is now dominating in the Bundesliga. Gnabry has scored 11 goals and set up another nine more in the German top flight this term, and has netting six in the Champions League – four in the 7-2 victory at Tottenham, and two at Stamford Bridge in Bayern’s 3-0 win.
Gnabry’s adaptability has seen him play on the left, centrally, and on the right this term, which would offer Lampard plenty of options for when games come thick and fast – and with an attacking score of 97/100 out wide, Gnabry makes a strong case for becoming one of Europe’s leading forwards in the coming years.
The Germany international would not be a like-for-like alternative to Sancho, but going in for him with Ziyech already wrapped up would bulk up Chelsea’s attack considerably – especially when it comes to winning duels, scoring 65/100 in possession, 87/100 without the ball, and 81/100 for ball retention.
The main problem would be in actually convincing Bayern to sell: the Bavarians wanted Callum Hudson-Odoi and were unsuccessful, so it stands to reason they might not be keen to sell Gnabry to the Blues.
Gnabry also looks settled in Germany, so unless Chelsea could come up with a huge contract, guarantee Champions League football and something akin to a five-year plan, it looks doubtful.
Gnabry’s love for Arsenal may also count against any move, but were Chelsea to use the money earmarked for Sancho, Bayern could have a big decision on their hands.
Chelsea have, of course, already completed a deal for Ziyech to join the club from Ajax, with the 27-year-old starring in the Eredivisie.
Ziyech has notched 10 goals and 16 assists across all competitions this season: while he is clearly capable of playing on the right flank for Chelsea, his most impressive displays this season have arguably come in the centre.
So while Ziyech will definitely be wearing a Chelsea shirt next term, Lampard may have a decision to make regarding his role. If, as expected, the Blues miss out on Sancho, will Lampard opt for Ziyech in a wide role – or will he make him the creative hub of his side and seek out another signing?
According to SmarterScout, Ziyech has spent 882 minutes as a right winger this term, and 607 in a central role. In that central role, he has been influencing games more both on and off the ball, excelling in both his ability to disrupt play (80/100) and recover the ball (93/100).
His creativity is clear with 94/100 for passing towards goal, while on the flank his link-up play and hassling drops slightly in favour of a keener eye for goal; his shooting soaring from 38/100 to 76/100. It may be the case that while Ziyech is a clear solution on the flank, he may end up being wasted out wide.
Jadon Sancho is a wanted man. Standard Sport understands that Manchester United lead the race, with Dortmund officials viewing the Red Devils as favourites to sign him ahead of Chelsea.
That’s not to say Chelsea are out of the running: should the Blues qualify for Champions League football when the season restarts, a return to London to play in a young, exciting team led by Frank Lampard would be a tempting offer.
While Sancho faces one of the biggest decisions of his career this summer, here are a few options who could soften that blow should the Blues miss out on the 20-year-old…
Chelsea’s out-of-favour midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko is harbouring for a return to AC Milan this summer, according to reports in Italy.
The French midfielder, who has spent the season on loan at Monaco after his stint in the Serie A last season with Milan, is not part of Frank Lampard’s future plans.
And Calciomercato claim the 25-year-old is “dreaming” of a return to the San Siro, where he made 42 appearances in the 2018-19 season, although the Ligue 1 outfit have the option to make his loan move permanent this summer.
RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano is reportedly hoping to leave the club this summer and reports in Germany suggest the Frenchman will submit a transfer request if his release clause is not met.
The 21-year-old is being tracked by Arsenal and Liverpool after a standout season in the Bundesliga and currently has a £55m release clause in his contract.
And Bild are reporting the Leipzig defender will force through his departure if the German club refuse to let him leave.
That could spark a bidding war for the powerful centre-back, who has also been linked with Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
WEST HAM NEWS
West Ham United are reportedly stepping up their efforts to sign Inter Milan’s young goalkeeper Filip Stankovic, reports in Italy suggest.
The 18-year-old, son of Inter legend Dejan Stankovic, is yet to make his debut for the Nerazzurri but has caught the eye in goal for the club’s Primavera team.
Tuttomercatoweb claim the east London side want to bring him to the Premier League but after being named in Inter’s Champions League squad as a third-choice goalkeeper, it remains to be seen whether the youngster will leave the San Siro.
MAN UTD NEWS
With Chris Smalling on the way out, Manchester United have been boosted by the potential availability of rumoured transfer target Samuel Umtiti.
While Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly has been strongly linked with a big-money move to Old Trafford, Barcelona defender Umtiti has been mentioned as a cheaper alternative by the Red Devils.
According to AS, the Catalan giants are hoping to offload the 26-year-old to free up funds elsewhere, leaving the door open for United and other interested parties such as Arsenal to make their move in the summer transfer window.
Not since the days of Mikael Silvestre have we seen a Manchester United defender swap Old Trafford for the the Emirates.
But according to Corriere dello Sport, Arsenal are ready to rival Roma for the signature of Chris Smalling this summer after asking United for information with regards to his availability.
Tottenham, Leicester and Everton have all been mentioned as interested parties, so it seems United won’t be short of offers if they decide to sell on the 30-year-old.
Another Spanish transfer question that was put to our man Ben Hayward earlier on concerned the future of a certain Welshman in Madrid.
Here’s what he had to say about Gareth Bale’s Real future…
It now seems impossible for him to turn it around and be important again, as he once was.
The time to move on was last summer, but none of Europe’s elite clubs were prepared to pay his high wages and a transfer fee to take him and in the end, his only option was China.
Even that fell through as Madrid wanted a fee and with the player under contract until 2022, something will have to give this summer. Real may have to consider cutting their losses and letting Bale leave for free, while the player himself might have to lower his wage demands to move back to the Premier League or to another of Europe’s top teams.
Milan in for Gotze?
Reports in the Italian press say AC Milan are considering signing Mario Gotze when he becomes a free agent this summer.
The man who scored the winning goal in the 2014 World Cup final is out of contract at Borussia Dortmund and looks set to leave, having fallen well down the pecking order behind Sancho, Hazard & Co.
Chelsea targeting Telles swoop
Chelsea will attempt to trump Barcelona in the battle to sign Porto full back Alex Telles this summer, according to Diario AS.
Frank Lampard is known to be in the market for a new left-back, and is said to have been put off by Leicester’s heft valuation of England star Ben Chilwell.
Telles, on the other hand, is due to be out of contract at the end of next season, meaning Porto may have no choice but to do a deal at a cut price or else risk losing him for nothing.
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When does the 2020 summer transfer window open?
The summer window opens in England at the end of the season – currently May 18, but that will almost certainly not be when it finishes due to Covid-19 delays.
Players can be officially registered with their new clubs when the Fifa international window opens on July 1.
From January 1 onwards, Premier League players with six months left on their contract have been able to negotiate and agree pre-contract deals with foreign clubs.