The January transfer window is closed around Europe, but teams are looking ahead to the summer 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: MLS mulls audacious Messi plan
In what would be an incredibly unique turn of events, Diario Sport have reported that all MLS clubs could chip in to pay Lionel Messi‘s wages in an effort to bring the Paris Saint-Germain talisman to the league.
There has been plenty of talk surrounding the 35-year-old’s future, with his PSG contract expiring in the summer, and Inter Miami CF regularly linked as a potential destination. However, the MLS salary cap structure could prohibit signing the Argentina star to what would likely be a record deal, which has reportedly produced one creative solution.
The report states that team owners met six weeks ago and floated the option to jointly pay Messi’s wages and allow him to choose the club he plays for.
The feeling is that the presence of arguably the best player in football history would benefit everybody in the league commercially, even if only one team would be improved on the pitch.
There has been speculation that Messi would consider a return to Barcelona, with club president Joan Laporta saying last week that “[Messi] has the doors of Barca open … He knows that. He’s part of our emblem.”
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10.15 BST: Inigo Martinez wants to sign for Barcelona this summer, according to Mundo Deportivo.
The Spanish centre-back has not signed a contract extension with Athletic Club, with his current deal expiring in June.
Martinez, 31, has offers from Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan and Napoli, but it is his desire to join the Catalan club despite their financial problems. LaLiga president Javier Tebas recently warned that Barca must raise €200m in order to spend money in the summer transfer window.
Martinez has been a long-term target of Barca and the Catalan club has offered the player a three-year contract. The former Real Sociedad star is in his fifth full season at Ahtletic and has made 14 appearances this season.
09.26 BST: Netherlands international Stefan De Vrij is on the verge of signing a contract extension with Inter Milan until June 2025, according to Sky Italia.
The defender becomes a free agent this summer and has been offered a two-year contract extension.
De Vrij, 31, joined Inter in the summer of 2018 from Lazio. Despite wanting a longer contract, the veteran centre-back has accepted Inter’s offer as he wants to remain in Milan.
08.59 BST: Barcelona president Joan Laporta will meet with Lionel Messi‘s father and agent Jorge Messi in the coming days to discuss the player’s potential return to Camp Nou, Catalunya radio reports.
The Argentina forward is in his second season at Paris Saint-Germain but there has been speculation that Messi, who becomes a free agent in June, will return to Barca.
Laporta recently said that “Messi has the Barca doors open” and, according to the Catalan radio, the 35-year-old has given his blessing for his father to sit down with Laporta and discuss his return to Barca.
Messi spent 20 years at Barca and helped the club win 35 trophies but left for PSG on a free transfer in August 2021 because of the Catalan outfit’s financial crisis.
08.00 BST: The revised bids to buy Manchester United will fall short of the Glazer family’s valuation, although there is still hope a buyout can happen, sources have told ESPN.
Second offers were lodged by interested parties last week, including from public bidders Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani, Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Thomas Zilliacus.
Sources have told ESPN that bids from Sheikh Jassim and Ratcliffe have been increased from around £4.5 billion but remain below the asking price of around £6bn — although there is hope that the Glazers might still accept a compromise fee to allow a takeover at Old Trafford.
After the latest round of offers, bidders are waiting to hear from Raine Group, the U.S. bank working with the Glazers, on what the next stage of the process will look like. Raine could invite a third round of offers or name a preferred bidder.
United staff have been told to expect “clarity” on the ownership situation by the end of the season.
The options for the Glazers if Man United bids fall short
Rob Dawson explains the likely repercussions for Manchester United if the Glazer family’s valuation isn’t met.
PAPER GOSSIP (by Danny Lewis)
– New Bayern Munich manager Thomas Tuchel is pushing to sign Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane in the summer, according to Football Insider, which adds that the 29-year-old is now a transfer priority. Kane, who is Spurs and England‘s all-time top goal scorer, is entering the final year of his contract but the London side are likely to demand at least £100m for his transfer. Manchester United also remain interested.
– RB Leipzig midfielder Konrad Laimer‘s move to Bayern Munich as a free agent is close to being 100% complete, according to Sky Germany’s Florian Plettenberg, who added that the 25-year-old has already completed the first part of his medical. Plettenberg also stated that Bayern are monitoring Gavi due to Barcelona’s ongoing struggles to register the 18-year-old midfielder’s new contract, although there are currently no negotiations and a deal is deemed unlikely.
– Paris Saint-Germain are hoping to take advantage of a clause in Napoli defender Kim Min-Jae‘s contract that would allow the 26-year-old to leave for €52.5m during the first two weeks of July, according to Foot Mercato. As well as bringing in Internazionale‘s Milan Skriniar as a free agent, PSG are looking at Sporting CP‘s Goncalo Inacio and Villarreal‘s Pau Torres.
– After Memphis Depay moved from Barcelona to Atletico Madrid in January, Mundo Deportivo are reporting that Yannick Carrasco could go the other way in the summer. Barca currently have the option to sign the 29-year-old winger for €15m, although will negotiate in an effort to bring that number down.
– USMNT full-back Sergino Dest will return to Barcelona in the summer to discuss his future, states Fabrizio Romano. This comes with AC Milan having long decided that they will not trigger the clause to make Dest’s loan permanent, as he has only managed 635 minutes across all competitions this term.
– With James Milner‘s contract set to expire at the end of the season, Liverpool are yet to open contract talks despite Jurgen Klopp wanting the 37-year-old to stay for another year, reports The Athletic. The versatile midfielder is keen to continue playing and would ideally stay at Anfield, although the lack of movement opens up the possibility of a summer departure.