The summer transfer window is approaching, and there's plenty of gossip swirling about who's moving where. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz on rumours, comings and goings and, of course, done deals!
TOP STORY: PSG want Nkunku return to aid Mbappe stay
The 24-year-old forward is one of many who have come through PSG's famed academy before leaving without making their full impact on the first team and then going on to impress elsewhere.
Nkunku made a total of 78 appearances for Les Parisiens during his time there, including 40 from the bench, before joining RB Leipzig in 2019.
He is now one of the most sought-after players in Europe, having recorded an incredible 27 goals and 17 assists in 40 appearances across all competitions this term.
Bayern Munich, Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City and Barcelona are all among those interested in signing the France international, but PSG are the most serious about bringing him back to the club. The reports say that PSG have even started negotiations with his representatives..
In addition to bringing in a talented player, PSG are also hoping that re-signing Nkunku could even persuade Kylian Mbappe to stay beyond the end of his contract this summer, despite persisting reports that have linked him with Real Madrid.
Sky Sports Deutschland reports that RB Leipzig will do all they can to keep Nkunku and are offering an improved contract extension to keep him past his deal through 2024. Leipzig would also include a release clause that could rise as high as €65 million in an effort to show that they are willing to compromise.
The Bundesliga club are ready to challenge Newcastle United and West Ham United for the 20-year-old Stade de Reims striker, with hopes that he can replace Erling Haaland, who is expected to leave Signal Iduna Park at the end of the campaign. Ekitike has scored nine goals from 14 league starts this season, and is expected to necessitate a transfer fee of more than €25m after the Ligue 1 side rejected an offer of that value from the Magpies during the January transfer window.
21.26 BST: Inter Milan will undergo talks to determine whether they can reach an agreement to extend the stay of Stefan de Vrij at the San Siro, writes Calciomercato. It is reported that the 30-year-old centre-back will not ask for a substantial salary increase, having not produced his best form this season, but Inter are prepared to part ways with him if they cannot agree terms.
20.53 BST: Contacts have begun between AC Milan and Real Madrid over a move for Marco Asensio, reports AS. The 26-year-old winger is seen as an ideal fit for the Rossoneri's system, with manager Stefano Pioli deploying a 4-2-3-1 formation. The Serie A side are prepared to offer a €5m-a-season salary to Asensio, who will enter the final year of his contract at the Santiago Bernabeu in the summer.
20.20 BST: Aston Villa are setting up to swoop for Brighton & Hove Albion star Yves Bissouma, according to Football Insider. Steven Gerrard's side are set to return to the negotiating table for the 25-year-old after having a bid for his services rejected in January, with the Mali international high up on the Villains' priority list in the search for a new central midfielder.
19.47 BST: Bayern Munich held a meeting with agent Mino Raiola on Thursday as the Bundesliga club look to complete deals for Ajax Amsterdam pair Ryan Gravenberch and Noussair Mazraoui, reports Fabrizio Romano. Both moves are now reported to be close to being finalised, with the German club seemingly beating Barcelona to the signature of 24-year-old right-back Mazraoui, who is able to join on a free transfer after not renewing his contract at the Johan Cruyjff ArenA.
19.14 BST: Manchester United sent scouts to watch Arnaut Danjuma as Villarreal earned a 1-0 advantage in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals clash with Bayern Munich, reports the Mail. The 25-year-old winger scored the opener to secure his sixth goal of the Champions League this season, and his 14th in all competitions, with the Old Trafford hierarchy tracking him for a number of weeks along with Liverpool. Danjuma is contracted at El Madrigal until 2026, with a buyout clause set at £64m.
18.41 BST: Leeds United and Brighton & Hove Albion are keen to sign Eddie Nketiah, according to Ekrem Konur. The 22-year-old striker has impressed in the Carabao Cup for Arsenal but has failed to establish himself in the first team, it appears Jesse Marsch is prepared to revive Leeds' January attempts to lure Nketiah to Elland Road, with West Ham United also having been credited with interest.
18.08 BST: Brazil are aiming to land Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola as new coach of the national team, reports Marca. With Tite reported to be leaving the team after the 2022 World Cup, the Selecao are prepared to offer Guardiola a deal worth €12m after taxes, with a four-year proposal that would see him take charge for the 2026 World Cup that is set to be hosted by the United States, Mexico and Canada.
17.35 BST: Tottenham Hotspur are narrowing down their shortlist as Antonio Conte looks to secure a centre-back in the summer, writes the Athletic. It is reported that Josko Gvardiol is among the top priorities, with Spurs pursuing a young left-sided player, and the 20-year-old has captured the attention with his performances for RB Leipzig this season.
The Premier League club are also looking at one of Conte's former players in Alessandro Bastoni. The 22-year-old made 33 appearances as Inter Milan were crowned Serie A champions last season, and he has since remained a regular starter under new manager Simone Inzaghi.
17.02 BST: Atletico Madrid are in advanced talks to secure the signing of Boubacar Kamara on a free transfer from Marseille, reports Nicolo Schira. It is reported that the LaLiga club have made an offer to the 22-year-old defensive midfielder worth €4.5m a year, with Diego Simeone looking to beat clubs across Europe to his signature.
16.29 BST: Atletico Madrid striker Luis Suarez is in talks with Turkish clubs Fenerbahce and Besiktas, says AS.
Suarez, 35, has 13 goals in 38 games this season but is likely to leave when his contract expires in the summer.
15.24 BST: Real Madrid's Karim Benzema outshone Chelsea's €115m signing Romelu Lukaku, writes James Olley.
At least Stamford Bridge got to see a top striker settle a big game at last.
The awkward truth for Chelsea and Thomas Tuchel is that it was Karim Benzema, a 34-year-old somehow improving with age, turning this Champions League quarterfinal tie perhaps irrevocably in Real Madrid's favour in Wednesday's 3-1 win. The France international's stunning hat trick comprised of two exquisite headers, while the third strike was a reward for the sort of pressing some may think is beyond a player of advancing years.
Take your pick of Benzema's remarkable statistics: 42 goals in his last 42 games, 13 in his last seven, 10 in his last four, the fourth player ever to score back-to-back Champions League hat tricks and his tally of 11 goals in a single season is the highest by any Frenchman in the competition.
"Every day he's better, like wine," said Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti, who arrived in London a few hours before kick-off after testing negative for COVID-19.
Benzema is the complete striker Chelsea thought they were buying in Romelu Lukaku.
14.57 BST: He may be 33-years-old but Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski wants a three-year contract to move to Barcelona this summer.
Lewandowski, one of the world's best strikers, is reportedly keen to leave Munich for a new challenge before his contract ends in 2023 and has a host of elite clubs after his signature.
The Poland international still believes he can play at the top level for a while yet, with Sport claiming that a deal until 2025 is required.
14.36 BST: Fulham forward Fabio Carvalho has agreed a move to Liverpool, says Fabrizio Romano.
Carvalho, 19, has apparently already completed his medical with Fulham's permission and will move for a £5m fee, plus £2.7m add-ons on contract until 2027.
14.00 BST: Liverpool signed Luis Diaz for €45m from FC Porto and it looks like a good deal.
Nicol: Arsenal clearly lacked experience vs. Crystal Palace
Steve Nicol sees experience as the biggest factor in Arsenal's disappointing 3-0 loss to Crystal Palace.
12.55 BST: Real Madrid forward Marco Asensio has both Arsenal and AC Milan interested in signing him, according to his representatives.
Asensio, 26, has a contract until 2023 and Madrid are ready to hand him new terms to stay. However, after scoring 10 goals in 34 games this season, the Spain international is considering his options and has a few offers already on the table.
"We are proud of Milan's interest," Asensio's agents told Sportmediaset. "The Rossoneri are an option even if there are offers from a couple of English clubs, including Arsenal. We are ready to evaluate every option."
12.09 BST: Tottenham want to re-sign Brentford's Christian Eriksen, says iNews.
Inter Milan terminated the midfielder's contract in December after he suffered a cardiac arrest while playing for Denmark at Euro 2020 and was fitted with a heart-starting device, something that prevents him from playing in Serie A.
In January, Eriksen signed for Brentford on a short-term deal until July and has been in fine form since getting back on the pitch.
Manchester United and Newcastle have been linked with him, but the report claims "Brentford will put a long-term offer to the Denmark international," with his former club Tottenham taking an interest.
11.09 BST: Surely not? More Manchester United transfer news? Oh go on then...
The Manchester Evening News reports that United are working on a deal to sign Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips.
Phillips, 26, has been a star performer since Leeds were promoted to the Premier League in 2020 and has been rated at around £50m after breaking into the England squad as well.
United are keen to strengthen their midfield and are also eyeing Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham, though that pair would cost in excess of £100m each,
Phillips is contracted to Leeds until 2024 but has yet to agree new terms.
10.44 BST: Would PSG's Mauricio Pochettino be a better manager for Man United?
Why Manchester United have picked Ten Hag over Pochettino
Mark Ogden explains why Manchester United have chosen Erik ten Hag as their next manager.
09.50 BST: Inter Miami striker Gonzalo Higuain has denied his father's claims that he will retire.
Higuain, 34, has a contract which expires in December but Miami has an option to extend it by 12 months. The Argentina international's father, Jorge, appeared on Argentine channel TNT Sports with the claim that his won "is retiring from the sport" but Higuain Jr. said that was wrong.
"It was a misunderstanding he had with me," he told reporters at a news conference. "I never told him I was retiring. He misspoke, and that can happen, but this is very far from reality. I am focused on my club, on fulfilling my contract and when the time comes, if that decision is made, I will be the one communicating it, only me."
The former Real Madrid and Juventus striker added that he was not thinking about a potential date to hang up his boots: "Obviously, I'm close to that time in which I'll stop playing football, but that's not on my mind at the moment."
09.17 BST: The media is awash with stories about Erik ten Hag's transfer plans when he joins Man United.
The Daily Telegraph says that Tottenham striker Harry Kane, West Ham midfielder Declan Rice and Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn are on his shortlist.
Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Edinson Cavani are expected to depart, while the future of Cristiano Ronaldo remains uncertain too, and Ten Hag will need to find replacements.
08.47 BST: Brighton & Hove Albion are demanding £5m from Premier League rivals Newcastle United before they let technical director Dan Ashworth move to St James' Park, the Daily Mail reports.
Ashworth resigned from his role at Brighton in February in order to take up a sporting director position at Newcastle, who appointed him shortly after the completion of the club's takeover by the Saudi-backed PFI.
However, Brighton placed him on gardening leave, and contractually they can maintain that situation until November, the Mail reports, meaning Newcastle must pay the compensation if they want the man hired to oversee their transfer business to begin working for them in time for the summer window.
08.00 BST: Manchester United are set to finalise the appointment of Erik ten Hag as the club's next manager, sources have told ESPN's Mark Ogden and Rob Dawson.
Ten Hag, 52, who was interviewed by United last month, had been on a four-man shortlist alongside Paris Saint-Germain's Mauricio Pochettino, Spain coach Luis Enrique and Sevilla's Julen Lopetegui. Chelsea's Thomas Tuchel and Bayern Munich's Julian Nagelsmann were ruled out as being unattainable due to their commitment to their present employers.
Sources in England and the Netherlands have told ESPN that United have settled on Ten Hag as their new manager and that the Ajax manager is ready to leave the Dutch champions to take charge at Old Trafford at the end of the season.
United's pursuit of a new manager has been led by football director John Murtough and technical director Darren Fletcher, who have reported to chief executive Richard Arnold, with joint-chairman Joel Glazer having the final decision on the appointment.
While some at United considered PSG boss Pochettino, sources have told ESPN, Arnold and Glazer are in agreement that Ten Hag is the best candidate to replace interim manager Ralf Rangnick, who has been in charge since December.
Can ten Hag succeed at Manchester United?
Craig Burley sees so many problems at Manchester United and isn't sure Erik ten Hag will be able to succeed there.
PAPER GOSSIP (by Danny Lewis)
- ESPN sources say that Manchester United are close to finalising an agreement to hire Ajax Amsterdam manager Erik ten Hag, and The Sun is reporting that the incoming manager has already started a wishlist of players to add to the squad at Old Trafford. Atop that list is Wolverhampton Wanderers' Ruben Neves. The Red Devils have been longtime admirers of the Portugal midfielder, and the reported new boss is said to share their enthusiasm for the £40m-rated 25-year-old.
- Chelsea centre-back Antonio Rudiger, who is set to be a free agent in the summer, is at least €2m per season away from Juventus' wage valuations as the player and club discuss a possible move, according to Calciomercato. If a deal is reached, the signing bonus and commissions will total €20m, adds the report. The Germany international's representatives are also in conversation with Barcelona, PSG and Real Madrid. There is also a chance that he could stay at Stamford Bridge, depending on the Blues' situation.
- AC Milan are close to completing a deal for Lille centre-back Sven Botman, worth an initial €30m plus a possible €3m in add-ons, reports Calciomercato. The Serie A leaders will now wait to see the extent of the cash influx for reaching next year's Champions League ahead of an agreement with the Dutchman.
- Rubin Kazan winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia has decided that he wants to join Napoli, who are willing to sign him for €8m and are offering a contract until 2027, reports Corriere dello Sport. The 21-year-old is playing for Dinamo Batumi in his homeland of Georgia, following FIFA's ruling that foreign players in Ukraine and Russia are allowed to leave their clubs. There has previously been interest in him from Liverpool and Sevilla.
- West Ham United have registered their interest in signing Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah, writes Football Insider. The 22-year-old has rejected various renewal proposals from the Gunners with his contract culminating in the summer. There has been heavy interest from the Bundesliga, but the Arsenal academy graduate has not signed a precontract agreement, leading to the Hammers asking to be kept abreast of developments.