LIVE Transfer Talk: Arsenal eye Barca's Coutinho as Bayern let buy option lapse

Is a return to the Premier League right for Coutinho? (1:44)

Hector Moreno recalls the early days of Philippe Coutinho's career and says where he should play next. (1:44)

The coronavirus pandemic has made the summer transfer window uncertain, but here are the rumours floating around Europe's big leagues and beyond.

TOP STORY: Arsenal to move for Barca's Coutinho

Arsenal are reportedly stepping up their efforts to try and sign Barcelona flop Philippe Coutinho, Le10 Sport reports.

The Brazilian failed to set the world alight at Camp Nou following his €160m move from Liverpool in 2018, and Bayern Munich confirmed a few days ago they have let the €120m option to turn his loan deal into a permanent move lapse.

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told Der Spiegel on Friday: "The option expired and we haven't activated it. We're going to plan our squad for next season and we'll see if he still has a role to play with us or not."

Now, the belief is that a return to the Premier League could be a tenable possibility. Gunners boss Mikel Arteta dreams of linking up with Coutinho, according to Le10 Sport, with the club aiming to speak with his agent and sneak ahead of Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool in the race to sign the attacking midfielder.

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10.11 BST: Barcelona, like the rest of the world, are keeping an eye on the Bundesliga at the moment after the German league became the first of Europe's major leagues to return to action following a stoppage due to the coronavirus pandemic.

And according to Sport, they are paying particular attention to Hertha Berlin youngster Lazar Samardzic, who made his Bundesliga debut on Friday. The 18-year-old came off the bench in his side's 4-0 derby win over Union Berlin.

AC Milan, Atletico Madrid and Juventus have also been linked with Samardzic, who has scored 14 goals in 16 games for the U19s this season.

09.33 BST: The president of Lautaro Martinez's former club in Argentina, Racing de Avellaneda, says the Inter Milan striker will join Barcelona. Sources have confirmed to ESPN that Barca are in talks with Inter over a deal to sign Lautaro this summer as they target a new No. 9.

"I have the feeling that Lautaro is close to Barcelona and we may see the white smoke soon, although I've not spoken with him recently," Victor Blanco said, adding that Racing stand to profit from any deal. "Whatever the figure is, it will be welcome. When we sold Lautaro to Inter, we had the foresight to include a sell-on clause. It was a bet for the future, without knowing if he would succeed or when."

Barca see Lautaro as the long-term heir to Luis Suarez but the coronavirus pandemic has hit them hard financially. Therefore, talks with Inter are centred on how to bring down the forward's €111m price tag. The Blaugrana hope to include players as makeweights to lower the cost.


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09.22 BST: Juventus forward Gonzalo Higuain says he wouldn't like to be in the shoes of Argentina compatriot Lautaro Martinez and having to decide whether or not to leave Inter Milan this summer to sign for Barcelona.

Martinez, 22, is tied to Inter Milan until June 2023 but is a target of Barcelona and other European clubs.

"It's tough to take a decision," Higuain told TyC Sports. "Real Madrid came to get me when I was 18 and I didn't say 'no, I'll wait until I'm even bigger.' One doesn't know what's going to happen later. It's a very compromised situation for him. Obviously, I don't want to give my opinion so as to avoid controversies, but if Barcelona with Messi come looking for you ... I wouldn't want to be in his shoes, it's very difficult to say 'no'."

08.55 BST: Valencia captain Dani Parejo has urged his club to extend the contract of coveted winger Ferran Torres as soon as possible.

Torres, 20, becomes a free agent in June 2021 and the Spanish under-21 international has been linked with several European clubs including Juventus, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Liverpool. Despite negotiations ongoing since December, no deal has been reached for Torres to sign a new contract.

"Ferran is an important player for Valencia because he is young and has a big future ahead," Parejo told Partidazo. "He has a great talent. For us it would be important that he signs a new contract because of the player that he is. His projection is very good but football is what it is. I don't know what the situation is."

Parejo believes Valencia will be at a disadvantage if top European clubs come to prise Torres away.

He said: "The coronavirus could affect a lot from a financial standpoint and Valenica is not a club like [Manchester] City, Chelsea or Real Madrid that can pay millions. For Valencia that's not feasible."

08.26 BST: Hellas Verona have set a valuation price of €25m for their highly-rated defender Marash Kumbulla, who has been linked with interest from Serie A big guns Inter Milan, Napoli and Lazio.

A youth product of Hellas, the 20-year-old Albanian centre-back has impressed in his 18 Serie A appearances for the Verona outfit this season.

"Many want him," Hellas Verona sporting director Tony D'Amico told Sky Italia. "Kumbulla is a strong player and one that the club has bet on. Every club whether is small or big will have the difficulty in coming up with an absolute valuation of players because this [coronavirus pandemic] situation is affecting everyone. But it's clear that a city like Verona cannot rule out certain offers.

D'Amico believes Kumbulla could become the club's most expensive transfer, overtaking the €24.5m that Roma paid to Verona for winger Juan Iturbe in 2014.

"Will he surpass that? €25m is roughly what we consider to be the value of the player," he said of Kumbulla.

08.00 BST: Achraf Hakimi could be key to Real Madrid getting their hands on Erling Haaland, Diario AS reports.

Hakimi -- who is due to return to Madrid this summer after a two-year loan spell at Borussia Dortmund -- has excelled in the Bundesliga and is being chased by a host of big clubs across Europe. The 21-year-old has a year left on his contract at the Bernabeu and has remained non-committal about his future.

Dortmund would like him to stay, whether on another loan or a permanent move, and AS claims Madrid may agree to that given their right-back options, with Dani Carvajal first choice and Alvaro Odriozola on loan at Bayern Munich. That deal could see Madrid jump to the front of the queue to sign Haaland in 2022, when it's thought the German club would be willing to let him go.

Another reported factor in Real Madrid's favour is president Florentino Perez's excellent relationship with Dortmund CEO Hans-Joaquim Watzke.


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PAPER TALK (by Harry Kettle)

Man United hit Ighalo wall

Manchester United have hit a wall in their pursuit of a loan extension for Odion Ighalo, the Daily Mail reports.

Shanghai Shenhua, his parent club, have rejected a three-month loan extension and have issued a demand to the Red Devils that he returns to them ahead of the Chinese Super League's proposed restart.

If United are unsuccessful in their attempts to keep the popular Nigerian at the club, he will return to China a week on Monday, preventing him from making an impact if the Premier League was to return.

Arsenal, Man United to fight for Lemar?

AS is reporting that Manchester United chiefs have met with Thomas Lemar's agent ahead of a potential move for the Atletico Madrid star.

France international Lemar, who thrived during the 2018 FIFA World Cup, has struggled to make an impact at the highest level in Spain -- with many believing that Arsenal had been the initial frontrunners to secure his signature.

While Atletico boss Diego Simeone may not be ready to give up on Lemar just yet, it appears as if these two Premier League juggernauts are willing to go to great depths in order to get this done.


- Manchester City aren't interested in a deal for Barcelona defender Nelson Semedo, Marca reports. Semedo has been offered to the Premier League champions by agent Jorge Mendes in a potential swap deal with Joao Cancelo, but City don't want to go through with the swap as they feel it needs more clarity.

- Daily Express is reporting that Arsenal are interested in trying to sign Saint-Etienne youngster Wesley Fofana. The Gunners brought defender William Saliba over to the Emirates before loaning him back to the Ligue 1 club last summer, and now, the 19-year-old Fofana is the next name on their list ahead of what is bound to be an eventful few months.