PSG’s Lionel Messi to mull return to Barcelona or venture to

The summer transfer window is here, 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: Messi back to Barcelona?

While there is no chance of an immediate move, there will always be interest in Lionel Messi‘s future and Diario Sport have delved into what that could involve.

Messi, 35, has one year left on his contract at Paris Saint-Germain but the Argentina international will wait until season’s end to decide his next step.

The report states that Messi could move to Major League Soccer, stay at PSG, or return to Barcelona — although there is also mention that he could even hang up his boots.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta made headlines earlier this month when he said that the “Messi chapter” at Camp Nou isn’t over. Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez said bringing in Messi is “impossible” at the moment, but he has not definitively closed the door on bringing him back in the future.

Inter Miami CF’s chief business officer also hinted at a future move for Messi, stating that a potential deal would serve “reference point for football in the U.S.”

Prior to his arrival to PSG in 2021, the 35-year-old had spent all of his career at Barcelona, where he scored 672 goals in 778 appearances and won a host of trophies.

Messi is targeting a first World Cup win with Argentina later this year in Qatar. He is his country’s all-time top scorer with 86 goals in 162 appearances and last year broke Pele’s record for the most goals scored for a South American nation.

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21:56 BST: Marca are reporting that Borussia Dortmund are close to signing Giovanni Simeone, the son of Atletico Madrid manager Diego.

The younger Simeone, who plays as a striker, spent last season on loan at Serie A club Hellas Verona from Cagliari, where he scored 17 goals in 35 appearances.

Now the 27-year-old could be set for a big move to Dortmund, with Marca saying that a delegation from the German club will travel to Italy this week to secure Simeone’s signature. Juventus, Sevilla and Napoli are also said to be interested in the striker.

20:52 BST: There are reports that Cesc Fabregas will undergo a medical and sign a contract until June 2024 with Italian second division side Como.

Fabregas, 35, was available on a free transfer after leaving AS Monaco.

Previously of Arsenal, Chelsea and Barcelona, he has made 723 career appearances.

Fabregas also has 110 caps for Spain, but played only six times in all competitions last season.

20:21 BST: Fabrizio Romano reported that Ligue 1 side Reims are closing in on a loan deal for Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun.

Balogun, 21, is highly thought of at Arsenal but faces stiff competition for minutes in the first team after the signing of Gabriel Jesus.

He spent part of last season on loan at Middlesbrough, and scored three goals in 18 matches for the Championship side.

Balogun has made 10 first team appearances for Arsenal.

19:51 BST: Cristiano Ronaldo was pictured leaving Manchester United’s final preseason game against Rayo Vallecano early, after being substituted at half-time.

Ronaldo made his comeback against the Spanish side after missing United’s tour of Thailand and Australia to deal with a family issue.

United drew 1-1 with Ronaldo’s replacement, Amad Diallo, scoring for Erik ten Hag’s side.

Ronaldo is keen to leave the club this summer in a bid to find regular Champions League football elsewhere. He has been linked with moves to Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Atletico Madrid although sources have told ESPN that United are yet to receive a serious offer for the Portugal forward.

19:20 BST: Sky Sports’ Dharmesh Sheth reported that Fulham have made offers for four centre backs.

West Ham United’s Issa Diop and Chelsea’s Malang Sarr are reportedly on their list.

Marco Silva has been keen to bolster his defensive options, and also has been pushing for the signing of Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno.

Fulham were promoted from the Championship last season and look to ensure Premier League survival for the first time since the 12-13 season.

18:49 BST: Barcelona boss Xavi said that a lot of things could still happen with midfielder Frenkie de Jong, who has been a transfer target of Manchester United over the summer.

De Jong has featured at centre-back in preseason, but Xavi said that’s no indication that the Dutchman will leave.

Speaking after Barcelona ‘s 2-0 pre-season win over New York Red Bulls, he said: “I don’t know if he’s [De Jong] going to stay here. There’s still time and a lot of things can still happen.

“At the moment he’s part of the team, like everyone else. The fact that he played as a central defender in the other games was not a sign that he was leaving. I don’t need to send signals on the pitch. I can speak directly with my footballers.”

18.22 BST: We had earlier reports of Chelsea’s interest in Leicester City defender Wesley Fofana, but they’re also looking for reinforcements at full-back outside the Premier League.

Talksport reports (via The Athletic) that having missed out on Jules Kounde, Matthijs de Ligt, Nathan Ake and Presnel Kimpembe, the Blues are looking to Inter Milan’s Denzel Dumfries as an option to offer depth on the flanks. Dumfries, 26, joined Inter last summer and made 33 appearances (all competitions) for the Nerazzurri having arrived from PSV Eindhoven, where he spent three seasons in the first-team squad.

17.30 BST: Arsenal are reportedly the frontrunners to sign Leicester midfielder Youri Tielemans, however the club could be set to turn attention to Lazio’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.

Tielemans’ contract is running down so he could be available for £25m, but the Gunners have reservations about his physicality in the middle of the pitch.

TuttoJuve says that Milinkovic-Savic could be an alternative for around £45m, though Manchester United are also tracking the 27-year-old.

16.00 BST: Sadio Mane has already shown how he can score goals for Bayern.

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2:07

Arne Friedrich explains why Bayern Munich is hopeful that Sadio Mane can replace some of Robert Lewandowski’s production.

15.27 BST: Manchester City have told Brighton they will not pay £50m to sign Marc Cucurella and that they are actively looking at alternatives, sources have told ESPN.

City have not yet walked away from a deal for the Spanish left-back but are adamant they will not meet Brighton’s valuation and that a compromise over the fee will have to be reached before progress is made. Pep Guardiola is keen to sign a left-back after allowing Oleksandr Zinchenko to join Arsenal.

Cucurella is City’s top target to replace the Ukraine international but so far Brighton have shown no willingness to negotiate for anything below £50m.

The 24-year-old, who moved to the Premier League from Getafe in 2021, has a contract until 2026. He was voted player of the year in his first season at the Amex Stadium.

Sources have told ESPN that City have informed Brighton they remain interested in Cucurella but only if the deal is closer to £35m.

14.55 BST: AS reports that Barcelona manager Xavi has told Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta to be patient over a possible move.

Azpilicueta, 32, wants to leave Chelsea but the Premier League side aren’t willing to let him go cheaply.

Barca have spent over €150m on new players like Jules Kounde, Raphinha and Robert Lewandowski already this summer, but need to get players off their wage bill in order to register their full squad with LaLiga’s salary cap.

Azpilicueta could reportedly cost around €5m to sign, but coach Thomas Tuchel said recently: “I am not sure if I want to give Azpi what he wants. At some point it is about what we want. I just made the comparison about how much we fought for [Kalidou] Koulibaly [a €40m arrival], who is a national team player and roughly the same age. He is a hugely important player for Napoli but we have a Spanish international who is the captain at Chelsea. I see him maybe at the same level but Barcelona don’t see him on that level.”

14.22 BST: Chelsea have made an attempt to sign RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol, with striker Timo Werner moving on loan in the other direction.

However, Fabrizio Romano reports that Leipzig aren’t willing to talk about letting Gvardiol go, as the 20-year-old Croatia international has four years remaining on his contract.

Instead, Chelsea could turn to Leicester’s Wesley Fofana or Bayern Munich’s Benjamin Pavard, as reported by Sport1.

Manchester City and Tottenham have also shown an interest in Gvardiol this summer.

13.29 BST: Real Madrid are looking for a backup striker to Karim Benzema and have Mainz forward Jonathan Burkardt on their shortlist, according to Defensa Central.

Burkardt, 22, scored 14 goals in 37 games last season and the Germany U21 international could be a lot cheaper to sign than some other options.

However, Los Blancos must decide if Mariano Diaz or Borja Mayoral will leave the club first before making any move.

12.35 BST: Chelsea are set to make a move for Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong, says Sport.

De Jong, 25, is viewed as dispensable by the club as they try to solve their financial issues and attempt to register their new signings this summer to satisfy LaLiga’s salary cap.

Sources have told ESPN that Barca and Man United had agreed to an initial fee €65m, plus €20m in add-ons, to sign the midfielder.

However, De Jong would rather join a Champions League club if he has to leave Barca and, although his preference is to stay at Camp Nou, the LaLiga side want to move him on.

While Barca are clearly willing to accept transfer bids, personal terms are a problem at around €400,000-a-week and there is also the issue around a reported €20m wages owed to the Dutchman after he took a pay cut to help Barca through the COVID-19 pandemic.

United are not out of the race yet, but they may soon have competition from Chelsea.

11.49 BST: Nottingham Forest have announced the signing of VfB Stuttgart midfielder Orel Mangala.

Mangala, 24, began his career in Belgium with Anderlecht and moved to Borussia Dortmund’s youth side before making the permanent switch to Stuttgart in 2017.

The Belgium international midfielder has two senior caps after making his debut in March 2022.

11.15 BST: Could Cristiano Ronaldo end up in MLS?

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Don Hutchison and Shaka Hislop break down the possibilities of Cristiano Ronaldo’s next team.

10.40 BST: Hoffenheim left-back David Raum has signed for RB Leipzig.

Raum, 24, is a regular Germany international, having made his full international debut in a 6-0 World Cup qualifier against Armenia in 2021.

“I’m very happy about my move to RB Leipzig,” he said. “The club made a lot of effort to bring me here and the discussions with head coach Domenico Tedesco, the club management and sporting director Oliver Mintzlaff quickly convinced me that coming to Leipzig is absolutely the right step for me.

“I’m moving to a football-mad city with a fantastic stadium and a club that stands for successful and attractive football. RB Leipzig gives me the chance to play in the Champions League and offers the perfect conditions for me to develop. I’m really looking forward to getting to know the team, settling in quickly and helping my teammates on the pitch.”

10.03 BST: Marseille want to sign Inter Milan forward Alexis Sanchez, but only if he leaves the club on a free transfer, according to La Provence.

Sanchez, 33, is reportedly surplus to Inter’s requirements and the former Arsenal, Man United and Barcelona star is ready to move on.

Marseille can offer him Champions League football next season but his contract expires in 2023, so Inter would have to release him.

09.22 BST: Pep Guardiola said Erling Haaland will prove his worth to Manchester City and show his “incredible quality” after the €60m summer signing was upstaged by Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez during a 3-1 Community Shield defeat in Leicester.

Haaland, one of the game’s most exciting young talents, touched the ball just 14 times in 90 minutes and missed a clear chance to score in stoppage time. In contrast, €75m signing Nunez scored one and registered an assist during a 31-minute substitute outing for Jurgen Klopp’s team.

But despite Haaland’s false start in his first game in English football, City manager Guardiola said he had no concerns over the Norway international’s ability to succeed at the club.

“He [Haaland] had chances, two or three in first half and one at the end,” Guardiola said. “He fought a lot, made the movements. It’s good for him to see the reality of new country, new league, but he was there.

“He didn’t score. Another day he will score. He has an incredible quality on that and he will do it. He has an incredible sense. He is going to help us a lot — he had the chances, he was there. Nothing changed.”

09.00 BST: Chelsea has a verbal agreement to acquire Chicago Fire and U.S. youth international goalkeeper Gabriel “Gaga” Slonina for a base fee of $10m that could rise to $15m with add-ons, sources confirmed to ESPN.

Slonina, 18, is headed to London to complete a medical exam and if it’s successful will sign the deal, which will see him finish out the current MLS campaign on loan with the Fire and then head to Chelsea on Jan. 1.

Slonina has long been considered one of the jewels of the Fire’s academy, and took over the starting goalkeeper spot with the first team last season as a 17-year-old. When Slonina made his professional debut Aug. 4, he became the youngest starting goalkeeper in league history at 17 years, 81 days.

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1:06

New Barcelona signing Robert Lewandowski praises Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema but says he isn’t keen on being in direct competition with him.

PAPER GOSSIP (by Danny Lewis)

– Real Madrid are showing an interest in signing Fabian Ruiz as a free agent in 2023 if his Napoli contract is not extended, reports Fabrizio Romano. Carlo Ancelotti remains a big fan of the Spaniard after initially being the man to take the midfielder to Napoli during his time there.

– Juventus are set to challenge West Ham United to sign Eintracht Frankfurt winger Filip Kostic, according to Calciomercato, which adds that the Old Lady have contacted his agent to see where the Hammers are in their negotiations. Eintracht are asking for €15m and there could also be demands for €2.5m to €3m in bonuses, with it perhaps not too late for Juventus to make their move.

Angelino missed RB Leipzig’s German Supercup loss against Bayern Munich on Saturday in order to sort out his future, as reported by Sky Sports Deutschland. David Raum’s pending arrival means the Spaniard would no longer be as prominent and will therefore look to leave, with TSG Hoffenheim a potential destination.

– AS Roma will move to sign free agent Andrea Belotti when Eldor Shomurodov‘s loan departure to Bologna is confirmed, reports Calciomercato. The former Torino striker would much rather join them than Valencia as it would allow him to stay in Italy, and he will ask for €3m in wages but could settle for less depending on the contract length and bonuses offered.

– PSG want Everton to pay almost all of Idrissa Gueye‘s wages if he joins the Premier League side, as reported by Fabrizio Romano. The clubs are currently holding negotiations to make a deal happen after talks were opened earlier this week ago with all parties, including Gueye himself, interested in a move. Romano had previously mentioned that PSG are keen to move him on as soon as possible.

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