The winter transfer window is closed, but now it’s time to look ahead to the summer! Here are the new rumours floating around Europe’s big leagues and beyond.
TOP STORY: Chelsea make Henderson key target
Henderson has impressed in a two-season loan spell with Sheffield United, where he has proved a key asset in helping the Blades both return to the Premier League and defy the odds to push for a European qualification spot.
Despite that, Henderson is still unsure where his long-term future lies, although Ole Gunnar Solskjaer recently confirmed he would like the youngster, who is expected to be named to Gareth Southgate’s England squad on Thursday, to compete with David De Gea for the No. 1 spot at Old Trafford next season.
However, the Blues are now said to be ready to test United’s resolve following a series of poor performances from £71.6 million signing Kepa, who was dropped in January and only recalled for last week’s FA Cup win over Liverpool.
Tensions are said to be building at Stamford Bridge with the Star suggesting the Spaniard may soon find himself heading through the exit door. The paper touts Nick Pope as another option, but says the Blues feel that it would be tougher to strike a deal for the Burnley man.
Henderson produced another stunning save against Norwich on Saturday to seal his 10th clean sheet of the season as the Blades secured a 1-0 win at Bramall Lane.
11.19 GMT: AC Milan have confirmed the sacking of Chief Football Officer Zvonimir Boban after his public spat with the Serie A club’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ivan Gazidis. The Croatian, who played for Milan between 1991 and 2001, has been relieved of his duties nine months after returning to San Siro in the newly created CFO role.
Gazidis said in a club statement: “We thank Zvone for his efforts over the past nine months and wish him well in his future endeavours. We must now turn our attention to football and the important games to come.”
Relations between Boban and Gazidis soured when the CEO reportedly contacted former RB Leipzig coach Ralf Rangnick about taking on a role at the club next season as coach and potentially director of sport, without consulting Boban or technical director Paolo Maldini. Boban made his unhappiness clear in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport on Feb. 29, in which he called Gazidis’s behaviour “disrespectful and inelegant.”
The Croatian’s contract was terminated with immediate effect on Saturday, while Gazidis also took the opportunity to express his backing for coach Stefano Pioli, who was appointed following the sacking of Marco Giampaolo in October 2019.
– Marcotti: Milan return to glory threatened by infighting
10.27 GMT: Zinedine Zidane has said he can’t guarantee he’ll be at Real Madrid next season — but denied any contact with Juventus over a job there.
Reports had linked the 47-year-old with a move to the Italian giants this summer as they consider replacing Maurizio Sarri. Zidane spent five years in Turin as a player before joining Real Madrid in 2001.
“No, no … no one has contacted me and I don’t know anything,” Zidane said ahead of Real Madrid’s match at Real Betis in La Liga on Sunday. “You know what it’s like, people say a lot of things.”
However, the French coach was less confident when asked if he’ll be in charge at the Bernabeu next season.
“It’s not like that. Knowing what comes next doesn’t exist,” Zidane said when questioned about his future. “I feel supported by the club, yes, that’s clear. The people that work here, we’re all pulling in the same direction. But after all that, I know how this works. I’m coach of Real Madrid today but tomorrow that could change.”
09.30 GMT: Napoli have contacted the agents of Real Madrid forward Luka Jovic with a view to a move this summer, according to Diario AS.
The newspaper claims that the 22-year-old would be the Italian club’s preferred option to replace Arkadiusz Milik, should he leave this summer.
Madrid signed Jovic for €60m from Eintracht Frankfurt after he scored 17 Bundesliga goals in 2018/19, but the Serbian striker has failed to convince at the Bernabeu, scoring just twice in La Liga.
He has been left out of the Real Madrid squad entirely in recent weeks including for the El Clasico win over Barcelona and this weekend’s game at Real Betis.
AS report that Real Madrid — who are expected to reinforce their forward line this summer — would be willing to consider a loan deal, or a sale with a buy-back clause included.
PAPER TALK (by Liam Wheeler): Inter Milan step up Aubameyang interest following latest revelations
Inter have been linked with the Gabon international in recent weeks, while on Saturday it was revealed that the Gunners may be forced to sell their star striker if he does not reduce his £300k per week wage demands.
That has put Nerazzurri director Beppe Marotta, who is already said to be planning for next season, on red alert with Aubameyang’s current deal set to expire at the end of the 2020-21 campaign.
Alongside Arsenal’s unwillingness to meet Aubameyang’s wage demands, the Italian outlet says Marotta is hoping that the lure of Champions League football will help to seal the deal, with Arsenal locked in an uphill battle to secure European football next season.
Manchester United make Nemanja Matic U-turn
The Manchester United midfielder is set to end speculation over his future by signing a new deal at Old Trafford, the Daily Mail reports.
The Serbian, 31, previously seemed certain to depart the club as a result of regular battles to find both form and fitness with his existing contract up at the end of the current campaign, but a remarkable turnaround in recent weeks has seen the ex-Chelsea player win back a regular starting place.
Matic’s return, alongside the arrival of Bruno Fernandes, has inspired an uplift in form for the Red Devils, who will look to extend their unbeaten run to 10 games against cross-city rivals Manchester City on Sunday.
Speaking ahead of the clash, Solskjaer confirmed: “We have agreed with him [Matic] so he will stay. 100 percent.”
– Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is keen on recently emerged Aston Villa star Jaden Philogene-Bidacer, Football Insider reports. The club is set to face competition from Manchester City — Arteta’s previous employer — although Villa are also hopeful of convincing the player to sign a new deal.
– Serie A side Napoli are said to be considering their options with regard to the future of Poland striker Arkadiusz Milik. Calciomercato reports that talks over a new deal are said to be at a stalemate and the Italian club could lose the player for free next January if a breakthrough is not made before then, while previous suitors Inter Milan no longer see Milik as a priority.
– Bournemouth’s on-loan Liverpool midfielder Harry Wilson has admitted he has a decision to make over his future after Euro 2020, the Mirror reports. The 22-year-old has shone for the Cherries this season with six goals in 23 games, despite it being his first in the Premier League, but knows he will face strong competition for playing time when he returns to Anfield.