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LIVE Transfer Talk: Liverpool move for Lille’s Pepe and Leverkusen’s Brandt

The transfer window for Europe’s biggest clubs is closed, but you can click here to review all the deals. Transfer Talk will continue to scour the world’s media and set correspondents loose to see what’s on the agenda for the summer.

TOP STORY: Liverpool move for Pepe and Brandt

Liverpool aren’t having too many problems up front this season, but they need a reliable backup for Roberto Firmino and have reportedly made a move for Lille striker Nicolas Pepe.

Arsenal, Manchester United and Everton are all keen on Ivory Coast international Pepe, but Le10 Sport reports that Jurgen Klopp’s side have made a formal approach to sign him in the summer.

The 23-year-old has scored 19 times in Ligue 1 and Lille president Gerard Lopez has said the club are open to a sale at the right price.

Meanwhile, Liverpool are ready to trigger Bayern Leverkusen forward Julian Brandt‘s release clause, according to Sport Bild.

Germany international Brandt would only cost £21.5m, which seems a steal in this market.


20.30 BST: The Mohamed Salah to Real Madrid rumours are back folks. After Spanish publication AS published a story last week that hinted at disharmony between Salah and manager Jurgen Klopp, French outlet Telefoot has thrown more wood on the fire.

Telefoot journalist Fred Calenge backed up those reports with a similar sentiment.

Salah has picked up his play of late for the Reds and with Liverpool still alive for the Champions League and Premier League titles, the Egyptian star has more important fish to fry than transfer rumours right now.

19.43 BST: Pep Guardiola and Man City have been linked with Lionel Messi before but now they are being linked with the ‘new Messi’ Thiago Almada.

The 17-year-old Argentine has become a regular starter for Velez Sarsfield this season and reportedly already has an admirer in City boss Guardiola. The midfielder has three goals this season for Velez and according to the Sun, City are willing to spend up to £20 million on a player who is rated the best young talent in all of Argentina.

19.02 BST: Staying with Man United for the moment, noise is starting to build that Romelu Lukaku could be one of players out the door as part of a major makeover expected this summer.

The Telegraph suggests that United are open to selling the £75 million striker with PSG, Bayern Munich and Inter Milan all reportedly interested. The 25-year-old Belgian has scored 42 goals in 94 appearances for the Red Devils but the emergence of Marcus Rashford and Lukaku’s streakiness have led to questions about his future and whether he fits at Old Trafford.

With a regular starting role no longer likely at United, don’t be surprised to see the Belgium international playing his football elsewhere next season.

18.09 BST: Man United’s defensive deficiencies were again on full display on Sunday in a 4-0 thrashing at Everton.

With the club in desperate need of signing a top centre-back, Bayern Munich’s Niklas Sule is the latest name being linked with a move to Old Trafford. According to German outlet sport1, United have made an enquiry about the 23-year-old Germany international.

Sule is thought to be valued at around £40 million and is just the latest centre-back linked joining the likes of Harry Maguire, Kalidou Koulibaly, Toby Alderweireld and Raphael Varane among others, 

17.18 BST: Jurgen Klinsmann to return to Germany to manage in the Bundesliga?

With recent rumours linking the former Germany star and national team manager to various clubs in the league, Klinsmann decided to quash those rumours himself by saying there is no truth to them and then proceeding to wish us all a Happy Easter.

Way to ruin all the fun Jurgen!

16.22 BST: Atletico Madrid are the latest club to become a potential summer destination for Spurs defender Kieran Trippier, according to the Mail. England international Trippier has also been linked with Napoli.

15.32 BST: Come summer, when transfer deals are well and truly under way, we could get a sneak preview of new Barcelona and Arsenal faces at the Joan Gamper Trophy. Mundo Deportivo reports that the Gunners are potential opponents.

14.18 BST: Nice president Gauthier Ganaye has said any club wanting to bring Olivier Giroud back to France from Chelsea will have to dig deep, telling Telefoot: “His salary? Yeah, it’s really expensive.”

13.11 BST: Yaya Toure could consider a move to MLS or China as he looks to resume his career after leaving Olympiakos in December. “Why not in the United States, or in the Gulf or in Asia? I will take the time to think and see what I decide next season,” former Manchester City star Toure told Canal +.

12.14 BST: Leicester are favourites to sign midfielder Youri Tielemans, on loan with them from Monaco, despite reported interest from Spurs and Manchester United, the Leicester Mercury says.

11.12 BST: Newcastle forward Ayoze Perez has indicated that he could be on the move at the end of the season, saying: “In the summer, there are going to be options. I’ll be up for hearing what is coming, but that does not mean I am going to leave 100 percent.”

10.17 BST: Gareth Bale could be leaving Real Madrid on loan, according to the Independent, which says Madrid may accept a temporary move “due to a lack of interest in a permanent transfer for the Wales international.”

Bale, 29, is among the players tipped to leave the Bernabeu as returning coach Zinedine Zidane looks to reshape his squad in the summer.

09.49 BST: Roy Hodgson has said star man Wilfried Zaha is happy at Crystal Palace despite his recent comments that he wanted to play Champions League football. Speaking after the win at Arsenal, Hodgson said: “I’m looking forward to seeing him in a Crystal Palace shirt for many years to come. How many players, if the question is put to them, will say they don’t want to play Champions League football?”

09.23 BST: Fresh from scoring the hat trick that confirmed the Ligue 1 title for Paris Saint-Germain, Kylian Mbappe has dismissed talk that he could be heading for Real Madrid. “I am here, and I am invested in the PSG project,” he said. “[Zinedine] Zidane’s return to Real Madrid? Good for them if Zizou is back — I will tune in to their matches as an admirer.”

08.30 BST: Mauro Icardi’s wife and agent, Wanda Nara, has said the Argentina international will continue at Inter Milan next season.

Icardi’s future has been in doubt since he was stripped of the club captaincy in February and dropped from the squad amid contract negotiations that became a topic on social media. He returned after an an absence of almost two months on April 3.

The striker, linked with Real Madrid and Manchester United in the past, is tied to Inter until June 2021. But Nara, asked about Icardi’s future, told Canale 5: “We will continue here. We will remain here next year … He is much more serene now.”

PAPER TALK (By Stephen Wright)

Chelsea eye Coutinho move

Chelsea are looking for a replacement for Eden Hazard, who looks set to join Real Madrid in the summer, and CalcioMercato reports that Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho is the man on their radar. 

The Blues have been hit with a FIFA transfer ban which they hope to overturn, but sources have told ESPN that Barcelona would consider a sale if a bid of around £90m was made.

Madrid is still ‘home’ for Marcelo

Despite speculation that Marcelo could be on his way to Juventus to join former Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo, he has said he is happy at the Bernabeu.

“Everyone knows the happiness I have, and I show that every day training or playing, wearing this shirt,” he said.

“There are so many things that are said from outside. I don’t think about that. Madrid is my home, and those who know me know the truth.”

Sergio Reguilon’s upturn in form has seen game time for Marcelo decrease this season, but he has three years remaining on his contract and — for now — seems content to see it through.

AC Milan hopeful of signing Bakayoko permanently

Chelsea midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, on loan at AC Milan, might be making his stay permanent, CalcioMercato reports.

It won’t be completely straightforward — Milan would have to fork out €35 million, and existing issues with Financial Fair Play could make that difficult.

Given his frequent inclusion in Milan’s squad compared to his limited minutes at Chelsea, the Serie A side hope they can persuade the Blues to drop Bakayoko’s price.


CalcioMercato reports that Paulo Dybala’s future at Juventus is “very uncertain” and they are likely to consider offers in the summer unless Max Allegri can work him into his plans for next season.

Ilkay Gundogan could be set to swap Manchester City for Inter Milan if Pep Guardiola’s side can get a deal across the line for Ajax’s Hakim Ziyech, CalcioMercato says.

EltasZone Sportswriters, Sports Analysts, Opinion columnists, editorials and op-eds. Analysis from The Zone Team
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