LIVE Transfer Talk: Arsenal prep €40m bid for Locatelli

Euro 2020 and the Copa America are over and the summer transfer window is open, leaving Europe’s biggest clubs clear to make a splash in the market. Check out the latest gossip below, and see all official deals here.

TOP STORY: Arsenal hope to tempt Locatelli’s gaze away from Turin

Arsenal are prepared to pay a €40 million transfer fee for Sassuolo‘s Manuel Locatelli despite the Italy star’s preference to stay in Serie A for his next move, according to Fabrizio Romano.

The 23-year-old is set to meet with Sassuolo to discuss a move away from the club after impressing at Euro 2020, where he scored twice and played in a part in the Azzurri beating England in the final.

Locatelli would reportedly prefer a switch to Juventus, which could rule Arsenal out of a move. The Gunners are said to only want players who are fully convinced to join the club. However, it could also be dependent on Juve’s own financial situation and outgoings in their midfield.

Locatelli joined Sassuolo from AC Milan in 2019 for a fee worth roughly €14.5m following a successful loan stint. In his career, he has made over 140 Serie A appearances, 99 with his current club, and impressed Roberto Mancini enough to earn an international call-up.

For Arsenal, the deal represents one of many on a reported spending spree over the summer. The Gunners have been widely linked with a £50m move for Brighton‘s Ben White, as well as Lyon‘s Houssem Aouar and Anderlecht‘s Albert Sambi Lokonga. The club’s planned recruitment rebuild could help them rebound back into European contention, failing to qualify for continental football for the first time in 25 seasons.

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14.17 BST: Newcastle manager Steve Bruce has revealed that the club are still hopeful of bringing Arsenal’s Joe Willock back to the club for another loan spell next season.

Willock joined Newcastle in January until the end of the season. The 21-year-old scored eight goals in 14 appearances including one in each of his last seven games of the season to help the Magpies to finish 12th in the Premier League.

Bruce said after Sunday’s friendly against York City: “It’s really Arsenal’s decision, and until Arsenal make a decision — a bit like all the big clubs, they have a look over preseason — we’ll keep monitoring and badgering away.

“We’d love to do something but it’s still Arsenal’s call.”

13.42 BST: Manchester United are set to seek a solution to their interest in Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane before turning their attention to other targets to ensure they stay within their budget for the summer transfer window, sources have told ESPN’s Rob Dawson.

United have been encouraged that a deal for Varane is possible after entering into negotiations with the Frenchman’s representatives over personal terms.

Once an agreement is in place, they will look to begin talks with Madrid over a fee but sources have told ESPN that funds are limited after committing £72.9 million on a deal for Jadon Sancho.

Reports in Spain have suggested Madrid would accept around €50m for the 28-year-old, who has entered the last year of his contract, but there have been suggestions at Old Trafford that even that would be too high and a compromise would have to be found.

Because of the financial constraints, United will first assess what it will take to bring in Varane — the top target for Solskjaer and the recruitment team — before deciding whether it is possible to pursue other targets.

12.52 BST: Gab Marcotti takes a look at the glut of top players who are entering the final year of their contracts this summer and explains how we got into this unprecedented situation:

It’s one of the byproducts of the COVID-induced cash crunch in football, and it has created an unprecedented situation across Europe. At no point in recent history have so many key players at big clubs found themselves in the final year of their contract, as is the case heading into the 2021-22 season.

You want forwards? How about Paulo Dybala, Alexandre Lacazette or Kylian Mbappe? And you can probably add Erling Haaland to that list: he’s not in the last year of his deal, but given his release clause that kicks in after next season — thought to be around €70m — is so much less than his market value, he may as well be. And that’s just the big-name 30-and-under forward cohort. If you want guys who are slightly more seasoned — but still A-list contributors — how about Karim Benzema, Luis Suarez or, yep, even Cristiano Ronaldo? Gareth Bale too, if that’s your taste…

Are midfielders more your thing? Consider Leon Goretzka, Franck Kessie, Thomas Delaney, Marcelo Brozovic, Sergi Roberto, Isco and Paul Pogba, all of whom are 30 and under. If you’re good with a bit of grey mixed in, you can extend it to Luka Modric, Axel Witsel or Angel Di Maria.

Are defenders your bag? How about Raphael Varane, Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger, Nacho, Alessio Romagnoli, John Stones, Serge Aurier or Dani Carvajal? You want keepers? We got those too… Andre Onana, Samir Handanovic and Hugo Lloris, to name a few.

– Marcotti: Ronaldo Mbappe, Pogba could lead free-agent frenzy

12.11 BST: Atletico Madrid have no intention of losing Kieran Trippier this summer amid reports that Manchester United are interested in the England defender, according to AS.

Trippier set up six goals in 28 league appearances to help Atletico lift the La Liga title last season. He is under contract with Atletico until June 2023 and the Rojiblancos are keen to keep him in the squad at least until next summer. The 30-year-old is reportedly keen to return to England to be closer to his family after two great seasons in Madrid.

United are reportedly willing to offer Atletico €24m to sign the former Tottenham star, who is on holiday after reaching the Euro 2020 final with England.

11.29 BST: Arsenal have identified Norwich City right-back Max Aarons as the player to replace Hector Bellerin should their long-serving star leave the club this summer, according to the Daily Mirror.

Aarons, 21, played in all but one of Norwich’s league games last season as the Canaries achieved promotion back up to the Premier League at the first time of asking as winners of the Championship. However, Norwich may try to resist any transfer approach as they look to consolidate their position in the top flight next season.

The Mirror reports that Bellerin is expected to leave the club this summer, with Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid both linked with the former Arsenal youth player.

10.53 BST: Lazio are close to signing Luka Romero, with Calciomercato reporting that the young midfielder once dubbed “the Mexican Messi” will have a medical on Monday.

Romero became the youngest player ever to appear in La Liga last season when he made his debut for Real Mallorca at the age of 15 years and 219 days in June 2020. He has gone on to make nine appearances for Mallorca, scoring one goal.

Although Romero has now turned 16, Lazio will only have to pay a minimal amount of compensation as he does not have a professional contract with his club.

Romero was born in the Mexican city of Durango in 2004 but has Argentine parents. His father, Diego, was also a footballer and was playing for Alacranes at the time of his birth.

10.26 BST: It’s going to be a dizzying few weeks of rumours and potential moves, with big names such as Kylian Mbappe, Erling Haaland and Robert Lewandowski, among others, the subject of heavy innuendo. But while we sift through what is and isn’t real in that regard, it might be useful to step back and look at what has happened to date.

Acknowledging that there are still loads of moves to come, here are the 10 European teams that have had the best offseasons to date. We will update this periodically as the transfer window continues to unfold.

– Connelly: PSG, Man United, Leipzig having best windows so far

09.48 BST: Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said Jesse Lingard is part of his plans for next season.

Lingard impressed on his return to the team following a loan spell at West Ham United after playing the second half in a 2-1 win over Derby County at Pride Park on Sunday.

The 28-year-old left Old Trafford in January to find regular first-team football but Solskjaer insists he wants to keep the England forward after finding himself short of options at the end of last season.

“Jesse has come back, been bright, he wants to fight for his place and there’s nothing better than seeing players want to fight for their place,” Solskjaer said.

“What he did towards the end of last season, that’s the true Jesse, that’s what we know he’s capable of and I think we saw towards the end that we lacked some options at times and Jesse is in the plans at the moment, yeah.”

09.11 BST: Real Sociedad are favourites to take Japan international Take Kubo on loan from Real Madrid, according to AS.

Kubo is on international duty with Japan and preparing for the Olympics with his future still up in the air. His stay at Madrid has been ruled out because he doesn’t hold a European passport and Madrid’s non-EU quota is already taken by Eder Militao, Vinicius Jr. and Rodrygo.

Kubo, 20, is set to spend another season out on loan. Since joining Los Blancos from FC Tokyo in the summer of 2019, Kubo had a successful loan spell at Mallorca. He spent the first half of last season on loan at Villarreal but was unable to earn regular playing time before moving to Getafe where he played the last six months.

Kubo has plenty of options to play in Spain and overseas. Real Madrid would be open to allow Kubo to strengthen at Real Sociedad, where he would get regular playing time.

08.32 BST: Newcastle United striker Andy Carroll has left the club, manager Steve Bruce has confirmed.

The 32-year-old only made eight Premier League starts over the course of his second spell at his boyhood club as the injuries problems that have plagued much of his career continued.

“He’s out of contract. I had a conversation with Andy,” Bruce said after Sunday’s preseason friendly against York City.

“I think he wants to go and play. I wish the lad all the best. I hope it goes for the rest of his career.

“He’s certainly been a big help to me in the last couple of years, that’s for sure.”

Carroll left Newcastle in January 2011 to join Liverpool in a £35m transfer, but he only scored 11 goals in 18 months at Anfield before he left for West Ham, initially on loan and then for a £15m permanent transfer.

08.00 BST: Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou says the club is “working hard” to bring in more new players ahead of his first season in charge of the Scottish giants.

The Bhoys have already signed defenders Liam Shaw and Osaze Urhoghide as well as wingers Liel Abada and Kyogo Furuhashi this summer. However, Postecoglou insists the club are still looking to strengthen their squad in order to reclaim the Scottish title after Steven Gerrard led Rangers’ championship-winning campaign last term.

“It’s a very young group at the moment that we’re throwing out there,” the former Australia national teram coach told Celtic TV. “It’s no secret that we need to bring some players in and we’re working hard to do that.

Celtic host Danish club Midtjylland in the first leg of their Champions League second qualifying round tie on Tuesday.

– Tan: Can Furuhashi become Celtic’s next Asian cult hero?

PAPER GOSSIP (by Luke Thrower)

– Brighton are looking to sign left wing-back Marc Cucurella from Spanish side Getafe, according to the Daily Mail. The 22-year-old is currently in the Spain squad for the Tokyo Olympic games along with a number of well-known youngsters. The player joined Getafe from Barcelona, following a successful loan spell, in 2020 for roughly £9m. His current contract does, however, include a £15m buy-out clause that would allow him to join the Seagulls if triggered.

Liverpool are set to offload defender Ben Davies just months after joining the club, according to the Sun. The 25-year-old joined from Preston North End back in January in the midst of an injury crisis but also suffered from a spell on the sidelines, failing to register a single minute in a red shirt. However, following the return of Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, and Joel Matip, as well as the incoming Ibrahima Konate, a stay in Merseyside looks unlikely. Sheffield United are said to be interested in a move but only as a loan rather than permanently.

AS Roma have identified Palmeiras left-back Matias Vina as a target this summer, according to Gianluca Di Marzio. The 23-year-old has been linked with a move to Jose Mourinho’s side, who are looking for a replacement for Leonardo Spinazzola, currently sidelined with an Achilles injury suffered at Euro 2020. A package worth €12.5m has reportedly been put together by Roma, including add-ons, for the Uruguayan defender with the hopes of completing the move from Brazilian side in the next few days.

Napoli have joined the race to sign AZ Alkmaar midfielder Teun Koopmeiners, according to Calciomercato. The 23-year-old has been linked with a move to fellow Serie A side Atalanta, but are yet to strike a deal with the Dutch club, giving Napoli a chance to join the race for his signature. The Netherlands international came through the ranks at AZ, making over 100 league appearances and earning an international debut in October 2020.

Everton are close to signing wingers Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend, according to The Times correspondent Paul Joyce. Gray, 25, is set to join Rafa Benitez’s side for £1.5m from Bayer Leverkusen, but made only 10 Bundesliga appearances this season with a hand in one goal and two assists. Townsend, 30, is a free agent, leaving Crystal Palace after five years at the club. The former England international has made over 200 Premier League appearances with 13 England caps along the way.

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