Barcelona, PSG to battle for Paul Pogba, Franck Kessie in midfielder search
The summer transfer window is closed for the top leagues in Europe! After a summer full of international football, countless clubs waited until the last minute to pull off their transfers. See all the major deals here and check out how we graded the biggest signings. But just because the window is shut until January, that doesn’t mean the rumours won’t keep coming.
TOP STORY: Barca, PSG to battle for Pogba, Kessie
Barcelona are interested in a possible move for AC Milan’s Franck Kessie orManchester United’s Paul pogba, but Paris Saint-Germain are keen on both players as well.
That’s according to Mundo Deportivo, which reports that the LaLiga and Ligue 1 outfits could be set to battle it out in order to land a midfielder of their choice in the summer, both of whom are out of contract at the end of the season.
Pogba, 28, is said to be in discussions over a new contract with United, but agent Mino Raiola has not denied a move away from Old Trafford could be on the horizon at the end of the season, with Juventus and Real Madrid also following him.
As for Kessie, Milan are hoping to keep a hold of the 24-year-old, but a move away from the Scudetto challengers looks more likely, with reports constantly linking him with a transfer to some of Europe’s biggest clubs including Tottenham, Real Madrid and Juventus.
A battle between Barcelona and PSG for a midfielder wouldn’t be something new as the two clubs clashed in a free transfer move for Georginio Wijnaldum in the most recent summer window. Barcelona were said to be close to agreeing terms for the Netherlands international before late interest from the French club.
PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino managed to land his man from under Barca’s noses and a similar clash could be in store in the coming months for the services of Kessie and Pogba.
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12.05 BST: Man City boss Pep Guardiola shouldn’t be picking a battle with the club’s fans right now.
Gab Marcotti and Julien Laurens see no winners in the clash between Pep Guardiola and the Man City fans.
11.16 BST: RMC Sport suggests that Chelsea considered making a €100m offer to sign PSG defender Marks this summer.
Sources have told ESPN’s James Olley that Chelsea are set to revive their interest in Jules Kounde during the January transfer window if Sevilla lower their asking price back to around €50m, where the two clubs almost found an agreement this summer.
But RMC claims Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel wanted to recreate Marquinhos’ partnership with Thiago Silva in the Premier League and was ready to go big to land the Brazil international.
However neither PSG nor the defender wanted to talk about a deal.
10.14 BST: Arsenal have struggled to keep hold of their best players in recent years and Calciomercato claims they may have a similar issue soon.
Juventus and Atletico Madrid are reportedly keeping an eye on winger Bukayo Saka.
The 20-year-old is one of England’s best young players and recently signed a new long-term contract at Arsenal.
09.33 BST: Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman is expected to remain in charge for Thursday’s trip to Cadiz but the club are already exploring options to replace him, sources have told ESPN.
Koeman’s position was further weakened by Monday’s 1-1 draw at Camp Nou against Granada, which followed last week’s 3-0 defeat to Bayern Munich.
Sources said that president Joan Laporta held an hour-long emergency meeting with his board of directors after the Granada game as the doubts regarding Koeman’s suitability multiply. However, the lack of alternatives currently available are preventing Laporta from making a rash decision before Barca travel to Cadiz, where they lost in the league last season.
The president doesn’t want an interim option, someone to come in for a few months or until the end of the season, and would like to appoint someone capable of building a long-term project at the club.
Jordi Cruyff, who returned to Barca in an advisory capacity this summer, has championed Belgium boss Roberto Martinez, while former midfielder Xavi Hernandez, currently coaching Al-Sadd in Qatar, is another option. Sources say another candidate is someone who has a history with the club.
Barca vice president Eduard Romeu said last week that money would not be a problem in terms of paying off Koeman, as had previously been suggested due to the club’s financial problems, with gross debt standing at around €1.35 billion.
Barca remain unbeaten in LaLiga this season, with eight points from their four games following the draw with Granada.
Sources explain, though, that performances as much as results have increased the pressure on Koeman, who ended Monday’s game with a makeshift front two of Luuk de Jong and defender Gerard Pique. Barca made 54 crosses in the match, their highest tally in a LaLiga game since they made 55 against Malaga in 2016 and their second highest since the 2005-06 season.
“There wasn’t space to play inside,” Koeman reasoned after the game. “There was more space out wide and we had to fight for the second ball in the box. It’s true we changed our style, but it’s what the game required.
“It depends on what we have available. How are we going to play tiki taki [sic] if there is no space? Look at the squad. We did what we have to do. Today’s Barcelona is not the Barca of eight years ago.”
09.00 BST: Spanish forward Rafa Mir has revealed he held talks with former club Valencia this summer before deciding to join Sevilla instead.
Mir, 24, joined Sevilla on a permanent transfer from Wolverhampton last month.
“It’s true that I had conversations with Valencia because I have a good rapport with the club executives,” he said. “But in the end, I had to take a decision and among all the offers that I had, Sevilla was the best one to continue to grow as a footballer.
“Sevilla showed a lot of confidence in me and were very eager to have me here. For me that was very important when it came to taking that decision. Sevilla is one of the top clubs in Europe and in the world and I decided to take a step forward in my career.”
Alejandro Moreno examines Vinicius Jr.’s rise at Real Madrid after another goal in a 5-2 win vs. Celta Vigo.
PAPER GOSSIP (by Luke Thrower)
– Real Madrid view winger Vinicius Junior as “untouchable and a key player” amid links to a move away from the Bernabeu this summer. Fabrizio Romano reports that Carlo Ancelotti’s side have no intention of the 21-year-old moving on as they look to build for the future. The Brazil international has four years left on his deal and has started the season in scintillating form, scoring five and assisting on two in five appearances so far, including a goal and an assist in Real’s fightback win over Valencia on Sunday.
– Leeds United are eyeing a move for promising Club Brugge forward Noa Lang, according to Football Insider. The 22-year-old has already scored three goals and assisted four in just eight league matches so far this season, with many of Europe’s big clubs monitoring the Netherlands Under-21 international.
– David Neres could be set to leave Ajax as his role at the club is diminishing, reports AS. The 24-year-old winger only has two years left on his deal and has a reported valuation of €27m by the Dutch club. Atletico Madrid and Sevilla had interest in the Brazil international in the summer, but a move never materialised.
– Matias Neighbor‘s agent is set to request a new contract for his client at Internazionale, writes Calciomercato. The midfielder’s deal has less than a year left running on it, with the agent hoping to extend it by three more years.
– AC Milan are eyeing William Carvalho as a successor for Kessie in January should the latter leave the club, according to Calciomercato. The Real Betis midfielder’s deal runs until 2023 and the club will be looking to move him on rather than lose him on a free. It’s believed a loan-to-buy deal could be enough to land the Portugal international.