The summer transfer window is approaching 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! Barcelona are on the lookout for a high-profile striker in the summer and Sport reports that they are in talks to sign Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski, with Sergino Dest potentially moving the other way.
Poland international Lewandowski is set to become a free agent in 2023, with no signs that he will pen a new contract in Bavaria after eight years at the club.
The 33-year-old has scored 339 goals in 367 appearances across all competitions for Bayern, becoming one of the most feared strikers in Europe. His tally last year broke Gerd Muller’s 49-year record for most goals in a Bundesliga season and his 31 this season shows he is not slowing down.
Lewandowski’s contractual issues could see Barca boss Xavi Hernandez pounce on the opportunity to land him, though Bayern value the striker at €65 million, something that could be too much for Barca given their financial difficulties.
That’s where Dest comes in, with the report claiming that Bayern are interested in the United States international full-back as an option for the future. The 21-year-old, who has started just 15 league games this season, could be included in a swap deal plus cash that would suit both sides.
12.40 BST: Sergio Ramos doesn’t want to leave Paris Saint-Germain, says RMC Sport, despite struggling in his first year at the club.
Ramos, 36, has had persistent injury problems since arriving on a free transfer from Real Madrid last summer.
The Spain defender has been linked with a move to MLS, but the report claims he is not ready to give up on his career in Paris just yet.
11.27 BST: If Man United miss out on the Champions League then they will struggle to attract star players in the summer.
10.55 BST: Newcastle are ready to offer £20m to sign Brighton goalkeeper Robert Sanchez, says The Sun.
Sanchez, 24, has impressed on the south coast and Newcastle boss Eddie Howe wants to bring in competition for first-choice Martin Dubravka.
Newcastle have also been linked with more high-profile options in recent weeks, with Chelsea’s Kepa Arrizabalaga, Man United’s Dean Henderson and Arsenal’s Bernd Leno on the shortlist as they have fallen down the pecking order at their respective clubs.
10.02 BST: The Daily Mirror says that Birmingham City want Manchester United forward Tahith Chong back on loan next season.
Chong, 22, did well at St Andrew’s in the first part of season but underwent surgery on a groin problem that ended up sidelining him for over four months and returned to Old Trafford in November, before returning to the club in February.
United have taken up the year’s option on Chong’s contract but the Netherlands U21 international needs first-team experience and could end up out on loan again next season after previous spells at Werder Bremen and Club Brugge.
City are in the market for a striker and are confident they can put together a financial package to cover the €75m release clause in Haaland’s contract with Borussia Dortmund (which comes into effect this year), the Norwegian’s wages and other associated fees including payments to agents.
Sources said that the departures of Angelino, Ferran Torres and Jack Harrison (for combined fees of around €85m) have left City in a strong financial position ahead of the summer window.
They also believe the lure of working with Pep Guardiola and a track record of success which has seen the club win three of the last four Premier League titles can convince Haaland to spend the next stage of his career at the Etihad Stadium.
09.00 BST: Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has said Ajax manager Erik ten Hag could be a strong candidate to succeed him.
Ten Hag is also among a handful of names linked to the top job at Manchester United as interim manager Ralf Rangnick’s tenure is set to conclude at the end of the campaign. Sources have told ESPN that Ten Hag has held talks over the role at Old Trafford.
Guardiola joined City in 2016 and has a contract until the end of next season. He said in January he might make a decision on his future this summer.
“Could Erik ten Hag be here at City? Definitely. I think he could be the one,” Guardiola said. “For the way he approaches the game, definitely.”
Guardiola worked with Ten Hag at Bundesliga club Bayern Munich for two seasons when Ten Hag was in charge of the second team.
Lewandowski and finally reach quarterfinals?
The groups are now officially set for the 2022 World Cup! During the Friday draw in Qatar, CONCACAF representatives Mexico were placed into Group C with Argentina, Poland and Saudi Arabia.
So now the questions come: Do Mexico have a chance to emerge out of the group stage? Will manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino and his men reach the mythical “quinto partido” and get to a quarterfinal for the first time ever in a World Cup not on home soil?
What to expect for Mexico in the group stage
The opening match against Poland could make or break Mexico. On paper, Argentina are the favorites within the four, likely leaving Mexico or Poland to fight for second place.
Led by 2021 Ballon d’Or runner-up Robert Lewandowski, one of El Tri’s most daunting challenges in the group stage will be an effort to silence the Bayern Munich player who is arguably the best striker in the world. That said, Poland aren’t nearly as threatening in other areas of their XI and entered the tournament through the UEFA playoffs after being unable to top their qualification group. A change in management before the playoffs also indicates that this team could be a work-in-progress.
After potentially surviving a battle against a Ballon d’Or contender, Mexico will take on Lionel Messi, the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, in their second game against Argentina. Unlike Poland, Argentina have a much more well-rounded roster and will be expected to lead Group C. For El Tri, there’s a sense of revenge in this matchup after being pushed out of the round of 16 by the South American powerhouse in the 2010 and 2006 editions of the World Cup.
Last, but definitely not least, will be Herve Renard’s Saudi Arabia. Although they appear to be the easiest opponent for Mexico on paper, Saudi Arabia recently topped their respective group in the Asian Football Confederation’s final qualifying round with seven wins and two draws in 10 matches. As for Renard, the French manager is well-versed in helping underdogs in the World Cup after previously leading Morocco to an impressive 2-2 draw with Spain and a narrow 1-0 loss to Portugal in the 2018 edition of the tournament.