The transfer window for Europe’s biggest clubs is closed, but click here for all the deals and keep track of who has joined the big boys,. And 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: Konate chase is on
Arsenal scouts have been spotted in Germany, monitoring the progress of RB Leipzig centre-back Ibrahima Konate.
That’s according to Sport Bild, which also warns Gunners boss Unai Emery that he won’t have things his own way, with Arsenal far from the only club to be eyeing the Frenchman. The German newspaper claims Arsenal’s scout will have recognised some familiar faces in the Leipzig stands, with Chelsea and West Ham apparently also turning up to watch the 19-year-old.
Konate has been outstanding for Leipzig so far this season, having moved to the Bundesliga from French side Sochaux in 2017.
22.30 GMT: That’s going to bring Monday’s live edition of Transfer Talk to a close. Thanks very much for joining us, and be sure to check back in a few short hours when we return with the latest gossip pulled from Tuesday’s back pages.
21.00 GMT — DONE DEAL: Real Salt Lake have confirmed the signing of 25-year-old Liberian striker Sam Johnson to a designated player contract from Norwegian side Valerenga.
#RSL signs forward Sam Johnson as a Designated Player
Welcome, Sam 👋
— Real Salt Lake (@realsaltlake) February 4, 2019
19.30 GMT: With Paulo Dybala reportedly unhappy with a reduction in minutes at Juventus, Inter are evaluating a potential summer bid that could eclipse €130m, Calciomercato cites Tuttosport as reporting.
18.00 GMT: Cristiano Ronaldo has called former Real Madrid teammate James Rodriguez to convince the Colombia international to leave Los Blancos at the conclusion of his two-year loan at Bayern Munich and join the Portugal captain at Juventus, Marca is reporting.
16.30 GMT — DONE DEAL: Norwich defender Caleb Richards has signed a new contract at Carrow Road and joined Tampa Bay Rowdies on loan.
15.45 GMT: Brentford striker Neal Maupay, linked with a number of clubs after his prolific season so far, believes he can reach the Premier League with the Bees in the near future. The Mirror quotes him as saying: “For me, it’s easy. Brentford gave me a chance and I feel really confident in this team. When I start something I want to finish it, so we have to keep on building.”
15.10 GMT — DONE DEAL: New York City FC have announced the arrival of Alexandru Mitrita from Romanian club Universitatea Craiova as a Designated Player on a permanent deal. He can operate as a midfielder, winger or forward.
— New York City FC (@NYCFC) February 4, 2019
14.26 GMT: Aaron Lennon became Leeds’ youngest player when making his Premier League debut in 2003, and the Sun reports that he could be returning.
Lennon, who received treatment for a “stress-related illness” while at Everton, is now at Burnley. And, though an injury means the winger might not play again this season, Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa is evidently keeping an eye on him.
14.02 GMT: Inter Milan’s sporting director Beppe Marotta insists Ivan Perisic will “prove with facts that he is good enough” after the rumours of a move to Arsenal.
“He just felt a bit unsettled,” Marotta said. “Barriers no longer exist and players are straighter with their clubs, there was nothing to hide. The player is an asset now and he has a value.”
13.36 GMT: Liverpool’s Marko Grujic may not have done enough to convince the club to keep him, but Hertha Berlin sporting director Michael Preetz wants the Serbian to stay once his loan move ends.
“First and foremost, we’re happy that we have Marko,” Preetz told Kicker. “I’d always prefer that a player helps me out for a year than not at all. We’ll certainly talk to Liverpool about the next season.”
12.49 GMT: France defender Benjamin Pavard has told BILD how he came to the decision to move to Bayern Munich from Stuttgart, rather than go to the Premier League.
“I had a key moment, when I stood with Stuttgart in the Allianz Arena tunnel last season,” he said. “I saw the Bayern players sitting next to me and felt the atmosphere, I knew: ‘I want to play there someday.’
“The change was not a question of money for me. I love Germany, the mentality, the Bundesliga. That’s why I really wanted to stay here. When FC Bayern’s offer came, I did not have to think for a second.”
12.27 GMT: Marek Hamsik is set to leave Napoli and join Chinese club Dalian Yifang.
Former Napoli captain Paolo Cannavaro indirectly confirmed the move by posting a picture of Hamsik’s shirt he wore at the weekend with a dedication to him on it, writing: “Here it is, unfortunately the day no Napoli fan wanted to see has arrived. But unfortunately everything in life has a start and an end, but you have done something exceptional in this time from start to finish. I am convinced that the name Marek Hamsik will be heard eternally in the streets of our city. Thanks for gifting me emotions and your final shirt, worn with so much love. Hamsik is one of us, thanks for everything.”
11.42 GMT: Japan international Shoya Nakajima has become the biggest Asian transfer of all time, joining Qatari first-division club Al-Duhail from Portuguese top-flight outfit Portimonense for €35m.
“I will be moving from Portimonense to Al-Duhail,” Nakajima wrote on his official blog. “I’ll continue to have fun playing soccer and work hard to get better at it! I had a wonderful time at Portimonense. I thank the club officials, the staff, and my teammates. I hope to enjoy my days at Al-Duhail as much as possible!”
Al-Duhail are currently second in the Qatari top flight and signed Medhi Benatia from Juventus last month. The previous biggest Asian transfer record was €30m for Son Heung-Min to Spurs in 2015.
11.04 GMT: Paul Pogba considered leaving Manchester United towards the end of Jose Mourinho’s tenure, but is much happier since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over, his brother has said.
“Things were not going well under Mourinho,” Mathias Pogba told Telefoot. “Now that Solskjaer has given him the keys to the team, so to speak, things have started up again. That’s what my little brother needs.”
10.28 GMT: Manchester United have targeted Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly this summer but his agent claims that he could be available for a figure LESS than the £95m which they reportedly already offered before the January window opened.
When asked about possible links with PSG, Bruno Satin told Canal+: “PSG already have plenty of central defenders. Maybe he can play at No.10, they already play Marquinhos at No.6.
“But if Koulibaly leaves [Napoli], he will not come to PSG. His transfer could cost €100m (£87.5m).”
10.05 GMT: Barcelona’s Luis Suarez wasn’t giving much away when asked about a potential return for Neymar.
“In football, I always say that you never know what might happen,” he told SPORT. “He is enjoying himself in Paris and has clear goals there. Obviously, as a teammate, friend, or football fan, I always want the best alongside me. However, it is something hypothetical.”
According to the publication, Brahim, who signed for Madrid on a permanent transfer from Manchester City last month, will do preseason with Los Blancos with the aim of remaining at the club for the 2019-20 campaign.
AS claim that one of the reasons why Brahim left City to join Madrid was because the Premier League side had tried to send him out on loan on several occasions but the player opted to remain in Manchester, even if he had limited playing time. Madrid reportedly feel that Brahim is ready to play for the first team and believe it would be better for the 19-year-old to continue his progress at the club.
“I think both clubs failed to completely agree on my transfer fee,” he said. “Honestly, I do not know too much and I did not ask many questions either — simply put, it is a very frustrating situation for me. Ultimately, I did not even do the medical. Both clubs never came to a full agreement. I was really happy — very excited. I am still young, though, so I have time. I have to keep doing things properly & keep improving, so that PSG remain interested in me.”
08.36 GMT: Onda Cero report that Atletico Madrid can expect a heated summer with several clubs having joined the race to sign their defender Lucas Hernandez. The France international was close to leaving Atletico for Bayern Munich in the winter transfer window, with the Bundesliga giants reportedly prepared to pay his €80m (£72m) release clause. The 22-year-old extended his deal with Atletico last summer until 2024.
08.00 GMT: Mario Balotelli may have a new club, Marseille, but he’s already talking about how he wants to end his career.
He told Italian television show, Queli che il Calcio: “I never really thought about going back to [Italy] in these months. But I do not deny that I would like to close my career at Brescia.”
PAPER TALK (by Richard Edwards)
When Harry met Ole?
Harry Maguire‘s on-off transfer to Manchester United following his stunning World Cup with England ended with old Slab Head staying at the King Power rather than making the switch to Old Trafford.
But are United’s feelings for Maguire still very much alive? That would certainly seem to be the case after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side beat Leicester 1-0 on Sunday afternoon to continue the Norwegian’s incredible start to his managerial career at Old Trafford.
Despite their defeat, Maguire was magnificent and Solskjaer clearly shares Jose Mourinho’s admiration for the England man.
The Metro reports that Solskjaer described the Leicester centre-back as a “fantastic player” after Maguire showed his attacking prowess throughout Sunday’s Premier League clash.
Is love in the air? Again?
Bojan to Rev up?
Bojan Krkic may be long past the time when people considered him the ‘new Lionel Messi‘ but the 28-year-old forward still has a point to prove and may now choose to do that in MLS.
The Stoke forward has a chance to double his wages by moving to America, say the Sun who report: “Bojan is on £27,000-a-week with the Championship Potters — but New England Revolution are willing to give him a £50k weekly salary.”
Revs boss Brad Friedel knows a thing or two about playing in the Premier League but has until May 1 to do a deal.
– Tuttosport claims that Juventus are lining up a summer swoop for Real Madrid star Marcelo. The Bianconeri reportedly have a £45 million bid at the ready for the 30-year-old Brazilian.
– Aston Villa are set to bring Swansea defender Mike van der Hoorn to the Midlands this summer, so says the Birmingham Mail.