FootballSports

Chelsea muscle in on Paris Saint-Germain’s Achraf Hakimi pursuit

With most of the major European seasons now complete, the rumour mill has been sent into overdrive as clubs ponder their moves ahead of what will be a busy transfer window. Check out the latest gossip below, and see all official deals here.

TOP STORY: Chelsea match PSG offer for Hakimi

Chelsea have matched Paris Saint-Germain‘s offer for Internazionale wing-back Achraf Hakimi, and the Italians are said to favour the Blues’ proposal, according to Sky Sports Italia.

The offer from both clubs to sign Hakimi is for a fee of around €60 million, which falls short of Inter’s valuation of nearer to €75m. However, Inter are interested in Chelsea’s defensive duo Emerson Palmieri and Andreas Christensen, who could both be offered in exchange as part of the negotiations.

Inter are said to be particularly keen on Palmieri on loan, though Chelsea would prefer the move to be permanent.

Morocco international Hakimi scored seven goals and registered 10 assists last season and has subsequently become a target for a number of Europe’s top clubs.

The 22-year-old joined Inter from Real Madrid last summer for €40m and was an influential part of the club’s Serie A title-winning season.

Hakimi can play as a right-back or wing-back, the latter suiting Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel’s system of a five-man backline.

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10.45 BST: French side Marseille are targeting a move for Barcelona playmaker Philippe Coutinho this summer.

Mundo Deportivo, citing reports in Brazil, says the club’s Spanish president, Pablo Longoria, is “thinking big” and wants to build a squad capable of competing for the Ligue 1 title next season.

The report adds that Marseille coach Jorge Sampaoli, who was appointed in March, is a big fan of Coutinho, although the financial side of the deal could prove a stumbling block.

Coutinho, 28, joined Barca for a club-record €160m from Liverpool in 2018 and commands a huge salary. However, sources have told ESPN that the Brazil international is one of the players Barca are keen to move on this summer as they look to restructure their squad.

Sources close the player, meanwhile, say future plans are on hold until he’s recovered from an injury that has left him sidelined for the last six months.

10.09 BST: Lautaro Martinez‘s agent has confirmed the Inter Milan striker would like to play for Barcelona one day but said there has been no contact from the Catalan club this summer.

Martinez helped Inter win Serie A this season, but the Italian side could be forced to let him leave to help ease their financial burden.

“We have to resolve the situation with Inter first, but of course he would like to [play for Barca],” Alejandro Camano told Diario SPORT. “Who wouldn’t? They’re one of the biggest clubs in the world. [But] no one from Barcelona has called me. I have a very good relationship with [director of football] Mateu Alemany, but there’s nothing, so we’re not thinking about it now.”

Camano said that reports Inter would want €90m from clubs to sign for Martinez were “exaggerated” and confirmed the forward had turned down the chance to extend his contract, which runs until 2023, by an additional year.

“Inter made us an offer but for now we’ve said that we are happy how we are,” he added.

09.50 BST: Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester United are all keen on Brighton’s £50m-rated defender Ben White, say the Daily Mirror.

White, 23, had a fine season and his inclusion in England’s 26-man squad for Euro 2020 has only increased the interest in him.

Arsenal are the latest club to be linked but will struggle to raise the kind of fee that Brighton want.

09.27 BST: Inter Miami CF co-owner Jorge Mas is “optimistic” about bringing Barcelona forward Lionel Messi to play in Major League Soccer.

Messi, 33, is out of contract with Barca at the end of June and has previously expressed a desire to play in the United States in the final years of his career.

Barca president Joan Laporta is “convinced” Messi will extend his stay at Camp Nou in the short term, although the club are working on a long-term deal that would allow him to end his career in MLS.

Mas has confirmed that he and co-owner David Beckham are hopeful of accommodating the Argentina international in Miami if he does decide to move to the U.S.

“David and I have been working really hard, we have aspirations of bringing the best players here and Messi is a generational player, arguably the best player of all time,” Mas told the Miami Herald.

“I am optimistic Messi will play in an Inter Miami shirt because I think it will complete the legacy of the greatest player in our generation and will meet with the ambitions of the owners of Inter Miami to build a world-class team.”

09.04 BST: Celtic have confirmed former Australia boss Ange Postecoglou as their new manager on a 12-month rolling contract.

Postecoglou joins Celtic from Yokohama F. Marinos, where he won the J League title.

“The opportunity that has been given to me is one of the greatest honours in football and the responsibility to lead our magnificent football club into the future is one that I will cherish dearly,” he said.

“Celtic is one of THE names in world football, of that there is no doubt — a giant of a club, a proper footballing institution and so much more – real history, real substance, real authenticity and real soul. I know Celtic is a true way of life for so many people and I know the demands which come with this position — I am ready to do all I can to meet those demands.

“I will be doing everything I can to get our great Club back on top and, at the same time, deliver the kind of football which our fans appreciate. We want to entertain our fans and we want to win, these are the objectives which I always set myself and which I now begin work on.”

08.46 BST: Ilkay Gundogan is waiting for an indication of how strong Barcelona’s interest in him is before committing to a new contract at Manchester City, The Sun reports.

Gundogan was City’s top scorer last season as they won the Premier League title, his third in five seasons at the club.

The 30-year-old is a target for Barcelona, while City may look to transfer the Germany international if he is not prepared to sign a new long-term deal.

08.00 BST: Celtic are on the verge of confirming Ange Postecoglou as their new manager, sources have told ESPN’s Tom Hamilton.

Postecoglou has agreed personal terms, and Celtic have settled compensation with J1 League side Yokohama F. Marinos. Sources have told ESPN Postecoglou is due to take up the post in July.

Celtic also needed the approval of UEFA for the move, as Postecoglou does not hold a UEFA Pro License. With all terms agreed, he is set to replace Neil Lennon, who resigned as Celtic boss in February.

Postecoglou, 55, has been in charge of Yokohama since 2018, and led them to the J1 title in 2019. He has also won the A-League with Brisbane Roar, and managed Australia from 2013 to 2017, where he won the 2015 Asian Cup.

– Lynch: What Celtic fans can expect from Postecoglou

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Julien Laurens and Steve Nicol discuss former A.S. Roma manager Paulo Fonseca being in advanced talks to take over Tottenham.

PAPER GOSSIP (by Nick Judd)

Tottenham Hotspur appear to be edging closer to their first signing of the summer: Borussia Monchengladbach forward Marcus Thuram. That’s the view of RMC Sport journalist Mohamed Bouhafsi who says that the German side are begrudgingly willing to allow their young star to leave following their failure to quality for Europe next season. Thuram has scored 25 goals in two seasons in Germany.

Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea is not only staying in Manchester next season, he’s expecting to be the club’s No. 1, according to the Sun. The 30-year-old Spaniard had a mixed season in 2020-21 and battled it out with Dean Henderson for a starting place in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s starting XI, and he was at one point rumoured to be on the verge of an exit from Old Trafford. However, De Gea believes his future remains in Manchester.

Arsenal have been offered former midfielder Aaron Ramsey by Juventus, with the Italian giants keen to take Hector Bellerin in the other direction, according to Sport. They’re reporting that Ramsey could be in line for a stunning return to north London after leaving the club in 2019. He has made 65 appearances since, but Juve are keen to freshen up their squad and bring Bellerin to Turin.

Atletico Madrid have rejected an offer from Manchester United to sign right-back Kieran Trippier, according to Football Insider. United have made a formal bid of £10m for the 30-year-old but have been told they will need to increase their offer if they’re to have any chance of landing the England international this summer.

– Jose Mourinho’s Roma are closing in on a deal for Granit Xhaka from Arsenal for around £15.5m, according to Corriere dello Sport. The former Gladbach midfielder has been linked with the Italians for a number of weeks and it appears as though the Giallorossi are close to finally landed the 28-year-old. Xhaka was a divisive figure among the Gunners’ fan base, but Mourinho will feel he’s getting a midfielder in his prime. Arsenal are believed to be chasing Ruben Neves from Wolverhampton Wanderers in an effort to bolster their own squad.

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