Monday, December 11

Man United eye Stuttgart striker Sasa Kalajdzic

The summer transfer window is here, 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!

TOP STORY: Man United eye Stuttgart striker Kalajdzic

Manchester United need to strengthen up front and Sky Germany reports they are interested in signing Stuttgart’s 6-foot-7 striker Sasa Kalajdzic.

Kalajdzic, 25, missed most of last season through injury, but still scored six goals in 15 games. Overall his 22 goals in 48 Bundesliga games suggest a player who has plenty of potential, with Stuttgart’s sports director Sven Mislintat (formerly of Arsenal) claiming that it is “not very likely” the club will be able to keep hold of him.

West Ham, Brighton & Hove Albion and Southampton are also reported to be interested in the Austria international, but he would prioritise a move to United.

Kalajdzic’s contract expires in 2023, meaning that his transfer fee will be around the €25 million region.

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15.18 BST: Newcastle United are keen to sign Real Sociedad striker Alexander Isak, but are aware it could cost over €60m, according to The Daily Telegraph.

Isak, 22, is highly rated and has 43 goals in 128 games for the LaLiga side, with 10 in 39 last season. The Sweden international is considered one of the top young strikers in Europe but has a release clause of around €90m.

Newcastle have already rebuilt their defence entirely — spending over €60m on defenders like Sven Botman and Matt Targett, as well as goalkeeper Nick Pope.

The report claims that Newcastle are looking to sign at least two offensive players this summer, but are finding the market “a difficult one with the money they have to spend.”

14.55 BST: D.C. United have a new manager. But will he be a success?



Sebastian Salazar explains why D.C. United bringing Wayne Rooney as the manager “makes sense” and how this move can be rewarding for the club.

14.46 BST: Barcelona striker Rey Manaj has joined Watford on a permanent deal, the Catalan club have announced. The English side are not paying a transfer fee to sign the Albania international, but Barca will be due 50% of any future transfer.

Manaj, 25, joined Barca’s B team from Albacete in 2020 and did preseason with the first team last summer, scoring a hat trick in a friendly win against Gimnastic de Tarragona. However, he was unable to force his way into then-coach Ronald Koeman’s plans and spent last season on loan at Italian side Spezia Calcio, scoring five times in 30 appearances.

A varied career has previously seen him represent Cremonese, Inter Milan, Pescara, Pisa and Granada, too, and he will now attempt to help Watford back into the Premier League.

14.02 BST: Fabrizio Romano claims that Barcelona have finally submitted an acceptable bid to sign winger Raphinha from Leeds United.

Raphinha, 25, has been the subject of interest from Chelsea, who had a €70m bid accepted last week. But the Brazil international wants to move to Camp Nou and now the club have reportedly made a €58m offer, with another €10m in add-ons, which Leeds will accept.

If you’re wondering how debt-stricken Barcelona can afford to sign a player for a possible €68m, then Sid Lowe can help.

13.38 BST: Marseille have signed plenty of players from Arsenal in recent seasons and now RMC claims they want left-back Nuno Tavares.

Tavares, 22, has struggled at times in the Premier League and, after the successful loans of Matteo Guendouzi and William Saliba, the Gunners may be tempted to send him to Marseille this season.

13.00 BST: Rangers have announce the signing of winger Rabbi Matondo from Schalke.

Matondo, 21, spent his youth career at Cardiff City and then Manchester City, before making the switch to Schalke in 2019. The Wales international was on loan at Belgian side Cercle Bruges last season and scored nine goals in 26 games.

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“I am absolutely buzzing to have signed for a club as big as Rangers,” he said. “I am just looking forward to getting on the pitch at Ibrox in front of the amazing fans we have here at Rangers and I am excited. “This is a big club with a massive history, and I just want to create more memories and more history here at the club.”

Manager Gio van Bronckhorst added: “I’m really pleased to welcome Rabbi to Rangers. I spoke last week about my desire to add more attacking quality to my squad, and we all believe Rabbi will do that.”

12.41 BST: Real Madrid would expect to receive a €10m transfer fee before they would allow forward Borja Mayoral to leave the club, according to Marca.

Mayoral, 25, has spent the last four seasons on loan at Levante, Roma and Getafe — his best return coming in 2020-21, with 10 goals in Serie A — but is now back in preseason training with Madrid.

The player would prefer to stay as back-up for Karim Benzema, despite interest from clubs in LaLiga and Serie A.

12.09 BST: Alvaro Morata will have to accept that he’s fifth-choice striker at Atletico Madrid if he stays at the club this season, Diario AS reports.

Morata wants to stay and fight for his place after two years on loan at Juventus, the newspaper claims, but he’s now behind Antoine Griezmann, Joao Felix, Matheus Cunha and Angel Correa in the pecking order.

The Spain international will have to convince manager Diego Simeone that he’s worthy of a place in the team during preseason training, which got underway last weekend.

11.50 BST: Real Madrid’s failure to bring in a forward — plus departures for Gareth Bale, Luka Jovic and Isco — has made Marco Asensio reconsider his plans to leave the club during this transfer window, Diario AS reports.

Asensio had been expected to leave this summer, with a year left on his contract and Madrid reluctant to offer an extension, and had switched agents to be represented by Jorge Mendes in anticipation of a move. However, Madrid’s lack of transfer activity has made him think twice, the newspaper claims, with Asensio now confident of getting increased playing time this season.

Meanwhile, Onda Cero reported on Monday that Madrid will only look to recruit a forward in the event that Asensio does depart.

Two players on the club’s shortlist are Christopher Nkunku of RB Leipzig — who scored 20 goals in the Bundesliga last season and recently signed a new contract — and Real Sociedad’s Alexander Isak, although the radio station claims that there are some doubts about the Sweden forward.

11.15 BST: Why is Raheem Sterling moving from Man City to Chelsea?



Sebastian Salazar explains why D.C. United bringing Wayne Rooney as the manager “makes sense” and how this move can be rewarding for the club.

10.56 BST: Dani Alves is in advanced negotiations to complete a transfer to Liga MX side Pumas, according to ESPN Mexico.

ESPN Mexico reporter Rene Tovar says the transfer could be completed soon after Alves met with Pumas officials on Monday.

However, Tovar adds that Brazilian club Athletico Paranaense have also made an offer to the 39-year-old right-back, who was released by Barcelona this summer, and hope to convince him to snub a move to Mexico and return to Brazil.

Brazil coach Tite is reportedly keen on the idea of Alves signing for Pumas since the player’s main target is to play regularly in the coming months in order to make the Brazil squad for the 2022 Qatar World Cup in November.

10.22 BST: Lyon striker Moussa Dembele is on the radar of Manchester United, says Media Foot.

Dembele, 26, scored 22 goals in 36 games last season after returning from a poor loan spell at Atletico Madrid. In total he has 67 goals in 144 games at the club, having also played for Fulham and Celtic.

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Lyon have re-signed Alexandre Lacazette from Arsenal this summer, so Dembele could move on and United are looking for options.

10.00 BST: Rodri has signed a new five-year contract with Manchester City, the club have confirmed.

“Joining City in 2019 is the best decision I have made in my career,” the midfielder said. “I have loved every second. The fans have been amazing with me, I feel totally supported by the Club and the manager pushes me every single day.

“I have improved so much as a player, and I want to thank Pep and all the backroom staff for their help. They are completely committed to helping me become the best player I can be, and I appreciate their hard work.”

Rodri has won two Premier League titles since arriving from Atletico Madrid for £63m. He took over from Fernandinho as Pep Guardiola’s preferred central midfielder but could face extra competition for his place next season after the £42m capture of Kalvin Phillips from Leeds United this summer.

“We have been very successful since I came here, which is something that makes me very proud,” he added. “But to be honest, that success has made me even more hungry for me. Once you start winning big titles, you don’t want to stop. City, I feel, offers me the best chance of winning trophies and that’s why I am so pleased to be staying here for longer.”

09.21 BST: Landon Donovan is among the finalists to take over as manager of the San Jose Earthquakes, sources have told ESPN.

One source said that the Quakes are in the final phase of the interview process with five candidates plus the existing coaching staff in consideration. The source added that San Jose has interviewed over 10 people in the process.

The Quakes parted ways with Matias Almeyda back in April, and since then have been managed on an interim basis by Alex Covelo.

Donovan, 40, is in his third season managing the San Diego Loyal in the second-tier USL Championship, with the team positioned in third place in the 14-team Western Conference with 34 points from 19 matches played. In addition to his managerial duties, Donovan is also the co-owner and executive VP of soccer operations.

In 2021, Donovan was among several names linked with the Real Salt Lake job, but he ultimately withdrew his name from consideration, with the post eventually going to his former U.S. international teammate, Pablo Mastroeni. Donovan has also pursued other MLS jobs in the past.

08.44 BST: Luis Suarez has said that he has received “five or six” offers from teams in Major League Soccer, but has denied the idea he could end his career with Lionel Messi at Inter Miami.

Suarez, 35, is without a club after leaving Atletico Madrid this summer, and in an interview with Radio Sport 890 he said he would decide his next team in the next two weeks. The Uruguay striker said he had listened to the offers he had received from the United States, but added that he wanted to be in the best shape possible for the World Cup in Qatar.

“The thing is that some possibilities are for January, I have to analyse everything,” Suarez said, after confirming that he had received multiple offers from the US. “The market in MLS is very complex, some clubs want you but they don’t have the slots, and so it would have to be for January. Other clubs want you now but I have to evaluate if they have a chance to qualify for the playoffs.

“I’m not closing the door to anyone and I’ve listened to all the offers. But if some MLS teams don’t qualify for the playoffs, they end their season in the first week of October, and that’s not useful for me because I would stop for a month ahead of the World Cup, which wouldn’t be good for me.”

08.00 BST: Melbourne Victory have signed former Manchester United winger Nani for the 2022-23 A-League Men’s season.

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The 35-year-old spent eight years at Old Trafford, winning the 2008 UEFA Champions League title as well as four Premier League crowns and four FA Cups.

Nani has made 112 appearances for Portugal and was a member of his country’s 2016 European Championship victory alongside Cristiano Ronaldo.

Most recently the veteran spent last season at Venezia in Italy’s Serie A, making 10 appearances in his solitary campaign with the Venice-based outfit.

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PAPER GOSSIP (by Nick Judd)

– The future of defender Matthijs de Ligt continues to be shrouded in uncertainty, with Bayern Munich keen to land the 22-year-old but currently unable to agree on a transfer fee with Juventus, according to Calciomercato. Bayern are keen to get the deal over the line and have subsequently sent sporting director Hasan Salihamodzic to Turin to meet Bianconeri chiefs and Rafaela Pimenta, De Ligt’s agent. Bayern Munich have so far offered €60m plus a further €10m in bonuses, but Juventus are seeking at least €80m. The two clubs continue to negotiate, with Juventus seemingly keen on replacing the Netherlands international with Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly. Bayern also face pressure for De Ligt’s signature from both Chelsea and Manchester City.

– After terminating the contract of Chile midfielder Arturo Vidal, Inter Milan are now looking to sort the future of defender Milan Skriniar, according to Calciomercato. The Slovakia international is wanted by Paris Saint Germain, but the French champions so far haven’t been willing to meet the Italian’s €70m valuation. PSG have however reached an agreement with the player himself over personal terms and are expected to lodge a bid of more than €60m next, as talks continue.

– Napoli are tracking Brighton & Hove Albion defender Leo Skiri Ostigard, says Gianluca Di Marzio. He believes the Italian side are close to finalising a permanent transfer worth €6m, plus €4m in bonuses, for a deal. Ostigard, 22, has never played a game in the top flight for the Seagulls, but he has caught the attention of a number of clubs this summer. And now, it would appear as though that after several failed attempts, Napoli are now closing in on their target. Ostigard is keen for more first-team football after spending half a season with Genoa in 2021-22.

Carney Chukwuemeka’s sensational summer is set to get even better, says journalist Fabrizio Romano. The 18-year-old Aston Villa midfielder is reported target for Barcelona, having already helped England lift the U19 European Championship. Chukwuemeka started all five games as England’s Young Lions romped to victory in Slovakia, and even scored in the final against Israel. He’s now into the final year of his contract at Villa Park and Barcelona consider him a player with huge potential.

– Chelsea are looking to bolster their wide attacking options with one new forward, according to the Telegraph, and Bayern Munich’s Serge Gnabry has emerged as a target to replace Hakim Ziyech. Blues’ boss Thomas Tuchel has been hopeful of luring Raphinha from Leeds United, but the Brazilian looks likely to join Barcelona for a fee of €70m. Gnabry has one year left on his contract and the 26-year-old former Arsenal star could cost around €40m, as he hasn’t been able to agree terms on a new contract. Gnabry spent five years in north London, and has scored 20 goals in his last 34 Germany appearances.

– Fulham are closing in on the capture of defender Kevin Mbabu from Wolfsburg, according to the Evening Standard. The Premier League newcomers are in advanced stages in negotiations to bring the Switzerland international right-back to south London. The 27-year-old, who spent four years with Newcastle United, is in the last year of his contract and is looking for a new challenge.

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