Transfer Talk: Lionel Messi to Manchester City back on next summer

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The coronavirus pandemic made the transfer market unlike any before it, but there was still plenty of action on Deadline Day. With the window closed across the major leagues in Europe, you can check out the latest major completed transfers across the globe.

TOP STORY: Pep Guardiola seeking Lionel Messi reunion

It’s baaacck! Manchester City are lining up a move for Lionel Messi next year, according to reports from the Manchester Evening News.

Messi was linked with a move away from Barcelona this summer after falling out with club officials, but after weeks of speculation he conceded he would have to see out the final season of his contract at the Camp Nou. However, City would appear to be in pole position to move for the Argentina international next summer if the opportunity arises.

City were interested observers when Messi handed in his transfer request, and they remain one of the few clubs who could afford his salary.

City’s chief operating officer, Omar Berrada, has said that although Messi doesn’t fit the profile of City’s signings, he’s “an amazing talent” who could make “a significant impact” at the club. Berrada added that City are considering a move and all the financial ramifications that might come with it.

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– Insider Notebook: Man United transfers special

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12.45 BST: Declan Rice was very much on Chelsea‘s wanted list over the summer, but was one transfer target that Frank Lampard didn’t get over the line. Now West Ham United may have to double his wages with a new contract to ward off any renewed interest. The Sun reports that Rice is two years into a five-and-a-half-year contract, on wages of £60,000-a-week. But other stars at West Ham are on a far higher salary, so the club will struggle to keep hold of a player valued at £80m unless they give him parity with those teammates.

11.39 BST: Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen is on the verge of putting pen to paper on a contract extension, that’s according to El Mundo Deportivo. Meanwhile, Diario AS reports that Ter Stegen will sign a deal which will actually see him take a pay cut initially, during the coronavrius crisis, which will be offset by a wage rise later in the contract.

The 28-year-old was signed for €12m from Borussia Mochengladbach six years ago and could keep the No. 1 jersey for many years, with the new deal set to run to 2025.

10.34 BST: Moise Kean, on loan at Paris Saint-Germain from Everton, has revealed he rejected the chance to return to former club Juventus this summer. The 20-year-old was widely expected to head back to Turin after a poor season in the Premier League, but a late move to PSG was finalised.

“I am not particularly upset to have left English football,” he told RAI Sport.”It’s true, I could have returned to Juve, but I made this decision along with my family to play in Ligue 1. I’ve been to Paris before and have relatives here.

“I hope to learn a great deal from this fantastic experience. I am young, I like to work closely with top strikers, so I can learn from their experience and their style of football.”

09.30 BST: Could Juan Mata be on the way out at Manchester United? Former journalist, turned communications consultant, Ian McGarry has said on The Transfer Window Podcast that the Spain international has a huge offer from an unnamed club in Saudi Arabia, and could quit Old Trafford early. Mata’s contract is due to expire at the end of the season

“It’s our information that Mata has an offer worth around $15million net per year to go and play in the Saudi Arabian league,” McGarry said. “It’s not at this moment in time that Manchester United have entered negotiations, we can’t disclose the name of the club at this moment in time.

“But we are certain that the offer is there, his father, who is his agent, is confident that Manchester United would release Mata on freedom of contract after he had his contract extended by the optional year in his current deal over the summer. Mata himself is yet to commit; however, at those kind of numbers you would have to think he would be tempted.”

PAPER ROUND

Man United identify defensive reinforcements

After having conceded six goals last Sunday against Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United have drawn up a shortlist consisting of Kalidou Koulibaly, Dayot Upamecano and Raphael Varane, but they’ll wait until next summer to avoid paying a premium, reports The Athletic.

United’s defence looked all at sea last weekend, and though they have four new signings at their disposal after having signed Alex Telles, Amad Diallo, Facundo Pellistri and Edinson Cavani, none of them can help Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the centre of defence.

United’s three centre-backs — Harry Maguire, Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof — have all had disappointing starts to the season, which means improving that area of the pitch is now become United’s biggest priority.

However, despite needing reinforcements in January, the club will wait until the summer to avoid paying the extra money that usually comes with buying midway through the season.

PSG considering Eriksen loan

Christian Eriksen‘s future at Inter Milan has been cast in doubt since the end of last season, and Le10sport believes Paris Saint-Germain are keen to sign the Denmark international on loan.

PSG were reportedly interested in Eriksen this summer, but the attacking midfielder has denied having any discussions with the reigning French champions.

PSG ended the transfer window having signed Moise Kean, Rafinha and Danilo Pereira, but sporting director Leonardo is believed to have approached Eriksen about a move until the end of the season.

Eriksen has struggled in the Italian capital since joining last January and has found himself on the bench under Antonio Conte. He might feel a move away from the San Siro could be his best way to get more game time, according to the report. But he will have to wait until January.

Tap-ins

– Steven Goff of the Washington Post is reporting that Gonzalo Higuain‘s brother Federico could join up with him at Inter Miami. Federico, 35, wants to play alongside his prolific 32-year-old brother and the report says his current club, D.C. United, is likely to grant the request.

Juventus are hoping to challenge Real Madrid for Eduardo Camavinga next summer, and Tuttosport is reporting that the Italian side have loaned Daniele Rugani to Rennes in an effort to build a relationship with the club ahead of a potential bid. Seventeen-year-old French international Camavinga is believed to be Zinedine Zidane‘s top target, but Juve look to be laying the foundation with Rennes in an effort to move them to the front of the queue.

Jack Wilshere has revealed he would like to play in either Italy or Spain after having been released by West Ham United earlier this week. That’s according to Talksport, which reports the former England and Arsenal midfielder wants to try something different rather than sign for Steven Gerrard at Rangers, as was reported earlier this week. Wilshere mutually agreed to end his contract with the Hammers and admits he will now take his time to decide his next move and “find happiness on the field again.”