The coronavirus pandemic made the summer transfer market unlike any before it, but there were still plenty of deals done and you can check out the major ones here. The window may be closed across the top leagues in Europe, but here are the best rumours from around the globe.
TOP STORY: Barca most interested in Traore
This is because the Premier League outfit values him at €100 million and refused to allow the Italian giants to take him on loan with an obligation to buy.
Another factor is said to be that there are other top clubs across Europe who are interested in the Spain international, including Barca.
The Catalans are reportedly the club that is most keen on bringing in the man who came through their famous La Masia academy.
11.12 BST: Former Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon has criticised the club for failing to make signings this summer.
“After the stupidity of the sale of Cristiano (Ronaldo), we knew the team needed reinforcements in that position and in others,” Calderon, who was in charge at the Bernabeu from 2006 -09, told reporters. “They’re the only important team in Europe that hasn’t made any signings. You end up paying for that.”
Madrid’s summer transfer business was limited to bringing back Martin Odegaard from his loan at Real Sociedad, and moving on the likes of Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez, Sergio Reguilon and Achraf Hakimi.
“The sad reality is that the safe isn’t just empty,” Calderon said when asked about the club’s precarious financial situation. “In fact it’s full of bills for around €1,000m that have to be paid.”
10.29 BST: Manchester United have warned Paul Pogba they are not willing to give him a bumper pay rise to keep him at Old Trafford, sources told ESPN’s Rob Dawson.
The club are keen to extend Pogba’s stay with a new long-term deal, but sources have said it will have to be a reasonable offer. After finally getting Alexis Sanchez off the books in the summer with his permanent move to Inter Milan, executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer are in agreement the wage structure will not be broken for any player, including Pogba.
Sanchez still had two years left on his mammoth contract at United — worth around £400,000-a-week before bonuses — before he left and the club saved close to £40 million in wages by negotiating a deal with Inter and ending his stay early.
Pogba would be given a pay rise on his £270,000-a-week deal if he signs a new contract, but intermediaries involved in preliminary talks have been clear that, despite Pogba’s high profile, Woodward and Solskjaer will not be offering extortionate wages to convince him to stay. A “Sanchez-style” contract is out of the question.
– Insider Notebook: No Sanchez-style pay bump for Pogba
09.46 BST: Marco Asensio has admitted he could have signed for Barcelona before joining Real Madrid — and says he’s since received plenty of offers to leave the Bernabeu.
“I could have played for Barca, and for other clubs too,” the forward told YouTuber DJMariio ahead of El Clasico. “The incredible interest Madrid showed from the start was what made me decide. It’s impossible to say no to Real Madrid.”
Asensio joined Madrid in 2015 from hometown club Real Mallorca and impressed before suffering a major setback last season, with a cruciate ligament injury keeping him out from July 2019 until June 2020.
“I’ve had a lot of clubs who’ve been interested in me,” he said. “But my idea is to keep winning at Real Madrid. I’ve always had the confidence of Zidane but you have to show it on the pitch.”
09.00 BST: Gerard Pique says Barcelona should name the redeveloped Camp Nou after Lionel Messi when it’s finished and suggested the forward should have been allowed to leave in the summer if that is what he wanted.
Messi, 33, sent a burofax in August informing Barca of his desire to leave. President Josep Maria Bartomeu refused to let him go, though, and when Messi realised a legal battle was his only way out of the club — he argued a clause in his contract allowed him to leave for free — he decided to stay.
Pique has revealed he sent Messi a message at the time pointing out that a new president and board of directors would be elected within a year. However, despite encouraging him to stay, the Barca defender says Messi had earned the right to decide his own future.
“I didn’t have much to do with Leo during that moment because it was a very personal decision,” Pique told La Vanguardia. “I remember one message I sent: ‘Leo, it’s one year, then new people will come in…’
“Leo has more than earned the right to make a decision and if he felt he should leave… as president I would have acted differently. A player that’s given so much in 16 years, you’re obliged to reach an agreement with him.
“[But] how can it be that the best player in history gets up one day and sends a burofax because he feels he’s not being listened to? What’s happening? Leo deserves the lot. The new stadium should be named after him.
“We have to preserve our figures, not discredit them. I am surprised people like Pep [Guardiola], [Carles] Puyol, Xavi [Hernandez] and [Victor] Valdes aren’t at the club. Something’s not being done right.”
PAPER TALK (by Danny Lewis): Guardiola hopes to keep Garcia at Man City
The centre-back played in the 3-1 victory over Porto in the Champions League, having so far refused to renew his contract to stay at the Etihad.
This comes after plenty of interest in the youngster from Barcelona, where he initially learned his craft, in the most recent transfer window.
Guardiola was quoted as saying: “I know he wanted to leave but he’s going to stay and maybe we can seduce him in this year to extend the contract with us. He’s a guy who is so stable in many things and we’re so happy.”
Ozil still has options
Mesut Ozil has been left out in the cold at Arsenal, as he was not included in Mikel Arteta’s Premier League or Europa League squads.
Not all is lost for the German World Cup winner, though, as The Sun has reported that he still has options to leave the Emirates.
The main, and most likely, option at this time seems to be a move to MLS, with D.C. United the latest club renewing their interest in him. Wage demands have been a sticking point, though, for any possible move to play in North America’s top flight.
– AC Milan are looking to sign Dinamo Zagreb midfielder Lovro Majer, according to Calciomercato. There has already been plenty of interest around the Croatian, with Borussia Dortmund, Fiorentina, Leeds United, Valencia and Sevilla all having had a look at him. The report says that Milan followed Dinamo Zagreb’s 0-0 draw against Feyenoord in the Europa League Thursday night, in which the 22-year-old played the full 90 minutes.
— Speculation around Zinedine Zidane’s job has gone through the roof after consecutive defeats at the hands of Cadiz in La Liga and Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League. AS has gone as far as to state that the club’s hierarchy has already laid out the options to replace him, and the main one is club legend Raul Gonzalez, who manages Real Madrid Castilla.