LIVE Transfer Talk: Barcelona, Juventus watch Ajax youngster Gravenberch

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: Juve, Barca in line for Ajax youngster

European giants Juventus and Barcelona are both pursuing a deal to sign Ajax Amsterdam wonderkid Ryan Gravenberch, Tuttosport reports.

The pair are both looking to make big changes in their respective squads sooner rather than later and the plan is for them to battle it out in 2021.

The Dutch midfielder has already made a handful of appearances for the club and looks set to become the latest Ajax star to catch the eye of Europe’s elite.

Although he only recorded one assist, Gravenberch played a key role in the midfied in Ajax’s historic 13-0 win over VVV-Venlo on Saturday.

For now, though, he’ll be given the chance to continue his development in the Eredivisie until the summer rolls around.

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15.59 BST: Manchester United still have striker Erling Haaland at the top of their list of long-term transfer targets, according to The Athletic.

Haaland had seemed destined for Old Trafford last season when, while still a teenager his goal-scoring exploits in the Champions League with FC Salzburg brought him to global attention.

However, sources told ESPN’s Rob Dawson that United backed away from a deal with Haaland in January with concerns over the insistence of a release clause inserted into the agreement. Club chiefs, including executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, felt it would give agent Mino Raiola and the Norwegian’s representatives control over his future.

Instead, Haaland joined Borussia Dortmund, where he has continued his rapid development as one of the world’s most exciting young forwards.

The Athletic reports that United remain interested in the Norway international if he expresses a willingness to move.



Steve Nicol believes Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland’s maturity is “unusual” for a player his age.

14.44 BST: Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric has said he is “too old” to make a return to former club Tottenham and reunite with Gareth Bale.

Modric left Spurs for Real Madrid in 2012, and was joined by Bale in the Spanish capital a year later.

Bale is now back in north London on a season-long loan but Modric, 35, doesn’t anticipate making the same move when his contract at the Bernabeu expires next summer.

“I’m too old to go back to Tottenham,” Modric told FourFourTwo. “I still have a year left in Madrid and then we’ll see what happens.

“I feel good and I want to continue playing football for a few more years. I am focused on Madrid and the things we can achieve this season.

“Afterwards I will sit down to talk to the management, and we will look for a suitable solution for everyone. I have forged a good relationship with all the people of the club and no matter what happens there will be no problem.”

13:27 BST: Manchester City are enduring their worst start to a season since Pep Guardiola took over as manager in 2016, and ESPN’s Mark Ogden thinks it is down to the club losing their touch in the transfer market:

[Manchester] United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea have all signed players with bigger price tags than City, although City have signed seven players who cost more than £50m since Guardiola took charge, so they have consistently stocked their squad with expensive signings.

Aside from the odd exception, such as the £32.5m British record signing of Robinho in 2008 or the £35m capture of Aguero in 2011, City have always spent at the high end of the market, but never quite at the very top of it. But while they have invested heavily, it is now a long time since they have truly improved their squad with a new signing.

Aymeric Laporte has been a huge success since arriving from Athletic Bilbao for £58.5m in January 2018, but he is a rarity. Vincent Kompany has yet to be properly replaced — Dias and Nathan Ake have been signed for a combined total of just over £100m to do that this summer — while there are still no obvious successors to Yaya Toure or David Silva.

– Ogden: Man City’s worst start under Guardiola? Blame the poor transfers

12.40 BST: Samuel Umtiti says he wants to make up for lost time at Barcelona despite holding talks with Lyon about a return to the French club this summer.

Barca told Umtiti he was free leave but were unable to find a suitor for the France international and he now says he wants to fight for his Camp Nou future.

“I don’t see myself at any club other than Barca,” he told Canal Plus. “I’ve been pretty clear about that with everyone.

“Lyon is my club, my city. They were the team that gave me the chance to play in Europe, at Barca and for the national team. There were conversations with Lyon this summer, but there was nothing in concrete.”

Umtiti hasn’t featured for Barca this season due to injury and has endured a torrid time with a knee problem since winning the World Cup with France in 2018.

“The last two years have been the worst of my career,” he added. “I’ve never worked so hard. I need to make up for lost time.”

11.36 BST: Real Madrid midfielder Isco has been caught complaining about his limited role in the team under coach Zinedine Zidane.

Isco — who was an unused substitute in Saturday’s 3-1 Clasico win over Barcelona at Camp Nou — was picked up by Movistar TV cameras talking to Luka Modric and Marcelo as they sat in the stands before the match.

“If [Zidane] has to take me off, he takes me off in the 50th or 60th minute, sometimes at half-time,” Isco said, which led to laughter from his teammates. “If he has to bring me on, he brings me on in the 80th minute.”

The Spain international has made just two starts in La Liga this season.

10.59 BST: Liverpool may resist the temptation to sign another centre-back in January despite facing the prospect of being without Virgil van Dijk for the remainder of the season, the Liverpool Echo reports.

Van Dijk is facing a battle to play again in 2020-21 after the Netherlands defender suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury during 2-2 draw against Everton on Oct. 17.

Premier League champions Liverpool have played midfielder Fabinho in defence to cover for Van Dijk’s absence with Joe Gomez and Joel Matip the only senior centre-backs in the squad, but they have been linked with midseason moves for players such as RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano and Schalke’s Ozan Kabak.

However, the Liverpool Echo claims that Liverpool may well stick with their decision not to sign another defender last summer, despite Dejan Lovren leaving for Zenit St Petersburg, and hope they can survive until Van Dijk returns without another big transfer spend.



Steve Nicol believes not having a crowd is impacting Liverpool’s play despite their 2-1 win vs. Sheffield United.

10.12 BST: Sergio Ramos may have scored again in Real Madrid’s 3-1 win over Barcelona in Saturday’s Clasico, but club and captain are no closer to agreeing a contract extension, according to Diario AS.

The newspaper claims Ramos — whose deal expires in 2021 — wants a two-year renewal, while Madrid want to stick to their standard policy of offering over-30s one season at a time.

AS quotes sources close to the defender as saying there’s “no hurry” to reach an agreement and that “with everything that’s happening (with the club’s financial situation) it’s not the time to talk about it.”

– Hunter: Zidane ‘out-recycles’ Koeman to win Clasico
– Madrid ratings: Ramos, Kroos, Valverde shine for Real

09.27 BST: Former Netherlands forward Marco van Basten has said Manchester United midfielder Donny van de Beek should have joined a club where he can play more regularly.

United signed Van de Beek from Ajax on a five-year contract this summer for a fee around £40m. But he has made only four substitute appearances in the Premier League and was not used in the 0-0 draw against Chelsea on Saturday.

“Donny shouldn’t have gone to United,” Van Basten told Dutch TV channel Ziggo Sport. “When you’re a good player you want to play every week.

“It’s really bad for a player like Donny to play six or seven games this year. That’s shocking for your rhythm.

“I know he’s earning loads more than he used to. But as a top player you have to be critical and look at the chances of playing when you sign for a new club. Donny should have waited for better prospects and signed for another club.”

– Insider Notebook: No Sanchez-style pay bump for Pogba

08.42 BST: Manchester City “like the look” of Mauricio Pochettino and Julian Nagelsmann as successors to Pep Guardiola if they have to start looking for a new manager, the Daily Mail reports.

Guardiola’s contract at City expires at the end of this season, and the club has left the decision of whether or not the Spanish coach continues his tenure completely up to him.

By next summer, Guardiola will have been at the Etihad stadium for five years, making his time at City longer than at any other club he has coached.

If Guardiola does decide to call it a day, the Mail reports that City are looking at potential candidates who could fill the post.

Former Tottenham boss Pochettino has been out of work for almost a year, having been sacked just months after leading Spurs to their first ever Champions League final, while Nagelsmann is one of Europe’s most coveted coaches after he let RB Leipzig to the semifinals in Europe last term.



Steve Nicol explains why Pep Guardiola will stick around at Manchester City, despite the slow start to the season.

08.00 BST: Juventus forward Paulo Dybala is in talks over signing a new contract with the Serie A giants, the club’s chief football officer has confirmed.

Dybala, whose current deal expires in 22, has been a target for clubs such as Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain most recently Tottenham Hotspur over the past few seasons.

However, the 26-year-old Argentina international is close to extending his stay in Turin.

“He wants to stay and we want to keep him, he’s part of our future,” Fabio Paratici told Sky. “We’ll continue the negotiations to find an agreement.”

Dybala earned his first start for Juve this season in Sunday’s 1-1 draw against Hellas Verona (stream the replay on ESPN+ in the U.S.).

Pirlo: Juventus shouldn’t need a ‘slap’ to play well

PAPER TALK (by Harry Kettle) Garcia to reject Guardiola’s City push

Manchester City defender Eric Garcia is expected to reject Pep Guardiola’s attempts to keep him at the Etihad, the Sun reports.

The report indicates that he will indeed push forward with his plan to leave the club next year and join Barcelona despite the teenage sensation starting the last few games for City.

Garcia clearly wants to return home to his boyhood club and he’s willing to do that either in the January transfer window or next summer on a free — but whatever the case may be, the youngster’s mind appears to be made up.

Fresh Tottenham transfers in 2021?

Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho is expecting more investment from the club next summer, the Mirror states.

The club, for the first time in quite a few years, showed the courage to spend big over the last few months in the name of improving their chances both domestically and in Europe. Now, ahead of their Monday Night Football clash with Burnley tomorrow, Mourinho has made his ambitions crystal clear.

“I am very happy with the squad but, of course, next summer we will need to give a couple of touches, but this is what you always do to improve the squad,” Mourinho said ahead of the game.

“Look at Liverpool, for example, when Jurgen [Klopp] has been there. How many transfer windows? He went to the market and improved the team.”


– The talks between Torino and Andrea Belotti regarding a contract renewal continue to stall, Calciomercato reports. The club are believed to be viewing this as one of their main priorities but for whatever reason the discussions haven’t gotten into the full swing of things as of yet as the interest in him from across Europe continues to grow.

West Bromwich Albion defender Ahmed Hegazi is set to leave the club in favour of a move to Saudi Arabia, according to the Mirror. The 29-year-old, who is still the highest-paid player at the club despite barely featuring for them as of late, is expected to sign on the dotted line with Al-Ittihad today with his wages of £70,000-per-week being tipped to increase further in the Middle East.