Transfer Talk: Barcelona see Kane, Lautaro as backup options to Haaland

The January transfer window might seem like a distant memory, but that doesn’t mean the rumour mill has shut down! Speculation over summer moves is heating up, so check out the latest gossip below, and see all official deals here.

TOP STORY: Kane, Lautaro backup options for Haaland at Barca

Things have really been heating up regarding Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland‘s transfer situation.

ESPN sources were told that the Norwegian’s father, Alf-Inge Haaland, and agent, Mino Raiola, held talks with both Real Madrid and Barcelona on Thursday.

This seemingly puts the Spanish giants ahead of the racing pack trying to sign the prolific Dortmund frontman, but Barcelona are also ensuring they have plans ready if they fail to convince the 20-year-old to join them.

This news comes courtesy of two reports from Sport, stating that the Catalans see Internazionale star Lautaro Martinez as their “Plan B,” while the Spanish outlet adds Barca are considering Tottenham Hotspur talisman Harry Kane as another option.

Barcelona worked on signing the former last summer, but failed to reach a deal with Inter.

The Serie A club is now in financial difficulty, though, so the belief is that they might be willing to listen to lower offers than the €111 million they are said to have previously expected. However, there are some doubts within Barca about whether he is the marquee signing they need, according to the report.

Perhaps that is where Kane comes in, and Barcelona are aware that Spurs would rather see the 27-year-old move abroad than join another Premier League side.

They have done their research on the England captain and are said to be impressed by his performances, skill set and professionalism. And with plenty of rumours swirling about the striker’s future, he might be tempted by a prospective move to Camp Nou.

With all of this said, it should be reiterated that Haaland remains the priority for Barcelona as long as they have a chance of signing him.

– Insider Notebook: Liverpool’s big decision on Salah
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09.00 GMT: Liverpool are facing a conundrum over the future of Mohamed Salah this summer, sources told ESPN’s James Olley. There is a growing sense within the Liverpool squad that Salah is eyeing a new challenge elsewhere, and intermediaries who have worked closely with the club previously have privately expressed the belief that a transfer might be possible.

The situation will be influenced in part by how Liverpool finish the season, needing to stop an alarming slump in the Premier League yet chasing a third Champions League final appearance in four years. Sources added that the Reds are relaxed about the situation, given the 28-year-old’s contract has two years left to run and there has been no obvious deterioration in the forward’s form or commitment to the club, with Salah the joint leading scorer with Tottenham’s Harry Kane in the Premier League this season with 17 goals.

Missing out on Champions League qualification would increase financial pressures as a result of the coronavirus pandemic — Liverpool earned €111m from the competition when they won it in 2019 — with Jurgen Klopp’s side seventh in the Premier League, five points off the top four. Those pressures are also felt elsewhere, particularly at Real Madrid and Barcelona — two possible destinations for Salah.

PAPER GOSSIP (by Danny Lewis)

– Multiple reports of late have suggested that Aston Villa have increased Jack Grealish‘s potential transfer to £100m in an effort to keep interested clubs from targeting the 25-year-old. Football Insider reports their willingness to stick to that may be tested, as the England international is Manchester City‘s main priority ahead of the summer transfer window, and they’re lining up a huge bid.

Everton are hoping to complete an ambitious move for Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly, whom Carlo Ancelotti has worked with in the past, reports Football Insider. The Senegal international, who turns 30 years old in June, has been valued at £89m or more, but that fee is expected to drop by at least £30m, meaning the Toffees will be waiting in the wings to see if they can reunite Ancelotti with the defender.

– Wolfsburg midfielder Maximilian Arnold has been discussing the rumours around a possible move to Bayern Munich with Sky Sports Deutschland. Having recently signed a five-year contract, the 26-year-old told them: “I don’t know what will happen in the future. But when you sign such a long contract, you’ve put a lot of thought into it. But you can’t shut yourself off from anything. If you get a nice offer, you will probably give it some thought too. It’s the same with me. But I won’t give up on VfL Wolfsburg so easily.”

AC Milan and Napoli are both showing an interest in signing Spezia centre-back Martin Erlic, as has been suggested by Calciomercato. The 23-year-old Croatian has been one of the side’s standout players this term, which has been enough for the Rossoneri to firm up their interest that initially started last year.