Transfer Talk: Liverpool’s Salah may be in line for Chelsea return

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: Salah in line for Chelsea return?

Chelsea have added Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah to their summer transfer shortlist, according to Bild reporter Christian Falk,

Salah, 28, first arrived at Stamford Bridge in January 2014 from FC Basel for around £11m but things didn’t work out for the Egypt international and he left two years later after playing only 19 games.

Roma snapped him up after an impressive season on loan for around £12m and then Liverpool came calling with a £36.5m bid in 2017. At Anfield, Salah’s incredible form saw him win the Golden Boot in back-to-back seasons and he has scored 123 goals in 198 games on his way to helping the club win the Premier League and Champions League trophies.

The report says that new Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is aiming to bolster his attacking options this summer. And, according to Falk, Salah is one of three names on a shortlist that is full of goals. The other two names are Borussia Dortmund‘s Erling Haaland and another former Chelsea forward in Internazionale‘s Romelu Lukaku.

Lukaku, much like Salah, didn’t quite work out at Stamford Bridge at a young age but has since gone on to impress at the highest level for Serie A-winners Inter.

However, it is believed that if Chelsea were to make a move for Salah, it would unsurprisingly be an expensive one. The Liverpool forward has two years left on his deal, and despite the club’s poor showing in the league this season, he still sits second in the goal-scoring charts.

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10.07 BST: Sources have told ESPN’s James Olley that the Arsenal hierarchy are disappointed with the end to the campaign after their Europa League exit to Villarreal in the semifinals.

But the club remain keen to continue supporting manager Mikel Arteta, who has been instrumental behind the scenes in streamlining the squad, persuading young players Bukayo Saka and Folarin Balogun to sign new contracts while also helping negotiate an initial 12.5% pay cut for the first-team squad to help offset the financial impact of COVID-19.

Arteta said on Friday that his side are on a downward trend and that there were reasons behind that decline he could not explain in public.

“I understand [fans’] concerns because when you are out of the Champions League for five years it is not just a casualty, it’s a trend,” he said. “There are facts to support that trend. So, there are things to change, that’s for sure because you know no one is going to accept that at this football club. I am not going to accept that, and the fans are not going to accept that. So we all have to push together to achieve something very different.”

Asked why that trend was occurring, Arteta replied: “They are things to analyse more internally, I am sorry. We have done that. There are things that we cannot discuss here. I take full responsibility for my part, for sure, since I arrived here what I have tried to do, giving my life, my best ability, investing every drop of energy that I have emotionally to support everything that has been going around with my knowledge, with staff, with all the players that are trying to contribute with all the club to give our best.

“But so far it has not been enough and this is when the question mark comes: why it is not enough? Is it just a thing? Is it the manager? Is it other stuff? What is it? And then this is football. Last night that ball goes in, we win 1-0. You are in the final and it is a different world. But today that world doesn’t look very nice.”

09.51 BST: Newcastle United wonderkid Bobby Clark, the son of club legend Lee Clark, is being linked with a move to Tottenham.

Football Insider reports that Tottenham have been offered a chance to sign the 16-year-old midfielder, who became became the youngest player to represent Newcastle U18s when he was just 14.

09.19 BST: Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak is keen on a move to the Premier League in the summer, with the Slovenia international’s representatives looking to drum up interest from the league’s “Big Six,” sources told ESPN’s Rob Dawson.

The 28-year-old, who has two years left on his contract, has a release clause of €120m and although Atletico Madrid have been adamant they would want the full amount, financial pressures may force the club to consider any serious bid. Atletico made a narrow loss of €1.78m in 2019-20 but saw their expected income hit by around €100m, with a much larger drop expected for 2020-21.

Manchester United are among the clubs who have been made aware Oblak would welcome approaches from England at the end of the season.

09.00 BST: Champions League finalists Chelsea and Manchester City have emerged as contenders to sign Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski this summer, sources told ESPN’s Stephan Uersfeld, with the striker undecided on his future.

Lewandowski, 32, has a contract at Bayern until 2023 and sources told ESPN that interested clubs would need to offer €60 million to start negotiations over a possible move.

One of the all-time Bundesliga greats, Lewandowski has 36 league goals in 31 matches this season and is closing in on Gerd Muller’s record of 40 in a season, set in the 1971-72 campaign. The Poland international is also on 272 Bundesliga goals across his career in Germany, for Borussia Dortmund and Bayern, and would have Muller’s record of 365 on his radar if he did stay.

Lewandowski has hinted previously that he would retire from football after his Bayern Munich career was over, but interest from the Premier League could tempt him into a final challenge elsewhere.

Chelsea and City are both in the market for a striker this summer, sources told ESPN, with Thomas Tuchel eager to improve his attacking options following a difficult debut season for Timo Werner. Pep Guardiola is looking to replace the outgoing Sergio Aguero at Manchester City, at times playing without a recognised No. 9 in attack this season as his side look set to clinch the league title.

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Jurgen Klinsmann delights in Neymar’s display vs. Bayern Munich, even though he failed to score in a 1-0 loss.

PAPER GOSSIP (By Luke Thrower)

– Brazil forward Neymar will extend his contract with Paris Saint-Germain by four years until 2026, French sports daily L’Equipe reported on Friday. Neymar, 29, joined PSG in 2017 from La Liga side Barcelona for a record transfer fee of €222m. Neymar said he wanted to leave PSG in 2019 amid reports that he desired to return to Barcelona, but he eventually stayed before the club reached the Champions League final last season.

Ashley Young could be switching one Inter for another, as The Sun reports that Major League Soccer club Inter Miami are looking to sign the 35-year-old this summer. The former England international has also been linked with his former side Watford in the upcoming window, as his contract is set to expire after just over a year at the club. Young would leave Inter Milan after winning the Serie A title with the Italian giants for the first time in 11 years.

Leeds United believe they can land midfield transfer target Rodrigo De Paul this summer for less than the player’s reported fee of £37mm. Football Insider says that the Yorkshire club plan on negotiating with Udinese to get closer to a £30m fee, which would break the club’s transfer record of £27m. The 26-year-old was linked with Marcelo Bielsa’s side last summer, with his versatility in the midfield touted as one of the reasons for the move.

Manchester United and West Ham United are both looking to sign defender Nikola Milenkovic this summer, according to Calciomercato. The 23-year-old has only a year left on his contract, which might have forced the hand of Fiorentina to let the player negotiate in the summer rather than let him go on a free at the end of next season.

Aston Villa are preparing an offer for Burnley‘s Dwight McNeil this summer, reports Football Insider. The 21-year-old forward has reportedly caught the eye of Dean Smith, who opts for a formation with use of wide playmakers. An opening offer of £15m is on the table from Villa to begin negotiations and to understand Burnley’s position on the player who is under contract until 2024.

Arsenal and Everton are leading the race to sign Sheffield United midfielder Sander Berge, reports Sky Sports. The 23-year-old had a £45m release clause reduced to £35m after the Blades’ relegation from the Premier League was confirmed, and it is believed the two clubs are taking a serious look at the Norway international.