Bruno Fernandes is on the verge of joining Manchester United, with Sporting set to receive around £60m, but the Portuguese midfielder will play in the Lisbon derby tonight against Benfica, which puts the deal in some doubt. Atletico Madrid’s Marcos Llorente could become available due to a lack of playing time, with Diego Simeone eager to shuffle his squad – namely through Edinson Cavani, but Paris Saint-Germain want a big fee, despite the Uruguayan being out of contract in the summer. Arsenal will hope to give Mikel Arteta a couple of new players, either on short-term loans or free transfers, with Layvin Kurzawa an option from PSG to bolster their left-back options. Manchester City do not look likely to sign players, despite being significantly off the pace that Liverpool have set, and the Reds are comfortable right now, both with their lead in the Premier League and the fact they have acquired Japan’s Takumi Minamino from RB Salzburg.
Chelsea could be busy, both in and out: OIivier Giroud looks set for Inter Milan, while the Italians are also looking to add Ashley Young from Man United as Antonio Conte eyes a title in his first season in charge at the San Siro. Tottenham Hotspur have appeased Jose Mourinho to a degree by adding Gedson Fernandes on an 18-month loan and could dip back into the market to add Ze Luis from Porto to cover for Harry Kane, who is out for almost the entirety of the remainder of the season.
Ernesto Valverde’s departure could see Quique Setien handed a few new faces at Barcelona, but it seems as if the Catalans want to trim their squad firstly, with Jean-Claude Todibo set for Schalke in a £25m deal. The 20-year-old joins on loan with a number of options to buy and buy back. Here we detail the latest rumours and news around the continent as we enter the final two weeks of the season.
Steve Bruce emerged from his meeting with Newcastle owner Mike Ashley convinced he has his backing as he attempts to improve his squad this month.
Asked about his discussions with Ashley on Tyneside this week, he said: “He’s been fully supportive of the idea of trying to improve the squad.
“That’s been my remit since I walked through the door, how can I take the club forward? It’s my way – and he agrees with it – that we buy quality, not quantity, and that’s got to be the mantra if we are going to improve.
“We’ve got a very, very decent squad now – if we’re going to improve, then we’ve got to bring in that bit of quality that makes us better. That’s what we’re trying to do.”
Manchester United target Bruno Fernandes could miss tonight’s Lisbon derby between Sporting and Benfica.
And if United finalise terms on Friday they will insist that the player misses the match, though Sporting’s management will resist a full agreement until after the game.
The Spanish striker could replace Kevin Gameiro or Ruben Sobrino, both of whom have been linked with a move away.
Lyon are keen on Gameiro, who has scored four times in 17 appearances in La Liga and the Champions League.
Scottish midfielder Liam Henderson has joined Empoli on loan from Hellas Verona with the Tuscan side possessing an option to buy.
Bayer Leverkusen have announced Peter Bosz has renewed his contract until 2022.
The former Ajax and Borussia Dortmund coach has guided his current club to the Champions League and they currently sit in sixth in the Bundesliga.
United confirm Young departure
“Well, to be fair, I think it was for Ashley, you know,” explained Solskjaer.
“He is 35 in the summer and, if he gets a two-year contract somewhere, I think it’s up to him to take that. We weren’t ready to offer that.
“He’s been a good servant for the club. He’s been captain and he’s won trophies, leagues, cups, but we’ve got players coming through.
“So it was time now, then. When Ashley’s head and mindset was on ‘yeah, I want to try this’, why not do it now?
Manchester City will fight Barcelona to sign Ivan Morante from Villarreal.
The Spain Under-19 star is rated at £6m by Villarreal, where he is currently playing for the B team.
*** DONE DEAL KLAXON ***
Atalanta have completed the permanent signing of Duvan Zapata for a total of €26m (£22.2m).
The Colombian has been a revelation on loan from Sampdoria, initially for €14m (£11.9m) on loan with the option to make it permanent set at €12m (£10.2m).
After 35 goals in 49 games, Atalanta have gladly paid up.
1) Rashford injury scuppers Solskjaer’s Liverpool plans
Marcus Rashford’s goal at Old Trafford in October is the only reason why Liverpool have not made a perfect 21-game start, and Manchester United’s ability to cause the league leaders problems at Anfield on Sunday will be hampered by a potential back injury to their top scorer. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer thinks he has found “a nice way of playing” against Jurgen Klopp’s side. He is undefeated in two meetings, to be fair, having defended deep and countered quickly on both occasions. But if Rashford is unavailable then United will lose a large part of their threat on the break and another surprise result would seem unlikely. (Mark Critchley)
2) Chelsea have golden chance to tighten top-four grip
After a valuable point at Molineux last time out in the Premier League (snapping a three-game losing streak), Steve Bruce will have been thrilled to see a more fluid display from Newcastle midweek. Against an admittedly overmatched Rochdale in the FA Cup third round replay, Miguel Almiron continues to purr after a slow start to life in England with his second goal in as many games. While, crucially, Joelinton finally broke an agonising dry spell for his first goal since August. Now it’s Chelsea at home, who clicked in equally impressive fashion at home against a hapless Burnley side plummeting towards the relegation zone. But should Bruce’s side revert back to their more reactive shape, this game could resemble something often seen by the Blues at Stamford Bridge this season, where they are tasked with probing resilient opponents. But with Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi starting to burst with confidence, Frank Lampard may have unearthed more cutting edge out wide, which will be needed at St James’ Park. Chelsea will be especially eager to secure the points, knowing fifth-placed United have a daunting trip to Anfield to come on Sunday, meaning their five-point cushion in fourth could grow yet further. (Jack Rathborn)
3) The most important game this weekend…
Liverpool are playing Manchester United this weekend, but there can be no doubt what is the most important fixture. Bottom-placed Norwich welcome next-to-bottom Bournemouth knowing they cannot barely afford anything but a win if they are to stay up this season. Yet Bournemouth are sinking without a trace and they too are desperate for all three points; Eddie Howe’s future might depend on it. Neither side have a win in their past six games, so this match may not be high on quality, but you can be sure it will be overflowing with tension and emotion. (Lawrence Ostlere)
The Brazilian will cost €11m and will initially join on an 18-month loan with that fee as part of an obligation to buy at the end of next season.
The 21-year-old was also on Bologna’s radar and has opted to join Roma after failing to break through with Atalanta since joining from Fluminense in January last year.
West Ham have been offered the chance to sign Matias Vecino and Valentino Lazaro on loan.
While Lazaro is a wide option and also has interest from Newcastle and Werder Bremen.
Simeone discusses Lemar future
“The facts speak for themselves, better than words. It is certain that he has not been able to show all his qualities,” Simeone said.
“Each time that he has been available, I have tried to play him. I have always been enthusiastic about his qualities as a player.
“He has not met the expectations set for him, but we have always had the same expectations.
“Today, who is to know if he will stay or not. His representatives are working hard. The clubs, they operate on what they need.”
Milan are close to signing Dani Olmo from Dinamo Zagreb, according to Croatian newspaper Sportske Novosti.
The Spanish midfielder will cost €20m plus €5m in bonuses.
Though Sky Sport Italia report that the deal will not happen until the summer, when the player will only have one year remaining.
Napoli are set to make another addition this month with Hellas Verona’s Amir Rrahmani.
A medical is scheduled today, with the Kosovan set to join the Partenopei in July for €14m, putting an end to Manchester United, Chelsea and Borussia Dortmund’s interest.
Juventus have joined the race to sign Tahith Chong, whose Manchester United contract will expire this summer.
In a move that brings memories of Paul Pogba walking away initially from Old Trafford as an 18-year-old, Chong could follow in his footsteps.
Tuttosport report that Juve will join Inter Milan in the race to acquire the Dutch youngster on a free transfer.
PSG are moving closer to agreeing a new deal with Neymar.
The Brazilian would like to commit his future to the French club, but a deal could depend on their progress in the Champions League.
Agent Pini Zahavi is close to director Leonardo, which could smooth over any deal.
Leicester have targeted Ryan Bertrand from Southampton.
Chelsea see Chilwell as the preferred long-term option, but will have to wait until the summer to sign the England star.
Inter Milan are set for a treble swoop on the Premier League: Ashley Young, Christian Eriksen and Olivier Giroud.
Corriere dello Sport claim Beppe Marotta will deliver the trio for Antonio Conte.
Leonardo Spinazzola will also arrive from Roma, with Matteo Politano moving in the opposite direction.
Plenty of changes at the San Siro then, with Juventus in their sights, Conte has gone all in.
Man United have been offered a chance to Edinson Cavani this summer.
The PSG star is out of contract this summer, but has been linked with a move to Atletico Madrid this month.
The Spaniard are yet to agree a fee though, with PSG said to want €30m for the Uruguayan and the MEN now claim the player is now off the market this month.
That could see more clubs interested in the player, with Chelsea also thought to be keen.
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United and Chelsea have both been linked with Dinamo and Spain star Dani Olmo. There could also be some big moves across Europe. Real Madrid have been linked with a £68m move for Timo Werner, as well as Flamengo wonder kid Reinier, while Arsenal have turned their eyes to RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano as a long-term target.