AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE Real Madrid interested in Torres to replace Ramos
Real Madrid are looking at the central defender’s options as uncertainty grows over Sergio Ramos’ future, and indicate that they will target Villarreal’s Pau Torres.
Torres, 24, has been closely watched by the Blancos in recent weeks, but Madrid could be paying a high price. Villarreal have valued their main defender’s contract at €65 million, which could explode Madrid’s current spending power.
Torres previously had an exit clause of around €50 million, but according to La Razon, that price has risen and Madrid are hoping that good relations between the two clubs can soften the price.
However, as Torres’ contract runs until 2024, the situation may depend on where Villarreal are in the league this season. If they manage to slip into a European location, they could be even more determined to keep their defensive talisman.
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20.36 GMT: Porto have announced that 23-year-old striker Gremo Pepe, who will remain with the Brazilian club until July before moving to Portugal, has signed a five-year contract.
Bem vindo, Pepe!
⚽ Avançado 23 anos
⏩ Junta-se ao FC Porto em julho#FCPorto #BemVindoPepê pic.twitter.com/JwCYEnw7xf
– FC Porto (@FCPorto) 18. February 2021
18.39 The Manchester Evening News reports that Manchester United are paying £600,000 a week in goalkeeper salaries and are looking to attract four goalkeepers this summer : Sergio Romero, Joel Pereira, Lee Grant and Paul Wusten, which means the Red Devils only have to spend £400,000 a week on goalkeeper salaries.
16:52 GMT: Ousmane Dembele cost Barcelona 105 million euros to contract from Dortmund in 2017, but he has struggled with injuries.
Ale Moreno responds to Joan Laporta’s comments that Ousmane Dembele is a key figure at Barca for the next few years.
15:32 GMT: Central Defensa reports that midfielder Martin Odegaard has angered his club, Real Madrid, by talking about his future.
The 22-year-old is on loan to Arsenal this season and The Gunners have agreed to sign him on a permanent basis.
You never know what’s going to happen, Odegaard told Norway’s TV2 after the 4-2 win over Leeds United at the weekend. But for now, I’m focused on doing my best this season and helping the team as much as I can. Then we’ll see what happens.
Quite innocuous, you’d think, but for his sixth loan spell at Madrid, Odegard must be a little tired because he has nowhere else to go. Arsenal could pick him up this summer, as manager Mikel Arteta recently stated: He’s a player I like a lot and, as you say, he still has a lot of potential to improve.
14:41 GMT: Dayot Upamecano’s €42.5 million switch from RB Leipzig to Bayern Munich doesn’t mean the Bundesliga is broken, writes Derek Ray.
Firstly, it was the player’s decision, and who can blame him for wanting to play for the best team in the world? Secondly, I think there is a fundamental misunderstanding of how German clubs work. Last week I was talking here about the fact that Leipzig always have a succession plan for players who leave. This is the essence of their business model. They knew that Upamekano would not be available this summer due to his escape clause and that Premier League clubs would also be interested.
Let’s say Upamekano announces he’s going to England, not Bayern. Bayern had the power of penetration and attraction and always drew a top defender in return, Upamecano or not. What practical significance does this have for Leipzig, where he decided to go? They had been planning his departure for a long time. Their goal now is to refine the next Upamecano, and they often succeed in such missions.
14.26 GMT : Ronald Hernandez, Venezuela international and right-back, has been loaned by Atlanta United to Aberdeen.
Hernandez, 23, joined Aberdeen from Norwegian club Stabaek in January 2020 but has struggled to find game time.
Ronald is a talented young defender and we are excited to add him to our roster, Atlanta Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra said in a press release. Like many international players, he struggled last year and we want to give him a chance to compete in a new environment.
2:00 P.M. GREENWICH MEAN TIME: Thierry Henry, Arsenal legend and current CF Montreal boss, has been linked with the vacant position of Championship director at Bournemouth.
Alejandro Moreno of ESPN FC evaluates Thierry Henry’s work in Montreal so far.
13:24 GMT: Zinedine Zidane has promoted his son Theo Zidane to the Real Madrid first team after an injury crisis at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The French coach has had to rely on academic talent in recent weeks due to the loss of a number of first-team players, including Eden Hazard, captain Sergio Ramos and Fed Valverde.
19-year-old Sergio Arribas was given the chance to play in the 2-0 win over Vallencia as Zidane only had three older players on the bench, and the situation could be similar when they take on Valladolid this weekend.
Theo, an 18-year-old attacking midfielder, has already trained with the first team and could now follow in the footsteps of brothers Enzo and Luca to become the fourth member of the Zidane family to play for Real Madrid.
13.01 GMT : River Plate want to continue rebuilding Marcelo Gallardo’s team by acquiring 19-year-old Argentinos Juniors midfielder Matko Viljevic, according to ESPN Argentina journalist Javier Hila Navarro. Viljevic has been ruled out of the Argentine team, and River wants to take advantage of the situation to get 50% of his rights.
Meanwhile, Agustin Fontana and Jose Paradela will undergo medical tests on Wednesday, while River will also finalize the signing of right-hander Alex Vigo’s colonels.
12:28 GMT: Manchester City and Manchester United are sniffing around Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane, but the Daily Mail reports that the club are only willing to consider offers in excess of £150 million for the England captain’s contract.
Kane, 27, has scored 21 goals this season and is considered one of the world’s top scorers. He is still under contract at Spurs until 2024, so his club hold the cards for his future and do not want him to leave.
City and United are both looking for a long-term option for the striker this summer.
12:00 GREENWICH MEAN TIME: ICYMI – The LA Galaxy have finished contracting teenage prodigy Alex Alcala, the club has announced.
Alcala, 15, joined the Galaxy Academy in 2020 and has now signed his first professional contract. The talented midfielder plays for Galaxy II, but will get the chance to play alongside compatriots Javier Chicharito Hernandez, Jonathan dos Santos and Efran Alvarez in the first team.
Alex is a young talent that we are keen to develop in a professional environment, said Dennis te Klose, general manager of LA Galaxy, on the club’s official website.
We believe that the structure and resources we provide will allow him to continue to develop as a player and as a person. We are delighted that Alex is representing our club.
11:13 GMT: James Olly asks if Benfica can continue to be a source of talent in the Premier League and beyond in a bid to win titles?
The Benfica club campus has an excellent record of talent development. In November 2020, the International Centre for Sport Studies (CIES) awarded them the highest score for academic preparation in 31 European competitions, based on the number of players trained, their age and the level of athletic ability achieved. Ajax finished second, Barcelona third.
The list of stars that have appeared over the years on the 19-hectare grounds of Quinta da Trindade, half an hour’s drive from the centre of Lisbon, across the Tagus River, is staggering. Manchester has four seniors: Ruben Diaz, Bernardo Silva, Ederson and Joao Cancelo. Victor Lindelof currently plays at Manchester United, Nelson Semedo at Wolverhampton Wanderers, Goncalo Guedes at Valencia and Andre Gomez at Everton.
According to figures from Transfermarkt, Benfica are the only club to have sold for over a billion pounds since 2009 – a staggering figure that includes the fourth highest transfer fee of all time: Joao Felix moved to Atletico Madrid for £114 million in July 2019. To make up for this year’s losses, Benfica have signed three summer contracts in Brazil – right-back Gilberto, midfielder Pedrinho and striker Everton – who could be the next players to be sold to bigger clubs, but the focus remains on youth development.
Benfica are still a strong force in Portuguese football, winning the last of their 37 titles just two years ago, but on the international stage they have failed to match their performance in the European Cup of the early 1960s. The attempt to end the drought continues this week when Benfica take on Arsenal in the first game of the last 32 in European competition.
10:30 GMT: There’s something wrong with Juventus.
ESPN FC’s Don Hutchison is not impressed with Andrea Pirlo’s performance as manager at Juventus.
09.38 GMT : According to Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona’s hopes of signing Bryan Gil have been dented as the promising winger has stalled at Sevilla during contract extension negotiations.
Gilles, 20, has caught the eye of Real Madrid and Barcelona after playing a solid season on loan from Sevilla to Eibar. The Spaniard scored three goals and scored another three in 17 appearances for Eibar.
With a contract until June 2023, Gil is said to have reached an agreement in principle to extend his contract at Sevilla for two more seasons. Under the new conditions, its transfer costs also increase from EUR 35 million to EUR 150 million.
Gil revealed this week that he doesn’t like the relationships that link him to Barcelona and other clubs. You always want to be on the radar of the best clubs in the world, but I have a contract at Sevilla until 2023, he says. If I want to play in Seville, I know I will have to compete, otherwise I will always have to move.
08.54 GMT : Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas still has a glimmer of hope that Memphis Depay will stay at the club for another season.
In short, we believe he will extend his contract for next season, Aulas said. It’s not possible now, but why not?
Depay, 27, became a free agent within a few months and almost joined Barca last summer after coach Ronald Koeman was looking for a versatile striker who could play in a variety of positions, including no. 9.
A deal was reached with Lyon and Holland, but could not be finalised due to Barca’s wage restrictions.
He’s a great talent, world class, Aulas said. There aren’t many guys like him on the team. He brings solutions. I always wanted him to stay, but our proposals failed to convince him. We helped him to go to Barcelona, but it was financially impossible.
0830 GMT: Real Madrid will only make a bid for Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe if the French giants decide to add the player to their transfer list, reports Marca.
Mbappe, Real Madrid’s long-term goalkeeper, is in talks with PSG to sign a new contract that expires in June 2022. The French striker, who scored a hat-trick in the 4-1 Champions League first round win against Barcelona, said after his side’s win in the Round of 16 that he was considering a possible extension to his long-term contract.
Real Madrid have no intention of clashing with PSG and will do nothing unless the club opt for Mbappe if the 22-year-old does not sign a new contract.
PSG then estimated the value of Mbappe’s contract at €200 million, according to La Parisien, with Liverpool, Manchester City and Juventus also interested.
In the Europa League, two former European powerhouses compete against each other in their own competition.
VOICE PAPER (by Nick Judd)
Arsenal may part with Lacazette but want to keep Jeballos.
Arsenal are planning big changes this summer that could see Alexandre Lacazette and David Luiz leave, but Dani Ceballos will stay on permanently, reports The Sun.
Arsenal are looking for ways to further cut wage costs this summer, having already saved £700,000 a week in January by sacking Mesut Özil, Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos.
But while a departure is imminent for many, Ceballos – on loan from Real Madrid – is a player they would like to keep for the long term. Along with Brighton’s Matt Ryan and Hove Albion and Madrid’s Martin Odegaard, Arsenal are keen to sign Ceballos as Mikel Arteta sees the trio as an important part of the team in the long term.
The Gunners could still finish outside the European places this season and if that happens, with a lack of fans in the stadium, it could lead to financial problems for the club.
Juve wants Keene back.
Moyes Keane Paris Saint-Germain, on loan from Everton, is once again one of the most prominent players, but Juventus could try to bring him back to Turin, reports Le10 Sport.
The striker has been in top form since joining PSG this summer. Not surprisingly, the French want to make this change permanent. However, there is no way to sign it on a loan agreement and the MTP could have competition.
Carlo Ancelotti will undoubtedly consider the best way to deploy the striker at Goodison Park next season, as Juventus still harbour strong feelings for their former star.
Keane himself admitted he is not ruling out a return to the Bianconeri when asked about it on Tuesday night after PSG’s win over Barcelona.
– Edinson Cavani wants to stay at Manchester United even after this season, although the club have not yet started work on extending his contract for another year, the Telegraph reports. Cavani signed a contract until the end of the season in October with an option for a 12-month extension and expressed his desire to stay. However, the 34-year-old can negotiate with other clubs as he is in the final four months of his contract.
– Clubs are lining up to sign Sevilla FC defender Jules Kunde, but La Razon believes PSG are preparing to outdo their rivals and spend an extra €20m for his signature. Kunde’s value has risen since Dayot Upamecano left Leipzig for Bayern Munich for €42.5 million, as he is now considered the best defender available and PSG are hoping to use his financial strength to achieve their defensive goal.