According to reports in Spanish newspaper Sport, Angel di Maria is a target for Barcelona. The Argentine winger, 27, has struggled to settle at Manchester United after arriving in a $99 million deal last summer from Real Madrid.
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Di Maria’s Argentine teammates Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano may have to wait to welcome him to the Nou Camp though, as the Catalan giants and reigning European champions are banned from signing any new players until January 2016. Di Maria scored four goals and added 11 assists in 24 games during his stop-star debut season at Old Trafford. After the arrival of Memphis Depay and plenty of others rumored to be joining Louis van Gaal’s side, will Di Maria be heading back to La Liga soon? One other question: do Barca really need him?
Newcastle United have emerged as the favorites to sign QPR forward Charlie Austin. The Daily Express believes the Magpies have jumped ahead of Chelsea, Southampton and West Ham in the $20 million race for the 25-year-old. Austin scored 18 times for the R’s last season but couldn’t help keep them in the Premier League and is now eyeing up a return to the top-flight. Newcastle’s new boss Steve McClaren is also said to be keen on offloading striker Papiss Cisse but the Senegalese striker has told the Northern Echo that he’s committed to staying at St James’ Park.
The Daily Mirror says that Stoke City and Newcastle are going head-to-head to signing Ukrainian international winger Yevhen Konoplyanka after the Dnipro attacker let his contract run out. The free agent, 25, almost joined Liverpool in the past two transfer windows but the Reds bulked at the transfer fee. However, Konoplyanka’s wage demands of $150,000 a week are putting both clubs off. If he joins Newcastle he will add plenty of pace and trickery to a side in need of a massive overhaul this summer.
Finally, West Ham United are said to have agreed a $17 million fee with Marseille for French international Dmitri Payet. The Daily Mail claim that Payet, 28, has been given the green light to talk with the Hammers as new manager Slaven Bilic continues to add to his squad as he tries to juggle success in both the Europa League and Premier League.