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Transfer rumor roundup: Latest on Lukaku; quiet window for Arsenal

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A roundup of Monday’s transfer rumors from around the Premier League, and the rest of the world…

[ MORE: Bale “happy” in Madrid; not tempted by Man United ]

Two things seem almost certain about the summer transfer window of 2017: 1) With Zlatan Ibrahimovic set to miss the rest of the calendar year, Manchester United will sign a superstar striker; 2) Romelu Lukaku will leave Everton.

Simple logic says, Man United should sign Lukaku, a player with a brilliant track record of scoring in the PL, and one who turned 24 just last month. Jose Mourinho appears to agree, to an extent, which is why United have been heavily linked with a move for the big Belgian — the Red Devils might even be favorites to do so. That was before Bayern Munich came sniffing around, though.

According to the Manchester Evening News, Carlo Ancelotti is a longtime admirer of Lukaku, and the Italian wouldn’t mind pairing him with Robert Lewandowski as Bayern aim to win the UEFA Champions League next season.

[ MORE: Griezmann won’t ditch Atleti during transfer ban this summer ]


Alexander Lacazette’s preferred move to Atletico Madrid was blown to bits when the club’s transfer ban for the duration of the summer window was upheld last week. On the plus side, for Atleti, they’ll hang onto Antoine Griezmann, perhaps the most coveted “available” player in the world this summer.

As for the final party involved, Lacazette and his representatives are in search of a new home, as the 26-year-old Frenchman has already said he’s ready to leave Lyon. According to the Express, Lacazette will meet with Liverpool officials this week, as Jurgen Klopp hopes to land a big-name forward this summer. Beating Manchester United and Arsenal to the punch would be the cherry on top.

[ MORE: Virgil Van Dijk prefers Liverpool over Chelsea, Man City ]


Having already seen their side linked with Lacazette and Kylian Mbappe, Monaco’s superstar-in-waiting, Arsenal fans might be expecting a busy summer of transfers at the Emirates Stadium as Arsene Wenger rebuilds in an effort to achieve Champions League qualification next summer. Not so fast, Gooners. This summer, same as every other summer?

“Between a maximum of two or three,” Wenger told beIN Sports last week. “We cannot spend as much as many other clubs because some clubs have external resources that allow them to be basically unlimited.”

[ MORE: Transfer rumors — De Gea-for-Morata swap? Salah to LFC ]


Without Champions League football to offer, Arsenal also risk losing a handful of key players this summer, including 22-year-old right back Hector Bellerin. According to the Diario Sport, new Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde is keen on bringing the Barca academy product back to Catalonia. Arda Turan could be sent the other way, so as to offset the transfer fee by as much as $33 million, which is what Barca are hoping to recoup for the Turkish international.

Benzema: ‘I’m F1’ quality compared to ‘go-kart’ Giroud

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It would appear that Karim Benzema lives for exactly two things in life: scoring goals and creating/participating in very public drama.

[ MORE: Monday’s transfer rumor roundup | Friday | Thursday ]

Benzema, who hasn’t feature for France’s national team since he was allegedly involved in a scandal to blackmail teammate Mathieu Valbuena with a sex tape in 2015, slammed compatriot forward Olivier Giroud as the “go-karting” alternative to his own “F1” quality.

His main gripe with Giroud doesn’t appear to actually be with the player himself, but the fact the two get compared to one another so frequently. In Benzema’s absence from Les Bleus, Giroud has been the main beneficiary, leading many to wonder if the team could have reached greater heights with Benzmea in the team instead — quotes from Sky Sports:

“You shouldn’t confuse F1 and go karting and that’s me being kind. On to the next topic. I’m not talking about him [Giroud] anymore. I just know that I’m F1.

“He has his career, he does what he wants and scores the goals that he wants to score. He’s in his corner and I’m in mine, I’m not thinking about him. If we’re talking about playing style, his suits France well.

“It’s good because there are fast players like (Kylian) Mbappe and (Antoine) Griezmann who play out wide or feed off the centre-forward. When Giroud is up front, he’s a handful for defenses, which gives the other two plenty of space to show what they can do.

“He occupies defenders and it works. It might not be brilliant to watch and you won’t say, ‘Wow, that was incredible.’ Does everyone like that style of play? I don’t know, but it suits France well.”

Giroud: 39 goals (third-highest) in 97 appearances for France. Benzema: 27 goals in 81 appearances.

Guardiola: ‘We will come back stronger, kinder … and a bit fatter’

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Through all of the innumerable challenges and tragedies the world is currently facing during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is doing his best to not only help the fight back in his native Spain, but also give everyone a chance to smile and laugh at their own expense.

[ MORE: Monday’s transfer rumor roundup | Friday | Thursday ]

Guardiola, who last week donated $1.1 million to fight the virus in Catalonia, released a video message of encouragement and hope on Monday — encouraging everyone to stay inside, and hopeful of returning to a sense of normalcy in short order:

“We miss football. We miss the life that we had a few days ago but now is the time to listen, to follow our scientists, doctors and nurses.

“You are my football family and we are going to do everything possible to make you feel better. We’ll come back from this stronger, better, kinder … and a little bit fatter. Stay inside, stay safe.”

Germany’s UCL clubs pledge support for cash-strapped clubs

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DUSSELDORF, Germany — Four German soccer clubs have pledged a combined $21.9 million to support other teams struggling to stay afloat after games in the country were suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak.

[ MORE: Monday’s transfer rumor roundup | Friday | Thursday ]

Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen will forgo $13.7 million in as-yet undistributed TV money and add another $8.2 million from their own funds. All four clubs played in the Champions League this season, giving them extra income.

The German Football League, which oversees the top two divisions, will decide how the money is distributed. The league has previously said it fears many clubs could face financial collapse if games can’t resume.

“In these difficult times, it’s important that the stronger shoulders support the weaker shoulders,” Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said on Thursday.

It’s the latest in a string of gestures to help those in need in German soccer. Players at clubs including Bayern, Borussia Monchengladbach and second-tier Karlsruhe have agreed to voluntary pay cuts to help other staff.

[ MORE: Tottenham offer stadium to help with coronavirus effort ]

Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke said clubs had a responsibility to keep other teams running in what could be a long period without income from ticket sales and sponsors.

“We have always said that we would show solidarity if clubs, through no fault of their own, should run into difficulties that they can no longer overcome themselves,” Watzke said in a statement.

“BVB is currently having a major impact on society through a wide range of initiatives. And naturally we are prepared to help out other professional football clubs if it is ultimately a matter of cushioning the financial effects of the pandemic.”

Transfer rumor roundup: Sancho to Man Utd; Madrid’s Haaland backup plan

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A roundup of all of Monday’s biggest transfer rumors, including those involving Premier League clubs…

[ MORE: Tottenham offer stadium to help with coronavirus effort ]

Jadon Sancho is a virtual lock to leave Borussia Dortmund and return to the PL this summer, and the 20-year-old winger will almost certainly command a transfer fee of more than $150 million just three years after signing from Manchester City for just $10 million. Today, it’s Manchester United who are rumored as frontrunners for Sancho’s services, based upon reports that Sancho has “unofficially confirmed” he will choose to join Man United when the transfer window opens.


Updating a transfer rumor from last week, Real Madrid are still very much in on another Dortmund starlet, Erling Haaland, but that doesn’t mean they’re putting all of their eggs in one basket. Los Blancos are reportedly eyeing Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, a former Dortmund man himself, as a backup option should Haaland remain at Dortmund or land elsewhere this summer. Aubameyang, who’ll turn 31 this summer, isn’t likely to move for less than $60 million, which could prove a stumbling block.


If the rumors are to be believed, this summer will be a costly one for Man United, who are also interested in Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez. The price tag on the 25-year-old? Close to $170 million. It would seem unlikely that United could afford Niguez (at that price) without getting $100 million (at least) for Paul Pogba.


Another current Arsenal (and former Dortmund) player, midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan, hopes to turn his loan to Roma into a permanent move this summer. Arsenal are expected to ask $22 for the 31-year-old, but the Serie A side is hoping to pay closer to $12 million instead.