While everyone is struggling through the coronavirus shutdown that has left world soccer at a standstill, one positive stemming from the recent events is the opportunity for injured players to heal while games are halted.
Leroy Sane has missed the entire season thus far with an ACL tear after going down in his very first action of the campaign in August. Sane had been heavily linked with a move to Bayern Munich and while time was running out on his chance to secure a switch in the summer, he was no doubt close to a future move that could have happened in the winter had it not been for his injury in the Community Shield.
Those rumors are ramping up again with the soccer season on hold and the summer fast approaching. According to a report by The Mirror, Sane has continued to refuse a contract extension as his agents work on a move to Bayern this summer or whenever the upcoming transfer window ends up opening. The report states that the German side has not been deterred by his ACL injury, and instead views it as a positive, allowing them to knock the price down to around $87 million, which the report claims is half what they would have paid last summer.
The coronavirus shutdown has also made its way into the rumored Jack Grealish transfer to Manchester United, with the player’s actions while supposedly in government-mandated lockdown potentially upsetting his suitors. However, according to a report by ESPN FC’s Rob Dawson, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and the rest of the Manchester United transfer team is not deterred by Grealish’s stubborn disobedience of the lockdown, for which he was forced to apologize after crashing his car on the way home from a late night party.
Much regarding this transfer relies on the potential finishing of the Premier League season given Aston Villa is in a relegation battle. Some reports suggest that Villa could be persuaded to keep Grealish should they secure Premier League safety, but Dawson’s report states that Manchester United believes that not to be the case, and their fight to bring the 24-year-old playmaker to Old Trafford remains on even if Villa stays up.
With Grealish under contract at Aston Villa through the summer of 2023, the midfielder reportedly would cost Manchester United over $75 million and according to Dawson is “more attainable” than Leicester City’s James Maddison, although it is unclear if that tag is due to price or availability.
Jose Mourinho had clearly been enamored with Serge Aurier when he took the Tottenham job, but his opinion of the 27-year-old right-back may have soured of late, dropping him to the bench for two of the last three matches before the shutdown struck. A mix of injuries and inconsistent form has been rampant during his Spurs stay so far, and according to French publication L’Equipe (via Get French Football News), a replacement could be on the way.
The report states that Tottenham has “intensified negotiations” with Paris Saint-Germain right-back Thomas Meunier, and while the player apparently wishes to remain in the French capital, PSG manager Thomas Tuchel has other ideas. Meunier has been a regular starter for PSG for most of this season, but missed occasional time with various injuries and suspensions. PSG is extremely thin at right-back, with 21-year-old academy product Colin Dagba the only other option at the moment, but the report states that with PSG brass in talks with other players, Meunier could be headed out. The Belgian international has been linked to both West Ham and Borussia Dortmund in the recent past, but now Spurs looks to be the leading option.
On the other side of North London, Arsenal is also looking at options for the upcoming transfer window. A report by speculative tabloid Football Insider, picked up by the Daily Mail, states that the Gunners have their eye on developing Feyenoord teenager Lamare Bogarde and could pounce with other clubs like AC Milan, Juventus, Borussia Dortmund, and even Spurs all keeping an eye on the 16-year-old. Bogarde is a center-back with flexibility at defensive midfield, and while he has yet to make his first-team debut, he has been playing for Feyenoord’s U-17 side this season. Bogarde has the Premier League in his blood, being the nephew of former Chelsea and Barcelona defender Winston Bogarde.
Back at Manchester City, with Sane potentially on his way out another fringe player is also considering his options. The Manchester Evening News has compiled a rundown of reported thoughts on full-back Joao Cancelo, and with the 25-year-old already on his fifth club in the last six years, the writeup suggests that his mentality may not be up for the fight at the Etihad. Cancelo has not logged 1,000 Premier League minutes yet this season and may struggle to do so should the season resume, with just 11 appearances thus far while stuck behind Kyle Walker. Still, Pep Guardiola has given him chances in the Champions League, with four full 90-minute performances in the group stage.
Cancelo has a reputation as a “feisty” player, as the MEN calls it, and while that promised to give Walker a run for his money when Cancelo arrived this past summer from Juventus, that has not come to pass and he may wish to look for chances elsewhere rather than continue to push for more playing time where he is.
Finally, Adam Lallana was reportedly offered to AC Milan on a free transfer with his contract expiring this summer, but according to tabloid Calciomercato, the Serie A side turned down the opportunity. The 31-year-old has been given chances to show his worth down the stretch off the bench with Liverpool owning a huge Premier League lead, and he has impressed in that span as a central midfielder, but that has apparently not been enough to convince those at the San Siro.