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Transfer rumor roundup: Four bids for Gabriel, Barca offer five for Martinez

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The transfer rumor mill has not paused often during the coronavirus suspension, with — nickname alert — French Eddy being linked to Arsenal along with RB Leipzig back Dayot Upamecano.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

It seems like more than links when it comes to Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes, as four clubs including Premier League side Everton are said to have made bids for the 22-year-old.

Gabriel moved from Brazil to France in 2016, and he was loaned by Lille to Dinamo Zagreb and Troyes before establishing himself as a first-teamer.

The center back has two goals in 52 appearances and is averaging 1.7 tackles per game, 3.3 clearances, and .9 interceptions in Ligue 1 play while passing at 82 percent.

Gabriel is set to cost more than $36 million. He’s repped Brazil at the U-20 level.

Elsewhere, a better-known South American is being linked to his usual destination in a wild exchange.

Calcio Mercato reports that Barcelona is willing to offer five players to Inter Milan in order to drive down the price on Lautaro Martinez.

There’s plenty of smoke to infer fire when it comes to the prolific 22-year-old Argentine striker, though a five-player exchange is different than meeting the $124 million release clause.

Those players are midfielders Arturo Vidal, Carles Alena, and Arthur, fullback Nelson Semedo, and Jean-Clair Todibo, who are worth a combined $167 million according to the loose estimates of Transfermarkt.

Transfer news: Aubameyang to Man United, Skriniar to Man City

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The latest transfer news continues across the Premier League and here’s a look at some of the juiciest rumors.

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First up, Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang continues to be linked with a move away from north London as the Gabonese star has just over a year left on his current contract.

Aubameyang, 30, has been Arsenal’s main main up top since he arrived from Borussia Dortmund in January 2018 and has scored 49 goals in 74 Premier League appearances.

His importance to Arsenal is clear and Mikel Arteta has hammered that home on several occasions, saying that Aubameyang is their ‘most important player’ but the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Barcelona and now Man United are said to be interested in signing the clinical finisher.

According to a report in The Sun, Arsenal would accept a bid of close to $60 million for Aubameyang this summer as they don’t want to lose another star player on a free transfer a la Aaron Ramsey.

Man United have Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Bruno Fernandes, Daniel James and Mason Greenwood in the attacking areas of the pitch, so do they need to add Aubameyang?

Well, much like Robin Van Persie‘s arrival from Arsenal helped them win the Premier League title, Aubameyang’s arrival could truly have a huge impact for at least a couple of seasons. It doesn’t fit in with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s long-term project of developing young talent but wherever Aubameyang has gone he’s scored goals by the boatload.

Aubameyang has played out on the left for Arsenal in recent months and has continued to score, so maybe he, Martial and Rashford could all play together up top for Man United? Imagine that trio latching onto through balls from Fernandes? Stop drooling, United fans.

Man City’s poor 2019-20 campaign, at least in the Premier League, has largely been down to issues defensively and it looks like Pep Guardiola is keen to sign a new center back this summer.

According to Italian outlet Calciomercato, Inter Milan’s Slovakian center half Milan Skriniar is moving towards the top of Man City’s list.

The report states that PSG, Real Madrid and Man City will battle to sign the 25-year-old who has impressed in a three-man central defense for Antonio Conte‘s side.

With Aymeric Laporte missing large chunks of this season with injury, plus John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi both struggling with form and fitness, not replacing Vincent Kompany after his departure last summer looks like one of the biggest mistakes Man City have made over the last decade.

Skriniar is a no-nonsense defender, great in one-on-one situations and is a towering presence in the air and that is what Man City need to partner Laporte, who is calm and composed on the ball and often starts attack from his role as a left-sided center back.

There’s no doubt that Man City will be linked with a plethora of center backs between now and the transfer window opening this summer but Skriniar has proven himself with his positional play at Inter and he is an out-and-out defender.

Lukaku ‘didn’t have the energy’ for another year at Man Utd

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Romelu Lukaku has revealed he “didn’t have the energy” for another year or the constant criticism and drama which he endured during his final season at Manchester United, prompting him to leave for Inter Milan last summer.

[ MORE: Report: Donnarumma learning English ahead of PL move ]

Speaking to Arsenal legend Ian Wright in a video interview on Wright’s YouTube channel (video above), Lukaku opened up about his second-season struggles at Old Trafford and explained his thought process which ultimately led him to leave Man United for $90 million — excerpts from Sky Sports:

“One bad year can happen to everybody in their career. It was just done for me. You know what happened behind the scenes, it was just done. For me, it was done.

“It was a difficult situation where for myself I had to make a decision where I have to go somewhere where I can learn other aspects of my game and work with somebody that wanted me as well.

“Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] wanted me to stay, but I told him I was over. I didn’t have the energy. All credit to him because he’s been a man and he helped me make the move away.”

“It’s a club that gave me a platform that I’ve never seen in my life, so for me to be disrespectful about Man United or any other club I played for in England, I think, is a bit childish. I think I went past that stage of talking back to people.”

As for where he landed, Lukaku revealed that Inter and Juventus were both interested in acquiring his services, but it was the chance to play for Antonio Conte which sold him on the club from Milan.

“It was close. It was really close but my mind was always set on Inter… and the manager. When I was a kid, Inter was my team in Italy. I looked up to Adriano and Ronaldo.

“Obviously when Inter came, the club, the manager Conte that wanted me at Chelsea and when he was at Juve as well, I was like now it’s time to go over there and see what it’s like, but just keep my head down and work.”

Barcelona prepared to meet $124M release clause for Martinez

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Lautaro Martinez’s incredible season is paying off big time for Inter Milan.’

The Serie A side reportedly resisted big money overtures from Barcelona this summer, pointing to his approximate $124 million release clause.

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Now Barca is said to be prepared to meet that clause in order to land Martinez.

Football-Espana says that a cash-plus-player deal is the other option. Barca would be willing to send Arturo Vidal or Ivan Rakitic, while Antonio Conte would prefer Nelson Semedo or Arthur.

Signing the 22-year-old Argentine could help sate the concern of countryman Lionel Messi, who’s watched Barca fail to provide him adequate reinforcements as Real Madrid stockpiled young talent. Messi was reportedly disappointed that the Blaugranas failed to pony up for Neymar this summer.

Martinez has 16 goals and four assists in 31 matches this season, including a goal against Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League.

He’s Inter’s second-leading scorer behind Romelu Lukaku, and the Serie A side has nine points insulation on the UCL chasing pack with a match-in-hand.

Barca is going to have get rid of some players to pay big for Martinez, with Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele challenging the club on different levels. And who knows who else may want to leave Barcelona given its messy season (maybe really messy is a better choice)?

Inter v. Getafe, Sevilla v. Roma postponed

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Two Europa League games on Thursday have been postponed due to concerns over coronavirus as Inter Milan v. Getafe and Sevilla v. Roma will not go ahead.

UEFA released a statement on Wednesday confirming the news as Getafe’s president had previously said they would not travel to Milan to play the Round of 16 first leg game, while Roma issued a statement saying the Spanish authorities would not allow their plane to land in Seville.

Here is the statement in full from UEFA on the postponements:

“The UEFA Europa League Round of 16 matches between Sevilla FC (Spain) – AS Roma (Italy) and FC Internazionale (Italy) – Getafe CF (Spain) will not take place as scheduled. As a result of the travelling restrictions between Spain and Italy imposed yesterday by the Spanish authorities, the following UEFA Europa League Round of 16 matches will not take place as scheduled tomorrow, 12 March 2020. Further decisions on the two matches will be communicated in due course.”

Wolverhampton Wanderers have also issued a statement criticizing UEFA after they wanted their game at Olympiacos to be postponed due to Olympiacos’ owner Evangelos Marinakis being diagnosed with coronavirus.

Olympiacos have since confirmed all of their staff and players have been tested and their tests have come back as negative and the game will be played in an empty stadium in Greece.

Coronavirus fears have also caused the postponement of Man City v. Arsenal, and the sequestering of several Arsenal players due to coming in close contact with Marinakis 13 days ago after a Europe League game against Olympiacos.

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