Transfer Talk: Andres Iniesta could join Manchester City as player-coach
The transfer window is open, and Transfer Talk has the latest rumours making the rounds. Follow live with our daily blog throughout the summer.
TOP STORY: Iniesta to join Man City as player-coach?
Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta is about to call time on his career at the Camp Nou, with Sunday's match against Real Sociedad the last for the only club he has ever played for professionally at senior level.
Reports in recent months have linked the 34-year-old with a move to the Chinese Super League, Major League Soccer and even the A-League. But Yahoo has put the brakes on those mooted destinations, suggesting that Iniesta could join back up with his former Barca manager Pep Guardiola at Manchester City as a player-coach.
The report says that the Spain international is "Pep Guardiola's No. 1 choice to fill the void left by [Mikel] Arteta, who is expected to be confirmed as Arsenal manager later this month."
Yahoo cites sources who say that Iniesta is already in talks with this season's runaway Premier League champions and has "had his head turned" with a chance to link up with Guardiola as Man City look to parlay domestic success into Champions League glory at the Etihad.
21.00 BST: Right-o, we're off for another night. Check ESPN FC soon for Sunday's gripping installment of Transfer Talk.
20.33 BST: The party for Chelsea's FA Cup win is just getting started but the media are already talking about Antonio Conte's eventual replacement as manager. They reckon that Monaco tactician Leonardo Jardim is the front-runner. So there you go. Just don't read this tonight, Antonio! Have some more champagne, enjoy yourself.
20.06 BST: Don't you just love reports in Spain? There's a big shock this evening as Liverpool are apparently considering swapping their star, Mohamed Salah, for Real Madrid's Marco Asensio. And Jurgen Klopp is considering it!
Diario Gol are claiming that the Reds will hold firm to a £175m valuation for the Egypt attacker but would consider letting him go for the bargain price of £105m if the Spanish side send Asensio back in the other direction.
Might have to wait and see on this one. Quite the long odds, we're sure!
19.31 BST: Ooh, a DONE DEAL in the Premier League! Leicester City have completed the signing of Portugal international right-back Ricardo Pereira, formerly of FC Porto.
Pereira, 24, has signed a five-year deal with the Foxes and will complete the move when his international transfer clearance (us neither) is received on June 9.
19.03 BST: Reunions are always compelling viewing and according to the Scotsman, we might be getting an eye-catching one north of the border.
The latest rumours for new Rangers boss Steven Gerrard have him linked with long-time Liverpool teammate, Lucas Leiva.
Leiva, 31, left Liverpool for Lazio in July of 2017 where he's impressive as their holding midfielder. Gerrard could use that kind of veteran savvy in the proverbial engine room as he looks to restore his new club to Scottish football's elite.
18.32 BST: The Star is running with the story that Mikel Arteta will be named as Arsenal's next manager following Arsene Wenger's departure and they've also put together a shortlist of players that the club is expected to pursue this summer.
The list is topped by Nice midfielder Jean Michael Seri, who was linked with Barcelona last year, and rounded out with the likes of West Brom defender Jonny Evans, Bordeaux winger Malcom, Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly and Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno.
18.01 BST: It's not to do with a player but it will still count as a transfer! Chinese club Hebei China Fortune have confirmed that manager Manuel Pellegrini has left the club, with all indications that he'll turn up soon as West Ham's new coach.
17.39 BST: Some news in Ligue 1 via L'Equipe as Saint-Etienne would like to seal a permanent deal for former Newcastle United midfielder Remy Cabella following a successful loan spell in 2017-18.
Cabella, 28, didn't have the merriest time at St. James's Park, scoring just once in 31 appearances from 2014-16, but the playmaker enjoyed a productive season in France, bagging seven goals for his loan club. Saint-Etienne will need to convince Marseille to sell.
17.16 BST: Lionel Messi is reportedly angry (if you believe the Daily Star) that Liverpool, Juventus and Manchester United are fighting to try and sign Ivan Rakitic this summer. Definitely a reason to get upset if it happens, mind you.
16.40 BST: Good news for Liverpool? Real Madrid's former Director of Football (2006-09) and striker (1996-99) Predrag Mijatovic is telling his former club that they shouldn't pursue Mohamed Salah this summer.
Said Mijatovic to AS: "[Salah] is having a great season, he has all the qualities that football requires today but it must also be said that he is a player who has had a very strange [career] trajectory. he played well at Basel, Chelsea bought him and it did not work, in Rome he played well but not at this level, and now, all of a sudden, [his quality] comes out.
"I do not know if Madrid should go crazy for him at this moment."
Mijatovic cited the emergence of Marco Asensio and Isco as reasons to not bring in an established player, while the likes of Gareth Bale are still currently on the books at the Bernabeu.
16.04 BST: After months of a very candid pursuit of Liverpool midfielder Emre Can, Juventus hope to seal a deal for the Germany international soon after the Reds play Real Madrid in Kiev next week.
Juve chief Giuseppe Marotta said, according to Sky Italia journalist Fabrizio Romano: "I'm confident we'll be able to announce Emre Can signing after Champions League final."
15:35 BST: A possible development over the Arsenal job, with the Daily Mail reporting that Thierry Henry has made a play to be Arsene Wenger's successor. The report claims that the Gunners' all-time top scorer will speak to club chiefs what is not interested in taking any role on the coaching staff, only the top job. Former club captain Mikel Arteta is still thought to be the front-runner for the job at this stage.
14.55: DONE DEAL! Borussia Dortmund have signed Augsburg goalkeeper Marwin Hitz on a three-year deal, the club announced on Saturday. The 30-year-old joins Dortmund on a free transfer and will replace Roman Weidenfeller, who retired after this past season following 16 years with the club. Hitz has played in 154 Bundesliga games for Wolfsburg and Augsburg since joining the league from St. Gallen's under-21 side in 2008 and has featured in 12 Europa League games.
14.29 BST: Lyon boss Bruno Genesio did little to write off rumours linking Nabil Fekir to Liverpool ahead of the French team's final Ligue 1 match of the season against Nice.
"We have to put aside everything related to emotion," he said. "For some, this may be the last game. It must give [those players] even more strength because you have to say: '[I] leave by helping this team qualify for the Champions League.' There is also the World Cup. The very great players are able to ignore all this and I think Nabil will play a big match on Saturday. It's a final. It must be won. We only control our match and not the rest. We must tackle that."
14.03 BST: Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski is considering leaving the Bundesliga champions for a move to Chelsea, according to the Daily Express. Sources told ESPN FC this month that the Poland captain is frustrated at his lack of playing time for the German giants, but is that enough to leave them for a club that won't have Champions League football next season?
13.27 BST: It's not only players who move around during the summer -- managers board the merry-go-round, too. Two Premier League vacancies are set to be filled very soon, with West Ham close to appointing Manuel Pellegrini and Everton hoping to finally hire Marco Silva -- although The Times reports that the Toffees may have to go to a Premier League arbitration panel to get their man after Watford accused them of making an illegal approach for the Portuguese coach while he was still in charge at Vicarage Road.
12.55 BST: Anthony Martial is regularly linked with a move away from Manchester United, and his omission from the 23-man France squad for the World Cup may be the final straw, according to former France winger David Ginola.
"The main reason Anthony Martial is not in the squad is that you need to be a regular in your club before becoming a regular in your national team," Ginola said in the Daily Mirror. "Players like Martial need to play and score goals for the confidence, they need to be a regular. If he is not a regular at Manchester United he will probably search for another club and find one if he wants to. But I think Manchester United is a great club for him and it's up to him to give more in training and in games. If Jose Mourinho doesn't play him more regularly he probably thinks it's because he doesn't give his best all the time. I don't see a manager like Mourinho not playing a player who can make him win games. It doesn't work like that."
12.30 BST: Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera's current contract expires in 2019, but the Spain international insisted he will be at Old trafford next season -- though not without a couple of caveats. He told The Guardian: "My future is the Cup final. I want to be here next season and unless the club sack me, I will be here in pre-season and fight to keep adding games to my total. In football, what today is black is tomorrow white."
11.58 BST: James Collins has been released by West Ham. That news wouldn't ordinarily be enough to cause many ripples in the global football scene, but the Evening Standard's report that the veteran defender was informed via an email that his six-year spell at the club -- his second stint as a Hammer -- were to be ended is a bit of a shocker.
11.35 BST: The Daily Mail reports that which club Jonny Evans ends up joining this summer may depend on who is prepared to pay his agents' fees. The Daily Mail reports that the West Brom defender is available for £3m, but his representative wants £4m for brokering a deal that would see their client return to the Premier League.
11.01 BST: Paris Saint-Germain could look to sign Jack Wilshere this summer if the midfielder does not sign a new contract at Arsenal. Sources told ESPN FC on Friday that the French champions have offered Gianluigi Buffon a two-year deal, and L'Equipe reports that PSG sporting director Antonio Henrique also wants to snap up Wilshere if the 26-year-old becomes a free agent.
10.37 BST: Rafa Benitez would be open to a reunion with Fernando Torres at Newcastle. The pair worked together at Liverpool and (less successfully) at Chelsea and, as the striker prepares to end his second spell at Atletico Madrid this summer, Benitez is open to a third stint working with 'El Nino.'
"I think it will be harder for him to come for him, not because we don't want to," Benitez told Marca."I don't know what's going on in his head, but maybe he is thinking about something else. It would be appealing, but I don't think it would be easy."
10.02 BST: Barcelona are being asked to pay out big for Inter Milan defender Milan Skriniar. According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Inter have turned down a bid of €50m for the 23-year-old Slovakia international, who only joined from Sampdoria last summer.
09.28 BST: A bit of news that is sure to pique the interest of some top clubs around Europe -- the Daily Mail reports that Chelsea starlet Mason Mount has been invited to train with England's World Cup squad before they head out to Russia. The 19-year-old spent last season on loan at -- yes, you guessed it -- Vitesse Arnhem, and is yet to make a first-team appearance for Chelsea, but such an endorsement from England boss Gareth Southgate is likely to do wonders for his future prospects at Stamford Bridge or elsewhere.
Some Premier League teams still have a 'Hart'
Speaking of Man City, what about their former No. 1 goalkeeper, Joe Hart? It's hard not to feel bad for the 31-year-old, who spent the 2016-17 season on loan and playing for Torino, before spending the most recent campaign on loan and seeing limited action at West Ham.
The lack of action and a serious youth movement in Gareth Southgate's squad means the England international won't be on the plane to Russia this summer, either, with Stoke's Jack Butland, Burnley's Nick Pope and Everton's Jordan Pickford all picked ahead of him for the World Cup squad.
But there could yet be good news on the home front for Hart, with the Mirror reporting that Southampton, who avoided relegation, and Wolves, who were promoted to the Premier League after topping the Championship table, are ready to make a move for his services.
The outlet says that Saints could have an edge as Hart's "former Birmingham and England goalkeeping coach Dave Watson is now head of goalkeeping at St Mary's."
Good luck, Joe. It's been a rough 2018 so far.
Rooney can always go home again
Indeed, the old saying is that you can never go home again, but don't tell that to Wayne Rooney, who the Mail says has an open invitation to return to Everton next season, or anytime in the future for that matter, if he does test the waters in Major League Soccer.
The former Manchester United star has been linked with a move to the United States to play for Ben Olsen's struggling D.C. United team, with some outlets reporting that a fee has been agreed for the move and Rooney being the only one holding up this deal getting done.
Whether Rooney decides to test his luck in MLS or not, the Mail says that the club's academy grad "has already been told he would be welcome back as a coach at Goodison Park any time in the future."
- A story on ESPN Brazil cites Colombian outlet Antena 2's report that Radamel Falcao could also be on his way to MLS. The story says the Monaco striker has drawn interest from Atlanta United -- a club that's no stranger to South American talent.
Although Falcao's deal with the principality club runs through the summer of 2020, the report suggests that a less-than-perfect relationship with manager Leonardo Jardim has the Colombia international exploring new opportunities.
- Bayern Munich have tabled a €60 million bid for Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.
Leverkusen, however, are holding out for a fee closer to €100m and would much prefer to sell the 20-year-old to Real Madrid, who also have expressed a strong interest in him.
- Kylian Mbappe has said he will stay at Paris Saint-Germain next season but might not see out his five-year contract at Parc des Princes.
France international Mbappe said he was happy at the club but added that the Champions League exit to Real Madrid had been a "black mark" on their season.
- Charly Musonda has returned to Chelsea after his loan at Celtic was cut short due to a lack of first-team football, Brendan Rodgers has revealed.
Chelsea initially loaned Musonda to Celtic on an 18-month deal in January with the hope that he would get regular minutes on the pitch, but the Belgian winger has since started just two league games for the Scottish champions.
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