Transfer Talk: Barcelona ex-pats and United's double Dutch
Rumours, gossip, transfer news and signings from all of the top European clubs. It's Transfer Talk time.
Barcelona plan exodus
It's been a hectic few days at the Camp Nou as Barcelona said ta-ta to Tata Martino, twisted Lionel Messi's arm into signing a new deal that makes him the highest-paid player in the world, appointed Luis Enrique as their new manager on a two-year deal, and snapped up Marc-Andre Ter Stegen for an undisclosed fee from Borussia Monchengladbach. And breathe.
It seems the fun is only just beginning, however, after club president Josep Bartomeu promised "profound changes" following a trophy-less season. According to the Daily Mail, a summer of upheaval could see as many as five first-team players depart, with Cesc Fabregas leading a list that also includes Javier Mascherano, Daniel Alves, Pedro and Cristian Tello.
Both Manchester United and Arsenal are credited with an interest in Fabregas, who would command a fee of 45 million pounds, and that would help Barca push through a move for Chelsea's David Luiz. Meanwhile, Liverpool have been linked with a 9-million-pound bid to bring Mascherano back to Anfield to replace Lucas Leiva, who in turn could be on his way to Inter Milan. Confused? Don't worry, the dizziness will pass as the transfer merry-go-round gets into full swing.
United eye Clasie touch
While Barcelona are planning an exodus, Manchester United are focused firmly on an influx after confirming Louis van Gaal's arrival on a three-year contract. There are various stories claiming the Dutch coach is already working on his wishlist, which features Jordy Clasie as one of the leading targets, according to the Daily Star. Speculation has been fueled by Robin van Persie praising the Feyenoord youngster after his superb pass assisted the striker's equaliser in Holland's 1-1 draw with Ecuador.
"That pass made the goal possible. That was a world-class ball," said Van Persie. "That pass gave me the opportunity to do my thing. I think that pass was more beautiful than my goal. The only thing I had to do was control the ball and score."
You did it very well, though, Robin.
And it could be double Dutch
Another Dutch international apparently on Van Gaal's shortlist is Kevin Strootman, who will sadly miss the World Cup with a knee injury. TalkSPORT claim the Roma star is a "clear favourite" of Van Gaal, and his preferred choice to strengthen United's midfield ahead of Clasie. They also report that Mats Hummels could be set for a move to Old Trafford as United seek replacements for long-serving duo Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand.
Arsenal urged to act smart
"Don't be dumb" is the message from Carlos Vela to Arsenal, as the Real Sociedad playmaker eyes a return to his former club during the summer transfer window. The Daily Star report that Vela has a buy-back clause in his contract that allows him to return to the Emirates Stadium for just 3.5 million pounds, and it seems the Mexico international is keen for the move to happen.
"It makes sense they will activate the clause now," said Vela, who scored 16 goals in La Liga this season. "A club that sees that a player is performing well for three years and has the chance of having him back for just an extra million. If Arsenal wouldn't pay that amount they wouldn't be very intelligent."
Over to you, Arsene Wenger.
City to move early
Manchester City plan to be the early bird catching the juiciest worms in the transfer market, according to club chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak. "Today I can tell you we know exactly what needs to be done, we know exactly the players that need to go and the players that need to come to the areas that need to be strengthened," he assured supporters.
"So I can tell our fans: expect an efficient and swift execution plan and we will have, after the World Cup, a good pre-season and will go into the season very ready as we did last year ready to compete in all four competitions."
The Mirror say City are pushing ahead with plans to sign Arsenal's out-of-contract defender Bacary Sagna and Porto pair Eliaquim Mangala and Fernando, with all three deals possibly set for completion before the World Cup. Mangala has admitted he would prefer to join Chelsea, however, owing to their London location. Apparently he's a big fan of the Tate Modern.
Odds and ends
• Didier Drogba could make a sensational return to Stamford Bridge as Chelsea battle AC Milan for his signature. The 36-year-old has confirmed his intention to leave Galatasaray in the summer and the Daily Star report that Jose Mourinho would love to be reunited with his former charge. The Blues boss faces losing Eden Hazard, however, with the Mirror claiming Paris Saint Germain have made the Belgian their number-one target at a cost of 50 million pounds.
• Good news, Manchester United fans -- Shinji Kagawa hopes to stay at the club despite being linked with a transfer back to Borussia Dortmund. "Shinji will play the World Cup now and then see what the new Manchester United manager's plans are," Kagawa's agent Thomas Kroth told Kicker magazine. "Right now, it is rather unlikely that he will leave the club in the summer."
• West Ham's Mohamed Diame is a 3.5-million-pound target for Liverpool and Newcastle, according to the Mirror, while The Telegraph report that Aston Villa want released Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott. The champions could sign 12-million-pound-rated Ryan Shawcross to cover for Lescott's departure, say the Daily Mail.