Transfer Talk: Koulibaly closing in on dream Manchester City move

The coronavirus pandemic has made the summer transfer window uncertain, but here are the rumours floating around Europe's big leagues and beyond.

TOP STORY: Koulibaly on the cusp of Man City move

Working under Pep Guardiola appears to be an opportunity too good to turn down for Kalidou Koulibaly, who has been linked with a £72.5 million move to Manchester City. The Napoli defender is on the verge of agreeing to a deal with City, according to Mundo Deportivo, amid pressure from Guardiola to improve his defensive line after Liverpool were crowned Premier League champions on Thursday.

Guardiola has a proven track record in developing some of the finest centre-backs, and that is said to be a big pull for the Senegal international in wanting to join City.

The reported fee could be seen as a discount after Napoli club president Aurelio De Laurentiis initially valued the 29-year-old at £90m.


22.30 BST: That's all for today's edition of Tranfser Talk Live. Please check back in a few hours for the latest news and rumours. Thanks and be safe!

21.29 BST: Cagliari midfielder Radja Nainggolan has told Sky Sport Italia he was unsure about a return to Inter Milan

Nainggolan, who's on loan at Cagliari, said after leading the squad to a 4-2 win over Torino on Saturday, said: "I don't know what's in the future for me, as nobody has said anything. If Cagliari were to make an effort, then why couldn't I stay?"

20.37 BST: James Rodriguez's stepdad says the Colombia superstar wanted to leave Real Madrid for Atletico Madrid last summer.

"In my opinion, as James' adoptive father, I think that because of his daughter, staying in Spain was the best possibility and especially if he could stay in Madrid," Juan Carlos Restrepo told Colombian outlet Gol Caracol.

"James would have preferred to go to Atletico in a transfer. This does not mean that there were no attempts and appreciations from other clubs as well. He feels comfortable in Spain, on a personal level, and was not convinced about changing countries.

"But in the end, Madrid, who want to dominate in Spain and the world, still considers the player to be important to his team and decided not to sell him. This was the official position."

19.23 BST: Here's a line too good not to include in Transfer Talk. According to Marca Argentina, Brazil great Ronaldinho wants to end his retirement and play for Diego Maradona's Gimnasia side.


Per the outlet, the 40-year-old -- who last played for Fluminense back in 2015 -- is eyeing a move to the top flight of Argentine football. The only stumbling block, rightly cites Marca, is the little matter of the former Barcelona legend still being on house arrest in Paraguay for a falsified passport.

Oh yeah, that!

18.15 BST: Espanyol have sacked manager Abelardo Fernandez amid a relegation battle, the club announced on Saturday.

Sporting director Francisco Rufete will assume the reins as caretaker manager until the end of the season.

16.52 BST: Stunning news coming out of the Netherlands! Arjen Robben has come out of retirement at the age of 36 to re-sign for his boyhood club, FC Groningen. Robben had decided to hang up his boots at the end of last season when his Bayern Munich contract expired, and we thought that was that.

But 12 months on and Groningen, where Robben began his footballing journey as a 12-year old, have now announced the winger has penned a contract to play in the Eredivisie in 2020-21.

He spent two years in the Groningen first team before moving to PSV Eindhoven in 2002. Spells with Chelsea and Real Madrid followed before he seemingly finished his career with 10 years at Bayern. But he's back!

16.11 BST: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has said it would be good to see Borussia Dortmund forward Jadon Sancho in red but is unsure whether a deal can be completed this summer.

"A red jersey would look very good on Jadon Sancho," he told Bild. "But I don't think such a transfer will take place this summer. He is a very interesting player. If he moved to Liverpool, I would be the most surprised of all."

15.32 BST: France international Dimitri Payet has extended his contract with Marseille by two years until 2024 and accepted a 50% pay cut for next season. And his salary for 2021-22 will be 30% less than this season's reported €6m.

"To love the club is good, to prove it is better," the forward, who had previously refused a pay cut amid the COVID-19 crisis, told a joint news conference with coach Andre Villas Boas and president Jacques-Henri Eyraud.

Marseille are under financial pressure, having been fined €3m this month for breaching a settlement agreement relating to financial fair play rules.

14.51 BST: More news on Miralem Pjanic, and his move to Barcelona. La Repubblica and Sportmediaset both report that the Juventus star and Barca's Arthur Melo will have medicals at their respective new clubs over the weekend. The swap involving the two players should be officially announced on Tuesday.

14.10 BST: Napoli's summer rebuilding plans could involve a swoop for AS Roma winger Cengiz Under. Napoli are almost certain to have to be content with Europa League football next season, and need new faces to reshape their squad.

Under, a 22-year-old right winger, has had a poor season with Roma but it remains to be seen if Napoli will meet the €30m asking price quoted by Corriere dello Sport.

13.33 BST: Atalanta star Timothy Castagne looks like he could be on the move this summer, and has pretty much issued a come-and-get-me plea to Paris Saint-Germain and Tottenham Hotspur.

"I think the time has come to move on, but I won't be disappointed if I stay in Bergamo," he told La Derniere Heure. "You have to be honest with yourself. When a team like PSG or Tottenham come knocking on your door, you can't say no."

12.55 BST: AS Monaco have announced the signing of 19-year-old right-winger Anthony Musaba, who moves from Dutch Eerste Divisie side NEC Nijmegen in a deal worth more than €2m.

12.17 BST: Real Madrid youngster Oscar Rodriguez is a target for Villarreal, according to Marca, with the La Liga club willing to pay €10m for 50% of the playmaker's rights.

The 21-year-old has caught the eye with a string of impressive performances on loan at Leganes, scoring one of the goals of the season with a long-range free kick against Mallorca last weekend.

Marca claim that Villarreal have already made contact with Oscar's agent Rene Ramos -- the brother of Real Madrid's Sergio -- and that Madrid would insist on a buy-back option being included in any agreement.

Oscar is Leganes' top scorer this season, with nine league goals from midfield.

11.39 BST: Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri has admitted that Miralem Pjanic could leave the club at the end of the season.

Sarri said: "He'll be with us until the end of August. I hope he'll stay with us even beyond that, but these are decisions that will be made at a later stage."

Pjanic is expected to make a summer move to Barcelona.

11.01 BST: Atletico Madrid held talks with Napoli forward Arkadiusz Milik this week, Diario AS reports. Milik, 28, has scored 10 goals in Serie A this season and Napoli have been unable to convince him to extend his contract, which expires next summer.

According to the newspaper, Atletico's sporting director Andrea Berta held a video call with the player and his agent on Friday, offering to double his current wages. Negotiating a transfer fee with Napoli might prove more difficult, with Atletico short of cash and the Italian club expecting to receive up to €50m.

10.14 BST: It appears that Manchester City have snapped up one of the game's most promising talents, with 16-year-old defensive midfielder Romeo Lavia opting against signing a professional contract with Anderlecht.

Anderlecht CEO Karel Van Eetvelt told HLN: "We saw Lavia leave for Manchester City last week. Too bad, everyone advised him to stay with us, even the people of City, but the boy is a very strong character and wanted to take the plunge."

Lavia, who was the captain of the Belgian club's under-16 team, was also being tracked by Liverpool.

Earlier this month the player had announced he was leaving Anderlecht.

09.30 BST: On Friday evening, ESPN's James Olley brought us the story that Matteo Guendouzi's future at Arsenal is uncertain. And as night follows day, the transfer rumours have flowed in. L'Equipe reports that there are a host of clubs hoping to get hold of the France under-21 international, namely Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Internazionale, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain.


Hakimi's 14-year Madrid career coming to an end

The Guardian reports that Real Madrid full-back Achraf Hakimi, whose two-year loan at Borussia Dortmund comes to an end on Saturday, is close to joining Inter Milan for £35.8m.

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Should the move go ahead, it would end Hakimi's 14-year association with Madrid, having progressed through the club's academy before making his La Liga debut in October 2017. But after Madrid reportedly informed the 21-year-old he would act only as a backup to Dani Carvajal it became clear he would need to move on permanently.

Antonio Conte is said to be a big admirer of Hakimi, and Inter are reportedly confident in securing a deal. The report also adds that the Nerazzurri are hopeful of signing Brescia's Sandro Tonali for £31.8m.


- Joe Hart could feature in the Scottish Premiership next season after the Telegraph reported that Celtic are considering a move for the goalkeeper this summer. The former England No. 1 is a free agent following his release from Burnley, and manager Neil Lennon is open to signing the 33-year-old, but any move is likely to be dictated by the Hoops' ability to re-sign Southampton's Fraser Forster on loan. Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl reportedly will make an assessment of Forster in preseason, meaning a move for Hart is unlikely to happen any time soon.

- Udinese remain firm favourites to prize Matty Longstaff away from St James' Park this summer. The Express reports that while Longstaff has been offered a competitive fresh contract by Newcastle, talks between the 20-year-old and the Italian club earlier this season remain relevant and he could yet be tempted away from his hometown club.