The 2020-21 European football season might be over, but teams have already begun evaluating the transfer market to fine-tune their squads this summer. A handful of important transfers have already been confirmed, while several big moves and contract extensions are in the works.
Here’s my rundown of all the important stories dominating the transfer market currently, with Barcelona, Chelsea, and other European giants coming under the microscope.
Barcelona focused on renewing Lionel Messi's contract
Barcelona are now focused on renewing Lionel Messi's contract, and the negotiations are progressing well. There is no definitive or signed agreement yet, but the final details and clauses are being discussed.
The special offer will be presented to Lionel Messi by president Joan Laporta, who will try to keep him any which way. Messi's potential new contract with Barça would be until June 2023.
To convince the Argentine, Laporta is putting together a renewed project that can lead Barcelona to their former glory as soon as possible. The purchase of Sergio Aguero is precisely from that point of view.
Aguero is a friend of Messi's, but above all a top striker who can inspire the team to start winning immediately.
Eric Garcia from Manchester City and Emerson Royal from Real Betis have also arrived, but Barca also plans to sign the contract for the purchase of Georginio Wijnaldum from Liverpool as a free agent as soon as possible. The verbal agreement with the Dutchman has been reached until 2024.
Another goal is to define the negotiations for "luxury" free agent Memphis Depay, who is ready to leave Lyon and join Barcelona. The Catalans are offering a contract until 2023 or 2024 at the player's choice. Depay will give an answer soon, and Barcelona are optimistic about signing him.
It will also be important to sell players this summer. Philippe Coutinho is on the list for a possible sale, but the rumors about Arsenal haven't been confirmed yet. The Gunners are not dealing with Coutinho.
Tottenham in talks with Antonio Conte
Tottenham Hotspur continue their search for a new manager to build a project for the future. Tottenham have shown interest in the return of Mauricio Pochettino for more than 10 days, but Paris Saint-Germain continue to oppose it and have let it be known that Pochettino will not leave.
Tottenham have tried hard, but only a change of position by the Argentinian manager himself can change things. PSG have been very clear that they have no intention of releasing him because their technical project only started six months ago. Leonardo, the club's director, has expressed his intention to continue with Pochettino in the future.
So far, no official requests have arrived at the club; it will have to be the manager who clarifies his position, or else PSG will go ahead with their plans. They are already planning for the summer market with the aim of buying a new midfielder, clarifying the situation of Kylian Mbappe's contract and negotiating for another one-year loan deal with Everton for Moise Kean.
Meanwhile, Tottenham president Daniel Levy is also in contact with other coaches. Among those is Antonio Conte, with whom they are talking about a long-term project, potential new signings and his contract and salary. They are awaiting a definitive answer from Conte.
As everyone knows, Conte is a winner but he is also a very “needy” manager. He wants a major contract, high-level resources for new signings, clear investments and a direct relationship with the club's board.
For this, Conte is representing himself through his agents. He wants to understand the details of Tottenham's project before he evaluates whether to accept the offer.
Together with Conte, Fabio Paratici could also join Spurs as the new director of football. Paratici recently left Juventus after 11 years, where he did an extraordinary job and led Juve to win Serie A nine times in a row.
He is available now and Tottenham have made him an official offer. Paratici will respond soon, but he has already worked with Conte in the past and would likely be glad about returning to start a project with the Italian manager.
Manchester City the team most interested in Harry Kane
Speaking of Tottenham, the choice of manager will be fundamental to understanding Harry Kane's future. Kane wants to play Champions League football in the future; he has not hidden that, and has ambitious plans for the summer.
However, Tottenham do not intend to negotiate. Dealing with president Daniel Levy is always very difficult for everyone.
Kane still has two years on his contract with Spurs and therefore the negotiations will be complicated. Manchester City are the team most interested in him; Pep Guardiola sees him as the perfect striker, but no negotiations have begun yet.
Chelsea preparing for massive summer
Chelsea, on the other hand, have very clear ideas. Thomas Tuchel's new contract will be announced very soon, and the agreement will be until June 2024. Roman Abramovich has recognized the German manager's extraordinary impact at the club.
Priority will be given to selling many fringe players or players returning from loans, such as Tiemoué Bakayoko or Emerson Palmieri. In defense, Rudiger's contract will be discussed, while Thiago Silva will soon sign his contract extension until June 2022 - meaning he will stay at Chelsea for another season.
N'Golo Kanté will speak with Chelsea about his contract (due to expire in June 2023) in the coming months. But he will do that without haste, as his relationship with the club is excellent.
Jorginho is another player Chelsea will soon have to make a decision about: a meeting with his agent is planned to talk about it.
There is always the name of Declan Rice in the club's list as a possible new midfielder to buy. Frank Lampard wanted him a year ago, but West Ham opposed that and asked in excess of €85 million to sell the English midfielder.
Tuchel will now decide on strategies with the club's board for signings. The club has a lot of satisfaction with the work done by Tuchel. They are also focusing on central defenders, where a new reinforcement could arrive this summer.
Real Madrid and Carlo Ancelotti planning futures of Sergio Ramos, Gareth Bale and Eden Hazard
In Spain, Real Madrid have solved the problem of a new manager by appointing Carlo Ancelotti on a three-year contract. The agreement was a surprise for everyone, from Ancelotti himself to Everton, who did not expect to lose their manager.
Now the planning of the new Real can begin, and the first step has been the renewal of Lucas Vazquez until June 2024. The agreement has already been reached and completed.
Ancelotti will now also have a dialogue with Sergio Ramos to talk about his contract - expiring in the next few days - so as to make a final decision.
In the coming months, we will also talk about Karim Benzema's contract extension until June 2023, a player whom Ancelotti considers fundamental.
There have been important words from the Italian manager about Gareth Bale and Eden Hazard, which is a total change from Zidane's management. Real Madrid will now meet with Bale's agents to make and complete the decision on his future with Tottenham, who are waiting to understand what will happen.
Hazard, on the other hand, is happy to stay at Real Madrid if there is a manager like Ancelotti. The latter on his part has also publicly confirmed his total trust in the Belgian.
Romelu Lukaku wants to stay at Inter Milan
Romelu Lukaku has taken a stand on his future. "I will stay at Inter," he declared from Belgium yesterday.
In England, there is a lot of talk about Chelsea and Manchester City being interested in "Big Rom". However, Inter have no intention of letting him leave this summer, and Lukaku is especially happy in Milan. Taking him away from Italy will not be easy, unless there are crazy offers.
Inter paid over €70 million to buy Lukaku from Manchester United two years ago. And the Belgian striker has done very well in Italy, so there is no intention of letting him leave this summer.
However, the fate of Achraf Hakimi, the Moroccan winger who enjoyed an extraordinary season with Inter, may be different. Paris Saint-Germain have taken information on him and prepared a €60 million offer, but Inter are demanding a valuation of at least €80 million.
Chelsea have contacted his agent in the past few weeks, but PSG will now have to decide whether to improve their offer to close the deal.
Meanwhile, Inter confirmed today that Simone Inzaghi has signed his contract until June 2023 and is officially the new manager. Inzaghi will be working for Inter after his experience at Lazio, and he has already contacted Lukaku to confirm his intention to make him a fundamental player of the present and the future.
Juventus keen on retaining Alvaro Morata
Juventus finally restarted with Massimiliano Allegri as their new coach. His contract for four years has been signed, and the first moves are on the way. The priority is to extend Alvaro Morata's loan for another season by paying €10 million to Atlético Madrid, who have other plans for their attack.
Moussa Dembele will return to Lyon after his loan spell, with Atletico not looking to sign him permanently. Juventus will then decide on the future of Paulo Dybala, while Giorgio Chiellini is negotiating a new contract until June 2022 to stay at Juve. Allegri wants to keep him due to his importance on the pitch and in the locker room.
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