The Transfer DealSheet: Latest on Man Utd, Arsenal, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Barcelona and more

Welcome to The Transfer DealSheet, your new weekly guide to what is happening in the summer transfer window.

Every week, our team of dedicated writers, including Adam Leventhal and David Ornstein, will take you inside the market to explain the deals that are being worked on, the players who could arrive and the ones who are on their way out across the Premier League and beyond.

The information found within this article has been gathered according to The Athletic’s sourcing guidelines. Unless stated, our reporters have spoken to more than one person briefed on each deal before offering the clubs involved the opportunity to comment. Those responses, where they were given, have been included in The Transfer DealSheet.

This week, our highlights include a Slovenian striker attracting interest across the English top flight, Arsenal’s wide-forward watch list, Chelsea’s pursuit of a forward and the Premier League defender Manchester United are keen on.

Our aim is to bring you analysis you can trust about what is happening at Europe’s leading clubs and the latest information we’re hearing from across the market. Our leading transfer reporter David Ornstein will also deliver his one to watch here each week.

This article is very long but very detailed, so please enjoy it all — or search for the club or player you want to read about. Many of our dedicated club reporters have also produced individual articles on what to expect their teams this summer that go even deeper, which you can find here.

Get the latest transfer news on The Athletic


What positions are they looking at this summer?

Despite Kai Havertz’s good form when deployed as a striker, Arsenal are still prepared to go into the market for the right No 9 and are open to improving in any attacking position with the right player.

In midfield, Declan Rice’s role will determine their priorities. If he is to be used primarily as a No 6, they will need a No 8 to complement him — and vice-versa. It may be that Arsenal keep their options open, intending to recruit a player with the versatility to grant manager Mikel Arteta even greater tactical flexibility.

Left-back is another area of focus — none of the existing options convinced Arteta. The return to fitness of Jurrien Timber after losing almost all of last season to injury provides another alternative, but Arsenal are continuing to monitor the market for a specialist.

The goalkeeper position will require attention. David Raya will be signed permanently after a season on loan from Brentford, but there could be an exodus of their other keepers. Arsenal will almost certainly need a deputy for Raya, and they are also considering adding a new third-choice at the position.

Which players are they looking at?

The focus in the forward line is RB Leipzig’s 21-year-old Benjamin Sesko. The Slovenia international has a release clause in his contract, believed to be for a fee in the region of €65million (£55.3m, $70.8m). Sesko has attracted significant interest from the Premier League and continental Europe, but the feeling among other clubs is that if he is to move then Arsenal are in pole position to sign him. Leipzig are, however, are still working to persuade Sesko to remain with them.

Benjamin Sesko is attracting a lot of interest (Jurij Kodrun – UEFA via Getty Images)

Although Arsenal have been linked with Alexander Isak, and have a long-standing interest in the player, no developments are expected. Newcastle United’s position is that Isak is not for sale, and it would take a huge sum for that to change. The same applies to his team-mate, midfielder Bruno Guimaraes.

If Arsenal pursue a wide forward, there is long-term interest in Pedro Neto of Wolverhampton Wanderers and Nico Williams of Athletic Bilbao. In the case of Neto, however, his lengthy injury record is cause for considerable caution.

In midfield, Arsenal remain very interested in Martin Zubimendi. The 25-year-old plays for Arteta’s boyhood club, Real Sociedad — and he is a keen admirer. The difficulty may be persuading local lad Zubimendi to leave the Basque region. Although he has a release clause worth around £50million, he has expressed no desire to move.


Arsenal are also among the Premier League clubs interested in Benfica’s 19-year-old midfielder Joao Neves. Already a senior Portugal international, he is likely to have many high-profile suitors after a breakout season.

One player Arsenal have been considering at left-back is Ajax’s Jorrel Hato. The Athletic revealed their long-term interest in the Netherlands international in January. Although he most commonly plays at centre-back, 18-year-old Hato has featured as a left-back and has the attributes to fit Arteta’s vision for the role. In March, he signed a new contract with Ajax until summer 2028.

Arsenal have been linked with goalkeeper Justin Bijlow of Feyenoord, another Dutch club. The 26-year-old has his admirers elsewhere too, but goalkeeper recruitment is an area where the coaching staff have considerable influence. The opinion of goalkeeping coach Inaki Cana may prove decisive.


Who will they be looking to sell?

This was largely covered in The Athletic’s recent squad audit. There are some players whose lack of game-time demonstrates they are on the periphery — the likes of Eddie Nketiah, Reiss Nelson and Aaron Ramsdale. Those who were out on loan last season, such as Albert Sambi Lokonga or Kieran Tierney, are also likely to depart.



‘There is no spite from me – Mikel Arteta was 100% right’ – Kieran Tierney interview

There is another category — those who remain part of Arteta’s plans, but who could be available if the right offer arrives. This includes Oleksandr Zinchenko, Thomas Partey and even Gabriel Jesus.

Read more details of Arsenal’s transfer plans here

James McNicholas

David Ornstein’s One To Watch

Now that the season is officially over, a player we need to keep an eye on is Michael Olise — because there is a release clause in his contract, which provides an element of clarity that does not exist with many other leading players.

It would still be subject to a number of factors, not least the Crystal Palace winger’s preference. The 22-year-old is admired by many of the biggest clubs in the Premier League and Europe — including Chelsea, Manchester United and Newcastle United.

While the release clause means his price is pretty much set, which helps with budgets, Olise is said to be a very thoughtful character who will only move if he is certain it is right for him.

For that reason, there is no guarantee something will materialise, but it is certainly one to watch

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Olise has a release clause in his contract (Alex Davidson/Getty Images)


What positions are they looking at this summer?

Chelsea seem to look for a new forward on an annual basis, so this is deja vu.

Nicolas Jackson showed a lot of potential in his 2023-24 debut year but needs help, especially as the club will be competing on five fronts next season, including the inaugural playing of FIFA’s expanded Club World Cup in the June and July. There is hope fellow forward Christopher Nkunku will be fit after an injury-riddled first season of his own, but he plays off someone rather than leading the line himself.

With Thiago Silva going home to Brazil, Chelsea also require another centre-back.

These two positions are the main priorities, although they would like a winger, too. What else happens depends on outgoings.

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Thiago Silva has left Chelsea, who now need a new centre-back (Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Strengthening at full-back has been highlighted, while the goalkeeping department could also come under consideration, although new head coach Enzo Maresca is keen to get more out of Robert Sanchez. Chelsea have waited for Maresca’s move from Championship title winners Leicester City to be completed because they want to discuss targets for the senior squad with him.

Which players are they looking at?

Chelsea are admirers of Sesko too but they face stiff competition from Arsenal.

They have ruled out making a move for Napoli striker Victor Osimhen for several reasons, including the 25-year-old’s £100million-plus release clause, style of play and injury history. West London neighbours Brentford’s centre-forward Ivan Toney, 28, does not fit what they are looking for either. The club also distanced themselves from links with Sporting Lisbon front man Viktor Gyokeres, who turns 26 today (Tuesday), in January but maintain an admiration for Brighton youngster Evan Ferguson. However, Brighton will demand a large fee for the 19-year-old, and his form dropped off last season.

As for defenders, Chelsea are growing in confidence they will beat Newcastle to sign Tosin Adarabioyo on a free transfer, with his contract at Fulham expiring this month. Barring any late surprises, the 26-year-old will be the first arrival of the Maresca era. One of the young full-backs they are pursuing is Pedro Lima, 17, a Brazilian who plays for Sport Recife in his homeland.

tosin adarabioyo defensive convex touchmap

Chelsea continue to like Crystal Palace’s 22-year-old forward Michael Olise, who they came close to buying last year, and his team-mate Eberechi Eze, 25. Nico Williams, who they like, has a release clause of €50million at Athletic Bilbao. The stumbling block with the 21-year-old Spain international is his wage demands.

Maresca is a big fan of Mads Hermansen, 23, having worked with the goalkeeper at Leicester last season. Chelsea are also keen on relegated Burnley’s 21-year-old keeper James Trafford.

What moves have they made already?

An indication of just how Chelsea have been planning ahead are the moves already agreed for Estevao Willian and Kendry Paez. Estevao, who cost an initial €34million (£29m; $37m) plus €23m in potential add-ons, is 17 and will join next summer from Palmeiras in Brazil.

The same goes for Paez, who is the same age and agreed a €20million switch from Ecuador’s Independiente del Valle 12 months ago. Chelsea consider both to be among the best under-18 players in South America.

Who will they be looking to sell?

Chelsea are prepared to listen to offers for Conor Gallagher, and other academy graduates are also expected to make way. Selling defender Trevoh Chalobah and striker Armando Broja could raise more than £50million combined.

conor gallagher pass clusters

Suggestions Chelsea will settle for £20million to £25m for Broja, who is wanted by Monaco, AC Milan and three Premier League clubs, are premature. They value him at a minimum £35m, which could increase if the 22-year-old impresses with Albania at this summer’s European Championship.

Ian Maatsen, who joined Borussia Dortmund on loan in January and helped them get to the Champions League final, has a £35million release clause, which club and player will both look to see triggered this summer. There is interest, too, in youngsters Omari Hutchinson and Alex Matos, who impressed on loan last season at Championship sides Ipswich Town and Huddersfield Town respectively.

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Maatsen and Chelsea both want him to move this summer (Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Chelsea have triggered an option to extend Hutchinson’s contract until 2026 but he will either be part of the first-team squad next season or get sold. They do not see the point in loaning him out again, but Maresca will take a look at him this summer and he could be part of his squad.

Galatasaray’s obligation to buy Hakim Ziyech after his loan has been triggered. They are also keen to move on Romelu Lukaku, Kepa Arrizabalaga and Malang Sarr, while Lewis Hall will make a £28million permanent move to Newcastle following a season on loan there.

Read more details of Chelsea’s transfer plans here

Simon Johnson

What positions are they looking at this summer?

New head coach Arne Slot is inheriting a young, talented squad with depth in most areas.

However, at centre-back, Joel Matip has left at the end of his contract, Virgil van Dijk‘s future is unresolved — he only has a year left on his deal — Ibrahima Konate‘s form dropped off last season and Joe Gomez played more regularly at full-back. As a result, Liverpool are considering strengthening there this summer.

As our David Ornstein reported earlier this month, they are also open to bringing in another wide player. Mohamed Salah is expected to stay, but speculation has surrounded Luis Diaz — who has three years remaining on his contract. Wingers are crucial to Slot’s chosen style of football, with the Dutchman favouring progressive, direct wide players who are strong one-on-one.



Luis Diaz: A discussion on his football, form and future

Thiago has left as a free agent too, but he only made one appearance all last season because of injuries. The hope is Stefan Bajcetic will feature much more prominently in the years ahead, but Liverpool may want to re-address the No 6 position to better suit Slot’s 4-2-3-1. It may also depend on where Trent Alexander-Arnold’s future lies positionally as to whether they choose to strengthen.

Who are they looking at?

While Liverpool are always keen to get business done early, it has been quiet on the transfer front, but that is not unexpected as Slot’s first official day in the job was this past Saturday.

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Caoimhin Kelleher wants to be a club’s No 1 (Getty Images)

Background work will have been done on potential incomings but Slot is keen to assess the squad Jurgen Klopp left behind during pre-season. What he feels the group lacks will help formalise plans for the rest of the summer.

Who could they be looking to sell?

Of the first-team squad who could follow Klopp through the exit door, second-choice goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher, who performed impressively when standing in for the injured Alisson last season, has stated his desire to be a No 1. Left-back Kostas Tsimikas has fallen down the pecking order, although he signed a new long-term contract last season.



Liverpool’s Caoimhin Kelleher interview: ‘The next step is for me to be a No 1’

As mentioned above, Salah is expected to stay and one of Slot’s primary tasks is to get the best out of inconsistent striker Darwin Nunez.

There is a decision to be made on Diaz.

The 27-year-old played a key role under Klopp but questions remain about his end-product. His value will only decrease as his contract runs down, so Liverpool have the option of extending it or cashing in. Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona have both been linked.

Read more details of Liverpool’s transfer plans here

Andy Jones

What positions are City looking at this summer?

Midfield is a main area of concern for the four-in-a-row Premier League champions, largely due to the uncertainty attached to two of their key players. Bernardo Silva is set for another summer of speculation, although it is difficult to see a likely destination for him away from Manchester, and Kevin De Bruyne is in the sights of Saudi Arabia, as well as being open to a move to MLS either this summer or next.

A new right winger is on the agenda, too.

City have been looking at goalkeepers, but that was initially based on the idea Stefan Ortega would leave and they would need a new No 2. There is uncertainty over Ederson, who was previously expected to sign a new contract but is now considering a Saudi offer.

Other areas are seemingly departure-dependent: if Julian Alvarez were to leave, they would have to look to replace his goal threat. The same for Kyle Walker at right-back, given his links to Saudi, although he seems more likely to stay.

Which players are they looking at?

Bruno Guimaraes of Newcastle is on the list for the midfield — Lucas Paqueta’s FA charge over betting allegations ruled the West Ham playmaker out.

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Bruno Guimaraes is on City’s list for midfield (Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Guimaraes has a clause worth £100million. City had a look at Jamal Musiala, 21, but that seems too difficult to pull off. There was also interest shown in his 29-year-old Bayern Munich team-mate Joshua Kimmich.

Jeremie Frimpong, who left City for Scotland’s Celtic as a teenager in 2019 and is now thriving with Bayer Leverkusen at age 23, could be of interest if Walker were to leave, but Bayern are among the other clubs interested in him.



Jeremie Frimpong interview: ‘When I first came to the Bundesliga, I struggled’

Real Madrid forward Rodrygo has been linked with them in Spain, although that is seemingly something that appeals more to the 23-year-old Brazilian than to City.

What moves have City made already?

A deal for Savio has already been agreed with their French sister club Troyes, having impressed while on loan at another sister club, Spain’s Girona. It is still possible the 20-year-old winger stays with Girona for another season, however.

Who will they be looking to sell?

Kalvin Phillips, after his disappointing January loan to West Ham, and Joao Cancelo.

Cancelo has been off the radar for 18 months, having had loans at Bayern and Barcelona, but nobody seems willing to pay what City are asking and so it will be a struggle to find a new home for him. It may be another loan or a move to the Saudi Pro League, if he is open to that.

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Joao Cancelo is still a Manchester City player (Masashi Hara/Getty Images)

As mentioned, Ortega had been expected to leave having failed to agree a new contract amid a desire for more regular first-team football but an opportunity might now open up for him at City, depending on Ederson’s summer. The club have made it clear to Ederson how much he is valued and that new contract is still on the table.

City would listen to serious offers for any players who want to go, providing they do not come too late in the window. Matheus Nunes, for example, could be gone just a year after joining from Wolverhampton Wanderers if a bid arrives, but there is seemingly a small market for him.

Read more details of Manchester City’s transfer plans here

Sam Lee

Manchester United

What positions are they looking at this summer?

United enter the summer window seeking to strengthen in three priority positions: centre-back, central midfield and centre-forward. Departures are expected to leave holes to fill in each of those, although they are not the only parts of the squad in need of attention.

Left-back is also an area which could be reinforced, after injury-ravaged seasons for both Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia led to United playing without a recognised left-back in 32 of their 52 games.

Which players are they looking at?

Jarrad Branthwaite is a player of interest but Everton are expected to demand a considerable fee for the left-sided centre-half, rating the 21-year-old in the same bracket as the likes of Harry Maguire, Wesley Fofana and Josko Gvardiol, all of whom were sold in recent summers for fees of over £75million.

The feasibility of a move for Branthwaite could depend on whether Everton find themselves in a position where they need to sell before June 30 to comply with the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules (PSR). Carlisle United, where Branthwaite started his career, will receive a percentage of any deal. Following Lisandro Martinez’s return from injury and after Raphael Varane’s free-agent departure, a right-sided centre-back is a higher priority.


United are interested in Branthwaite (Mark Leech/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

Jean-Clair Todibo, 24, of Nice is a candidate on that side of the defence and has been on United’s radar since last summer when he was closely tracked as a potential replacement for Maguire. Tosin Adarabioyo was also of interest, although the 26-year-old is now closing in on a free-agent move from Fulham to neighbours Chelsea.

Up front, RB Leipzig’s Benjamin Sesko has been watched closely by United since he was a youngster and remains of interest, although stiff competition is expected for the now 21-year-old’s signature.

What moves have they made already?

Benfica have triggered their €6million clause to sign Alvaro Fernandez permanently, in a deal that could rise to €9m including add-ons, tying the 21-year-old left-back down following his 16 appearances on loan.

Other confirmed departures are leaving as free agents.

Varane and Anthony Martial have both already announced their Old Trafford careers will come to an end this summer when their contracts expire. Charlie McNeill has also announced that he is leaving on a free transfer. The 20-year-old forward was the first academy graduate to make his senior debut under current manager Erik ten Hag in September 2022.

United’s first signing of the summer may be James Overy — a 16-year-old full-back they hope will accept a scholarship deal. Overy has left A-League side Perth Glory following his family’s relocation from Australia.

Who will they be looking to sell?

Only a handful of players are believed to be entirely off-limits. That does not mean United are actively looking to sell most of their squad, however.

They would consider a sale of Marcus Rashford, for example, if a substantial offer arrived and he told the club he wants to leave, although the club’s desire is to help the England international bounce back from a disappointing season.

marcus rashford xg timeline

Casemiro’s departure is considered likelier, and links with the Saudi Pro League persist, although no deal for the 32-year-old is currently in place.

Securing a permanent exit for Mason Greenwood remains United’s preference but if no prospective buyer meets the asking price, another loan would also be considered after his 2023-24 season with Getafe in Spain. A return to United has not been ruled out if such a deal cannot be struck. Greenwood is believed to want to play Champions League football next season and has already attracted significant interest from suitors across Europe. The 22-year-old striker was recently the subject of an enquiry from Italy’s Napoli.

There is hope that Jadon Sancho’s run to the Champions League final on loan back at previous club Borussia Dortmund will help spark interest in United’s £73million England winger. A reintegration under Ten Hag is unlikely as long as the pair’s falling out remains unresolved.

Read more details of Manchester United’s transfer plans here

Mark Critchley

jadon sancho takeons 1 2048x1560 1

Newcastle United

What positions are they looking at this summer?

The priorities are a goalkeeper, a centre-back, a right-winger and a forward.

Among the keepers, Loris Karius is leaving at the end of his contract and Martin Dubravka‘s future is uncertain, which is why they need at least one shot-stopper in.

At centre-half, losing Sven Botman and Jamaal Lascelles to anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) knee injuries means Newcastle are short of options, even if Dan Burn moves inside permanently from full-back. A right-sided centre-back is being sought, but multiple defenders are being targeted this summer.

In each of the past two off-seasons, coach Eddie Howe has looked to bring in a right-sided forward and has been unable to do so. That position is the one in their team Newcastle feel can be most improved upon with an injection of quality.

As for a striker — or potentially a versatile forward — that may depend on Callum Wilson‘s future. Ideally, Newcastle would recruit another player here anyway, but their budgetary constraints make that difficult.

This is all Newcastle’s thinking at the start of June, but there is an acceptance internally that they must be adaptable as their business depends on many variables. They are also actively looking to try to pick up bargains from relegated top-flight clubs.

Which players are they looking at?

Positional, tactical versatility and athleticism are craved, and many of Newcastle’s targets reflect that. There is also recognition that, with some older players potentially leaving the club, experience is desirable.

Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsdale, 26, and Giorgi Mamardashvili, 23, of Valencia are two goalkeepers who have been watched. Newcastle’s failure to qualify for Europe means that they are now considering whether to pursue either a young shot-stopper or an experienced No 2 instead of a direct challenger to Nick Pope. Newcastle have registered an interest in relegated Burnley’s James Trafford, 21, and are likely to follow that with a bid, while fellow Championship club Queens Park Rangers’ 36-year-old Asmir Begovic has been linked.

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Newcastle have registered an interest in James Trafford (Warren Little/Getty Images)

Tosin of Fulham had been wanted at centre-back, but Bournemouth’s Lloyd Kelly is the free agent Newcastle are now most aggressively pursuing. The 25-year-old can play at centre-half and at left-back and the club are keen to tie up a deal soon.

Perhaps their most ambitious targets are the right-sided attackers. Crystal Palace’s Olise is admired, but has many suitors, while West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen, 27, Athletic Bilbao’s 21-year-old Nico Williams and Leeds United’s Crysencio Summerville, 22, have all featured during recruitment discussions.

When it comes to natural centre-forwards, Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin, 27, has long been monitored, while RB Leipzig’s Benjamin Sesko, 21, has previously been approached, but is expected to move elsewhere.

The likelihood is that a significant portion of Newcastle’s budget will be focused on a right-sided forward.

What moves have they made already?

Nothing concrete, yet, although they have tried to dip into the free-transfer market, with mixed success.

Newcastle did hold extensive talks with Tosin’s representatives, though he now seems likely to join Chelsea. However, Newcastle are still working on a deal for Kelly and Howe hopes to sign the defender for a second time, having taken him to Bournemouth from Bristol City in 2019.

Another transfer that is due to be completed is the £28million ($35.8m at the current exchange rate) acquisition of Lewis Hall from Chelsea, after the 19-year-old met the criteria to make his move permanent during 2023-24’s season-long loan on Tyneside.

Who will they be looking to sell?

Newcastle have no desire to sell either Bruno Guimaraes or Alexander Isak. They will only do so if Guimaraes’ £100million release clause is activated before the end of this month, or if an astronomical offer arrives.

They do need to raise funds from sales, though.

Some at Newcastle feel it is opportune to offload Wilson, who is 32, has a poor injury record and is about to enter the final year of his contract. Miguel Almiron is seen as still holding decent value. Kieran Trippier has stated he wants to stay and Howe would prefer to keep the 33-year-old right-back, but the England international is another on a deal that runs out in 2025.

A decision must also be taken on Sean Longstaff, whose current contract expires next summer, too. Tentative talks have taken place over a new one and Howe rates him, but Newcastle may consider offers for the 26-year-old, given any sale of an academy graduate would represent pure profit in PSR terms.

Dubravka, Matt Targett and Jamal Lewis could also move, Newcastle hope to sell Ryan Fraser and Isaac Hayden is available. Yankuba Minteh could be loaned out again, after spending last season with Feyenoord, or possibly sold.

Read more details of Newcastle United’s transfer plans here

Chris Waugh

What positions are they looking at this summer?

Tottenham addressed their lack of cover at centre-back with the signing of Radu Dragusin from Genoa in January. They now want to identify a defensive midfielder and a wide attacker versatile enough to play centre-forward.

Spurs will also move for players depending on any departures. If Emerson Royal leaves, say, they will focus on a right-back. If they lose Ben Davies, they would go for a left centre-back or a left-back. If Giovani Lo Celso goes, Spurs will target an attacking midfielder.

There is still a niggling feeling that a more reliable and clinical centre-forward is required. Richarlison scored 11 league goals in 28 appearances last season but is attracting serious interest from Saudi Arabia. Could he be sold and the money raised reinvested in an elite striker?

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Richarlison is attracting serious interest from Saudi Arabia (Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

Which players are they looking at?

Tottenham are interested in Conor Gallagher, with both the recruitment team and Ange Postecoglou liking the 24-year-old Chelsea and England midfielder. There is also an admiration for Newcastle’s Alexander Isak, 24, among many at the north London club, but clearly that would be an expensive and tough deal to do.

What moves have they made already?

Tottenham signed Lucas Bergvall from Swedish club Djurgarden on a five-year contract when he turned 18 in February. The midfielder officially joins next month. Instead of making Timo Werner’s loan from RB Leipzig permanent, Spurs negotiated a new one-year deal covering the 2024-25 season, which includes an option to buy the 28-year-old forward for €10million.


Who will they be looking to sell?

As previously mentioned, Richarlison is the highest-profile member of the squad who could be sold this summer but Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Lo Celso, who both have less than a year left on their contracts and found playing time limited last season, seem more likely to leave.

Sergio Reguilon finds himself surplus to requirements for the third summer in a row. He spent the first half of 2023-24 on loan at Manchester United before spending the rest of it with Brentford. The Spain international impressed over in west London but his wage demands mean a permanent switch is not possible and he needs to look elsewhere. Other returning loanees, including defenders Joe Rodon and Japhet Tanganga, need to find new homes too.

Read more details of Tottenham’s transfer plans here

Jay Harris and Adam Leventhal


What positions are they looking at this summer?

There are two main ones. The biggest priority is a holding midfielder, as they have not found a suitable replacement for Sergio Busquets, who left in summer 2023. Xavi used four players in that role last season — Oriol Romeu, Ilkay Gundogan, Frenkie de Jong and Andreas Christensen — but none looked comfortable. The club’s hierarchy would also like to add a left-winger. A right-back would be welcomed, but given Barcelona’s constrained finances, it won’t be easy to meet all their targets.

Which players are they looking at?

The appointment of Hansi Flick as coach might change everything.

His predecessor Xavi and sporting director Deco had discussed a list of names, which included Joshua Kimmich of Bayern Munich and Real Sociedad’s Martin Zubimendi, to bolster their midfield. Argentina international Guido Rodriguez was the budget option. They have already been in touch with Rodriguez, whose contract at Real Betis expires this summer.

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Guido Rodriguez is Barcelona’s midfield budget option (Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

On the attacking flank, despite Xavi putting the name of Athletic Bilbao’s Nico Williams on the table, Deco’s preferred option was Luis Diaz of Liverpool.

La Liga rules mean Barca must fill a €130million (£110m; $141m) hole in their accounts for this season by the end of the month if they are to bring in players this summer — even free transfers or on loan.

Who will they be looking to sell?

Given the club’s financial situation, any good offer will be listened to — although some players are considered untouchable, including Lamine Yamal, Gavi, Pedri and Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

President Joan Laporta wants to keep Ronald Araujo, as does Deco. But the Uruguayan defender is still waiting for a new contract offer with improved terms to bring him into the club’s group of top earners. There are doubts over whether Barca can afford that. Would they really be in a position to refuse a big offer for a player whose current deal expires in 2026? Probably not.

Raphinha is another Barcelona would sell for the right price, along with De Jong and Christensen. However, none of those three wants to leave and they are all under contract until beyond the end of next season.

Romeu, under contract until 2026 after joining last summer, is expected to go.

Read more details of Barcelona’s transfer plans here

Pol Ballus and Laia Cervello Herrero

Real Madrid

What positions are they looking at this summer?

Madrid are looking at players who can feature in defence. Club captain Nacho could leave with his contract running out, but the club are considering using midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni as a centre-back. Jesus Vallejo will return after a year on loan at Granada and has a contract until 2025, but his situation will not affect their overall planning.

There are no midfield moves planned, despite Toni Kroos’ retirement.

Who are they looking at?

They have targeted Lille’s Leny Yoro and Bayern Munich’s left-back Alphonso Davies, with contact made with both. But Madrid do not want to be dragged into a bidding war for Yoro, 18, and Davies has recently held more positive talks over extending in Germany.



Leny Yoro is one of Europe’s best talents. It’s no wonder Real Madrid are on the case

With Nacho’s future unclear, they are also closely monitoring River Plate’s 16-year-old Franco Mastantuono, an Argentina Under-17 international.

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Madrid have made contact over Lille’s Leny Yoro (Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

Madrid have exercised their option to keep Joselu. They signed the striker on loan from Espanyol last summer with an option to buy for €1.5million. They will wait to formally complete the transfer, as Espanyol are fighting to win promotion back to La Liga via the ongoing play-offs. The La Liga and European champions want to be as respectful as possible to a club with whom they share a strong relationship.



Alan Shearer on Joselu and Fullkrug, the unlikely Champions League forwards and their not so simple skills

What moves have they made already?

Endrick and Kylian Mbappe. Their deal to sign the Brazilian teenager from Palmeiras was agreed in December 2022, but he has had to wait to move to the Bernabeu. As things stand, Endrick will not even be able to train with his team-mates before his 18th birthday in late July — although he will be busy playing the Copa America this summer with Brazil anyway.

Madrid agreed Mbappe’s move from Paris Saint-Germain as a free agent in February, although the French forward has arrived with a significant signing-on bonus that means that — along with his salary — he will become the best-paid player in the squad.



The full inside story of Kylian Mbappe’s Real Madrid transfer

Who will they be looking to sell?

There are no sales planned, but that doesn’t mean players won’t leave.

There are doubts about Ferland Mendy. Madrid were previously willing to listen to offers, given his persistent injury problems, but he appears to have put those behind him and his performances have improved. Don’t rule out the French left-back renewing his contract, which runs out in 2025.

Fran Garcia, another left-back, is not assured of his place in the squad either. Madrid exercised their buy-back clause when he was at Rayo Vallecano last year but he is seen as a weak link in defence. Madrid would listen to offers for midfielder Dani Ceballos, who has shown dissatisfaction at his playing time, but they will not “give him away”.

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Rodrygo has recently renewed his contract (Angel Martinez/Getty Images)

Goalkeeper Andriy Lunin is close to renewing his contract until 2029 but could still end up departing. After Thibaut Courtois’ late-season return from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) knee injury, the Ukrainian has returned to the bench and his entourage describe his situation as “a punch in the stomach”. They argue he has “a big market in Europe”.



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In attack, the only player who seems open to leaving is Rodrygo. The Brazilian recently renewed his deal until 2028 but acknowledged in two interviews last week that “anything can happen”. A departure would depend more on him than the club, but his camp insist he wants to be part of the “great project” planned for next season.

Read more details of Real Madrid’s transfer plans here

Mario Cortegana and Guillermo Rai

Which players are being eyed across Serie A?

Bologna’s qualification for the Champions League has understandably captured the imagination. Their striker Joshua Zirkzee is arguably the most coveted player in Serie A. Bayern Munich have a buy-back clause in his contract from his 2022 move to Italy and the way Zirkzee’s deal is structured, he has more leverage over his future than Bologna. AC Milan need a replacement for MLS-bound Olivier Giroud but will face competition for the 23-year-old Dutchman.

Zirkzee’s team-mate Riccardo Calafiori says his future can wait until after the Euros. But the defender-midfielder hybrid is expected to pitch up at Juventus and reunite with Bologna’s departing coach Thiago Motta — who has been lined up to replace Massimiliano Allegri for months.

What moves have been made already?

Inter Milan’s chief executive Beppe Marotta is renowned for working the free agency market. Porto striker Mehdi Taremi, 32 in July, and Napoli midfielder Piotr Zielinski, 30, are a pair of no-fee signings the champions are expected to announce once their contracts formally expire at the end of this month.

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Inter hope to announce the free agent signing of Zielinski (Francesco Scaccianoce/Getty Images)

Elsewhere, a cascade of options to buy are being activated all over the league, including Angelino’s half-season loan from RB Leipzig to Roma, which has been made permanent for €5million.

Who will clubs in the league be looking to sell?

The focus is on Victor Osimhen at Napoli. His sale is expected to finance the reconstruction of the team after Napoli’s failure to qualify for Europe altogether while also making the worst title defence in Serie A history. Osimhen has a buy-out clause worth more than €100million. How many clubs are willing to pay sticker price for the 25-year-old striker remains to be seen after an underwhelming season.

James Horncastle

What else we’re hearing…

  • Arsenal’s Emile Smith Rowe is on Fulham’s radar, particularly with uncertainty persisting over Willian’s future. Fulham have offered the Brazilian a new contract, but he is considering his options. They have also discussed the idea of a return to the club for Tottenham’s Ryan Sessegnon, but are cautious over his injury record, and they are also interested in Luton’s Teden Mengi. Marek Rodak and Bobby De Cordova-Reid have been offered new contracts, but the former wants to play regular football and is likely to leave this summer. (Peter Rutzler)
  • Aston Villa are in advanced talks for Luton Town’s Ross Barkley, who impressed during the latter team’s doomed Premier League campaign. Villa are pushing hard to find a cost-efficient agreement. (Jacob Tanswell)
  • Crystal Palace are interested in Lazio midfielder Daichi Kamada. Sunderland midfielder Jobe Bellingham is another target and also wanted by Brentford. A deal for Real Betis defender Chadi Riad is expected to be finalised after Morocco’s two World Cup qualifiers in the next week. (Matt Woosnam)
  • Everton are exploring a loan move for Kalvin Phillips, although they expect significant competition and the England midfielder’s wages at Manchester City are very high. Talks are also continuing over winger Jack Harrison, who spent last season on loan from Leeds. Everton are hopeful of reaching an agreement. (Patrick Boyland)
  • Che Adams is in advanced talks with Wolves — his Southampton contract expires in the summer. (Steve Madeley)
  • Wrexham are preparing for life in League One after back-to-back promotions. They have an eye on Rotherham’s Jamie Lindsay and his situation, have Marc Leonard of Brighton on their radar and are one of several suitors for Wigan’s Jason Kerr. They have already approached Arthur Okonkwo’s representatives — he is available as a free agent after his contract with Arsenal expired. (Richard Sutcliffe)

(Top photos: Getty Images)

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