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TOP STORY: De Ligt puts Europe’s finest on red alert
Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt is causing a stir in the transfer market as the top clubs jockey for position to sign the youngster.
De Ligt has been quoted as saying he feels a move to Barcelona now might be “too soon,” while Marca is reporting that the Catalan club are losing patience with the player and the way he’s handling the process.
But Paris Saint-Germain remain the favourite for the Dutch defender with club officials and agent Mino Raiola is in “advanced talks” this week, according to Gianluca Di Marzio.
Barca had already reached an agreement with Ajax for a fee of €75 million and are alleged to have presented their offer to the player four weeks ago. The Blaugrana see the 19-year-old as the long-term pillar of their back line, but his hesitancy has frustrated them.
Juventus are also keen to add the youngster to their defence, while both Manchester clubs have been keeping tabs on the situation. The hold up in De Ligt’s decision, it seems, is choosing the club he feels is most likely to give him first-team football immediately.
08.25 BST: Atletico Madrid are prepared to match Manchester City’s contract offer of €6m net per season to land Benfica rising star Joao Felix, according to AS.
City are reportedly favourites to acquire the Portugal international who is also a target for Real Madrid, Manchester United and Juventus.
Felix, who helped Benfica win the Portuguese league title by scoring 15 goals and setting up nine more in 26 league appearances in his debut season. has a €120m clause and, according to Portuguese outlet Record, Atletico are prepared to pay €60m, plus €20m in variables to land the 19-year-old winger.
Atletico will get €120m if Antoine Griezmann’s release clause is activated after June 30, although Griezmann’s former club Real Sociedad will get around €20m from that sale. Atletico intend to spend €55m to sign Spanish forward Alvaro Morata on a permanent transfer from Chelsea this summer.
08.00 BST: Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos says he will decide his future after the European Under-21 Championship. The 22-year-old, tied to Madrid until June 2023, is a reported target of Tottenham.
Ceballos, who signed for Real Madrid in the summer of 2017 from Real Betis for €17m, is among the players told by Zinedine Zidane that he is surplus to requirements. He made 34 appearances for Madrid this season, 19 as a starter.
Ceballos is currently on international duty with Spain preparing for the U21 Euro that kicks off on June 16.
“I started well under [former Real Madrid coach Julen] Lopetegui, but once he was fired, I unfortunately became secondary,” he told Onda Cero radio. “I’m not going to say what was said regarding my talk with Zidane but what I can say is that he was clear with me and once the Euro U21 is over, I will decide my future. My aim is to play wherever I go and prove that I can compete in any team in Europe. I hope to succeed because nothing is going to defeat me.”
PAPER TALK (by Nick Judd)
Guedes to replace Hazard… if Chelsea can spend
With Chelsea still looking to overturn their two-year transfer ban, Plaza Deportiva are reporting that the London club are keen to reinvest £62m of the £100m made from the sale of Eden Hazard on Valencia wide man Goncalo Guedes.
Chelsea are looking to enhance their attacking options following the Belgian’s departure to Real Madrid and though they’re still unable to make any moves in the transfer market, they’ve apparently made a bid for Guedes in case their appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport proves successful.
Guedes scored eight goals in 2018-19 for Valencia and scored the winning goal for Portugal against Netherlands in the Nations League final.
Regardless of how Valencia and the player himself respond, Chelsea would be unable to bring the former PSG midfielder to Stamford Bridge until their case is resolved.
Atletico to land Felix coup
The Mirror is reporting that Manchester City and Manchester United risk losing out on hotshot Joao Felix to Atletico Madrid.
City and United have both been chasing the Portuguese wonderkid for months and appeared to be leading a host of clubs in the chase for the 19-year-old, but the Mirror suggests that Felix’s agent, Jorge Mendes, is pushing for a move to La Liga in an effort to aid the youngster’s development.
Mendes feels Felix could benefit from playing under Diego Simeone, who could have plenty of money to spend if, as expected, Atletico cash in on Antoine Griezmann. Atletico also have £68m burning a hole in their pocket following the sale of Lucas Hernandez to Bayern Munich, all of which could see them compete with any offer City can muster.
Felix is expected to make a decision on his future following his holiday. He scored 15 goals and added nine assists in his 21 league starts for Benfica last season.
Hudson-Odoi to sign on… if he plays
Hudson-Odoi is planning more of a starring role at Stamford Bridge following the departure of Eden Hazard to Real Madrid, but he has admitted he was frustrated at his lack of games last season.
The club are in talks with the 18-year-old over a five-year deal and have even offered him the prized No. 10 shirt, but the talks have stalled partly because of Hudson-Odoi’s desire to play, but also the uncertainty about Chelsea’s managerial situation.
Hudson-Odoi has one year left on his contract, but Chelsea will need to confirm their managerial plans for the season ahead before they can expect to see their man commit to then future.
– Tottenham are expected to make an improved offer for Real Betis starlet Giovani Lo Celso after their initial offer of £53m was rejected, say the Mirror. The Spanish club is said to be holding out for the full £88.9m release clause stated in the midfielder’s contract, but Spurs are looking to keep some cash to enable them to sign Bruno Fernandes from Sporting Lisbon.
– With Maurizio Sarri expected to go to Juventus, the higher-ups at Chelsea are on track to bring club legend Frank Lampard in as new manager. According to Goal, Ajax boss Erik ten Hag is also an option, but the transfer ban drama has made him cautious about joining Stamford Bridge.