Football may be in shutdown but that doesn’t prevent work going on behind the scenes as La Liga clubs plot their next moves in the transfer market.
We’ve already had one deal confirmed within the last 24 hours with champions Barcelona reaching an agreement with Sao Paulo to sign young forward Gustavo Maia.
The SBOTOP La Liga news suggests there will be another busy summer of transfer activity (whenever that starts) and Barca are usually one of the clubs at the centre of that.
Already there is talk of whether they recall Philippe Coutinho from a season-long loan at Bayern Munich, if indeed the Bundesliga giants wanted to keep him.
Then there is also talk a deal could be in place to swap him with another South American talent in Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez. The 22 year-old Argentine striker has been suggested as an ideal replacement for the aging Luis Suarez.
Some media suggest the Catalans will have to sell before they can buy the likes of Martinez and Neymar – a return to Barca for the Brazilian is, after all, mooted annually!
The likes of Ousmane Dembele and Coutinho are on the media list of those who could be sold to make way while, according to one publication, Sevilla are also interested in re-signing Ivan Rakitic when his contract at the Nou Camp expires in 2021.
The Croatian spent three years at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan before moving to Barcelona in 2014.
Furthermore, there is speculation that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is not looking to sign a contract extension past 2021 at Arsenal and so the Gunners are looking to cash in on the striker this summer.
Barcelona have been linked with the prolific marksman but, the fact he is 31 next birthday, may mean that is not a realistic move.
On saying that, who would have thought they would have signed Danish frontman Martin Braithwaite, a far less prolific scorer, last month.
Of course, when there is big transfer news to discuss, Real Madid aren’t usually far away.
That they have snapped up arguably Chelsea’s two best players in successive seasons, in Belgian duo Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard – currently recovering from injury – speaks volumes for their financial power.
Manager Zinedine Zidane seems desperate to still sign his compatriot Paul Pogba and, after missing virtually all of this campaign, would hope to get him on the ‘cheap’.
Yet, despite reports elsewhere, they would have to pay in excess of the £89 million Manchester United parted with to acquire him three and a half years ago.
The club this week triggered an extension in his contract which ties him to Old Trafford until the summer of 2022 and ensures there will be no cut-price deal for a player whose attitude has been regularly questioned.
Real have also been linked with selling one of their frontmen, Luka Jovic, to an English club this summer.
Jovic was one of Real’s marquee signings last summer costing £50million from Frankfurt, but has scored just two goals in all competitions this term. Amid struggles for form, he also appeared to land himself in hot water when he allegedly ignored coronavirus guidelines after flying home to Serbia last week.
That said, he has been limited to a bit-part role under Zidane and so perhaps that lack of regular football and absence of a prominent role has had a negative impact on his game.
More speculation abounds with United reportedly showing an interest in Atletico Madrid winger Thomas Lemar over a summer transfer. The 24 year-old has been consistently linked with a move to the Premier League, with United and Arsenal the rumoured interested parties.
At a time though when Atletico need to strengthen and replace in key areas – despite their terrific Champions League win last time out – it’s unknown if they would really want to sell an attacking talent yet to approach his prime.
Elsewhere, there are reports a number of clubs are interested in Fabian Orellana, whose contract at Eibar expires at the end of this season, while what of the future of Alessandro Florenzi who is currently on loan at Valencia from Roma until the end of the season without an option to buy.
Reports suggest Fiorentina, like Los Che, are interested in signing the right-back permanently.
I saw an article which gave an insight into how agents and clubs are still looking to recruit players and work behind the scenes during the shutdown.
Who knows when we’ll have more SBOTOP La Liga highlights to enjoy, or who will be playing for who, but one thing’s for sure, with football at a standstill, the transfer market is still up and running.
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