The coronavirus pandemic made the summer transfer market unlike any before it, but there were still plenty of deals done, and you can check out the major ones here. The window might be closed across the top leagues in Europe, but here are the best rumours from around the globe.
TOP STORY: Gunners losing patience with Pepe
The 25-year-old scored against Molde in the Europa League on Thursday, making amends for his sending off against Leeds the prior weekend, but is still to deliver on the promise he showed while playing for Lille.
The Gunners have admitted internally that they paid over the odds for the Ivory Coast international, having agreed to a £22 million up front deal and a further £50m in add-ons to lure him from the French club in August 2019.
Arsenal are reportedly now ready to allow the winger to leave if a suitable offer comes in. However, they are looking to avoid a situation similar to Mesut Ozil‘s, so have told manager Mikel Arteta to handle the situation carefully to maintain the player’s market value.
09.49 GMT: United States defender Samantha Johnson has come out of retirement to join W-League club Melbourne City.
The 29-year-old, who made over 90 appearances for Chicago Red Stars and then Utah Royals, returns to football having not played since June last year.
“Joining City is really exciting because I have a lot of friends and have played with other players in the NWSL and they only ever say good things,” Johnson said. “Making the decision to return to football came from my agent helping me realise how to align my purpose off the pitch with on the pitch.
“I want to help underprivileged kids … I felt like the investment I was making in the sport wasn’t giving me that much of a return as I wasn’t aligning those two things but now that I know how to do that, I’m more mentally at ease and more excited about playing.”
Johnson is no stranger to the W-League having made 13 appearances for Sydney FC (2014-15) and 23 appearances for Melbourne Victory (2016-17 and 2018-19).
09.00 GMT: Gerard Pique has pleaded for Lionel Messi to stay at Barcelona and says the club will do all they can to “seduce” him into signing a new deal.
Messi, 33, is out of contract in June and is free to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with any club from January onwards.
The forward wanted to leave Camp Nou after August’s 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League, with sources telling ESPN that Manchester City led the race to sign him, but he was eventually forced to stay put.
“You will have to ask Leo, I don’t know,” Pique said in a question and answer session for the CRIS Cancer Foundation when asked if Messi would remain at Barca beyond the summer.
“We hope he stays. It’s a personal decision. We will see. But for as long as he’s wearing the Barca shirt, there is always hope. We hope to seduce him to stay for many more years.”
PAPER TALK (by Danny Lewis): Martinez makes move to leave Inter
It is suggested that the Argentina international has put transfer guru Jorge Mendes in charge of finding him a new club.
So far, Beto Yaque and Rolando Zarate have represented the forward and, while they will remain his agents as well, Mendes will take over the search for a new club.
Barcelona willing to sell Dembele
There have been various links between the winger and Manchester United, but Barca are said to be holding out for €70m-€80m, which the Red Devils are not willing to pay.
However, Dembele’s contract comes to an end in 2022, and Barcelona are wary of letting it run into its final year.
– L’Equipe has revealed that Maxime Lopez will be allowed to join Sassuolo for as little as €3m. The 22-year-old is currently on loan at the Serie A outfit from Marseille with there being an option for Sassuolo to buy him. If the permanent deal is completed, Marseille will receive 30% of the fees made on any future sale.
– Bojan Krkic is currently weighing up his options after the Montreal Impact were knocked out of the MLS playoffs. Sport reports that, as well as an offer from his current club, the Spaniard has received interest from Saint Etienne and the New England Revolution, among others. The 30-year-old has not ruled out the possibility of staying put but is also considering a move elsewhere.