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Gerard Pique’s injury could signal end of Barcelona era


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: Barca consider Pique replacement

Marca is reporting that Barcelona are considering signing a long-term replacement for Gerard Pique following his latest knee injury.

The veteran defender looks set to miss out on several months of action after being felled in Barca’s 1-0 loss to Atletico Madrid on Saturday and, as a result, the Spanish outlet suggests that Ronald Koeman’s side will dip into the transfer market in January to find a new centre-back.

Pique has been at the heart of Barcelona’s dominance over the past decade but, with the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and perhaps even Lionel Messi moving on to pastures new, the 33-year-old appears to be the latest Blaugrana legend being ushered towards the exit.

Koeman has been experiencing something of a defensive injury crisis already during his tenure at the Nou Camp, and now big questions will need to be asked as Barca count down the minutes until the January window is open for business.

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08.33 GMT: Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici has no doubt that Cristiano Ronaldo will complete his contract with the Turin giants.

Reports intensified last week that Juve were looking to sell Ronaldo next summer in order to balance their books, and that Ronaldo has opened the door for a possible return to Real Madrid.

Asked if Ronaldo will remain at Juve beyond this season, Paratici said at the weekend: “His future is with us, I can assure you. There are transfer rumours every day and players that are linked with different clubs but we don’t pay much attention to that.”

Ronaldo’s contract expires in June 2022 but, according to reports, Juve is eager to recoup part of the €100m they paid Real Madrid and, crucially, get his wages off their books. Ronaldo, 35, earns a reported €31m per season.

08.00 GMT: Spanish midfielder Isco is not going anywhere, according to Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane.

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Isco has made seven appearances in all competitions for Los Blancos, most recently as a substitute in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Villarreal, and started three times this season.

Marca reported that Isco has already told Real Madrid and Zidane of his wish to leave the club in the winter transfer window in search of regular playing time and that the club is open to allowing the player to leave.

Asked if Isco, who came on as a substitute at Villarreal, has requested to leave the club, Zidane said: “No, not at all. We’re not going to talk about what happens within the squad. But Isco is a Real Madrid player, he is staying here, he is with us and there’s no need to talk about it.”

Isco, who has won 16 titles in his seven years at Real Madrid, has a contract with Madrid until June 2022 and is a reported target of Everton. The 28-year-old has a €700m release clause but could reportedly leave for an offer in the region of €30m.

New Man City deal for Jesus?

Manchester City are preparing a new deal for forward Gabriel Jesus, the Daily Star reports.

The 23-year-old still has two and a half years remaining on his current contract at the Etihad, but in a sign of Pep Guardiola’s faith in him, his wages will go up to £150,000 per week if he agrees to an extension.

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City have been working on new deals for Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne as of late, and as they gear up for a new rebuilding project under Pep Guardiola, Jesus is the latest man that the club is trying to lock down.

Betis go after Alena and Puig

Real Betis will pursue the signing of Barcelona youngsters Carles Alena or Riqui Puig on a loan deal as a replacement for Sergio Canales, Estadio Deportivo reports.

Betis, who are viewed as one of the rising forces in Spanish football outside of the elite clubs, will be hoping to get some kind of business done during the upcoming January transfer window.

Betis boss Manuel Pellegrini is believed to have taken a keen interest in Puig, whereas Alena has already found success during a recent loan spell at the Benito Villamarín.

Tap-ins

Lyon could pursue the signing of Islam Slimani or Boulaye Dia during the summer transfer window, Le10Sport reports. The French giants would be hoping that either man can serve as a worthy replacement for the supposedly outgoing Memphis Depay who has been continuously linked with a move to the Nou Camp.

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Elche are set to complete the signing of Ivan Marcone on a permanent deal, Marca reports. Marcone has been on loan from Boca Juniors for almost two months now but, after impressing in the early stages of his spell, the 30-year-old now appears to be on the verge of something more concrete with Elche who are willing to pay €4.2 million to secure his services.



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