Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has slapped a £131 million price tag on the head of Gareth Bale as rumours about his future continue, according to reports.
TeleMadrid made this claim with speculation that Bale could be on his way out of the Bernabeu this summer.
It was thought Bale would be one of the key men for Madrid this season after the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus last summer. However, Bale has not impressed and has been mostly used as a substitute under Santiago Solari.
In addition he has been injury plagued in the past few seasons and he has also been criticised for an apparent failure to integrate into the dressing room and with Spanish life in general.
Bale has scored 6 goals in 19 La Liga appearances but the emergence of teenager Vinicius Junior has pushed him down the pecking order.
With Madrid widely expected to rebuild their squad this summer after a relatively disappointing campaign, it is thought that Bale could be one of the stars on their way out.
There would be no shortage of interest in the Welsh international from clubs around Europe. Manchester United have long been linked with him, but any bid may depend on who is manager come the summer.
Likewise Chelsea are thought to be monitoring him, but any bid may depend on who is in the manager’s seat, with Maurizio Sarri thought to be close to the sack.
However, the price tag – if accurate – could also put clubs off. Given Bale’s age – 29 – and injury record many clubs would refuse to pay a fee that would be in the top 5 of all time in terms of value.
It may be this is a signal that Perez won’t let Bale leave on the cheap – a lower fee may be enough to tempt him, but perhaps not much lower.
Manchester United wants to bring Wolverhampton Wanderers star Ruben Neves to Old Trafford this summer but are refusing to meet their £100 million valuation.
Neves has been pivotal in Wolves’ rise in the past 18 months. He was the standout player as the West Midlands side stormed to the Championship title last season and he has impressed again as Wolves have climbed to 7th place in the Premier League. He has scored 3 goals in 24 Premier League appearances from his largely defensive position.
United have had scouts watch him across this season, and have been impressed with what they have seen, according to The Express.
The Old Trafford club are widely expected to give their squad a major overhaul this summer – whoever is in charge, be it Ole Gunnar Solskjaer or anyone else – and a defensive midfielder is on the list, along with several other positions.
However, Wolves do not want to let go of the Neves, who has won 9 caps for Portugal, and have slapped a £100 million price tag on him to try and deter suitors. They also do not need to sell, given the wealth of their Chinese backers.
United would be unwilling to pay that much, but would look to try and negotiate a lower fee rather than walk away, according to The Sun.
Champions League chasing Manchester United are planning to bolster their attack this summer and have targeted Juventus striker Paolo Dybala for that.
And United are prepared to offer Romelu Lukaku as part of any deal, according to reports.
Argentine striker Dybala could be available as he has fallen out with Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri this season and has been overshadowed by the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo. He also fits United’s requirements of a mobile goalscoring striker.
Dybala could cost up to £100 million, so to try and mitigate some of that cost, United are willing to offer Belgian international Lukaku as part of the deal.
Lukaku may have cost £75 million when he joined United from Everton but he has fallen down the pecking order since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over as interim manager, with Marcus Rashford often being preferred.
It is reported that both Juventus and Lukaku would be open to such a deal. Lukaku would relish the chance to join the Italian champions, while they would be getting a prolific striker who is in the peak years of his career.
Manchester United have approached Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund about a potential move for winger Jadon Sancho, according to reports.
Sancho, 18, has been a star for Dortmund this season, becoming a regular in the side and scoring 7 goals in 21 appearances the Bundesliga, along with a handful of assists. He has also kept Christian Pulisic out of the side, who will join Chelsea in the summer for £60 million.
Dortmund are said to want £70 million for the England star, according to The Sun. However, 15% of that would go to his previous club Manchester City, who inserted a sell-on clause when they sold him to Dortmund for £8 million back in 2017.
City also have an agreement where if a club comes into buy Sancho they can match the offer if they want to.
However, it is thought unlikely that Sancho would want to return to City, at least while Pep Guardiola is in charge.
Sancho would provide competition up front to United’s other young stars, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard.
Should Sancho come to United – and a move back to England would be tempting, despite him being happy in Germany – then it could hasten the departure of Alexis Sanchez, who has failed to recapture his best form since joining from Arsenal.
This is not the first time this rumour has surfaced. United are thought to be planning a rebuild of the squad and the summer and Sancho would fit the profile of player they are looking for. But much will depend on who is installed as permanent manager and who they want to bring in.
Champions League chasing sides Manchester United and Chelsea have enquired about the availability of Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic with the view to making a offer, according to reports.
The 30-year-old is under contract to Barcelona until 2021 and wants to open talks on an extension but the club have no intention of doing so at the moment, according to Spanish newspaper Sport.
This will give heart to a number of clubs chasing the Croatian international. As well as Chelsea and Manchester United, Italian sides Juventus and Inter Milan and German side Bayern Munich are also interested.
However, Rakitic is an integral part of Ernesto Valverde‘s side, having made 34 appearances this season. Barcelona would appear reluctant at best to want to part with one of their stars.
That said, Barca signed Dutch star Frenkie de Jong in January – he’ll join the side the in the summer – so that would provide Rakitic with competition.
Nevertheless, Rakitic himself went on record last month saying he was happy at Barcelona and wants to stay long-term. His agent, Aturo Canales, also ruled out a move last week.
We bring you the very best content of the beautiful game we all live, breathe, sleep