The Hard Tackle takes a look at some of the latest transfer rumours surrounding La Liga bigwigs Barcelona and Real Madrid this summer.
After a frantic start to the summer, during which they made as many as four quickfire signings, things have quietened down for Barcelona in recent weeks, with the focus shifting towards the contract renewal of superstar Lionel Messi who, as of today, is a free agent. In order to accommodate his new contract, the Catalans have had to concentrate their efforts on selling unwanted players to make room on their wage bill.
As for Real Madrid, there has been no new arrival after the free transfer signing of David Alaba, as newly-appointed manager, Carlo Ancelotti, gets a good look at the players currently at his disposal in the pre-season and decides on who will be a part of his plans for the upcoming campaign. Exits, though, seem very much on the cards at the Santiago Bernabeu as well, following the departure of club icon Sergio Ramos.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into the latest news and rumours surrounding the transfer activities at Barcelona and Real Madrid as we inch closer and closer to the 2021/22 campaign.
Arsenal retain interest in Martin Odegaard
Kicking things off with Real Madrid’s star playmaker Martin Odegaard, who still remains a subject of interest from Premier League club Arsenal, as per a report from The Athletic. Having struggled for game-time in Spain, the Norwegian international spent the second half of the last season on loan with the Gunners and made a solid impression.
Now back at Real Madrid, though, he looks set to play a part in the team under Ancelotti, but Arsenal still harbour hopes of signing him as Mikel Arteta remains keen on adding another creative midfielder. Indeed, the Gunners have Emile Smith Rowe as their only option in the No. 10 role, something that can be addressed with Odegaard’s signing.
But, it is unlikely that Real Madrid would be willing to part ways with the Norwegian playmaker. Even if they considered such a proposition, it would cost Arsenal a lot of money in order to pull off a deal.
Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City sounded out over Antoine Griezmann swoop
Moving to Barcelona and their efforts to try and offload Antoine Griezmann this summer, 90min.com reports that the 2018 FIFA World Cup winner has been offered to multiple clubs across Europe, with his sister and agent, Maud, having spoken to the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City to inform them of the 30-year-old’s availability.
Griezmann has never gotten flying during his time at Camp Nou, and with Barcelona needing to free up space on their wage bill to accommodate Messi’s new contract, the Frenchman is deemed expendable. Apart from the three aforementioned Premier League clubs, Juventus, Bayern Munich, and Paris Saint-Germain have also been sounded out.
However, it is Atletico Madrid who seem to be leading the pursuit of the 2018 FIFA World Cup winner this summer, with a potential swap deal involving Saul Niguez being mooted, with the midfielder also said to be keen on moving to Barcelona. The Catalans might not entirely favour such a deal, but re-signing Messi is a top priority and should no suitors arrive from elsewhere, they may have to let Griezmann return to Atleti.
Brahim Diaz set to rejoin AC Milan on loan
Back to Real Madrid, where a promising talent is set to be on his way out as Fabrizio Romano claims that Spanish attacking midfielder Brahim Diaz is set to return to AC Milan on a two-year loan spell with a deal already in place. The 21-year-old struggled for game-time in Madrid since signing from Manchester City in 2019 and spent the last season on loan at Milan.
Brahim Diaz made a solid impression during his stint with the Rossoneri, who were keen on re-signing him, especially after Hakan Calhanoglu ended up leaving the club on a free transfer. And Romano is claiming that a deal is all tied up, with the 21-year-old even set for his medicals this week.
As per the update, Diaz will be signing on a two-year loan deal with AC Milan with a fee of €3 million being paid. The Serie A giants will have the option of making the transfer permanent for a fee of €22 million, while Real Madrid have a buyback clause worth €27 million.
Barcelona offered Aaron Ramsey in exchange for Miralem Pjanic
Switching to Barcelona, the Catalans have been offered a chance to sign Aaron Ramsey as part of a swap deal involving midfielder Miralem Pjanic by Juventus, claims a report from Gazzetta dello Sport, as relayed by Calciomercato.
It is no secret that Pjanic is deemed surplus to requirements at Barcelona, with manager Ronald Koeman not seeing him as part of the plans moving forward just a year after his arrival. The Blaugrana, too, are intent on getting his €9 million per season wages off the books at the earliest possible, but there have been not many offers as things stand.
Juventus remain interested in re-signing the Bosnian, who is also keen on a return to the Allianz Stadium. As a result, the Bianconeri have offered Ramsey, a player with no future in Turin, to Barcelona. However, his €7.5 million-a-year wages mean that the Catalans have little interest in taking him on either, leaving both their futures in a bit of a limbo.
Manchester United on the verge of signing Raphael Varane
Rounding things off with another story involving Real Madrid, the Merengues look set to part ways with another defensive stalwart this summer as Raphael Varane is close to completing a transfer to Manchester United, according to Onda Cero.
The report claims that Real Madrid and Manchester United are closing in on an agreement over a transfer fee, with the deal likely to be around worth €50 million despite Varane being in the final year of his contract with Los Blancos. As for personal terms, reports have already claimed that the Red Devils have that taken care of with the agents of the Frenchman, with a five-year deal said to be in place.
So, even though there has been a late hijack attempt made by Chelsea, it looks like Manchester United, after a decade-long of admiring Varane, could, at last, be set to land him this summer.