LIVE Transfer Talk – Rudiger race ramps up for Man Utd, PSG, Barcelona after Chelsea’s Champions League exit

The summer transfer window is approaching, and there’s plenty of gossip swirling about who’s moving where. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz on rumours, comings and goings and, of course, done deals!

TOP STORY: Rudiger remains on radar of top clubs

The decision surrounding Chelsea centre-back Antonio Rudiger‘s future will be accelerated after the Blues’ exit from the Champions League, as has been reported by The Daily Mail.

Rudiger has been tied to a move out of Stamford Bridge, with Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, and Barcelona among the clubs interested in the Germany defender once his contract ends in the summer.

Having gone 3-1 down in their quarterfinal first leg against Real Madrid, Thomas Tuchel’s side admirably fought back to gain a three-goal lead in the second leg on Tuesday — with help from Rudiger’s goal — before Rodrygo and Karim Benzema rallied Real to a spot in the semifinals.

It is stated that talks about Rudiger’s status will begin to move quickly following the heart-breaking ouster.

Now that Chelsea are out of Europe, those clubs are expected to step up their attempts to persuade the 29-year-old that he should join them.

The Blues are in dire straits when it comes to signing or transferring players due to the sanctions around Roman Abramovich that are in effect until the club is sold to new owners.

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09.46 BST: Boston Celtics owner Stephen Pagliuca said NBA chairman Larry Tanenbaum and former Chelsea captain John Terry have joined his bid to purchase the Premier League club.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Pagliuca said that Tanenbaum, who is owner of the Canadian company Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), had become “co-managing partner” of the bid for Chelsea. MLSE owns the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Toronto Raptors and Toronto FC.

Pagliuca spoke publicly for the first time about his bid for Chelsea on Monday, when he vowed to make the club “habitual winners.”

“This process has been a disconcerting time for the football club and fans,” he said. “Throughout my life and career, my ethos has always been to operate quietly, with integrity, and let my actions and results speak loudly.

“However, it is imperative to clarify and assure supporters about our bid group and its commitments, to emphasise how seriously we take our potential responsibility to Chelsea.

“Later this week we will submit a substantial and credible bid proposal — one that we expect will meet the respective requirements and regulations of the Premier League, UK Government and UEFA — and we pledge to honour our commitment to credibility and good guardianship of Chelsea Football Club from day one.”

08.52 BST: Darwin Nunez says his only focus is on doing well for Benfica until the end of the season amid reports he could move to the Premier League this summer.

The Uruguay striker has scored 32 goals in 37 appearances for the Portuguese giants, including one in Wednesday’s 3-3 draw at Liverpool in the Champions League quarterfinal second leg, having also scored in the first leg, a 3-1 defeat in Lisbon.

Nunez is a reported target of Newcastle United, Arsenal and Manchester United, and is widely expected to leave Benfica this summer.

“My job is to make the most of the chances,” the 22-year-old said after Wednesday’s game at Anfield. “Last year I didn’t play much and this season it has been incredible. The merit is down to hard work every day and to the help of my teammates. I’m going to continue to work, improve and score goals.

“I’ve received praise from the Liverpool coach [Jurgen Klopp] but my mind if focused on Benfica until the end of the season. I want to give my all for Benfica and for their fans, who are incredible.”

Nunez joined Benfica in the summer of 2020 from Spanish side Almeria, signing a contract with the Lisbon club until June 2025. He recently parted company with his agent and has joined Portuguese super agent Jorge Mendes.

Nunez has a release clause set at €150m but the Lisbon club could allow him to leave for a fee in the region of €126m, which is what Atletico Madrid paid Benfica for star Joao Felix in the summer of 2019.

08.00 BST: Granit Xhaka has said he was close to leaving Arsenal after he was booed off and clashed with his own supporters during a Premier League match against Crystal Palace in 2019.

Arsenal were pegged back in a 2-2 draw against Palace at the Emirates Stadium and when Xhaka was substituted in the second half, he was met with jeers from Arsenal fans for taking time to come off the pitch. The midfielder then removed his shirt when storming off the pitch and appeared to swear at his own supporters, as well as waving his arms taunting fans to boo louder and cupping his ear.

Xhaka was subsequently stripped of the club captaincy and has revealed he was ready to leave the north London club following the incident.

“My bags were packed. The passports were out,” he told the Players’ Tribune. “I was done with Arsenal. Finished. There was a contract on the table from another club, and all I had to do was sign. I had talked with my wife, Leonita, and we had decided to leave.”

The Switzerland international said that new manager Mikel Arteta persuaded him to remain at the club but Xhaka revealed he can never forget the reaction from the Arsenal supporters.

“I was shocked. I had never experienced anything like this,” he added. “When I got close to the tunnel, I looked up at the fans sitting there — and this is the part that I will always remember.

“When I close my eyes now, I can still see their faces. I can see their anger. It’s not that they don’t like me. No, it’s different. This is hate. Pure hate. I am really not exaggerating this.That day, I felt very disrespected. The comments were over the line. It felt personal.”

PAPER GOSSIP (by Danny Lewis)

Lautaro Martinez, Alessandro Bastoni and Milan Skriniar are among the players Internazionale could offload in order to fund their summer transfers, reports Tuttosport. Inter want to sign Juventus’ Paulo Dybala as a free agent when his contract ends, as well as Torino’s Bremer. Up front, they are also considering Sassuolo’s Gianluca Scamacca and Real Madrid’s Luka Jovic, while it’s between Sassuolo’s Davide Frattesi and Real Madrid’s Dani Ceballos in midfield.

– Juventus want to strengthen their midfield in the summer and Calciomercato have offered a list of their options. Manchester United’s Paul Pogba is the first and most heavily reported one, though Juventus could struggle to match his wages. Jorginho is also wanted, though Chelsea’s ownership situation means it could be difficult to negotiate with them. Ajax Amsterdam’s Ryan Gravenberch had been watched but seems destined for Bayern Munich, while Lazio’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic could be another option despite possibly tough negotiations.

– Arsenal are set to compete with Juventus for the signing of Alvaro Morata from Atletico Madrid in the summer, reports Calciomercato. Juventus have an option to sign the Spaniard permanently for €35 million when his loan from Atletico ends, but have been trying to negotiate to bring him in for €15m. Arsenal are planning on offering €25m and would provide Morata a better financial package, though the striker would prefer to stay with Juventus.

– Barcelona are preparing the paperwork for Ronald Araujo‘s contract extension, reports Fabrizio Romano, who adds that it is confirmed it will last until 2026 and include a €1 billion release clause. In addition, they are working on a contract proposal for Gavi that would also include a large release clause.

– Vancouver Whitecaps are in advanced talks to sign Nimes midfielder Adrian Cubas, as reported by The 25-year-old Paraguayan could be signed as a Designated Player or brought down with allocation money. It is added from reports elsewhere that the transfer fee could be €3m.

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