The global pandemic has pushed back the start of the 2020/21 football season and the transfer market has been duly affected by it. With the finances taking a hit, mouth-watering moves are expected to dry, but that doesn't mean the clubs have halted their activities in the market.
The window is now open across the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, German Bundesliga, and French Ligue 1, while the Italian Serie A starts its operations from September 1. That said, here are the top transfer stories across Europe:
Lionel Messi more likely to leave Barcelona
Lionel Messi future at Barcelona has been a thrown in the air in recent times, and Catalan Radio station RAC1 claims that the Argentine has told his new boss, Ronald Koeman, who replaced Quique Setien, that he is likely to leave.
Messi's current contract with Barcelona runs for another year, but the outlet says that the captain cut short his holidays to meet with Koeman to express how unhappy he is with the state of the club, especially after the 8-2 thrashing in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals at the hands of Bayern Munich.
Barcelona presidential candidate Victor Font thinks there's a chance Lionel Messi WILL leave...— Goal (@goal) August 20, 2020
And it gives him nightmares 😩 pic.twitter.com/oBDMj4ezo6
As far as Koeman is concerned, he has duly mentioned that he wants the captain to stay, but also urged that he only “wants to work with players who want to be here.”
The news might come as a blow as it is being quoted that the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City are just waiting for Messi to drop a hint before they make an official move.
Lacazette to Turin, Bernardeschi to London
Mikel Arteta's Arsenal and Andrea Pirlo's Juventus are reportedly working on a swap deal which might see striker Alexandre Lacazette moving to Turing, while midfielder Federico Bernardeschi travels to London.
Lacazette, whose current Arsenal contract runs until 2022, is being eyed as a potential replacement of Gonzalo Higuain by Juventus, and the Old Lady has reportedly opened talks with the Gunners over a potential swap move. However, Pirlo's primary target remains Wolves' Raul Jimenez, but the Mexican has attracted interest from several top sides, and should Juventus fail in their pursuit, they will go for the Frenchman.
Raúl #Jimenez is still the main target of #Juventus as a striker. Paratici has also asked info to #Arsenal on Alexandre #Lacazette, who could leave this summer. Gunners are looking Federico #Bernardeschi and could be possible a swap, even if Berna prefers stay at Juve. #transfers— Nicolò Schira (@NicoSchira) August 20, 2020
For Juventus though, convincing Bernardeschi to leave the club remains a possible headache as the midfielder has already turned down a transfer to Fiorentina. At Arsenal though, Arteta is keen on reinforcing his midfield, having already signed Willian from Chelsea, and for that, Atletico Madrid's Thomas Partey has been touted as a potential option.
Manchester United's late approach for Gabriel Magalhaes
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United have made a late approach for Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes as the Red Devils look keen on sealing the move ahead of Arsenal, Napoli and even Paris Saint-Germain.
The 22-year-old Brazilian was tipped to join Arsenal according to his club’s president Gerard Lopez. “I think it’s fair to say that Arsenal are a high interest to him, Napoli is a high interest to him," Lopez told TalkSport.
“We’ve given him plenty of time to make up his mind. We’ve always said, ‘look if we have an agreement with two clubs or three clubs and the agreements are the same then we are not going to create a bidding competition’.
“It’s always fair. We always say ‘whenever we have the number that we want, you are free to choose’.
However, in a recent development, Gianluca Di Marzio has claimed that Manchester United have entered the fray, and if the defender does end up moving to either Arsenal or Manchester United, Pep Guardiola's pursuit of Kalidou Koulibaly for Manchester City might take a hit. The City manager is keen on adding a centre-back, but if Napoli fail to acquire a replacement for Koulibaly, the Senegalese will be expected to stay in Naples.
As things stand, it is Magalhaes who now has his pick of the lot.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Manu Fernandez