LIVE Transfer Talk: Chelsea launch robust bid for Dortmund’s Sancho

The January transfer window might seem like a distant memory, but that doesn’t mean the rumour mill has shut down! Speculation over summer moves is heating up, so check out the latest gossip below, and see all official deals here.

TOP STORY: Chelsea launch £80m bid for Sancho

Chelsea are stepping up their pursuit of Jadon Sancho by offering £80 million for the Borussia Dortmund winger, reports The Sun.

Blues boss Thomas Tuchel is reportedly a huge fan of the 21-year-old winger, and Chelsea are now expected to lead the race to sign the England international.

Sancho is set to leave Germany this summer and he has his heart set on a return to the Premier League.

Manchester United have been tracking Sancho for over a year, but as yet have been unable to match Dortmund’s valuations.

Sancho is said to be a boyhood Chelsea fan and, though he wants to focus on a strong end to the season with Dortmund, he’s keen to be nearer friends and family in England when the new season kicks off in August.

Dortmund are resigned to losing their talented winger, but are said to be hoping he has a successful Euro 2020 in an effort to recoup the best value for one of their biggest recent success stories.

Sancho has recovered from a slow start to the season and has scored eight goals and offered 13 assists for Edin Terzic’s side.

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11.16 BST: Chelsea are monitoring the contract situation of Wolfsburg defender Maxence Lacroix, according to Sky.

Lacroix, 21, has started 34 matches for Wolfsburg this season following his summer move from Sochaux, scoring two goals.

The Frenchman has a contract at Wolfsburg that runs until 2024, although Sky reports that he recently rejected the offer of an extension, leading Chelsea to take more of an interest as coach Thomas Tuchel looks to sign defensive reinforcements.

10.29 BST: Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has said David Luiz‘s impending departure from the club “hurts.”

Sources have told ESPN’s James Olley that Luiz will leave the club when his contract expires at the end of the season after talks ended without an agreement over an extension. Although Arsenal have suggested they made the decision to end his involvement with the club, sources close to Luiz have told ESPN he in fact chose to walk away. ESPN Brasil reports that Flamengo are keen to sign the 34-year-old.

Luiz has made a total of 73 appearances for Arsenal since joining for them for £8 million from Chelsea in 2019. He was considered an influential figure in the dressing room, having won four major trophies at Stamford Bridge, including the Premier League and Champions League.

“He is a player who has won everything in football and has earned every right to do so through who he is as a player and as a person,” Arteta said at a news conference on Tuesday. “I had the privilege to work with him for 18 months. I really enjoyed it. I think we got on really good. I think we had some great moments together.

“He’s been really helpful, someone who we really like and appreciate so much. So I say thank you to him and wish him the best of luck in his next chapter because I’m sure, knowing David, that he will have many more to come as player and in the future somehow related to the game.

“When you get to know the person, his background, where he was raised in Brazil and what he’s done. To get to this point is remarkable. You understand a lot of things happen for a reason and it’s not just an ability, a quality or a determination. It’s many other factors. I’ve really enjoyed and learnt from him. He’s been very helpful every time with the team and I feel sadness as well because you get attached to the players emotionally.

“One is the player and we have to get the maximum out of him, and then it’s the person. And when it gets to this stage it’s tough and it hurts because that relationship now is going to be going away, at least in this space and not seeing him every day. Again, I have to say thank you to him.”

09.42 BST: Villarreal coach Unai Emery wants his star player Pau Torres to continue his career in Spain.

The Spanish centre-back has made 32 league appearances for the Yellow Submarine this season and helped the team reach the Europa League final.

Pau, 24, is a target of top European clubs including Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain and is expected to leave Villarreal this summer. Real Madrid are also monitoring Torres as a possible signing should Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos leave the club this summer.

“With my experience, having been in the Premier League, at PSG and in Spain, I see Pau playing at a big club next,” Emery said. “I see him playing in a big club. I hope that if he takes that leap, it’s in Spain, in Barcelona or Real Madrid. I would like that. I would like for his career to continue in Spain.”

Villarreal would hope to receive a €65m transfer fee for Torres, who has a contract until June 2024

09.00 BST: Barcelona great Xavi Hernandez has rejected a role to become Brazil’s assistant manager ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, sources have told ESPN Brasil.

Xavi, who coaches Qatari club Al Sadd, was approached by the Brazilian football federation to be Tite’s “right hand man” ahead of the World Cup qualifiers.

Spanish outlet AS was first to report the news, which added that Xavi was “surprised” with the offer. That report also added that the plan was for Xavi to take over for Tite after the World Cup.

A source said that despite the interest in Xavi, the talks were “preliminary” and that no contract or financial details were negotiated.

Xavi recently extended his contract at Al Sadd through 2023, where he has been manager since 2019. The former midfield great joined the team as a player in 2015 after 17 trophy-laden years with Barca, becoming head coach after hanging up his boots. Last month he led the team to the Qatari domestic league title while remaining unbeaten.

PAPER GOSSIP (by Nick Judd)

– Defeated FA Cup finalists Chelsea are believed to be keeping an eye on Wolfsburg centre-back Maxence Lacroix, according to Sky Germany’s Max Bielefeld. He believes Chelsea officials have made contact with the 21-year-old’s representatives. Lacroix has recently turned down Wolfsburg’s new contract offers, and though the club would like to keep him, they may be forced to settle for recouping a fee of around €30m.

Sky Sports believes a bidding war is about to start for Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson, who they believe could be heading for the Old Trafford exit door this summer. David de Gea was preferred to Henderson for United’s 1-1 draw with Fulham on Tuesday, with Henderson’s long run as United’s No.1 seemingly at an end. It remains to be seen who will now start for United in the Europa League final against Villarreal next week, but the 24-year-old’s future now hangs in the balance. Sky believes a host of top clubs look set to battle it out for his signature, with Tottenham Hotspur, AC Milan, Chelsea and Borussia Dortmund all said to be interested.

– Uruguayan outlet Trepasos have followed last week’s claim that Manchester United are interested in signing Mauro Arambarri by suggesting the Red Devils are about to make an offer in the next few days. The 25-year-old midfielder is seen as an alternative to Declan Rice in the defensive midfield position, and at a fraction of the price. Arambarri’s contract at Spanish side Getafe runs out in 2023, and he could be available for around just over £20m.

Arsenal midfielder Willian is eyeing a move to Florida as part of as an Inter Miami CF summer recruitment drive, according to the Sun. Miami boss Phil Neville is deciding to move on from Rodolfo Pizarro to make way for the 32-year-old Brazilian, who has had a torrid time at Arsenal since joining from Chelsea last summer. The sticking point could be Willian’s wages, but Miami are keen to add a player they see as a marquee signing.

– Arsenal could make a move for Barcelona‘s outgoing goalkeeper Neto as the Londoners look to replace Bernd Leno for the new season. That’s from Mundo Deportivo, which adds that Brazilian Neto is contracted to the Catalan club until 2023 but it is widely believed he’ll play his last game, against Eibar at the weekend. The 31-year-old joined Barca from Valencia in 2019 and while Arsenal failed with a loan move in January, they’re hoping to experience more joy by returning with a more permanent solution this summer.

– Sources have told ESPN Brasil that Arsenal’s David Luiz is on Flamengo‘s radar. The Brazilian giants are keeping a keen eye on the 34-year-old centre-back, whose deal with the Gunners expires in June, and are expected to make a move once Gerson‘s transfer to Marseille is finalised.

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