TRANSFER ROUNDUP: Mascherano To Join Juventus, Griezmann Open For A Move Away, And More
Barcelona Defender Javier Mascherano On The Verge Of Joining Juventus
Barcelona defender Javier Mascherano is reportedly close to signing a three-year deal with Italian Champions Juventus.
According to Barcelona based news outlet Sport, Mascherano has reached a verbal agreement with the Serie A winners. The reason behind this surprising move is believed to be the fact that Barcelona are looking for top-class center-backs, which may result in the Argentine international become more of a squad player next season. The 31-year-old therefore wishes to move to Juve, where he will not only be a guaranteed starter, but will also see a considerable raise in his wages.
The La Liga champions, however, are keen to retain the former Liverpool man’s services, as manager Luis Enrique still sees the defender as a key part of his plans.
Stoke City Make A €15m Bid For Axel Witsel
Stoke City have made a €15m bid for Zenit St Petersburg midfielder Axel Witsel, according to Italian outlet Calcio Mercato via Inside Futbol.
Stoke City previously made an offer worth the same price for Axel Witsel back in the January transfer window, but it was rejected, Zenit’s general director Maxim Mitrofanov has revealed. Speaking to the the Russian press, he was quoted as saying: “There was an offer (in January) from the Stoke City. They offered about €15-16 million. Witsel’s agents are dreaming of selling him somewhere but we will be happy if he continues playing in our team.”
However, the Potters seem adamant on signing Witsel, and are ready to break the club’s record transfer fee once again, having recently broken it in January 2016, when they signed Giannelli Imbula from Porto for £18.3 million. Stoke City club chief said: “If the right player becomes available, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that we would do it again in the summer.”
Witsel, who has made 156 appearances for the Russian giants, has revealed that he would be open to make a move to the Premier League, when he stated: “Most of [my team-mates] are in England. But it doesn’t mean if they play there I should also go to England. Of course when I am in national team we speak about England or other championships. I think everybody knows that the best championship is the Premier League.”
Cristiano Ronaldo Set To Sign A New Real Madrid Contract Next Week
Cristiano Ronaldo is all set to commit his future to Real Madrid by signing a new contract in the upcoming week, as per various reports in Spain.
Ronaldo has been linked with a blockbuster move to French Champions Paris Saint Germain, with a sensational return to his former club Manchester United also on the cards. However, the 31-year-old has supposedly put an end to all the speculation about his future, and looks set to extend his stay at the Santiago Bernabeu for five more years, according to radio station Cadena Ser.
The Portuguese captain also spoke about his future with the Spanish television on Tuesday, where he said: “I am happy now and I want to stay at this club because I don’t see any club better than Madrid. If you weigh it all up there are none better – PSG and everyone can forget it.”
Arsenal And Spurs Interested In Sporting Lisbon Striker Islam Slimani
North London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur are reportedly showing interest in Sporting Lisbon’s £23m-rated striker Islam Slimani.
Having already strengthened the Arsenal midfield, Arsene Wenger has now turned his attention to fixing the Gunners’ attack, which hasn’t been up to its usual standards due to Danny Welbeck being injured and Olivier Giroud being out of form. Meanwhile, Mauricio Pochettino intends to strengthen his strike force and bring in an attacking partner for the sensational Harry Kane, so as to push on and do well in next season’s UEFA Champions League.
And as it happens, both the rival clubs have identified Islam Slimani as a potential solution to their respective problems. The 27-year-old striker has been in fine form for Sporting this season, having scored 31 goals in 46 games in all competitions. The Algerian international has a buyout clause of £23.25m (€30m), a sum both clubs can easily meet.
Sporting Lisbon’s head coach Jorge Jesus, however, will try his best to keep his star striker at the Portuguese club. He was quoted as saying: “I would like for Slimani to stay. This area is for the president. The coach also has a say, and [the Sporting president] knows my opinion. At present, 30 million for a player like Slimani is nothing.”
Antoine Griezmann Open For A Move Away From Atletico Madrid, Reveals Agent
Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann is open for a move away from the club, his agent has revealed.
Griezmann has been in stunning form this season, having scored 32 goals in 53 appearances this season, and playing a humongous role in helping his team reach the UEFA Champions League final. Since moving to Atletico from Real Sociedad, the Frenchman has developed into one of the best forwards in the world under the management of Diego Simeone. His recent performances have attracted interest from top European clubs likes Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, and many more.
Amidst such speculation, there have been contrary reports suggesting the 25-year-old has committed his future to Atletico by signing a contract extension. However, his agent has now publicly rubbished those rumours, and has said that his client is open for a move away provided the right offer comes along.
Speaking to French publication L’Equipe, Griezmann’s agent revealed: “Contrary to certain claims announcing that Antoine at Atletico next season will be the case without fail, nothing has been decided or endorsed. We are currently listening to different clubs who also offer real interest and attraction.”