Football

LIVE Transfer Talk – Barcelona turn to Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku to solve striker quandary

LIVE Transfer Talk – Barcelona turn to Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku to solve striker quandary
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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: Barcelona turn to Lukaku

Barcelona are targeting Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku as signing a striker remains the LaLiga club’s biggest priority for the summer transfer window, according to Marca.

Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland and Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski had originally been Barca’s favored options, but deals for the Bundesliga frontmen have seemed increasingly difficult to complete.

This is where Lukaku comes in, with the Belgium international currently unhappy at Chelsea.

While he had appeared on the verge of leaving Stamford Bridge during the winter window, the 28-year-old is set to depart in the summer with various clubs interested in signing him.

Lukaku’s 12 goals in all competitions for the Blues this term isn’t representative of his best, after the Belgian managed 64 goals in 95 games in two seasons with Internazionale.

Barcelona officials Mateu Alemany and Jordi Cruyff have already met Federico Pastorello, Lukaku’s representative, about a possible move, though it seems this deal could also be complicated.

Chelsea paid a hefty fee for Lukaku, which Barcelona would be unable to replicate.

To date, there has been no concrete move for Lukaku, but both parties are aware of the situation and are waiting to see what happens with Chelsea’s ownership, as well as what any potential new owners intend to do with the stirker.

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LIVE BLOG

09.00 BST: Barcelona’s Ronald Araujo has told ESPN that money was not the most important factor after confirming he rejected more lucrative offers from Premier League clubs before signing a new deal with the Blaugrana this week.

Araujo, 23, signed a contract extension on Friday that will keep him at Camp Nou through to 2026, with his release clause rising to €1 billion. The defender’s previous terms were due to expire in 2023 and ESPN previously revealed that Manchester United and Liverpool were prepared to better Barca’s proposal.

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Speaking to ESPN, Araujo said his first choice was always to stay at Barca, whom he joined in 2018, despite the money available elsewhere.

« I am really happy and I am convinced that staying is the right decision because there are good years ahead for the club, » the Uruguayan said. « I was always certain I wanted to stay. There were big offers from abroad, but I’m happy at Barcelona. My family love it here and the fans and my teammates have always made me feel at home.

« I’m grateful for the effort the club have made. We all gave a little bit to reach an agreement, which is what we all wanted.

« [The Premier League interest] didn’t distract me at all. I was convinced what I wanted. It’s true money is a factor, but for me it’s not the most important thing. I am happy at Barcelona. »

PAPER GOSSIP (by Danny Lewis)

– AC Milan are showing interest in making an ambitious move to sign RB Leipzig’s Christopher Nkunku during the summer, reports Calciomercato. The Frenchman is wanted by some of the biggest clubs across Europe and while this is only an idea for Milan at the moment, they would be very keen to bring in the man who has contributed an incredible 30 goals and 20 assists in 47 appearances across all competitions this term. Nkunku’s transfer would cost at least €60m.

– Real Madrid are one of many clubs who have approached Chelsea right-back Reece James about a possible summer move, claims Goal. James is under contract until 2025 and Chelsea will do all they can to keep him, while Real Madrid’s priority remains ensuring Paris Saint-Germain talisman Kylian Mbappe join them.

– Chelsea are considering paying the release clause for Villarreal centre-back Paul Torresaccording to Ekrem Konur. The Blues are looking to bring in reinforcements at the back with Antonio Rudiger set to leave for Real Madrid, and Torres has been a key man in Villarreal’s commendable Champions League campaign this term.

– TSG Hoffenheim are hoping to sign Karlsruher striker Phillip Hofmann as a free agent when his contract ends in the summer, reports Kicker. It is felt his heading ability would make him the perfect addition, but it is far from a certainty that the 29-year-old will join them, as he could be set to go to VfL Bochum instead.

– Wolverhampton Wanderers and Celtic are both hoping to sign Bodo/Glimt goalkeeper Nikita Haikyn during the summer, reports Football Insider. The 26-year-old impressed during the Norwegian champions’ run to the Europa Conference League quarterfinal, who are willing to accept £500,000 due to his contract running out in December.

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