European Paper Talk: Antoine Griezmann to reject Barcelona in favour of Atletico Madrid stay
By James Piercy, Football Whispers
Last Updated: 04/06/18 11:59am
The World Cup may nearly be upon us but it's going to take more than that to stop the transfer rumour mill from churning out speculation across Europe.
Our friends at Football Whispers have rounded up the best stories from across the continent.
Antoine Griezmann has told close friends he will reject a move to Barcelona and sign a new contract at Atletico Madrid. Barca were thought to have all-but-sealed a €100m move for the France international but Griezmann wants to stay loyal to Diego Simeone, who has helped turn him into a world star. Atletico's Europa League triumph last month is also understood to have persuaded him he can win more silverware at the Wanda Metropolitano. Griezmann's new deal will raise his release clause and make him one of the highest-paid players in the world. (ABC)
Everton are considering bidding for Real Sociedad forward Willian Jose but are reluctant to pay the Brazilian's €60m release clause. Borussia Dortmund have already backed down after learning of Sociedad's demands for the 26-year-old, who scored 18 goals in 33 games last season. Willian would prefer to stay in Spain but Sociedad are also considering a large-scale rebuild of their squad and would find an offer hard to turn down, knowing they cannot match the wages on offer in the Premier League. (Mundo Deportivo)
Chelsea and Arsenal have entered the race to sign Liverpool transfer target Jasper Cillessen but Barcelona are demanding €60m for the goalkeeper. Cillessen has played second fiddle to Marc-Andre ter Stegen at the Camp Nou since arriving in 2016, but the 29-year-old is keen to secure first-team football. Chelsea face losing Thibaut Courtois this summer while Arsenal are concerned over Petr Cech's long-term future. (Sport)
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez made an unsuccessful attempt to hire Juventus coach Allegri last week but still believes the Italian will one day take over at the Bernabeu. Perez contacted Juve on Friday but was knocked back, but Real may return for the 50-year-old next summer as the Bianconeri want to bring former midfielder Zinedine Zidane back to Turin as coach. (Tuttosport)
Juventus are actively trying to sell Gonzalo Higuain because coach Massimiliano Allegri wants a quicker striker, with Alvaro Morata and Anthony Martial his targets. Chelsea, Atletico Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain are all interested in Higuain and Juve value the 30-year-old at €60m. Higuain has scored 55 goals in 105 games since arriving from Napoli for €90m two years ago. (La Stampa)
West Ham have made an unsuccessful bid of €38m to sign Felipe Anderson from Lazio. The Serie A club want around €50m for the Brazilian attacking midfielder and are trying to renegotiate his contract at the Stadio Olimpico to drive his price up. Lazio must pay former club Santos 25 per cent of any sale so are trying to spark a bidding war with Monaco, Chelsea and Watford also interested. (Gazzetta dello Sport)
Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann has turned down the chance to take over at Real Madrid. Nagelsmann has emerged as the fourth name on Florentino Perez's shortlist after Mauricio Pochettino, Jurgen Klopp and Massimiliano Allegri but has made it clear to Madrid he is staying with Hoffenheim. Nagelsmann is under contract until 2021 but does have an exit clause which becomes active next summer. (Bild)
Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness has refused to answer questions on the future of Robert Lewandowski. The Poland international last week declared via his agent that he wants to leave the Bundesliga champions, alerting Chelsea, Manchester United, PSG and Juventus. In an exclusive interview, Hoeness declared "there is nothing to say" about Lewandowski. (Abendzeitung)
Bayern Munich are considering a €17m approach for Barcelona left-back Lucas Digne. The German champions plan to sell Spanish full-back Juan Bernat this summer as he only has one year left on his contract and are on the lookout for a replacement. Digne, who made just eight La Liga starts last season, is also on the radar of Inter Milan and Juventus. (Kicker)
PSG have offered 16-year-old left-back Arthur Zagre a professional contract in a bid to fend of interest from Premier League clubs. PSG have witnessed two of their brightest prospects leave for England with midfielder Claudio Gomes, 18, joining Manchester City and playmaker Yacine Adli, 17, on the brink of completing his move to Arsenal. Zagre is yet to agree to the three-year deal. (L'Equipe)
Former PSG sporting director Olivier Letang wants to bring Hatem Ben Arfa to Rennes but admits his wages make a deal unlikely. Ben Arfa becomes a free agent at the end of this month after a miserable spell in the French capital. Letang, who left PSG in 2017 and is now Rennes president, has held discussions with the 30-year-old former Newcastle winger but doesn't believe it is economically viable. (Le Parisian)