LIVE Transfer Talk - Xavi asks Gerard Pique for Barcelona exit, eyes Jules Kounde

LIVE Transfer Talk – Xavi asks Gerard Pique for Barcelona exit, eyes Jules Kounde

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: Xavi tells Pique his time with Barcelona is done

Xavi Hernandez has reportedly met with Gerard Pique and told the centre-back that he will not be called upon at Barcelona next season, according to a report by Diario Sport.

While the manager doesn’t question Pique’s ability, he has cited physical issues and unprofessional behavior as reasons for the decision being made, the report says. The main issue is that Xavi says Pique isn’t focused on football due to his multiple businesses and off-pitch controversies.

Pique was reportedly told that the best solution would be to leave in the most dignified way possible, which would include renouncing a large amount of the approximately €40 million that the clubs owes him.

Despite being told that he won’t get many minutes, Pique is said to have refused to accept it and insisted that he will train more than ever, a plan that includes abandoning his commitments outside of football.

The Diario Sport report also mentions that Xavi sees Sevilla’s Jules Kounde as the man to come in and play at centre-back, which the outlet has also reported. Chelsea are also interested in the Frenchman, whose contract could be worth up to €60m, but the hope is that Barcelona will be able to afford to bring him in when they have reduced their wage bill.

Despite Andreas Christensen coming in and Eric Garcia also being in the squad, Xavi is said to dream of a partnership consisting of Kounde and Ronald Araujo.

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LIVE BLOG

08.00 BST: Harry Kane has said the additions of Erling Haaland and Darwin Nunez to the Premier League will spur him on to become a better player next season.

Manchester City officially announced the €60 million signing of Haaland from Borussia Dortmund on Monday, just a few hours after Benfica announced a deal had been agreed with Liverpool to sign Nunez.

Kane had wanted to leave Spurs last summer to join eventual Premier League champions City, but Spurs chairman Daniel Levy rebuffed all interest from Pep Guardiola’s side, who opted to not to match Spurs’ £150m (€175m) valuation. The 28-year-old is now expected to remain in north London as head coach Antonio Conte aims to turn Spurs into Premier League title challengers.

Kane has won the Golden Boot as the division’s top goal scorer in three of the past seven years, but last season he finished behind his Spurs teammate Heung-Min Son, who tied with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah for the award with 23 goals.

Asked on Monday whether Haaland and Nunez arriving in England would make it harder to lead the scoring charts, Kane told a news conference: “The battle for the Golden Boot is always tough. The Premier League has produced some top strikers from around the world for a number of years now.

“You expect the top strikers to want to play in the Premier League and with those two new signings, that is going to be the case. It helps. It helps me as a player to have good competition, it drives me to improve and get better. So for sure, I look forward to the challenge.

“I try and focus on myself to begin with. Going into any season, I have things I want to achieve and goals I want to reach. I try not to focus too much on other players in that aspect.

“I can’t control what they do but what I’ll do is continue to work hard, improve and after this game have a nice break. But then look forward to what will be a tough preseason, I’m sure, and get ready for the new season as I have done for the last seven, eight years now.”

PAPER GOSSIP

– RB Leipzig have set a price of £100m for Christopher Nkunku‘s services as they aim to keep the Frenchman, reports The Independent, which add that the 24-year-old wants to stay put for another season. This comes with Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain all having looked into the possibility of signing him this summer.

– Along with Kalidou Koulibaly, Juventus are hoping to sign Fabian Ruiz from Napoli this summer, according to Tuttosport. The defender and midfielder both have contracts that end in the summer of 2023, though a move for the Spaniard in this transfer window could depend on whether or not arthur departures, having underwhelmed for I Bianconeri.

– With Marcos Alonso being heavily linked with a move to Barcelona, ​​The Sun have reported that Chelsea are considering a move for Wolverhampton Wanderers wing-back Rayan Ait Nouri. It is felt that he would be able to provide good competition and cover for Ben Chilwellwho missed a large amount of the 2021-22 season because of a cruciate ligament injury.

– Having secured the return of Alexandre LacazetteOlympique Lyonnais are now looking to bring Corentin Tolisso back from Bayern Munich, and Foot Mercato have reported that things are progressing positively. The midfielder is willing to listen to Lyon’s proposals and could be tempted despite the absence of European football for the Ligue 1 outfit in the upcoming season.

– AZ Alkmaar’s Owen Wijndal is Juventus’ priority in their search for a left-back in the summer transfer window, according to Calciomercato, who also mentioned Udinese’s Destiny Udogy and Hoffenheim’s David Raum have options. The Eredivisie side do not want to drop their valuation below €15m, while Juventus have so far offered just over €10m with add-ons included.

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