European Paper Talk: Barcelona agree Arthur deal

The transfer window does not reopen for a while yet but already clubs are jostling to get into position so they will be able to secure their primary targets come the summer.

Our friends at Football Whispers have scoured the continental press to round up the latest transfer news.


Barcelona have reached an agreement with Brazilian side Gremio to sign midfielder Arthur in January 2019. Two delegates from the Camp Nou, Andre Cury and Robert Fernandez, laid the foundations for the move in December and images of the player in a Barca shirt were leaked. The fee is expected to be slightly more than the €25m (£22.2m) offered originally as 20 per cent of the player’s economic rights are owned by third-party investor Celso Rigo. (Mundo Deportivo)

Real Madrid host Paris Saint-Germain in the stand-out tie of the Champions League round of 16 on Wednesday and, ahead of the game, new reports have emerged claiming PSG star Neymar will move to the Bernabeu in 2019. A move has been mooted for several months now with suggestions the Brazilian forward regrets last summer’s world-record move to Paris. Real president Florentino Perez is known to be a fan and sees Neymar as the long-term successor to Cristiano Ronaldo. (Mundo Deportivo)

Ajax prospect Justin Kluivert has left the door open to a move to Real Madrid. The forward, who is the son of Dutch legend Patrick Kluivert, is a Barcelona supporter. But that will not put him off playing for Los Blancos if the chance arises. “Barcelona is in my heart, but who am I to say no to Real Madrid?” he said. “I am the one who makes the decisions and my father doesn’t interfere, as he knows it isn’t what I want.” (Marca)

There has been plenty of talk about the future of Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League clash against PSG. With Real Madrid fourth in La Liga and out of the title race, the Champions League is their best hope of salvation. But the Frenchman has thrown his weight behind former player Guti to replace him when he does step down. “Yes, I see him [as being] capable,” said the World Cup winner. “He is preparing himself to be a coach in the future and it could be at Real Madrid. He’s in good shape, he’s someone who is from this club, he’s always been here and one day it will be his dream as well.” (Don Balon)


Inter Milan have opened contract negotiations with captain Mauro Icardi who has previously been linked with Real Madrid. Inter are expected to propose a salary increase to €6m (£5.7m) a year. However, in return they would like to remove the release clause in his current deal. Icardi would like €7m (£6.2m) with his release clause raised to €150m (£133m). (Corriere dello Sport)

Roma will put a €90m (£85m) release clause in the contract of goalkeeper Alisson. The Brazilian has been subject of Liverpool transfer rumours in the last month but the Italian outfit are desperate to ward off any interest. (Calciomercato)

Across the Eternal City, Lazio are preparing for Liverpool transfer target Stefan de Vrij to depart. The Dutch defender is expected to sign a new deal with a £22m (€24.7m) release clause. If he leaves, Lazio will move for Porto’s Mexican defender Diego Reyes, 25. (Corriere di Roma)


Chelsea transfer target Arturo Vidal is believed to be happy to remain at Bayern Munich. The Chilean is out of contract in 2019 and his place in the side will come under threat this summer when Leon Goretzka completes his free transfer move from Schalke. But the 30-year-old intends to stay with Bayern. (Sport1)


PSG winger Angel Di Maria has revealed he would have no problem joining Barcelona despite his history with Real Madrid. “My relationship with Real Madrid ended,” the Barcelona transfer target said. “My cycle with them closed some time ago. Honestly, I would have no problem playing for Barcelona.” (So Foot)


Former Manchester City and Arsenal midfielder Samir Nasri is attracting interest from Russia. The 30-year-old is a free agent after leaving Turkish club Antalyaspor in January and Zenit St Petersburg are believed to be keen on brokering a deal for the former France international. (Sport Express)