Rumour Has It: Barcelona priced out of Salah race

By Sports Desk March 29, 2022

Barcelona are reportedly too restricted by LaLiga financial rules to enter the race for the world's best players, even after inking a deal with Spotify worth up to $235million.

Xavi's side have gone from strength to strength recently, finding form and re-establishing Barcelona as a prime destination, with a number of strong signings rumoured to be heading to Camp Nou in the next transfer window.

While there may be interest in bringing in the biggest names in the world, Barcelona supporters will likely need to lower their expectations.

TOP STORY – BARCELONA OUT OF SALAH RACE

It was reported that Barcelona have interest in signing Liverpool's Mohamed Salah, but The Daily Mirror claims that it will not be possible due to LaLiga's financial rules.

Salah – who boasts 28 goals and 10 assists in 36 matches for Liverpool this season – is likely to fetch a price similar to Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland, who Barcelona president Joan Laporta ruled out when talking with RAC 1, as well as Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe, due to the lofty figures.

While Barca may not be willing to fork out €100m for a single signing, they are rumoured to have agreed to terms with Robert Lewandowski, who could fetch up to €60m at 33 years old, as well as Franck Kessie and Cesar Azpilicueta, with further interest in Ajax's Antony and Manchester United's Paul Pogba.

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– Borussia Dortmund are interested in signing Premier League strikers Timo Werner and Anthony Martial from Chelsea and Manchester United, according to 90Min.

– According to The Sun, Newcastle United are keen on signing Watford's Ismaila Sarr in the upcoming transfer window in a deal believed to be worth around £35m.

– Leeds United have placed an asking price of £67m on Brazilian winger Raphinha, per The Daily Mirror, with The Athletic also reporting that the club insists his only release clause is triggered if the Whites are relegated from the Premier League.

– Calciomercato is reporting that Arsenal and Atletico Madrid will be competing for the signature of Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez, with the Italian club said to be interested if the fee hits £58m.

– According to Mundo Deportivo, Paulo Dybala is interested in joining Atletico Madrid when his contract expires after this season, and while Inter also have interest, they would need to sell Martinez to do so.

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  • Liverpool great Heighway retires at 75 as Carragher leads tributes to mentor to Reds stars Liverpool great Heighway retires at 75 as Carragher leads tributes to mentor to Reds stars

    Liverpool favourite Steve Heighway has called time on his Reds career at the age of 75, with Jamie Carragher hailing him as "a huge influence".

    Former winger Heighway has spent 25 years working at the club's academy, across two spells, and Liverpool announced he has decided to retire.

    Heighway played for Liverpool from 1970 to 1981, winning a string of league titles and two European Cups with the Reds, while scoring 76 goals in 475 games.

    His youth coaching role proved hugely significant too, with Heighway helping to nurture talents such as Robbie Fowler, Steven Gerrard, Michael Owen and Carragher.

    He was head of youth development from 1989 to 2007 before initially retiring, but Heighway returned to the club as a full-time consultant in 2015, after being invited back by academy boss Alex Inglethorpe.

    That saw him work closely with Inglethorpe with a view to bringing through youngsters capable of challenging for places in Jurgen Klopp's first-team squad.

    Carragher, who made 737 appearances for Liverpool, was quick to thank Heighway on Thursday.

    He wrote on Twitter: "What a contribution from Steve Heighway @LFC as a player who won Leagues & European cups.

    "Then heading up an academy that produced McManaman, Fowler, Owen, Gerrard……amongst a few others!

    "A huge influence on me as a young player and still to this day. Thank you Steve."

    Inglethorpe told Liverpool's website: "Steve has decided it is the right time to retire from his coaching role at the club."

    He described Heighway overseeing "the development of some of the most iconic players to have played for Liverpool Football Club".

  • Rumour Has It: Real Madrid monitoring Man Utd's Bruno Fernandes at World Cup Rumour Has It: Real Madrid monitoring Man Utd's Bruno Fernandes at World Cup

    Real Madrid are long-term admirers of Bruno Fernandes, dating back to his time with Sporting CP.

    The 28-year-old midfielder impressed with both goals in Portugal's 2-0 win over Uruguay at the World Cup on Monday.

    Fernandes signed a new contract with Manchester United in April, keeping him at Old Trafford until 2026 with the option of a further year.

     

    TOP STORY – REAL MADRID CONSIDER JANUARY MOVE FOR FERNANDES

    Spanish giants Real Madrid could try to tempt Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes to the club in January or at the end of the season, reports The Express.

    Los Blancos' long-held interest in Fernandes has intensified amid his impressive displays at the World Cup.

    Portuguese outlet Record claims that Madrid are scouting Fernandes while he plays for the national team.

    The Express report says that the lure of Champions League football may tempt Fernandes should United miss the top four this season.

     

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    Cristiano Ronaldo is close to agreeing to a deal with Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr, according to Marca. The Telegraph had reported that the deal was worth £150million per season, although The Sun has claimed that the ex-Manchester United star still wants to play Champions League football and has not accepted the offer.

    Gareth Bale's LAFC contract has a break clause that could see him leave the club prior to the new MLS season in February 2023, according to The Sun. The Mirror claims the Welshman will make a decision on his future by February.

    – The Mirror claims that Manchester United are bullish about retaining Marcus Rashford's services, with the striker out of contract at the end of this season. United will exercise an option to extend his deal by another 12 months in January.

    Manchester United have made Bayer Leverkusen defender Jeremie Frimpong their top transfer target in January, reports the Daily Mail. United have sent scouts to watch the Dutch defender, with a view to ramping up talks after the World Cup.

    – Inter expect €30m for Tottenham-target Denzel Dumfries, according to Tuttosport. The Nerazzurri are willing to sell the Dutch right-back in January.

    – The Times reports Brighton and Hove Albion's Scottish midfielder Billy Gilmour could join Spanish club Villarreal in January.

  • 'Messi didn't score, did he?' – Michniewicz defends Lewandowski as Poland survive tense Group C finale 'Messi didn't score, did he?' – Michniewicz defends Lewandowski as Poland survive tense Group C finale

    Czeslaw Michniewicz defended Robert Lewandowski's display after Poland inched into the World Cup's last 16 despite losing to Argentina in Wednesday's dramatic Group C finale.

    Goals from Alexis Mac Allister and Julian Alvarez ensured Argentina recovered from Lionel Messi's first-half penalty miss to top Group C, leaving Poland glancing nervously at Mexico's fixture against Saudi Arabia.

    Poland were set to beat Mexico to second place due to their disciplinary record for much of the second half, but Saudi Arabia's late consolation in a 2-1 defeat ensured El Tri exited the tournament on goal difference.

    Despite Poland advancing from their World Cup group for the first time since 1986, Lewandowski was criticised after failing to record a single shot in the match, but Michniewicz believes he was hamstrung by a lack of service.

    "He was very much involved and committed, I'm not attacking anyone from our team, but we didn't help him," Michniewicz said.

    "If our team would have had the higher percentage of possession, if Messi played with us and Robert with them, I'm convinced Robert scores five.

    "Robert needs conditions, he needs to be assisted, and he was acting in our half. There were so many players covering him. 

    "He's a great player and there were several one on ones. Messi didn't score, did he? That's all. 

    "I think we're expecting Robert to score. He wanted to but we didn't have the opportunity for that."

    Before Salem Al Dawsari reduced the arrears for Saudi Arabia, Poland held a narrow disciplinary advantage over Mexico – picking up five yellow cards across their group games to El Tri's seven.

    Asked whether he told his team to concentrate on avoiding bookings late on, Michniewicz added: "I said to avoid stupid cards. 

    "We were also discussing it on the bench, we were afraid one of the players would get a card and then we wouldn't go through. 

    "Cards from the bench weren't going to count, we were told, but we were doing everything possible to avoid provocation."

    While Poland failed to record a shot on target during a meek performance, Michniewicz was visibly irked by criticism of his side, choosing to relish their qualification after failed group-stage campaigns in 2002, 2006 and 2018.

    "We got promoted after so many years, we played this difficult group. Let's enjoy. We still have until Sunday to criticise," he said. "Were you watching the match? What can I say? We've lost, it wasn't nice football, but it's bittersweet."

    Eager to call time on his media duties, Michniewicz added: "It's really late, the prime minister is calling and I can't answer!"

    Poland will now face world champions France for a quarter-final spot at the Al Thumama Stadium on Sunday, while Argentina will take on Australia on Saturday.

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