Arsenal eye Jules Kounde, Edmond Tapsoba to revamp defence

With the major European club seasons now complete, the rumour mill has been sent into overdrive as clubs ponder their moves ahead of what will be a busy transfer window. Check out the latest gossip below, and see all official deals here.

TOP STORY: Gunners look to Kounde, Tapsoba

Arsenal are on the hunt for two new centre-backs after an underwhelming season saw them finish eighth in the Premier League and subsequently miss out on European football.

The Athletic reports that the Gunners are tracking Sevilla star Jules Kounde, though there could be a few stumbling blocks in completing the move.

The main ones are the £50 million transfer fee that it could take to sign the 22-year-old, while there is also his preference to play in the Champions League to consider.

The same report claims that Arsenal are displaying serious interest in Bayer Leverkusen‘s Burkina Faso international Edmond Tapsoba.

The 22-year-old impressed in his 39 games across all competitions this term, while he has also shown the ability to play as the right or left centre-back, which adds to the intrigue.

However, the Gunners could face similar financial issues in the deal to those encountered if they move for Kounde, as it is stated that the Leverkusen man will realistically not be worth much less than the Frenchman.

The report also references their interest in a “young, developing goalkeeper,” Norwich City‘s Emiliano Buendia and making Martin Odegaard‘s loan spell from Real Madrid permanent.

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12.22 BST: AC Milan plan to open talks with Chelsea on Monday over the permanent signing of defender Fikayo Tomori, Tuttosport reports.

Tomori spent most of the 202-21 season on loan at Milan where he made 22 appearances, including 16 Serie A starts as the Rossoneri finished second in the table to qualify for the Champions League.

That loan deal reportedly came with an option to make the transfer permanent for a €28m fee, but Tuttosport claims that Milan are hopeful of negotiating that figure down when they speak to the new European champions this week.

11.29 BST: The knockout phase of the European Under-21 Championship kicks off on Monday (watch LIVE on ESPN3 and ESPNU in the U.S.). There will be plenty of scouts from top European clubs following closely as young stars like France’s Eduardo Camavinga and Germany’s Florian Wirtz are in action. But there are a whole host of other players who could play their way into a big summer transfer.

Euro U21 players to watch: Camavinga, Wirtz and more

10.32 BST: Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah is a target for newly promoted Watford, the Mirror reports.

The 22-year-old scored six goals in 29 appearances for the Gunners in 2020-21, the season in which he broke into the first-team picture after coming through the club’s youth system.

However, the England U21 international’s contract has just over a year left to run, and Arsenal are willing to let him leave for a transfer fee of around £15m rather than on a free transfer next summer.

Watford, who will return to the Premier League next season after one year back in the Championship, are one of the clubs montiroing his situation.

09.47 BST: Celtic are in “advanced talks” with former Australia national team coach Ange Postecoglou over becoming their new manager, according to Sky.

Postecoglou has emerged as the bookies’ favourite to fill the vacancy at Parkhead after Celtic’s first-choice, Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe, turned down the job after lengthy negotiations.

Postecoglou is currently at the helm of Japanese club Yokohama F. Marinos, guided the Socceroos to victory in the 2015 Asian Cup and led them to qualification for the 2014 and 2018 World Cups.

The 55-year-old was reportedly recommended to Celtic by Fergal Harkin,who is expected to join the Glasgow club as their new sporting director this summer.

09.00 BST: Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has hinted he may be close to extending his contract after guiding the Blues to only the second Champions League title in their history.

Saturday’s 1-0 win over Manchester City in Porto secured a stunning end to a campaign in which they secured a top-four finish in the Premier League and reached the FA Cup Final.

Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard as head coach in January on an 18-month deal and has surpassed all expectations given Chelsea were ninth in the Premier League when he took charge.

Owner Roman Abramovich attended the Estadio do Dragao to witness the Blues’ success with Tuchel revealing their conversation on the pitch as the team celebrated the first time they had met.

When asked by ESPN’s James olley whether talks would soon begin on a contract extension, Tuchel said: “I’m not even 100% sure but maybe I have a new contract now with that win. It can be. My manager said something about it but I do not know. Let’s check this first.

“I spoke to the owner right now on the pitch. I think it was the best moment for a first meeting. Or the worst as from now on it can only get worse!

“We will speak [more] later and tomorrow and I’m looking forward to this. I can assure him I’ll stay hungry, that I want the next title, I feel absolutely happy and part of a really ambitious club and a strong group that suits my beliefs and passions about football in this moment perfectly.”

PAPER GOSSIP (by Danny Lewis)

JuventusMatthijs de Ligt may have stated that he is happy to stay in Turin, but Marca are reporting that Barcelona still want to sign the centre-back. The Blaugrana had aimed to bring in the Dutchman before his move to the Serie A giants in 2019, and want to add another defender alongside Eric Garcia, who will join when his Manchester City contract comes to an end this summer. Villarreal‘s Pau Torres is seen as another option if they can’t sign De Ligt.

Paris Saint-Germain are looking to sign Internazionale wing-back Achraf Hakim and L’Equipe have suggested that the Nerazzurri have moved quickly to identify a possible replacement, landing on Jonathan Clauss. It is even stated that discussions around a possible move for the 28-year-old Lens player have already begun.

– There have been various clubs linked with Rodrigo De Paul, but Calciomercato reports that it is Atletico Madrid who have begun negotiations — speaking to both Udinese and the player. It is suggested that Udinese are looking to bring in €40m for the Argentine midfielder, though that figure can be brought down with the insertion of add-ons.

Marseille are making their move to sign Matteo Guendouzi this summer, according to Foot Mercato. The Frenchman has spent the season on loan at Hertha Berlin from Arsenal, having fallen out with Mikel Arteta.

– Roma are showing an interest in signing Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka, and La Gazzetta dello Sport have suggested that they could even include Amadou Diawara in a deal for the Switzerland international. This comes after they saw a €13m offer turned down as the Gunners are demanding €20m.

La Gazzetta dello Sport have identified various Atalanta targets ahead of the summer transfer window. For centre-back, the Serie A side are said to be interested in Bologna‘s Takehiro Tomiyasu and Genk‘s Jhon Lucumi. In midfield they’re considering Bologna’s Jerdy Schouten, while Chelsea loanee Davide Zappacosta is seen as a possible recruit for the wide areas. In addition, Sassuolo‘s Jeremie Boga and AZ Alkmaar‘s Calvin Stengs could strengthen their attack, while a whole host of goalkeepers are named.

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