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Man Utd prioritise key transfer, £80m Liverpool decision, Messi Barcelona exit chat

The latest transfer news is coming in thick and fast and Express Sport is on hand with all of the latest updates from the Premier League and beyond.

Premier League transfer news and more from Express Sport

Wednesday, February 5

  • Man Utd will move for Jack Grealish over James Maddison this summer
  • Liverpool’s stance on signing £80m-rated Kai Havertz has emerged
  • Barcelona star Lionel Messi might decide to leave the La Liga giants
  • Tottenham have little hope of re-signing Gareth Bale from Real Madrid

Lionel Messi fury prompts talks

Barcelona chief Josep Maria Bartomeu could wave goodbye to Eric Abidal today after the sporting director was called out by club legend Lionel Messi on social media.

Messi took issue with Abidal’s comments which brought into question the commitment of the Barcelona squad during Ernesto Valverde’s tenure.

Bartomeu, understandably keen to deal with the incident before it explodes, has called an emergency meeting, according to Spanish radio station RAC1.

Abidal’s future will be up for discussion, with the potential for him walk of his own accord or to be shown the door.

Transfer news LIVE

Transfer news LIVE: Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi fumed over Eric Abidal's comments (Image: GETTY)

Why Christian Eriksen snubbed Man Utd

Former Tottenham star Christian Eriksen has lifted the lid on why he turned down the chance to leave for Manchester United prior to his move to Inter Milan.

Asked about interest from United, Eriksen told the BBC: "For a few years but it was never really likely. We did speak to them of course and we did hear what was possible and what wasn't possible. But, in the end, me personally, I wanted a new challenge. To stay in the Premier League would have been an easy solution.

"Of course, staying at Tottenham would also have been a solution but, for me, it just came down to wanting to try a new challenge in a new country. Once Inter came up it really wasn't a difficult choice."

Eriksen swapped Tottenham for Inter in January, with Daniel Levy convincing San Siro chiefs to hand over £17m despite the playmaker having just six months to run on his contract.

Transfer news LIVE

Transfer news LIVE: Former Man Utd target Christian Eriksen left Tottenham for Inter Milan (Image: GETTY)

Man City’s defensive wish list

Villarreal’s Pau Torres has emerged as the prime candidate to partner Aymeric Laporte at the heart of Manchester City’s defence next season.

Pep Guardiola is eager to freshen up his squad over the summer, with his backline in need of bolstering having already conceded 29 Premier League goals.

Torres, whose form in La Liga has earned him recognition with Spain, has been identified as a top target according to The Times.

City have also looked at Benfica’s Ruben Dias, Inter Milan’s Milan Skriniar and Brighton’s Lewis Dunk as options to strengthen their roster.

Transfer news LIVE

Transfer news LIVE: Man City want to sign Pau Torres from Villarreal in the summer (Image: GETTY)

Arsenal loan moves verdict

Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno has offered his verdict on Mikel Arteta’s January recruitment after Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares rocked up at the Emirates in loan moves.

The Gunners were short of funds in January but managed to take Flamengo and Southampton into letting them borrow Mori and Soares respectively.

Leno said: "I don’t know the players, but I think they have the quality to join Arsenal. With them we have more options.

"Mari is left footed, so as a centre-back that is a good option. Hopefully they adapt very quickly to Arsenal."

Transfer news LIVE

Transfer news LIVE: Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta signed Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares on loan last month (Image: GETTY)

Chelsea and Man Utd explanation

Chelsea and Manchester United would only have been able to sign Edinson Cavani if he was motivated by money.

That’s the verdict of his mother, Berta Gomez, who says the Paris Saint-Germain’s attempts to join Atletico Madrid have left a “stain” on his record.

"Edinson did not want money to be a problem," Gomez told Spanish newspaper AS. "If it had been for money he would have gone to Manchester United, Chelsea or Inter Miami, who made an important offer for him.

"Let no one forget that my son has an impeccable career, he is a complete professional. The pressure he put on PSG with not playing to go out to Atletico is a stain on his career."

Transfer news LIVE

Transfer news LIVE: Chelsea and Man Utd tried to sign Edinson Cavani in January (Image: GETTY)

Transfer news LIVE

Transfer news LIVE: Man City could sell Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones this summer (Image: GETTY)

Man City axe threat

Manchester City due John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi are in danger of being shown the door at the Etihad, with Pep Guardiola planning to overhaul his defence.

The Times report the Spaniard is planning to keep Fernandinho, Aymeric Laporte and Eric Garcia, as well as bring in two fresh faces, which leaves Stones and Otamendi as the odd men out.

City have not opened talks with Stones over signing a new contract, raising more questions about his long-term future in east Manchester.

Otamendi, meanwhile, is under contract until 2022 as well but is unwilling to take a pay cut if he is pushed out of City.

Arsenal plot early summer deal

Arsenal are readying an end-of-season bid for Orkun Kokcu after scouting the Feyenoord midfielder extensively as they scour Europe for potential signings.

Mikel Arteta was restricted to loan moves in the January transfer window, with Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares arriving from Flamengo and Southampton respectively.

The Gunners are now, though, planning permanent deals, with Kokcu in their sights after turning the heads of the club’s scouts, according to the Daily Mail.

Arsenal want to tie up a deal for the Turkey international before he jets off to Euro 2020, where they fear he could attract more interest.

Transfer news LIVE

Transfer news LIVE: Arsenal are keen to prise Orkun Kokcu away from Feyenoord this summer (Image: GETTY)

Man Utd prioritise Jack Grealish transfer

Manchester United have decided to go all out for Jack Grealish this summer with alternative playmaking target James Maddison set to sign a new contract at Leicester.

Express Sport understands United opted against launching raids for the duo in January because neither was likely to leave Aston Villa or Leicester respectively.

Now the Mirror report Maddison is poised to put pen to paper on fresh terms at the King Power Stadium, prompting United to prioritise a deal for Villa’s Grealish.

United are said to see the Birmingham-born ace as the perfect man to bring some much-needed flair to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, which has lacked the creativity to unlock packed defences.

Transfer news LIVE

Transfer news LIVE: Lionel Messi, James Maddison, Jack Grealish and Gareth Bale all feature (Image: GETTY)

Transfer news LIVE

Transfer news LIVE: Man Utd will move for Aston Villa's Jack Grealish over James Maddison (Image: GETTY)

Liverpool’s verdict on Kai Havertz price tag

Liverpool are unwilling to meet Bayer Leverkusen’s demands for Kai Havertz with Reds chiefs believing the playmaker to be worth about half of his £80m valuation.

Havertz is set to become one of the hottest properties in the transfer market with the likes of Liverpool, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Manchester United all interested in recruiting the German.

Jurgen Klopp might have to watch a bidding war from a distance, however, with the Independent reporting Liverpool have no plans to pay £80m for him.

While Liverpool rate Havertz highly, they do not feel he is worth splashing that kind of cash on and so have not made any kind of move to get him on board.

Lionel Messi to consider Barcelona exit

Lionel Messi will be weighing up the possibility of quitting Barcelona and will bring up the notion in talks over his future with Nou Camp chiefs, according to transfer expert Gabriele Marcotti.

"I think things are going to become clear very soon," Marcotti told ESPN FC, regarding Messi's future. "A possibility is that Messi says 'you know what? I've had enough here.'

"He's talked about wanting to end his career at Barcelona, but he's also said he doesn't want a contract for life. He could say he wants to go and try himself somewhere else like Cristiano [Ronaldo] did.

"I think this is a very, very remote possibility, there's probably a greater chance of Liverpool not winning the league this year. But, it's still a possibility, and leverage that Lionel Messi has over the club as they go into contract negotiations. Who knows what they'll talk about when they next sit down at the table?"

Transfer news LIVE

Transfer news LIVE: Liverpool are fans of Kai Havertz but won't pay £80m for the playmaker (Image: GETTY)

Transfer news LIVE

Transfer news LIVE: Lionel Messi is set to hold talks over his future with Barcelona chiefs (Image: GETTY)

Transfer news LIVE

Transfer news LIVE: Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale does not fancy a return to Tottenham (Image: GETTY)

Tottenham suffer Gareth Bale blow

Tottenham’s chances of recruiting Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale are pretty low with the Welshman believing a return to north London would represent a step down in his career.

Bale was a shining light for Spurs before he sealed a then world-record £85m switch to the Bernabeu in the summer of 2013.

White Hart Lane has often been mooted as a possible destination again for him, with Real supporters never being fully won over by the four-time Champions League winner.

The Daily Star report, however, that Bale is not keen on making his way back to Tottenham and that Daniel Levy therefore has little chance of striking a deal.

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