Hello all and welcome to the latest edition of my exclusive CaughtOffside column: Fabrizio Romano’s Daily Briefing – click here to subscribe to get this in your inbox five mornings a week, completely ad-free, plus more exclusive content from my fellow columnists Ben Jacobs, Christian Falk and Jonathan Johnson.
Twente want sign Ajax-loanee and U21 Holland talent Anass Salah Eddine — there’s also interest from Bundesliga clubs. The player’s preference is to go back to Ajax where he’s under contract until 2025. Talks between Ajax and player side about future are expected to take place soon.
Bukayo Saka’s new Arsenal contract is agreed since one month, no doubts on that. For Reiss Nelson talks are ongoing, the player has to make a decision. The negotiations with William Saliba continue but it’s not something at final stages yet.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles has confirmed he will be leaving Arsenal as a free agent in the summer, and that he’d be open to staying at loan club Southampton: “It’s been great journey but it has come to an end now. Southampton is a great club to be at — if they were to make an offer, I’ll be more than happy to stay.”
Lionel Messi has spent some days in Barcelona – we know that he and his family love the city. He was having dinner with two former teammates Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets, so what happened? Both players are hoping for Messi to return and hope that they can then also continue at Barcelona. They have been speaking to Messi many times to tell him to come back. Busquets has important offers from Inter Miami and Al Nassr, but he wants to extend his contract at Barca, partly because he feels there is a concrete chance for Messi to return to the club. Financial Fair Play will be crucial before Barca can make an official bid.
Barcelona director Mateu Alemany on Frenkie de Jong’s future: “Frenkie is very important player to us — he’s an added advantage to be with us.”
Xavi also considers De Jong as “crucial player”, as he confirmed yesterday.
Understand Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang remains on Barcelona’s list as a backup striker for next season. Auba will leave Chelsea and he would love to return to Barca. The deal hinges on Financial Fair Play.
Brazilian youngster Vitor Roque has always been the favourite option but difficult due to high price tag.
As already discussed, Roberto Firmino is not a concrete option for Barca, just one of the names considered internally, but I’m told nothing is advancing. It’s not concrete at all. Aubameyang is the favourite option but it’s not a priority, I mean not something to complete in April or May; it will depend on how much Chelsea will ask and also on Financial Fair Play.
Eintracht Frankfurt director Markus Krosche: “We had no contact from Bayern for Kolo Muani — but it’s normal for a club like Bayern to consider Randal. But he feels very comfortable with us. Also, can say Bayern isn’t the only club considering him.”
Eintracht won’t accept normal fee for Kolo Muani. They still hope to keep him until Euro 2024 and sell him after that competition; but fee close to €100m could help to change their mind.
Talks are progressing very well between Mauricio Pochettino and Chelsea board. Process ongoing — it’s not a done deal yet but it’s getting closer after positive talks held on Monday night. This was a crucial moment as they held positive talks on the project, on the squad.
Pochettino has told his backroom staff to get ready as it’s very close and he’s the clear favourite since Friday. Chelsea will make a final decision soon, but Pochettino would join in June, not now. Chelsea still need to prepare the final contracts, but Pochettino is closer than ever to getting the job.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the favourite option but it’s not a priority, I mean not something to complete in April or May; it will depend on how much Chelsea will ask and also on Financial Fair Play.
I can confirm the reports that have been doing the rounds: yes, Crystal Palace have offered Wilfried Zaha a huge contract. They will insist to keep him but the decision on the player’s side will be made at the end of the season, not in April. There are as many as eight or nine clubs informed on the conditions of the deal, Zaha is super appreciated not just in the Premier League, but Palace want to keep him.
Moussa Dembele will be one to watch this summer as he prepares to leave Lyon. Despite rumours, he was not that close to clubs in the Premier League in the past; just some normal interest. He’s now an interesting opportunity as he will 100% leave OL in the summer as a free agent. There’s nothing decided now, but he will assess his options soon.