LIVE Transfer Talk: Jules Kounde still tops Chelsea's wishlist with Kalidou Koulibaly, Pau Torres, Wesley Fofana as options

play
Ogden: Chelsea's uncertain future ended with government approval (1:43)

Mark Ogden speaks about Todd Boehly's takeover of Chelsea after the UK government approved his bid. (1:43)

The summer transfer window is approaching, and there's plenty of gossip swirling about who's moving where. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz on rumours, comings and goings and, of course, done deals!

TOP STORY: Kounde, Koulibaly on Blues' wishlist

Chelsea will need to rebuild their defence ahead of the 2022-23 season and have already drawn up a shortlist that includes Sevilla's Jules Kounde, Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly and Leicester City's Wesley Fofana, according to the Telegraph.

Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger will leave Stamford Bridge this summer, while Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso could also follow them out the exit doors. Therefore, the club -- which took another step toward finalising its sale to the Todd Boehly-led group on Tuesday -- have started work on filling in those roster spots.

Chelsea's interest in Kounde has long been reported, and the Frenchman continues to top the list after a previous attempt in January fell through.

Also in the mix are Villarreal's Pau Torres -- who has been strongly linked with Manchester United -- and Atletico Madrid's Jose Gimenez. RB Leipzig's Josko Gvardiol is another who has been linked, with it being felt that the Croatian could fill in for Rudiger in the left-centre-back position.

The Blues are also aiming to bring in a midfielder -- although West Ham United's Declan Rice seems out of reach -- while a move could be made for Manchester City's Raheem Sterling if he decides to look for a new challenge.

- Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ (U.S. only)
- Don't have ESPN? Get instant access

LIVE BLOG

21.28 BST: Jose Mourinho will lead efforts to bring Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz to AS Roma this summer, according to the Mail. After the recent signing of Boubacar Kamara from Marseille, the Villans are looking to raise funds to strengthen other areas of the pitch, and with just one year left on his contract, the 24-year-old Brazilian is a strong candidate to help in that endeavour.

20.55 BST: Sevilla have declined to permanently sign Anthony Martial from Manchester United after his disappointing loan spell in Andalusia, reports the Mail. The 26-year-old France forward will now return to Old Trafford, after managing just one goal in 12 appearances in an injury-plagued LaLiga campaign.

20.22 BST: Houssem Aouar has been given the green light to leave Lyon this summer, according to RMC Sport. With interest mounting from several European clubs and the 23-year-old entering the final year of his contract, the Ligue 1 side are willing to move on from the midfielder, subject to a suitable offer. Foot Mercato has previously reported interest from Real Betis, however, after an impressive Champions League campaign, the France international is waiting for interest from bigger clubs.

19.49 BST: Newcastle United have secured a new three-year deal with midfielder Sean Longstaff. Fabrizio Romano reports that Eddie Howe was determined to keep the 24-year-old at St. James' Park after being recently linked to Manchester United, West Brom and Watford.

19.16 BST: Arsenal have made their final offer to keep Eddie Nketiah at the club, the Mail reports, with the 22-year-old's contract expiring in just six weeks. The Gunners are confident that the striker will stay at the Emirates next season, despite West Ham United and Crystal Palace angling for a free transfer.

18.43 BST: Vincent Kompany has left his post as Anderlecht manager as talks progress over the vacancy at Burnley, according to Fabrizio Romano. The Clarets have been without a permanent manager since Sean Dyche was sacked in April and, after being relegated under caretaker manager Mike Jackson, the former Manchester City captain has been tipped as the favorite to fulfill the new managerial position at Turf Moor.

18.10 BST: Ryan Gravenberch has finalised a deal with Bayern Munich, reports De Telegraaf. The Bundesliga champions will pay Ajax a transfer fee of €19m plus €5.5m in add-ons in addition to a 7.5% sell-on clause for the 20-year-old Netherlands midfielder, who has just 12 months left on his contract in Amsterdam and was also pursued by Real Madrid and Manchester United.

17.37 BST: PSV Eindhoven are hopeful to retain Cody Gakpo for another season with a new deal that offers the forward a bonus on a transfer away next summer, according to Voetbal Primeur. The new contract reportedly would offer the 23-year-old a fair sum of a future transfer fee, if he were to leave the club for €40m, as the Eredisivie side look to deter a move to the Premier League amid interest from Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool.

17.04 BST: Mohamed Salah may have confirmed he'll be at Liverpool next season (see 15.04 BST), but is he just delaying the inevitable?

play
1:28

Why Mo Salah could still move to Real Madrid this summer

Stewart Robson thinks Mohamed Salah to Real Madrid could still be on despite the forward saying he plans to stay at Liverpool next season.

16.19 BST: Luka Modric says he is in talks with Real Madrid over a contract extension and he feels strong enough to continue playing for a few years.

Modric, 36, becomes a free agent this summer and is expected to be offered a new deal. The Croatian midfielder joked that he won't pull an 'Mbappe' and keep Madrid waiting.

"The club and I are talking, but we have a good rapport," he said. "Do the Mbappe thing? No. I won't, for sure. But I hope the club doesn't do it to me. We have a lot of trust between us, we get along very well and what has to happen will happen. But now it's the [Champions League] final and that's the most important thing. I don't want to think about anything else."

Modric, who has been at Madrid since 2012, has come up with 12 assists in 42 games for Los Blancos this season.

"I have said many times that I want to finish my career at Real Madrid," he said. "I feel good, but I don't think much about the future, I'm focused on the present. I want to enjoy what I do and see what level I'm at little by little. If I can continue at this level... Because at Real Madrid you have to be at a very high level. If I feel strong, I would like to continue here and hopefully in a few years I can finish my career here."

15.37 BST: Manchester City have announced that Caroline Weir and Karima Benameur Taieb will leave the club this summer following the end of their contracts.

Weir, 26, was expected to leave this summer with several reports linking her to a move to Real Madrid. The Scotland international joined City four years ago and had become a regular starter in City's midfield.

She made 124 appearances in all competitions, finding the back of the net on 38 occasions and was nominated for FIFA's Puskas award.

Taieb joined from Paris FC in 2019 but made just 24 appearances across all competitions as Ellie Roebuck was favoured as No. 1.

15.04 BST: Mohamed Salah has confirmed he will not leave Liverpool this summer, giving the club a major boost ahead of Saturday's Champions League final against Real Madrid.

The 29-year-old, who shared this season's Premier League Golden Boot award with Tottenham Hotspur's Son Heung-Min, is out of contract at Anfield at the end of next season and has yet to commit to a new deal with Jurgen Klopp's team.

Uncertainty over the Egypt international's future had led to speculation that Salah could leave Liverpool in order to avoid him leaving as a free agent in 12 months' time.

Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain have both been linked with the former Chelsea and AS Roma forward due to his failure to agree new terms at Liverpool.

But although he stopped short of saying he would sign a new deal at Anfield, Salah has now said that he will see out the final year of his contract.

"I am just focused on the team and don't want to talk about my contract," Salah said at Liverpool's pre-Champions League media conference. "But I am staying next season for sure, that's for sure.

"In my mind, I don't focus about the contract at the moment. I don't want to be selfish. I said two months ago, it's all about the team now.

"It's a really important week for us, so I am just focused on the team. I want to win the Champions League again."

14.15 BST: Karim Benzema says he is "not angry" over Kylian Mbappe's decision not to join him at Real Madrid but added that "now it's not the time to talk about little things."

Benzema was keen to have his France teammate arrive at the Bernabeu this summer but Mbappe turned down an offer from Madrid to sign a new contract with PSG.

Mbappe said this week he would "explain" to Benzema the reasons for his decision when the two meet up with for national duty next week.

Benzema appeared to give an ironic smile and said: "We are playing on Saturday a Champions League final and it's not the time to talk about those little things ... No, no, I'm not angry, I'm focused on the Champions League final. It's more important to score in the Champions League than to listen to something else."

Benzema doesn't believe Madrid need to sign reinforcements considering the season they've had. He said: "Everyone talks about the need to bring this player or that player, or a striker, but in the end, we finished top of the league with a 15-point advantage and we are in the Champions League final."

Benzema praised Vinicius and would not ask for another partner in attack.

"When we talk about the best players in the world, we don't talk about Vinicius," he said. "Yet for me, not because he plays with me, he is in the top five right now. He scores goals, important ones, he provides assists, he can win you a game alone, he gets the ball and runs for 30 metres.

"He can do a lot of things. He has a lot of confidence, he is young, but young of age, not on the pitch as he has played more than 100 games for Madrid. Why would I change him if he is in the top five of the world?"

13.27 BST: Jesse Lingard is in talks with West Ham over a free transfer to the London Stadium, sources have told ESPN's Rob Dawson.

Lingard is set to leave Manchester United when his contract expires at the end of June. Sources have told ESPN that West Ham made contact with the 29-year-old's representatives following the conclusion of the Premier League season on Sunday and negotiations are now under way.

There is confidence on all sides that a deal can be agreed although there remains interest from other Premier League clubs and Italian giants AC Milan and Juventus.

Lingard is one of David Moyes' top targets at West Ham this summer after an impressive loan spell at the London Stadium during the second half of the 2020-21 season, scoring nine goals in 16 games to help West Ham to a sixth-place finish in the Premier League.

12.39 BST: Marco Asensio says he has not sat down with Real Madrid for contract renewal talks despite his current deal ending in June 2023.

"Right now, I'm only thinking about the final," he said. "There's nothing else in my mind. We will see after the Champions League final. I've still haven't had a conversation with the club. We will evaluate the situation and we will do what is best for both sides."

Asked if Kylian Mbappe's decision to remain at PSG and not sign for Real Madrid will have an influence in his renewal, Asensio said: "I don't know because I haven't spoken to the club. Here there has always been competition and that's inevitable in this club. I'm ready to compete with anyone.

"My job is to do the best I can, as I've done this year. This is my best season in terms of goals. I'm the third best goalscorer of the team and my goals have helped us achieved two titles (La Liga and the Spanish Supercopa) this season and hopefully a third."

Asensio, 26, has scored 12 goals in 42 appearances for Madrid this season.

11.56 BST: Bayer Leverkusen look to have secured the signing of Adam Hlozek, the exciting Czech Republic attacker, SPORT1 in Germany reports.

Leverkusen are set to complete a €22m deal for the 19-year-old and he will sign a five-year-deal until 2027.

Hlozek, who has been capped by Czech Republic and was called up to their Euro 2020 squad, is highly rated and was linked with a big move to several clubs this summer, with Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund most recently mentioned as potential suitors.

- Bundesliga on ESPN+: Stream LIVE games and replays (U.S. only)

11.21 BST: Joan Laporta has said Paris Saint-Germain duo Neymar and Lionel Messi's only chance of returning to Barcelona would be on a free transfer.

The Barca president said it would make "no sense" to pay money for players that both previously played for the club.

"Who doesn't like Ney?" Laporta told L'Esportiu when asked if he is a fan of the forward following reports he could come back to Barca. "He is an exceptional player, but he has [three] years on his contract with PSG. He is effectively enslaved to money.

"The only way he could come back to Barca is for free. It would be irrational to pay a transfer fee for a player you have already had.

"Leo left how he left. We would all have liked him to end his sporting career here, but because of [LaLiga's] fair play rules and because of PSG's offer, it was not to be.

"If he wants to return one day, it would have to be for free. And the technical staff would have to decide if he fits the new project or not."

Neymar, 30, signed a new deal with PSG last summer but his long-term future at the club has come under scrutiny following Kylian Mbappe's decision to sign a contract extension. ESPN has reported that Mbappe would like a more balanced squad than what is there now given their lack of success in Europe, while the French club's owners have not been satisfied by his performances or his lifestyle.

Neymar has been at PSG since 2017, when the Ligue 1 champions paid a world record transfer fee of €222 million to activate his release clause and prise him away from Barcelona.

Messi, who will turn 35 in June, has one year to run on his contract in Paris after joining from Barca last summer.

10.38 BST: Tottenham Hotspur's owners ENIC agreed a £150m ($187.64m) cash injection into the club to help manager Antonio Conte's side challenge for honours after securing a return to the Champions League next season.

ENIC Group, owned by 85-year-old British businessman Joe Lewis, announced the capital increase for Spurs, who finished fourth in the Premier League this term, via the issue of convertible A Shares and accompanying warrants in a club statement.

"The equity injection provides the Premier League club with greater financial flexibility and the ability to further invest on and off the pitch," Spurs said in a statement.

Conte's side returned to European football's elite club competition with a 5-0 win over Norwich City on the final day of the season on Sunday.

However, the Italian coach, who took charge in November, has consistently said the squad needs improving if the club are to challenge for the top prizes.

"The delivery of a world-class home was always a key building block in driving diversified revenues to enable us to invest in the teams and support our ambitions to be consistently competing at the highest levels of European football," chairman Daniel Levy said.

10.02 BST: Real Madrid are close to signing AS Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni on a five-year contract, sources have told ESPN's Rodrigo Faez and Julien Laurens.

The player wants to join Madrid, who had faced competition from Liverpool, and the final details of the deal are now being worked on, with the LaLiga club expected to pay a transfer fee of around €80 million.

Tchouameni, 22, is the second player lined up by Real Madrid this summer, having already agreed the signing of defender Antonio Rudiger on a free transfer from Chelsea.

ESPN reported on Monday that Madrid and Liverpool were the two clubs best positioned to sign the in-demand midfielder, while Kylian Mbappe, who snubbed a move to Madrid last week, had also asked Paris Saint-Germain to move for his friend Tchouameni.

After being turned down by Mbappe, Tchouameni was next on the list of Madrid's transfer priorities for this summer, as they looked to bring in a defensive midfielder as an alternative to Casemiro.

09.25 BST: Arsenal have announced that midfielder Mohamed Elneny has signed a new contract at the club.

The Gunners did not confirm the length of the deal, but the Egypt international told the club's official website that he would like to retire with them.

The 29-year-old said: "I feel like when you play in one of the biggest teams in the world and you have an amazing family and the fans are really amazing as well - they make me feel special.

"You feel like you are special for this club and this club is special for you. Of course, I want to stay here until I finish my career actually."

08.43 BST: Serie A club Salernitana have identified Edinson Cavani and Marko Arnautovic as two strikers they would like to sign this summer.

Cavani, 35, made his final appearance for United on Sunday, and will be out of contract this summer while Arnautovic scored 15 goals in 34 appearances in his debut season at Italian club Bologna.

Salernitana narrowly avoided relegation from Serie A, but club president Danilo Iervolino is hopeful that some experienced forwards can help them stabilise next season.

"I'd love to sign Edinson Cavani as free agent," he said. "Cavani would be an incredible gift for the city, as Salernitana are staying in Serie A.

"I will say two names that seem impossible, but if they were possible and the coach liked them, I'd try to sign Edinson Cavani, who has left unforgettable memories in this region, and Marko Arnautovic, who embodies the football of warriors."

08.00 BST: The United Kingdom government announced on Wednesday that it has issued a licence that grants the sale of Chelsea to the Todd Boehly/Clearlake Consortium.

The club were put up for sale after Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the government for his links to Vladimir Putin following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"Late last night the UK government reached a position where we could issue a licence that permits the sale of Chelsea," a government spokesperson said in a statement on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the Premier League formally approved the Boehly-led takeover that is worth £4.25 billion ($5.33 billion).

Once the sale is confirmed, Chelsea will once again be able to conduct transfer business and offer players new contracts.

PAPER GOSSIP

- L'Equipe has reported that Paris Saint-Germain are willing to let Neymar move on if they receive a suitable offer. The club, fresh off signing Kylian Mbappe to a blockbuster extension, could undergo changes with sources previously telling ESPN that Luis Campos will be tabbed new sporting director and Mauricio Pochettino's future as manager remaining cloudy.

- Marca has reported that Barcelona are growing impatient with Ousmane Dembele, who still hasn't signed a contract extension despite his deal ending this summer. Xavi Hernandez wants the Frenchman to stay, but the directors insist the winger is not essential and that he must compromise in negotiations. The report states Dembele's stalling could slow down a move for Leeds United's Raphinha. PSG and Bayern Munich have previously been linked to Dembele.

- With Erling Haaland on the cusp of completing his move to Manchester City, the Premier League champions are also interested in Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips, reports BBC Sport. Pep Guardiola is especially keen to strengthen his midfield due to the confirmed departure of Fernandinho. It is believed that Leeds staying up will potentially make the deal more difficult to complete.

- According to the Mirror, Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte wants to bring in Eintracht Frankfurt's Filip Kostic as a left-wing-back, with this coming after the club announced a capital increase of £150 million. In addition to filling that role, they also hope to bring in two centre-backs, a right-wing-back, a midfielder and a striker.

- Mason Mount will discuss a new deal with Chelsea in the coming months, as reported by Fabrizio Romano, who adds that the midfielder has already been waiting for months. His current contract ends in 2024. Chelsea's board will also be discussing the futures of N'Golo Kante and Jorginho, among others.

- Diego Simeone has made Udinese's Nahuel Molina the priority as Atletico Madrid aim to strengthen at right-back, according to Sky Sports Italia. This is unlikely to be a simple deal to complete due to Udinese asking for €30m, as Atleti would need to offload some players before making their move. Arsenal are said to be one of various other clubs showing an interest in the Argentine.