Borussia at work for Bellingham's replacement; Chelsea are ready to spend more in the summer; Antonio Conte has come to his end at Spurs. Here are some of the main stories over the last few days in the transfer market from TribalFootball's transfer expert Rudy Galetti.
BVB ARE LOOKING FOR JUDE BELLINGHAM'S REPLACEMENT
We are only at the beginning of the long run for Jude Bellingham but, as reported here a few months ago, Real Madrid and Liverpool have been working on the English midfielder for a long time. Manchester City are interested in Jude as well, and keep an eye on Newcastle, which could decide to enter the scene in case of qualification to the next Champions League.
Everything is open: to date, the only certainty at the moment is that for Bellingham this season will be the last with the BVB shirt. That's why the German club has already taken action to find a replacement for him. Several names are already on Borussia Dortmund's list: Renato Sanches, who is not so happy at PSG, Manu Koné, who is attracting the attention of many clubs thanks to the excellent performance at Mönchengladbach, and Ilkay Gundogan – also followed by Barcelona - whose contract will expire in June.
Finally, pay attention to the situation of Youri Tielemans: at the end of the season he will become a free agent and is looking for a new destination where he could play a key role in the squad. With the farewell of Bellingham, BVB could be the ideal team for the Leicester player, who is also closely followed by Manchester United and Arsenal.
CONTE A DEFINITE FAREWELL - POCHETTINO READY FOR CELEBRATED RETURN
First, the elimination from the Champions League at the hands of AC Milan, then, the umpteenth negative result in the Premier League, with the draw (3-3) against Southampton: the moment of Tottenham is undoubtedly one of the most difficult in Spurs' recent years. And now, the very harsh statements of Antonio Conte are contributing to make the situation in London even worse.
Here are his words at the end of the match against the Saints: "Until now I tried to hide the situation but now, not anymore. We are not a team. We are eleven players that go onto the pitch. I see selfish players, players that don't want to help each other and don't put their heart".
A declaration of surrender, an anticipation of what will happen at the end of the season: the Italian coach will no longer be on the Spurs bench. Fabio Paratici and Daniel Levy have been looking around for weeks now, for a new manager. At the moment, the name at the top of the list is Mauricio Pochettino: the coach - who reached the Champions League final in 2019 – is ready to get back in the game after his last difficult experience at PSG. The great return of the Argentine is not that far away.
OPENDA, MR HAT-TRICK: SEVERAL TOP CLUBS ARE FOLLOWING CLOSELY
A week ago, Lois Openda rewrote the history of French football: his hat-trick in Ligue 1 with Lens against Clermont was scored in 4 minutes and 30 seconds, beating the previous record of Matt Moussilou who - in April 2005 - scored three goals in 4 minutes and 34 seconds.
The Belgian striker, who has now become a record-man in the French league, is no stranger to hat-tricks: in October against Toulouse, in 32 minutes, he had already brought the ball home, dragging his team to victory on that occasion too. It is no coincidence that Lens is permanently in the Champions League zone, third, 9 points behind PSG. Thanks, in large part, to Openda, author of 14 goals and 2 assists in Ligue1 so far. Performances of the highest level, which have attracted the attention of many European clubs: not surprisingly, some Spanish and Italian clubs are following him for the summer.
Let's keep an eye on the situation of Napoli: in the Premier League everyone wants Victor Osimhen and president Aurelio De Laurentiis could decide to let him go in case of a monster offer. With the eventual farewell of the Nigerian player, Openda could become the number 1 target of the future Italian champions.
CHELSEA STILL A BIG SPENDER - NEW CENTRE-BACK ON AGENDA
A few weeks ago, we analysed Chelsea's situation: more than €320m spent in the January transfer market was not enough to solve the problems of this season. Only the qualification to the round of 8 in the Champions League is keeping Graham Potter's position on the Blues bench afloat.
In the Premier League there were two important victories against Leeds and Leicester, but the draw (2-2) against Everton threw all the fans back into despair. However, Chelsea, to make the future brighter, are already thinking about the transfer market for next season and are paying attention to the role of centre-back: there are several names on the list, but at the moment there seem to be two profiles preferred by the management, José Giménez (Atletico Madrid) and Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City).
The contract of both players will expire in 2025 and in the summer the respective clubs could decide to take into consideration incoming offers, if considered appropriate. In this sense, Chelsea already showed in January that the price tag set by the clubs is not a problem: that's why anything could really happen in the summer on the centre-back market.
MODRIC, ARAB SIRENS ARE INCREASINGLY INSISTENT
Real Madrid still haven't made a renewal offer for next season and so Luka Modric is looking around for a possible new destination. Among the various clubs interested in the Croatian midfielder, there is Al Nassr, the Arab team that in January made the hit of the year, convincing Cristiano Ronaldo to join their project with a maxi contract.
Now the Saudi club is speeding things up for Modric and will meet the entourage of the Real Madrid player in Riyadh by the end of March to explain in detail the bid already prepared. As with other top players, the Saudi Arabia Football Federation will support the club in the negotiation, trying to convince Luka to embrace the Al Nassr project. The goal of the Ministry of Sport is clear: helping all the teams committed in bringing football stars to the Saudi League to create a competition that has worldwide appeal.
That's why the arrival of Modric may not be the only sensational signing this summer in Saudi Arabia: as already mentioned, Al Hilal are pushing hard for Leo Messi who, after the misunderstandings with Christophe Galtier, seems to have some more reasons to accept the monster offer of $400 million per year already received from the club coached by Ramon Diaz.