Liverpool transfer news - Sheffield United's Sander Berge a top summer target - Transfer Notebook
Dean Jones is opening his Transfer Notebook once again and he reveals that Liverpool are considering a summer move for Sander Berge, who won't be staying at Sheffield United when they are relegated. Meanwhile, Manchester United's decision to give Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a new deal is examined...
Sander Berge of Sheffield United warms up prior to the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Sheffield United at Villa Park on September 21, 2020 in Birmingham, England
Liverpool are looking towards new midfield options for next season and are beginning to contemplate a move for Sheffield United’s Sander Berge.
The Norway international moved to the Blades at the beginning of 2020 for a club record fee of £22 million but is almost certain to leave with the club now destined for relegation to the Championship.
Sheffield United are bottom of the Premier League and with manager Chris Wilder now departed, and on the back of a 5-0 defeat to Leicester City at the weekend, their hopes of a revival seem slim. They are currently 14 points adrift of safety.
There is going to be plenty of interest in 23-year-old Berge, who has been out injured since December following surgery to a tendon in his leg. Aston Villa are already tracking him ahead of a potential summer move, as we reported previously, but Liverpool are now expected to join the pursuit.
Jurgen Klopp is waiting to find out what kind of backing he will get for the next transfer window and, while a squad overhaul seems extremely unlikely, there will be a chance to bring in new faces.
The centre of the park is one area that will have depth added, particularly if Gini Wijnaldum leaves, and Berge has been identified as an obtainable option who could be available at a decent price.
Spurs to have first refusal on Bale
Tottenham Hotspur will have first refusal on signing Gareth Bale at the end of the season.
It is understood that Daniel Levy negotiated the clause while thrashing out a deal for him to join on loan from Real Madrid.
As we have previously stated in this column, Spurs are keen for Bale to stay because Levy is such an admirer of the player and dreams of him celebrating in front of fans at a packed White Hart Lane next season.
He has been savvy to help make it a possibility, particularly as insiders also indicate that Levy’s negotiating around the return of Bale was also helped by the fact Madrid agreed to pay his salary for the first month of his loan spell, saving Spurs almost £1million.
Ronaldo wants Real Madrid return
Cristiano Ronaldo und Zinedine Zidane
Image credit: Getty Images
Cristiano Ronaldo is being linked with a move back to Madrid and sources say the story is being strongly driven by a personal desire to return to Santiago Bernabeu.
Along with his agent Jorge Mendes, it has been decided that clarification should be sought before the end of the season over whether there is any possibility of the door opening for him back at Madrid before other avenues are explored.
Ronaldo left Madrid for Turin in 2018 as the Italian giants set their sights on Champions League glory and growing the club’s marketing status. The project has not gone to plan, with Juve failing to get beyond the last 16 in the past two seasons, and the Covid-19 pandemic playing havoc with their off-field strategies.
Getting Bale off the wage bill would be one helpful issue in a potential Ronaldo return while it is also thought the club are becoming increasingly open to selling Luka Jovic, who is currently on loan to Eintracht Frankfurt. It is felt a permanent return to the Bundesliga is pretty likely ahead of the 2021/22 campaign.
Madrid also have the Eden Hazard situation to weigh up right now. Another injury is set to leave him on the sidelines for at least six weeks - a terrible situation for a player who has played just 20 matches in the past 19 months.
Madrid are listening to the reasons behind Ronaldo’s dream of a return but also have to weigh up the club’s long-term plan. They are hoping to sign Kylian Mbappe or Erling Haaland, two of the most talented players of the next generation, and would not want either move to be hampered by a move for 36-year-old Ronaldo.
At the moment sources do not seem particularly optimistic Ronaldo will head back to Madrid but the fact the club are not dismissing it publicly certainly adds intrigue.
Solskjaer's new deal to assist United's transfer planning
At the time it wasn’t completely clear why this was the moment to do so - but then they announced John Murtough as football director and Darren Fletcher as technical director and suddenly it all made sense.
United now have their new set-up in place and it means they can lay down firm plans for how they approach the 2021/22 season. United’s top officials will discuss transfer targets this week and this moment is also being used to extend Solskjaer’s contract and raise his pay by around £2m-a-year.
Some United fans may wonder why it is necessary right now with a year still to go on the current agreement, but as United’s new recruitment team go into talks with future stars like Jadon Sancho, Erling Haaland, Declan Rice or Jules Kounde they need to be able to lay out a clear strategy for how the team is being run as they bid for silverware in the coming seasons.
And as far as Ed Woodward and co are concerned, Solskjaer has done more than enough to earn a longer stay.