Football news LIVE: Arsenal have Rice bid rejected, Manchester United takeover update, Walker linked with surprise move, Bellingham unveiled at Real Madrid
talkSPORT.com brings you all the latest football news, views and transfer gossip from the Premier League and beyond.
The big news this morning was the release of the new Premier League fixtures for the 2023/24 season.
It’s a great day for fans as they start drawing up their plans for the campaign ahead – find the full schedule in the links below.
- Manchester United takeover: Sheikh Jassim growing in confidence he’ll win race
- Premier League 2023/24 fixtures: New season schedule IN FULL
- Proud Jude Bellingham given Zinedine Zidane’s iconic shirt number at Real Madrid unveiling
- West Ham reject Arsenal offer for Declan Rice as Man City consider hijacking deal
- Kyle Walker could leave Man City and make sensational return to Sheffield United
- Manchester United have bid for Mason Mount rejected by Chelsea
- Red Devils also pull out of race to sign Tottenham striker Harry Kane
That’s it for today on talkSPORT.com’s football news blog.
We’ll be back with the latest on all the big football stories in the morning.
We’ll also have live updates from the Nations League semi-final between Italy vs Spain on our dedicated live blog.
Gabby Agbonlahor wants to join the Jack Grealish party!
Tottenham have confirmed the departures of Clement Lenglet and Arnaut Danjuma following the conclusion of their loan spells.
France defender Lenglet joined Spurs last summer from Barcelona and made 35 appearances in all competitions, scoring once.
Netherlands forward Danjuma arrived in January from Villarreal but was restricted to just one start in a total of 12 outings.
As previously announced by the Premier League club, Lucas Moura will also depart this summer at the end of his contract.
The Brazilian forward scored 39 goals in 221 Tottenham appearances, including a hat-trick against Ajax which secured a place in the 2019 Champions League final.
“We thank all three players for their service and wish them well for the future,” read a statement on Spurs’ website.
Well, well, well, what do we have here?
Brighton star Moises Caicedo might just have dropped a big hint over his future club this summer.
talkSPORT understands Arsenal can’t afford to sign the Seagulls star AND Declan Rice this summer, with further reports claiming the Gunners have dropped out of the race for Caicedo altogether.
Is he off to Chelsea then? That’s what many fans think after spotting some activity on social media, with Caicedo ‘liking’ a post from the Blues on Instagram.
Is he looking forward to facing Liverpool on the opening weekend, perhaps?
FIFA president Gianni Infantino insists a “zero tolerance” approach must be taken to racism and has called for referees at all levels to stop matches if incidents occur.
Infantino, who met Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior to discuss the problem after the Brazil international spoke out after being targeted this season, labelled the racists “criminals” and said football authorities had to “shoulder responsibility”.
Last month Real Madrid filed a complaint with the Spanish State Attorney General’s Office claiming the racist abuse of Vinicius constituted a hate crime after the player was targeted during the LaLiga defeat at Valencia.
“It’s very important not just to talk about racism and discrimination, but to take action in a decisive and convincing manner – zero tolerance,” Infantino said after meeting Vinicius and the rest of the Brazil squad in Barcelona.
“There is no football if there is racism – so let’s stop the games.
“The referees have this opportunity in FIFA competitions as we have this process for stopping the game, and actions have to be taken at every level, at national level as well.
“It’s a football-related problem and we mustn’t look for excuses like: ‘It’s society’s problem, therefore, it’s fine in football.’ In the world of football, we must act in a very forceful way.
“We want to identify racists in stadiums and across social media. They are criminals. They have to be banned from stadiums across the globe.
“The authorities need to take these people to court and we will say this to all of them. Racism is a crime.”
Infantino said FIFA would set up a task force, with Vinicius taking a prominent role, to make specific recommendations.
Don’t get carried away quite yet, Manchester United fans – journalist Ben Jacobs has some news that will put Rio Ferdinand’s champagne on ice.
Posting on Twitter, the sports writer and talkSPORT’s Middle East correspondent said: “Firm denials from those close to the Manchester United sale that any group will be granted exclusivity despite reports Nine Two Foundation [the Qatari bid] are negotiating for it. As exclusively revealed last week, neither Nine Two Foundation or INEOS are expected to be given exclusivity.
“Also understand that there is unlikely to be a conclusion to the Man United sale process this week, certainly not in terms of any public or formal announcements.
“The plan remains for neither group to enter into exclusive negotiations, and remember Nine Two Foundation have said they won’t engage further on financials. All signs still point to readying both groups then picking a winner.
“This would mean the next step is not really a ‘preferred bidder’ stage (traditionally associated with exclusive negotiations). More likely both groups will await the green light and then if one is picked, they will move straight into the ‘completion’ process.”
More Manchester United takeover news – Reuters are now reporting the club is in negotiations over granting exclusivity to the consortium led by Qatar’s Sheikh Jassim.
The report claims United and the Qataris are in talks to sell the club for ‘more than $6billion [4.7billion].
And their sources claim the Glazer family will be cashing out their shares in the club, as they leave Old Trafford after 20 years.
It is also said the Qatari bid is viewed ‘more favourably’ by the Glazers than the rival bid from British billionaire and INEOS chief Jim Ratcliffe.
A period of exclusivity would mean, as the name suggests, United would not be able to negotiate with any other bidder, although it is unknown how long that period might last.
Middlesbrough have held talks with Ross Barkley over a transfer to the Championship side.
talkSPORT sources can confirm the reports that Boro boss Michael Carrick and spoken with Barkley over a move to the Riverside.
The 29-year-old former Everton and Chelsea midfielder is soon to be a free agent, with his contract at Nice expiring at the end of the month.
Barkley joined the Ligue 1 side last season, signing a one-year deal, and while he made 28 appearances on the south of France, scoring four goals, they have decided not to offer the Englishman an extension.
It means he will be without a club when his deal ends on June 30, and Carrick is keen to bring him to Boro as he plans to launch another Premier League promotion bid, having suffered defeat in the play-offs last term.
Rio Ferdinand says the Qatari Manchester United takeover is ‘imminent’ and could even happen ‘in hours’.
mufctakeover is trending on social media right now after it emerged Sheikh Jassim’s company is now registered in the UK.
Reacting on his YouTube channel, Red Devils legend Ferdinand said: “The Manchester United takeover is imminent.
“We’re hearing the Qatari bid is the one that’s taking over, it’s the one that’s being accepted and it’s the one that’s going to go through.
“I’ve got it from a good source that his information is true.
“Hallelujah, man! We can’t wait, please let it happen!
“Look how long this has gone on for, the Glazers have dug their heels in. I want this to be sorted out and resolved before the transfer window really kicks on. It’s open now, moves are starting to happen, things are starting to develop and there’s big stuff going on.
“We’ve been waiting here for a long time for this, and we’re now hearing it’s close, in a matter of days, if not hours.
“Only then we can have a plan for this window, and it’s a concern for me that if we don’t get it sorted we’re going to be behind everybody and we’ll be playing catch-up’.
“Hopefully I can do another reaction soon where I’ll be popping some champagne!”
As well as the new Premier League fixtures, the new top flight ball for the 2023/24 season was also revealed today.
There’ll be a press release somewhere with a load of rubbish about how this one is better than all the others, for some reason.
But we’re not going to bore you with all this, because we only really care that it’s round, and it’s visible.
Good news! Because it is, and it will be, because it’s white and orange.
Perhaps Nike went back to the roots of the English game with their design, as it looks like it’s been kicked around a park field on a wet autumn evening with a load of leaves stuck on it.
talkSPORT understands Arsenal have had their first offer of £80million plus £10m in add-ons for Declan Rice knocked back by West Ham.
The Gunners are preparing a second offer, but Manchester City are waiting in the wings.
However, Arsenal must feel confident because The Times are reporting the club have dropped out of the race for Brighton’s Moises Caicedo.
The Seagulls rejected two offers from the London giants in January for the Ecuadorian and he was one of Arsenal’s top targets heading into the transfer window, but that interest has reportedly cooled.
Andre Onana favours a move to Manchester United over Chelsea this summer, according to The Guardian.
They claim the Cameroonian goalkeeper and Inter Milan star is one of United’s top targets as they look for a challenger to David De Gea.
The Spaniard is yet to officially sign his new contract at Old Trafford but is expected to do so.
However, he is unlikely to be the club’s guaranteed number one should Onana arrive in Manchester.
Porto’s Diogo Costa is also an option for Erik ten Hag.
Have you had a look at the new Premier League fixtures yet?
Chelsea fans are worried as they face Liverpool in the opening weekend in a baptism of fire for new boss Mauricio Pochettino, but history suggests they could stun the Reds.
The Blues have the best opening day record of the Premier League’s ‘big six’, while Man City and Tottenham have historically struggled.
Research by DAZN Bet has looked into how the top sides have performed on the kick-off to the new campaign – with Chelsea at the top with a 68 per cent winning record [21 wins from 31 games] on matchday one in the Premier League era.
Next best are Manchester United with 65 per cent [20 wins], with Liverpool [61 per cent with 19 wins] and Arsenal [55 per cent with 17 wins] third and fourth in the ranking.
Coming in fifth is Man City having won 53 percent of their first matches in their 26 years in the top flight – although to be fairness to the defending champions, they have won nine of their last ten in a show of their recent dominance.
Tottenham have been the slowest starters, winning just 14 and losing ten of their opening games in the Premier League.
Scotland legend Gordon McQueen has sadly passed away, aged 70, after his battle with dementia.
McQueen, whose 16-year playing career during the 1970s and 80s included spells at St Mirren, Leeds and Manchester United, was diagnosed with vascular dementia in early 2021.
Daughter Hayley, a Sky Sports presenter, revealed in an interview on ITV’s Good Morning Britain in April that McQueen’s condition had been spurred by the repeated heading of footballs.
A statement issued on behalf of the McQueen family said: “It is with the heaviest of hearts we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father and grandfather.”
McQueen, 6ft 3in, was among the outstanding central defenders of his era, winning 30 caps for Scotland between 1974 and 1981.
He came to prominence in England following his move to Leeds from St Mirren in 1972, helping the Yorkshire club to league title success in 1973/74 and playing a key role in their run to the European Cup final in 1975.
McQueen, who missed out on Leeds’ final defeat to Bayern Munich through suspension, joined arch-rivals Manchester United in 1978 and went on to win the FA Cup in 1983.
Reports claim Newcastle have been offered the chance to sign Dejan Kulusevski.
The Swedish attacker is set to return to Juventus after Tottenham failed to agree a deal to turn his loan move into a permanent stay.
According to the Newcastle Chronicle, Kulusevski’s agents are currently in the UK ‘looking for suitors’, with Magpies holding an interest in the player in the past.
However, further reports from GOAL Italy claim Kulusevski is keen to stay in north London and re-join Spurs in a permanent transfer.
And it’s claimed a meeting between Tottenham and Juventus representatives is scheduled for the next few days to thrash out a deal.
The summer transfer window is well and truly here, people!
One last little nugget from Bellingham’s first Real Madrid press conference…
The midfielder admitted he was aware of interest from several Premier League clubs – of course Liverpool were linked with a strong interest in him before eventually conceding defeat in the race to sign him weeks ago.
But Bellingham revealed he first learned of Real’s interest ’12 or 15 months ago’, and from that moment there was only one destination in his mind.
“I’ve always been aware of the interest from England, so that was pretty normal,” he told press in Spain.
“But it was a bit of a surprise when my dad sat me down and said, ‘you’ve had a bit of interest from Real Madrid’.
“I think that was maybe 12 or 15 months ago, so when he said it was just goosebumps, my heart was close to stopping.
“It’s something you don’t expect growing up, to be able to play for a team like this, so when it actually manifests itself, it’s just an amazing feeling.”
Jude Bellingham has also insisted his move to Real Madrid had nothing to do with money, as he explained how his transfer was wrapped up so quickly.
“Money is not a thing for me,” he said.
“I dont think about money at all when I make these kinds of decisions. I never have and I never will. I play the game purely out of love.
“I spoke with people from Real Madrid when I was given permission by Borussia Dortmund and I love the feeling I got from the club. I couldn’t hide it. I told them straight away what I felt and after that happened on Monday it all happened quickly.”
He also opened up on how he was given the No.5 shirt, which was worn by defender Jesus Vallejo last season, and what it means to him to have Zidane’s old number on his back.
“For a start I’d like to thank Jesus Vallejo for letting me wear the No.5,” he explained.
“I contacted him just to see if it was OK with him and he was just a brilliant guy, he let me wear it and was just so nice about it, so I’m very grateful to him.
“I’ve said in many interviews how much I admire Zidane, the legacy he has at the club and the legacy of his number.
“I’m not trying to be the same as him, I’m just trying to be Jude, but it’s definitely a bit of a homage to how great he was.
“As for the 22, it’s a number that has a lot of meaning to me and in my heart I’m still a 22, I’m just wearing the No.5 on my back.
“We’ll see what happens in the future, but right now I’m really happy to be given this honour of wearing this number.”
Jude Bellingham is speaking to the media now and he was asked about the possibility of Harry Kane and Kylian Mbappe joining him in Madrid.
The midfielder took the questions with a smile, but insisted he couldn’t comment on the transfer rumours – although he spoke highly of both stars.
“I can’t comment on that,” he said about the Kane links. “He’s a world class player, he’s my captain for the national team and I love him as a player and a person.
“Whatever happens there happens and I can’t really comment on it.”
He said the same in response to questions about Mbappe, but did add: “Would I like to play with a player like Kylian Mbappe? Who wouldn’t?”
Bellingham added in his presentation:
“There’s a lot of people to thank for getting me here to this point, Borussia Dortmund, Birmingham City, the people that work there but also the bosses here, Mr President, Juni Calafat, Jose Angel.
“And most importantly my family for all the support and making the deal as easy as possible, thank you very much.
“And finally… Hala Madrid.”
Jude Bellingham said it’s “the proudest day of my life, the day I joined the greatest club in the history of the game” as he was just officially presented as a Real Madrid player.
The 19-year-old thanked former clubs Birmingham City and Borussia Dortmund for the previous steps in his career, but was overjoyed as he spoke to a crowded auditorium as he was welcomed as Real’s new No.5.
It’s going to be very exciting watching this young man take the next step in his career this season.
Bellingham has arrived for his Real Madrid presentation, which began with a discussion which included comments from none other than Emile Heskey!
The star is sat with with mum, dad and younger brother Jobe (who recently signed for Sunderland), as the auditorium watched a reel of the midfielder’s highlights.
Pictures have been leaked of Bellingham holding his new No.5 shirt – following in the footsteps in Zinedine Zidane, who he has previously said is the greatest player of all time.
Real Madrid confirmed this morning that Jude Bellingham has passed his medical with the club.
The news came ahead of the event in the Spanish capital this afternoon as the England star is officially presented as a Real Madrid player.
The presentation is happening right now and he has been given the No.5 shirt – Zinedine Zidane’s old number.
What a day for the 19-year-old!
Bayern Munich look set to beat Manchester United to the signing of Napoli centre-back Kim Min-jae, according to reports.
talkSPORT brought you news yesterday that the 26-year-old South Korea international is stalling on signing a new contract at Napoli that would remove his release clause.
That means, under the terms of his current deal, that Kim can leave for a fee of around £42million from July 1.
That news was a big boost to United and Premier League rivals Newcastle who are also said to be keen.
However, Sky Germany report Bundesliga champions Bayern are now leading the race for the in-demand defender.
Florian Plettenberg claims talks over a deal for Kim are ‘progressing well’ with manager Thomas Tuchel keen to bring him to Munich.
Manchester City defender Kyle Walker is wanted by hometown club Sheffield United, talkSPORT understands.
England right-back Walker, who is weighing up his future at City, is also attracting interest from Saudi Arabia.
Walker has a year left on his City contract and has previously stated a desire to return to Bramall Lane, where he started his career.
According to reports, the 33-year-old has been unhappy with his playing time this season and was disappointed not to start in the Champions League final.
According to talkSPORT sources, Arsenal’s opening offer for Declan Rice was £80million up front with £10m in add-ons.
But that was not enough for West Ham, who are demanding £100m-plus for their captain and star player.
But talkSPORT pundit Simon Jordan doesn’t expect it’s over just yet.
“If you’re starting at £80m, you’d assume they’re going to start moving upwards from there,” said the White and Jordan host.
“I don’t think Declan Rice is worth £100m, but that is the current market and the market will drive that price.”