Sesko Arsenal, Dovbyk Chelsea & more

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I’m aware that there’s been a lot of talk among Arsenal fans about Benjamin Sesko, with speculation hotting up that he’s high up on their list of targets up front this summer, while it’s also been claimed that other clubs in the race for Sesko believe Arsenal are in pole position.

My understanding remains that there are four or five clubs interested in Sesko as I’ve been saying since January and I’m told that nothing has changed at this stage. There are no negotiations yet, just interest from clubs in the Premier League and not only.

Sesko is appreciated by Arsenal but it’s the same for Viktor Gyokeres and Alexander Isak, for example, so I’m not sure we’re at the moment yet to be talking about any one of these specific targets advancing to anything more concrete.

I’ve also mentioned Chelsea’s interest in Sesko before, but as I wrote here recently, I think we have to be patient on Sesko – the time for decisions is not now, on both club and player side. It’s one to discuss probably next month, but nothing is decided or clear right now.

Paris Saint-Germain’s intention is not to sell Xavi Simons during the upcoming summer transfer window, and there has now been a meeting between the PSG board and the player’s camp this week to discuss the situation. From what I’m told, PSG confirmed during this meeting with Xavi Simons and his agent that they have no intention to sell him on a permanent transfer.

So, nothing is happening for a permanent transfer – it was never a possibility, despite links with Barcelona and RB Leipzig, as it would be too expensive. The only way for the Dutch midfielder to leave is on loan, and that will only happen if he goes to them and makes it clear he wants to leave, as PSG would prefer to keep him.

Xavi Simons will now have a say over which club he joins on loan – there is interest from Barca and Leipzig, and also from clubs in England, so let’s see what he decides to do, but he is not leaving PSG on a permanent transfer. Let’s see what happens, but the idea is for Xavi Simons to communicate his decision to PSG before the Euros – it’s a really open situation, and it could be one of the big stories of the summer transfer window.

Of course, Xavi Simons has been an important player on loan at Leipzig this season and that’s why they’d like to keep him, but it’s a really open situation and one to watch closely this summer.

Ange Postecoglou has had a mixed first season at Tottenham

It was a difficult moment for Ange Postecoglou as Tottenham lost 2-0 to Manchester City and missed out on Champions League football. It was a strange atmosphere as there were a lot of questions before the game about Spurs and their impact on the title race, with some fans not wanting them to help their rivals Arsenal.

Postecoglou could be seen getting into an argument with a fan in the stands, and after the game he did not sound happy as he spoke about fragile foundations at the club. I don’t know for sure what he meant by that, only he knows, but he is not unhappy at Tottenham, he just wants to change the mentality.

This summer we will likely see some players leave, some new players to join – there are many things to do in the summer transfer window, Tottenham will be active as for sure Postecoglou wants to change some things.

A manager situation to watch closely, however, is Thomas Tuchel at Bayern. It’s now a possibility for Tuchel to stay but there are several points being discussed. It’s about the future squad, the transfer market, the support from the board. Tuchel will only stay if Bayern are really 100% convinced, all the people into the club and not just some of them. Conversations are currently ongoing, with Tuchel spotted meeting the Bayern board yesterday.

Artem Dovbyk, the Ukrainian striker of Girona, has had a fantastic season, with 20 goals in 33 La Liga games, helping them to qualification for next season’s Champions League. Of course there are plenty of important figures at the club, such as the manager Michel, the whole board, and talented young players like Savio, but Dovbyk is their main striker and that’s always important.

I can now tell you that Dovbyk has a release clause in his contract and the value of this clause is €40m, which Girona have no intention to negotiate around – this is the price any interested clubs would have to pay for the 26-year-old. So, whoever wants to sign Dovbyk has this possibility, but not by negotiating with Girona, it would require paying the €40m clause and agreeing personal terms with Dovbyk.

We know many clubs around Europe are looking for strikers this summer, so Dovbyk could be an interesting name to watch. Chelsea were rumoured with a move in January but he was never close in January, in the summer is still open situation. As for the player, he’s really open in terms of his next move, he doesn’t have a specific league in mind – it depends on the project, the manager, and what they want to do with him.

It remains my understanding that the plan is for Juventus and Massimiliano Allegri to part ways at the end of the season, and Thiago Motta could be the name to watch to replace him after the incredible job he’s done at Bologna.

Motta’s idea is to go to Juventus, and the Turin club want him as well – they want each other, but it is still nothing signed or concrete as things stand. We’re still waiting for formal steps, and Bologna are obviously trying until the end to keep their manager, even if his priority now is to leave for Juve.

Let’s see how this will go in terms of formal steps, but for sure Motta is the big favourite for Juventus, even though he’s also been linked with other jobs like at Chelsea and Manchester United.

We could see a historical moment in the Premier League as there will be a meeting on June 6th for clubs to decide whether they want to scrap VAR or continue with it. So, there is a possibility, starting from next season, to no longer see VAR in the Premier League.

It’s not easy, because you need 14 of the 20 clubs to vote for VAR to be removed, so let’s see what happens, let’s see how the teams vote, but for sure it could be a big moment in the history of the Premier League.

Personally, I’m not against VAR, I just think what’s needed is a different use of VAR and how to use the referee for that. There are too many mistakes. It’s a long, long topic and obviously it really divides fans, but I think the problem is how they use VAR, not VAR itself. We’ve seen in some other leagues and competitions that it can be used well, so let’s see if we can see an improved VAR strategy in the Premier League.

Arda Guler – There were five or six clubs interested in signing Arda Guler on loan, but Real Madrid never started conversations because they never decided anything. Reports of Guler leaving in April were not true, or at least premature, because the player was not involved in that. Now he’s playing, scoring, and Real Madrid are very happy with him.

Kroos/Modric – It remains the case that Toni Kroos’ future is still open, despite really advanced discussions over a new Real Madrid contract back in March. We have important days ahead for Kroos’ future, and also for Luka Modric. Decisions are imminent, but it’s really looking like 50-50 on both cases at the moment.

Carlos Soler – I expect Carlos Soler to leave this summer, it’s over for him at Paris Saint-Germain. Aston Villa are interested – the reports on this are true, but there also clubs in Spain so the situation is really open there. He could be one to watch this summer, for sure.

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