We've heard the whispers, read the gossip and entertained the idle speculation for weeks, months and even years. Now, though, it might be time for some real developments in the Neymar transfer saga.
Neymar, the precocious 21-year-old Brazil international forward, has been linked heavily with a move to Europe this summer. The news on his reported destination leads this Wednesday edition of the B/R Summer Transfer Window Gossip roundup.
Inside, we also have updates on Cristiano Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuain, Stevan Jovetic, David Luiz and more. Keep reading for all the details.
Brazilian newspaper O Globo reported (in Portuguese) on Tuesday that Santos forward Neymar has signed an agreement committing himself to Barcelona after the FIFA Confederations Cup ends in June. Throughout the day, several sources picked up the story and expounded on it.
According to Spanish paper Diario AS, a source close to Barcelona denied the agreement's existence. AS also reported that Neymar's three owners (Santos 55 percent, two companies 45 percent) want to make as much money as possible on a potential transfer. Neymar's buyout clause reportedly stands at €65 million.
Meanwhile, Marca cited a television interview on Qatar Alkass featuring Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, who is quoted as saying: "I do not know if in the end (Neymar) will sign with Barca; that only he knows."
Messi added: "I know this is a player who has very different individual solutions. It is clear that for Barcelona he would be a wonderful hire."
Neymar's contract with Santos runs until 2014. The 21-year-old has played 32 times for Brazil, scoring 20 goals.
In an exclusive interview with talkSPORT, former Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon has hinted that Real could sell Cristiano Ronaldo this summer, and suggests only Chelsea, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain could afford him.
Asked whether Ronaldo is content at Real, Calderon said:
Cristiano Ronaldo said he was sad at the beginning of the season. I think the relationship with the current president is not a good one, maybe because the president doesn’t like the players he inherited.
Ronaldo wanted to breach his contract. The truth is he didn’t want to extend his contract and it’s only got two years left (to run). In the last few years it’s a rule that you have to extend the contract or sell. If not, then the player is worth nothing.
Ronaldo, 28, joined Real from Manchester United in a world-record £80 million transfer in 2009. This season, the Portugal international has scored 34 goals in 34 La Liga appearances.
In the talkSPORT interview, Calderon added:
There are not many teams that could afford to pay him what he deserves and who can pay Real Madrid what they are asking for. There are three clubs—Manchester City, PSG and Chelsea. I don’t think any other club is going to pay that amount of money for a player.
Juventus are interested in signing forward Gonzalo Higuain, according to Sky Italia.
According to a report cited and translated by Football Italia, Juventus were set to send representatives to Real Madrid on Wednesday to begin talks over Higuain.
Higuain, a 25-year-old Argentina international, has scored 14 goals in 26 La Liga appearances this season.
Fiorentina have revealed Montenegro international forward and Arsenal target Stevan Jovetic can leave the club this summer, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Jovetic, 23, scored 13 goals in 31 Serie A appearances this season, adding five assists. Fiorentina reportedly want £25 million for his transfer.
The Telegraph cites the Italian media in quoting Fiorentina president Andrea Della Valle:
The future is in (Jovetic's) hands. From my promise last summer, if he wants to look elsewhere he can do it. If we were to lose Jovetic, there could also be important resources but I hope he can continue here with us.
According to the London Evening Standard, Fiorentina value Jovetic at £30 million, a price Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is reportedly unwilling to pay.
Finally, RAI Sport (cited by Football Italia) reports Della Valle as saying: "In my view, Arsene Wenger has no interest in Jovetic, as we haven’t had any contact with them.”
Barcelona and Real Madrid are interested in Chelsea defender/midfielder David Luiz, according to the Daily Mail.
Luiz, 26, joined Chelsea from Benfica in 2011. The Brazil international made 30 Premier League appearances this past season.
According to the Mail's report, Jose Mourinho, who is expected to return to manage Chelsea this summer, does not rate Luiz's defensive abilities. Chelsea would reportedly want a transfer fee of more than the £21 million spent to acquire Luiz.
Samir Nasri has told Sky Sports News he is staying with Manchester City. He has been linked with a move to PSG.
Incoming Manchester United manager David Moyes is interested in signing 17-year-old left-back Luke Shaw from Southampton, according to the Daily Mail. But the Daily Telegraph reports that Shaw wants to sign his first senior contract with his current club.
Atletico Madrid have received no formal offers for Radamel Falaco, according to a Goal.com exclusive.