Transfer rumours from around Europe
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Newcastle United and Chelsea are set to battle it out for the signature of Bayern Munich centre-back Niklas Sule. The German has reportedly rejected the offer of renewed terms in Bavaria, which has alerted a handful of top clubs who could exploit a free transfer opportunity.
Both Newcastle and Chelsea have their reasons to go after a centre-back.
It may be a more pressing issue for the Magpies, who are desperately trying to lure in defensive reinforcements as soon as possible to stave off the threat of relegation.
As for the Blues, Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen are both into the final six months of their respective deals, and could soon leave for free.
Conveniently enough, they may not have to pay for a replacement as Sule approaches the end of his Bayern contract.
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According to Bild, the 26-year-old rejected the offer of renewed terms, and his existing deal has just six months left to run.
Everything being equal, that opens the door to an exciting free transfer opportunity in the summer.
Barcelona have also reportedly joined the Premier League duo in a cluster of interested parties, meaning even more daunting company for the Magpies.
Out of the three clubs, it could come down to who acts fastest, as Sule has been at liberty to lock down pre-contract arrangements since January 1.
The defender has racked up over 150 games in less than five seasons at Bayern, even with a long-term injury severely hampering his 2019/20 campaign.
This term, he has been a regular under Julian Nagelsmann as the Bavarians power towards what looks to be another Bundesliga title.
A move to the Premier League would represent a new challenge and a change of scene, particularly with the Toon, who are fighting tooth and nail to avoid relegation.
With Newcastle unlikely to get their hands on Sule until the summer, their urgent and frustrating January centre-back hunt looks set to continue for the time being.
Enquiries for Sven Botman and Diego Carlos were both met with resistance, even after flexing their financial muscles with impressive offers.
A move for James Tarkowski has now been touted, although it remains to be seen whether Burnley would sanction another departure to their relegation rivals after the surprise exit of Chris Wood earlier this month.
As for Chelsea, it is clear that their overall package was not enough to keep pace with Premier League leaders Manchester City – at least at this stage of the season.
And Rudiger would be a big talent to replace if he does decide to embark on a new chapter elsewhere.
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