Barca agree deal to sign Depay on free transfer

Barcelona have reached an agreement to sign Lyon forward Memphis Depay on a free transfer when his contract expires at the end of this month.

Depay, who joined Lyon from Manchester United in 2017, will sign a two-year contract with the Spanish club as he reunites with former Netherlands head coach Ronald Koeman.

A club statement read: “FC Barcelona and Memphis Depay have reached an agreement for the player to join the club once his contract with Olympique Lyonnais is at an end. The player will sign a contract until the end of the 2022/23 season.”

Depay is set to become Barcelona’s third free transfer of the summer after ex-Manchester City pair Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia signed for the club.

However, Koeman missed out on fellow Dutchman Georginio Wijnaldum, who opted to sign for Paris Saint-Germain instead to work with Mauricio Pochettino, who once wanted him at Tottenham before he joined Liverpool.

Memphis Depay of the Netherlands during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group C match between Netherlands and Austria at Johan Cruyff ArenA in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Thursday, June 17, 2021, (Dean Mouhtaropoulous/Pool via AP)
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Depay is set to reunite with former Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman at Barcelona

Barcelona have been forced to target free transfers due to more than £1billion-worth of debt, in part caused by the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The 27-year-old is currently representing the Netherlands at Euro 2020, scoring one goal in two games.

Depay said in the Netherlands press conference on Wednesday: “Everyone knows that I have been negotiating with Barcelona for some time.

“I want to play with Ronald Koeman. Now is the time to wait, but soon there will be news.”

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Depay close to joining Barcelona on free transfer

Memphis Depay is close to signing for Barcelona on a free transfer.

Head coach Ronald Koeman, who previously managed Depay for the Netherlands national team, has confirmed the move is “well on its way”.

Depay, whose contract with Lyon expires at the end of this month and has been talking to Barca since January, has confirmed there will be news “soon”.

“Memphis has said something about his future which I can confirm,” Koeman was quoted by Marca on Thursday.

“As far as I know, the move is well on its way. Although he hasn’t signed yet, it is close. I wanted to complete the deal in January and if he comes it is great for us.”

Ex-Manchester United forward Depay said in the Netherlands press conference on Wednesday: “Everyone knows that I have been negotiating with Barcelona for some time.

“I want to play with Ronald Koeman. Now is the time to wait, but soon there will be news.”

Depay is set to become Barcelona’s third free transfer of the summer after ex-Manchester City pair Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia signed for the club.

However, Koeman missed out on fellow Dutchman Georginio Wijnaldum, who opted to sign for Paris Saint-Germain instead to work with Mauricio Pochettino, who once wanted him at Tottenham before he joined Liverpool.

Barcelona have been forced to target free transfers due to more than £1billion-worth of debt, in part caused by the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Depay is currently part of the Netherlands squad at Euro 2020 and started in their opening 3-2 win over Ukraine.

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Juve, Barca, Real admitted to Champions League

Juventus, Barcelona and Real Madrid have been admitted to next season’s Champions League despite their involvement in the proposed breakaway European Super League project.

Admission letters have been sent to all Champions League participants, European soccer’s governing body UEFA has said.

Disciplinary proceedings against Juve, Barca and Real over their involvement in the proposed Super League have been suspended by UEFA’s independent appeals body.

UEFA opened a probe against the three clubs but last week it suspended proceedings after being notified by the Swiss authorities of a court order from the commercial court in Madrid obtained by the legal entity European Super League Company SL.

Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur - Carabao Cup Final - Wembley Stadium
A fan in the stands holds up a banner protesting against the European Super League ahead of the Carabao Cup Final at Wembley Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday April 25, 2021.
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English fans protested against the creation of a European Super League

“Admission letters have been sent to all clubs participating in next season’s UEFA club competitions today,” UEFA told Reuters on Tuesday.

Juve, Barca and Real are the last of the 12 clubs who signed up to the Super League in April not to have distanced themselves from the breakaway project which unravelled when all six English teams plus Inter Milan, AC Milan and Atletico Madrid withdrew.

Super League founder and Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli said earlier this month the plan to create a breakaway league was not a coup but a way to save the football industry, which has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Juve qualified for the Champions League on the final day of last season’s Serie A campaign and have since changed coaches, with Massimiliano Allegri back for a second spell.

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Wijnaldum: Barca took too long, PSG were clear

Georginio Wijnaldum says he decided to join Paris Saint-Germain ahead of Barcelona because the Spanish side took too long over negotiations.

Wijnaldum, currently on Euro 2020 duty with the Netherlands, joined Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer from Liverpool, signing a three-year deal with the Ligue 1 club earlier this week.

Wijnaldum left Liverpool at the end of the season after opting not to sign an extension to his contract at Anfield, and will now play under Mauricio Pochettino in France.

However, his move to Paris came after Barcelona and Bayern Munich had both been trying to sign the midfielder, with the Spanish side locked in talks with the Netherlands captain for up to four weeks.

“I made another choice. It was very difficult. I was negotiating with Barcelona for four weeks, and we never reached a final decision,” Wijnaldum revealed ahead of Netherlands’ Euro 2020 opener against Ukraine on Sunday.










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Wijnaldum was given a guard of honour and a special presentation in what looks likely to be his final game for the club

“Paris Saint-Germain were a bit better in making a decision. They were quicker. And the project that they have at PSG it really appealed to me.

“It was a difficult choice I have to be honest. I thought I would be moving to Barcelona because they were the only team who were really interested in me, but we did not reach an agreement together.

“PSG were much clearer in making that decision.”

Wijnaldum, who made 237 appearances for Liverpool since joining from Newcastle in July 2016, won the Champions League and Premier League during his five-year spell at Anfield.

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Inter Miami co-owner ‘optimistic’ Messi will join in future

Jorge Mas, the co-owner of Major League Soccer team Inter Miami, is “optimistic” Barcelona forward Lionel Messi will play for them in the future.

Messi’s Barcelona contract is due to expire at the end of June but Barcelona president Joan Laporta said earlier this month talks over a new contract were progressing well.

Spanish media reported Barcelona have proposed a new 10-year deal to Messi where the Argentine will play two more seasons before ending his playing career with two seasons at Inter Miami.

The 33-year-old Argentine, who wanted to leave Barcelona last summer, will then return to the La Liga club from Florida for six years as a global ambassador, the reports added.

“I am optimistic Messi will play in an Inter Miami shirt because I think it will complete the legacy of the greatest player in our generation and will meet with the ambitions of the owners of Inter Miami to build a world-class team,” Mas told the Miami Herald.

Mas said he and fellow co-owner David Beckham were determined to bring world-class talent to the Miami club, who are 11th in the 14-team MLS Eastern Conference.

Inter Miami CF co-owners Jorge Mas, left, and David Beckham
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Inter Miami co-owners Jorge Mas, left, and David Beckham

Six-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi has scored 672 goals in 778 appearances for Barcelona – both are all-time records for the club.

“David and I have been working really hard, we have aspirations of bringing the best players here and Messi is a generational player, arguably the best player of all time,” Mas added.

Inter Miami are managed by former England women’s manager and Beckham’s ex-Manchester United team-mate Phil Neville.

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