By Pete O'Rourke, Transfer Correspondent

22nd Feb, 2023 | 8:00am

Pete O'Rourke column: Arsenal work on two Premier League midfield signings, Liverpool want striker, Newcastle £70m deal plot

Welcome to the latest edition of my biweekly column – bringing you exclusive transfer and contract news, as well as news from the Premier League, EFL, Scottish Premiership and beyond.

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The Merseysiders are one of the clubs who have been offered the chance to sign Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar this summer.

Man United, Man City and Newcastle have been contacted too, but it’s my understanding that these clubs currently don’t see a deal as feasible this summer.

The financial package it would take to bring him in has been considered, as well as the considerable baggage he may bring with him off the pitch.

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PSG are ready to cash in with two years left on his deal, and sources tell me it would take a fee of around £70-80million to strike a deal in the off-season.

Neymar will have to take a wage cut if he wants to make a Premier League move happen. The wage he is on in Paris is astronomical, and he is unlikely to match that salary in England.

Liverpool are also continuing to monitor the situation of Neymar’s teammate, Kylian Mbappe, amid reports of his unhappiness at Parc des Princes.

Jurgen Klopp’s side held talks with him before he signed his new PSG contract, which runs until 2025 with the option for an additional two years.

However, the Anfield club are aware that a deal would be hard to complete due to the finances involved in any potential move.



Reports in Spain have suggested that Real Madrid are interested in moving for right-back Diogo Dalot in the summer window.

However, sources tell me that Man United are confident of securing him to a new deal after taking up the one-year option in his contract to safeguard his value last year.

His deal is currently set to expire in June 2024.

Talks are ongoing and progressing well ahead of a potential agreement. It would be a well-deserved renewal for Dalot after making the right-back spot his own under Erik ten Hag.

It is the same story for Luke Shaw, who is close to a big new contract of his own.

He struggled for game time at the start of the season, but has become a key part of Ten Hag’s side – and is set to be rewarded.

Talks are progressing nicely and all parties are confident of an agreement, with Shaw happy at Old Trafford and ready to commit his future.

A decision will be made on the future of Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the summer.

He had hardly figured before the World Cup but is now pushing Dalot for a first-team spot, and it is a big summer ahead for the former England Under-21 international.

Man United are exploring the signing of another right-back, and it is my understanding that they will allow Wan-Bissaka to leave if they are successful in that hunt.

Wan-Bissaka is out of contract in 2024 and is reluctant to be a backup option – so will give serious thought to a potential exit.

Meanwhile, Man United are searching for a prolific, marquee striker this summer.

Wout Weghorst was brought in as a stop-gap, but sources tell me there are no plans to make his loan from Burnley permanent at the end of the season.

Harry Kane, Victor Osimhen, and Benjamin Sesko have all been mentioned to me as potential targets for Ten Hag’s side.

A possible big-money takeover could mean Man United enter the race for Mbappe, who – as aforementioned – may yet again push for a PSG exit this summer.



It is my understanding that the Gunners lead the race for Declan Rice.

Arsenal have sounded out his representatives and they are in sustained contact as Mikel Arteta and his recruitment team attempt to steal a march on their rivals.

Rice will be one of the most sought-after players in the summer window, but sources tell me he is not likely to make any excessive demands.

He would be a high earner at Arsenal, but a likely wage of over £200,000-a-week would fit nicely into their wage structure.

It would take a fee of £70-80million to get a deal done with his contract set to expire in 2024, and that is not likely to be stumbling block for the Premier League leaders.

The Gunners are also looking at a deal for Youri Tielemans as he prepares to walk away from Leicester a free agent in the summer.



Losing Rice would leave a massive hole at the London Stadium.

They’re planning for his departure, but transfer targets are up in the air until West Ham know which division they’ll be playing in next season.

I’ve heard Scott McTominay’s name as a potential target. He could come in and play that defensive midfield role next season.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has also been mentioned as someone on the radar, but it is my understanding that bigger clubs are likely to move for him if he is to leave Lazio in the off-season.

Full focus is on preserving their Premier League status at present.



The Foxes are aware of a lot of interest gathering in star midfielder James Maddison.

They’re stepping up contract talks to persuade him to extend his stay, but Maddison is in a strong position.

They have given him the captaincy recently in a bid to show they are willing to build the team around him, but he is in no rush to sign a new deal.

The England international’s current contract is set to expire in June 2024 – and Newcastle are just one of the Premier League sides keeping tabs on him ahead of this summer.

It is my understanding that he will command a fee of £60-70million, even with a year left on his deal.

Leicester tend to get top dollar for their best players, and it makes business sense to cash in if he is unlikely to pledge his future to the club.

Brendan Rodgers’ side are desperate to avoid a repeat of Tielemans’ situation.

All signs are pointing towards an exit for the Belgium international when his deal expires in June.

Leicester haven’t given up hope of extending his stay at the King Power Stadium, but he wants to cash in on his status as a free agent when the season ends.

Arsenal, Newcastle and Barcelona are all interested in securing his signature.