Welcome to the Times of Malta football transfer blog. With the 2019-20 football campaign just weeks away, clubs around the European continents will be stepping up their efforts to try and strengthen their squad ahead of the upcoming season. Stay with us to follow all the latest news....

9.20pm That's all for today! Thank you for following our blog and we wish you a happy weekend. 

9.15pm Juventus confirmed the details of Cristian Romero’s loan back to Genoa after his €26m transfer to the Turin giants.

The 21-year-old defender had his medical on Tuesday and completed the transfer, but will be in Genoa again this season.

“Juventus Football Club S.p.A. announces that the agreement with Genoa Cricket & Football Club S.p.A. for the definitive acquisition of the registration rights of the player Cristian Gabriel Romero has been finalized for a consideration of € 26 million payable in three financial years.

9pm Jan Hurtado explained his decision to snub Genoa after completing his transfer to Boca Juniors. “I dreamed of playing in the Bombonera.”

Genoa had agreed a fee with Gimnasia La Plata after Sampdoria negotiations too, but the Venezuela international managed to push through his Boca move.

“I don’t want to make comparisons between Genoa and Boca. All I can say is that I’ll give my all with dedication and sacrifice,” the 19-year-old said on TyC Sports.

8.45pm Pau Lopez had offers from Barcelona and the Premier League, assured his agent, but the goalkeeper took a pay cut to push through the Roma move.

He completed the transfer this week from Real Betis for €23.5m plus bonuses and half of Antonio Sanabria’s contract.

“Barcelona called me, and so did three Premier League clubs who wanted to focus on him, but he chose Roma,” agent Albert Botines told the Corriere dello Sport.

8.40pm Stefan Radu has been left out of the Lazio squad for pre-season training amid reports a row saw him excluded from the squad.

Coach Simone Inzaghi named the met who are travelling to Auronzo di Cadore for the traditional training camp.

Radu is notable by his absence, as there are growing reports the breakdown in communication would spell the end of a long and happy rapport.

8.30pm Lecce have officially signed Genoa striker Gianluca Lapadula on loan with option to buy at the end of the season.

The centre-forward had been purchased from Milan in 2017 for a total of €11.25m.

He scored eight goals in 38 competitive games over his two seasons at Marassi.

It’s reported Genoa will continue to pay half of Lapadula’s €1.5m salary during the loan spell.

8.15pm Roma midfielder Gerson is set to return to Brazil with Flamengo in a €10m move.

Calciomercato.com, Il Tempo and Gianluca Di Marzio all report an agreement has been reached between Roma and Flamengo.

The Rubro-Negro will buy Gerson for €10m, with the Giallorossi entitled to 10-15 percent of a future resale.

8pm Racing Genk appear to have cleared the way for Atalanta to sign Ruslan Malinovskyi after completing a deal for Ianis Hagi.

It was confirmed on Friday that Genk had signed Hagi for €8m, with the ex-Fiorentina attacking midfielder putting pen to paper on a five-year contract.

The deal has implications for the Viola as they receive around €3m thanks to a sell-on clause.

7.00pm Inter fans have called for Radja Nainggolan to be retained, despite Antonio Conte’s wish to sell the midfielder.

Inter general manager Beppe Marotta confirmed last weekend that Nainggolan was not in Conte’s plans.

However, Calciomercato.com reports supporters made their way to the Nerazzurri’s training camp in Lugano to convince the club into keeping the Belgian.

“Ninja, stay at Milan!” they were heard chanting.

6.45pm Palermo must start again in the non-League after their place in Serie B was officially taken by Venezia.

The FIGC’s Federal Council confirmed the ruling on Friday, following on from considerations by the federation’s supervisory committee.

The official reason for the council’s decision is ‘administrative non-compliance’ on the part of the Rosanero.

6.40pm Inter have officially signed Ionut Radu but loaned the goalkeeper back to Genoa for the season.

Inter announced on their official website that they had exercised their €12m option to buy back Radu.

However, they added he had been sent back to Genoa on loan so he can continue his development.

6.20pm Ivan Marcano has confessed that his transfer to Roma was a mistake after returning to Porto. “I should never have left...”

Marcano only joined Roma last summer, being brought to the club by former sporting director Monchi, but made just 13 appearances and completed a move back to Porto on Thursday.

“I’m very happy to be back here and see again the people I know very well and with whom I spent so many moments,” the 32-year-old told the Portuguese side’s official website.

6.10pm Callum Robinson has signed for Sheffield United for a club-record fee from Preston.

United say they have paid a substantial undisclosed fee to land Republic of Ireland international.

It's the second time they have broke their transfer record following Luke Freeman's arrival from QPR earlier this month.

5.50pm Tottenham are in talks with Saint-Etienne over the signing of defender William Saliba, according to SkySports.

However, Arsenal are also close to completing a deal that would see Saliba return to Saint-Etienne on loan next season.

It is understood the decision could rest with the player if Saint-Etienne accept the offers from both clubs.

5.30pm Fiorentina have suggested that Mario Balotelli would interest them if he lowers his demands.

Balotelli is a free agent after leaving Olympique Marseille, and Gazzetta dello Sport reported on Friday that he was being considered by Fiorentina.

When asked about the Italy striker at a Press conference, Viola boss Vincenzo Montella replied: “He’s a player with important quality and great potential, some of which has been unfulfilled.

“But before saying he’s a Fiorentina player, there are so many arguments to be had.”

5.10pm More details on the Antoine Griezmann situation.

Atletico Madrid argued Friday that the 120 million euros ($135 million) Barcelona paid for France forward Antoine Griezmann was "insufficient" and that he had "unilaterally" broken his contract.

"Atletico Madrid considers that the amount paid is insufficient to meet the release clause as it is obvious that the agreement between the player and Barcelona had been concluded before the release clause dropped from 200 million euros to 120 million euros," the club said in a statement.

The amount attached to the release clause changed on July 1.

4.50pm Is there a fresh twist in Griezmann's move to Barcelona? Atletico Madrid say 120 mln euros for Griezmann 'insufficient'

4.30pm Inter fans have called for Radja Nainggolan to be retained, despite Antonio Conte’s wish to sell the midfielder.

Inter general manager Beppe Marotta confirmed last weekend that Nainggolan was not in Conte’s plans.

However, Calciomercato.com reports supporters made their way to the Nerazzurri’s training camp in Lugano to convince the club into keeping the Belgian.

“Ninja, stay at Milan!” they were heard chanting.

4pm Paris Saint-Germain have revived their interest for Everton midfielder Idrissa Gueye, according to L’Equipe.

It’s claimed negotiations have opened between the Toffees and the Ligue 1 champions, who have tabled an opening bid of £27m

Gueye expressed his desire to move to Paris in the January transfer window, but Everton managed to keep hold of the 29-year-old.

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3.30pm Antoine Griezmann signed for Barcelona yesterday after the Spanish champions paid La Liga rivals Atletico Madrid the 120 million euro ($135 million) release clause required to sign the World Cup winner.

"The player will sign a contract with his new club for the next five seasons, through to 30 June 2024, with a buyout clause of 800 million euros," Barca said in a statement.

3.20pm Sassuolo have officially signed midfielder Hamed Traore from Empoli on a two-year loan with obligation to buy.

Although there is no mention of it on the websites of Sassuolo or Empoli, Juventus are understood to have helped the Neroverdi purchase Traore, including an informal option to buy of their own.

The 19-year-old was part of Empoli’s eye-catching midfield last season, scoring two goals and providing as many assists in 32 Serie A appearances.

He becomes Sassuolo’s third summer signing after Marco Sala and Jeremy Toljan.

3.05pm Sky Sports News is reporting that Manchester United are yet to receive a formal offer for Romelu Lukaku and haven’t named their price to any club either.

The Belgian striker returned to training with United’s first team in Perth this morning after undergoing rehab on a knock picked up earlier in the week at the WACA.

United paid Everton £79m for Lukaku two summers ago and it’s understood they’d be looking for an increase on that figure if they were to be tempted to sell him.

2.30pm Milan appear to be closing in on Jordan Veretout after they met Fiorentina officials over a possible deal for the midfielder.

Fiorentina chiefs Joe Barone and Daniele Prade were invited to Milan’s offices for talks, and both Sky Sport Italia and Niccolo Ceccarini claim the Rossoneri are nearer to signing Veretout as a result of them.

However, they are now expected to meet Roma before the day is out.

The Frenchman will leave the Viola this summer, having been left out of their squad for the International Champions Cup.

2.10pm Juventus have reportedly ended their interest in Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba.

Juve had been heavily linked with bringing Pogba back, and agent Mino Raiola has done his best efforts to engineer a transfer.

However Italian journalist Alvise Cagnazzo for the Daily Mail warns United’s demands of £150m (€167m) have put off the Bianconeri, who informed the Red Devils that they ‘intend to pursue other targets’.

Consequently, Cagnazzo claims Real Madrid now have a ‘clear run’ at the signing the Frenchman, although Los Blancos still have to sell before they can buy.

The Old Lady have already brought in midfielders Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot on free transfers, while Pogba is currently with United on their preseason tour of Australia.

1.55pm Peter Crouch has announced his retirement from football at the age of 38, calling time on a career which saw him capped 42 times by England, score 22 international goals and find the back of the net 108 times in the Premier League in 468 appearances for seven different clubs.

"I have had 23 years to prepare for this moment but, now it is here, you realise nothing can prepare you at all," he wrote in the Daily Mail. "The time has come to refer to myself as a 'former footballer'; this incredible journey I have been on since I was 16 is over."

1.40pm So Spurs and Roma are due to meet in London over the potential transfer of Toby Alderweireld, Sky in Italy is reporting

Roma official Franco Baldini, who was previously sporting director at Spurs, has an appointment with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy on Friday.

Roma are hoping to lower the £25m asking price for Alderweireld, a price set by a clause in his contract that states the Belgian can leave for that figure until 14 days before the end of the transfer window.

Sky in Italy are also reporting that representatives of Alderweireld, who has a year remaining on his Spurs contract, have presented high demands for the player in a meeting with Roma on Thursday.

1.20pm Romelu Lukaku is the subject of an official approach from Inter  after talks with Manchester United on Thursday.

Inter sporting director Piero Ausilio met with United club officials and it is understood United want a cash-only £75m fee from the Serie A club if they are to sell the Belgium striker.

Ausilio said: "It was an official approach between two important clubs. We'll see what happens. All the players we're following are targets we've agreed with Antonio Conte. We want to satisfy his request within certain financial parameters."

1.10pm Lazio have officially signed wingback Manuel Lazzari from SPAL for a reported €10m plus Alessandro Murgia.

Lazzari has put pen to paper on a five-year contract with Lazio and becomes their third summer arrival after Bobby Adekanye and Denis Vavro.

The 25-year-old began his career at SPAL and helped them through the divisions, from Serie C to Serie A in just three seasons.

12.50pm Japanese attacking midfielder Hiroki Abe said Friday he was moving to Barcelona, becoming the second Japanese player in a month to join one of La Liga's big two clubs.

J-League outfit Kashima Antlers, where 20-year-old Abe was spending his third season as a professional, confirmed the move.

Abe is expected to play for Barcelona's B team to start with, Japanese broadcaster NHK said.

The news came as Barcelona prepare to tour Japan later this month for friendly matches, including one against Premier League side Chelsea.

12.30pm Cagliari midfielder Nicolo Barella is undergoing a medical with Inter Milan, according to Sky in Italy.

The 22-year-old Italy international will link up with former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte and will join on loan with obligation to buy in a deal worth an initial £40m plus bonuses.

Barella was linked with a move to Arsenal in March after scouts from the north London club attended one of his Serie A games, while Roma were also interested.

Rundell Winchester is set to join Gudja UnitedRundell Winchester is set to join Gudja United

12.15pm Some news from the Maltese Premier League.

Newly-promoted Gudja United are set to complete the signing of Trinidad and Tobago striker Rundell Winchester.

The towering striker has been on trial with the newly-promoted club for a few days now and has impressed coach Josef Mansueto.

Winchester has agreed personal terms with Gudja and is set to put pen to paper on a one-year contract.

Gudja are also running the rule on a number of overseas players, namely three central defenders, a midfielder and a forward but a decision on their future will be taken next week.

11.45am We start of the day with news from the Italian Serie A.

Juventus look like finally closing a deal for Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt after they raised their bid to €67m plus bonuses.

According to Gazzetta dello Sport, agent Mino Raiola is in Milan to reach a final agreement with Juve sporting director Fabio Paratici.

The newspaper dismisses late interest from Manchester United and expects De Ligt to sign a five-year contract worth €12m a season.

The so-called ‘white smoke’ would also be on its way after the Old Lady raised their bid to €67m plus bonuses.

11.30am Good morning everyone and welcome to our transfer blog. Stay with us to follow all the latest transfer news on our blog from around the European leagues, including the BOV Premier League.

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