Bruno Guimaraes release clause truth as Man City, Arsenal and Real Madrid transfer chances assessed

Any admirers of Bruno Guimaraes have just one month to activate his £100m release clause as Newcastle United prepare to enter next season with the Brazilian magician in their ranks.

The midfielder has been nothing but positive about his future when quizzed over his intentions, offering public declarations of his desire to stay put in the north east. However, it was clear to see the anguish on Guimaraes' face as Newcastle let their European ambitions slip in the final games of the season.

But with his hefty release clause expiring on June 30th, it begs the question: Can anyone actually afford to prise the 26-year-old away from St James' Park in the next month?

We assess the possible runners and riders to see whether Newcastle can sleep easy over their star man's future.

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Manchester City

If any club is likely to make a move for Bruno's services, it is Premier League behemoth Manchester City. This, despite 115 alleged breaches of top flight financial regulations. Pep Guardiola's side were first charged in February 2023, and have since denied any wrongdoing, with some allegations dating back to 2009. That doesn't seem to have stopped City flexing their vast financial muscles in pursuit of the best talent in the world, however.

The Abu Dhabi-backed club have spent roughly £2.6bn on players since the 2008 takeover. However, over the last five years the club rank seventh in the Premier League in terms of net spend. Huge departures for substantial fees, including Raheem Sterling, Cole Palmer, Gabriel Jesus, Ferran Torres and Leroy Sane, have helped pave the way for big-name arrivals such as Jack Grealish, Rodri, Ruben Dias and Erling Haaland.

Earlier this season City confirmed a record-breaking annual revenue of £712.8m, posting a profit of £80m. In a world where top flight clubs are struggling to stick within financial limits, those returns are incredibly substantial.

With that in mind, it is easy to see why West Ham United's Lucas Paqueta was heavily linked with an £80m move to the Etihad Stadium this summer. That now looks highly unlikely after the player was charged by FA in relation to alleged betting offences. The Brazilian, who happens to be a close friend of Guimaraes, is facing a lengthy ban if found guilty of the charges, which he currently denies.

Back to Bruno, it is clear there is a mutual respect between the Newcastle favourite and Guardiola. The two have spoken highly of each other, with Guimaraes admitting his displeasure at coming up against the champions twice a season.

"We know that Manchester City is a step above all teams in England, with all due respect," he told a Brazilian podcast. "It’s the worst game when we play there, I hate it. It feels like we’re all children and they’re professionals. It’s horrible."

Arsenal

Arsenal fans went into overdrive this week as Bruno Guimaraes was snapped alongside fellow countryman, and club legend, Gilberto Silva. This, after weeks of speculation regarding a potential move to the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal are looking to bolster their ranks in the hope of finally being able to beat Manchester City to the Premier League crown. As such, a big summer of recruitment is expected - and Guimaraes is a reported target.

Mikel Arteta currently has two midfield ever-presents in his side - Declan Rice and Martin Odegaard - but often rotates his third spot in the middle of the park, suggesting there is indeed room for a big-money arrival to snatch the final position from the likes of Kai Havertz, Jorginho and Thomas Partey.

Arsenal spent big this time last year, luring Rice from east London to north London for over £100m. Their annual report for the 2022-23 accounting year showed the Gunners made a £52.1m loss but are well within their FFP limits over a three-year period.

There is also a fire-sale planned at the Emirates this summer. The likes of Eddie Nketiah, Emile Smith-Rowe, Nuno Tavares, Kieran Tierney and Newcastle-linked Aaron Ramsdale could all depart for decent fees, while Mohamed Elneny, Cedric Soares and Albert Sambi Lokonga exits will free up wage bill space.

However, it is extremely unlikely all those fringe stars move on before June 30.

Liverpool

Liverpool have not been linked with Bruno Guimaraes in recent months, despite previous interest from Jurgen Klopp, but with a new boss in place the Reds are expected to spend this summer.

Arne Slot arrives at Anfield tasked with getting Liverpool closer to the Premier League title after finishing third this term. Should funds be available, it would be no surprise if Guimaraes was a target. Luckily for Newcastle, the Merseyside outfit had their big midfield overhaul this time last year.

After losing the likes of Jordan Henderson, Fabinho and Naby Keita, Klopp went all out revamping his team with four midfield additions. Alexis Mac Allister (£35m), Dominik Szoboszlai (£61m), Wataru Endō (£16m) and Ryan Gravenberch (£34m) were purchased in the summer of 2023.

With Liverpool in the Champions League next term, they will once again have to abide by UEFA's financial rules, ensuring they spend a maximum of 70 per cent of their revenue on transfers, wages and agent fees. The club's latest accounts suggest Slot may have £415m at his disposal in total, with £261m being taken up by the current wage bill. That would, in theory, leave north of £150m for new recruits before player sales are taken into account.

But spending 66 per cent of your estimated budget on Guimaraes just one year after adding four new midfield recruits into the mix? Unlikely.

Manchester United

Sir Jim Ratcliffe's INEOS have seized control of footballing operations at Manchester United and are planning a huge overhaul at Old Trafford. Dan Ashworth, the man they are trying to lure from the north east to the north west, certainly knows Bruno well.

In terms of finances, there was no money in the pot for Erik ten Hag to spend in January as the club made sure not to edge dangerously close to the financial red line. “I looked but there is no space,” Ten Hag said when asked about United’s need for reinforcements in attack. “There is no space for FFP to do something about this lack of quantity in the striker position.”

Manchester United posted a pre-tax loss of £5.6m for the first half of the season just gone, while a quiet January and securing Europa League qualification which will provide a £20m FFP boost, it is likely Ten Hag will be allowed to spend this time around.

Financially, the Red Devils are certainly capable of activating the former Lyon man's release clause - but are not expected to.

PSG

Moving further afield and there is another potential suitor for Bruno's services: Paris Saint-Germain.

The French giants will finally wave goodbye to Kylian Mbappe this summer as the French icon departs for a fresh challenge. As such, the Qatar-backed Ligue 1 champions will have even more money than usual to play with. But just how much?

PSG have found themselves in FFP trouble in recent years, with the club receiving a whopping €65m (£55m) penalty in 2022 for failing to comply with break-even requirements during the previous season. However, they will receive €116m (£99m) this summer as part of the LFP and CVC investment fund, as per L'Equipe.

Getting Mbappe off the books will be a huge financial weight off the club's shoulders. The attacker is currently paid just shy of €1.4m (£1.2m) each week and earns eye-watering loyalty bonuses each year he stays in the French capital. Reports in France this week suggest PSG have not paid Mbappe's wages for April or given him a bumper bonus package as the two parties prepare to split.

As for spending the money they will save, would Bruno be an attractive option? The Newcastle star has Ligue 1 experience and strutted his stuff in front of PSG staff twice this season in the Champions League.

However, manager Luis Enrique has recently hailed PSG midfielder Vitinha as the club's 'Player of the Season', while he has afforded plenty of minutes to up and coming youngster Warren Zaïre-Emery. Manuel Ugarte, Fabian Ruiz, Carlos Soler and Lee Kang-in are also options in the middle of the park.

Real Madrid

Spanish giants Real Madrid have often been linked with acquiring Bruno since he arrived on Tyneside. Each time a move has failed to materialise. Eddie Howe was asked specifically about a potential Los Blancos swoop in August of 2022, responding 'absolutely not' when quizzed over a summer exit for his main man.

Bruno himself has also spoken of interest from the Spanish capital. "Real Madrid is the best team in the world. It is nice. But it is just a conversation, it is nothing," he said in October 2022.

This summer Carlo Ancelotti's side are more than likely to acquire Mbappe's services. While the transfer may be free on paper, the striker will cost a small fortune each week thanks to salary and bonus payments. Madrid will, however, also have to find a replacement for the retiring midfielder Toni Kroos, while Luka Modric is getting no younger at 38-years-old.

This time last year the La Liga champions could spend €684m (£581m) on annual salaries. League president Javier Tebas previously claimed Madrid are in the best financial health of all Spanish clubs and the only ones capable of signing the likes of Mbappe or Erling Haaland in the future.

In short, they definitely aren't short of a quid as they enter a potentially revolutionary summer.