Pepe, whose contract expired at Real Madrid at the end of last season, looked to be heading to Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer but that deal now seems to be off after a breakdown in talks.
The Portugal international had completed a medical at the Ligue 1 giants but according to Madrid-based newspaper Marca, the terms of the veteran defender’s proposed deal could not be agreed.
It now seems very unlikely that the 34-year-old will link-up with Unai Emery’s team while Turkish club Besiktas have wasted no time in trying to complete a summer transfer for the free agent.
After an extended holiday following his participation in the Confederations Cup, Pepe is expected to arrive in Istanbul next week to seal his switch to the Super Lig side.
The news comes as a blow for PSG as they felt the centre-back’s experience was just what they needed next season.
Atletico Madrid have tied down midfielder Saul Niguez to a new long-term contract.
The 22-year-old has signed a five-year extension which ties him to the Rojiblancos until June 30, 2026.
Saul, who was part of the Spain Under-21 side that lost the Euro 2017 final to Germany on Friday, said on his club’s website: “I’m very happy because at Atleti we are a family and there is no better place to be.”
“I will work as always to repay the trust the club has shown in me on the field. I want to thank all my team-mates and the coaching staff for their help day by day to be able to be the player I am today,” he added.
The highly-rated Saul had been linked with a move to some of Europe’s top clubs, with his stock rising further still during the European Under-21 Championship in Poland as he scored a stunning hat-trick in the 3-1 semi-final win over Italy and finished as the tournament’s top scorer.
But Atletico have secured his services for a further nine years and represents another significant coup for the club, who have already this summer secured new deals with two of their other leading players in Antoine Griezmann and Koke.
Griezmann’s new deal runs until 2022 while Koke has pledged his future to Atletico until 2024.
The importance of tying down their star players became even more pressing for Atletico last month when they lost their appeal against a FIFA-imposed transfer ban, which means they will not be able to register any new players until January.
Atletico sporting director Jose Luis Perez Caminero said Saul – who has been at the club since he was 14 – is a role model for all the youngsters at the Spanish giants and believes he will only get better and better.
He said: “Saul is an example for all the kids in our Academy. An example of giving, teamwork, solitary on the field and an impressive quality.
“He is an all-around player, with great aerial power, an amazing long-range shot, a tireless worker, a young player with lots of experience… We should feel happy for the agreement we reached because he is such a great player and there are no limits to his growth.”
Gylfi Sigurdsson is reportedly one of Everton’s big transfer targets this summer but it remains to be seen whether the Toffees can convince Swansea to sell their Icelandic star.
The Swans, who stayed up by the skin of the teeth last season, want to keep hold of the former Tottenham star but know they face a big fight to do just that.
“It’s hard to suggest what sort of value Gylfi Sigurdsson has in today’s market. But to us he is priceless,” so said Huw Jenkins, Swansea City’s Chairman, when asked about the midfielder.
While ‘priceless’ might be a meaningless term in today’s football market, the Iceland international is of utmost significance to Swansea.
A set-piece specialist and goal-getter from midfield, Sigurdsson’s stats below show just how creative he is.