Reports: Steven Gerrard set to leave Liverpool as he looks abroard
Not long to go now, folks! Under 24 hours, in fact. 'Tis the night before Transfer Talk Christmas, and there are a few interesting early morsels to get us going with...
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Gerrard OUT at Liverpool
Twitter exploded this evening with multiple reports that Steven Gerrard is set to leave Liverpool when his contract is up this summer.
As the Times puts it:
Steven Gerrard is set to announce that he will leave Liverpool at the end of this season. MLS is his most likely destination.- Tony Barrett (@TonyBarretTimes) January 1, 2015
Gerrard has been a Red since he was a schoolboy and has had an offer to stay on since November, but hasn't signed it and now looks to move abroad.
The LA Galaxy -- who have money freed up after the retirement of American star Landon Donovan last month -- are a likely destination from America, though teams from the Middle East are also likely to bid on his services.
Black Cats Wel up for a loan
There must be few Premier League clubs Danny Welbeck has not been linked with in recent weeks, and next up are Sunderland.
It's a big deal, though, as the Sun have seen fit to splash it across their back page. They say Manchester United will seek five million pounds from whoever takes the England forward on a season-long loan deal, and Gus Poyet is keen to hand over the cash.
It would be groundhog day, to an extent: Welbeck spent the 2010-11 season at the Stadium of Light, though you'd assume it was for a considerably smaller fee, and he scored six goals in 26 Premier League appearances.
Spurs have also been heavily linked to the Old Trafford tyro, and to be honest, where Welbeck finishes up by the end of Monday is anybody's guess.
Liverpool the victors in Valdes chase?
Simon Mignolet might be in for some serious competition in the Liverpool goal before long, according to the Express.
They say Brendan Rodgers wants to sign ex-Barcelona keeper Victor Valdes, now a free agent, and he is not perturbed by the fact that the Spanish star is currently getting over a cruciate injury.
Valdes should be fit by November, and Rodgers is apparently prepared to put him through a thorough medical before snapping him up. His sweeper-keeper gifts would certainly seem to fit into Liverpool's brand of football, so there might just be something in this.
Defoe set for Harry reunion?
Perhaps it's all to predictable, but the Mirror says Harry Redknapp is to bring Jermain Defoe to QPR as a replacement for Loic Remy, whose move to Chelsea was confirmed earlier Sunday.
Defoe has been with Toronto FC in Major League Soccer for the past six months, and a reunion with Harry might be all the more appealing given that Ryan Nelsen -- his manager and one-time Spurs teammate --- has just left his job at the Canadian side. But maybe QPR are learning lessons from previous mishaps; wages are said to be a potential sticking point here.
There is more on this story in the Guardian, who say 6.6 million pounds would do the job where Toronto are concerned, and other clubs are interested, too.
Arfa chance for Blues?
Here's a strange one: Newcastle outcast Hatem Ben Arfa is linked in the Mirror with a loan move to Championship side Birmingham City.
Blues boss Lee Clark, an ex-Magpie who is perhaps bringing his St James' Park connections to bear here, hasn't exactly poured cold water on the idea, but with Birmingham well shy of the second tier's leading lights in recent times and not exactly throwing the cash around, a move like this would certainly come as a shock.
ALL-TIME HIGHEST TRANSFER FEES
1) £85m Gareth Bale -- Tottenham to Real Madrid, Sept. 2013
2) £80m Cristiano Ronaldo -- Man Utd to R. Madrid, June 2009
3) £75m Luis Suarez -- Liverpool to Barcelona, July 2014
4) £71m James Rodriguez -- Monaco to Real Madrid, July 2014
5) £59.7m Angel Di Maria -- Real Madrid to Man Utd, Aug. 2014
6) £56m Kaka -- AC Milan to Real Madrid, June 2009
Roma put their name on the Mapou
There could be a slightly less odd departure from Newcastle as well, with Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa being touted for a switch to Roma in the Gazzetta Dello Sport.
The defender, who arrived the past season, is yet to play this term, and the Italian side are said to be nearing a loan deal with rights to a permanent move.
This comes after Roma had trouble striking a deal with Lille for the Montenegrin Marko Basa, who will not, it seems, be reuniting with boss Rudi Garcia.
Wigan snap up Delort
L'Equipe have confirmed that Tours striker Andy Delort will sign for Championship side Wigan on a three-year deal for four million euros.
That's a fair amount for second-tier sides to be passing between one another, but Delort is just 22 and scored 24 goals the past season for the Ligue 2 club, so perhaps he is the man to fire Uwe Rosler and company into the top flight.