Chelsea plan their striking future, Kevin Strootman to snub Man United
As the final days of 2014 come to a close, Transfer Talk count the hours until the clock strikes midnight, bringing the dawn of 2015 and the January transfer window.
Chelsea wrapping up striking deal?
Not content with Diego Costa, Loic Remy and Didier Drogba to lead the line for Chelsea, Jose Mourinho is reportedly set to land Croatia striker Andrej Kramaric by the end of the week, according to the Mirror.
The 23-year-old has been repeatedly linked with a move to Stamford Bridge in recent months, and though the Premier League leaders are reportedly confident of a deal, they may well decide to loan the player back to his current club Rijeka until the end of the 2014-15 season.
Kramaric has 21 goals in 19 appearances for the Croatian club, and could well be a replacement for Drogba should the Ivory Coast legend decide to retire at the end of the campaign.
The Daily Express, meanwhile, reports that winger Mohamed Salah has held showdown talks with Mourinho over his role at Chelsea, with Inter Milan believed to be interested in taking the Egyptian on loan: the potential deal for Kramaric suggests that Salah's days are numbered regardless.
Cavani boost for Arsenal?
The January transfer window is the perfect time for wild speculation, so Paris Saint-Germain's announcement that Edinson Cavani is training in the French capital while the rest of the Ligue 1 champions' squad are in Qatar has sent the British press into overdrive.
Arsenal have been heavily linked with a 50 million-pound move for the Uruguayan forward this January, and PSG's statement is likely to do little to quell the rumours.
The fact that Ezequiel Lavezzi is also training alongside Cavani in Paris -- and, indeed, the fact that the club have confirmed where the striker is -- could mean it is nothing out of the ordinary, though where's the fun in that?
Strootman to snub United for La Liga?
Look away now, Manchester United fans... Louis van Gaal's long-term midfield target Kevin Strootman has admitted that "everybody wants to play for Barcelona or Real Madrid."
Van Gaal has been hot on the heels of the Netherlands international since the summer, though the box-to-box midfielder's knee injury last season made a move impossible. Following the Rossoneri's exit at the Champions League group stages, speculation linking him with a move to Old Trafford has intensified, though Strootman seems content to stay in Rome and wait for a move to Spain.
"I absolutely do not see Roma as just an intermediate step in my career," Strootman is quoted as telling Voetbal International magazine. "But I do think a player who performs well here will get to the absolute top quicker.
"Of course everybody wants to play for Barcelona or Real Madrid, but they don't come looking for you so quickly in the Eredivisie."
There's more bad news for Van Gaal as Valencia have announced that Enzo Perez will join them in a deal until 2019 thought to be for around 20 million pounds.
The Benfica midfielder was strongly linked to United, though has elected to join the Liga side subject to a medical. Tough break, Louis...
City rivals 'battling for starlet'
It was just two weeks ago that Martin Odegaard looked set to sign professional terms with Bayern Munich, though the Daily Mail now reports that both Manchester United and City are trying to tempt the midfield starlet into a deal.
The 16-year-old Norway international has been on the equivalent of university open days by visiting all of Europe's major clubs this year, and having already trained at United once, he looks set to be thrown in with first-team training on his next visit.
Premier League champions City are making a huge push for future stars with their 200 million-pound academy opening this month, and though they reportedly have a link with Odegaard's current club Stromsgodset, it is clear the player and his family will decide on his future club.
Ronnie in trouble in Mexico?
With Ronaldinho still absent from Queretaro training camp, the Mexican club are getting closer to following through on their promise to sack the 34-year-old.
Also can't rule out retirement for Ronaldinho. Sounds like he has family problems to resolve.- Tom Marshall (@mexicoworldcup) December 30, 2014
If Ronaldinho does leave, Medio Tiempo says that he could find a new home in either the United States -- with Brazilian-owned Orlando City a strong possibility -- or Angola with the former club of his compatriot Rivaldo.
Liverpool to beat Spurs to England hopeful?
Tottenham fans have been here before -- your team targets a player, waits, and then sees them stolen away at the last moment by another club. Spurs have been chasing West Brom forward Saido Berahino for a while now, but the Daily Mail reports that Liverpool are about to swoop in like a greedy owl and carry the youngster back off for the Anfield faithful to tear apart.
The Baggies are apparently valuing the 21-year-old England international at around 25 million pounds -- yes, you read that right -- and though Liverpool hope to negotiate that figure down, their desperation could see them putting in a bid within that region.
Torres returns home, Cerci on the verge
The deed is done: Fernando Torres has returned to Atletico Madrid . The former Chelsea striker joined AC Milan on a permanent deal all of three days ago, but that was merely for the Rossoneri to be able to send him on an 18-month loan back to his boyhood club.
The deal is subject to a medical and will be rubber-stamped on Jan. 5, when the winter transfer market opens in Italy.
The other piece of the jigsaw puzzle is finally falling into place as well, with Alessio Cerci revealing on Monday that he "cannot wait" to arrive for a medical as his move from Atleti to Milan gathers pace.
Cerci wrote on Facebook: "I can't wait to be in Milan for a medical and to sign on... let's keep our fingers crossed and forza AC Milan!"
You can thank both clubs for introducing these convoluted deals for many transfer windows to come.
Van Gaal lining up Serie A swap?
Wherever Javier Hernandez's future lies, it seems destined to be away from Old Trafford. Louis van Gaal is keen on bolstering his defensive options and will reportedly dangle 'Chicharito' in front of AC Milan like a juicy worm in order to land Adil Rami, according to the Daily Express.
Rami, 29, has been linked with Arsenal in the past, though with United looking to hoover up fit, reliable centre-backs, a potential swap deal next summer could be on the cards. Hernandez is almost certainly not staying at Real Madrid beyond his current loan deal, so the San Siro may be his next port of call.
Pedro a no-go for trio?
Despite the arrival of Luis Suarez at Barcelona this summer, the Daily Express reports that Pedro is set to dismiss interest from Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal this January and stay at Camp Nou to fight for his place.
Given Barca's transfer embargo, the paper suggests that Luis Enrique is also against letting the 27-year-old forward leave the Catalan club with no way of bringing in a replacement. That does not necessarily rule out a summer move for Pedro, but the trio of Premier League sides looks likely to be disappointed this winter.
- Wolfsburg star Kevin De Bruyne's agent
- Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi has invited Mario Balotelli to end his miserable Liverpool spell and rejoin the San Siro side, telling Mediaset television: "If he comes here, we'd be delighted to welcome him. He's a fantastic forward."
- Croatia left-back Ivan Strinic has confirmed he expects to complete a move to Napoli from Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, while the Partenopei are nearing a deal for Manolo Gabbiadini from Sampdoria.
- It seems that nobody knows Sami Khedira's intentions, least of all the player himself. The Real Madrid midfielder wants his future sorted with his contract up next summer though