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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Can Man United lure Gareth Bale by offering David de Gea to Real Madrid?

Is David De Gea the little something extra that Real Madrid need to let Gareth Bale go to Man United?

The winter window is now open, and that means the LIVE transfer blog swings back into action. Find out the latest news, gossip and done deals here.

TOP STORY: What would it take to sign Bale?

Manchester United want Real Madrid's Gareth Bale. Real Madrid want Manchester United's David de Dea. Neither club want to let their player go. But Louis van Gaal has a plan.

The addition of Bale is being discussed at the highest levels at Old Trafford, according to the Sunday Express, but it might take more than just money to prise the Welshman from the Bernabeu. So United are willing to sweeten the 80 million-pound pot by allowing De Gea to head in the opposite direction.

The dual moves might sound like a fevered dream, but would actually make sense for all parties involved.

De Gea is rated as one of the world's finest goalkeepers, but Manchester United have Anders Lindegaard in the wings and earlier this month signed Victor Valdes. Real, meanwhile, would like a young keeper to replace Iker Casillas. 

Spain international De Gea has only 18 months left on his contract and could be looking to return to his native Madrid, where he previously played for Atletico. And after Cristiano Ronaldo's antics last week, who could blame Bale for seeking a way back to the UK?

Meanwhile, the Star says Real are willing to offer 35 million pounds for De Gea, with no sign of Bale.


LIVE BLOG:

00.15 GMT: Their impressive win vs. Man City aside, Arsene Wenger and Arsenal are still in need of defensive help. To that end, the Mirror are reporting that both Gabriel Paulista from Villarreal and Nicolas Otamendi of Valencia to help in the back.

21.30 GMT: New Charlton boss Guy Luzon has said he may not need to do much to his squad in the transfer window, telling reporters the Championship club have "a good base of players" but saying: "We need to fix what we need to in order to improve the team."

20.15 GMT: Could Norwich left-back Martin Olsson be on his way back to the Premier League with Swansea City? New Canaries manager Alex Neil says that's a possibility, telling the Eastern Daily Press: "There has been interest from Swansea, but nothing has happened as of yet. I am fully aware of what is going on in the background, but there is nothing concrete at the moment to talk about. It is just interest and a bit of speculation."

20.00 GMT: Liverpool's Andre Wisdom, on loan at West Bromwich Albion, says he believes the move has benefited him, telling the Baggies' official website: "I think I've improved tactically -- my understanding of the game, the different opposition and wingers you come up against. So I'm always learning."

19.30 GMT: Youngster Josh Laurent said he left Premier League QPR to join Championship Brentford because he felt the move gave him a greater chance of playing first-team football. The 19-year-old midfielder told the Bees' official website: "I can't wait to get going. I want to play first-team football, and believe I can get it at Brentford."

19.15 GMT: Cardiff City boss Russell Slade has indicated that he could bring in new defensive faces after his side slumped to a 3-0 half-time deficit at Norwich on Saturday. Although the Bluebirds pulled it back to 3-2, a frustrated Slade said: "I'm disappointed with the defensive side of things. There's two things -- we either have to improve defensively or change personnel."

18.45 GMT: Is Everton's Samuel Eto'o going to Sampdoria? Nothing doing... at the moment anyway, says Samp coach Sinisa Mihajilovic. Speaking to Sky Sport Italia about reports that a deal had been agreed, he said: "I don't talk about Eto'o, because he's not our player yet."

18.30 GMT: Hull manager Steve Bruce bemoaned his side's missed chances in Sunday's defeat at West Ham -- missed chances are a familiar tale for the Tigers this season -- but denied making an offer for Blackburn striker Rudy Gestede. "I have never made a bid," he told a news conference. "We had a conversation with them -- apparently an agent made a bid on our behalf which is news to me and the owner. I don't know where all the nonsense has come from, but I can confirm there's no way we have bid four and a half million pounds, and we won't be doing so."

17.39 GMT: Man United are still pursuing Gerard Pique, according to the Sunday Express. The paper reports that Louis Van Gaal's side will bid 15 million pounds for the 27-year-old, currently the most experienced central defender at the Camp Nou.

It's hard to imagine that the Catalan side would let Pique go so cheaply, and with a transfer ban that won't expire until January 2016, but you never know.

Chelsea are apparently also still interested in the defender, because of course they are.

17.23 GMT: More Major League soccer news as D.C. United announce the signings of Markus Halsti and Jairo Arrieta on Sunday.

Halsti arrives from Sweden's Malmo FF, where he won back-to-back league titles and started all six of his side's Champions League games this season. Arrieta comes from the Columbus Crew, where the Costa Rican managed 17 goals in 67 appearances over the past two and a half years.

Good signings, and immediate depth for the capital club.

17.06 GMT: Attention, clubs who might want Emmanuel Adebayor (and we're not honestly sure there are any clubs who want the divisive striker...) he's told BT Sport that he's not leaving Tottenham under any circumstances. Among many of the usual bland comments, Adebayor said this: "At the moment I have a contract with Tottenham. I am committed to the club."

So there you have it.

16.53 GMT: A report in Portuguese paper O Jogo suggests that Benfica forward Yannick Djalo is off to Russia, where he'll remain on loan with Mordovia Saransk until the end of the 2014-15 season. Djalo had tried his hand in Major League Soccer in 2014, scoring three goals in 18 games with the San Jose Earthquakes before returning to Portugal.

16.20 GMT: The January window is full of fun, isn't it? Here's more: PSG are reportedly tracking Yaya Toure after the Ivorian midfielder made some rather benign and non-committal comments to CNN at the 2015 African Nations Cup.

When asked about his future at the Etihad, the Man City midfielder went full Messi-at-the-Ballon d'Or, saying: "That's a big question and that's an easy question as well, and you have an easy answer -- we'll see. I'm at City at the moment."

Intriguing, right? Well, the French giants are currently preparing an offer of 20 million pounds for the 31-year-old, says the Sunday Express, and City will immediately look to grab Paul Pogba from Juventus as a more dynamic, younger replacement.

As is standard operating procedure with such reporting, we believe nothing until someone's holding up a scarf or a shirt.

15.55 GMT: It's no secret that Manchester United need more help at the back... does the answer to their problems reside in the French capital in the form of Brazilian defender Marquinhos?

The Daily Star reports on a claim by French outlet Le10Sport that Louis Van Gaal's bosses are going all-in on the PSG centre-back, who has fallen down the pecking order behind fellow Selecao stars Thiago Silva and David Luiz.

It's hard to imagine PSG parting with such a valuable (and young) defensive asset at this time, but you never know. Given that PSG paid 27 million pounds for the 20-year-old back in 2013, he would cost United a lot of money. And would that be money well spent?

15.15 GMT: Millwall manager Ian Holloway has reiterated his determination to reshape the Lions in the January transfer window, saying: "Hopefully I can clarify who is and isn't going to be here. Whoever that is, I can tell them and try to move them out and bring others in. The secret will be who I manage to bring in, because we're letting too many goals in and we're not scoring enough."

15.05 GMT: In-form Burnley striker Danny Ings has told Sky Sports'Goals on Sunday that he is contented with the Clarets, saying: "There's going to be speculation for any player doing well for their club. I'm not the type of player to buzz off the speculation and think 'maybe I can move there.' I's all about the football, letting my feet do the talking, and I'm happy at the moment."

15.00 GMT: Gonzalo Higuain has poured cold water on speculation about a possible move away from Napoli, insisting he is happy there The Argentina striker has been linked with Liverpool, but speaking to Sky Italia after scoring in the 1-0 triumph at Lazio on Sunday, he said: "I am happy here -- I have a contract here."

14.15 GMT: It's fair to say that Blackpool need reinforcements -- and fast -- if they are to have any chance of avoiding the drop to League One. The Seasiders, in the top flight not very long ago, are releasing winger Chris Eagles, and manager Lee Clark, speaking after defeat at Wolves, told reporters: "We'll not be renewing Chris's contract. We'll be using the finance for that one elsewhere -- we've got other areas where we need to strengthen."

14.00 GMT: The Daily Star reports that uncertainty over the Queens Park Rangers future of Harry Redknapp could scupper the club's reported attempts to sign Stoke striker Peter Crouch. Redknapp is reported to be under growing pressure with Rangers in the relegation zone -- and the Star says Tony Pulis and West Brom could be in the frame for Crouch if a Loftus Road switch falls through.

13.15 GMT: Sky Sports is reporting that the Premier League club thought to be in talks with Championship side Blackburn Rovers over striker Rudy Gestede is Crystal Palace. Sky also says Rovers want five million pounds, or thereabouts, for Gestede.

13.00 GMT: More about Mohamed Salah. His agent might think he could be going somewhere (see 11.38 GMT) -- but his manager, Jose Mourinho, doesn't share that view. Here's what Mourinho had to say after his side's sparkling win at Swansea on Saturday: "He can't leave. I have 20 players today with Didier [Drogba] a bit ill and [Cesar] Azpilicueta injured. I have a very short squad -- I need everybody. For Salah to leave someone has to come in, and I don't think we are going to let Salah go on loan and then spend money to bring somebody else in."

12.30 GMT: Emmanuel Adebayor has said he does not intend to leave Tottenham, insisting he has got over his recent off-field issues.

After nine weeks out of action, during which Harry Kane has starred for Spurs, the 30-year-old made his return as a second-half substitute in Spurs' 2-1 home win against Sunderland on Saturday. Injury and illness kept Adebayor out of action before a period of compassionate leave granted because of family issues, with the striker quoted in November as saying that his mother was putting a curse on him.

12.02 GMT: Edinson Cavani has long been linked with a move to the Premier League, and fresh speculation suggests Arsenal and Liverpool are monitoring the striker's situation at PSG. The Express quotes the club's head coach Laurent Blanc as saying: "There will certainly be exits out of PSG in the winter market."

11.38 GMT: Mohamed Salah's agent Oliver Kronenberg has been quoted by Metro as having told Gazzetta dello Sport that the forward could leave Chelsea in January, although it remains to be seen whether Roma will be his destination. "It's very likely he'll leave Chelsea on loan," Kronenberg said. "I spoke to Roma, but the cost of the operation is very high. He is on big wages at the moment and would like to maintain them. We'll wait and see what happens."

11.00 GMT: Hatem Ben Arfa has said he cannot understand why he might not be allowed to complete a move to Nice, with the French Football League due to discuss the matter on Tuesday.

"I do not understand why they would try to stop me from playing in France, my home, and say I should be in England or somewhere else," he said. "Why always try to create problems where there are none? I have only one desire -- to play again on the pitches of Ligue 1, to have fun with my teammates, and to give pleasure to the fans who have welcomed me as ever." Read more.

10.33 GMT: Manchester United and Chelsea have been alerted to the potential availability of Real Madrid's Luka Modric, according to the Sunday Express. The newspaper quotes Francois Gallardo, an apparent FIFA agent, as saying: "Modric is the engine of Real Madrid, but the problem it is his wife who did not fit into Madrid in Spain."

10.00 GMT: The Sunday Times is reporting that Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City have inquired about Radamel Falcao's availability, amid uncertainty over whether his long-term future lies at Manchester United.

09.29 GMT: Here's the full story on Wenger's quotes below, with the Frenchman discussing the battle he faces in bringing in the right player and also how he goes about scouting talent.

09.15 GMT: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is under pressure from fans to delve into the transfer market. Regarding signings, Wenger has said: "We can cope because we have [Calum] Chambers, [Per] Mertesacker, Koscielny. But we have now lost [Mathieu] Debuchy who can play centre-back, Monreal who can play centre-back and Gibbs has been out too. So if we have another injury or two we will struggle. It is risky [not to sign anyone] -- too risky.''


Sebastian Giovinco, center, is ready to cash in on a big-money move to North America.

PAPER ROUND: Giovinco passes on Europe for MLS?

Here's one that went from from zero to 100 in a blink of an eye. On Thursday, Juventus coach Max Allegri said 27-year-old Sebastian Giovinco had never expressed any desire to leave the club. Now not only is Giovinco looking to leave -- apparently he has already gone.

Reports in Canada say Giovinco has already signed for Major League Soccer club Toronto. While the time frame for his arrival remains hazy, TSN says the attacker has penned a four-year deal that will give him nearly as high a salary as Kaka.

Giovinco has struggled to break into the Juve first team, but at 27 he is still in the prime of his career, making this a game-changing move for the MLS, usually the home of geezers like Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard.

It's also the second time this week that Toronto FC have shown they are willing to pay big money to snap their MLS playoff drought after they swapped Jermain Defoe for Jozy Altidore.

Spurs swoop on former Liverpool target

Tottenham Hotspur have opened talks with Dnipro's Ukrainian international Yevhen Konoplyanka, the Mail on Sunday claims.

Konoplyanka, whose proposed 20 million-pound move to Liverpool last January was scuppered at the last minute, has also attracted interest from Manchester United, Everton, West Ham, Monaco and Inter Milan in the past, but it is believed White Hart Lane is his preferred destination.

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino is clearly keen to bring in more high-octane players like the 25-year-old winger to play his high-pressing system, but the newspaper notes that before any sort of deal -- mooted to be around 7 million pounds -- can be done, Tottenham misfits such as Paulinho, Etienne Capoue and Emmanuel Adebayor will be needed to be shifted from the books.

Arsenal's risky business

Arsenal have lost Mathieu Debuchy to injury for the next three months, and Arsene Wenger is having trouble finding anyone to replace him.

The Gunners boss said it is harder than ever to find a defensive replacement in the January transfer window, as teams simply don't want sell in midseason. 

"We are not the only one in the world with this problem," Wenger told reporters. We have targets, but this is not a supermarket where you go in and buy a defender. It is a market that is very restricted and the players that can improve the 10 best teams in Europe, you don't find many. It's the same for everybody.

"Arsenal is a big attraction, of course we are. If it was easy [to sign a defender], we would do it. We have made enquiries, but who wants to sell a central defender in the middle of the season? They say come back in June or July and maybe we will sell.

One thing Wenger is not willing to do is move forward without any insurance. He said Arsenal would definitely make a move, adding: "It's too risky not to try and sign someone."

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