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Transfer Rater: Todibo to Liverpool

Football Whispers
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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Man City target £60m De Bruyne; Arsenal eye Barca starlet Samper

As always, Transfer Talk has its finger on the pulse when it comes to all the latest rumours and gossip. See all the latest deals here.

TOP STORY: Man City target £60m Kevin De Bruyne

It's no secret that Manchester City have been after Kevin De Bruyne all summer, but it appears that Manuel Pellegrini's side are about to get serious about landing the 24-year-old Belgian star.

Could Kevin De Bruyne, left, be off to Manchester City?

The Mirror reports that City are prepared to break the £59.7 million British transfer record that rivals United paid for Angel Di Maria with a huge £60 million bid for Wolfsburg's talisman. Having already spent £49 million on Raheem Sterling this summer, another £60 million on former Chelsea misfit De Bruyne would be a huge statement of intent for next season.

LIVE BLOG:

22.57 BST: That's going to do it for today's live edition of Transfer Talk. Thank you very much for joining us, and be sure to check back in just a few hours as we return with the latest gossip from Friday morning's headlines.

22.36 BST: According to Portuguese publication DN, Paris Saint-Germain have made contact with Sporting Club over the potential availability of William Carvalho. Complicating such a move will be the Portuguese international's broken leg, which will keep him out of action until October.

22.11 BST: Everton have agreed to allow promising young full-back Luke Garbutt to leave for Fulham on a season-long loan, according to the Mirror.

21.42 BST: After returning to hometown club Middlesbrough in a £5.5 million deal, Stewart Downing says he's confident of Boro making further signings.

"For me it was a good time to come back," he told Sky Sports. "I had a good offer from Middlesbrough, so the security of the contract was good but the pull was my hometown club.

"It was also the plans the chairman has and players he was bringing in. I can't tell you who they are but they are good players."

The Teesside club have been linked with a £12 million bid for Blackburn striker Jordan Rhodes.

21.23 BST: Remember all that talk about a Manchester United homecoming for Cristiano Ronaldo? Well, according to the Manchester Evening News, Ed Woodward & Co. are working on a deal to bring the Portuguese back to Old Trafford six years after leaving for Real Madrid.

21.04 BST: It seems that all the talk of Karim Benzema preparing to swap Real Madrid for Arsenal is just that: talk. The Frenchman's agent Karim Djaziri has told Sky Sports: "Karim is very happy at Real Madrid and he will be a Real Madrid player by the end of this transfer window, 1,000 per cent. Karim is not looking to move anywhere this summer."

20.45 BST: Barcelona are preparing to allow highly touted youngster Alen Halilovic to leave the club on loan, and West Ham and Everton are leading the chase for the man dubbed "the new Luka Modric," reports the Daily Mail.

20.26 BST: DONE DEAL Chelsea have signed Partizan Belgrade midfielder Danilo Pantic, who will join Dutch side Vitesse on loan this season.

20.07 BST: Manchester United have reportedly offered Zlatan Ibrahimovic a three-year contract worth £7 million a year, the Daily Star cites Sportmediaset as reporting. Current speculation still has AC Milan as the favourites for landing the Swede, should he leave Paris Saint-Germain before his contract expires in 12 months.

19.48 BST: Could Chelsea's pursuit of Baba Rahman be coming to an unexpected halt? Goal.com cites Augsburg chairman Jonas Hoffman as telling Bild: "We do not need the Baba millions ... I am very optimistic that Baba will continue his great performances with us."

19.27 BST: With Real Madrid heading to China in their preseason tour of Asia, club president Florentino Perez is flying out to join up with the team as he prepares to plead with Sergio Ramos not to leave for Manchester United this summer, reports the Guardian.

19.02 BST: West Bromwich Albion are in discussions with former Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby over a pay-as-you-play contract, reports the Mirror.

18.43 BST: Aston Villa are holding a transfer summit, according to the Mirror, to determine how to spend the windfall they've received from the sales of Fabian Delph and Christian Benteke. The report goes on to state that, in addition to Emmanuel Adebayor, Villa are also interested in taking Andros Townsend from Tottenham.

18.24 BST: Amid rumoured interest from Manchester United and Newcastle United, West Ham chairman David Gold has taken to Twitter to declare that the East London club have no intentions of selling Diafra Sakho.

18.05 BST: Liverpool are interested in French international Lucas Digne, reports the Daily Mail. The French international has asked to leave Paris Saint-Germain, and the Anfield outfit reportedly would like to add the 22-year-old to compete with Alberto Moreno for a place in the club's XI.

17.46 BST: Manchester City are interested in signing former Chelsea academy product Gokhan Tore, talkSPORT cites Turkish outlet NTV Spor as reporting. The Turkish winger is also reportedly drawing interest from Atletico Madrid.

17.27 BST -- DONE DEAL: Jason Shackell to Derby from Burnley has moved pretty fast, and now it has moved to a conclusion. The central defender has signed a three-year deal and joins for an undisclosed fee:

17.25 BST: Sky Sports report that Blackburn have rejected a bid from Middlesbrough, last season's beaten Championship playoff finalists, for prolific striker Jordan Rhodes.

17.10 BST: Chancel Mbemba is in Newcastle for a medical before his transfer from Anderlecht to Newcastle, the Chronicle reports. It says the defender, 20, is expected to cost around £8.5 million and the deal could be wrapped up tomorrow.

17.06 BST -- DONE DEAL: Crystal Palace have dipped into the transfer market again, this time to bring in goalkeeper Alex McCarthy from fellow Londoners QPR for an undisclosed fee -- which some reports suggest is around £3.5 million -- on a four-year deal:

17.05 BST: Brentford have been keeping busy this season following last season's run to the Championship playoff semifinals with their most exciting team for years -- and they hope IFK Gothenburg's Denmark international striker Lasse Vibe can help them go one step further next time around. The prolific Vibe is set for a £1 million switch to Griffin Park, according to local reports.

16.55 BST: Watford are moving closer to signing AZ Alkmaar winger Steven Berghuis after the Dutch club announced that agreement had been reached with the Premier League newcomers. Berghuis is having talks with Watford officials, although personal terms have yet to be agreed.

16.40 BST: DONE DEAL -- It's all go at Charlton -- here's another one:

16.30 BST: DONE DEAL -- Wolfsburg have completed the signing of defender Carlos Ascues from Peruvian top-flight club Melgar Arequipa for an undisclosed fee.

Ascues, 23, has signed a three-year contract with the Bundesliga club and said it was a dream come true to play in the German top division.

"I am absolutely delighted and grateful to be able to play in Germany and to have the chance to prove myself in one of the strongest leagues in the world," he told Wolfsburg's official website.

16.15 BST: And still with matters West Brom:

16.10 BST: Now here's an interesting one: the Birmingham Mail reports that West Bromwich Albion are holding talks with midfielder Abou Diaby, a free agent after being released by Arsenal at the end of last season.

The paper says the Frenchman is in discussions with Baggies boss Tony Pulis as he looks for a new club after a spell of injury problems.

It adds: "Albion feel they have the right facilities, medical science and staff to get the best out of Diaby who, if fit, would represent a magnificent acquisition."

15.58 BST: Burnley boss Sean Dyche is pulling no punches about Jason Shackell's impending move to Derby after a fee was agreed between the two clubs. This is what he had to say to the club's official website:

"It's fair to say Derby County made an offer that was so large he found he couldn't refuse it. Outside the Premier League there are still some clubs throwing enormous amounts of money at the situation, and Derby are one of those clubs.

"His motivation was to go there for the contract that was on offer."

15.39 BST: A done deal from The Valley, home of Charlton Athletic:

15.30 BST: Jesse Lingard wants to stay and fight for a place in the Manchester United first team next season rather than go out on loan.

Lingard enjoyed a successful loan spell at Derby last term, and a number of Championship clubs are keeping tabs on the midfielder in case he is made available on a temporary basis again.

However, the 22-year-old is hoping he will do enough on United's preseason tour to persuade Louis van Gaal that he is worth keeping at Old Trafford. "The manager has not said anything to me at the moment regarding my future," Lingard told Press Association Sport. "I am looking to stay for the first couple of months and see what it's like."

15.20 BST: Reports earlier in the day suggested developments were imminent in a Jason Shackell return to derby from relegated Burnley, and now:

15.00 BST: Is Didier Drogba off to MLS? The Chelsea legend, a free agent after his release by the club in the summer, is mulling over an offer to join Chicago Fire, but their coach Frank Yallop -- once an Ipswich player -- is not taking anything for granted.

The BBC reports him as saying: "We're waiting on an answer, probably in the next 48 hours. He has choices. We feel that we've put a pretty good pitch in. He's very happy with what we've done, but it's up the person himself to choose. We'll see."

14.50 BST: We mentioned the possibility of Pedro to Liverpool earlier on... could the time of his departure from the Camp Nou be drawing rapidly closer? See what this makes you think:

14.40 BST: West Bromwich Albion are on the verge of agreeing a new contract with goalkeeper Boaz Myhill, the Birmingham Evening Mail has reported.

The paper says Myhill, who played a key role in West Brom's run to safety under Tony Pulis in the second half of the season, could soon be joined at The Hawthorns by fellow goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey, who plays for Pulis's former club Crystal Palace.

14.13 BST: An update on a Real Madrid transfer target ... Manchester United are optimistic that David De Gea will be fit to face Barcelona on Saturday. The goalkeeper has sat out United's friendly wins over Club America and San Jose Earthquakes with a minor injury, which manager Louis van Gaal has said is not serious.

14.00 BST: Italian journalist Tancredi Palmeri has said he believes Chelsea's Mohamed Salah is heading for Roma on loan with a view to a permanent move, the BBC reports -- and the player himself has offered this hint on Twitter:

13.50 BST: Inter Milan's attacking midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri is in discussions with Schalke about a return to the Bundesliga, the German club have confirmed.

Schalke sporting director Horst Heldt said last week his club were interested in Shaqiri, 24, who left Bayern Munich for Italy in January. A transfer now appears to be edging closer, however, as Heldt said on Thursday that Schalke are finding out what the Switzerland international intends to do.

13.30 BST: Former Liverpool director of football Damien Comolli has said he believes the club are taking a risk by making large-scale changes for a second successive summer.

"I thought it was a huge risk last year after selling Suarez and bringing in, I think, nine [new players]," he told talkSPORT. "Now they have decided to change a lot again and totally rebuild. That is always a massive, massive risk."

13.20 BST: Atletico Madrid announce a DONE DEAL:

13.12 BST: Speculation linking Kevin de Bruyne with a move to Manchester City has grown and grown in recent days - but hold your horses, says Wolfsburg sporting director Klaus Allofs. "Nothing [in terms of an offer] has arrived here, and neither Kevin nor his agent has told me he wants to leave," Allofs told reporters in Germany.

12.45 BST: He may be going on loan to Middlesbrough next season but -- like Stamford Bridge colleague Patrick Bamford -- Chelsea defender Tomas Kalas is staying in London for the long term.

12.30 BST: QPR striker Charlie Austin could still be at Loftus Road at the start of the season despite being linked with a return to the Premier League, says manager Chris Ramsey. Sky Sports reports that Austin, who has been linked with Newcastle as well as Crystal Palace and Leicester, could stay where he is as QPR continue to demand £15 million for him.

12.12 BST: The BBC reports that Derby could bring their former captain Jason Shackell back to Pride Park after Burnley's relegation, with a switch close to happening. New Rams boss Paul Clement confirmed this week that he was interested in adding the centre-half to his ranks.

12.07 BST: Mario Gotze appears keen to stay at Bayern Munich despite interest from Juventus, according to CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

Gotze, 23, fell down the pecking order at Bayern after a disappointing season, and there has been speculation that he could leave the Allianz Arena. Rummenigge has left the door open to a potential sale on more than one occasion in recent weeks, but said: "I don't know if Juventus have had contact with him. I get the impression that he wants to stay."

12.00 BST: Manchester United have been rumoured to want him -- and now Liverpool are after Barcelona's Pedro as well, Spanish paper Mundo Deportivo has reported. It says the Merseysiders could opt to trigger Pedro's £22 million release clause after the completion of Raheem Sterling's big-money move to Manchester City.

11.52 BST: Former Newcastle stalwart Ryan Taylor, released by the Magpies at the end of last season, is training with newly-relegated Hull -- the team the Magpies beat to top-flight survival. Taylor, who can play in both defence and midfield, had also been linked with Nottingham Forest.

11.45 BST: Yaya Toure has said he can play until he is 40 and wants to stay at Manchester City until 2017.

Toure, 32, said he has eight more seasons left in him -- and is determined to spend the first two of them at the Etihad Stadium.

The midfielder had been tipped to move on this summer, with former City boss Roberto Mancini having been keen to take him to Inter Milan, and his agent said in May that Toure was "90 percent certain" to leave. Not so, it now seems.

11.30 BST: Tottenham are preparing a bid for West Bromwich Albion striker Saido Berahino, sources have told ESPN FC.

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino has identified Berahino as his top target as he makes a new striker a top priority, with Emmanuel Adebayor -- who is in talks with Aston Villa -- and Roberto Soldado both expected to move on.

11.20 BST: Angel Di Maria -- will he leave Manchester United or won't he?

Yes he will, says mercato365.com, which reports that French champions Paris Saint-Germain are close to completing a deal with agreement expected to be reached in the coming days or next week.

The report says a five-year contract and a €260,000 weekly wage await the 27-year-old Argentina international in the French capital, with PSG set to pay €60-65 million for him. If the move goes through, Di Maria will become PSG's third signing of the summer following the arrivals of Kevin Trapp and Benjamin Stambouli.

11.15 BST: Here's a bit of what Brighton fans -- who were rather goal-starved last season -- will be hoping to see from their new signing:

11.11 BST: Sky Italia report that are reporting that Manchester City forward Stevan Jovetic is "very close" to a switch to Inter Milan, initially on a loan basis but with an option for a permanent move next summer.

11.10 BST: And a bit more on that deal: Former Fulham man Riether, 32, joins on a one-year deal after leaving Freiburg after their relegation from the Bundesliga last season. "Sascha Riether is an experienced player who will be good for our young team," Schalke sporting director Horst Heldt said.

11.05 BST: A done deal from Germany:

11.00 BST: Manuel Pellegrini has said Manchester City could sell Roma target Edin Dzeko. Dzeko is on the radar of the Serie A runners-up, with captain Francesco Totti urging them to buy the Bosnia-Herzegovina international. City are reportedly holding out for a £20 million fee in negotiations.

10.45 BST: From Real Madrid to... Brighton and Hove Albion. It may not seem the most obvious of transfer paths, but Scotland under-19 international Jack Harper has made it, Brighton's official website reports.

It says the move will happen subject to international clearance, with the 19-year-old signing a two-year deal with the Championship Seagulls.

Brighton boss Chris Hughton said: "Even at the age of 19, Jack is a well-known name and, having spent the past six years at Real Madrid, there is no doubting his pedigree."

10.30 BST: Galatasaray midfielder Felipe Melo has targeted a return to Serie A, saying he wants to move to Inter Milan.

Turkey's Hurryet newspaper quoted the former Fiorentina and Juventus player as saying he and his family were not happy in Istanbul and that he was desperate to play in Italy again.

"If I were able to go to Inter, that would be the best thing for me," Melo said. "My family's not happy in Turkey, and we don't want to stay here."

10.15 BST: Torino president Urbano Cairo has said his club want to sign one more forward before the summer transfer window is over, hinting that Alessio Cerci could return from Atletico Madrid.

10.00 BST: Manchester United aren't content with just Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin as they reshape their midfield. Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport reports that Louis van Gaal's side have tabled a €25 million offer for Lazio's Argentina international Lucas Biglia.

09.45 BST: Here's Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, talking about the future of 19-year-old midfielder Bertrand Traore -- and saying that future does not, for now, involve going out on loan like club colleague Patrick Bamford. Mourinho told Chelsea's official website: "He's 19, he's a kid. He was in Africa, then Vitesse, and now he's at Chelsea. He's not going on loan.

"We want to keep him and improve him. With the ball he has a lot of talent. Sometimes he didn't always make the best decisions, but this is absolutely normal. He's a good kid, a good talent, and I repeat -- he's not going on loan."

09.30 BST: Footmercato.net reports that Monaco have struck a deal with Saint-Etienne for 18-year-old forward Allan Saint-Maximin, with the forward set to undergo a medical on Thursday and sign a five-year deal.

09.20 BST: Having lost Kevin Trapp to Paris Saint-Germain, Eintracht Frankfurt are on the lookout for a new goalkeeper -- and they may have found their man in Slovak-born Finnish international Lukas Hradecky, Bild reports. Hradecky, 25, has spent the past two seasons at Danish club Brondby.

09.10 BST: Schalke midfielder Julian Draxler's agent says his client has not yet accepted an offer from Juventus, contrary to reports in Italy.

Schalke have given Juve permission to talk to Draxler and La Gazzetta dello Sport claimed on Wednesday that the Germany international had agreed to join them, leaving only a fee to be discussed. However, agent Roger Wittmann insists that is not the case and says the 21-year-old is still considering his future.

08.49 BST: Various Barcelona players have been linked with exits, not least Pedro, and -- unsurprisingly for a club that can't field any new signings till January -- they don't plan to sell anyone unless they're forced to.

08.31 BST: Bayern Munich have confirmed that an agreement is in place with Juventus for Arturo Vidal and he is just a medical away from signing the contract. Story here.

08.29 BST: Arsenal can now compete for "exceptional" players but it is not in the club's DNA to emulate Manchester United's big spending, according to manager Arsene Wenger. Story here.

08.02 BST: Bild is reporting that Championship side Brentford are set to win the race to sign Germany under-21 striker Philipp Hoffmann. Hoffmann, 22, scored six times in 30 matches for 2. Bundesliga side Kaiserslautern last season.

"We are in intensive talks with an English club," Kaiserslautern sporting director Markus Schupp told Bild. "And we hope that by the end of the week we can report their completion." Newly-promoted Bundesliga side Darmstadt are also interested in the player. 

07.43 BST: Rafa Benitez is "100 percent" sure Sergio Ramos will stay at Real Madrid despite interest from Manchester United. Story here.

Arsenal eye Barcelona starlet Sergi Samper

Meanwhile, The Sun reports that Arsene Wenger will return to Barcelona for a sixth time to snare La Masia graduate Sergi Samper. Wenger will reportedly trigger the £8.5 million buyout clause to allow the 20-year-old defensive midfielder to follow the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Hector Bellerin on the well-worn path from Catalonia to North London, while Mundo Deportivo reports that a deal is a distinct possibility.

Paper Round

Pedro to replace Di Maria at Old Trafford

Louis van Gaal is hoping that Angel Di Maria will stay at Manchester United, but the Mirror reports that the Argentine midfielder has played his last game for the Red Devils.

The paper suggests that while United and Paris Saint-Germain are still "some distance apart" in terms of their valuations of the 27-year-old, there is a "determination from both sides" to see a deal done and the £59.7 million British record signing moved on to Paris after just one season in the Premier League.

United may well console themselves with landing Barcelona forward Pedro, with Barcelona teammate Sergio Busquets confirming that the 27-year-old wants more first-team football.

Busquets said: "He's a friend of mine and it will be his final decision. He wants to play more and get more minutes. That's what he wants."

The Daily Express says the £22 million deal could be completed as soon as next week given Pedro's desire to move to United -- it's all change at Old Trafford these days.

To add insult to injury over Di Maria, the Daily Star reports that United have suffered a "knockout blow" as Atletico Madrid have completed the signing of Bernard Mensah from Portuguese side Vitoria Guimaraes.

The Star's definition of a knockout blow may be looser than most, but the paper reports that United did indeed want the 20-year-old Ghana midfielder before Atleti swooped.

City target centre-backs

ESPN FC's Steve Nicol has examined why Premier League clubs are focusing on buying forwards rather than defenders, and one might conclude that there simply aren't a lot of top-level centre-backs currently available.

That puts a squeeze on top talent, and the Mirror suggests that Man City are looking at Valencia's Nicolas Otamendi and Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos -- a situation that could reportedly lead to "civil war" with rivals Man United.

Manchester City are reportedly interested in joining rivals Manchester United in the chase for Sergio Ramos.

If City have £60m to lavish on De Bruyne, then they certainly have the funds to compete with United for defenders. Ed Woodward, you have been warned.

Meanwhile, the Guardian reports that City may make space for De Bruyne by offloading Stevan Jovetic to Inter Milan.

The 25-year-old Montenegrin forward is close to a deal that would see him spend the 2015-16 campaign on loan at the San Siro before completing a permanent €15 million (£10.5m) move next summer.

Chelsea turn up Stones pressure

The word "saga" is often overused during transfer windows, but Chelsea's pursuit of John Stones has a definite air about it. Jose Mourinho is defiant over the Premier League champions' chase of the 21-year-old centre-back, but Everton are growing increasingly angry with the Stamford Bridge side.

The Mirror reports that the Toffees are "furious" with the Blues' "underhand campaign" to land Stones, and feel that Chelsea have ignored a letter sent from Merseyside to West London informing the title holders that Stones is not for sale.

Everton reportedly feel that the clubs' good relationship is being destroyed as Chelsea insist that the letter does not specifically rule out a deal for Stones -- you're just getting pedantic now, Jose.

Young desperate for United future

Ashley Young was one player fully expected to depart United under Louis van Gaal's tenure, but the England winger buckled down and became one of Old Trafford's most impressive performers last season.

However, the 29-year-old's future at the club is now uncertain after contract talks stalled. Young has a year left on his current deal, but said: "A lot of people thought I had [a new deal] done but I haven't. It's in the club's hands now, so I will have to see how it goes. I'm desperate to stay. I hope we can sort things out."

He ended by saying: "I am a player who wants to be playing every week." It's unlikely he will get such guarantees at United next term, so a move could well be on the cards.

Tap-ins

- Mohamed Salah is ready to join Roma, according to the Mirror -- but the paper reports that the Giallorossi still need to agree a fee with Chelsea for the 23-year-old Egyptian winger.

- QPR are in talks over a move for Crystal Palace midfielder Adlene Guedioura, according to the Daily Mail. The 29-year-old Algerian impressed on loan at Watford last year, and could be the man to help QPR back into the Premier League -- and then take them down again.

- And so, the end is near ... for Michu at Swansea, at least. Wales Online reports that the "fallen star" now needs to decide his future, with Rayo Vallecano moving in on the forward after the 29-year-old's proposed move to Napoli collapsed.

- Aaron Lennon is suffering the ultimate embarrassment at Tottenham, according to the Daily Telegraph, with the 28-year-old forced to train alongside Emmanuel Adebayor with the under-21 side as the pair maintain their fitness.

The winger is reportedly still allowed to use the first-team dressing room, but has been told by Mauricio Pochettino that he has no future at White Hart Lane.

- Middlesbrough are ready to follow up the signing of local hero Stewart Downing with an "astonishing" £14 million bid for Blackburn striker Jordan Rhodes in order to achieve Premier League promotion, according to The Sun.

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