Chelsea target Sadio Mane; Man United on 'red alert' for Bale, Ronaldo
The winter window gets closer with each passing day, and the transfer rumour mill is starting to pick up steam. As always, Transfer Talk has the latest and greatest. See all the summer deals here.
TOP STORY: Chelsea target Mane
Chelsea have been linked with a January move for West Brom striker Saido Berahino in recent weeks as they bid to solve their goal-scoring crisis, although the Mirror now reports that the Premier League champions are set to rival Manchester United in the race for Southampton's Sadio Mane.
The 23-year-old Senegal forward has emerged as one of the English top flight's most promising forwards, and Chelsea fans will have duly noted Mane's speed and finishing ability as he scored during the Saints' 3-1 win at Stamford Bridge earlier this season.
Chelsea are reportedly "big admirers" of Mane, though they could face competition from similarly goal-shy United -- and that's even before anybody's asked the player if he even wants to leave St Mary's. Poor Southampton.
Clasico fallout continues with Ronaldo & Bale doubts
It's fair to say that more than a few Real Madrid fans are disgruntled about Saturday's Clasico home hammering by Barcelona, and the blame game is well and truly underway. Rafa Benitez has been hung out to dry despite selecting what was essentially a starting XI designed to appease president Florentino Perez, but The Sun reports Manchester United are on "red alert" with the futures of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale also in question.
Numerous Spanish outlets, including AS, have picked up on reports from Fox Sports that Ronaldo allegedly gave Perez an ultimatum: "Benitez or me." Bale, on the other hand, was judged the worst player in El Clasico in a Marca poll, and he is again facing huge pressure to justify his world-record fee.
Louis van Gaal has admitted he wants to bring Ronaldo back to Old Trafford, but the player's agent, Jorge Mendes, is playing hardball after again saying on Sunday night that a move to Paris Saint-Germain is "impossible" and that Ronaldo will stay at the Bernabeu. Still, stranger things have happened.
Meanwhile, Zinedine Zidane -- currently coaching Real's Castilla B side -- says he isn't ready to replace Rafa just yet, adding: "Things are in their proper place the way they are at the moment." Your words and not ours, Zizou.
Double delight for Lingard
Bastian Schweinsteiger bailed out Jesse Lingard at Watford on Saturday, as the Germany captain helped Manchester United net a late winner to spare the England youngster's blushes after missing two gilt-edged chances to bury the game.
Despite his profligate performance, Lingard could be set for a bumper new United deal -- the Mirror reports that the 23-year-old is set for a "double-your-money" deal that would, well, double his current £25,000-a-year contract.
The midfielder has sufficiently impressed Louis van Gaal to earn a regular starting role for United, but he will need to improve his finishing if he's to avoid the wrath of the Dutch coach in future.
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Hazard hints at Chelsea stay
Any Chelsea fans worried about a potential Eden Hazard exit can sleep a little easier, with the Belgian forward hinting that his future lies at Stamford Bridge beyond next season.
The 24-year-old showed glimpses of the form that won him last season's PFA Player of the Year award in Saturday's win over Norwich, and insists his relationship with Jose Mourinho is strong despite reports that the pair's relationship has crumbled this term.
"I don't have a problem with him," Hazard told reporters on Sunday. "I heard a lot of things about this, but no. Everything is good with him. He is the best manager. He is the best manager for Chelsea and we hope we can win a lot of trophies together. Maybe not this season because it will be difficult, but next season and on."
The winger may of course change his tune if Real Madrid or PSG come calling, but for now it looks like Hazard will be staying in a West London orchard with the rest of Jose's "bad apples".
Gunners need midfielder reinforcements
When it rains, it pours -- and mostly over North London to try and injure Arsenal players, it seems. Multiple British newspapers are reporting that the Gunners have been dealt yet another fitness setback with the news that Francis Coquelin suffered "substantial ligament damage" during Saturday's 2-1 defeat at West Brom, and will miss the rest of 2015 as a result.
Arsene Wenger's refusal to sign a new defensive midfielder was justified with Coquelin stepping up to become a key performer for the club, but the Frenchman's injury leaves the Gunners looking very light in midfield.
With Arsenal reportedly concerned that the 24-year-old could also miss the opening weeks of 2016, Wenger could be forced into the January transfer market to plug the hole in front of his defence.
- Sunderland have been buoyed by the news that highly rated England under-21 striker Duncan Watmore has signed a new long-term deal with the Black Cats until 2020.
- Mauro Icardi answered his critics with a goal during Inter's 4-0 thrashing of Frosinone on Sunday, which -- according to Tuttosport -- is precisely why the Nerazzurri will continue to spurn the advances of Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea in January.