Cristiano Ronaldo, Pep Guardiola want Man United; Arsenal eye John Stones
The winter window draws 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: Ronaldo, Pep to join forces at OT?
Cristiano Ronaldo appears to be edging closer toward the Real Madrid exit door with Rafa Benitez not exactly fighting to keep the Ballon d'Or holder. The Mirror reports that Ronaldo is ready to make a "sensational return" to Manchester United; the 30-year-old is "excited by the prospect of once again wearing their red shirt."
The forward's "love" of United and the Premier League will apparently make Paris Saint-Germain's interest redundant, even if the French champions put a £500,000-a-week contract offer on the table for the Portugal captain.
Meanwhile, the same paper also suggests that Madrid boss Rafa Benitez "will not exert any pressure on the club" to retain Ronaldo, and Benitez understands the "financial picture" of the club that president Florentino Perez is painting. No surprise there, really.
Some more good news for United fans: it seems that Pep Guardiola could also join Ronaldo at Old Trafford. The Telegraph suggests that Guardiola sees United as his "preferred move" next summer, which would give the Red Devils a big decision as to whether they choose to part with Louis van Gaal and pay £7 million to cancel the remaining year of his contract.
However, the Mail says that Guardiola "would not want to undermine a colleague" and could take another sabbatical until 2017 when the position becomes available at United.
Gunners eye precious Stones
Arsene Wenger has proven with Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez that he is not afraid of spending big money if the opportunity presents itself, and the Arsenal manager could well break out the chequebook to land one of Chelsea's most sought-after targets.
The Premier League champions failed with multiple bids for Everton starlet John Stones in the summer, though the Mirror reports that Arsenal will now attempt to steal in for the 21-year-old centre-back as a "long-term" option for the Gunners.
Toffees boss Roberto Martinez is adamant that he will not let Stones go in January, so there could well be a bidding war for the England international after Euro 2016. Given that Everton have already turned down bids in excess of £30 million, Wenger may have to break the bank to land the youngster ahead of Chelsea at this rate.
On the other hand, The Sun reports that Stones is currently learning Spanish, which automatically makes him a target for Barcelona. Obviously.
Neymar, Messi to stay at Barca
It's good to be a Barcelona fan right now. Neymar starred again for the Liga leaders in a 4-0 drubbing of Real Sociedad, scoring twice, and the Brazil captain said after the game that he is keen on extending his Camp Nou contract.
The fly in the ointment is, of course, the recent report from The Sun that suggests Lionel Messi is open to an £800,000-a-week switch to Manchester City, though the Mirror reports Barca's sporting director Robert Fernandez as saying, "We don't know anything about this offer."
Klopp to raid BVB?
Simon Mignolet treads that fine goalkeeping line between making astounding saves one minute and completely bungling simple stops the next. The Sun reports that Jurgen Klopp is already planning on replacing the Belgian with Stoke City's Jack Butland, though the 22-year-old would likely set Liverpool back a cool £20 million.
Butland has been capped three times by Roy Hodgson and looks set to be an England No. 1 for years to come if he can displace Joe Hart. The youngster would be a top acquisition for Klopp, though it remains to be seen whether the former Borussia Dortmund coach would spend such a hefty fee on a position that isn't in dire need of strengthening.
Speaking of Dortmund, Klopp has revealed that he is free to raid his former club for signings, adding: "I have a good relationship with [BVB] and with the players. But there is nothing between us, and if there was a possibility that we could get one of their players and we needed him, then we could try it."
The Star reports that Klopp could be after Marco Reus (£31.5m) and Mats Hummels (£24.5m), though Champions League football may be necessary to guarantee any prospect of those unlikely deals going through.
Spurs seek Saido swap
Andros Townsend seems likely to leave Tottenham in search of regular first-team football, and the North London club appear to be planning an offer for West Brom's Saido Berahino that would suit all parties.
The Star reports that Spurs are ready to put forward a bid for Berahino that would involve the £12m-rated Townsend and around £13m extra in cash for the Baggies forward.
The deal could be complicated by the fact that Newcastle and Southampton are also interested in Townsend, with the small matter of Chelsea and Manchester United being linked with a move for Berahino. Still, a swap deal between Spurs and West Brom would undoubtedly see both clubs happy, as well as both players getting what they want from the situation.
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