Man Utd in for Neymar; Chelsea join Isco chase
The winter window opened on Jan. 2, and, 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 Utd in for Neymar; Chelsea join Isco chase
Manchester United have struggled for goals this season, netting just 24 times in 20 Premier League games, sparking debate as to what Louis van Gaal can do to increase their firepower. With Wayne Rooney struggling for form and very few other options, LVG has little other choice but to delve into the transfer market.
One target they're being linked with is Barcelona's Neymar. French media outlet Le 10 Sport -- along with The Metro and The Daily Star -- are reporting United are prepared to trigger the Brazilian's £140m release clause.
The Brazilian's been in superb form this season netting 14 La Liga goals, but it will be remain to be seen if the Red Devils actually do decide to activate his release clause in the January transfer window -- this summer seems like a far more realistic possibility.
Elsewhere, Chelsea have joined the race alongside Manchester City and Juventus to sign Real Madrid's Isco. The Blues are reportedly planning to spend big following a disastrous first half of the season and are looking to the Spanish playmaker to help start their revival. According to The Evening Standard, Madrid are unwilling to sell but the 23-year-old might try and force a move with concerns that he could lose his place in Spain's squad for Euro 2016.
But that was before Rafa Benitez was replaced by Zinedine Zidane, who reportedly convinced Isco to ignore Man City in 2013.
22:51 GMT: Crystal Palace are keeping their options open when it comes to finding new additions. The Mirror reports the Eagles are keen to pounce on Swansea midfielder Jonjo Shelvey.
Earlier in the day, Palace had been linked to Loic Remy, Charlie Austin and Simone Zaza, so it appears they are going to put their new funds from a recent American investment to good use this month.
22:41 GMT: French goalkeeper Steven Mandanda appears ready to decline Premier League interest to sign with Besiktas.
Turkish paper Milliyet says the deal is 90 percent completed, with Marseille asking €1.5 million for the 31-year-old, who has reportedly drawn attention from Liverpool, Aston Villa, Newcastle and Norwich.
22:15 GMT: Today's Mathieu Debuchy sweepstakes continues as French outlet Buzz Sport reports Paris-Saint-Germain want the Arsenal man to replace Gregory Van Der Wiel.
Good luck to Aston Villa and West Brom if they think they can lure the Frenchman with PSG now interested.
21:53 GMT: The coaching change at Real Madrid will likely cause at least some upheaval, but former Wales manager John Toshack doesn't think it will affect Gareth Bale.
"I don't see that as a problem at all," Toshack told BBC Radio Wales. "With the money they paid for Gareth and knowing what Gareth can do they know the problems run deeper than that."
Instead, Toshack fingered Karim Benzema as a possible departure amid his blackmail case in which the striker faces preliminary charges of conspiracy. He was denied a request to meet with Mathieu Valbuena on Monday.
21:11 GMT: Nothing says open transfer window like something as mundane as a player changing their Facebook profile photo drawing global attention. But that's exactly what's happened to David De Gea.
20:30 GMT: Well, it's now official -- Zinedine Zidane is the new man in charge at Real Madrid. Club president Florentino Perez told him: "This is your stadium, this is your club." But what will that mean for Real's transfer plans?
Real are never short on cash, so Zidane could be given some leeway to reinvent the club to his liking this month.
Or it could signal a sea change at the high-spending club, as Zidane's former position as Real's reserve team manager could see him give more opportunities to young players already on the books.
One way or the other, Zidane should reveal more when he's faces the media at his first full news conference on Tuesday.
19:48 GMT: A few hours it was West Brom who were in for Arsenal's Mathieu Debuchy, and now the Express reports Aston Villa are interested in the the right-back as well.
Debuchy will need more playing time if he wants to feature for France at Euro 2016, and Villa's French manager Remi Garde will try to make his dreams come true.
19:19 GMT: Crystal Palace have joined the race for Chelsea's Loic Remy, the Mirror reports, after getting only a single goal from their forwards this campaign.
Remy has found chances at Chelsea rare, though Guus Hiddink did express anger last week when Aston Villa bosss Remi Garde expressed his admiration for the Frechman.
19:00 GMT: Liverpool are in talks to beat Man United and add 16-year-old goalkeeper Kamil Grabara to their academy. The Polish youth international is already playing for top-flight club Ruch Chorzow, whose president confirmed the Reds' interest, according to the Echo.
18.44 GMT: Colombian winger Danilo Asprilla has signed with the United Arab Emirates' Al Ain from Bulgaria's Litex Lovech. Why is that important? It's likely to seal the departure of former Liverpool forward Ryan Babel.
The 29-year-old Dutchman has struggled both on and off the pitch since signing on in the summer and has been linked to a move to Galatasaray.
Staying in the UAE, former Stoke forward Kenwyne Jones appears set to leave Cardiff City for a move to Al Jazira, according to the Daily Mail.
18.17 GMT: Stoke are confident of hanging onto both Bojan Krkic and Marko Arnautovic this month, according to manager Mark Hughes, who rubbished reports that Bojan had a release clause of a paltry £10 million.
"A lot of these stories are without substance," Hughes said. "They run their course and then you usually find players are still where they were at the beginning of January -- which is where we feel we'll be at the end of this window.''
17.52 GMT: DONE DEAL Derby County have signed Guinea international Abdoul Camara for £1.25m from Ligue 1 club Angers.
17.39 GMT: DONE DEAL 17-year-old fullback Jordan Gabriel has signed a professional contract with Nottingham Forest.
17.28 GMT: DONE DEAL Leicester have completed the signing of Demarai Gray from Birmingham City for £3.75m. Read the full story here.
17.24 GMT: Lionel Messi could play for River Plate before he retires, according to club president Rodolfo D'Onofrio.
"Why couldn't Messi one day finish his career at River?" D'Onofrio said. "It would be like going back to what once was his home because he had a trial here before he left for Barcelona." Read the full story here.
17.14 GMT: Sam Allardyce is keen to bring QPR midfielder Sandro to Sunderland, according to The Mirror. The Brazil international didn't play in his side's game against Hull on January 1, further hinting at a possible exit.
16.56 GMT: Alex Teixeira is very nearly a Chelsea player, according to The Express. Brazilian pair Willian and Oscar are said to have had a pivotal role in their fellow countryman's decision to opt for the London club.
16.37 GMT: According to Football Italia, AC Milan have signed Kevin-Prince Boateng for the second time in six years. The midfielder made 100 appearances in his previous term with the Serie A outfit before moving to Schalke 04 in 2013.
16.18 GMT: Former Real Madrid and Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien has agreed personal terms with Antalyaspor, according to RadyoSpor. However, the same report claims the club are yet to strike a deal with his current employer Panathinakos so the completion of a possible transfer is still up in the air.
16.00 GMT:DONE DEAL 26-year-old Artem Kravets has joined VfB Stuttgart on loan from Dinamo Kiev.
15.46 GMT: Jurgen Klopp has played down talk of Mario Balotelli returning to Liverpool. He said: "Maybe his agent says this and we will have a talk with his agent, but it's nothing I can think about in this moment. I am just thinking about what we can change in this moment." Read the full story here.
15.30 GMT: West Brom to swap Serge Gnabry for Mathieu Debuchy? That's what The Mirror are reporting. Gnabry's made just one appearance for West Brom and his loan deal's expected to be cut short, but the Baggies now want fellow Arsenal teammate Debuchy instead.
15.18 GMT: Jack Stephens joined Middlesborough from Southampton on loan in July 2015, but he's been recalled six months early by Ronald Koeman due to the lack of appearances he's made since the temporary switch.
Southampton have recalled defender Jack Stephens from his loan spell at Middlesbrough #SSFootball- SuperSport Blitz (@SuperSportBlitz) January 4, 2016
15.03 GMT: Real Madrid are to hold a meeting to determine Rafa Benitez's future today, according to multiple reports in Spain. Read the full story here.
14.44 GMT: According to The Sun, Crystal Palace are preparing a £7.5m bid for QPR forward Charlie Austin. The striker is out of contract in the summer, and after his impressive 18 goals in his debut Premier League season last year, he could supply the required firepower to push Alan Pardew's side into the European places.
14.24 GMT: Everton and West Brom have bid for Hull City's Almed Elmohamady, according to Egyptian news outlet King Fut. The 28-year-old is out of contract in the summer and Hull could look to recoup some of the £2m they paid to Sunderland two years.
14.00 GMT: Liverpool manager has ruled out a move for Barcelona's Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, claiming he's happy with current No.1 Simon Mignolet.
Klopp: "Simon Mignolet is a really, really, really good goalkeeper. No 2 in Belgium. A big football country. Good education."- This Is Anfield (@thisisanfield) January 4, 2016
13.45 GMT: Manchester United will let Nick Powell go out on loan for the rest of the season, according to The Sun, and Preston North End are leading the chase to home the 21-year-old.
13.25 GMT: DONE DEAL Former AC Milan and Roma winger Urby Emanuelson has joined Hellas Verona on a free transfer.
Official: Hellas Verona have signed Urby Emanuelson pic.twitter.com/ilP0QjTg2x- Serie A News (@TransfersCalcio) January 3, 2016
The 29-year-old Dutchman was available following his release by Roma and bolsters a Verona team who are yet to win a Serie A game this season. Hellas announced the capture on their official website, with head coach Luigi Delneri set to introduce the former Fulham loanee at a press conference scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.
13.19 GMT: DONE DEAL Basel's forward Yoichiro Kakitani has returned home to Japan to rejoin former club Cerezo Ozaka. The 26-year-old failed to establish himself in his 18-month spell at the Swiss champions and played in just four league games this season.
However, on the way in for Basel is Sweden U21 midfielder Alexander Fransson who's signed until 2020 from newly crowned Swedish champions Norrkoping.
13.09 GMT: West Ham midfielder Diego Poyet set to return to Charlton on loan for the rest of the season, sources have told ESPN FC.
12.59 GMT: Jonjo Shelvey has fallen out of favour at the Liberty Stadium, but Alan Pardew is poised to come in for the midfielder and help revive his hopes of making England's Euro 2016 squad. However, Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins is said to want £10m from Crystal Palace if the deal is to go ahead, according to The Telegraph.
12.46 GMT: Emmanuel Adebayor could be back to the Premier League, according to The Daily Mail. The Toga international was released in September by Spurs, but Watford are said to be interested in signing the striker themselves.
- Tottenham Hotspur FC (@_THFC_) January 4, 2016
12.27 GMT: According to Italian publication Corriere della Sera, Manchester United have rejected AC Milan's loan request for Marouanne Fellani. It's said that the Serie A outfit couldn't meet United's 19m valuation and looked to loan the Belgian star instead.
12.07 GMT: Liverpool and Tottenham are keeping their tab on Granada striker Adalberto Penaranda, according to The Sun. The Venezuelan 18-year-old broke Lionel Messi's record as the youngest foreigner to score a La Liga double with a brace against Levante last month and is rapidly becoming hot property in football.
11.50 GMT: DONE DEAL Charlton have resigned Roger Johnson from FC Pune City on an 18-month deal. The experienced defender will add some much needed stability to a struggling Addicks back line.
11.36 GMT: Juventus striker Simone Zaza is high on Premier League radar as talkSPORT reports Arsenal, Norwich and Crystal Palace are all interested in signing the 24-year-old. However, they face stiff competition from Inter and Marseille who are also both said to be keen in securing the Italian's services.
11.19 GMT: Leicester are to hold talks with Sampdoria over a deal for 18-year-old right-back Pedro Pereira, according to Sky Italia. The Portuguese prodigy has represented his country up to U18 level and Claudio Ranieri is said to be very interested in bringing him to the King Power Stadium.
11:02 GMT: Oumar Niasse is set for a transfer to the Premier League, according to reports. The in-form Lokomotic Moscow striker is being touted for a £15m switch to England after impressing in Russia, notching 12 goals and 10 assists in 21 games this season.
10.46 GMT: Paris Saint-Germain are back in the news but it's not Marquinhos or Zlatan Ibrahimovic taking the headlines this time, it's now Salvatore Sirigu. The keeper is said to be dissatisfied at the lack of playing time and is assessing his options for a potential move away.
10.31 GMT: Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke has played down rumours that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is on his way to Arsenal. He said: "He's under contract until 2020. But those situations are not new for us. It's just normal that our players attract attention." Read the full story here.
10.12 GMT: Abdelaziz Barrada is hopeful fellow Marseille teammate Steve Mandanda will stay at the club after the keeper's heroic performance in the Coupe de France. The France international -- who is out of contract in the summer -- is being linked with Aston Villa. Read the full story here.
09.55 GMT: DONE DEAL Adam Szalai continues his journey through Bundesliga, and joins Hannover 96 on a six-month loan from bottom-club Hoffenheim. The 28-year-old attacker has played for FSV Mainz, Schalke 04, TSG Hoffenheim and now Hannover, who have an option to buy in the summer.
09.50 GMT: West Brom are being linked with a move for Angers defender Romain Thomas, according to The Birmingham Mail. The 27-year-old centre-back has been linked with Stoke and Crystal Palace.
09.26 GMT: Lyon defender Milan Bisevac, 32, is in negotiations with Lazio according to L'Equipe. The Serbian centre-back, who joined from Paris Saint-Germain in 2012, has only played six league matches this term after suffering a serious injury last year. The same paper reports that Lorient are interested in securing the services of another Lyon defender: 23-year-old Lindsay Rose.
09.00 GMT: Wolfsburg hope to land Victor Osimhen from Ultimate Strikers in Lagos, according to kicker. The 17-year-old Nigeria youth international starred at the recent U17 World Cup and has also been linked with Arsenal. "We've reached out to him, but it's not that easy. Several things need to be sorted out," Wolfsburg sporting director Klaus Allofs said of the attacker, who has been compared with Edin Dzeko.
08.39 GMT: Lucas Deaux looks to have left Nantes to sign a two-and-a-half-year deal with Belgian champions Gent. The deal has not been officially confirmed by either club but the player and his agent posted pictures on social media showing the 27-year-old holding up a Gent shirt, and reports in France and Belgium say the deal has been completed.
08.26 GMT: RB Leipzig CEO Oliver Mintzlaff says attacker Emil Forsberg -- who has been linked with Liverpool -- "is not on sale," and adds to dpa: "Enquiries, offers and speculation don't interest us." The 24-year-old's agent was quoted in Sweden at the weekend as saying that he wants to enter talks with Leipzig over a possible transfer.
08.15 GMT: Schalke are still in the market for Leicester midfielder Gokhan Inler, who tells Blick in Switzerland that he does not want to leave the Foxes but that "a transfer is certainly possible" and "depends on whatever happens in the next few weeks." Schalke are also reportedly in the race for 25-year-old Dynamo Kiev midfielder Younes Belhanda.
08.03 GMT: Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal are now free to play for Barcelona after the club's FIFA transfer ban expired. Read that one here.
07.52 GMT: Bayern Munich fringe player Jan Kirchhoff is set to join Sunderland, according to kicker. The clubs have apparently agreed terms, with the centre-back to cost €1m and sign a deal until 2018.
07.31 GMT: Tottenham target Ezequiel Lavezzi would prefer a move back to Serie A. That's according to his agent, Alejandro Mazzoni. Read that one here.
07.18 GMT: VfB Stuttgart are set to sign Dynamo Kiev attacker Artem Kravets on loan as well as former Borrussia Dortmund star Kevin Grosskreutz, who is to sign a contract until 2018 after having moved to Galatasaray in the summer. Both players have passed their medicals, but agreements with their clubs are yet to be finalised.
06.43 GMT: First cab off the rank today is transfer news out of Singapore! Apparently, former Liverpool and Arsenal winger Jermaine Pennant has scored a week-long trial at S.League club Tampines Rovers.
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Sane fee could surpass Ozil's
Manchester City spent big on a young Bundesliga talent last summer with a £54 million move for Kevin De Bruyne, and the club looks set to return to Germany once again for another hot prospect.
Bild reports that the Premier League-title hopefuls are preparing a huge €55m (£40.5m) offer for Schalke attacking midfielder Leroy Sane, who has attracted the club's interest of late with four goals and four assists in the Bundesliga this season.
A move of that magnitude would make Sane -- a Germany Under-21 international -- the most expensive player in German history ahead of Mesut Ozil (€50m in 2013), putting a lot of pressure on the 19-year-old's shoulders. Schalke manager Horst Heldt was defiant last week in claiming "even Man City haven't got that much money" to sign Mane, but with the Premier League club making a habit of collecting some of Europe's top young performers, a switch to the Etihad Stadium looks more tempting by the day for Pep Guardiola.
A formal £40.5m (€50m) offer from City to Schalke for Leroy Sané is imminent! [Bild] pic.twitter.com/RrCR0Umj1D- City Watch (@City_Watch) January 3, 2016
Respected German publication kicker, meanwhile, says Schalke have not yet received a bid from City, but that's not to say they won't.
Chicharito not for sale
Even the casual Twitter user has struggled to avoid the memes poking fun at Louis van Gaal for letting Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez leave Manchester United last summer, and Bayer Leverkusen aren't about to make the same mistake the Dutch coach made.
The Mexico international has scored a superb 19 goals in 25 games since his move to the Bundesliga, and Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Voller says in Sky Sports Germany: "Chicharito has played a big part in our success so far, through his style of play, through his goals. That's why we brought him here. In the first half of the season, everything has worked out fine.
"It's easy to reject offers when you are in a position in which you don't need to sell. We are in such a position. We will keep the players we want to help us achieve our goals."
Saints block stars' exits
Arsene Wenger has long spoken of his reluctance to do much of his shopping in January due to the reluctance of clubs to sell important players, and Southampton certainly fall into that category this winter. The Saints have been stripped of talented members of the squad since summer 2014, but the Mirror reports that Ronald Koeman has "put the block" on Sadio Mane and Victor Wanyama being sold this month despite fans' anger over the duo's recent behaviour.
Sources told ESPN FC in November that Manchester United want Senegal forward Mane -- whose show of indiscipline cost him a starting spot at Norwich on Saturday -- while Arsenal have been linked with Wanyama, who was sent off against the Canaries. With the Mail reporting that Mane is expected to stay at St Mary's until the end of the season despite Koeman's anger at his recent tardiness, it seems Southampton fans may be spared another exodus -- until the summer at least.
While United will no doubt be linked with plenty more forwards alongside Mane before the winter window slams shut, Van Gaal also appears to be on the lookout for reinforcements at the back. Marquinhos has completed just seven full Ligue 1 games for Paris Saint-Germain this season, and the 21-year-old centre-back has done nothing to suggest a move to Old Trafford is out of the question. Speaking about the potential interest of Europe's elite clubs, the Brazilian is quoted by Manchester Evening News as saying, "It's my pleasure. It means that we work well."
Grujic set for Liverpool
Jurgen Klopp is nearing his first signing for Liverpool -- multiple British outlets reported that highly rated Red Star Belgrade starlet Marko Grujic will undergo a medical on Merseyside on Monday, with the Liverpool Echo saying the midfielder arrived in England on Sunday evening.
According to the Guardian, Grujic will sign a £5m deal before being loaned back to Red Star for the rest of the season. It's a coup for Klopp with the former Dortmund manager reportedly beating the likes of Inter Milan and Chelsea to the youngster's signature after making a "personal intervention... on the advice of his Serbian assistant, Zeljko Buvac." With the Guardian also adding that Liverpool could secure Schalke defender Joel Matip on a pre-contract agreement this month, things are looking up at Anfield.
Injured Vardy unlikely to move
Former Leicester manager Nigel Pearson thinks the club will keep hold of Jamie Vardy this month and finish in the top four of the Premier League. "I would encourage him to stay, but it's not for me to do that," Pearson told BBC Radio 5 live's Sportsweek. "You've got to protect your own interests, but ... I think Vardy will stay there because he's a fantastic lad as well as a player, and they're such a strong group."
Meanwhile, The Sun reports that Vardy is set to miss next week's action as he undergoes "minor groin surgery" in order to get back to full fitness for Leicester's Premier League title run-in.
- Meanwhile, Benfica starlet Renato Sanches has been attracting Manchester United's attention. Sanches scored the winner against Vitoria on Saturday and the central midfielder could be set to join Louis van Gaal's outfit according to reports in Portugal.
- Bologna FC are closer to loan former Inter captain Andrea Ranocchia, according to Sky Sport Italia, with a meeting between the two clubs' directors of football taking place in Milan yesterday. The relegation-battling Serie A club is the most likely destination for the defender who is almost certain to leave in January, although an agreement on the player's wage has not yet been reached.
- Tottenham and Juventus have been linked with young Belgian talent Michy Batshuayi following his superb form for Marseille, but the French club's manager Michel told Maxifoot in no uncertain terms: "You want to kill me! I don't think about Michy leaving. If we're going to sign anyone, it'll be an addition, not a replacement."
- Moussa Dembele has been linked with Man United, Juventus, Liverpool, Spurs and Arsenal (to name a few), having impressed for Fulham in the Championship this term, but Cottagers boss Slavisa Jokanovic said: "I am not thinking about selling my key players like McCormack or Moussa Dembele. I don't plan for it and that's it."
- Guus Hiddink would probably need only one hand to pick the Chelsea players who are safe from the axe in January, though a 3-0 win at Crystal Palace on Sunday sparked hopes of a resurgence. Branislav Ivanovic was back to his combative best on the right flank, though the 32-year-old's future is uncertain with just six months left on his Stamford Bridge contract.
The Mirror reports that Ivanovic is "unlikely to be kept on when the first-team squad is revamped this summer," and AC Milan are eager to bid for the Serbian this month in order to avoid jostling with a number of suitors -- including city rivals Inter -- near the end of the season.
- Spare a thought for Andros Townsend -- the winger goes between starring for England and being dropped by Tottenham -- and the Mail reports that the 24-year-old is finally nearing a White Hart Lane exit as he prepares to face Everton's under-21 side on Monday.
- Andy Carroll has enjoyed an impressive return from injury for West Ham, but his renaissance could push Mauro Zarate out of the club. According to the Mirror, the 28-year-old Argentine is wanted by Malaga after falling down the Hammers' pecking order. Another potential departure is Diego Poyet, who could be heading back to Charlton -- the club where he started his career -- for the rest of the season.
- Bournemouth's Eddie Howe has warned fans not to expect new loan signing Juan Iturbe to keep them in the Premier League all by himself. Meanwhile, Cherries target Curtis Davies says he will sign a new deal with Hull as long as he knows he will be assured a first-team role.