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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Arsenal pursuit of Karim Benzema could benefit from Zidane appointment

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: Madrid changes 'boost Arsenal's Benzema hopes'

Is the latest changing of the Real Madrid managerial guard going to be good news for Arsenal? It might well be, says the Telegraph, which reckons the sacking of Rafa Benitez and his replacement by Zinedine Zidane could open the way to a move for striker Karim Benzema.

Benzema was linked with a move to the Gunners throughout the summer window, and the paper contends that the departure of Benitez means "Arsene Wenger's hopes of signing him have received a timely boost."

The France international stayed put under Benitez and enjoyed a prolific start to the season but, the Telegraph says, Zidane's arrival has "thrown Benzema's future into doubt, despite the fact that the new manager confirmed his intention to play him alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale against Deportivo on Saturday."

Why might that be? Well, the Telegraph thinks Bernabeu president Florentino Perez is "keen to add to Real Madrid's attacking ranks in a show of power" -- and that means an existing frontman is likely to be sold.

Benzema proved his worth on Saturday, with two goals bookending Real's 5-0 romp over Derpotivo La Coruna.

LIVE BLOG:

22:45 GMT: That's all for tonight but we'll be back in a few short hours with a look at what the morning papers are saying.

22:25 GMT: It's never good to disappoint your manager during an open transfer window, but that's exactly what Marouane Fellaini has done. The Belgian was substituted to a chorus of boos, and LVG said any player that can't handle that reaction shouldn't be playing for Man United.

"I think a player of Manchester United has to cope with the pressure of the fans of Manchester United and also with the media pressure," Van Gaal said.

22:05 GMT: After scoring in Lazio's win today, Felipe Anderson would not rule out a January move -- to Manchester United or anywhere else.

"My future? I don't know if I'll stay in January, I'm focused only on my work because I don't live a good moment. I don't know what happens," he told Sky Sport Italia.

21: 35 GMT: Saido Berahino didn't start for West Brom on Saturday but it only took him four minutes to score after coming on as a substitute.

He came over to shake Tony Pulis' hand amid his celebration, but the manager downplayed it, joking: "He was just grateful for taking a couple of quid off me because he'd scored." Full story

20.55 GMT: In-demand Peterborough striker Conor Washington must make up his mind about his next move, manager Graham Westley said after his side's FA Cup win over Preston.

"Conor has to decide whether he accepts a move to the Championship or waits for Premier League clubs to come in," he said.

20.26 GMT: Swansea are interested in a loan deal for Tottenham winger Alex Pritchard -- but so are Norwich and Bournemouth.

The 22-year-old, back after injury problems, is highly-rated at White Hart Lane, but manager Mauricio Pochettino is likely to allow him out on loan in order to gain first-team experience.

20.04 GMT: Ipswich's Jonathan Parr is set to return to Norway after 18 months in Suffolk, with Stromsgodset the club most likely to sign him.

19.53 GMT: Here's QPR manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, whose side were beaten by Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup today, on the future of goalkeeper Robert Green: "He's got a contract for six more months and that's what it is. Eventually, we need to get a younger goalkeeper because he's 35 years old.

"We as a club are going in a different direction, but Rob Green has been -- and is still -- a great servant of the club."

Green was linked with a move to West Ham in the summer.

19.45 GMT: Newcastle are very interested in Swansea midfielder Jonjo Shelvey, according to Sky Sports.

Swansea boss Alan Curtis plans to cup-tie the player (see update at 13.51 GMT) but that wouldn't affect Newcastle anyway because they were eliminated from the FA Cup by Watford today.

19.44 GMT: Southampton have been in miserable form in recent weeks, but Ronald Koeman is not convinced he will find an answer in the transfer market.

"We are trying to turn around several things in the club, but we have a good squad," he said. "It's also about belief in the players. It's difficult at this stage of the season to bring in one player who will change everything. Maybe if we sign Messi..."

19.21 GMT: Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini insists he is not looking to sign any new players in the transfer window.

"For the moment I am very happy with the squad," Pellegrini said. "We always have the option, it is not closed, but really we are not thinking about anyone at this point. Players out, the same thing. We will keep the same squad."

19.05 GMT: Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew is only interested in strikers.

"We've been linked with a couple of defenders: there will be no defenders coming to this football club," he said.

"We've been linked with a couple of midfield players: there will be no midfield players coming to this club.

"But we are looking for an offensive player, a striker-type player, someone who's going to contribute to a goal tally, which is an area we'd like to improve a little bit. We're chasing one or two, and hopefully before the end of January we'll secure someone."

18.34 GMT: Lazio rejected a €50 million offer from Manchester United for Felipe Anderson in August but have not received a new bid since, the Italian club's director of sport has confirmed. Story here.

18.08 GMT: Juventus could make a major signing in the January window, according to boss Massimiliano Allegri.

"We want to sign a top player to strengthen the team," he said. "If an opportunity comes up, we will take it."

17.31 GMT: Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe has now confirmed that Benik Afobe is set to join from Wolves. Story here.

17.04 GMT: Nacho Monreal is set to extend his Arsenal contract until 2019, according to Goal.com.

16.24 GMT: Wolves striker Benik Afobe will have his Bournemouth medical on Sunday, according to Sky Sports.

16.00 GMT: Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone says he is happy Jackson Martinez despite his slow start to life at the club.

"I'm happy with him and is on a level with the likes of Vietto, Correa and Torres despite having played in less games," he said. "We're happy with him and we all just need to have a bit of patience, the same with Vietto, Torres, Correa..."

14.56 GMT: Mario Gotze has ruled out leaving Bayern Munich for Liverpool this winter and said he has not heard anything from Jurgen Klopp. Read the full story here.

14.41 GMT DONE DEAL Bayern Munich have confirmed that midfielder Gianluca Gaudino has joined St Gallen on an 18-month loan deal.

14.19 GMT: Manchester United forward Adnan Januzaj failed to show the necessary desire during his loan spell at Borussia Dortmund, coach Thomas Tuchel has said. Story here.

13.57 GMT: Links with Liverpool seem to be getting stronger and stronger where Mario Gotze is concerned -- but the Bayern Munich man has ruled out any possibility of moving to Anfield in the winter transfer window.

"I can rule out a move to Liverpool this winter. I don't know where the rumours about Klopp and me are coming from. I have not heard anything. You should ask Klopp if he wants me at Liverpool. If he wants me, he should approach me," he said at a news conference in Doha, where Bayern are holding a training camp.

13.51 GMT: Alan Curtis plans to pitch Jonjo Shelvey into Swansea's FA Cup tie at Oxford amid reports that the England midfielder could leave in January.

Playing Shelvey at the Kassam Stadium would cup-tie the 23-year-old if he were to move on in this month's transfer window, but Swansea boss Curtis has again insisted he wants the former Charlton and Liverpool midfielder to stay in south Wales.

13.29 GMT -- DONE DEAL: Fleetwood Town have re-signed Leicester defender Joe Davis on loan until the end of the season in a deal that could become permanent in the summer.

13.26 GMT -- DONE DEAL: Here's a done deal from League Two Crawley:

13.14 GMT: Toronto FC forward Sebastian Giovinco has said he does not miss life in Serie A and is enjoying his football in MLS -- and also told SportItalia his goal-scoring record at Toronto had attracted "a small approach" from Barcelona, adding: "I didn't believe it myself. It was true though, even if there was nothing concrete. A small approach, shall we say."

13.11 GMT: Louis van Gaal has said it is possible that Manchester United could make signings in the January window. United have been linked with a host of players as they look to kick-start their season after a disappointing end to 2015, and writing in his programme notes ahead of the Sheffield United FA Cup game, Van Gaal said: "January brings the opening of the transfer window and, as I have already seen, we have been linked to a host of players.

"I don't see January as the ideal time to do business. However, if I and the coaches feel that something can be done to improve the current squad then that is something we will look at if the opportunity does arise."

12.51 GMT: Ricardo Rodriguez remains a £30 million target for Manchester United, according to Bild. The Wolfsburg full-back has been linked with the Red Devils for a while now.

12.28 GMT: Shakhtar Donetsk have yet to receive an offer for Alex Teixeira despite strong speculation linking the attacking midfielder with Chelsea, according to coach Mircea Lucescu.  "They are spreading rumours about us allegedly leaving Shakhtar," he said. "At the moment, Alex is Shakhtar's player. We'll see in the summer."

11.29 GMT: Could Liverpool make a move for Schalke's Sidney Sam? German publication kicker thinks Jurgen Klopp might be interested.

11.02 GMT: Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew thinks Southampton will struggle to keep Sadio Mane if the player wants to go. He said: "I know from experience at Newcastle [United], if the heart and mind is not there, finance becomes irrelevant."

10.36 GMT: Sunderland have agreed a deal to sign former Hull City striker Dame N'Doye on loan, sources have told ESPN FC.

10.12 GMT: It doesn't seem like Toronto FC striker Sebastian Giovinco has any plans to move back to Italy anytime soon -- but that may change. He told SportItalia: "Serie A? For now I don't miss it, we'll see in a couple of years, but at the moment I'm happy. I don't know what will happen in the future, you can never say never in football."

09.49 GMT: Celtic have ruled out making a move for Aiden McGeady, who is out-of-favour at Everton and believed to be available for transfer. "Aiden is a Premier League player on Premier League wages. We have always got to be realistic," said Bhoys assistant boss John Collins. 

09.28 GMT: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says David Ospina could be Arsenal's long-term No. 1 despite Petr Cech being 33 -- meaning he has many years in front of him.

"I personally think he is world-class," Wenger said. "I did not take Petr Cech based on the performances of Ospina. Petr Cech was just an exceptional opportunity where it was difficult to say no. It was not because I was unhappy with Ospina. 

09.06 GMT: Welcome to another live day of transfer rumours! Let's start with a story in the Daily Mail, which claims Sunderland manager is set to dump both of his goalkeepers, Costel Pantilimon and Vito Mannone, and bring in a new one. Jussi Jaaskelainen anyone?

PAPER ROUND

Eagles eye Slim pickings

How times have changed for Crystal Palace -- in the top half of the Premier League and flourishing, they have also secured new investment. And, the Sun says, they could be spending some of that cash pretty soon.

It cites an A Bola report that the Eagles are keen to bring in Algeria international striker Islam Slimani from Sporting Lisbon and are prepared to meet his £22.5m buyout clause, eclipsing the club record £13m spent to bring in Yohan Cabaye from PSG.

So what would they be getting for all that cash? Slimani, 27, has scored 41 times in 90 appearances for Portuguese club Sporting -- the sort of strike rate that would interest anybody.

Baggies in market for gift of the Gab

Could a move across the Midlands be imminent for Aston Villa stalwart Gabriel Agbonlahor? The Sun thinks so, reporting that the Villa captain could be on his way to West Bromwich Albion.

The paper says Albion boss Tony Pulis wants to bring Agbonlahor, 29, to The Hawthorns and could wrap up a move for £1.5 million as Villa, adrift at the foot of the Premier League table, look to freshen up their squad.

"Lifelong Villa fan Agbonlahor has fallen out with new manager Remi Garde," it adds, with the attacker having barely featured under Garde.

Libor Kozak, Charles N'Zogbia, Joe Cole and Philippe Senderos are also thought likely to move on during the January window.

Niasse closer to Chelsea switch?

What about Chelsea's January under the management of Guus Hiddink? While plenty of reports have predicted that striker Loic Remy could be heading for the exit, the Telegraph suggests Lokomotiv Moscow's Oumar Niasse is moving closer to being an incomer if that happens.

It says the Senegalese would cost more than £15 million after a fine run of form that has seen him score eight times in 15 games.

Niasse has previously claimed Jose Mourinho had been "very keen" to sign him -- but "unfortunately he was fired."

Five keen on Baggies' Berahino

Talking of West Brom as we were earlier, it must be time to consider the future of Saido Berahino again.

Manager Pulis, whose striker had been consistently linked with Tottenham but is now thought more likely to join Stoke, has said he is not concerned about using him in the Baggies' FA Cup clash with Bristol City on Saturday amid another flurry of transfer speculation.

The Daily Mail quotes him as saying that saying that up to five clubs could be considering a bid for Berahino but that Albion "are paying him and expect him to go out and play."

Tap-ins

- Newcastle midfielder Cheick Tiote is attracting the attention of Chinese Premier League side Shanghai Greenland Shenhua, where he could link up with ex-Magpies striker Demba Ba, the Newcastle Chronicle reports.

Ivory Coast international Tiote, a recent target for Turkish club Galatasaray, has worked his way back into the first team under Steve McClaren, and Newcastle want to keep him as they look to lift themselves out of the relegation zone.

- News that Wolverhampton Wanderers striker Benik Afobe is the subject of a £10m bid from Bournemouth could be bad news for Norwich, the Mirror suggests.

Afobe had been a summer transfer target for the Canaries, whose manager Alex Neil had been keen to try and get a deal together in January, the paper says. It adds that "officials at Carrow Road have been trying to contact the striker's agent throughout Friday -- without success."

- The transfer window is often a source of stress for managers, but not for Steve Bruce. The Hull boss has said he is keen to keep the squad he has together but is "very relaxed" about what January might bring.

The Hull Daily Mail quotes him as saying: "I will try my utmost to hang on to what we've got because we're limited over what we can do ourselves. I'm very pleased with the squad of players we've got. We've got to get on with it, and I'm very relaxed about the situation."

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