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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Aaron Ramsey firmly in Barcelona's sights; Man Utd's forward options

Aaron Ramsey's fine form, which has helped Arsenal to the top of the Premier League table, has not gone unnoticed by Barca.

The winter window opened Jan. 2, and as always, Transfer Talk has its finger on the pulse when it comes to all the latest rumours and gossip. See the latest deals here.

TOP STORY: Barca look to the Emirates

Any manager wise to the workings of the market will know that good form results in unwanted transfer speculation, with even a club such as Arsenal no exception. With the Gunners leading the Premier League, the Express reports that Barcelona are considering a £50 million summer move for Aaron Ramsey.

Luis Enrique is said to be a "big fan" of the Wales star's displays at the heart of Arsene Wenger's midfield, while Barca could also seek Everton's John Stones for a similar fee as they are determined to "come back with a bang" after serving their FIFA transfer ban.

Arsenal might then step up plans to prepare for a Ramsey departure with a £52m double move for Borussia Monchengladbach's Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka (£37m) and Paris Saint-Germain's Adrien Rabiot (£15m) this month, according to the Star -- that's despite Wenger's hinting on Saturday that he is not worried about the size of his squad, given Mohamed Elneny's imminent arrival.

LIVE BLOG

22.53 GMT: Another round of live transfer talk blogging is done and dusted folks. We'll have a whole new round with the best from Monday's rumour mill ready to roll again shortly. Thanks for reading...

22.42 GMT: After failing to beat League Two Wycombe in the FA Cup, Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner has reportedly called an emergency transfer summit in New York, says the Mirror. Tops on Remi Garde's list, according to the outlet are Arsenal defender Mathieu Debuchy and Chelsea striker Loic Remy. 

22.13 GMT: Turkish club Trabzonspor are willing to let Dame N'Doye leave on loan to Sunderland. The Shields Gazette reports that the Senegalese striker is set to be on Wearside this week for a medical, with Sam Allardyce keen to bring in reinforcements for a relegation battle. 

21.47 GMT: Spanish radio station Cadena Cope is reporting that Manchester United are interested in Atletico Madrid's Saul Niguez. The Old Trafford brass were exploring a deal for the Spaniard last summer and are now prepared to offer £20m to pry the defensive midfielder away from the Vicente Calderon.

21.21 GMT: The Japanese Messi, aka Yoshinori Muto, could soon be taking up residence in Manchester, according to the Mirror. The 23-year-old Mainz striker is on Louis van Gaal's radar and the outlet reports that United are readying a £12m January bid.

20.57 GMT: Stoke City striker Peter Crouch told reporters he might have to leave the club sooner than later in search of first-team football. The former England international has barely featured at all in the Premier League for Mark Hughes' side, though he did get a run and scored a goal in the team's 2-1 FA Cup win at Doncaster Rovers.

20.33 GMT: Following a shock 3-2 loss to League Two Oxford United, Swansea manager Alan Curtis all but ruled out a return of striker Wilfried Bony, the Ivorian who moved to Manchester City last January.

"Of course we would take Wilf back -- he would be a fantastic addition," Curtis said. "But he is playing regularly for Manchester City and I am not going to hold out any hopes for that one."

20.19 GMT: Amid rumours that Mario Gotze might not be long for Bayern Munich (rumours the midfielder has subsequently dismissed), the German international says that life under Pep Guardiola has been "positive."

The ESPN FC crew answer your tweets on Dani Alves' comments about media, who they they want to see relegated and more.

19.53 GMT: Marko Grujic, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp's first signing since taking over for Brendan Rodgers, is grateful that his new club are allowing him to stay out on loan with Red Star Belgrade. The 19-year-old is part of a Red Star side that is running away with the Serbian League title, and it is Grujic's dream to help his boyhood club win the title.

"This has been my dream ever since I started playing football. Now that I'm so close to fulfilling that dream I wasn't going to give that up lightly," Grujic told the Liverpool Echo.

19.12 BST: New Bournemouth striker Benik Afobe has said thanks to the fans at his former club Wolves after wrapping up a move to the south coast:

19.06 BST: Andriy Yarmolenko for Everton? Yes, that was a possibility a couple of years back -- and it's a possibility again, says the Liverpool Echo.

It reports that the Dynamo Kiev man's representatives were at Goodison Park for the Capital One Cup semifinal first leg win over Manchester City, and that a move in January is an increasing possibility.

18.48 BST: Tottenham defender Federico Fazio is on his way back to La Liga club Sevilla, says the Mirror, which reports that talks over Fazio, who only joined Spurs 17 months ago, are at an "advanced" stage.

But it says that if the move goes through, his fellow defender Kevin Wimmer -- linked with Marseille and Stuttgart on loan - would be staying put at White Hart Lane.

18.39 BST: Newcastle boss Steve McClaren has said he wants a new striker in the January window -- and the Daily Mail reports that he will try to make that happen by tabling a club record £18m bid for West Brom's Saido Berahino.

It says the Mapies made an offer for the 22-year-old in the summer and that offer remains "on the table".

18.33 BST: Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores has said he is unconcerned about Arsenal's reported interest in Troy Deeney and is confident his captain will remain at Vicarage Road.

Striker Deeney, who scored the winner in Watford's FA Cup victory against Newcastle on Saturday, has been linked with a surprise move to north London this month. But Flores said: "I am not worried about what happens in the future. I am sure these players [Deeney and strike partner Odion Ighalo] will not be going in the middle of the season."

18.14 BST: A report on Italian outlet Sportsmediaset.it has suggested Liverpool could add to their depleted defensive ranks by making a move for Martin Caceres, of Juventus. Caceres, a Uruguay international, is out of contract at the end of the season and has also been linked with Inter Milan.

18.03 BST: Swansea manager Alan Curtis has said he wants England midfielder Jonjo Shelvey to stay at the Liberty Stadium -- and he believes that's what Shelvey wants too.

Speaking after his side had crashed out of the FA Cup at League Two Oxford, Curtis said: "There's always speculation. Because he's not in the Premier League side and he's an England international, there's always going to be speculation about Jonjo. He wants to stay."

17.38 BST: More from Bournemouth, whose manager Eddie Howe is delighted with new arrival Benik Afobe:

17.28 BST: Plenty of people want Leeds players, manager Steve Evans has said, claiming that bids worth £30m have been tabled -- and turned down. He added: "There is £30m in offers on the table for different players. I was with the president for a coffee and he said we are not selling anyone."

17.05 BST -- DONE DEAL: Bournemouth have confirmed the arrival of Wolverhampton Wanderers striker Benik Afobe:

17.04 GMT: Striker Peter Crouch helped book Stoke's place in the fourth round of the FA Cup at Doncaster on Saturday -- then said he could quit because of a lack of first team football.

Crouch, 34, scored Stoke's first-half opener then played a part in Jonathan Walters' second after Nathan Tyson had levelled in a 2-1 win.

16.47 GMT: Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew has said the only kind of player he wants in January is a striker - and could that striker be Sassuolo's Gregoire Defrel?

Sky Sport Italia seems to think so, reporting that Palace scouts were at Sunday's win over Inter Milan, in which Defrel came on as a substitute for the final 20 minutes of the game.

16.25 GMT: Oxford manager Michael Appleton has said striker Kemar Roofe, the star of their shock FA Cup win over Swansea on Sunday, is not for sale.

Roofe, with whom Appleton worked at West Bromwich Albion, has been touted as a potential target for Newcastle, but Appleton said: "He is an Oxford United player and he is happy to be an Oxford United player.

"He doesn't want to go anywhere as he is enjoying his football here and improving day by day. We are very confident we can keep him. He is very focused."

16.00 GMT: Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda has told L'Equipe he wants to stay with the club despite receiving offers from other clubs.

Mandanda, who reports have linked with a switch to Liverpool, said: "I needed reflection, and I came to the conclusion that the best thing for me was to continue the Marseille adventure."

15:26 GMT: Harry Kane, who is on the bench for Tottenham against Leicester today, has been linked with a move to Real Madrid in recent days. Would he be a success if he moved to the Bernabeu?

14.11 GMT: Sky Sports are reporting that Wolves striker Benik Afobe has completed his medical ahead of a £10m move to AFC Bournemouth.

13.23 GMT: Fulham and Reading are keen to sign Stoke midfielder Steve Sidwell, who played for both clubs, on loan, Sky Sports reports.

The Championship clubs are both reported to want Stoke to make a contribution towards the 33-year-old's wages. 

12.49 GMT: Liverpool have reached an agreement to bring Alexandre Pato to Anfield, the Mirror quotes Italian journalist Alfredo Pedulla as saying. Liverpool will pay around £11 million to secure a deal in January, the report says.

12.15 GMT: Suggestions that Fiorentina midfielder Mario Suarez could be on his way to Watford show no sign of abating, with AS reporting that the Hornets have made an offer to the former Atletico Madrid man. But they are apparently not the only club to have done so -- Ligue 1 Marseille are in the frame, too.

11.48 GMT: And speaking of Villa and out-of-favour players, here's another -- striker Libor Kozak could be on his way to Serie A, with Genoa in the market for him, Gazzetta dello Sport reports.

11.30 GMT: Aston Villa defender Philippe Senderos is weighing up a return to Switzerland after more than a year without first-team action. "Maybe the Swiss Super League is the ideal solution for me," he said. "I'll try anything as I want to play matches again. I know I still have several good years ahead of me."

10.51 GMT: Sky Sports are reporting that Nacho Monreal is to sign a new contract with Arsenal that will keep him at the club until the summer of 2019.

10.07 GMT: Leicester City boss Claudio Ranieri seems excited about new signing Demarai Gray, who moved from Birmingham last week. "He can play as a winger. He's fast with good skills. He dribbles very well and one-on-one he's good. He can cross and shoot. He's perfect for us," he said. 

09.42 GMT: Sheffield Wednesday are expected to sign Crystal Palace loanee Jack Hunt on a permanent deal in the coming days.

09.05 GMT: Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew is targeting only one area in this window -- a new striker. He said: "We've been linked with a couple of midfield players -- but 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."

08.10 GMT: Benik Afobe is expected to have a medial today ahead of a £10 million move to AFC Bournemouth from Wolves. 

07.14 GMT: We open today's Transfer Talk with news that struggling Swansea are poised to make a £4 million bid for AC Milan midfielder Nigel de Jong.

The Sun says that Jermain Defoe and former striker Wilfried Bony are also of interest to the Swans.

PAPER ROUND

United forward prospects

Manchester United needed a late Wayne Rooney penalty to edge past Sheffield United on Saturday in the FA Cup, which once again highlighted their need for pace and inspiration across the forward line. Gareth Bale has been heavily linked after the arrival of Zinedine Zidane as manager at Real Madrid, but the Mirror reports that the Wales star will "snub" United this January, with his agents "on standby, rather than in full negotiating mode" regarding a summer move.

Romelu Lukaku is set to opt against a move to Old Trafford, with The Sun reporting that the £50m-rated Belgian striker wants to join either Madrid or Paris Saint-Germain -- but one man who could be on his way to United is Yoshinori Muto.

The Mirror is confident that United are closing in on a £12m January deal for the "Japanese Messi" after the Tokyo-born 23-year-old striker's seven goals in 18 games for Mainz this season.

As for their chase for Felipe Anderson, Lazio director of sport Igli Tare confirmed his club rejected a €50m (£37.6m) offer from United in August but have not received a new bid since. The reason for that, according to the Star, is that the deal is being held up because the midfielder is entitled to five percent of the transfer fee -- a "sticking point" despite Lazio's reluctance to cash in, according to the paper.

Poor old Marouane Fellaini was subbed off to jeers in Saturday's cup match before being told by Louis van Gaal that "good" United players cope with the pressure from fans, though the Mirror reports that the Red Devils have put a £24m price tag on Fellaini's head. Good luck with that, Ed Woodward.

Sturridge heading for Anfield exit?

Jurgen Klopp has already hinted in his first few months at Liverpool that Daniel Sturridge's threshold for pain isn't quite up there with some of the game's tougher players, but the injury-prone striker's Anfield future now looks decidedly uncertain.

According to the Mirror, Klopp has become "increasingly frustrated" with the England forward's repeated fitness problems and would consider offers in the region of £25m for the 26-year-old. It's a tough call, as Sturridge is arguably worth double that price when fit and firing on all cylinders, but there is no guarantee he'll find that consistency.

Meanwhile, the Mirror also reports that Klopp is set to be disappointed in his pursuit of Neven Subotic, with the Anfield coach's former club Borussia Dortmund resisting attempts by the Premier League club to pry the 27-year-old centre-back away on loan until the end of the season.

Lewandowski sparks English rush?

Bayern Munich are set to lose coach Pep Guardiola to the Premier League this summer, and the Bundesliga champions look likely to face a tough task in convincing some of their star players not to join him in England.

Robert Lewandowski has enjoyed a superb season at the Allianz Arena -- including a world record five goals in nine minutes -- but the Independent reports that the "restless" Polish striker "wants a new challenge" and is "considering his future." That could "spark an auction" among Manchester United, City and Chelsea, with bids around the £70m mark.

As for Lewandowski's Bayern teammate Mario Gotze, the World Cup winner has ruled out leaving Bayern for Liverpool this winter and said he has not heard anything from Klopp.

"I can rule out a move to Liverpool this winter," Gotze said. "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."

Robert Lewandowski
Robert Lewandowski might follow Pep Guardiola to the Premier League.

City join Hazard race

It might be easier to make a list of the top European clubs Eden Hazard hasn't been linked with in the past week, with reports across the continent suggesting the Belgian winger is on the move from Chelsea. The Sun suggests that the latest club to join the race for the 25-year-old is Manchester City, who will battle Real Madrid and PSG to the tune of £80 million. You wonder exactly who Guardiola would have to bench, were he to become City's next boss this summer, but it would be a nice headache to have.

Things haven't quite worked out for Wilfried Bony at City, despite a number of injury problems for No. 1 striker Sergio Aguero, and the Mirror suggests Swansea City are considering a "shock" move for their former forward.

Berahino to Spurs finally on?

Saido Berahino to Tottenham -- heard that one before? You probably did last summer, as Spurs missed out with four late bids for the West Brom striker and the Baggies stood firm on the 22-year-old. Berahino has largely sulked through the first half of the season, and the Star reports that Spurs will return with yet another £20 million bid this month to try to finally land him.

The Mirror suggests forgotten winger Andros Townsend will be used as bait to lure the Baggies into a deal, with £10 million plus the 26-year-old wide man thought to be enough. If Spurs' bid for Berahino once again falls flat, the same paper adds that Mauricio Pochettino could make a surprise loan move for Chelsea outcast Loic Remy.

Tap-ins

- Chelsea striker Radamel Falcao looks set to stay at Stamford Bridge for the rest of the season after Monaco ruled out taking him back early. Meanwhile, Shakhtar Donetsk coach Mircea Lucescu said the club have yet to receive an offer for Alex Teixeira, despite speculation linking the attacking midfielder with Chelsea.

- Alan Pardew has ruled out signing a defender or midfielder to strengthen Crystal Palace's chances of succeeding in the FA Cup after a 2-1 win at Southampton and reiterated that his only transfer target is a striker.

- The Mail reports that Everton will make a £21 million January move for Dynamo Kiev winger Andriy Yarmolenko, as the Toffees are worried the 26-year-old will attract big suitors if he impresses with Ukraine at Euro 2016.

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