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West Ham United
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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Man United hold James Rodriguez talks but miss out on Ashley Cole to LA

The winter window opened Jan. 2. 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: United back in for another Real star

Manchester United have been linked with Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale time and again, but it could be another Bernabeu talent who ends up at Old Trafford. The Express reports United have been in talks with Los Blancos over a £63 million January move for James Rodriguez, as Zinedine Zidane is "unhappy" with the Colombia icon's attitude, and he's willing to let the 24-year-old attacking midfielder go.

Zizou publicly backed James on Saturday, though Madrid have never been afraid to shed a Galactico before. But United fans can breathe easy as Old Trafford officials will reportedly not let David De Gea move in exchange.

Meanwhile, the Mail reports that Ashley Cole will join LA Galaxy despite "late interest" from United due to their defensive injury problems, with Matteo Darmian potentially joining Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo and Ashley Young on the sidelines.

The Sun says Wolfsburg's Ricardo Rodriguez is also a target, or maybe Louis van Gaal can sign the mouse seen on the Old Trafford flanks on Saturday...

LIVE UPDATES

22.58 GMT: That brings Saturday's live edition of Transfer Talk to a close. Please check back in a few short hours when we return with the latest gossip pulled from the back pages of Monday's papers.

22.46 GMT: Now Liverpool's third-choice goalkeeper following a pair of horror shows on the bounce, Adam Bogdan is now looking to leave Anfield, according to the Sun.

22.22 GMT: Barcelona will step up their efforts to secure Villarreal's Denis Suarez and Celta Vigo's Nolito before the January window closes on Friday, Catalan publication Sport reports.

21.58 GMT: Galatasaray striker Burak Yilmaz is quoted as saying "West Ham transfer to occur within two or three days," according to the Brentwood Gazette.

21.33 GMT: The LA Galaxy acquiring Aston Villa central defender Joleon Lescott is "not happening," Galaxy president Chris Klein is quoted as saying in MLSsoccer.com.

21.10 GMT: Former Arsenal attacker Gervinho is set for a move to Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning, according to the Guardian, after Roma received an €18 million offer for the Ivory Coast international.

20.48 GMT: Shakhtar Donestsk attacker Alex Teixeira has told the Ukranian club that he would like to join Liverpool, amid interest from Chelsea and elsewhere, according to Sky Sports.

20.00 GMT: Here's that Didier Drogba story in full for you. Read more.

19.39 GMT: And it's a superb day for Montreal Impact fans, with Guus Hiddink ruling out a Chelsea return for Didier Drogba "in the short term."

The Dutch coach said after Chelsea's win at Arsenal: "In the short term, no [he won't be coming back], but in the longer-term we talked about players with a big image for this club being welcome. There's no time issue on this so I wish him all the best now in one of his later seasons."

19.30 GMT: Good short-term news for Newcastle United fans -- Moussa Sissoko says he expects to stay with the Magpies until the summer, but could be on the move after Euro 2016 with France.

"I do not think I will leave Newcastle. The club will not want to let me go. And then the question arises about the timing, a few months before the Euros," the midfielder told Telefoot. "I have been called up to the national team despite our results. I get to play every weekend and perform well.

"Like every player I dream of winning titles and matches in the biggest clubs. I will think about my future after the Euros."

18.58 GMT: More on Alex Teixiera now -- he's watching Shakhtar's friendly against Hacken from the sidelines. He seems happy enough, but is his absence a precaution ahead of a possible January move? The mystery continues...

18.30 GMT: The Liverpool Echo are the latest outlet to report that Liverpool are no closer to agreeing a deal for Alex Teixeira, with Shakhtar Donetsk thought to be sticking firm on their £38m valuation of the 26-year-old Brazilian -- it looks like it may be time for Liverpool to put up or shut up.

17.40 GMT: Thierry Henry wrote before Arsenal's game against Chelsea today that "No top player is going to sign for Chelsea during the January window because they don't know who the manager will be next season or if they will be playing in the Champions League."

Champions League football is a long way off, but the champions just recorded a 1-0 victory courtesy of more Diego Costa controversy -- is there hope yet for the Blues?

16.55 GMT: Tottenham's insistence on Andros Townsend's £14m asking price could price Newcastle United out of a deal, with Sky Sports reporting that the Magpies have cooled their interest after seeing both a loan bid and a £10.5m offer turned down.

16.20 GMT: Didier Drogba has confirmed he is travelling to Qatar to prepare for preseason training with Montreal Impact following reports he could leave the MLS club for a return to Chelsea. Read more.

15.37 GMT: Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic insists Tottenham target Moussa Dembele is not for sale this January, with the Craven Cottage boss also ruling out an exit for Ross McCormack. Read more.

15.26 GMT: Hull City have joined Norwich City and QPR in the group of clubs interested in taking Chelsea's Patrick Bamford on loan, according to The Derby Telegraph. Check out a video of his fine recent goal for CHelsea's under-21s right here...

15.13 GMT: No incoming players for Real Madrid?

At Zinedine Zidane's press conference ahead of Real Madrid's trip to Real Betis, he said: "No, I don't think it is necessary to reinforce the squad. I am not going to look outside for what I already have inside."

14.58 GMT: Chelsea have held successful talks with Paris Saint-Germain striker Ezequiel Lavezzi, according to The Express.

14.40 GMT: Fulham's Ross McCormack and Moussa Dembele are not for sale, according to manager Slavisa Jokanovic. The duo have 24 Championship goals between them this season but still Fulham sit just four points above the relegation.

14.25 GMT: The Express are reporting that Moussa Sissoko has no plans to leave Newcastle this month. The midfielder has attracted interest from several clubs, including Serie A leaders Napoli with reports that they had a £12m bid rejected.

14.15 GMT: Borussia Monchengladbach have issued a hands-off warning over in-demand midfielder Granit Xhaka, according to The Evening Standard.

13.57 GMT: The 18-year-old Boca Juniors midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur has been linked with a Madrid transfer, but says no deal is agreed and revealed he grew up watching United. Read the full story here.

13.38 GMT: Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores is expecting to sign at least one more player before the transfer window closes.

The Hornets are said to be closing in on a deal for Mario Suarez and the midfielder was left out of Fiorentina's squad for their Serie A clash against Torino on Sunday.

13.22 GMT: "I am very happy at Arsenal and I'm not thinking about leaving," Alexis Sanchez said in the Sunday Mirror. Read the full story here.

13.05 GMT: Make of this what you want... Harry Kane has flown straight out to Barcelona after Spurs' 3-1 win over Crystal Palace yesterday. 

12.53 GMT: "No top player is going to sign for Chelsea during the January window because they don't know who the manager will be next season or if they will be playing in the Champions League," Theirry Henry wrote in his Sun column

12.39 GMT: And it's not just Kasper Schmeichel that Liverpool are being linked with today, fellow goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen is also being put back in the limelight by The Daily Star

12.25 GMT: DONE DEAL Manchester United keeper Victor Valdes has signed for Standard Liege. Full story here.

12.10 GMT: Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone on star striker Antoine Griezmann: "Of course he's a very important player for us, but we can't hold him here with chains."

11.55 GMT: Newcastle manager Steve McClaren has not ruled out making anymore signings during this January transfer window.

"We go about our business quietly, we've done that," McClaren said.

"We've brought two in. Again we'll be talking and talking, as every club will be in this window, to say: 'What can we do to improve it?'"

11.37 GMT: Football Italia are reporting that Milan have joined Inter in asking to sign Hatem Ben Arfa as a free agent next season. The midfielder is currently at OGC Nice and has scored 10 times in 22 games.

11.21 GMT: According to The Metro, Manchester City have now joined Arsenal and Liverpool in the pursuit of Athletic Bilbao forward Inaki Williams.

It's as if signing a new contract means nothing these days...

11.05 GMT:  DONE DEAL Hibernian have signed free agent Otso Virtanen

10.55 GMT: Forget Simon Mignolet's new contract, Liverpool could be set to sign Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, according to The Mirror.

10.39 GMT: According to The Daily Star, Chelsea are lining up a loan deal for PSG's Thiago Silva. The defender is reported to earn around £170,00-a-week.

10.26 GMT: So, what do the current Arsenal players think of their new teammate Mohamed Elneny so far?

Theo Walcott told Sport Magazine: "Early impressions? He likes to put a tackle in, that's for sure."

10.10 GMT: Liverpool target Alex Teixeira told Globo. Read the full story here.

09.52 GMT: Chelsea forward Patrick Bamford is a loan target for Championship club Hull after his disappointing Crystal Palace stint, the Sunday Mirror says.

09.27 GMT: Alexis Sanchez says he has no plans to leave Arsenal and that there is "no doubt" the team is ready to win the Premier League this season. Story here.

09.11 GMT: The Sunday Times is also reporting that Manchester City are set to fight with Real Madrid, Barcelona and Chelsea for £50 million-rated Everton centre-back John Stones. We mentioned earlier that it was in the Mail on Sunday, so it appears someone has been talking.

08.55 GMT: Is Radamel Falcao about to end his season-long loan with Chelsea? It's hard to see how, given that he's injured and Monaco don't appear to have much incentive to take him back, but some are interpreting this Instagram post as a hint he's off as he wrote: "I focus in one thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. Philippians 3:13" 

PAPER ROUND

Chelsea on the defensive

Chelsea were thwarted in their attempts to sign John Stones last summer, and all signs point to the Everton defender costing considerably more than the £38m bid the Toffees rejected from Stamford Bridge before the season started. The Mail reports that the Premier League champions will be joined by Real Madrid -- should their transfer ban be overturned -- Barcelona and Manchester City in a £50m race for the 21-year-old England centre-back.

And who would greet Stones at Stamford Bridge? Didier Deschamps, of course! The Mirror reports that the France coach is a "shock contender" to take the full-time manager role at Chelsea following Euro 2016, with Stoke City's Mark Hughes also on the shortlist.

Bringing things back to the present transfer window, the Star suggests that Chelsea are considering a loan move for Paris Saint-Germain defender Thiago Silva. The 31-year-old would cost the Blues £170,000 a week in wages and it remains to be seen whether PSG would actually consider letting the defender go, but may be persuaded to start planning for the future with the Ligue 1 title practically guaranteed. And the Star reports that Guus Hiddink has blocked a move for Alexandre Pato, with the Dutch coach "unsure" if the Brazilian would do anything to boost the club's relegation survival hopes. Just a joke, honest...

Schmeichel an Anfield hero?

Anfield fans were forced to watch helplessly as Peter Schmeichel helped Manchester United chase down Liverpool's title record throughout a glittering Old Trafford career, but the Merseyside club seem to have come up with the ultimate plan to regain their domestic dominance -- sign the Great Dane's son.

Despite handing Simon Mignolet a huge new contract this month, the British media is convinced that Liverpool are still searching for a new No. 1 goalkeeper -- and the Mirror reports that Leicester City shot-stopper Kasper Schmeichel is on Jurgen Klopp's list with the Reds making an enquiry.

One player who Liverpool may have trouble landing this month is Alex Teixeira -- sources told ESPN FC earlier this week that the Anfield side had sent a delegation to Shakhtar Donetsk's winter training camp in the United States to try and seal a deal for the free-scoring playmaker, but the Mirror says that the Ukrainian side are insisting that their £37.6 million valuation of the 26-year-old Brazilian is "non-negotiable."

Teixeira told Globo on Saturday that he wants to move this month, but is prepared to wait until the summer if the "very good offer" on the table from an unnamed club isn't accepted by Shakhtar. With Liverpool having missed out on forwards such as Luis Suarez and Alexis Sanchez in recent years, will yet another potential star slip through their fingers?

Who next for the Old Trafford hot seat?

Just a week after beating Liverpool at Anfield, Louis van Gaal's grip at Manchester United has arguably never looked weaker. A meek home defeat to Southampton, with just one shot on target in front of a booing Old Trafford crowd, sees the Dutch coach on the brink once more -- and sources have told ESPN FC that Jose Mourinho has undertaken a "deep and detailed charm offensive" in the form of a six-page letter to finally convince United bosses he is the right man for the job.

United initially opted against replacing Van Gaal with Mourinho in December when results and morale were at an all-time low, but the Red Devils' tune may change with the Mirror reporting that Ed Woodward was told in September that Pep Guardiola had reached a gentleman's agreement with rivals Manchester City to take over this summer.

The Star reports that United officials are split between sticking with Van Gaal, offering the job to his assistant and Old Trafford legend Ryan Giggs, or opting for Mourinho. One thing for certain is that if the current form and results continue, Van Gaal will very quickly turn that three-horse race into a straight face-off between Giggs and Jose.

Meanwhile, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson has been a rare breath of fresh air for United fans in desperate need of some excitement on the flanks, and the Mirror reports that the quick left-back will be rewarded for his first-team breakthrough with a new £10,000-a-week contract.

City lead Williams race

It's safe to assume that Inaki Williams' wonder volley for Athletic Bilbao against Getafe in November played some part in his current club recently handing the striker a new contract until 2021 with a €50m (£38.1m) release clause, but such prices no longer faze cash-rich Premier League clubs.

The Express reports that Manchester City are leading the race for the Spain under-21 international despite interest from Arsenal, Liverpool and Real Madrid, and have not been put off by the substantial fee.

Given that Williams has the potential to break into Spain's full squad for Euro 2016, demand could rise even further if City hold off until after the tournament in France this summer. However, Manuel Pellegrini is not guaranteed to be at the Etihad next season, so he may not necessarily see a young striker full of raw promise as a priority signing.

Spurs to raid Foxes?

Jamie Vardy and N'Golo Kante have been two of the main reasons for Leicester City's incredible Premier League title assault this season, but Claudio Ranieri could face a tough task holding onto the duo this month. The Mirror reports that Tottenham are plotting a "double swoop" for the pair, with Mauricio Pochettino thought to be particularly interested in the 24-year-old midfielder Kante.

Pochettino has been juggling a few central midfielders of late, trying to find the right balance, but the talented French enforcer may be just the man to turn Spurs into genuine title contenders. Leicester are likely to reject any January offers to keep their title hopes alive, but the prospect of Vardy and Harry Kane forming a bond at White Hart Lane would prove an intriguing prospect for England boss Roy Hodgson.

TAP-INS

- Ecuador international midfielder Carlos Gruezo signed with FC Dallas as a designated player from Bundesliga club Stuttgart on Saturday.

- Chinese clubs are busy snapping up a number of top performers from Europe, but the Mirror reports that Steven Fletcher is set to turn down a "mega-money" switch there in order to complete a dream move from Sunderland to boyhood club Celtic. See, money isn't everything on football...

- As for Cheick Tiote, the Mail reports that the Newcastle midfielder is still poised to move to China despite rejecting the chance to join Shanghai Shenhua, with Beijing Guoan among the three interested clubs.

- Everton will have watched on in frustration as January target Sam Byram impressed for new club West Ham against Man City on Saturday, but the Mirror reports that the Toffees will seek to get over that snub with a £2m move for Ajax defender Ricardo van Rhijn.

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