Jose Mourinho closing in on Man United job; Chelsea back in for Stones
The winter window might have shut, but the rumour mill rolls on! As always, Transfer Talk has its finger on the pulse when it comes to the latest rumours and gossip. See the latest deals here.
TOP STORY: Mou to United gathers momentum
Multiple reports in England are confirming what ESPN FC reported last week -- that Jose Mourinho is very confident he will be the next manager at Manchester United.
The former Chelsea boss has allegedly confided to his close friends that him taking over Manchester United this summer is a "done deal," which will bring to an end Louis van Gaal's underwhelming two-year reign.
The Dutchman still has a year remaining on his United contract, but he has not impressed after spending hundreds of millions of pounds in the transfer market yet failing to win any silverware. The tepid, sideways style of football has also frustrated fans on many occasion, prompting boos at full-time and chants of "attack, attack, attack."
After Manchester City announced that Pep Guardiola, arguably the best club manager in football, will be taking over from Manuel Pellegrini this summer, there is pressure on United to make a bold decision regarding their manager as they cannot risk falling further behind their rivals.
Despite concerns about Mourinho's character and style of play at boardroom level, something needs to be done, and bringing in a proven winner could revitalise the club to challenge at the highest level again.
Chelsea set to return for Stones
Chelsea will redouble their efforts to sign John Stones from Everton this summer, although Manchester City appear favourites to land the 21-year-old with United and Barcelona also interested.
The Telegraph says that the summer will see a reshuffle of the Blues' defensive options, with John Terry unlikely to be offered a new deal despite Kurt Zouma being ruled out for the rest of the season.
After failing with three big bids last summer, Chelsea are determined to go back in for Stones, with £40 million being a fee thought to be of interest to Everton. With Gary Cahill already on the books, 19-year-old Andreas Christensen is a player that has impressed on loan at Borussia Monchengladbach, who could be set for more first team opportunities in the future.
Manchester City preparing for Payet
According to the Sun, Manchester City are planning a sensational bid to make Dimitri Payet the first signing of the Pep Guardiola era.
City want the West Ham star as part of a major squad overhaul following Guardiola's arrival on a three-year deal. It is believed that they have already begun the process of sounding out whether a deal would be possible this summer, and would go up to as much as £30 million to get their man.
The Hammers are aware of City's and Chelsea's interest and have today admitted they have already opened talks over a new five-year deal in an effort to keep him away from the big clubs.
Hammers boss Slaven Bilic opened up about Payet's situation after Tuesday's 2-1 extra-time win over Liverpool: "I'll say it again. We are a club moving forward and the most important moves are on the pitch. We must do everything we can to keep our best players, and he is our best player. He's happy here and very soon we will sort out his situation."
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Manchester United open talks for Laporte
Manchester United are considering a move for Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte, as planning for next season gets under way.
According to the Manchester Evening News, United are pressing ahead with their summer transfer plans, and Laporte is on a list of potential defensive targets along with the aforementioned John Stones and Real Madrid's Raphael Varane.
The 21-year-old, who is left-footed, is viewed as an ideal partner for Chris Smalling, who is enjoying his best season at Old Trafford since arriving from Fulham in 2010. In April, Laporte signed a deal with agent Jorge Mendes, who has a good relationship with United's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward after negotiating deals for Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao.
However, Laporte signed a new contract with Bilbao in the summer that includes a £32m buy-out clause, a fee the Spanish club are likely to demand before letting one of their stars negotiate personal terms with United.
Torres to MLS?
ESPN FC's Sid Lowe shares his thoughts on the reports stating that Fernando Torres has offers from three MLS teams:
- According to The Mirror, Crystal Palace captain Mile Jedinak is also being lined up for a summer move to China. As an Australian international, the 31 year-old would take up an AFC player allocated spot under Chinese Super League rules.
- Nice attacker Hatem Ben Arfa has indicated that he would welcome interest from Paris Saint-Germain this summer. After completing his return to France from Newcastle at the beginning of the season, Ben Arfa has reinvented himself and taken Ligue 1 by storm with his skilful play and devastating finishing.
Les Aiglons, however, will have to do without their talisman for a month after it was announced on Tuesday that the 28-year-old has suffered a hamstring injury.
- William Carvalho could now cost Arsenal £35 million after the midfielder put pen to paper on a new deal at Sporting Lisbon.
The Portuguese star has signed an extension that will keep him in his nation's capital until 2020. As part of the deal, Carvalho's release clause, which was rumoured to be set at €37 million (£29m), has been bumped up to €45 million (£35m) to put off potential suitors.