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Man City favourites to sign Paul Pogba after Barca withdraw interest

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: Man City on red alert for Pogba

According to the Mirror, Manchester City have been put on red alert after Barcelona pulled out of a world-record deal to sign their long-term target Paul Pogba this summer. European champions Barca had an outline agreement with Juventus and the France international that would have allowed them to sign Pogba at the end of the season in a structured deal worth in excess of £85 million.

But, aware of their own self-imposed financial restrictions, Barca have communicated to Juventus this month that they won't be splashing out on Pogba.

Sporting director Robert Fernandez is instead focusing his efforts on finding a young central defender with Everton's John Stones being watched, but the Catalan club expect him to move within the Premier League next summer. Paris Saint-Germain's Marquinhos and Aymeric Laporte of Athletic Bilbao are also Barca's list.

The Former Manchester United starlet would have commanded a wage of over £250,000 per week, and while Barcelona may have reservations, City will be more than happy to pay that sort of money, especially with a major squad clear out on the horizon once Guardiola arrives.

Signing Pogba would be a real statement of intent from the Sky Blues as they look to dominate the Premier League era in the short term future.

Arsenal ready to battle Real Madrid for Arrizabalaga

Spanish publication Don Balon claim that Arsenal have been scouting Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga but face competition from La Liga giants Real Madrid in the race for his signature.

The 21-year-old has hugely impressed on loan at Real Valladolid this season, helping his adoptive side amass the fourth-best goals conceded record throughout the Spanish second-tier, and is also a regular for Spain at youth international level, with twelve caps for their under-21 squad and a under-19 European Championship on his CV.

His Bilbao contract doesn't expire until 2018 and the Basque outfit will be keen to integrate the 6-foot-1 shot-stopper into their first team. But they may struggle to turn down sizable bids for Arrizabalaga and currently, Arsenal and Real Madrid are fronting the queue for his services.

Chelsea favourites to land Boufal

Chelsea are in a battle to sign Sofiane Boufal in the summer transfer window, according to reports. Boufal who has scored nine goals in 32 Ligue 1 appearances for Lille, has emerged as one of France's most promising talents in recent seasons.

While the Blues are interested in signing the attacking midfielder, it's been reported that Manchester United, Juventus, Inter Milan and Paris Saint-Germain are also believed to be keeping tabs on the Moroccan international.

With the futures of Eden Hazard and Oscar unclear ahead of next season, the former Angers man would be a sensible signing as he would be able to contribute in the present, whilst holding considerable hope for the future.

Man United to appoint Mourinho shortly?

Manchester United could appoint Jose Mourinho before the end of the month, says the Sun. Saturday's 2-1 capitulation at Sunderland has apparently alarmed the club's board, but Louis van Gaal seemingly giving up on a top-four spot was far more concerning.

The Red Devils had been ready to stick with the Dutchman until the summer, but it is believed that they will lose nothing by swooping for the ex-Chelsea boss before their next league game at home to Arsenal on Feb. 28. Before that they play two legs in the Europa League against Danish minnows Midtjylland with the FA Cup trip to Shrewsbury sandwiched in between.

Despite having spent £250 million under LVG, United have their worst-ever points total at this stage of a Premier League season with 41 from 26 games. They have won just 11 of those and have scored the least goals of the top seven with 33.

United are convinced now that a move for Mourinho would be popular with supporters, and cannot risk falling further behind the Manchester Citys, Arsenals and Tottenhams of this world.

Tap-Ins

- Stoke midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri believes that Giannelli Imbula could be their very own Patrick Vieira. Imbula arrived at the Britannia Stadium for a club-record £18 million from Porto, and announced himself in only his second game for his new side with a stunning volley against Bournemouth.

- The Adelaide Advertiser says Brisbane Roar have rejected an offer for Henrique from Thai club Suphanbari, but there is no guarantee the 30 year-old will stay with the three-time A-League champions beyond this season. It is understood that Henrique was keen to go, but the Roar denied his request, seeing the fan favourite as a pivotal part of the club's push for a fourth title in six years.

- Orlando City are in the final stages of completing a deal that will bring AC Milan midfielder Antonio Nocerino to MLS. The transfer is expected to be official on Monday, after Milan CEO Antonio Galliani told the Italian media, in addition to multiple league sources confirmed the move will be finalized in the coming days.

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