Man United green-light Aubameyang pursuit, despite manager uncertainty
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: United to pursue £60 million Aubameyang deal
The Independent claims that Manchester United are going to pursue a £60 million deal for Borussia Dortmund forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang this summer, regardless of who is in charge next season. The 26-year-old -- also a target of Arsenal's -- has scored 31 goals in 34 appearances for Dortmund this season, with the Gabon international edging Yaya Toure to be crowned African Footballer of the Year the past month.
Although the club had been reluctant to sign African players due to the possibility of losing them to the African Cup of Nations, they are now reportedly ready to widen their scope to ensure every possible target is considered. With Aubameyang's status growing both in Africa and Europe, United have stressed their ability to develop the France-born forward's image and commercial power, should he move to Old Trafford.
Growing doubts over the future of Van Gaal will not affect United's interest in the striker, with the club accepting the need to make progress on summer recruitment before a decision is made on the Dutchman. United laid the groundwork on deals for Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera before Van Gaal was appointed David Moyes' successor in May 2014, and though any manager will have the final say on transfer signings, chief scout Jim Lawlor has been left to press ahead with plans to identify summer signings.
Barca ready to launch summer move for Mahrez
According to The Sun, Barcelona are ready to launch a £25 million bid for Leicester ace Riyad Mahrez. The Algeria international has been a revelation this season, with 14 goals and 10 assists in the Foxes' unlikely title charge.
Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United are also big admirers of the tricky forward, and if he decides to leave, Leicester will be keen to start a bidding war for the man they bought for just £400,000 two years ago.
The La Liga giants are believed to value Mahrez around £20-25 million, and while Premier League clubs could go higher, the draw of the Catalan club -- not to mention the calibre of player there -- could be influential. Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri, however, is desperate to keep hold of his star names and is willing to hand Mahrez a new £75,000 a week deal, similar to that signed by Jamie Vardy earlier this month.
Tottenham lead race for Depoitre deal
Tottenham are leading the race for Gent striker Laurent Depoitre, the Mirror reported. Depoitre, 27, is in line for a summer switch to England after Spurs were among seven Premier League clubs to watch him in action last week against Wolfsburg in the Champions League.
Representatives from West Ham, Crystal Palace, Leicester, Everton, West Brom and Southampton were also in attendance, and it is believed that the striker would cost around £12 million.
The Belgian has just 16 months left on his current deal, and after he turned down a new contract, Gent are resigned to losing their star striker. Spurs are the favourites for his signature as they look to bolster their attack next season, but he is not the only frontman on their radar, with Mauricio Pochettino also eyeing Marseille goal machine Michy Batshuayi and Basel's promising teenager Breel Embolo.
- Sergio Aguero has informed Manchester City that he is willing to finish his career at the Etihad, with sources close to both player and club telling ESPN FC to not worry, as he has no desire to return to Spain.
- Arsene Wenger admitted having regrets about not landing Luis Suarez in the summer of 2013, but he insisted he is over them now, according to the Express.
- Also in the Express, Chelsea midfielder Oscar confirmed he rejected a move to China because he felt too young to call time on his Premier League career. The 24-year-old is understood to have been the target of a £58 million bid from Chinese Super League club Jiangsu Suning this month, but he was firm in his decision and said he had no intention of leaving Europe.
- Another star player who refused a move to China the past month was Napoli captain Marek Hamsik, with his agent saying he turned down a "massive offer" to stay with the Naples club as it battles for the Serie A title.