Liverpool and Manchester United set to battle for Bayern Munich's Mario Gotze
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, Liverpool to battle for Gotze
Starting today with the Daily Star, who report that Mario Gotze will be at the centre of a stunning transfer showdown between Manchester United and Liverpool this summer, with Bayern Munich ready to offload the World Cup winning star. Gotze famously netted Germany's extra-time winner to down Argentina and claim World Cup glory in 2014.
Despite that famous goal, his club career since has failed to live up to expectation and the 23-year-old has played only 11 times for Bayern this season in what has been an injury-plagued campaign. The German giants are said to be fed up with Gotze and are ready to sell him to the highest bidder.
German website TZ adds that Bayern are busy preparing new contracts for their top stars but Gotze is not being considered, with incoming boss Carlo Ancelotti telling the midfielder that he will not be part of his plans. They go on to say that Real Madrid and Juventus are also waiting in the wings should Gotze be let go.
The ex-Borussia Dortmund star is reportedly worth around £31 million, but that amount could rise considerably depending on how he fares with Germany at Euro 2016.
City gain ground on Gundogan
The Guardian reports that Manchester City have ramped up their attempt to make Ilkay Gundogan one of Pep Guardiola's first signings, with the club's director of football Txiki Begiristain meeting the Borussia Dortmund midfielder's agent in Amsterdam. Gundogan signed a fresh two-year deal last summer so at the close of the season he will have only 12 months on his contract, and is rumoured to be valued at about £23m.
Begiristain was photographed in conversation with Gundogan, the midfielder's representative and uncle, on the same day Guardiola met the City sporting director in the Dutch capital. Dortmund are in contract talks with Gundogan but there is no sign of a breakthrough and coach Thomas Tuchel yesterday admitted the club may not be able to hold on to the player, as much as they would like to keep him.
Barcelona back off Stones
Barcelona have dropped their interest in Everton defender John Stones over concerns that the 21-year-old could struggle to settle into La Liga, according to the Mirror. The Catalonian club have been following Barnsley-born Stones for a while as they look to add a quality young centre-back to their ranks this summer.
But after making some enquiries into the youngster's personality and temperament, there are sufficient fears over his ability to adapt to a new environment, so Barca may not enter into competition with the Premier League elite for his signature. Additionally, with the asking price being driven up by the likes of Manchester United, rivals Man City and Chelsea, Stones has become too much of a risk for the European champions to consider.
Tottenham to bid for Berardi
Tottenham could sign Sassuolo forward Domenico Berardi this summer, according to Italian outlet Calciomercato. Berardi is regarded as one of the brightest prospects in Italian football and was named Serie A's young player of the year in 2014. Capable of playing anywhere along the attack, the 21-year-old is also renowned for his ability to lay on chances for others, having registered a league-high 10 assists last season to match his 15 goals.
However, a potential deal for Berardi won't come without complications, as Juventus, who previously co-owned the forward, are understood to have a buyback option worth £14m which they plan on activating in the summer. Mauricio Pochettino and Tottenham could yet steal in and sign him this year, having been keen on the player for a number of years with an offer of around £28 million.
West Ham eye Bony and Benteke
West Ham have added Wilfried Bony and Christian Benteke to their list of striker targets, says The Mirror. The Hammers want to build on their success this season by bringing in a big-name frontman, and are ready to break their transfer record and spend up to £20m.
Marseille's Michy Batshuayi is Slaven Bilic's first-choice target, but a move for the promising Belgian international could be a difficult one to complete as he is also being eyed by Tottenham and Juventus. Both Bony and Benteke are facing uncertain futures at Manchester City and Liverpool, respectively, after underwhelming seasons, and are seen as secondary targets should the club miss out on Batshuayi.
Watford's Odion Ighalo is another name that has cropped up, though West Ham look set to be priced out of a move for the Nigerian with Manchester United and Arsenal in the mix.
- German outlet BILD reports that Liverpool are interested in signing Koln keeper Timo Horn and defender Jonas Hector, but face competition from Arsenal and Manchester United.
- After improving his attitude and relationships with those within the club, Saido Berahino has been told by West Brom that he can leave in the summer, with Tottenham currently leading the chase, says The Sun.
- West Brom have made an early move for £8m rated Laurent Depoitre, according to the Mail, with the Gent striker being seen as a possible replacement for Berahino should he leave the Hawthorns.
- Jordan Ayew, Jack Grealish, Adama Traore, Idrissa Gana, Jordan Veretout and Adama Traore are all expected to leave Aston Villa this summer, as the club begin to prepare for life in The Championship, claims the Telegraph.