Mesut Ozil's praise of Zinedine Zidane hints at potential return to Real Madrid
With the January window on the horizon, there's plenty brewing in the transfer market. All the latest deals and potential deals can be found here.
Ozil race heats up
Arsenal's Mesut Ozil has been linked with a potential return to Real Madrid after revealing he is still in contact with Zinedine Zidane.
The Sun quotes the playmaker's interview with FootballMgzn, in which he heaps praise on the Bernabeu boss and his technique as a player.
According to the report, Ozil's respect for Zidane has fuelled speculation that he could rejoin the Spanish champions five years after leaving for Arsenal in a £42.5 million transfer.
But Ozil could yet be Manchester United-bound if Jose Mourinho has his wish. Mourinho is keen to recruit a new No. 10, owing to concerns over Henrikh Mkhitaryan's form and Juan Mata's suitability for the role.
The United boss worked with Ozil at Real Madrid and is believed to still be in contact with him, saying "no comment" with a wry smile in his news conference on Friday when asked about a possible move for the Germany international to Old Trafford.
But it's thought that United are happy to wait until next summer to complete a free transfer for Ozil, rather than shell out the £20-£25m it would cost to work out a transfer in January.
Coutinho exit on the cards
Have Liverpool finally conceded defeat in their bid to hold on to Philippe Coutinho? According to Mundo Deportivo, indeed they have.
The outlet reports the Reds will apparently accept an offer of €145m for the Brazilian, with a January transfer now looking likely.
Coutinho's price tag is still more than Barca had hoped to pay, but the Catalan giants are prepared to free up the budget by selling fringe players such as Arda Turan.
Coutinho is supposedly desperate for the move to happen, despite being cup-tied in the Champions League following his participation for Liverpool.
But Jurgen Klopp poured cold water on the reports out of Spain on Friday, saying: "Named a price? Interesting," when asked about a move for Coutinho. "There is absolutely nothing to say about this. Of course Phil is still essential for us."
Chelsea handed Sandro boost
Chelsea have finally been handed some encouragement in their long-term pursuit of Juventus left-back Alex Sandro, with TuttoMercatoWeb reporting that the player is planning to move after the World Cup.
The Brazilian was the subject of several bids in the summer, but Juve rejected the Blues' interest and offered Sandro an improved deal to stay in Italy.
The 26-year-old is apparently eager to leave, however, and could become the most expensive defender in history if he completes a switch to Stamford Bridge.
- West Brom are worried that they could miss out on a permanent deal for Ahmed Hegazy with Leicester also plotting to swoop for the centre-back, reports the Daily Mail. Hegazy has impressed during his loan spell and is available for around €5m from Al Ahly.
- Leicester misfit Islam Slimani might be on his way to Watford in January, according to the Watford Observer. The 29-year-old has made 12 appearances this season, scoring four goals -- all in the League Cup.
- Tottenham risk losing Toby Alderweireld after refusing to alter their wage structure, claims the Daily Mail. The centre-back is out of contract in 2019 and is thought to be asking for more than £110,000 a week to commit his future to the club.
Matthew Stanger covers European football for ESPN and is the editor of The Set Pieces. Twitter: @MatthewStanger