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LIVE Transfer Talk: Lionel Messi can leave Barcelona for free in 2020

Gab Marcotti assesses the latest transfer rumours, including Liverpool's reported interest in Napoli forward Lorenzo Insigne.

The transfer window for all of Europe's big five leagues is closed, but that doesn't stop Transfer Talk from rummaging around about who will be moving where come January.

TOP STORY: Messi can leave Barcelona for free

Lionel Messi IS Barcelona, so plenty of eyebrows have been raised by the revelation that his contract has a clause in it which allows him to depart the club for free in 2020 so long as his destination is not "elite" -- read: anywhere in Europe's big five leagues.

Catalan outlet Mundo Deportivo are reporting that the club are keen to tie him to a new contract which would see him retire with the Blaugrana -- extending his deal from a 2021 expiration to 2022 or 2023 -- when Messi would be 35 or 36.

But while the No. 10, who many consider to be the GOAT, has always said he wants to return to play for Newell's Old Boys, we wonder how many clubs will tank the 2019-20 season in order to be considered 'unelite' just to get their hands on the little master.

LIVE BLOG

22.47 BST: We have mentioned West Ham look to be in the market for a striker in January. The latest name linked with Manuel Pellegrini's club is Chelsea's Olivier Giroud

Giroud remains second-choice to the snakebitten Alvaro Morata at Chelsea while West Ham need to make a decision regarding oft-injured Andy Carroll's future. 

Could the ex-Arsenal man join his third London club in as many years? The Mirror seems to think so.

Giroud has yet to score in eight games for the Blues but is the prototypical focal point forward that West Ham currently lack. West Ham appear hell-bent on signing a striker in January, who that striker will be remains a mystery.

21.52 BST: With Arsenal and Aaron Ramsey still far apart on a contract extension, Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport suggests Arsenal could opt to move for a young Italian as a replacement for the Welshman.

Cagliari's Nico Barella is the man mentioned, the 21-year-old having impressed this season with both I Rossoblu and the Italian national team.

Barella is not an unknown per se, as Man United, Liverpool and the two Milan clubs have been linked with him in the past.

Nico Barella is sure to take a step up in the near future is he bound for the Premier League?

21.09 BST: We discussed Tottenham potentially splashing the cash in January earlier. Another name being linked with the London club is Lyon ball-retriever Tanguy Ndombele. New reports indicate that old foe Arsene Wenger could put a wrench in Spurs' plans.

Paris United claim Wenger was spotted dining with PSG boss Thomas Tuchel recently amid rumours Wenger could join Les Parisiens in a general manager capacity. The report goes on to suggest the two chatted about one player in particular: Ndombele.

PSG have made no secret about their interest in the 21-year-old defensive midfielder over the past year or so and may see Wenger as the key variable in persuading the highly-touted player to trade Lyon for a move to the capital.

Could Wenger get another one over on Tottenham? Well he's made a career of it, so who are we to doubt him!

20.02 BST: Schalke have added another year to 36-year-old defender Naldo's contract with the club. Now signed through 2020, the Brazilian will be approaching 39 when his new contract ends. Fair play to him!

The 36-year-old Naldo has been a consistent presence in the Bundesliga since 2005 and is in his third season with the Gelsenkirchen-based club. Don't let his age fool you into thinking he's slowing down either, as Naldo played all 34 games last season as Schalke finished second in the Bundesliga.

19.11 BST: Could West Ham make a shock move for one of Europe's most prolific strikers? 

Italian outlet Calciomercato claim that West Ham are the latest team in on Roma hitman Edin Dzeko. This report comes after earlier this week, The Mirror claimed that Southampton, Crystal Palace and Cardiff had started to monitor the Bosnian international's situation in the Italian capital.

Dzeko bagged 24 goals last season for Roma, after 39 the year before but is off to a bit of a slow start this season for the Giallorossi

Meanwhile, the Hammers have improved in recent weeks after a disastrous start but still have yet to get a goal from a true No. 9.

Dzeko scored 50 Premier League goals and won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and a English League Cup as a member of Manchester City between 2010-15.

18.02 BST: After not spending a single sterling on new players this summer, Tottenham are reportedly set to spend big in January.

The Express claims that one Spurs target could be West Brom winger Oliver Burke. The 21-year-old Scot has been only a bit-part player -- only three appearances this season -- since returning to England with West Brom but is still regarded as a top talent.

Burke came through the pipeline at Nottingham Forest and impressed during his one season in Germany in 2016-17 with RB Leipzig.

17.12 BST: Man United have been linked with Celtic youngster Kieran Tierney before but the latest rumours have Celtic interested in a young Man United player. 

Fellow Scotland international Scott McTominay is the player attracting the attention of Brendan Rodgers and Co according to The Belfast Telegraph. The paper writes that Celtic are "monitoring the situation" of the 21-year-old central midfielder. 

McTominay was a favourite of Jose Mourinho last campaign but has found playing time tougher this season with just four appearances thus far. Is a trip home next on the cards for McTominay?

16.09 BST: Germany international Kerem Demirbay is still of interest to Liverpool, according to Turkish-Football.

The 25-year-old Hoffenheim midfielder is represented by the same agents as Sadio Mane and Naby Keita, so perhaps that will smooth things over? 

15.03 BST: It''s been almost six hours since West Ham were linked with a player so... next up, TuttoMercatoWeb say they are after Sevilla playmaker Franco Vazquez.

14.28 BST: Genoa president Enzo Preziosi has said in-demand striker Krysztof Piatek is going nowhere in January -- but concedes the Polish striker will leave the club eventually.

"Like I said, Piatek is essential to Genoa, and I need to think about Genoa," Preziosi told Gazetta dello Sport. "Then, let's be realistic, I know they will take him away because he is sensational and they will multiply his salary by 10.

"He'll win and Genoa will win. We are already inundated with phone calls from clubs in Italy and across Europe. All top clubs. Whoever wants Piatek needs to be serious and talk to me. I would consider any other approach malpractice."

13.17 BST: Former Colombia international Carlos Valderrama says he believes Real Madrid were wrong to give up James Rodriguez. Though the midfielder is still only on loan at Bayern Munich, so maybe all is not lost.

13.10 BST: Ouch. The Arsenal Supporters' Trust are unhappy and with pretty good reason if a report in the Daily Telegraph is to be believed. The club could have just £40m to spend in the summer after suggestions of a "sizeable operating loss." That's not even enough to buy Kylian Mbappe's left foot.

12.27 BST: It's not every day a young player turns down Manchester City.

But, after following the likes of James Milner, Aaron Lennon, Lewis Cook, Fabian Delph and Alan Smith in making his Leeds United debut as a teenager, 17-year-old Jack Clarke told the Mirror: "I wouldn't want to leave when I've got everything I want here."

11.55 BST: Sorry, Valletta FC fans. There will be no "funeral march" for the rivals who failed to land Usain Bolt, as you didn't either. Bolt's agent has confirmed to ESPN that he opted against taking up their offer and won't be playing in Malta.

11.32 BST: More from Mundo Deportivo now and it's related to Barcelona's centre-back search. Injuries to Samuel Umtiti and Thomas Vermaelen have left the Catalans short in defence and the answer, apparently, is a move for Liverpool's Dejan Lovren.

Honestly... first Alberto Moreno and now Lovren. Someone at Camp Nou certainly likes to look at Anfield for a bargain.

10.59 BST: Bayer Leverkusen have signed Croatia international Tin Jedvaj to a new deal. The 22-year-old's contract now runs through to 2023.

10.22 BST: Could Neymar be on his way back to Barcelona? Mundo Deportivo insists the Brazilian winger is offering himself up to return to Camp Nou and is missing his former teammates -- especially Messi.

Barcelona completely ruled out such a possibility in the past but the report claims that "lately the perception within the club has changed and Neymar's potential return is already contemplated as a plausible possibility. An option that is known very complicated but not impossible..."

Stand by for some "very complicated" transfer talks over the coming months then.

10.03 BST: England's rising star Jadon Sancho has certainly impressed at Borussia Dortmund, but he did not convince Bayern Munich bosses in 2017, according to German weekly Sport Bild.

The winger had already passed the test of the Bavarian club's scouting department but apparently did not fully convince the board, who were not interested in pursuing a transfer. Instead BVB beat RB Leipzig to sign the City academy player for £8m and the youngster now leads Bundesliga in assists. Can't win them all, Bayern.

09. 27 BST: Any club wanting to sign Nathan Ake from Bournemouth will have to reckon with Chelsea. Sources have confirmed to ESPN FC that the Blues have first option to re-sign the Dutchman, who left Stamford Bridge for the South Coast in the summer of 2017 and is reportedly attracting interest from Tottenham and Manchester United.

08.52 BST: Arsene Wenger says he wants to return to management in January, although he still doesn't know where.

Wenger dismissed links to Bayern Munich, urging the German club to stick with under-fire manager Niko Kovac. Asked whether he is still planning to return to management, Wenger said: "Yes, it looks like it. I believe that it'll start again on January 1. I don't know yet [where I'm headed]. I am rested, and I am ready to work again ... It's not 100 percent that I will go to a club. There are associations, national teams, it could be also Japan. Thanks to my 22 years at Arsenal, I have big experience on different levels. There are enquiries from all over the world."

08.47 BST: Porto winger Yacine Brahimi is reportedly on the radar of Lazio, Roma, Marseille, Lyon and Besiktas. So how are West Ham going to compete? The Hammers reportedly had a €20m bid rejected for the Algeria winger a few months ago and are keen to go back for him but, according to Record, Lazio are frontrunners and will make a bid in January.

08.26 BST: More from our Paul Scholes interview. This time on two players who Manchester United might have to sell:

"[Anthony] Martial and [Marcus] Rashford, two really talented players, they need to develop their confidence and then... it scares me that these really talented players will be sold and be brilliant for another club. I could see that happening with Martial."

08.00 BST: Sources have told ESPN FC that Liverpool do not have the option of a recall in Harry Wilson's loan deal with Derby. The midfielder bagged another brilliant goal for Wales on Tuesday and, with a number of growing injury concerns at the club, Liverpool can't just bring him back to help out.

PAPER TALK

Sterling brace draws Real interest

Following his impressive brace for England in a 3-2 win against Spain this week, the Daily Mail are reporting that Real Madrid see Raheem Sterling as a realistic transfer target.

The attacker has just over 18 months left on his deal at Manchester City, and the report states that the club fear his value will decline rapidly should he enter the last year of his contract next summer.

Although Sterling has performed to a high standard at club level in recent years, he had yet to fully replicate this on the international stage, but his performance in Seville saw him turn a corner and score his first goals for country in three years.

The side from the Spanish capital noticed how well he did against La Roja's defence and ramped up their interest in a player they have been monitoring in since his time at Liverpool. They see the 23-year-old's contract situation as an opportunity to make their move.

No offers for Piatek despite Chelsea interest

Poland hotshot Krzysztof Piatek has found scoring goals a piece of cake at Genoa this season, netting nine in seven games in Serie A and four in one game in the Coppa Italia.

He is Chelsea's No. 1 target, according to the Express, as they look to find reinforcements in forward areas due to inconsistent displays from Alvaro Morata.

Chelsea have hit the ground running under new manager Maurizio Sarri, but they are looking for a player to take some of the weight off the shoulders of Eden Hazard.

"There has been no official offer for our player from any club," said the player's agent, Szymon Pacanowski, speaking to CalcioNapoli24.

"Many clubs have contacted us in recent weeks, but I cannot name them."

De Gea set for new deal at Manchester United

David De Gea is next in line for a new contract at Manchester United once the club have sorted new deals for Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw, according to the Evening Standard.

They plan to activate a clause that will automatically secure the services of the Spain goalkeeper for an extra year, potentially extending his stay until 2020.

De Gea had regularly been linked with a move to Real Madrid, but since the European champions signed Thibaut Courtois, those stories have understandably died down.

The United No. 1 is widely considered one of the best goalkeepers in the world, but if the club continue to operate below that standard, a new contract could be a tool to retain his value more than keep him at the club long-term.

His current deal expires at the end of this season, and for United to lose a player who has been so important to them in recent years for nothing would be unthinkable.

Tap-ins

-- Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo believes Barcelona are planning to sign former Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic on loan from Zenit St Petersburg before looking for a long-term solution at the back next summer.

-- Miguel Almiron to Arsenal was a bogus rumour, according to a report on Atlanta United website Dirty South Soccer. The fan site did some digging and found that the initial story was unreliable to say the least, but the Paraguayan midfielder continues to impress in Major League Soccer, so will naturally attract interest from elsewhere.

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