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Transfer Talk: LAFC's Carlos Vela could be Barcelona's Plan B at striker

The transfer window for Europe's biggest clubs is open. Transfer Talk has been scouring the world's media and setting our correspondents loose to see who could be heading to or out of your club this month.

TOP STORY: Vela could be Barcelona's Plan B

Carlos Vela has emerged as a January option to cover Barcelona's striker shortage, according to several reports. Vela, currently at LAFC, has experience in La Liga, having played at Real Sociedad for seven seasons prior to arriving in MLS in 2018.

According to Spanish outlet Cadena SER, the Mexico international is in Barcelona's sights and behind only Chelsea's Alvaro Morata on the wish list.

ESPN Deportes' Jodi Blanco confirmed the Catalan club's interest in Vela -- who made his debut in Europe with Arsenal in 2005 and had loan spells at various Spanish teams, including Osasuna -- but added that he is just "one of the names" on the shortlist.

LAFC have not officially heard from Barcelona regarding Vela, but the club is aware that a potential offer could be coming, according to ESPN Deportes' Mauricio Pedroza.

Barcelona saw Munir El Haddadi make an early departure to Sevilla last week and are seeking some depth behind Luis Suarez.


22.34 GMT: That's going to bring Thursday's live edition of Transfer Talk to a close. Thanks very much for joining us, and be sure to check back in a few short hours when we return with the latest gossip pulled from Friday's back pages.

21.46 GMT: Chelsea and Manchester United have joined Manchester City in the race for 21-year-old Crystal Palace right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka, the Mirror reports.

20.58 GMT: The Portland Timbers, along with Leganes and unnamed Liga MX sides, are courting 27-year-old Boca Juniors right-back Leonardo Jara, according to Argentinian radio outlet Closs Continental.

20.10 GMT: Manchester City midfielder Tom Dele-Bashiru is set to leave the club in the summer with Italian side Atalanta among the clubs interested in him, sources have told EPSN FC. The 19-year-old is in the final six months of his contract and has so far been unable to agree a new deal with the club. Manchester-born Dele-Bashiru, who made his only first-team appearance in last season's Carabao Cup victory over Leicester City, is free to speak to other clubs about a deal in the summer and could potentially even move to the Serie A club in January. His brother Fisayo, 17, is also at City and is a regular for the under-18s side.

19.22 GMT: RB Leipzig manager Ralf Rangnick has dumped a large bucket of cold water on the rumours linking the Bundesliga club with a move for AC Milan playmaker Hakan Calhanoglu: "We know the player, but right now he is a regular starter for Milan. We knew his price, so for our club this deal is not economically feasible," he's quoted as saying by Italian transfer guru Gianluca Di Marzio.

18.34 GMT: After his contract with LA Galaxy expired, Ashley Cole is returning to England, with the Sun writing that he's set to reunite with former Chelsea teammate Frank Lampard at Derby County.

17.46 GMT: Liverpool are considering a £20m bid for 20-year-old Schalke midfielder and U.S. international Weston McKennie either this month or else in the summer, according to the Sun.

16.58 GMT: With Real Madrid and Juventus reportedly interested in Marcus Rashford, who has just 18 months left on his deal, the Mirror is reporting that Manchester United are prepared to double the 21-year-old's wages to £150,000 a week.

16.10 GMT: Jose Mourinho is doing some pundit work for BeIN SPORTS and, although sources say he can't talk about Man United, he says he is "too young" to consider retirement.

Mourinho was sacked as United manager in December, with caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer leading the side to six wins from six games since. But Mourinho is not thinking about quitting yet.

"I want to coach. I am too young, I am in football for a long, long time but I will be 56 in a couple of weeks and am really too young." he told BeIN. "Where I am going to stay is where I belong, I belong to top football. I belong to top-level football and (that) is where I am going to be."

15.46 GMT: Mesut Ozil has been linked with a move away from Arsenal, so this is interesting from Gunners boss Unai Emery.

15.15 GMT: Sky in Italy claim that Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey has completed his medical at Juventus, signed a precontract agreement and is all ready to make the big announcement in February.

15.01 GMT: Krzysztof Piatek looks likely to be moving to AC Milan as sources have told ESPN FC that Genoa rejected a £35m offer from West Ham for the 23-year-old striker because they had already granted Milan first refusal. 

Looks like West Ham are looking to spend every penny of the £35m that an unnamed Chinese club are ready to buy Marko Arnautovic for... but they won't get this one.

14.40 GMT: Giuseppe Rossi is reluctant to relaunch his career in MLS, a source close to the player has told ESPN FC, with the former Manchester United forward determined to find a new club in Europe.

Rossi, 31, is training with the first team squad at Old Trafford and, though he has had no firm offers of employment, he is prepared to wait for the right opportunity to emerge in Europe before considering a move back to the United States to play in MLS.

Sources have told ESPN FC that Rossi is aware of the growing profile of MLS and the success enjoyed by Zlatan Ibrahimovic at LA Galaxy and Wayne Rooney with DC United since leaving the Premier League for the U.S. during the past year. But the American-Italian, who has endured an injury-hit career in recent years, believes MLS would not be the right choice at this stage of his career.

14.22 GMT: Tottenham have no intention of recruiting a striker on a short-term deal following Harry Kane's injury, and a loan signing in any position would only be considered with a view to a permanent transfer, sources have told ESPN FC.

Spurs expect Kane to be out of action until March after scans revealed he suffered ankle ligament damage at the end of Sunday's 1-0 defeat to Manchester United. And with Son Heung-Min also unavailable due to his participation with South Korea in the Asian Cup, which finishes on Feb. 1, the north Londoners are temporarily short of striking options.

But sources said that the club will not seek to make a quick-fix loan signing, and that any additions will be made with a longer-term strategy in mind -- any loan signings would be with a view to a permanent move in the summer. Mauricio Pochettino has repeated that, while Spurs are "open" to signing players this month, it remains "tough and difficult."

14.09 GMT: Kosovo international Arber Zeneli will be watched by a number of Premier League clubs this weekend, according to Sky Sports. The Heerenveen left winger is attracting plenty of attention and Chelsea are reportedly one of the clubs who will be attending the match vs. Ajax as he's available for around £5m because his contract expires this summer.

13.52 GMT: Antonio Valencia will not be leaving Manchester United before his contract expires, as The Times report that he will remain at the club until the summer. However, there is the lovely snippet of gossip buried in there which reads: "Valencia would probably have left this month had Jose Mourinho remained manager." And we doubt he would have been alone.

13.22 GMT: Liverpool are hopeful that defender Ki-Jana Hoever, the club's third-youngest ever player, will sign a professional contract in the summer, sources have told ESPN FC.

The Dutch youth international turns 17 on Friday, but sources said the club and player's camp are relaxed about the situation and expect to reach an agreement in the not-to-distant future.

13.01 GMT: The news all Inter Milan fans have ... well, probably had just about their fill of, to be honest. Sky Sport Italia report that Mauro Icardi will meet the club on Friday, presumably with wife and agent Wanda, to discuss THAT contract renewal. And no doubt they will meet again in a few weeks to discuss it again. And again. And then maybe he will sign it.

12.37 GMT: Staying with Turkish players, Belgium giants Anderlecht have tabled a €3m offer for Galatasaray's Yunus Akgun, according to ESPN sources.

Chelsea have been monitoring the 18-year-old since his impressive performance against England for Turkey U19's back in November. He is one of several young Galatasaray players being courted by European clubs this month after breaking into the first-team and the Lions have already sold 18-year-old Ozan Kabak to Stuttgart for €12m earlier this week.

However, Galatasaray are yet to make a decision on Akgun's future and are understood to be holding out for a higher offer. The player has been nicknamed the 'next Cengiz Under' by the Turkish press due to his age and similar playing style to the Roma forward, while the Super Lig outfit are in financial trouble and have sold several players this season including Garry Rodrigues to Al Ittihad and star striker Bafetimbi Gomis over the summer.

12.05 GMT: Goztepe are in talks with Chelsea over the loan transfer of Baba Rahman, sources at the Super Lig side have revealed to ESPN FC.

Rahman spent the first half of the season on loan at Schalke but the right-back was limited to just four appearances across all competitions and Chelsea are looking for a new club to take him as he will not be given a first-team role by Maurizio Sarri.

An agreement is yet to be struck but Goztepe, who are 10th in the Super Lig, are confident the Ghana international will join before the end of the transfer window.

11.48 GMT: Napoli are ready to launch a €30m offer for Hirving "Chucky" Lozano, according to Il Matino. The Mexico winger has impressed at PSV but Napoli would be a serious step up if he makes the move.

11.30 GMT: The January transfer window has been quiet so far, but what do the big teams in the Premier League need? How about Sergio Ramos at Arsenal and Luka Modric at Man United? Mark Ogden takes a look.

11.16 GMT: Manchester City are in talks with Hajduk Split over highly-rated midfielder Ante Palaversa, sources have told ESPN FC. The Croatia under-19 captain would cost around £7m and is expected to remain with Hajduk until the end of the season. 

Palaversa made his debut for the Croatian club this season and has quickly made an impact to become a regular starter, making 17 appearances and scoring twice. City are short of options in the holding midfield role but Palaversa would not considered to be ready for the first team yet and could spend another season with Hajduk to increase his development.

11.11 GMT: Sought-after Lille forward Nicolas Pepe will not be leaving the club this winter, the Ligue 1 club's owner has told RMC.

Arsenal are reportedly among a host of top clubs chasing the 23-year-old Ivory Coast international, who has scored 13 goals and recorded seven assists in 20 league games this term. But Gerard Lopez explained: "Everyone has understood that he's not leaving this winter, even if there has already been interest in him for this summer."

10.47 GMT: Out of contract at the end of the season, Romain Metanire is close to leaving Stade de Reims to join MLS franchise Minnesota United, say L'Equipe.

The 28-year-old defender is expected to sign a two-year deal with the Minneapolis franchise.

10.33 GMT: Barcelona are ready let Malcom go in January if they receive an offer which betters the €41m they paid Bordeaux last summer, sources have told ESPN FC.

Coach Ernesto Valverde has offered Malcom very few opportunities to prove himself at Barcelona and he's made just 10 appearances in all competitions, with six of them coming as a substitute.

Before moving to Barca, Malcom drew interest from a range of English and Italian sides, including Roma, Tottenham and Arsenal; Guangzhou Evergrande of the Chinese Super League have also shown an interest.

Malcom's agents have not responded to a request from ESPN FC to clarify the winger's situation, but circumstances may force him to reconsider his next move if the La Liga leaders receive an offer which matches their asking price this month. A move to China could even happen up until the end of February.

10.05 GMT: Crystal Palace are set to land a new goalkeeper as they close on a deal to get Lucas Perri from Sao Paulo on loan until the end of the season.

The 21-year-old Brazilian has an Italian passport and should provide some competition for Vicente Guaita and Wayne Hennessey, who are both injured, and 39-year-old Julian Speroni.

09.42 GMT: Munas Dabbur is set to sign for Sevilla. The Red Bull Salzburg striker arrived at the club on Wednesday and will reportedly undergo a medical before signing a contract with the La Liga outfit.

Sevilla will pay a reported €15m to acquire the Israel international, who will continue to play for Salzburg until the end of the season and move to Spain in the summer. Dabbur has scored 20 goals in 30 official games for Salzburg.

09.31 GMT: Monaco vice-president Vadim Vasilyev has revealed that Michy Batshuayi's loan move to his club has been blocked by Chelsea.

When asked about Batshuayi's transfer to Monaco, during a news conference to present new signings Cesc Fabregas and Naldo on Wednesday, Vasilyev said: "We have an agreement with the player. We have an agreement with Valencia. For the time being, it [move] has been blocked by Chelsea because they prefer to sell the player."

09.01 GMT: Mousa Dembele has completed his move to Chinese Super League club Guangzhou R&F, with sources telling ESPN FC that Tottenham have banked £9m from the sale. The 31-year-old was entering the last six months of his contract so could have left for free in the summer.

09.00 GMT: ICYMI -- Chelsea are close to completing a deal to sign Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain on an initial six-month loan deal, sources have confirmed to ESPN FC.

The agreement will give Chelsea the option to either buy Higuain -- who had made clear his desire to cut short an unsatisfying loan spell at AC Milan -- next summer or extend the loan for a further 12 months.

08.45 GMT: Amid interest from Turkish giants Galatasaray, Nimes midfielder Teji Savanier has fuelled rumours that he could make a €10m move before the end of this month.

"I am currently a Nimes player," he told France Bleu Gard Lozere's Romain Collet-Gaudin ahead of Wednesday's 1-0 Ligue 1 home win over Nantes. "Perhaps something will happen in the next few days -- we will see. Nothing is certain."

08.31 GMT: Sources close to PSG have told ESPN FC that the French champions are growing increasingly confident that they have done enough to secure the signature of Barcelona and Manchester City target Frenkie de Jong from Ajax this summer and the player himself has spoken with VoetbalPrimeur about the furore over his future:

"Sometimes, I think that I would like for it to be over," he said. "I will not rush my decision, but I also prefer that the situation is clear as soon as possible. I do not know if I will tell the public what I am going to do. To keep this quiet will be difficult, so perhaps there will be no other choice but to say something about it."

08.18 GMT: As reported yesterday by our PSG correspondent Jonathan Johnson, the French champions' top January transfer target is Borussia Dortmund defensive midfielder Julian Weigl.

Sky in Germany concur that PSG are in for Weigl and say that sporting director Antero Henrique is trying to convince Dortmund to let the player go this month, possibly initially on loan, and that Weigl and PSG coach Thomas Tuchel have spoken about a move.

08.05 GMT: Girona club president Delfi Geli has denied reports that his club are in negotiations with Barcelona to sell striker Christian Stuani.

Barca are looking to strengthen their attack following the departure of Munir El Haddadi to Sevilla and have reportedly identified Stuani as the ideal candidate. The 32-year-old, who joined Girona from Middlesbrough in the summer of 2017, has scored 12 goals in 17 league appearances for the Catalan outfit, and has a contract until June 2020 with a €15m release clause.

Asked if Barca had contacted Girona to acquire Stuani, Delfi Geli told Cadena Ser radio on Wednesday night: "No, there is nothing. Stuani is with us, he is very happy to be here and we have no news. I don't know where this (story) came from. The important thing is that he with us."

07.25 GMT: Mousa Dembele's move to China looks like a done deal, with photos leaking of the Tottenham midfielder holding a Guangzhou R&F shirt.

PAPER TALK (by Mark Thompson, Footballwhispers)

Modric on the move?

It seems highly unlikely that Real Madrid would consider letting him go, as he has just been named the best player on the planet, but Corriere dello Sport reports that Inter Milan are hoping to land Luka Modric. The Italian publication's back page carries a headline saying "the door is open" for a potential switch.

It has previously been claimed that the Milan club have offered the midfielder a four-year deal in hopes that the long contract would entice the 33-year-old, with Juventus also said to be keen.

Real would be reluctant to lose a man who has enjoyed a close to perfect year, though, after following another Champions League win by guiding Croatia to their first World Cup final and winning the Ballon d'Or.

Hammers set sights on Arnautovic replacement

With Marko Arnautovic keen to leave West Ham for China this month, the Daily Express carries a story claiming that the Hammers have turned their eyes toward Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson.

The 26-year-old has become a proven Premier League goal scorer in recent years and scored in his England debut last year. It has been claimed that Bournemouth would demand in the region of £75 million for the striker if they were to sell the former Coventry City front man, with Chelsea also said to be interested.

West Ham have not put all their eggs in one basket, though, with manager Manuel Pellegrini said to be keen to work once again with Roma and ex-Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko. The 32-year-old won the Premier League with Pellegrini at Manchester City and has been a class act at Roma in recent years but would be allowed to leave as part of a shakeup at the Serie A side, according to reports.

Celtic hope to land United's rising star

Manchester United are considering letting one of their best young players, Scott McTominay, out on loan if reports are to be believed, and almost all of the Scottish papers agree that Celtic are hopeful of landing the 22-year-old. The Scottish Sun are among a host of publications that claim Brendan Rodgers is keen to secure the services of the midfielder on loan.

McTominay was named Jose Mourinho's player of the year last season, but since the manager's departure, the five-time-capped Scotland international has featured for only one minute in the Premier League under new boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

However, it is claimed that a potential switch across the border might depend on the future of Marouane Fellaini, who is also being linked with a move away from Old Trafford.

Football Whispers' top five emerging whispers

Football Whispers' transfer algorithm gives the likelihood of rumours happening a score out of five.

Oumar Niasse to Cardiff City: 4.5

The Everton striker is said to have already had his medical ahead of a loan move to the Bluebirds until the end of the season. The Senegal international joined Everton from Lokomotiv Moscow in 2016 and has scored nine goals in 39 appearances.

Alvaro Morata to Atletico Madrid: 3.8

The Chelsea striker looks set for the exit door, and Atletico Madrid appear to be the most likely destination. The Spaniard signed for £70 million in the summer of 2017, but now the club would accept anything in the region of £45 million, it is claimed.

Daniel Sturridge to New York City FC: 2.6

The Liverpool striker is said to be set for talks with MLS, and The Sun claims that New York City FC are one of the clubs keen on the England international. The 29-year-old is free to speak to clubs abroad, as he is in the final six months of his contract.

Eric Bailly to Arsenal: 2.5

It has been claimed that Manchester United have told Bailly and Marcos Rojo they can leave the club, which has prompted the talk of Bailly-to-Arsenal to resurface. Reports suggest that the Gunners have been told they need to put up a significant fee if they want to land the 24-year-old.

Steven Bergwijn to Manchester United: 1.6

The Red Devils are set to send scouts to watch the Dutch international. The Sun claims the PSV Eindhoven forward would cost in the region of £25 million, and United are considering a move this month.


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