Transfer Talk: Man United, Barcelona on alert after Haland hat trick
The transfer windows in Europe's top leagues are closed, but it's never too late to look forward to January! Click here to view the latest transfers, and keep up to date with the newest gossip below.
TOP STORY: Haland in the spotlight after UCL hat trick
It has been a whirlwind week for FC Salzburg's Erling Braut Haland. The son of former Leeds favourite Alf-Inge Haland scored a hat trick for the Austrian side in a 6-2 win over Racing Genk in the Champions League on Tuesday, with his goalscoring feats witnessed by scouts from Manchester United. That sparked immediate speculation that he was bound for Old Trafford to play under countryman and Norwegian legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
However, according to Mundo Deportivo, it appears as though Barcelona are dead keen on getting in on the act too. The Spanish outlet reports that the Catalan giants were mightily impressed with his goalscoring feats in the opening round of Champions League group ties and now have the 19-year-old firmly on their radar as they prepare for a transfer raid in January or next summer.
His father, meanwhile, has told Norway station TV2 that it would be "nice" if his son -- who scored nine goals for Norway in a U20 World Cup match against Honduras earlier this year -- joined Manchester United, despite playing for the club's most hated rivals, Leeds United and Manchester City, during his playing career.
Good luck if you're heading to Yorkshire or the Etihad soon, Alf-Inge!
22.39 BST: On an exceptionally quiet Saturday, we're going to bring the day's live edition of Transfer Talk to a close. But be sure to check back in a few short hours, when we return with all the latest gossip pulled from Sunday's back pages.
19.37 BST: Former Manchester United and Celtic striker Henrik Larsson could be on the move ... to take over League One side Southend United, according to Sky Sports.
15.57 BST: Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha almost moved to Arsenal this summer for £80m but the club wanted more money and he eventually stayed, despite handing in a transfer request.
Zaha has now looked to draw a line under the saga, for now.
"What happened in the summer happened ... there were things I was told that did not happen and I was not happy about it," he told Crystal Palace fans website HLTCO . "But I'm still a Palace player and want to do well for the club. The fans care about your wellbeing and I will always love Palace -- whatever happens."
13.34 BST: Arsenal have a choice to make over Mesut Ozil.
12.59 BST: Barcelona need to raise a €100m in player sales to balance the books, says Marca, and Arsenal and Man United are looking for a cheap deal or two.
Arsenal want to improve their ragged defence with Samuel Umtiti, while Man United have eyes for Ivan Rakitic, says the Mirror.
11.50 BST: Manchester United are keen to sit down with Paul Pogba's agent Mino Raiola to discuss a contract extension in the coming weeks, sources have told ESPN FC.
Pogba still has two years left on his deal with an option for a third season, which can be triggered by the club only.
Nevertheless, United want to tie the 2018 World Cup winner to a new long term contract and want to begin talks soon.
After agreeing new terms with David De Gea and giving an extension to centre-back Victor Lindelof, they are now ready to turn their attention to Pogba, who moved to United for a then world record £89.3 million in 2016.
10.58 BST: Incredibly, a few options to replace Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane are being talked about in the Spanish press.
President Florentino Perez is considering former Liverpool and Spain midfielder Xabi Alonso, who is the manager of Real Sociedad B team and previously took charge of the Real U14s, according to Mundo Deportivo.
Of course Jose Mourinho is being linked, while Marca also says that ex-Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri is in the running.
10.12 BST: Netherlands striker Donyell Malen has been attracting the interest of Liverpool, according to Calciomercato.
Malen, 20, has scored 10 goals in 12 appearances for PSV Eindhoven this season and Liverpool are keen on a bit of competition for Roberto Firmino and Divock Origi.
09.00 BST: Zinedine Zidane is under pressure at Real Madrid following the 3-0 defeat at Paris Saint-Germain, according to ESPN FC sources.
After winning three successive Champions League titles, Zidane left his post as Madrid manager in summer of 2018 only to return in March 2019 following a difficult campaign which saw replacements Julen Lopetegui and subsequently Santiago Solari sacked.
But the Frenchman has struggled to bring about a reversal of fortunes, winning just five of his 11 games last season. And, despite Madrid making six signings in the summer, sources have told ESPN FC that members of the board feel "the squad is very strong and is not being maximised."
PAPER TALK (by Richard Edwards)
Martinez to team up with Almiron again?
Could Newcastle do a double dip and bring Josef Martinez in January from defending MLS champions Atlanta United?
A report by Chronicle Live says the Magpies are eyeing the Venezuelan goal machine, who is in the hunt for the world record for most consecutive games with a goal.
Newcastle brought in Martinez's ex-teammate Miguel Almiron during the past January window, after the South American duo led Atlanta to the MLS Cup title in the team's second year of existence.
The Paraguayan has struggled to adapt to the Premier League as Newcastle flounders in the relegation zone, but maybe bringing in his old pal would ignite St. James' Park.
The MLS regular season wraps up next month, with Atlanta poised to make another deep playoff run in hopes of a repeat league championship.
Everton set to launch defender hunt in January
The Toffees' boss, Marco Silva, has confirmed the club will be on the lookout for a new central defender in January -- which is hardly surprising given the somewhat sticky situation the club now find themselves in.
Speaking before the Blues' Goodison Park clash with Premier League new boys Sheffield United, the Liverpool Echo reports that Silva recognises the need to boost his central defensive resources after the club allowed Phil Jagielka to leave Merseyside and head back to the Blades in the summer.
His departure left Everton with just three senior central defenders at the start of the season, and injuries to any of them could spell huge trouble for a club that have enjoyed a typically inconsistent start to their Premier League campaign.
The club were linked with a number of defenders during the transfer window, with moves for Chelsea's Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori both failing to get off the ground. An attempt to sign Manchester United's Marcos Rojo also didn't get over the line.
"Even if you don't speak about that every week, it is normal we have chats about it and, of course, you are always looking," he said. "We will see, and what we can do to strengthen our squad in January, if you can, or next season again."
- Juventus were apparently in the running to sign Joao Felix from Benfica. In fact, they were front-runners. That's what Calciomercato claims, with representatives for the player apparently meeting Juve's top brass back in February. Whatever was said didn't change his final destination, though, with the player eventually heading to Atletico Madrid on a seven-year deal.
- Callum Hudson-Odoi must put in the hard yards to be a success at Chelsea, says manager Frank Lampard -- after the club handed him a five-year deal worth a reported £180,000 a week. The young England star has been the subject of intense interest from Bayern Munich but has now put pen to paper on a deal that should make him a central figure in Chelsea's plans for years to come. Providing he puts in the work.