The transfer windows in Europe’s top leagues are closed, but it’s never too early to look forward to January. Click here to view the latest transfers, and keep up to date with the newest gossip below.
TOP STORY: Madrid eye January swoop for Lewandowski
Lewandowski scored twice in Bayern’s 3-2 away win at Olympiakos on Tuesday in the Champions League to take his remarkable goal-scoring tally this season to 18 in 13 games in all competitions, and while such form has seen him nominated for the Ballon D’Or, it has also attracted the interest of Zinedine Zidane, who is keen to add further firepower to his attack.
Madrid are just one point behind La Liga leaders Barcelona but their form in Europe, until Tuesday’s 1-0 win at Galatasaray, has been patchy.
Zidane is hoping to secure the Pole as his marquee signing with a move for Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba now seemingly dead in the water.
Lewandowski is 31 so represents a short-term solution for Los Blancos, and because he’s contracted until 2023 it could cost more than €70 million to prise him away from the reigning Bundesliga champions.
22.59 BST: We’ll close Wednesday’s live edition of Transfer Talk with some gossip coming out of Italy. While competing “a number of top clubs around Europe” for the signature of Velez Sarsfield forward Matias Soule, Juventus are in pole position to sign the 16-year-old, according to Goal.
21.14 BST: The Mirror cites Spanish outlet El Periodico de Aragon as reporting that Manchester United have agreed a €150,000 transfer fee for 16-year-old Mateo Mejia, who scored 60 goals for Real Zaragoza’s youth side last season, and is now the youngest players in the Red Devils’ under-18 side.
19.07 BST: Arsenal had a £40m bid for RB Leipzig centre-back Dayot Upamecano knocked back in the summer, but with the 20-year-old having just 18 months left on his contract and the Red Bull-backed club fearful of losing him for nothing in 2021, the Gunners could get their man with a bid of … £40m, according to the Sun.
17.00 BST: Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic has been linked with a £10m move to Manchester United and now the Italian club’s sporting director Fabio Paratici has basically said the 33-year-old can leave in January.
He told Sky in Italy: “We are talking to Mandzukic to find the best possible solution. We remain open to any scenario, so staying here or going elsewhere. We are discussing it to find the best solution for both parties.”
16.05 BST: Napoli’s Fabian Ruiz has been scouted by Manchester City, reports the Guardian.
Ruiz, 23, has impressed in Serie A and the Under-21 European Championships with Spain, and a number of clubs are interested in him.
However, Napoli chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis said last week: “I paid €30m for Fabian and he’s a fantastic player. If some of the European top clubs were to offer €180m we can start talking about selling him.”
15.03 BST: Mark Ogden reckons that Man United really need to sign Harry Kane. Here, the FC TV crew give their thoughts.
14.21 BST: Leicester spent £29m on striker Islam Slimani in 2016 and haven’t seen much of a return on their investment. Instead Slimani has saved his best form for his loan spell at Monaco where he has scored five goals and picked up six assists in seven games.
Now Monaco are keen to buy him permanently and Sky Sports reports they could land the Algerian for “for as little as £7.8m.”
The same report says that sources at Leicester are expecting more money for the player. But with his contract expiring in 2021 and seemingly no chance of a return to the Premier League, they might want to take what they can get.
13.23 BST: Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has said he would be interested in signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic but the final decision lies with the player.
Ibrahimovic will become a free agent in January when his contract at LA Galaxy expires and recently talked up the possibility of returning to Serie A — where he won titles at Juventus, Inter and AC Milan — with Napoli.
“On the pitch, he seems like one type of person, but really he is completely different,” De Laurentiis told TV Luna. “My desire would be to see him in our jersey. It’s more than just a suggestion, but it’s up to him. It has been spoken about for a few months.”
12.51 BST: Jose Mourinho has been learning German and that can only mean one thing: a job with either Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund.
SportBild reports that Bayern’s first choice (should Niko Kovac leave) is actually former RB Leipzig boss Ralf Rangnick, who has also been linked with Manchester United.
But Dortmund are keen if Lucien Favre is let go, with Mourinho and club CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke maintaining a good relationship.
12.02 BST: Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has come under pressure at the club in recent months and there’s speculation that he’s set to be replaced in the summer by Athletic Bilbao youngster Unai Simon.
Simon, 22, has a €50m release clause in his contract and is highly rated, while he’s also a Spain U21 international. According to El Desmarque, Real are looking at alternative options to Courtois but will give the Belgian until the summer to turn things around before moving for Simon.
11.14 BST: Dutch outlet De Volkskrant have an interview with part-time Chelsea scout Piet de Visser, who was Roman Abramovich’s private scout for a number of years. And he has one player on the mind for Frank Lampard’s team who was sold to Bournemouth by the club in 2017 and would now cost over £40m to re-sign.
“Do you know how many players from the Chelsea academy have moved away?” the 85-year-old said. “Dutch people too: Patrick van Aanholt, Nathan Ake.
“Ake should be playing at Chelsea now. He’s so good. He has timing and insight. I hope they buy him back. That boy is crazy about Chelsea and he has played with Lampard.”
Tonali, 19, plays for Brescia and scouts from City and PSG watched him on Monday night against Fiorentina, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Of course, Serie A clubs aren’t going to let him slip away without a fight and Juventus, Inter and Milan are also reportedly on the case.
09.40 BST: Marseille sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta has told Le Phoceen that the club almost signed defender Mitchel Bakker before he joined PSG.
“We discussed a lot with Mitchel Bakker before his name was known by the press,” he said. “His was an interesting case. We progressed well with him, and we had also chatted with PSG. Layvin Kurzawa was injured in preseason, while Juan Bernat had not yet arrived. Stanley N’Soki had played a lot that summer and had a very good Trophee des Champions in China. Thomas Tuchel, a young coach like Andre Villas-Boas, told him to stay, that he would play and to sign his contract. He signed professional terms and that was it for us.”
08.58 BST: Barcelona will have to pay as much as €200m if they are to sign Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez, according to Mundo Deportivo.
The Argentina international has developed rapidly since arriving in Serie A last season, to the point where he has scored four goals in his last three games for Inter, including in the 2-1 champions League loss at Camp Nou earlier this month.
Mundo Deportivo reports that the 22-year-old contract contains a release worth €200m, a big increase on the €24m that Inter paid Racing Club for him little more than a year ago.
Maguire moved to Old Trafford in august on a six-year deal after two seasons at the King Power Stadium, and United were so keen to sign the England defender that they reportedly gave agreed to give Leicester the money in the huge lump sum.
The Foxes were interested in Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake and Burnley’s James Tarkowski as replacements, and will aim to bolster their squad by signing one of those two in the winter window.
PAPER TALK (by Nick Judd)
Mandzukic cuts salary demands in half to force United switch
Okay, so you probably think you’ve heard enough about Manchester United’s quest to sign Mario Mandzukic in January. The deal looks almost certain to be made once the transfer window reopens, and the Sun are reporting that the Croatian has agreed to lower his salary demands in an effort to ensure the move goes ahead.
United are desperate for a new striker and Mandzukic needs a move away from Juventus as he searches for regular football as a result of his game time being severely limited so far this season.
The move had been on the cards in the summer but fell through as a result of Mandzukic’s £300,000-a-week wages, which he has now agreed to slash so that the deal can go ahead.
The paper reports that the striker will look to include a number of goal and match-related bonuses into his contract instead.
Mandzukic still has other offers, believed to be from China, though he is said to favour a move to England.
Man City lead chase for Aaron Hickey
Hickey, just 17, would appear to be the next box office full-back to appear from north of the border since Kieran Tierney‘s performances saw him move to Arsenal from Celtic in the summer.
The Ibrox directors box was full at the weekend for Hearts’ visit to Rangers with scouts from clubs including Arsenal, Newcastle United, Liverpool and Southampton all keeping tabs on the youngster.
Pep Guardiola is in the market for full-back cover which means Hickey could be in line for a big-money move.
Hickey has started seven times this season — 15 appearances in total — scoring one goal. Last season he became the youngest ever player to feature in a Scottish Cup final when he lined up against Celtic at Hampden Park.
– Dietmar Hamann believes Liverpool are keen to sign Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, according to the Mirror. The former Germany international has links at both Liverpool and Sancho’s old club Manchester City, and he has been told by a Liverpool insider that Jurgen Klopp is planning to move for the talented English winger next summer.