Real Madrid favourites to sign Alaba over Liverpool

The transfer window opened in early January, and speculation is heating up about potential deals. Check out the latest gossip below, and see all official deals here.

TOP STORY: Real Madrid favourites to sign Alaba

According to Marca, David Alaba‘s move from Bayern Munich to Real Madrid for next season is a done deal. The report states that the Austria international has already undergone a medical ahead of what will be a four-year deal, and that the 28-year-old will earn a €11 million-per-year salary during his time in Madrid.

Europe’s top clubs having been eyeing Alaba as he’s available on a free transfer in the summer, but sources told ESPN that Los Blancos are most keen to sign him due to his versatility on the pitch.

However, Sport1 reports that it’s not yet a completely done deal with Liverpool and Barcelona still in the race. Indeed, Alaba’s father, George, told the German outlet: “David has not signed for Real yet. Other clubs than Real are also interested in him. What counts for him right now is to focus on FC Bayern and his performances.”

Bayern made three contract offers to Alaba in the past few months, but club chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is resigned to losing the defender after reportedly trying to do “everything” to get an extension done.

With Sergio Ramos facing an uncertain future, Raphael Varane due for a new deal in 2022, and Eder Militao struggling since joining from FC Porto in 2019, signing a player like Alaba would ensure some proven stability in Real Madrid’s backline if they can get it done. Though it may be a while before the transfer is confirmed and Sport1 claims that rivals Barcelona may be waiting until after their presidential elections in March to make their move.

Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ (U.S. only)
ESPN+ viewer’s guide: Bundesliga, Serie A, MLS, FA Cup and more

LIVE BLOG

14.56 GMT: U.S. international forward Jordan Morris could soon join Swansea City from Seattle Sounders, but is the Championship the best place for him?

play

1:22

Kasey Keller and Steve Cherundolo debate whether Jordan Morris is better suited for the English Championship or German Bundesliga.

14.32 GMT: RC Lens defender Facundo Medina has also caught the eye of Manchester United, says La Voix du Nord.

Medina, 21, only signed for the club over the summer for €3m but the versatile centre-back has gone on to become one of Ligue 1’s best defenders this season.

The Argentina international could move if an offer of around €20m comes in, says the report. United might also loan him back to Lens for the rest of the campaign.

14.18 GMT: Pep Guardiola says it will be the job of the players already in his squad to score enough goals to guide Manchester City to the title after ruling out a bid for a new striker in January.

City are well-placed ahead of Wednesday’s clash with Aston Villa following a run of eight straight wins. However, their 29 league goals is fewer than any other team in top five while recognised strikers Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus have combined for just two Premier League goals all season.

It has prompted speculation Guardiola could look to strengthen his attack but, asked whether another striker could arrive at the Etihad Stadium this month, the City boss replied: “No.”

14.03 GMT: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Manchester United fans will not have to wait too long for Amad Diallo‘s debut.

The 18-year-old was signed from Atalanta in the summer but has only just arrived in Manchester after completing the paperwork on his €21m move.

Diallo made just five senior appearances in Italy but Solskjaer says the winger has been so impressive in training he could be fast-tracked into his team.

“He’s been very good,” said Solskjaer, who takes his team to face Fulham in the Premier League on Wednesday. “He can handle the ball, he’s enjoyed training and he makes a difference in training, which is quite remarkable at his age.

“He needs some adjustment to settle into the hustle and bustle of the Premier League and I can’t see it’s too long until he’s in the squad. It might be quick. He’s definitely settled down well. He’s doing his sessions, getting used to us. There’s always a period of adjustment needed but he’s settling in well.”

Man United signed Diallo for €41m after 24 first-team minutes. What does the scouting world think?

13.17 GMT: Zinedine Zidane is refusing to be drawn on Real Madrid’s reported transfer targets with his focus set on Wednesday’s Copa del Rey round of 16 game (stream live on ESPN+ in the U.S.) at Spanish third division side Alcoyano.

Amid the report from Marca that Bayern Munich defender David Alaba will join Real Madrid as a free agent this summer, Zidane said: “I understand you have to ask but you are asking about a player that isn’t mine. I’m sorry. As a coach all that interests me is tomorrow’s game.”

Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe is another player that has been linked with Real Madrid in recent seasons.

PSG sporting director Leonardo recently said his club has yet to reach an agreement to extend the contracts of star players Neymar and Mbappe, whose deals both end in June 2022.

Asked if he would give his consent to his club signing Mbappe this summer, Zidane also declined to comment. However, he does believe top players, like Mbappe, do choose where to play.

“In the end, yes, it’s like that,” he said. “But each player has his contract, his things… But it’s not good to get into things like this. I can talk about my players but when it comes to others, it gets complicated to get involved.”

12.55 GMT: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is set to return to Schalke from Ajax, but might that move have repercussions for young U.S. striker Matthew Hoppe?

play

0:50

ESPN FC’s Steve Cherundolo shares his thoughts on the arrival of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to Schalke.

12.35 GMT: Bayer Leverkusen and Leicester City are in talks over the €2m transfer of winger Demarai Gray, says Sport1.

Gray, 24, has a contract which expires at the end of the season and has slipped down the pecking order at Leicester, who are keen to get some money back for him this winter.

Leverkusen have already moved to sign right-back Timothy Fosu-Mensah from Manchester United.

12.14 GMT: Arsene Wenger has said Mesut Ozil still possesses “genius” and will thrive in the “warm environment” of Fenerbahce.

The 32-year-old is in Istanbul finalising his move to the Turkish club after agreeing to terminate his Arsenal contract six months early. Ozil’s departure brings to an end a turbulent seven-and-a-half-year spell which began with Wenger bringing the midfielder to north London in September 2013.

Wenger left Arsenal in 2018 and Ozil endured difficult relationships with his successors Unai Emery, interim boss Freddie Ljungberg and current manager Mikel Arteta amid disagreements over his role in the team and off-field issues including his refusal to join the vast majority of the first-team squad in taking an initial 12.5% pay cut last year.

And Wenger told beIN SPORTS: “I’m sure that he’s frustrated at not having played. His hunger must be absolutely [enormous] to play football again.

“Mesut is a guy who needs a warm environment and I believe he will find that more than anywhere else in Turkey. Overall, he can provide the balls that the strikers need to win football games. If they do that well, they have a good chance of winning the league.

“Mesut is like if you imagine an orchestra in music. He’s a guy who plays the ball at the right time. The timing of his pass is exceptional, but the creativity of his pass is as well. In every situation he confronts, he gives the right answer and that is genius.”

11.43 GMT: Aston Villa are close to signing Marseille midfielder Morgan Sanson for around £16m, says talkSPORT.

Sanson, 26, has been with club since since January 2017 and has been linked with West Ham in the past.

Marseille manager Andre Villas-Boas said at the weekend: “The transfer window is open. Sanson is a player who is highly rated. He is a boy who interests English teams because of his characteristics and it is possible something could happen.”

11.26 GMT: West Ham are really trying to find a replacement for striker Sebastien Haller, who joined Ajax earlier this month, and have seen a bid rejected for the Montpellier striker Gaetan Laborde, says The Guardian.

The report states: “West Ham tried to strike a deal by offering a loan with an obligation to buy Laborde in the summer. Montpellier refused and will consider only a sale, with the asking price for 26-year-old likely to be £16m.”

The Hammers have already failed to sign Sevilla’s Youssef En-Nesyri, while “other names on the list include Bournemouth’s Joshua King, who is out of contract at the end of the season, and the Reims forward Boulaye Dia.

10.50 GMT: Former Juventus and Bayern Munich striker Mario Mandzukic, 34, has signed for AC Milan on a deal until the end of the season.

10.14 GMT: Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori is closing on a loan move to AC Milan after the Serie A leaders were forced to switch targets as Strasbourg defender Mohamed Simakan requires surgery.

Sky Sports reports that “the two clubs are close to agreeing a loan deal with a £25m option to buy” and AC Milan technical director Paolo Maldini confirmed things were progressing.

Maldini said: “It’s very close, we’re in between confirming his signing and not signing him at all, it could all break down with just one detail. We saw in him the quality to throw him into the mix with our current defenders, so that’s why we want him.”

play

1:34

Gab Marcotti explains the roles he envisions for Mario Mandzukic and Fikayo Tomori if they join Milan.

09.32 GMT: Mohamed Salah has once again said his Liverpool future is “in the club’s hands.”

Salah, 28, has been regularly linked with La Liga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona during a hugely successful three-and-a-half years at Anfield since joining from Roma in 2017 and is currently the Premier League’s top scorer this season with 13 goals.

Asked about his future by the Norwegian channel TV2, Salah said: “I do not know. If you ask, I say I want to stay here as long as I can, but, as I have said before, it is in the hands of the club. I will always give 100% to the last minute I am in this club and I want to win as many trophies as I can. And I want to give 100% to the people, who show me love all the time.”

Salah’s contract at Anfield runs until June 2023.

09.12 GMT: Atletico Madrid want to offer Diego Simeone a contract extension until June 2024, according to Diario AS.

The Argentine coach, at the helm of Atletico since December 2011, has a contract with the Rojiblancos until June 2022.

Atletico have already notified Simeone, 50, of their wish to extend their working relationship for a further two years.

Negotiations are expected to run smoothly with Simeone keen to continue and the club and Atletico having complete trust in their former player.

In the coming weeks, Atletico executives will meet Diego Simeone’s sister and agent, Natalia Simeone, to discuss terms.

08.33 GMT: Jesse Lingard and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer are in a tug-of-war over the Manchester United midfielder’s future, sources have told ESPN’s Rob Dawson.

Lingard is desperate to find regular first-team football after making just three appearances so far this season. Solskjaer is sympathetic to the 28-year-old’s situation but is keen to keep him at Old Trafford this month as he prepares for a busy second half of the season with games in three competitions.

United have exercised a one-year extension in Lingard’s contract that will keep him at the club until 2022 but he remains keen to play regularly after falling down the pecking order under Solskjaer. He impressed from the start in the 1-0 win over Watford in the FA Cup third round but was left out of the squad for the following two games against Burnley and Liverpool. His only other start this season came in the 3-0 win over Luton in the Carabao Cup in September.

Lingard, capped 24 times by England and a starter at the 2018 World Cup, has plenty of suitors in the Premier League and abroad. Marseille, Porto, Inter Milan, Nice, Tottenham Hotspur, Sheffield United and West Ham United have all registered an interest but United have not yet provided a definitive answer as to whether the former academy graduate is available.

08.15 GMT: Former Asian Player of the Year Lee Keun-ho has signed for Daegu FC, the South Korean club said on Tuesday.

Lee was named the continent’s best player in 2012 after leading Ulsan Hyundai to their first Asian Champions League title.

The 35-year-old joins Daegu having helped Ulsan win a second continental title last month with victory over Iran’s Persepolis in the ACL final in Doha. Lee, who represented South Korea at the 2014 World Cup finals, previously played for Daegu in 2007 and 2008.

08.00 GMT: Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo has said the club are interested in signing Lionel Messi as his contract with Barcelona comes to an end this summer.

The Argentina international has been free to negotiate with clubs outside of Spain since Jan. 1 and sources told ESPN in December that PSG were exploring the option of signing him.

“Great players like Messi will always be put in PSG’s list. Of course, it is not the time to talk about it or to dream about it. But we are sat at the big table of the clubs following this closely,” Leonardo told France Football.

“Actually, no, we are not sat yet but our chair is reserved there, just in case. Four months [before the end of the season] in football, it is an eternity, especially at this time.”

Any potential move would involve a major financial commitment from PSG — especially as the club try to work out extensions for Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.

The two players are contracted with PSG until June 2022.

play

1:44

Mark Ogden believes if Man United win the Premier League, then Paul Pogba will stay.

PAPER TALK (by Danny Lewis)

Pogba among Juve’s midfield targets

Calciomercato has suggested that Juventus will be looking to strengthen their midfield options in the future, notably with the return of Paul Pogba.

Their interest in Pogba has long been reported and it has not changed that the Frenchman is top of their priority list.

However, Sassuolo‘s Manuel Locatelli is a man who is very much in their minds — though there may be competition from Manchester City.

Outside of the aforementioned pair, Houssem Aouar and Rodrigo De Paul, of Lyon and Udinese respectively, are possibilities.

Alli confident of PSG loan

Tottenham Hotspur outcast Dele Alli is confident that he will be able to make a loan move to Paris Saint-Germain, according to The Sun.

It is suggested that the midfielder has been hoping to reunite with former Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino in Paris, having become an afterthought under Jose Mourinho.

Alli has managed just one league start this season and sees a move to PSG as his route to more regular game time ahead of a hopeful inclusion in England‘s Euro 2020 squad.

The report also states that Pochettino would like for Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to join PSG in the summer, while adding that midfielder Christian Eriksen could be set for a shock loan return to Spurs following his disastrous decision to join Internazionale.

Tap-ins

– Bayern Munich are set to send Douglas Costa back to Juventus, as has been reported by Gazzetta dello Sport. The Brazilian has struggled for minutes in Bavaria, failing to even make the nine-man bench against Freiburg. There may be issues in finding the winger another loan due to his wage demands, but Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester United also have shown interest in the past.

West Ham United are looking to Youssef En-Nesyri in their striker pursuit after Sebastien Haller‘s move to Ajax Amsterdam, reports The Athletic. The Sevilla FC man is said to be West Ham’s top target, with an initial bid of €25m plus €5m in add-ons being made last week. That proposal has been rejected, but the Hammers are looking into the possibility of making another offer.

– With Morgan Sanson being heavily linked with a move away from Marseille, they are reportedly already looking for a replacement. According to Foot Mercato, the man they are looking at is Metz midfielder Farid Boulaya. Negotiations have only just begun, but any fee is expected to be in the region of €5m to €7m.