LIVE Transfer Talk: Barcelona choosing between Rashford and Firmino

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 10 free agents in 2020 | European transfer review

TOP STORY: Barca would target Rashford over Firmino

He has hardly been banging them in for Manchester United so far this season, but reports in Spain suggest that Barcelona would still prefer to sign Marcus Rashford rather than Liverpool sensation Roberto Firmino. Mundo Deportivo claims that Barcelona are drawing up a list of candidates to replace Luis Suarez as the clock ticks down on the Uruguayan’s time at Camp Nou.

Rashford has struggled for United so far this season but is far from alone as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have suffered their worst league start in living memory. That, though, hasn’t put off Barca, who apparently rate him over the Liverpool striker — a player who has been instrumental in the Premier League side’s stunning start to the season.

The rumours linking Rashford with a move to Spain are nothing new. He reportedly held talks with Barca in the summer before putting pen to paper on a new mega-deal with United in July. That deal runs to 2023, with the option of an additional year should club and player decide on one.

If Barcelona come calling, though, then who knows? Particularly given United’s current struggles — and Champions League ambitions which are becoming more and more distant by the week. 

LIVE BLOG

09.44 BST: Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has said teenager Phil Foden is pivotal to his plans, and that even €500 million would not be enough to convince the club to sell, but how important can he be?

08.59 BST: Barcelona are preparing for Ivan Rakitic to leave the club as early as January, with Manchester United and Inter Milan both among the clubs interested, Sport reports.

Rakitic, 31, has been an integral part of the team that has won 13 trophies since arriving from Sevilla in 2014. However, since Frenkie de Jong’s summer arrival, the Croatia international has started just one match this season.

According to Sport, Manchester United and Inter Milan have both registered their interest in signing the midfielder, who is valued by Barcelona at €40m. Rakitic’s contract at Camp Nou is due to expire in June 2021.

08.28 BST: Edwin van der Sar has said that he would be interested in returning to Manchester United with the club still searching for a director of football.

The former United goalkeeper is chief executive at Ajax but said he would consider a position at United in the future.

“Besides my family, the wife, kids and friends, I have two loves in my life — Ajax, who scouted me and gave me the chance to shine in the world of football and Manchester United, who helped me to develop even at the end of my career,” he told Sports Illustrated.

“‘Of course I’d be interested in a position, but at first I think I need to learn a little bit more here at Ajax and develop myself even further.

“Let’s see what the future brings, United is a fantastic club, with a great following all over the world.

“I’m the chief executive at Ajax, United are looking for a different position, a director of football, it’s a different role. I know a little bit about football of course.”

– Dawson: Inside United’s painful search for a technical director

08.00 BST: Real Madrid are ready and able to make a bid for Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen in the January transfer window if they need to, according to AS.

The Spanish outlet reports that the Denmark international could be the subject of an offer from the Bernabeu if Madrid are under-performing on the pitch or are in need of reinforcements due to injuries.

Eriksen’s current contract at Tottenham, worth a reported £4m a year, expires at the end of the season. AS claims that Spurs have offered him a new four-year deal that would raise his wage by 50%, but the player is still to be convinced his future lies in north London.

PAPER TALK (by Rich Edwards)

Jorginho agent refuses to rule out Serie A return

He may be flying at Chelsea after a difficult first season at Stamford Bridge, but now Jorginho‘s agent has sparked speculation that the Italian international could soon be heading back to Serie A.

The defender has enjoyed a new lease of life under Frank Lampard and has carried that form into the international break, scoring a penalty for the Azzurri on Saturday as they defeated Greece 2-0 to secure their place at next year’s European Championships. However, in an interview with Radio Sportiva (via the Mirror), Joao Santos refused to rule out the player returning to the Italian league, potentially as early as next season.

“It has certainly been a positive year for Jorginho,” he said. “He is doing well for the Nazionale and can take part in the Euros. He always converts his penalties, I am very happy for him, as he is working so hard every day. I think Jorginho can do very well at the Euros and, why not, also at the next World Cup. As for a return to Serie A, anything is possible, and he will always feel the desire to come back home.”

Enjoy him while you can then, Chelsea fans. 

Tap-ins

– It could be a quiet few months of winter transfer speculation at Barcelona. No, really. Marca reports that the Spanish giants will target only a new right-back and the club’s board and coaching staff believe they have a squad strong enough to sustain them until the 2020-21 season. The paper reports that Barca will watch the January transfer window with interest but won’t be delving into their pockets to splash the cash. Unless a right-back capable of supplementing the club’s first choice in that position, Nelson Semedo, becomes available. 

– Javier Pastore could be on his way back to Argentina, joining the host of stars who are currently handing the South American league a major boost. The Roma man, and former Paris Saint-Germain star, has endured a difficult time in the Italian capital since arriving at the club last summer and now could be looking for a way out. And CNN Deportes (via Tuttosport) reports that Racing Avellaneda could be prepared to offer him just that. There’s a distinct link behind the rumour too, with the Argentine club’s technical secretary, Diego Milito, having played with Pastore for the national side.