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Jul 17, 2014

Rio joins QPR; Real near James deal

The ESPN FC crew discuss the missing pieces to the puzzle at Manchester United as Louis van Gaal begins his new role.

Transfer Talk is in "live countdown" mode for the start of club football season. Here's all the latest transfer news, gossip and rumours from your favorite teams around the world.

22.30 BST Rio's move to QPR looks to be the last significant action of the day but we'll be back soon enough with another day and another raft of juicy rumours and done deals. T-minus 46 days until deadline day. 

21.45 BST The agent of Italian goalkeeper Simone Scuffet says he has rejected an approach from Atletico Madrid as he wants to stay at Udinese next season. Atletico, Chelsea and AC Milan are thought to be among 18-year-old Scuffet's suitors, with his agent telling tuttomercatoweb.com: "Atletico Madrid's offer was interesting and advantageous but we agreed with the club and with the player's family that the best thing for him is to have a progressive and gradual growth.

21.09 BST Harry Redknapp has told Sky Sports News that QPR have agreed a fee with Cardiff for Steven Caulker, who he wants to partner Rio Ferdinand in defence. Bet Clint Hill and Richard Dunne are delighted. Cheers gaffer! 

20.33 BST Rio Ferdinand confirms QPR switch. We'll give you one guess which form of social media he used...

20.02 BST A report in AS suggests that James Rodriguez's transfer from Monaco to Real Madrid is imminent and will be completed in "the coming days." James, Kroos, Ronaldo, Bale and Benzema -- yowzer. 

19.38 BST Premier League fans, keep up to date with all of your club's transfer ins and outs RIGHT HERE.

19.19 BST According to talkSPORT, Atletico Madrid are considering a 16 million pound swoop for Napoli winger and former Real Madrid man Jose Callejon.

Is Mathieu Debuchy better than Bacary Sagna?

 

18.46 BST FULL STORY on Mathieu Debuchy's move to Arsenal. 

18.20 BST And that means, of course, that Newcastle United can officially welcome their new arrival. 

18.03 BST DONE DEAL! Arsenal have confirmed the signing of Mathieu Debuchy from Newcastle United. Bacary who?

17.47 BST >Stoke City are weighing up whether to make a second bid for Nathan Redmond after their initial three million pound offer fell well short of Norwich City's valuation of more than six million for their England under-21 winger.  

17.35 BST Rio Ferdinand announces on Twitter that he has successfully passed his Queens Park Rangers medical. The 35-year-old centre-back is expected to complete his free transfer to Harry Redknapp's side in the next 24 hours, following his release from Manchester United earlier this summer. 

17.28 BST Lyon have completed the signing of defender Lindsay Rose on a four-year contract. The 22-year-old joins from Valenciennes for a fee believed to be in the region of 1.5 million euros. 

17.15 BST Chelsea have confirmed on their official website that 22-year-old midfielder Oriel Romeu has signed a new three-year deal at the club. The Spaniard joined the Blues from Barcelona in 2011 but has struggled to earn himself a regular first-team role, spending last season on loan at Valencia. 

17.11 BST Former Leeds United winger Max Gradel could be set for a return to the Premier League after the player's agent admitted that he was open to a move away from Saint-Etienne. The 26-year-old made one appearance for Ivory Coast at the World Cup and his agent hopes that his form has not gone unnoticed.

UK-based agent Tra Desmond told Sky Sports: "There are a number of teams looking at Max. Nothing has been agreed, but there's plenty of time left in the window. It's no secret Max enjoyed his time in England with Leeds and he would be open to the prospect of returning where the style of play suits his game."

17.02 BST Xabi Alonso could be set for a shock reunion with Rafa Benitez as Sport Mediaset reports that Napoli are in talks with Real Madrid regarding the midfielder's signature. The arrival of Toni Kroos is likely to push Alonso down the pecking order at the Santiago Bernabeu and the former Liverpool player could be tempted to move to Italy by the opportunity of regular first-team football. 

16.51 BST Here is Michu signing his Napoli contract...

16.46 BST Sky Sports claims that Mali international midfielder Samba Diakite has joined Saudi Arabian club Al-Ittihad on loan. The 25-year-old arrived at Loftus Road from Nancy in 2012 but has struggled to regularly establish himself in the Hoops starting line-up, finishing last season on loan at Watford. 

16.36 BST Toni Kroos is being officially unveiled as a Real Madrid player. The World Cup winner will wear the No.8 jersey at the Santiago Bernabeu after agreeing a move from Bayern Munich. 

"I'm very proud to be here. I want to thank Real Madrid for giving me this opportunity," Kroos announced. "I know about the demands at Madrid. You have to win titles and I'm the right man for that."

16.27 BST West Ham are certainly not wasting any time in the transfer market and Sky Sports says that the Hammers have made a four million pound bid for Boca Juniors defender Emanuel Insua. Sam Allardyce is looking for another left-back to rival new signing Aaron Cresswell for a starting place and has also made an enquiry for Dnipro's Ivan Strinic

16.18 BST Tottenham have handed 21-year-old attacking midfielder Alex Pritchard a new two-year contract at the club. Pritchard made his Spurs debut against Aston Villa on the final day of last season and enjoyed loan spells at Peterborough and Swindon, where he was shortlisted for the Sky Bet League 1 Player of the Year award. 

16.11 BST Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has confirmed that Michu has joined the club. The Spanish forward joins Rafael Benitez's side on a season-long loan deal with view to a permanent transfer. Michu was a revelation in his first season in English football, scoring 18 league goals, but a series of injuries ensured that he was sidelined for the majority of last term. 

16.00 BST Newcastle's French contingent could be set to swell even further after Lyon manager Hubert Fournier admitted that Clement Grenier could leave if the club if they received an offer of 15 million euros. The France international is reportedly keen to leave the Stade de Gerland as he seeks a new challenge and The Chronicle says that Alan Pardew is a long-term admirer of the 23-year-old.

Newcastle have already signed Remy Cabella and Emmanuele Riviere in this transfer window but they face competition from Milan for Grenier's signature. Fournier said: "We have already agreed with certain players that they can leave if a good offer presents itself. For those who are allowed to leave, there is Clement Grenier, who asked us at the end of the season so that he could find a club to make a progression in terms of footballing level."

15.49 BST Mesut Ozil has tweeted his support to World Cup winning teammate Toni Kroos, wishing him luck at Real Madrid. The former Bayern Munich midfielder will be unveiled at the Santiago Bernabeu at 4pm. 

15.44 BST Reports in Italy claim that Juventus have produced a new list of targets following the transfer of Juan Iturbe to Roma. The 21-year-old Argentine winger looked destined for a move to the Bianconeri before Antonio Conte's resignation caused the deal to collapse. 

It is speculated that the Italian champions are seeking technical players with pace, and Lucas Moura, Javier Pastore, Stevan Jovetic, Erik Lamela and Adem Ljajic have been drawn up as possible candidates. 

15.33 BST Valencia have today unveiled new signing Andre Gomes to the media. The 20-year-old attacking midfielder moves to the Mestalla from Benfica for a fee believed to be in the region of 15 million euros. Former teammate Rodrigo is expected to join him at the La Liga side in the coming days.

15.26 BST Louis van Gaal is currently holding his first press conference as Manchester United manager and has informed the media that coaching roles will be offered to Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes and Phil Neville. The former Netherlands boss has also dismissed reports of an immediate clear-out, saying that he will give all of his players the chance to prove themselves: "I want to see what my players can do in first 3/4 weeks - then I will buy other players."

15.14 BST The Daily Mail says that Manchester City will move for Everton sensation Ross Barkley should Yaya Toure leave the club. The Premier League champions are hopeful that the Ivory Coast international will pledge his future to the club but there have been reports that he does not feel appreciated at the club.

If Toure does decide to leave the Etihad outfit, Manuel Pellegrini is likely to make a move for Barkley, who was part of England's underwhelming World Cup campaign. However, the 20-year-old would certainly not be cheap, with Roberto Martinez reportedly slapping a 50 million pound price tag on his most prized asset. 

15:02 BST Roma have today welcomed Juan Iturbe to the club following his transfer from Verona last night. The highly-rated Argentine winger, dubbed 'the new Messi' met coach Rudi Garcia at the club's training complex today where he took part in a training session. Read details of his transfer here.

14:55 BST Some tragic news coming out of Spain where Marca are reporting that Angel Correa has been ruled out for a minimum of six months after doctors found a tumour on his heart. The highly-rated forward was expected to complete a move from San Lorenzo to Atletico Madrid but that transfer has now been put on hold until he recovers. 

14.42 BST Sky Sports says that several Premier League clubs are lining up bids for Sochaux striker Cedric Bakambu. Standard Liege had a 1.5 million pound bid rejected for the 23-year-old who is keen to move on from the French side. Sochaux are hopeful that they can hold onto Bakambu but may be forced to sell him if Lens win their appeal to be promoted to Ligue 1

14.30 BST Monaco have stepped up their efforts to sign Torino winger Alessio Cerci, having identified the Italy international as the ideal successor to James Rodriguez. The 26-year-old was instrumental in helping the Granata secure European football for the first time in 21 years, racking up 13 goals and nine assists in Serie A last season. However, Gazzetta dello Sport say that the principality side face tough competition from Milan who are also preparing an offer. 

14.20 BST DONE DEAL! West Ham have confirmed the signing of Ecuador international Enner Valencia, subject to a successful work permit hearing. The 25-year-old, who scored all three of Ecuador's goals at the World Cup, joins from Mexican side Pachuca in a deal estimated at around 12 million pounds. 

Valencia becomes West Ham's fifth summer signing following the captures of Argentine forward Mauro Zarate, Senegalese midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate, left-back Aaron Cresswell and promising youngster Diego Poyet and will be the ninth Ecuadorian to play in the Premier League. 

14.10 BST Could Micah Richards finally be on his way out of Manchester City? The Premier League champions are prepared to offload the 26-year-old following the arrival of Bacary Sagna earlier this month and The Mirror says that Liverpool are favourites to sign the defender. Brendan Rodgers is believed to be an admirer of Richards' versatility and could land him in a cut-price deal. 

13.58 BST The agent of Diego Lopez insists that the goalkeeper will not be leaving Real Madrid this summer despite the imminent arrival of Costa Rica star Keylor Navas. With Lopez already battling it out with Iker Casillas for the No.1 spot, the 32-year-old has been linked with a move away from the Santiago Bernabeu, with Napoli touted as a possible destination.

"Diego is not going anywhere," Manolo García-Quilón told Marca. "He wants to be a regular starter at Real Madrid and is going to work harder than ever for them. He is going to put everything he has into the club."

13.48 BST RMC Sport says that Real Madrid have reached a contractual agreement with Colombia playmaker James Rodriguez. It is believed that the European champions will pay Rodriguez eight million euros a year on a five year deal. Los Blancos are yet to agree a fee with Monaco for the 22-year-old but it is speculated that they are prepared to offer 85 million euros, a fee that the principality side cannot resist. 

13.38 BST Crystal Palace were one of the surprise packages of the Premier League last season and Tony Pulis is seeking to strengthen his squad with several new additions ahead of the forthcoming campaign. The Eagles are believed to have agreed fees with Tottenham and Cardiff City respectively for Gylfi Sigurdsson and Frazier Campbell though they are still locked in negotiations for the transfer of Steven Caulker.

The South London Press are also reporting that the club are willing to listen to offers for Spanish midfielder Jose Campana, who has failed to establish himself at Selhurst Park since joining from Sevilla last summer.

13.27 BST Both Newcastle and Sunderland have been dealt a blow in the transfer market this afternoon. Magpies target Ricardo Van Rhijn has signed a new deal at Ajax while West Ham appear to have beaten the Black Cats to the signing of Croatia left-back Ivan Strinic

Sky Sports says Hammers boss Sam Allardyce is desperate to add more depth to his squad and wants to provide competition to new signing Aaron Cresswell for the left-back role. 

13:19 BST The agent of Javier Pastore insists the Argentine playmaker will remain at Paris St Germain despite recent reports linking him with a move to Juventus this summer. The Italian media claim Pastore is the number one target of the Serie A champions, with new Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri keen to acquire the 25-year-old's services.

"Is Juventus interested in Pastore? No one has called me but I can confirm that Pastore will remain at PSG,'' Pastore's agent Marcelo Simonian told www.tuttomercatoweb.com.

13:11 BST Sunderland manager Gus Poyet is eyeing up a move for Atletico Madrid midfielder Cristian 'Cebolla' Rodriguez. Marca says that the Uruguay international is desperate to play regular first-team football and that he would welcome the chance to test his abilities in the Premier League.

12.57 BST Sky Sports says that Osasuna midfielder Raoul Loe is considering his future amid interest from a number of Premier League clubs. The Cameroon international midfielder, who has been likened to Patrick Vieira, will be allowed to leave Osasuna for a fee 1.5 million pounds following their relegation from La Liga last season. Queens Park Rangers, West Brom, Sunderland and Burnley are all believed to be interested in the 25-year-old.

12.48 BST Roma have today unveiled their new signing Salih Ucan to the media. The 20-year-old attacking-minded midfielder has joined the club on a loan deal with view to a permanent transfer.

12.40 BST Atletico Madrid are in negotiations with Sevilla to sign left-back Alberto Moreno in a cash-plus-players deal, according to AS. The Spain international had been strongly linked with a move to Liverpool but it now appears that the Spanish champions are in poll position for his signature. 

Diego Simeone is targeting a new left-back to challenge Guilherme Siquiera following Filipe Luis' departure to Chelsea and has reportedly offered 15 million euros plus Leo Baptistao and Javier Manquillo for the 22-year-old. 

12.30 BST West Brom have confirmed they are in discussions with Derby over the possible sale of George Thorne. The Baggies are due to fly out to America today for a pre-season training camp in California, but Thorne will remain back home while talks between the two clubs take place.

"The club are in talks with Derby about George and while those negotiations continue it makes sense for him to remain at home," Alan Irvine told the club's website.

"However, if no agreement is reached, George will be flown out to join the rest of the group in the US."

12.21 BST Reports in Spain say that Atletico Madrid are planning a double raid on Napoli for Switzerland midfielder Valon Behrami and former Real Madrid attacker Jose Callejon.

The Spanish champions could include unsettled French midfielder Joshua Guilavogui in a deal for Behrami though they have no intention of selling Mario Suarez.

Callejon promises to be a more difficult proposition for Diego Simeone's side however as Napoli are reluctant to sell the forward, despite the player being open to a return to Spain. 

12.13 BST Tottenham are one of only two Premier League clubs yet to make a signing this summer but that could be about to change, according to The Times.

New coach Mauricio Pochettino has reportedly identified Real Sociedad forward Antoine Griezmann as his No.1 attacking target though faces competition from Bayern Munich for his signature. The France international bagged 16 goals in La Liga last season and can leave the San Sebastian outfit if his 30 million euro release clause is activated.

Tottenham are also hopeful of wrapping up a 10 million pound deal for Swansea left-back Ben Davies while they are keeping tabs on PSV wonderkid Zakaria Bakkali who is also on Liverpool's radar. 

12.00 BST Oussama Assaidi could be set for a return to Stoke City after Liverpool re-opened negotiations for the Moroccan winger. The 24-year-old impressed on loan at the Britannia Stadium last season but the Potters were initially reluctant to stump up the seven million pounds requested by the Merseyside outfit.

However, Liverpool are now rumoured to have lowered their valuation upon signing Lazar Markovic and with few options out wide, Mark Hughes is desperate to strike a deal for Assaidi, who scored five goals in the red and white jersey last season.

11.53 BST Sky Sports says that three Premier League clubs are tracking Espanyol forward Thievy Bifouma, who spent the second half of last season on loan at West Bromwich Albion. The 22-year-old Frenchman notched two goals in six appearances for the Baggies and can operate as a striker or on the wing. 

11.46 BST Reports in Italy say that Milan are exploring the possibility of bringing Isco to the San Siro. The 22-year-old midfielder enjoyed a respectable maiden campaign with Real Madrid but could find himself pushed down the pecking order with the arrival of Toni Kroos and potentially James Rodriguez.

However, the Rossoneri must first negotiate the exit of Brazilian forward Robinho who has been linked with a three million euro move to new MLS franchise Orlando City.

11:36 BST Borussia Moenchengladbach's director of sport Max Eberl insists Christoph Kramer will see out the remainder of his loan from Bayer Leverkusen, warning off potential suitors to the Germany international. Napoli had been linked with the 23-year-old midfielder but Eberl insists that he will remain at the Foals.

"Of course we would like to sign him permanently, but we're just happy to have him," Eberl told Germany's Sky Sport News. "Christoph Kramer will be spending this season with us. The fact that other clubs are realising how good he is doesn't concern us."

11.27 BST There has been plenty of transfer activity at Newcastle over the summer and it seems that another player could be set to leave St. James' Park. The Shields Gazette reports that Montpellier are keen to take French midfielder Sylvain Marveaux on loan after the 28-year-old was told he was surplus to requirements on Tyneside. 

Newcastle would prefer the player to complete a permanent transfer away from the club and the player's wages could prove a stumbling block for the Ligue 1 outfit. 

11.20 BST Inside Futbol says that Stoke City have joined the race to sign Spanish winger Keko. The 22-year-old is currently a free agent after his contract expired at relegated Serie A outfit Catania earlier this summer and Mark Hughes is reportedly keen to bring Keko to the Britannia Stadium as he urgently seeks a solution to his lack of options out wide. 

The Potters are also hopeful of tying up a loan deal for Barcelona forward Bojan though they face stiff competition from recently-promoted Deportivo La Coruna. 

11.11 BST Liverpool vice-captain Daniel Agger has dismissed suggestions that he is selling his Merseyside house and preparing to leave the club. Brendan Rodgers continues to chase a deal for Southampton central defender Dejan Lovren, who has expressed his desire to move to Anfield, despite having a 20 million-pound bid rejected, and that has led to suggestions that Agger's future is in doubt. Read the full story here.

11.05 BST Fabio Quagliarella will play in the Europa League and not the Champions League next season after moving from one side of Turin to the other. According to Tuttosport, a three million euro fee was agreed between Juventus and Torino for Quagliarella who is set to sign a three-year deal on Friday before joining his new teammates in pre-season training. On the same day, the Granata will discover their opponents in the third qualifying round of the Europa League.

"Following the departure of [Ciro] Immobile, Torino needed a big-name signing, and with Quagliarella, they've no doubt got that," Ezio Rossi told the club's website.

10.51 BST Queens Park Rangers are the latest club to register an interest in Aston Villa's World Cup star Ron Vlaar. The Netherlands centre-back has attracted interest from the likes of Manchester United and Roma following a series of impressive displays in Brazil and The Birmingham Mail says Harry Redknapp is prepared to test Villa's resolve with a four million pound bid.

Redknapp is urgently seeking defensive reinforcements ahead of the new Premier League season and has now made Vlaar a priority target after conceding defeat in his pursuit of Steven Caulker who looks set to move to Crystal Palace. 

10.43 BST Colombia World Cup forward Victor Ibarbo could be on the move to Russia, according to Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio. The pacey 24-year-old is expected to leave Cagliari this summer and there are believed to be offers on the table from both Dynamo and CSKA Moscow. Ibarbo made 30 appearances in Serie A last term, scoring four goals. 

10.35 BST Catalan daily Sport say that Barcelona have a 'Plan B' should they fail to land Valencia defender Jeremy Mathieu.

The club's director of football Andoni Zubizarreta yesterday confirmed that the club had made a final bid for the 30-year-old Frenchman -- believed to be 15 million euros plus Ibrahim Afellay -- but if their pursuit is unsuccessful, the Catalan club will turn to Borussia Dortmund centre-back Mats Hummels and Ajax defender Daley Blind who both impressed for Germany and Netherlands respectively at the World Cup.

10.25 BST Arsenal and Chelsea fans, look away now. El Confidencial says that Sami Khedira is set to make a U-turn on his decision to leave Real Madrid by signing a new long-term contract. The World Cup and Champions League winner is free to leave the Santiago Bernabeu if he wishes but reports now suggest that he is happy to stay in Spain and fight for a starting place alongside new teammate Toni Kroos. 

10.15 BST Former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong could be off to Austria, with Sky Sports reporting that he is in talks with Sturm Graz. The 22-year-old Ghana international is a free agent after leaving Barnsley in the summer and hopes to resurrect his career abroad.

10.10 BST L'Equipe says that Reims midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak is on the verge of signing for Europa League holders Sevilla. The 24-year-old Poland international was linked with several European clubs including Fiorentina and Hamburg but he has decided to plump for the La Liga side and is expected to complete a seven million euro transfer in the coming days. 

10.00 BST DONE DEAL! Borussia Dortmund have confirmed the signing of World Cup winner Matthias Ginter from Freiburg for a fee in the region of 10 million euros. The 20-year-old centre-back, who can also operate in defensive midfield, was the youngest member of Joachim Low's 23-man squad though did not enter the field of play in Brazil. 

"Matthias is an intelligent and versatile top German talent who has always been of great interest to us," said Dortmund's director of sport Michael Zorc. "We're pleased and also a bit proud that he made it clear to us so soon that he wanted to move to Borussia Dortmund.

"I was always a BVB fan and now I am getting the chance to wear the shirt of my favourite club," Ginter said. "I would like to take the next step of my development in Dortmund and I'm already looking forward to experiencing the atmosphere of the Signal Iduna Park and being able to be part of this wonderful team after my post-World Cup vacation.

9.50 BST Manchester United flop Bebe admits he is eager to finalise a move to Portuguese champions Benfica. The 24-year-old has struggled to make an impact at Old Trafford and has been sent out on loan to Besiktas, Rio Ave and Pacos de Ferreira over the past three seasons. 

"I am waiting for them to tell me when I can travel, as far as I know the clubs are talking. It would be a good opportunity to relaunch my career," he is quoted as saying by Sky Sports.

"Benfica are a golden shop window, they have revealed several players, I hope the same happens with me."

9.40 BST Barcelona have made a final offer of 15 million euros plus Ibrahim Afellay for Valencia defender Jeremy Mathieu, according to Mundo Deportivo. The Catalan side are desperate to strengthen their defence following the departure of Carles Puyol and Mathieu has emerged as their No.1 target due to his versatility at left-back.

Valencia have so far stood firm on their 20 million euro asking price -- the value of the player's release clause -- but they could now be tempted to cash in on the 30-year-old Frenchman amid rumours that he refused to train on Sunday and would not take part in the club's first pre-season friendly. 

9.30 BST Hellas Verona look to have beaten West Ham, Stoke City and Southampton to the signing of Livorno striker Paulinho. The 28-year-old Brazilian scored 15 goals in 35 Serie A games last season but could not help the Amaranto avoid relegation. 

Gazzetta dello Sport say that Verona will use five million euros from the sale of Juan Iturbe to fund the deal, while they have also agreed to loan Greece midfielder Panagiotis Tachtsidis from Genoa. 

9.20 BST Sky Sports News say that former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand will have a medical at Queens Park Rangers today. The 35-year-old centre-back is a free agent and is believed to welcome the opportunity to return to London where he will be re-united with Harry Redknapp. 

9.10 BST What a way to start the day! Real Madrid have confirmed that they have now completed a deal for World Cup winner Toni Kroos from Bayern Munich. The Germany international midfielder has signed a six-year deal at the Santiago Bernabeu and will be officially unveiled to the media at 4pm today. 

7.22 BST: Swindon Town have turned down a 600,000-pound bid from Rotherham for Socceroos youngster Massimo Luongo, according to Football Federation Australia.

3.34 BST: DONE DEAL! Newcastle Jets have confirmed the signing of 23-year-old Sam Gallagher from Vietnamese club Hanoi T&T. New Jets coach Phil Stubbins has recruited the former Central Coast Mariners and Melbourne Victory player to use as a utility across his back four.

Van Gaal to send 'em skittling?

You don't have to search hard to find reports that Louis van Gaal is intent upon making his mark felt swiftly at Manchester United. Double training sessions, transfer market tentacles and the revelation, in the Mirror, that he is set to ship an imperfect 10 players out of his squad. That's right, Van Gaal wants to bowl a strike here, and the report claims that -- deep breath -- Ashley Young, Wilfried Zaha, Marouane Fellaini, Bebe, Anderson, Tom Cleverley, Nani and Nick Powell are all to be knocked down at once, with Patrice Evra (to Juventus) and Javier Hernandez looking likely to join them. If there seems undue haste in the jettisoning of Zaha, Fellaini and Powell -- all pieces of business done last summer -- it is because Van Gaal wants to streamline his squad while bringing in four of his own men. As was reported earlier Wednesday, it seems as if Arturo Vidal will no longer be one of them -- so we wait with bated breath for the next round of feverish United speculation.

Kroos a lucky boy?

Well, perhaps Toni Kroos isn't guaranteed great fortune yet, with Real Madrid's eagerness to snap up the world's best players not always matched by their careful use of them. But it does seem as if the World Cup-winning midfielder -- who scored twice in Germany's remarkable rout of Brazil in the semifinals -- is heading to the Bernabeu. AS reveals that the deal between Real and Bayern Munich is done, with 30 million euros changing hands and the player penning a five-year deal. He's set to be unveiled at 5 p.m. local time on Thursday, and it will crown a four-day period that, to put it mildly, he is unlikely to forget in a hurry. If Real add James Rodriguez to their roster next, as suggested, then things will start to get very interesting indeed.

Riviere saga runs no more

There's a done deal involving Rodriguez's current club, Monaco, to shoehorn in here. It has been little secret that their striker, Emmanuel Riviere, was set to join Newcastle, and the Premier League club has confirmed his arrival on a long-term deal. Newcastle might lack the glamour of his previous residence, but the difference in footballing atmospheres should be equally profound.

Xavi spoiled for choice

While at least one is arriving, another midfielder -- in fact, one of the very best of all time -- will be leaving Spain if he can make his mind up pronto. Xavi appeared to be heading to Qatar, then to Manchester City's new baby brother, New York City, but Marca says that New York Red Bulls and Seattle Sounders have been added to the list of suitors for La Roja's metronome. Finances seem to be key to whatever decision he makes, with Barcelona wanting good money for him but Xavi not wishing to sell himself short with whatever deal he ends up with.

Sparky plugs wing gap

There is some good news for Stoke in the Telegraph. Mark Hughes, who has done a fine job of reinventing the side in his own image, seems to have made a breakthrough in his bid to bring Liverpool winger Oussama Assaidi into the fold with a deal that could be worth seven million pounds. Assaidi, who has 13 caps for Morocco, scored five goals in 25 appearances for the Potters last term -- form that appears to have ensured we'll be seeing a lot more of him at the Britannia.

Bojan's ultimatum

And will Hughes get another of his long-term targets? Thursday's Sun says that Bojan Krcic, the Barcelona forward, has been given until tomorrow to decide whether to join the Staffordshire revolution or not. He is hardly short of suitors, with Deportivo La Coruna among his other admirers. Where's best for him to fulfil what is, without doubt, a sublime talent when on form?