Neymar considers Man United move; Chelsea step up John Stones chase
As always, Transfer Talk has its finger on the pulse when it comes to the latest rumours and gossip. See all the latest deals here.
TOP STORY: Neymar considers Man United move
The only thing more spectacular than Manchester United's reported interest in Neymar is the news that the Barcelona forward might actually be considering a move to Old Trafford.
The Guardian reports that the 23-year-old would seriously contemplate leaving the Camp Nou for Louis van Gaal's side, and "is attracted by the size and history of United and the chance to play in the Premier League."
While there is a "recognition that the transfer is unlikely to occur before the current window closes," Ed Woodward was reportedly laying the groundwork for a future move for the Brazil captain on his trip to Spain when most thought he was struggling to sign Pedro -- the clever goose.
United will want to avoid being stung as they were with Sergio Ramos, who used their interest as leverage in securing a fat new contract with Real Madrid. Barca coach Luis Enrique refused to be drawn on the Neymar links on Sunday; while Van Gaal says United are in the market for "the best striker in the world" -- any side would probably risk looking foolish if it meant even a slim chance of landing Neymar.
22:53 BST: Alright folks, that's it for this Monday's live Transfer Talk but stick around at ESPN FC for all of the latest news, analysis and highlights. Also, Transfer Talk's evening edition will be posted in a few hours so stay tuned!
22:35 BST: DONE DEAL West Ham's Modibo Maiga has apparently decided to bring his footballing talent to Saudi Arabia as he's joined Al Nassr FC, the club has announced.
22.05 BST: Everton could face a struggle in replacing their in-demand centre-back John Stones if he leaves, according to the Daily Mirror. The outlet is reporting that Toffees' target Ramiro Funes Mori is struggling to get a work permit after the club reportedly agreed to a £5 million deal with River Plate.
Mori only has one cap for Argentina and that could present an issue in getting the paperwork required to play in the Premier League.
21.30 BST: As previously mentioned, Manchester United are in a desperate hunt to recruit at least one star attacker to the side and if a report by the Telegraph is accurate, one potential target could be surprising indeed. The outlet suggests that Sao Paulo's Alexandre Pato could be on his way to the Premier League as he has been offered to both the Red Devils and Chelsea in a £10.9 million deal.
While Pato is definitely talented, his troubles with injuries should concern any club that tries to bring him in -- particularly one that plays in the physical Premier League.
20.55 BST: Manchester City's young promising defender Jason Denayer looks set to join Turkish giants Galatasaray on loan, the Scottish Daily Record reports. With Man City adding Nicolas Otamendi to an already crowded group of centre-backs, 20-year-old Denayer would have struggled for minutes at the side and a move to the Turkish Super Lig should aid his development.
20.20 BST: Where will Wolfsburg's in-demand Kevin De Bruyne end up? The Belgian has long been linked with Manchester City but their city rivals, Manchester United, could now be interested in him according to Norwegian journalist Jan Aage Fjortoft.
Re: De Bruyne Man City been trying for a while to get him. Man UTD just entered the poker-table. Bayern: Will never let a star leave "easy"- Jan Aage Fjortoft (@JanAageFjortoft) August 24, 2015
Bayern Munich previously denied their interest in De Bruyne but if they do sign him, it will add to United's summer of frustration after missing out on several creative attacking midfielder.
19.55 BST: Back to Inter Milan, with the club's pursuit of Ivan Perisic stalled at the moment (read: 18.45 BST), another potential target could be PSG's Ezequiel Lavezzi. Football Italia is reporting that the Argentine forward's agent Alejandro Mazzoni is hopeful of a potential move for his client to the Serie A side.
"I wouldn't know if there could be news about Inter soon, we will see what happens in the next few days," he said. "I'm always talking to Inter, it's my job. It depends on Inter, if there isn't an offer [to bring in Lavezzi] then it's difficult to say."
19.25 BST: Norwich appear set to allow wantaway striker Gary Hooper to leave the club, with Championship side Sheffield Wednesday interested according to the Daily Mirror. The 27-year-old forward is one of the Norwich's top earners and the club are keen to get him off their wage bill, even if it means sending him on a season-long deal.
19.00 BST: DONE DEAL Fulham have shored up their goalkeeper position by signing Joe Lewis from Cardiff on a loan deal.
Fulham had been dealing with some injuries to their goalkeeper group, with the No. 1 in position, Marcus Bettinelli, suffering knee ligament damage in the club's match against Hull.
18.45 BST: It appears that Inter may be disappointed in their pursuit of Wolfsburg's Ivan Perisic, after the club's manager Dieter Hecking insisted that the striker would be staying with the club.
"Perisic? As far as I know there's nothing new," he said, according to Football Italia. "I think he'll stay with us."
However, the Gazzetta dello Sport reported the two clubs are only €2 million apart from a deal going through, which means that things could well change in the next few days.
18.22 BST: If it's up to Celta's coach Eduardo Berizzo, star forward and rumoured Barcelona target Nolito is going nowhere when the summer transfer window comes to a close.
"We're counting on [Nolito] to stay with us, and hopefully August 31 will be an uneventful day," he said after Celta's 2-1 win over Levante, according to Football Espana.
18.10 BST: Stability and patience aren't well-known qualities of Real Madrid, so its no surprise that the club is already shopping Brazilian midfielder Lucas Silva less than a year after he joined. According to French media outlet, La Provence, Los Blancos are in discussions with Ligue 1 side Marseille for the 22-year-old, who only joined the Spanish capital side last January. It will be interesting to see how much the club gets for its €15 million investment, as a loss on that amount is expected.
17.55 BST: Mario Balotelli's potential return to AC Milan on a loan deal is one step closer to completion according to Steve Mitchell of Gianlucadimarzio.com. The site is reporting that the Liverpool striker is on his way to Milan for a medical at the club on Tuesday morning.
Sources have told ESPN FC that Balotelli is willing to take an unspecified paycut to make the deal go through, with Liverpool paying some of the 25-year-old's salary during the loan spell. Balotelli scored 26 goals in 43 appearances during his time with the Rossoneri and the club hopes he'll be able to match those numbers with a change of scenery.
17.40 BST: After U.S. right winger DeAndre Yedlin failed to crack Tottenham's 18-man squad against Leicester City this weekend, many national team observers are openly wondering if the former Seattle Sounders star will see action at all this season with Spurs. That includes U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann. The coach is hoping that rumours that Yedlin may be loaned out are true and wants the 22-year-old to join "another good club" according to a recent interview.
"There are some rumors of DeAndre Yedlin possibly going on loan for a year to another good club where he'll get playing time, which is very important for him and for us that he's playing week in and week out," he told U.S. soccer's official website. "Maybe some other things will still happen because the deadline for the transfer window is August 31, so that will be interesting."
17.27 BST: Riyad Mahrez has enjoyed a stunning start to the new season with Leicester, meaning Claudio Ranieri has inevitably had to come out and scare off any interested parties. "We don't sell him so there is no price," he is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.
17.15 BST: There have been a few reports lately suggesting Karim Benzema is set to sign for Arsenal, including one that he was to be unveiled ahead of their clash against Liverpool tonight... That did seem a little outlandish -- and the man himself appears to have confirmed just as much...
17.08 BST: DONE DEAL Hoffenheim have announced the signing of Chile international Eduardo Vargas from Napoli on a four-year deal.
17.03 BST: You may remember Pedro Rodriguez had a farewell news conference at Barcelona earlier today -- well, during that he revealed he joined Chelsea as they moved quickest to secure his signature, beating off competition from more than one club in England. Read more.
16.52 BST: Sunderland could be set to sign Jonathan de Guzman, according to the Napoli midfielder's agent. "It's true there's an agreement for the player to go on loan with a purchase option included for the English club," Fabian Parisi is quoted as saying by talkSPORT. "Sunderland is there and so is Marseille, and there are other options."
16.39 BST: Sky Sports claim to have an update on Joleon Lescott's future...
BREAKING: Sky Sources: West Brom will allow Joleon Lescott to leave club when they sign another defender. #SSNHQ- Sky Sports News HQ (@SkySportsNewsHQ) August 24, 2015
16.28 BST: Juventus are currently locked in talks with Schalke over the signing of Julian Draxler, Football Italia claims. The Bundesliga side are reportedly asking for €24 million plus bonuses, or €30 million with €15 million up front. Juve, however, are so far only offering €15 million plus €9 million in bonuses.
16.13 BST: We mentioned earlier today Tottenham and Liverpool's reported interested in Asier Illarramendi... Well, according to Marca, they also face competition from Real Sociedad, who want to bring the Real Madrid midfielder back home to his former club.
16.02 BST: The Saido Berahino saga takes another turn... West Bromwich Albion have just released a statement saying their position remains the same on keeping hold of Berahino amid interest from Tottenham. They also reveal the striker has submitted a transfer request but that the request has been rejected. What next, I wonder? Read more.
15.51 BST: The remaining days of the transfer window could be rather busy for West Ham, with the Evening Standard reporting that the club are keen on signing Chelsea winger Victor Moses and have rekindled an interest in free agent Joey Barton, while Tottenham's Aaron Lennon and Adnan Januzaj of Manchester United are also among the names on their wanted list.
15.37 BST: DONE DEAL Arsenal have loaned out young midfielder Gedion Zelalem to Scottish Championship side Rangers until January...
15.27 BST: DONE DEAL Ipswich have signed James Alabi after the striker impressed while on trial at the Championship club...
15.08 BST: Tottenham have agreed a deal with Crystal Palace for winger Yannick Bolasie, the Croydon Advertiser claims. However, BBC Sport's Ian Dennis seems to strongly disagree... Take your pick.
Spurs not agreed a deal for Yannick Bolasie and it's my understanding they have no interest in him #bbcfootball- Ian Dennis (@Iandennisbbc) August 24, 2015
14.56 BST: Stoke assistant manager Mark Bowen has failed to rule out more movement from the club in the transfer market this summer...
MB on potential transfers: There are 10 days to go, anything can happen, but we're happy with what we've got inside the building #scfc- Stoke City FC (@stokecity) August 24, 2015
14.24 BST: DONE DEAL Some news coming out of West Bromwich Albion...
14.16 BST: Sources have confirmed to ESPN FC that, as was speculated below, Real Madrid will not contemplate selling Gareth Bale, even if Manchester United make a world-record bid for the player. Read more.
14.07 BST: There's been a change of heart at Everton, if Sky Sports are to be believed. The Toffees have ended their interest in Dynamo Kiev forward Andriy Yarmolenko after failing to agree a deal and are now targeting Shakhtar Donetsk's Bernard instead.
13.54 BST: An update on Mario Balotelli's likely move to AC Milan now... Gazzetta dello Sport claims the Liverpool striker will have a medical on Tuesday before joining on loan for free, with Milan having an option to buy at the end of the season. The Italian club will apparently pay half of his £80,000-a-week wages.
13.43 BST: More frustration for Manchester United in the transfer window? Ajax goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen has declared he will stay at the Dutch club for this season after being linked with a move to the Red Devils. "I, the club, or my agent have never heard anything," he told NOS. "As for me, this season begins and ends at Ajax." Read more.
13.33 BST: Sticking with Real Madrid, they've just tweeted pictures of Karim Benzema's return to training, which would seem to debunk the talk that the striker is to be unveiled by Arsenal this evening...
13.22 BST: Gareth Bale is a player who's long been touted with a move to Manchester United, and while those rumours might have taken a back seat of late, the Daily Mail is reporting that Real Madrid have told the Red Devils the Wales international is not for sale at any price.
13.10 BST: The Daily Star seems to think Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema will be unveiled as an Arsenal player before kick-off against Liverpool this evening. While that would certainly make for some dramatic prematch entertainment at the Emirates, Spanish football journalist Guillem Balague is positive there's nothing in such speculation...
Wenger denies he's about 2 sign Benzema+Madrid insist he going nowhere,but people don't want 2 believe it. Don't get disappointed in 9 days!- Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) August 24, 2015
13.00 BST: Tottenham are readying an improved bid for West Bromwich Albion striker Saido Berahino, sources have told ESPN FC. West Brom announced last week they'd rejected an initial bid for Berahino but ESPN FC was told on Monday morning that Spurs were planning to make a new offer within 48 hours, expected to be £21 million. Read more.
12.52 BST: DONE DEAL News of our first done deal of the day...
12.44 BST: Pedro Rodriguez also had this to say about his decision to move to Chelsea...
Pedro: "At first it was strange to wear a shirt that was not Barça's. I am happy with the new challenge" #FCBlive- FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 24, 2015
Pedro:"It was not about money. It was the need to play consistently" #FCBlive- FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 24, 2015
12.33 BST: Fresh from his dream debut for Chelsea, Pedro Rodriguez is currently back in Barcelona for his farewell news conference...
Pedro: "From a young age it had been my dream to play at Barça. I thank everyone, my life is here" - #FCBlive- FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 24, 2015
"I saw it was difficult to continue at Barça and we found a good way out. I am sad to leave but it's a good opportunity" - Pedro #FCBlive- FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 24, 2015
12.30 BST: The ESPN FC crew answer your Twitter questions -- including whether or not new signing Nicolas Otamendi will actually play much for Manchester City...
12.22 BST: Louis van Gaal appears to have upset Real Madrid target David De Gea after saying at the weekend the goalkeeper will not be sold by Manchester United, AS claims. The duo are believed to have not spoken to each other for months and their relationship is now said to be non-existent.
12.10 BST: Sources have confirmed to ESPN FC that Leicester are currently in talks with Copenhagen over a deal to sign Ghana international Daniel Amartey.
12.06 BST: Emmanuel Adebayor's move to West Ham looked to be dead in the water last week but, according to the Daily Mirror, it could now be back on. Talks over a potential loan took place over the weekend, the newspaper reports, and Tottenham could even end up paying some of the player's £100,000-a-week wages as part of the deal.
11.51 BST: Bayern Munich have also been linked with a move for Kevin De Bruyne, but the German champions appear to have ended their interest in the player a while back...
Markus Hörwick (Bayern press officer): "De Bruyne? No, we will not go for him. Rummenigge decided long ago" pic.twitter.com/nvB3MoKNh1- Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) August 24, 2015
11.48 BST: How about another Kevin De Bruyne update? Sky Sports News is now claiming that Manchester City are waiting to hear back from Wolfsburg after making an offer of £54.4 milion, rising to £58 million, for the Belgium international. This transfer saga was supposed to be sorted today, but it looks like it might run for a little while longer yet...
11.39 BST: Norwich boss Alex Neil has confirmed the club have turned down two offers from Bournemouth for Lewis Grabban. "The situation is that Bournemouth have come in with two separate bids for Lewis and both have been rejected," he told BBC Radio Norfolk. "I'm not interested in selling him to one of our direct competitors."
11.25 BST: Over in Italy, Tuttosport claims that Fernando Llorente could be set to stay at Juventus after all, despite the striker having been linked with an exit from the club. Juve are willing to let Llorente go for €10 million, but no clubs appear to be prepared to meet the asking price.
10.45 BST: These Paul Pogba-to-Chelsea rumours just won't go away... The Evening Standard claims the Blues are continuing to pursue a £70 million deal for the midfielder, but adds Juventus will take some persuading to do business, no matter what personnel is offered up in any player-plus-cash bid.
10.36 BST: Something from the Championship now -- Leeds United and Queens Park Rangers are both lining up a move for Nottingham Forest defender Jack Hobbs, HITC Sport understands.
10.24 BST: Arsenal are monitoring Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Lars Bender, if The Independent are to be believed. Gunners scouts are said to have watched him last week and he would cost the club around £18 million.
10.15 BST: Bayern Munich sporting director Matthias Sammer has insisted no more players will be leaving the club this summer. "We will need every player," he is quoted as saying by Goal. "I think that there is nothing more that could happen."
10.03 BST: The Evening Standard says both Tottenham and Liverpool are eyeing a move for Asier Illarramendi, with the midfielder reportedly having been told by Real Madrid that he is surplus to requirements at the club.
09.38 BST: Everton are looking to bring in Manchester United's Adnan Januzaj on a season-long loan deal, the Liverpool Echo reports. The Toffees, however, may face competition from West Ham, according to talkSPORT, with the Hammers also hoping to complete a similar deal for the forward.
09.30 BST: With Juventus general manager Beppe Marotta having confirmed Juan Cuadrado will be arriving on a season-long loan from Chelsea on Monday, ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti offers his assessment of the Colombia international...
09.21 BST: Tottenham remain interested in Southampton midfielder Victor Wanyama, according to the Daily Mail, but the Saints have so far rebuffed their enquiries. Southampton are reluctant to sell with a only week remaining in the transfer window to find a suitable replacement.
08.51 BST: Kicker carries an outlandish rumour that new Borussia Dortmund signing Gonzalo Castro could be on his way back to Bayer Leverkusen for the €11 million that BVB paid for the midfielder just a couple of months ago.
Meanwhile, kicker says Kevin Grosskreutz has no intention of leaving Dortmund. The hometown hero played for the reserves again at the weekend but used his Instagram account to hit out at the "internet haters" and said he was happy to build up his fitness.
08.24 BST: Hoffenheim are set to sign Eduardo Vargas from Napoli, kicker reports. The 25-year-old Chile international will be brought in to replace Roberto Firmino, who joined Liverpool earlier this summer. The deal is said to be worth €6 million, and Vargas has already passed his medical.
08.12 BST: Celtic have denied that Southampton have agreed a £10 million deal for Virgil van Dijk and said the defender would play Tuesday's Champions League clash with Malmo. A spokesperson told Press Association Sport: "The story is absolute nonsense and Virgil will play on Tuesday. We have no agreement with any club."
07.51 BST: Or might Kevin De Bruyne end up staying at Wolfsburg?
"We are still doing all we can," Wolfsburg boss Dieter Hecking told kicker. "We want him to stay. That's our main priority."
Sporting executive Klaus Allofs added in Bild: "I believe that he could feel at home in Wolfsburg for another one or two years ... I want to emphasise that we are making an effort to convince him to stay, but we consider everything, should there be serious offers. We'll discuss it and make a decision."
07.46 BST: Today is supposed to be the day when the Kevin De Bruyne saga comes to an end and he joins Manchester City but, as with any good interminable saga, it's proving to be interminable. German tabloid Bild reports that the Wolfsburg midfielder wants to join Bayern Munich instead -- which we've heard before -- and that his representatives contacted the Bundesliga champions last week. Kicker reports a similar tale, although it says Bayern made the contact. The trouble there is that Bayern have said they won't sign him this summer, so this would have to happen in a year's time.
07.19 BST: Paris Saint-Germain are still looking for replacements for Lucas Digne, who still looks likely to join Roma, and Real Madrid's Fabio Coentrao is emerging as the most likely option.
According to L'Equipe, Monaco ended discussions with PSG over Kurzawa & now PSG's main target is Real's Coentrao on loan.- Jonathan Johnson (@Jon_LeGossip) August 24, 2015
Stones sought as Terry's heir
Saturday's Transfer Talk concerned John Terry's fate at Chelsea if Jose Mourinho went ahead and benched his captain for Sunday's trip to West Brom -- and while Terry survived the chop, he probably wished he hadn't.
The 34-year-old was caught out for the second time in three games -- a defensive lapse led to Thibaut Courtois' red card against Swansea -- and Terry received his marching orders this time for tugging back Salomon Rondon at The Hawthorns.
Chelsea survived to win 3-2, but the Mirror reports that Mourinho will now step up his pursuit of Everton starlet John Stones in order to shore up a defence that has shipped a remarkable seven goals in three games.
Roberto Martinez is adamant that Stones will remain with the Toffees, but Sunday's win will have done more than anything to convince Roman Abramovich that Stones is a price worth paying.
In further Chelsea news, Juventus' general manager Beppe Marotta has confirmed that Juan Cuadrado will be arriving on a season-long loan from Stamford Bridge on Monday.
Super Mario nears Milan return
The romantic in all of us would love to see Mario Balotelli back scoring goals for fun in Serie A, and AC Milan have got that funny feeling too.
Milan's general manager Adriano Galliani has confirmed that the club are on the brink of bringing Balotelli back to Serie A on a season-long loan deal from Liverpool, though he added: "Certain loves come back, but we're going to have to wait a while yet before we can sing that about Balotelli." The details still need to be ironed out, but the 25-year-old striker looks odds-on for a return to Italy before the summer is out.
Meanwhile, Brendan Rodgers could hand Lucas Leiva a reprieve given Jordan Henderson's injury problems. The Brazilian midfielder has been heavily linked with a loan move to Besiktas, but the Mirror reports that Lucas is needed for Monday's trip to Arsenal and could end up staying at Anfield.
Absent Berahino closer to Spurs move
Plenty of players and managers have come out in recent days to suggest that the transfer window should shut before the Premier League season begins, with Tony Pulis joining the ranks on Sunday by declaring West Brom's current situation with Saido Berahino as "absolutely ridiculous."
The Baggies boss left the 22-year-old striker out of his squad for the 3-2 home defeat to Chelsea amid interest from Tottenham, and the Mirror reports that Spurs will now launch a bid of £20 million plus adds-ons, having seen an initial offer of £15m laughed out of the West Midlands.
West Brom believe Spurs have deliberately unsettled Berahino in recent weeks, but will likely accept a good offer for the forward in order to move past this unseemly episode -- cue a similar turn of events next year should club-record signing Salomon Rondon light up the top flight this season.
Saints confident over Mane future
Southampton boss Ronald Koeman is bullish about his chances of hanging on to Manchester United target Sadio Mane, even joking that Saints fans may be forgiven for wanting to see the 23-year-old out of action until the end of the transfer window.
Speaking after Sunday's 0-0 draw at Watford during which Mane came off injured, Koeman said: "Would Saints fans have liked him to have been injured for longer? Maybe, but I would prefer him to be available."
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The attacker is set to return for Thursday's Europa League tie with FC Midtjylland, and will be staying at St Mary's if Koeman has anything to do with it. Unfortunately for the Saints, a big, fat cheque from Manchester would likely make all the difference.
- Jonathan Walters is stuck at Stoke for the time being, it seems. The 31-year-old striker reportedly wants a two-year contract extension, but Potters boss Mark Hughes told reporters: "We want him to stay but if we don't come to an agreement we will probably keep him and let his contract run down."
- Dick Advocaat believes Sunderland need "two or three [signings] in good positions" to avoid a relegation battle this season. The Dutch coach has never been relegated during his managerial career, but anything is possible with the Black Cats' current squad.
- Watford are set to sell Fernando Forestieri to Leeds United this week, with the Mirror reporting that the two clubs have agreed a £3m deal for the striker.
- Tim Sherwood has some sage advice for players kicking their heels on the fringes of his Aston Villa squad, telling the Birmingham Mail: "It comes to the end for all of us. When I was a player, I knew when my time was up.
"You need to go and find a new club and get the best out of your career somewhere else. There's no point sitting around and not playing."