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Transfer Talk: Real Madrid consider shock move for Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored the opener and provided an assist in a must-win game for the LA Galaxy to keep their playoff hopes intact.
ESPN FC's Steve Nicol says Zlatan Ibrahimovic won't be going back to Manchester United on loan in January for the simple reason that he won't want to sit on the bench at Old Trafford.

The transfer window for all of Europe's big five leagues is closed, but that doesn't stop Transfer Talk from rummaging around about who will be moving where come January.

TOP STORY

Real Madrid are considering making a shock move to sign Zlatan Ibrahimovic from LA Galaxy in the January transfer window, according to Cadena Cope.

The European champions bolstered their attacking ranks in the summer by bringing Mariano back from Lyon to fill the gap left by Cristiano Ronaldo's departure to Juventus.

However, Cope says that Real Madrid want to sign another No. 9 in January after Julen Lopetegui's side only narrowly avoided setting a new club-record goal drought, with Marcelo's goal in Saturday's 2-1 home defeat to Levante ending a run of 480 minutes without scoring in all competitions.

Spanish radio station Cadena Cope reports that Ibrahimovic could be the surprise candidate to provide a short-term fix to those issues, and that the 37-year-old forward is also keen on making the move to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Cope points out that Real Madrid president Florentino Perez made a similar move in January 2011 when signed Emmanuel Adebayor on loan from Manchester City.

- Hunter: Sacking Lopetegui won't save Real Madrid

Ibrahimovic spent a year in Spain earlier in his career, scoring 16 goals in La Liga for Barcelona in the 2009-10 season. However, he returned to Serie A the following year with a loan move to AC Milan after falling out with coach Pep Guardiola at the Camp Nou.

The Swedish forward has also been linked with a return to Manchester United, where he spent two seasons before making his move to Major League Soccer earlier this year.

LIVE BLOG

24.02 BST: Maurizio Sarri looking to bring another Serie A standout to England?

According to Calciomercato, Chelsea had scouts at the Milan derby to scout defender Alessio Romagnoli on Sunday.

Romagnoli, who played all 90 minutes of AC Milan's 1-0 loss to Inter, has already made 139 Serie A appearances despite being just 23 and is reportedly open for a move to the Premier League. Chelsea have played with Antonio Rudiger and David Luiz in the middle this season under Sarri but Romagnoli would be seen as a definite upgrade to the Brazilian, particularly defensively.

The ex-Roma man, who was made Milan's captain prior to this season, has made eight appearances for Italy and is also being linked with a move to Manchester United.

Chelsea's biggest weakness looks to be at striker but don't rule out a defensive signing as well in January, with Romagnoli one name to watch.

23.09 BST: With Fernandinho, 33, not getting any younger and no real replacement to spell the Brazilian or cover if he were ever to get injured, Man City could be in the market for a midfielder in January, even outside of their interest in Ajax's Frenkie de Jong

Goal.com has linked Pep Guardiola's champions with Ruben Neves of Wolves and Tanguy Ndombele of Lyon. Neves, 21, has been one of the bright young stars this season in the Premier League while Ndombele, also 21, has drawn comparisons to N'Golo Kante and been heavily linked with Tottenham.

Guardiola previously stated in August that he would have interest in adding one more midfielder after missing out on Jorginho: "I would like to sign maybe one more, because we don't have specific players to substitute Fernandinho." If no other player arrives, I have to find a solution."

Last season when they needed a centre-back, Man City went out and got Aymeric Laporte from Athletic Bilbao in January. Now that a few months have passed we'll see if Guardiola gets what he wants again.

 22.00 BST: Nabil Fekir nearly joined Liverpool this summer but after returning to Lyon, the rumours have again started regarding the French playmaker's long-term future.

The new club being linked with Fekir is struggling German champions Bayern Munich. In fact, Kicker report that Bayern Munich have moved ahead of Liverpool in the pecking order for the 25-year-old midfielder.

Fourth-placed Bayern have won just one of their last four games in the league and with serious injuries to Kingsley Coman and Corentin Tolisso, they will be looking to strengthen their squad in order to re-establish their dominance in the Bundesliga.

Fekir has started the season well at Lyon with three goals and three assists, impressing both in Ligue 1 and the Champions League.

20.29 BST: We mentioned Chelsea's reported interest in striker Mauro Icardi earlier but if Icardi proves too expensive, Chelsea could opt for another Italian-based striker according to reports.

The player being tabbed as Chelsea's "Plan B" is none other than Genoa's breakout star Krzysztof Piatek. The 23-year-old Pole has been football's biggest surprise so far this season, amazingly bagging 13 goals in nine games for I Rossoblu

The Blues figure to face competition for Piatek though, as Juventus, Man City and Tottenham have all been mentioned of late with the in-form striker.

Chelsea sit two points off the pace at the top of the Premier League and look to be a striker away from being a real contender for the title. Whether it is Icardi, Piatek or someone else, it seems as if Alvaro Morata's days at Stamford Bridge could be numbered.

19.37 BST: Italian outlet Calciomercato again are reporting Liverpool's interest in Napoli winger Lorenzo Insigne.

The Italian international has seven goals in 10 games so far this season with Napoli and has long had an admirer in Reds' manager Jurgen Klopp.

Insigne scored a last-minute winner earlier this month against Liverpool and has been valued at around £60 million. A speedster on the wing, Insigne would seem to profile as a perfect fit out wide in Klopp's attack-minded system where Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane have thrived.

Klopp and Liverpool will get another firsthand look at Insigne before the January window opens, as the Reds host Napoli in early December.

18.24 BST: Could Liverpool outcast Divock Origi be given a lifeline in Turkey?

Turkish newspaper Fanatik claims that Istanbul rivals Besiktas and Galatasaray are set to go head-to-head in a bid to land the Belgian forward in January.

The 23-year-old has yet to feature for the Reds this season and turned down an opportunity to move abroad this past summer in order to compete for a place at Anfield.

Origi has scored 21 goals in 77 games in a Liverpool shirt and last season scored six in 34 games while on loan at Wolfsburg.

Due to Galatasaray's financial problems, Besiktas would seem to be the favourite of the two clubs to land the player on loan. Besiktas already added fellow Liverpool outcast Loris Karius on loan this summer.

17.39 BST: Here's a potentially big one!

French television station RMC Sport claims that Man United forward Anthony Martial wants to stay at Old Trafford... even if Jose Mourinho remains manager.

If true this is a major shift, as Martial, who has been in and out of the lineup under Mourinho, very publically requested a transfer during the summer and then succeeded to start just one of United's first six Premier League games.

Things have turned around for the Frenchman of late, as Martial has scored three vital goals in his last two games, goals that ironically have gone a long way in saving Mourinho's job to this point.

With Martial's relationship with Mourinho seemingly improved and the Frenchman playing well, a contract extension would be a huge boost for a United side that has been short on good news of late.

Just the latest in a series of twists to the never ending drama at Old Trafford!

16:47 BST: It is being reported in TEAMtalk that Barcelona were so impressed Eric Dier's performance for England against Spain, they are interested in signing him.

The Catalans are looking to strengthen cover in defence and defensive midfield.

15:40 BST: Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic has two matches to save his job at Craven Cottage, according to The Mirror. The club's hierarchy are concerned at their leaky defence.

14:26 BST: PSG defender Marquinhos has laughed off reports Neymar returning to Barcelona or joining rivals, Real Madrid.

"I wish Real Madrid and Barcelona good luck in their attempts to prise Neymar away!" Marquinhos joked. "Everybody knows how [chairman and CEO] Nasser Al-Khelaifi is with his players and how he likes his most important players.

13:30 BST: Ajax forward Kasper Dolberg has signed a new contract to 2022. The Dane had been linked with moves to Barcelona, Manchester United, Napoli and Monaco in the past.

12.35 BST: Chelsea are ready to cut their losses and get rid of Alvaro Morata in January, according to The Sun.

Inter Milan forward Mauro Icardi would be their first choice replacement, the report claims.

11:40 BST: Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has spoken about the pending transfer window, and insisted they have no plans to make any signings in January.

With an injury crisis in defence, the La Liga leaders have been linked with a short-term move for a centre-back, while midfielders Frenkie de Jong, Adrien Rabiot and Paul Pogba remain of interest to the club.

"We don't plan to sign anyone in January, unless the coaches ask for someone before then," Bartomeu said. "It's a smaller squad because we have B team players who can make the first team. Our objective is that players from La Masia make the first team."

Bartomeu also knocked back the latest round of reports suggesting Neymar could come back to the club from Paris Saint-Germain.

"He left and there are no plans to bring him back," he said. "I've not spoken with Neymar's people. A lot of rumours come out but there's been no call and no meeting. He decided his future, paid his clause and went to Paris."

 10.45 BST: Tottenham have no plans to sign Colombia international Wilmar Barrios, sources have told ESPN FC.

It has been reported that Spurs have agreed personal terms with the midfielder's representatives and are preparing a bid to sign the 25-year-old -- who played against England at the World Cup -- from Argentine club Boca Juniors.

But sources have told ESPN FC that there have been no contract talks, that Barrios was not a target for Spurs in the summer and that he is not on their wish-list now.

Mauricio Pochettino has, however, declared that he would like new signings in the January transfer window.

09.45 BST: Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Adrien Rabiot has been linked with some of Europe's biggest clubs this year, including Liverpool and Juventus.

However, Canal + in France reports that the reports that the 23-year-old is close to signing a new contract at the Parc des Princes, committing him to the club for an additional three years..

08.50 BST: Real Madrid left-back Marcelo "wants Juventus" in January, according to Tuttosport. The Brazilian, who is close friends with Cristiano Ronaldo, was linked with a move to the Bianconeri in the summer.

And it is claimed here that he is so desperate to make the switch, Marcelo cannot wait until the end of the season and wants the move to happen in the January transfer window.

08.00 BST: The Central Coast Mariners have offered Usain Bolt a contract for "much, much less" than what the Olympic great's camp requested, the head of the A-League says.

A-League boss Greg O'Rourke says Bolt is considering the offer that Bolt's agent confirmed to ESPN was tabled on Sunday.

"I understand from Central Coast Mariners that they have tabled an offer to Usain Bolt's management, which he is considering," O'Rourke told SEN radio on Monday. "That offer is much, much less than [the Bolt camp] were originally requesting.

"And that's really reflected that if Usain wants to join the club and become a footballer he should follow a journey pretty similar to any triallist, not withstanding for a minute the amount of marketing that somebody like Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world, can bring to the Central Coast and the broader A-League."

PAPER TALK

United must pay £40m for Milenkovic

Manchester United are interested in Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic, but the Sun says they will have to spend more than they would like to in order to land him.

With Juventus, Arsenal, Spurs and Chelsea also linked with the Serbia international, United "have been told it will cost more than £40 million" to sign him.

That is £10m more than they had hoped to pay for the 21-year-old, who was scouted by Jose Mourinho while on international duty last week.

The Sun says "United's money men are wary of paying over the odds, having already given Mourinho £61m to buy Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof -- both struggling for regular starts."

And with United having been told Juve are "very keen," Mourinho's search for a new centre-back may go on a bit longer.

Meanwhile, the Manchester Evening News says the manager is also looking at Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly, "who is understood to be open to moving to England."

Senegal international Koulibaly recently signed new terms, "but Mourinho must believe there is a possibility of signing him."

Chelsea want Kante to sign deal amid Madrid links

Chelsea are "desperate" for midfielder N'Golo Kante to agree a new contract amid ongoing interest from Real Madrid, the Sun reports.

It says Madrid are weighing up an £80m move for France international Kante.

Although the former Leicester midfielder has three years remaining on his contract, Chelsea "will have to move quickly to improve his terms if they want to keep him out of their clutches."

The report says that although Kante is happy in London, "he would consider an offer from 13-times European Cup winners Madrid."

Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus have also been linked with Kante, but it is thought a move to either would be unlikely.

Ake 'would have first-team chance at City'

As the race for Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake hots up, Manchester City may have moved to the front of the queue, according to the Mail.

Reports over the weekend suggested City were preparing to bid £40m for Netherlands international Ake.

And the Mail says that although the champions have plenty of options in central defence, "Ake's stock is rising rapidly and it is thought he would compete for a place straight away."

United, along with Tottenham, are also interested in the 23-year-old, who would count as a homegrown player because he came through the ranks at Chelsea.

Reports last week said Bournemouth would have to inform Chelsea of any offer because the Blues have first refusal to re-sign him.

Tap-ins

- With Toby Alderweireld seemingly on his way out, Tottenham have identified the player they want to bring in in his place, according to the Sun.

It reports that Spurs are ready to offer £25m for Sampdoria defender Joachim Andersen, "seen as the long-term replacement for Alderweireld."

- New Aston Villa manager Dean Smith is targeting Sheffield Wednesday defender Matt Penney, according to the Birmingham Mail.

Penney, 20, has also been linked with Bournemouth and Brighton, but Wednesday hope to persuade him to sign a new contract.

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