Transfer Talk: Real Madrid to beat Man City to £90m Paulo Dybala
The transfer window for Europe's biggest clubs is open again. Transfer Talk has been scouring the world's media and setting our correspondents loose to see who could be heading to/out of your club this month.
TOP STORY: Real to fight Man City for Dybala
Los Blancos have been desperate to fill the Cristiano Ronaldo-shaped vacuum in their attack ever since the Portuguese superstar's move to Turin and have identified his current teammate as the ideal replacement.
The 25-year-old boasts an impressive 54 goals in 115 Serie A appearances and, with Aaron Ramsey set to grace the Allianz Stadium next season, the Old Lady are believed to be open to the idea of cashing in on one of their prized assets.
If Madrid managed to secure their latest Galactico, it would deal a huge blow to Pep Guardiola, who is supposedly a keen admirer of the ex-Palermo attacker. And would also send a bit of a message to the upstarts of Juve over just who wields the power in the transfer market these days.
22.59 GMT: That's going to bring Wednesday's live edition of Transfer Talk to a close. Thanks very much for joining us, and be sure to check back in a few short hours when we return with the latest bits of gossip from Thursday's back pages.
22.12 GMT: As if Chelsea didn't have enough to worry about in Bayern Munich's never-ending chase to snap up starlet Callum Hudson-Odoi, the Mirror reports that Liverpool are also interested in prying the 18-year-old out of London.
21.25 GMT -- DONE DEAL: AC Milan have completed a deal to sign Krzysztof Piatek from Genoa on a four-and-a-half year contract, the club have confirmed. Read the full story.
20.38 GMT -- DONE DEAL: Another of January's long-running transfer sagas has come to its conclusion! Chelsea have confirmed the signing of Gonzalo Higuain on loan from Juventus through the end of the season, and the 31-year-old striker will wear the Blues' No. 9 shirt. Read the full story.
19.51 GMT: Per ESPN Brazil, Barcelona is scouting Sao Paulo's young star, winger Helinho. This shouldn't be surprising, seeing as Barcelona want to keep up with arch-rivals Real Madrid in scouting Brazilian talent.
19.04 GMT: Manchester United and Atletico Madrid have made last-minute moves to try to sign Inter winger Ivan Perisic, the Metro cites Gazzetta dello Sport as reporting.
18.17 GMT: The Telegraph is reporting that while Chelsea had an agreement in principle for Zenit Saint Petersburg midfielder Leandro Paredes, Paris Saint-Germain have beaten the West London club to the signing of the 24-year-old, leaving Chelsea still in the hunt for a replacement for Cesc Fabregas.
17.30 GMT -- DONE DEAL: Finally! Barcelona have their man! The Catalan club have confirmed the signing of Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong in a €75m deal that could rise as high as €86m, which will see the 21-year-old Dutch international join the club in July. Read the full story.
What you've all been waiting for... pic.twitter.com/gDE1mujMLF— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) January 23, 2019
16.43 GMT: Alhassane "Lass" Bangoura has signed for the Vancouver Whitecaps on loan with option to buy from La Liga side Rayo Vallecano. The 26-year-old Guinea international will be seen lighting up MLS soon.
"Lass has the characteristics we look for in a winger," Whitecaps head coach Marc Dos Santos said in a statement. "He's explosive, good in one-vs-one situations, and he's been exposed to a lot of different scenarios in Spain, France, and with his national team. We're looking forward to welcoming him to the club."
16.34 GMT: Lots of negative transfer news stories for Arsenal at the moment but manager Unai Emery doesn't seem too bothered.
"Our message is we only want to sign one or two players, who can help us with performance. The club is working," he told a news conference. "I think we need and we can sign some players to help, after our injuries like Rob Holding, like [Danny] Welbeck, like Hector Bellerin.
"But we can play with the players we have now and have the same message to every supporter. If we have the possibility to sign some important player then we can do.
"Also on the wing - right or left - if one player can help us in this position. But only if they are giving us big quality. First it is the quality, and this quality can help us with what we need if he can come here."
16.23 GMT: Dodo is a rare talent. Very rare. But the Sampdoria left-back has joined Brazilian side Cruzeiro on loan, having spent last year on loan at Santos. He's been in Serie A since 2012 at Roma, Inter and now Samp, but to stop his football career becoming extinct the 26-year-old has gone back to Brazil.
16.06 GMT: Earlier we brought you news of a possible loan move for Chelsea winger Victor Moses to Fenerbahce and sources have told ESPN that the Turkish club are now confident of securing a deal.
16.00 GMT: Speaking to ESPN FC, Ryan Giggs has suggested that Aaron Ramsey will be taken out of his 'comfort zone' and become a better player following his move to Juventus.
Ramsey is set to move to the Italian champions at the end of the season, however the Daily Mail reports that the Gunners could sell the player this month if they manage to get rumoured deals for Denis Suarez and James Rodriguez over the line before the window closes.
15.12 GMT: DONE DEAL! Olympique Marseille have officially announced the signing of Italian striker Mario Balotelli. The announcement was made on the club's Twitter feed following a successful medical.
The former Manchester City and Liverpool player has struggled for goals this season in Ligue 1, with none in 10 matches. But L'OM will be hoping he rediscovers his previous form where he plundered 42 goals in his first 64 appearances for Nice.
14.52 GMT: According to RMC Sport Liverpool have moved to sign 16-year-old French defender Billy Koumetio from Orleans. The promising youngster who was previously on the books of Lyon arrived in England this week to wrap up a deal.
14.12 GMT: Mauricio Pochettino has refused to rule out any transfers this month, following injuries to duo Harry Kane and Dele Alli. However the Spurs boss admits that signing anyone in this transfer window may prove to be a challenge too far.
ESPN's Tottenham correspondent Ben Pearce was at the news conference, where Pochettino said: "It's difficult to find the right players for all the clubs. Of course we're Tottenham and to find the right profile to help us I think is going to be difficult. But we're trying, we're trying to deliver something ... I was open in the summer, I'm open now, but the different thing is the reality and it's difficult for us to add players that can help us or improve our squad."
13.52 GMT: Sarri has also suggested that star player Eden Hazard has remained non-commital with regards to his future. The Belgian winger has consistently been linked with a move away to Real Madrid, even remarking how playing for Los Blancos would be a dream.
Sarri on Hazard future: "I know very well he is discussing with the club but I don't know anything else at the moment. He has not decided yet if he wants to stay here or he wants a new experience in another club" #cfc— Liam Twomey (@liam_twomey) January 23, 2019
13.20 GMT: Chelsea boss, Maurizio Sarri has confirmed in today's news conference that Gonzalo Higuain will be signing later this afternoon for the Blues.
However as the 12 p.m. registration deadline has passed, the Argentina stiker won't be available to play Spurs tomorrow.
Sarri confirms Higuain will sign his Chelsea contract today: "I hope he will start scoring for us... I know he's had some difficulties recently but I hope we can help him back to his best form" #cfc— Liam Twomey (@liam_twomey) January 23, 2019
12.53 GMT: Emiliano Martinez has joined Championship club Reading on loan from Arsenal until the end of the season. The goalkeeper was once described as "world-class" by Arsene Wenger, so Reading have really got themselves a deal here...
12.31 GMT: Arsenal's approach to sign Eric Bailly on loan this month has been rejected by Manchester United, with a source close to the player telling ESPN FC it is "impossible" for the defender to move to the Emirates in January.
12.10 GMT: Borussia Dortmund will soon have a Christian Pulisic-shaped hole to fill when the American leaves for Chelsea in the summer. But how will they fill it?
Bild reports that Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha is the man they want to step into Pulisic's shoes. It was only six months ago when reports claimed Palace wanted a swap deal with Zaha and Jadon Sancho. That certainly isn't going to be happening now!
11.55 GMT: Paris Saint-Germain have not yet made a bid for Napoli midfielder Allan, although the Serie A club's president Aurelio De Laurentiis has told RMC Sport that he is open to talks.
"I've not received an offer, but we're good friends and both clubs are always talking about other opportunities," De Laurentiis said. "If there's an opportunity, we'll have to see. We always buy players because we want to keep them, but if there is a situation which makes sense for both clubs, then we will have to see. I never talk money."
De Laurentiis is reported to be wanting in excess of €100m for the midfielder, who joined them for €12m from Udinese in 2015.
11.31 GMT: Gonzalo Higain's move to Chelsea gets ever closer...
Sources have told ESPN FC that the striker left Linare airport in Milan at 8 a.m. local time and landed at Farnborough airport (less than an hour's drive to Chelsea's training ground in Cobham) around 9 a.m. GMT. Given that medicals generally take a couple of hours to complete, it's touch and go whether he'll be registered in time for the Spurs game on Thursday. They have 30 minutes to get it done by 12.00 GMT today.
11.30 GMT: David Beckham has become the latest former Manchester United player to invest in Salford City, taking a 10 percent stake in the club alongside Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and the Neville brothers.
Salford, third in the National League, are one step away from the Football League after winning three promotions in four years since being taken over by the Class of 92 and Singapore businessman Peter Lim in 2014.
And former England captain Beckham has been confirmed as a part-owner, which sees the Class of 92 -- Beckham, Giggs, Scholes, Butt and the Nevilles -- own a controlling 60 percent stake in the club. Beckham is also joint-owner of Inter Miami CF, who will play in Major League Soccer in 2020.
11.22 GMT: Fenerbahce are interested in loaning Chelsea winger Victor Moses, sources have told ESPN FC, but are yet to reach an agreement.
Fenerbahce sporting director Damien Comolli has been in London working on transfers but the club are constrained by Financial Fair Play in January and Moses is reportedly reluctant to leave England.
However, the Nigerian has found himself struggling for playing time since the appointment of Maurizio Sarri over the summer -- playing just 176 minutes of first-team football this season and being left out of the squad that lost 2-0 against Arsenal last weekend.
11.12 GMT: Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali suggests he would be keen on a move to AC Milan, although he insists he is not thinking of a move just yet.
"I'm just thinking of this season with Brescia and not the future and all the names I'm being linked with," he told Sky Sport Italia. "I want to finish this season in the best way possible, but all I can say is that I'm honoured to be linked with big clubs and it makes me realise what progress I'm making. For me it would be a huge pleasure [to be coached by Gennaro Gattuso] -- it's something I've dreamed of since I was a child. I've always been a Milan fan and he's my inspiration."
10.52 GMT: Denis Suarez looks set to remain at Barcelona until the end of the season after talks regarding a move to Arsenal broke down on Tuesday, sources close to the player have told ESPN FC.
Arsenal were keen to sign Suarez, who is in the final 18 months of his deal at Camp Nou, but have been unable to reach an agreement with Barca.
Barca want around €20m for the midfielder, while Arsenal prefer a loan. The Catalan club would be open to loaning Denis until the end of the season, but only if any prospective deal included an obligatory option to buy in the summer.
10.34 GMT: Albacete have confirmed their Spanish midfielder Jon Erice is leaving the club to join MLS side Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
A regular starter for Spanish second tier Albacete since arriving at the club in the summer of 2017, the 32-year-old will head to Canada and a club statement said: "Albacete Balombie and Jon Erice have reached an agreement to end the player's contract with our club, the player will begin a new personal and professional challenge with Vancouver Whitecaps FC of the Major League soccer. The club accepted the petition made by the player a few days ago to leave the club in order to accept the offer which he considered important in view of his future sporting career. We wish the player the best of luck in his new professional career."
According to the publication, Genoa are on the verge of selling their forward Krzysztof Piatek to Milan for a reported €35m and are keen to strengthen their attack. However, the Serie A outfit are only prepared to acquire the player on loan with no purchase option included in the deal.
Batshuayi, who is on a season-long loan at Valencia from Chelsea, is expected to leave the La Liga side this month and Everton are also keen to sigh him, although the Belgium international's preferred choice is to join Monaco.
10.04 GMT: Staying with PSG, Tuttosport report that Torino could take Jese Rodriguez on loan from the French side with an option to buy him at the end of the season and also pay 60 percent of his wages.
10.01 GMT: PSG goalkeeper Kevin Trapp tells beIN Sports about his return to Eintracht Frankfurt on loan and suggests he wants to stay: "I already knew Frankfurt like a home. I had always said that I would return to Frankfurt if I could. I had several other offers, but they were not as attractive. We had good discussions, particularly about our objectives. I have followed the club since I left, and it has developed over the past two or three years."
09.50 GMT: Reported Arsenal and Newcastle target Gelson Martins is seriously considering leaving Atletico Madrid this month, sources close to the player have confirmed to ESPN FC.
The transfer could free up space on the Atletico Madrid wage bill to help them sign Alvaro Morata from Chelsea as, under La Liga's strict financial fair play rules, Atletico must move on at least one player in January if they are to bring in Morata, either on loan or a permanent deal.
Sources told ESPN FC that it was "normal" for Gelson to be listening to offers from other clubs given he was "playing little" [just three starts all season], while suggesting that a loan deal was more likely than a permanent transfer given his contract with Atletico runs to 2023.
09.31 GMT: Matio Balotelli is due to undergo a medical at Marseille on Wednesday ahead of signing a six-month deal with the club, L'Equipe reports.
The Italy striker, whose contract with Nice has been ended by mutual consent, will earn up to €4m, the paper says citing a source.
09.15 GMT: Barcelona are reluctant to say a deal is done for Ajax's Frenkie de Jong after Antoine Griezmann's late snub last summer but they are "increasingly optimistic" of getting the transfer over the line, sources have told ESPN FC.
"He's a Juventus player and he's staying here," Allegri told reporters.
Spinazzola has been linked with Bologna and the arrival of Darmian is considered dependent on his departure.
08.10 GMT: Chelsea's proposed loan deal for Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain is taking longer than expected to be wrapped up, but the wheels might be turning now as AC Milan move closer to bringing in a replacement.
Krzysztof Piatek has reportedly arrived in Milan for a medical ahead of a move to from Genoa, for a €35m move. Negotiations were reported to have gone on until well into the early hours following Milan's win at Genoa on Monday night, but an agreement has been reached and the Poland international could make his debut against Napoli at the weekend.
That, in turn, would allow Milan to end Higuain's loan from Juventus, freeing up his path to Chelsea.
However, if the Premier League side want him in their squad for tomorrow's Carabao Cup semifinal second leg against Tottenham, they will need to have him registered as their player by 12.00 GMT today.
PAPER TALK (Charlie Brooke, Football Whispers)
Barcelona win race to sign De Jong
After months of speculation surrounding the future of Ajax starlet Frenkie de Jong, it appears there is finally light at the end of the tunnel, pointing directly toward the Camp Nou.
Catalunya Radio reports that Barcelona is the preferred destination for the young Dutch international, despite fervent interest from French giants Paris Saint-Germain.
The 21-year-old's agent is reported to have informed Manchester City, Juventus and PSG that his client intends to become a Barca player. The Catalan club are desperate to finalise the deal and will send club delegates to Amsterdam on Wednesday to secure De Jong's signature.
The transfer is likely to command a £66 million fee, with Los Cules hoping to make the transaction in three instalments. De Jong has made 16 appearances for Ajax in the Eredivisie this season, scoring three goals, as well as playing five games in the champions League.
Arsenal eye audacious move for Monchi
With Sven Mislintat's imminent departure from his role as head of recruitment, Arsenal are accelerating their restructuring plans and have pinpointed Roma sporting director Monchi as their main target for the technical-director position, according to the Independent.
The Spaniard joined the Italian club only in April 2017, signing a four-year contract, but it appears increasingly likely that a deal could be struck with the Gunners.
Monchi is highly regarded throughout world football for his scouting ability, having excelled at Sevilla, where he signed and then sold (for a huge profit) the likes of Dani Alves, Ivan Rakitic and Julio Baptista.
Bringing in the Roma chief would represent a major coup for Arsenal, who hope to make the most of Unai Emery's relationship with the 50-year-old transfer guru, given the pair coincided during the Basque coach's fruitful three-year spell at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
United block Arsenal move for Bailly
The Ivorian centre-back has started just once in Ole Gunnar Solskjær's seven games in charge, in which he was shown a straight red for a reckless challenge.
Arsenal boss Emery is eager to sign a defender after losing Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin to injury, and he has targeted the 24-year-old United man as a viable solution. However, the Red Devils are loathe to sell to a direct rival, with the two sides set to do battle in the FA Cup on Friday night.
Football Whispers' top emerging whispers
Football Whispers' transfer algorithm gives the likelihood of rumours happening a score out of 5.
Hector Herrera to Atletico Madrid: 3.5
Atletico Madrid would welcome the opportunity to add Porto's Mexican midfielder Herrera to their ranks on a free transfer this summer, according to Mundo Deportivo. It is believed that the 28-year-old is reluctant to sign a new contract with the Portuguese club and, despite interest from Los Rojiblancos, might well have his heart set on a move to Inter.
Allan to Paris Saint-Germain: 3.2
Napoli midfielder Allan is attracting interest from French champions Paris Saint-Germain, reports La Gazzetta dello Sport. The Brazilian maestro would add even more depth and quality to a side hardly bereft of talent and, although the Italian club initially set the asking price at £88m, owner Aurelio De Laurentiis might well be tempted by an offer in the region of £70m.
Isco to Inter: 3.2
Ever since the arrival of Santiago Solari at the Real Madrid dugout, Isco has found his minutes significantly reduced and remains on the fringes at the Santiago Bernabeu. The 26-year-old Spain international is one of the most sought-after stars in world football and, according to Tuttosport, Inter Milan have now joined the race for his signature. The Italian club would need to stump up at least £88m for the former Malaga man and also fend off the likes of Juventus, Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Bayern Munich.
Duvan Zapata to West Ham: 2.4
Zapata hit the headlines at the weekend after bagging an astonishing four goals in Atalanta's 5-0 rout of Frosinone and is rumoured to be wanted by West Ham. Italian media outlet Tuttosport reports that the Hammers have seen a £35m bid rejected for the Colombia international, who has netted 14 goals in his past eight games. Zapata is leading the way in the Serie A scoring charts alongside Ronaldo and Fabio Quagliarella.
Miguel Almiron to Newcastle United: 3.0
This rumour just refuses to go away, and with only nine days left of the January transfer window, Newcastle United's offer for Atlanta United star Almiron remains on the table, according to the Newcastle Chronicle. The Magpies are understood to have offered around £16m for the Paraguay international, who has managed 22 goals and 21 assists in 70 appearances for the MLS Cup champions.