LIVE Transfer Talk: Barcelona eye Marcus Rashford move; Arsenal to swoop for Nicolas Pepe
The transfer window for Europe's biggest clubs is closed, but click here for all the deals and keep track of who has joined the big boys. Transfer Talk will continue to scour the world's media and set correspondents loose to see what's on the agenda for the summer.
TOP STORY: Barca about to make a Rash choice?
The words "Marcus Rashford" and "Barcelona" have appeared together in a few articles since the end of January, and speculation that Barca could splash the cash to bring the Manchester United star to the Camp Nou won't go away.
Rashford has been on fire since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over at Old Trafford, scoring seven goals in his past 10 Premier League appearances, but will have only 12 months remaining on his contract if summer comes without him putting pen to paper on an extension.
United are unlikely to let Rashford walk away without a fight and have been rumoured to be offering him a deal worth £180,000 a week until 2025.
23.00 GMT: That will do it for the latest edition of the Transfer Talk LIVE blog. A reminder to check back shortly for the freshest rumours, rumblings and reports from around the world of football. Goodnight!
22.35 GMT: It looks as if New York City FC's search for a David Villa replacement goes on...
Polish site Sportowe Fakty, reports that Legia Warsaw striker Carlitos has turned down a move to the Major League Soccer club. The leading goalscorer in the Polish league a season a go, the Spaniard has 11 goals this season for Legia and was, according to the same report, the subject of a recent €2.5 million bid from NYCFC.
Carlitos recently put an end to the transfer speculation on Instagram saying "we continue fighting... let's go for the championship."
It sounds as if it is back to the drawing board for NYCFC as the club searches for a new frontman ahead of their season opener on March 2.
21.18 GMT: Could Man City be in some transfer trouble?
The club have been accused of giving Jadon Sancho's agent a contract to work as a scout in order to conceal a £200,000 payment for the player's transfer from Watford when he was 14, according to documents released by Football Leaks.
According to documents published in German magazine Der Spiegel, City also paid Sancho's agent, Emeka Obasi, £200,000 as part of a contract to scout players in Central and South America. But the magazine alleges that this payment was actually related to Sancho's transfer in 2015.
Sancho, now 18, is one of the top young players in Europe and has thrived at Borussia Dortmund since leaving City for £8 million in Aug. 2017. Premier League and FIFA rules state that agents are not allowed to represent players until the year they turn 16 and also ban inducements for players aged under 16.
Man City have released a statement saying that they will not be responding to anything in these "reports."
20.28 GMT: Heading across the Atlantic to MLS for a moment, the Houston Dynamo have signed star striker Mauro Manotas to a new three-year contract.
The 23-year-old Colombian is entering his fifth season with the Dynamo and has scored 46 goals over all competitions for the club.
Count Manotas' manager WIlmer Cabrera as one who was happy to see the deal get done.
"I think it's very important news for everyone," Cabrera said. "First, for Mauro, he can focus on his game, continuing to improve, and continuing to look to score goals which is what he wants and what he likes the most. For the team, we have a top scorer, a player that is young and scores goals. Every team loves to have a top scorer. And for the club, because they need to feel proud about their most important player being young and a top scorer."
19.35 GMT: After raiding Barcelona for a trio of players last summer in Lucas Digne, Andre Gomes and Yerry Mina, Everton could be set to make an approach to another one of Europe's elite.
According to Le10Sport, Everton are keen on Belgian full-back Thomas Meunier and are set to approach PSG about the player in the summer. The versatile 27-year-old has just one year remaining on his contract at Parc des Princes and PSG could opt to offload him if they sides can't come to an agreement on an extension. Meunier, who is much better going forward than defending, is no stranger to scoring goals and also is quite deadly from free-kick opportunities.
18.43 GMT: According to the Hull Daily Mail a trio of English Championship sides are set to do battle over Motherwell winger Jake Hastie come the summer.
The 19-year-old Hastie spent the first half of the season on loan with Scottish Championship side Alloa but has been red-hot since returning to his parent club, bagging four goals in five games. A talent for the future, Hastie is drawing interest from several teams in the Championship according to the report, including Leeds United, West Brom and Hull City.
17.52 GMT: Man City have locked up defender Aymeric Laporte to a new contract that will keep the centre-back at the Etihad through 2025.
The 24-year-old, who only signed with City just over a year ago, has quickly emerged as City's best defender this season and a favourite of Pep Guardiola.
Manchester City director of football Txiki Begiristain gave Laporte rave reviews when speaking after the extension was signed: "We want to construct a young, vibrant side, and Aymeric fits perfectly into our plans. His style of play suits us and his attitude since the day he arrived has been first class. He can be as good as he wants to be, and Manchester City will be a better side with him in it over the coming seasons."
ESPN FC's Jonathan Smith reports that now that Laporte is signed, City will now move to try and extend John Stones and Leroy Sane as well.
17.00 GMT: To Crystal Palace, where former Liverpool defender Martin Kelly has signed a contract extension that keeps him in south London until 2021.
16.15 GMT: Chelsea "will consider sending an SOS to England assistant manager Steve Holland if they sack head coach Maurizio Sarri next week," the Telegraph reports. Holland is a former Chelsea assistant manager.
15.45 GMT: Mundo Deportivo has reported that Barcelona could make a move for Atletico Madrid's Filipe Luis to provide backup for Jordi Alba, the only left-back in the squad.
15.00 GMT: Paris Saint-Germain boss Thomas Tuchel has said Dani Alves and his agent are in talks with the club over a potential contract extension.
Sources had told ESPN FC earlier this week that PSG were keen to tie Alves, 35, to the Parc des Princes for at least another year, while talks with midfielder Marco Verratti are also under way. "Dani is very important and his attitude is great," Tuchel told a news conference.
14.20 GMT: Maurizio Sarri has said Chelsea will have to sell a winger this summer if Callum Hudson-Odoi is to get more first-team opportunities.
Hudson-Odoi marked his first start since the close of the January window with a goal in Thursday's 3-0 Europa League win over Malmo, prompting Stamford Bridge to serenade the 18-year-old with chants of: "We want you to stay."
Speaking after the Malmo win, Sarri said one of Eden Hazard, Willian or Pedro Rodriguez would have to leave for Hudson-Odoi to feature more next season, particularly in the light of Christian Pulisic's imminent arrival from Borussia Dortmund.
13.30 GMT: Real Madrid's hierarchy remain happy with Gareth Bale, his agent has told ESPN FC, amid reports that they could sell him in the summer.
Marca reported this week that Madrid were considering selling Bale, who has started only two of their last seven games since returning from injury at the end of last month.
But Barnett stressed that Madrid and Bale, who is under contract at the Bernabeu until 2022 remained happy with each other and committed to his deal.
12.40 GMT: Reports that Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak is on the point of signing a contract extension including an increase to his current €100m release clause are premature, sources at the Wanda Metropolitano have told ESPN FC.
Oblak said after Wednesday's 2-0 Champions League victory over Juventus that talks with his agent would be finalised next week, which would see him sealing a new €10m-a-year deal.
However, sources have pointed out that agent Miha Mlakar often attends Atletico's biggest home games, but that the club's CEO and main deal maker Miguel Angel Gil Marin has been in Mexico on business this week, suggesting that no significant progress had been made in recent days.
12.00 GMT: Some transfer news of a different sort here... Chelsea have been banned from signing players for the next two transfer windows after FIFA found them guilty of breaching rules relating to the signing of players under the age of 18.
The club have also been fined £460,000 ($599,000) and given 90 days to "regularise the situations of the players concerned."
Last month it emerged that FIFA's investigation into Chelsea's transfer dealings had widened to examine arrangements with more than 100 foreign players under the age of 18. However, the club said many of the individual cases highlighted involved players on short-term trials who were not signed.
They can contest the judgment with the FIFA appeals committee and, ultimately, would have the right to take it to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
11.20 GMT: River Plate attacking midfielder Juan Fernando Quintero has agreed to extend his contract for another year until June 2022, according to TyC Sports.
The Colombia international, who scored in the second leg of the Copa Liberadores final to help his side beat Boca at the Bernabeu and clinch the title in December, has been linked with a move to the European champions since the summer.
10.30 GMT: Inter Milan defender Milan Skriniar, who attracted interest from Manchester United last summer, said "we are close to renewing" his contract with the Nerazzurri.
Skriniar told ESPN FC in October that he was flattered to hear of interest in him from Old Trafford, but the Slovakia international is now set to stay in Milan.
09.40 GMT: Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak will sign a one-year contract extension with the Rojiblancos next week, according to AS.
The Slovenia international -- who is ranked at No. 2 among the world's goalkeepers in the ESPN FC 100 -- has a contract that ends in 2021. Oblak, a regular at Atletico since 2014, has been a reported target of Paris Saint-Germain.
According to AS, the 26-year-old will see his wages increase to €10m per season and the new deal will also increase his release clause from €100m to at least €150m.
08.50 GMT: Inter Milan general manager Beppe Marotta has said they will soon announce the signing of Diego Godin on a free transfer from Atletico Madrid.
The Uruguayan -- ranked No. 3 among the world's centre-backs in the ESPN FC 100 -- is free to discuss a summer move with clubs outside Spain as his contract at the Wanda Metropolitano expires in the summer.
Marotta told Sky Italia: "I can't go into too much detail regarding the negotiations, but I'd say we're at an advanced stage and this makes me optimistic. I think it can be made official quite soon."
08.00 GMT: Arsenal coach Unai Emery remained coy on the future Mesut Ozil after his side's 3-0 win over BATE Borisov on Thursday secured them a spot in Europa League round of 16.
The match saw the return of Ozil to the starting XI for the first time since December. "My message to him is to carry on," Emery said of Ozil's performance. "Today I am happy, and he was like we want.
"He needs to be available and carry on. He wants to do this and today he showed what he wants. If he is available, like the last two weeks, we are going to play a lot of matches and maybe sometimes we need him in the starting XI and sometimes on the bench because we have a lot of players to also help us."
PAPER TALK (by Richard Edwards): Big guns eyeing Lille star
The Ivorian winger has been in scintillating form in Ligue 1, scoring 17 goals, and Arsenal were one of a host of clubs lining up a bid for him in January but were put off by an extortionate £72m price tag. The sight of Barcelona waving euros in his direction will hardly have improved their mood.
There have also been reports linking Pepe with Bayern Munich, which could potentially leave Arsenal third in line -- unless Pepe has a soft spot for the Europa League, of course.
-- Alfredo Morelos is banging them in for Rangers this season and boss Steven Gerrard has no intention of letting the Colombian go for anything less than a king's ransom.
That's according to the Daily Star, which reports that the former Liverpool ace has "laughed" at some of the bids that have come in for Morelos in recent weeks. So what would a Morelos deal cost? "It would be very expensive," Gerrard said. No joke.
-- Forzaitalianfootball.com reports that Inter Milan general director Giuseppe Marotta has said Diego Godin is on the brink of moving from Atletico Madrid to Inter in time for the start of next season.
"We are very advanced in our negotiations and it was good to see him score against Juventus, but I won't speak about the rest," Marotta told Sky Sport Italia. "I do think that we can make the announcement official shortly."
-- Kalidou Koulibaly's agent has told Radio Kiss Kiss that the central defender would not be averse to a move away from Napoli. Koulibaly has been heavily linked with both Juventus and Manchester United in recent months.