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Transfer Talk: Real Madrid want a French star -- is it Mbappe or Pogba?

Frank LeBoeuf says Neymar's father has stoked the fire with his latest comments ahead of his son's return to action with PSG.

The transfer window has closed across Europe, but thankfully, it's never too late to look forward to January! Click here to view the latest transfers and keep up to date with the newest gossip below.

All the major completed transfers | European transfer review

Real Madrid want a French star -- is it Mbappe or Pogba?

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has confirmed that his club are interested in doing a deal with Paris Saint-Germain for forward Kylian Mbappe, but conceded that signing the Frenchman will be a tough task.

Perez has come under fire among Real fans after failing to secure deals for Manchester United's Paul Pogba and Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich, whilst also receiving criticism for what has been perceived by some as uninspiring arrivals at the Bernabeu this summer.

"We have gone for Lewandowski for several years and they won't sell him, it has been the same case for Pogba," Perez said, as reported by Spanish publication AS.

The subject of Mbappe was brought up by stakeholders at an annual meeting in Madrid on Wednesday, with Perez saying if the 20-year-old is available then he will get him, but PSG, at the moment, will not sell.

Mbappe and Pogba won the 2018 World Cup with France so it was unclear which Les Bleus star Perez was referring to when he said: "Clearly we like a Frenchman that is talked and we want to go for him, but they won't sell." 

Mbappe had a stunning campaign in front of goal last season after winning the 2018 World Cup in France, scoring 39 goals in 43 games in all competitions, in a season that saw him convert at better than a goal per game in Ligue 1.

LIVE BLOG

22.07 BST: We'll wrap up Thursday's live edition of Transfer Talk with some news from Manchester United. The Mirror writes that the Red Devils have taken an interest in 16-year-old Reading goalkeeper Coniah Boyce-Clarke following impressive displays for Reading's U23s and the England U17 team.

20.40 BST: One of Crystal Palace's most promising youth products, 15-year-old Jadan Raymond, is struggling to agree terms on his first professional contract with the South London club. And now, after starring for the England U17s, the midfielder is drawing the attentions of Valencia and Benfica, who could snap him up for as little as £250,000, according to the Mail.

19.23: Less than two weeks after making his first-team debut with Chelsea, 18-year-old midfielder Billy Gilmour has signed a new contract that will keep the Scotland U21 international in West London through 2023, the Premier League club confirmed on Thursday.

18.06 BST: Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz has caught the eye of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Liverpool, Calciomercato writes. But it could prove problematic prying the 23-year-old Spaniard out of Naples, having a contract that runs through 2023 and as seen as central to Carlo Ancelotti's plans at the San Paolo.

16.49 BST: Manchester United continue to monitor Leicester playmaker James Maddison, according to the Manchester Evening News. The report suggests that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer held off on a move for Tottenham's Christian Eriksen last summer, preferring Maddison, because of his profile better fitting what United are looking for in their reboot: young English talent with Premier League pedigree. Assuming the England U21 international continues his progress at the King Power, his price tag may match the £80m United paid for Harry Maguire last summer when the Red Devils could potential bid next summer.

15.32 BST: Having just poached one Chelsea superstar in Eden Hazard, Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane is eyeing another next summer. The Athletic reports that the Madrid boss has identified N'Golo Kante as the ball-winning midfielder he needs to add to his engine room -- in addition to Paul Pogba. There is a catch, though: Having signed a £290,000-a-week deal just last November, the Blues hold all the leverage, and Los Blancos may balk at "a fee well in excess of £100 million" with the likes of Pogba and Kylian Mbappe also on the club's wish list.

14.15 BST: Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino has insisted that star midfielder Christian Eriksen is "happy" at the club after the player was subject of interest from Spanish giants Real Madrid.

"He's happy. He was always happy," Pochettino said in a news conference on Thursday. "He never said he wasn't happy here.

"Everyone of course has aims, goals, challenges. I told you before the Arsenal game he was in his right mind and that's why I played him."

"If we believe he deserves to play then he's going to play. It's not because he has less than one year on his contract we're going to take a different decision.

"All decisions are based on performance."

1.30 BST: Tottenham have been left impressed by Kosovo forward Vedat Muriqi after the forward scored a penalty in his side's 5-3 defeat to England on Tuesday, according to the Mail.

The Fenerbahce striker is reportedly are summer target for Spurs following the summer departures of Fernando Llorente and Vincent Jansson.

However, Muriqi joined Fenerbahce on a long-term deal this summer, signing a contract that keeps him in Turkey until June 2023.

12.44 BST: Arsenal midfielder Joe Willock has signed a new long-term deal at the club.

Willock, 20, has started in three of Arsenal's four Premier League games this season having come through the club's youth system.

"Joe has progressed a lot in the last year," head coach Unai Emery said. "He is technically strong and has shown the confidence to take responsibility and play his game whatever the occasion or opposition.

"I'm looking forward to working with to help him develop further and fulfil his potential."

12:30 BST: Lionel Messi has power to leave Barcelona whenever he wants as club vice-president Jordi Cardoner told reporters on Wednesday.

The Argentina international has a clause in his contract that states that he can leave at the end of each season if he so wishes. Messi would just have to communicate his desire to move on before the end of May.

"Leo will do what he thinks is fit, but Leo's contract is very special because he is who he is," Cardoner said.

"It's a concession made to him and other players who deserve it. He can enter and leave the club when he sees fit.

"I'd love for him to stay for as long as he wants to play for our team."

Teammate Gerard Pique previously said Messi has earned the right to leave Barcelona when he feels the moment is right after it emerged the forward could walk away for free next summer.

11.25 BST: Manchester City centre-back Aymeric Laporte is set for a long spell on the sidelines with a knee injury, but should the Premier League champions sign a replacement? The ESPN FC panel discuss whether City's centre-back crisis makes Liverpool title favourites.

10.47 BST: Borussia Dortmund will not allow Bayern Munich to just sign Germany international Kai Havertz from Bayer Leverkusen.

The 19-year-old has been tipped by Lothar Matthaus to follow in his footsteps as a German Ballon d'Or winner in an interview with ESPN FC in August and is arguably the hottest player in Bundesliga right now.

Last week, Dortmund captain Reus said he wants to do all he can to convince Havertz of a move to the Westfalenstadion, just like he did with Julian Brandt, the ex-Leverkusen man now playing in black and yellow this season.

And, on Thursday, kicker now reported that Reus' statement was not meant as a joke despite sporting director Michael Zorc insisting that it was.

Leverkusen are demanding a transfer fee north of €100 million, Dortmund could find it difficult to finance the deal.

10.15 BST: Discussions between PSG and Marco Verratti over a contract extension are back underway, Gazzetta dello Sport reports

Sporting director Leonardo and agent Mino Raiola have met to dicuss potential terms for the 26-year-old Italy international who joined PSG in 2012 and has won six Ligue 1 titles.

09.30 BST: Liverpool's highly-rated academy forward Paul Glatzel has signed a new long-term contract with the club.

The 18-year-old, often highlighted as one of the standout talents in the youth set-up at Kirkby, has been on a rehabilitation programme at Melwood after sustaining knee ligament damage while making his first-team debut during preseason.

Glatzel signed his first professional contract with Liverpool in February and was rewarded with improved terms on Wednesday after a sensational 2018-19 campaign. He netted 28 goals for the under-18s last season and was the top scorer in the triumphant FA Youth Cup run.

08.59 BST: Manchester United could make funds available for manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to sign a new midfielder in the January transfer window, the Manchester Evening News reports.

Solskjaer had wanted at least one new signing in that position to cover for the departures of Marouane Fellaini to Chinese club Shandong Luneng in January and Ander Herrera to Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the season.

Sean Longstaff had been one of their top targets, but sources told ESPN FC in July that Newcastle's asking price of £50m made a deal impossible. United value the 21-year-old, who has made just 13 Premier League appearances, at closer to £20m.

West Ham's Declan Rice is another player who has been linked with interest from Old Trafford, but the 20-year-old played down talk of a move away from the London Stadium at the end of last season when he said: "I know there is speculation. During the season last year I signed a five-year contract with West Ham. My focus is fully on playing for West Ham. I've got a great connection with the fans -- I love them, they love me. That's the way it is at the moment. I'm not thinking about anything else."

08.27 BST: Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha has informed his agents that he wants to terminate their contract after he failed to secure a big summer transfer, according to The Times. The UK paper reports that the English FA has been informed of the dispute between Zaha and his representatives, USM.

Zaha expressed his desire to join a club playing European football, with sources telling ESPN FC in July that Arsenal had emerged as his preferred destination over a return to former club Manchester United.

Arsenal submitted a bid worth £40m plus add-ons, but Palace valued their homegrown star at £70m and the 26-year-old remained at Selhurst Park.

08.00 BST: Lionel Messi said that he isn't sure if Barcelona pulled out all the stops to bring back Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain.

Messi told Spanish publication Sport that he would have enjoyed having Neymar back at Camp Nou but understood the difficulties of the transfer window.

"I would have liked for Neymar to have returned," the Argentina captain said. "Honestly, I'm not sure if Barca did all they could to sign him but I know it is difficult to negotiate with PSG.

"I am not disappointed. We have a spectacular squad that can challenge for all, even without Ney."

Messi's own future at Barcelona has received headlines when a report last week revealed a clause in his contract which allows him to leave at the end of each season if he so wishes. The Argentina international would just have to communicate his desire to move on before the end of May.

"Barcelona is my home and I don't want to leave, but I want to win," Messi said. "I want to win the Champions League, it's been a long time since we won it."

- Why deal to bring Neymar back to Barca broke down

PAPER TALK (by James Capps): Manchester clubs to move for Mikel

Premier League giants Manchester United and Manchester City will go head-to-head in the New Year for the signing of Real Sociedad's Mikel Oyarzabal, according to reports at Calciomercato.

The 22-year-old is already off the mark this season in La Liga, and had a superb campaign in the 2018-19 season, notching 13 goals and providing a further four assists to help the Basque side to a ninth-placed finish. He carried his superb form into the summer, when he scored his first international goal for Spain in a Euro 2020 qualifier against Sweden.

His form since the turn of the year has turned heads in the Premier League, with the two Manchester clubs now seriously considering meeting the player's €75 million release clause. Sociedad are in a strong negotiating position, with Oyarzabal's contract in San Sebastian running until the summer of 2024.

Leon linked with Serie A big boys

Calciomercato claims AC Milan and Roma are leading the chase to sign Bayer Leverkusen forward Leon Bailey.

The 22-year-old has been on the radar of a host of top European clubs thanks to 17 goals in his last two Bundesliga seasons, and the Giallorossi and Rossoneri are now believed to be the two clubs with the most concrete interest in the Jamaica international.

Bailey has started the new season in good form, with goals in both the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal meaning he is well on his way to beating the disappointing five-goal tally from last season.

Both Milan and Roma are desperate for reinforcements after a disappointing campaign saw them miss out on a place in this season's Champions League, while a disappointing start to the 2019-20 Serie A campaign for both sides has further accelerated their desire to strengthen.

Tap Ins

Reports in The Mirror claim Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson will sit down for crunch talks with the club's hierarchy next week to discuss a new deal at Selhurst Park. The 72-year-old's contract at the London club expires at the end of the season, but the former Inter Milan boss is keen to stay.

Calciomercato claims Southampton are interested in highly-rated Anderlecht midfielder Yari Verschaeren. The 18-year-old made his debut for Belgium in their Euro 2020 qualifying victory over Scotland this week, and the Saints are believed to be a number of potential suitors for the youngster.

- Former Juventus, Roma and Southampton striker Dani Osvaldo could be set for a surprise return to football with Diego Maradona's Gimnasia in Argentina's top flight. The 33-year-old retired in 2016 at the age of 30, but Tuttosport claims the forward has been lured back into the game by compatriot and legend Maradona.

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