Lionel Messi edging closer to Paris move as Kylian Mbappe looks elsewhere


The coronavirus pandemic made the summer transfer market unlike any before it, but there were still plenty of deals done, and you can check out the major ones here. The window might be closed across the top leagues in Europe, but here are the best rumours from around the globe.

TOP STORY: Messi move to Paris gathers momentum

Talksport believes that there is a “real possibility” that Paris Saint-Germain could sign Lionel Messi from Barcelona in 2021.

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After earlier rumours suggesting that PSG were planning on stocking up Messi shirts for the club superstore ahead of a possible move, it has now emerged that the French champions are growing increasingly confident of landing the world’s best player.

Messi has cut a dejected figure at Barcelona this season and, despite the departure of club president Josep Maria Bartomeu, it would appear that the Argentina international still sees his future away from the club.

PSG striker Neymar has admitted that he would love to play with Messi again and reunite with the player with whom he formed a deadly partnership at Barca between 2013 and 2017.

And with the future of Kylian Mbappe unclear, it would appear as though a big-money move for the Frenchman — possibly to Real Madrid — could be enough to prompt a bid for the wantaway Messi.

– Hunter: Neymar can lure Messi to PSG with a UCL masterclass
– Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ (U.S. only)

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20.17 GMT: Former Manchester United winger Memphis Depay has not made a decision over his future at Lyon, writes Goal.com.

Depay, 26, will be a free agent at the end of the season having spent three years in France with Lyon.

The winger, was a top target for Barcelona this summer but a move for the Dutch international failed to materialize.

“To be honest, we have a great team here. I don’t know what will happen next year. I’m an OL player, the captain, and I’m here to win things, games and be important for the team. This is my main goal,” he said at a press conference.

“If I start thinking about my future, I might lose my focus. I am 100 per cent with OL. What will happen in the future, we’ll see. That’s what I’ve always said.

“I can’t say anything about [Barcelona]. I’m here now, a lot of clubs might be interested.”

19.38 GMT: Bayern Munich are set to hand youngster Jamal Musiala a new £100,000 a week contract to ward off interest from Premier League clubs, according to the Daily Mail.

Musiala, 17, want to tie the player down to a long-term deal at the Allianz arena and reward the teenager having broken into manager Hansi Flick’s senior squad.

The England youth international has 18 months left on his contract having joined Bayern’s youth ranks from Chelsea.

This season Musiala has made eight senior appearances for the first team in the Bundesliga and has scored three times.

19.00 GMT: Bayern Munich could make a shock move for Barcelona star Frenkie De Jong, according to reports.

The German side are closely monitoring De Jong’s situation in Catalonia, with Barcelona in the middle of a finanical crisis due to revenue loss caused by COVID-19.

But sources told ESPN that the chances of the Dutch midfielder leaving Barcelona are minimal, in spite of the Catalan club’s financial woes.

De Jong, 23, joined Barca in 2019 from Ajax for £68 million. This season the midfielder has played 14 times in La Liga.

18:35 GMT: Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho has ruled out a move away for Harry Winks this January despite a lack of gametime this season, the Evening Standard report.

“No way. He came to me [to speak],” Mourinho said in a news conference when asked about a move away for the 24-year-old.

“I have my office on the first floor, but I also have a little space on the ground floor next to the players’ dressing room where I used to be before and after training sessions to make it easy for the players.

“So it is easy for them to come around the corner to speak to me, so yes, Winks came to speak to me.”

The England international has only played three games this season under Mourinho, the midfielder has not featured in the Premier League since Tottenham’s the 3-3 draw with West Ham in October 2020.

18.12 GMT: LA Galaxy are in discussions over left-back Jorge Villafana from the Portland Timbers, sources told ESPN.

The move for the player could see the two sides swapping selections in the first round of the 2021 MLS SuperDraft, this would mean that the Timbers would get Galaxy’s first-round pick — No. 8 overall. This would also mean that Galaxy would get Portland’s selection, the 17th overall pick.

Villafana, 31, broke into the MLS in 2007 with now-defunct MLS side Chivas USA. The defender has also enjoyed time with Liga MX side Santos Laguna as well as two seperate spells with the Portland Timbers.

At international level, Villafana has featured for the USMNT making 21 appearances.

17.42 GMT: Manchester City “should go all out” for Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland said former City winger Trevor Sinclair.

“When you’ve got a top striker like [Sergio] Aguero and he’s fit and he’s playing, you’re going to score goals, but he’s missed 33 games in the last two seasons,” Sinclair said to talkSPORT.

“For me, I would go all out for Haaland at Dortmund, he’s got everything and would suit the philosophy at Man City. He would do the business. If they had Haaland they’d definitely be in this title race.”

Haaland joined officially joined Dortmund in January 2020 from Austrian side RB Salzburg, his contract with BVB runs out in 2024.

17.25 GMT: Chelsea are expected to let defender Fikayo Tomori leave the club on-loan in January, according to Football.London.

Tomori, 22, has slipped down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge following the signing of Thiago Silva last summer. The defender is still yet to start a match in the Premier League this season and has only made one subsitute appearance in the league under Frank Lampard.

Leeds United are reported to be interested in a temporary move for the player, with Marcelo Bielsa’s side in need of a centre-back after key injuries in defence.

The West London club are not looking to bring in any other players in January having spent £200 million this summer on the likes of Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech.

17.02 GMT: A majority of Premier League clubs will not complete any transfer business during the January transfer window due to the finanical implications caused by COVID-19, an agency source told the Manchester Evening news.

Premier League clubs missed out on a large portoin of revenue due to the abscene of fans from attending matches in addition to a decrease of funds from other revenue sources.

But despite the financial impact, Manchester United are still looking to bring in as many as four new signings across the next two transfer windows.

United are said to be interested in bringing in a defender sometime in 2021, with Brighton defender Ben White and RB Leipzig stalwart Dayot Upamecano both linked with the club.

Solskjaer’s side have also been linked with moves for Atletico Madrid’s Kieran Trippier — who has 18 months left on his contract — to provide competition for Aaron Wan-Bissaka at right-back.

16.19 GMT: Barcelona presidential candidate Joan Laporta has declared that keeping Lionel Messi at the club beyond this season is his primary goal.

Laporta, who was president at the club when Messi made his first-team debut in 2004 until 2010, by which time Messi had won the Ballon d’Or for his part of the club’s 2009 Treble-winning team.

“We will use all our skills to keep Messi with us,” Laporta told Radio Marca. “The sale of Cristiano Ronaldo by Real Madrid had other circumstances; Leo’s case is singular. He would be one of the few players like Pele who has only played for one team.

“Leo is not only focused about money. It will be a good economic proposal, but we will not reach what other clubs can offer.

“I have a very good relationship with Leo. He wants Barcelona. I am convinced that he is looking forward to a proposal from the new president.

“It is going to be based mainly on a competitive squad that can win the Champions League. If I make this proposal, I will fulfil it; I am lucky to have Leo’s credibility.

“Now is not the time to talk about Messi, and for that I have to be president.”

– ‘Hola Madrid!’ Laporta hangs huge banner next to Bernabeu

15.36 GMT: Arsenal are interested in young Porto midfielder Fabio Vieira and are willing to pay his €30m release clause, Record reports.

Vieira, 20, has scored three goals in 19 appearances since making his first-team debut for the Portuguese champions in June.

Record reports that Marseille are also monitoring the Portugal under-21 international, and could make a move for him in January, while Porto are also considering offering their promising youth product a new contract.

14.47 GMT: Everton midfielder Allan is a player that the Premier League rivals Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City will be looking at enviously, according to former Goodison Park captain Leon Osman.

James Rodriguez’s arrival from Real Madrid was the most notable of Carlo Ancelotti’s summer signings as the Italian coach also brought in Abdoulaye Doucoure and Ben Godfrey. However, Osman believes Brazil international Allan has been the most impressive performer for the Toffees this season, and some of the biggest clubs in the league will be comparing him favourably to similar players in their own squads.

“He does all those jobs a team needs without getting the plaudits,” Osman told the Liverpool Echo. “He doesn’t make the highlights. He goes about his job and makes everybody around him seem a better player.

“I feel that many teams around — Man City, Man United, Arsenal and Chelsea maybe — are looking at him and thinking ‘we’ve missed the boat here.'”

Osman praised the versatility of the Brazil international, who signed for the club from Napoli, adding: “He is a player who does all those different jobs that position demands and he is also top quality on the ball.

“Man City had that player with Fernandinho but they have tried to bring in Rodri as his replacement but he’s not quite the same. Man United have tried Fred and [Scott] McTominay. And at Chelsea, we all know [N’Golo] Kante can do the defensive side of it but the question can he play the full role? Allan does that.”

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ESPN FC catches up with Gio Reyna after Dortmund’s 2-1 win over Werder Bremen. Watch Bundesliga on ESPN+.

14.10 GMT: Borussia Monchengladbach sporting director Max Eberl has told SportBild that clubs would have to pay more than €5m if they tried to sign their head coach Marco Rose, amid links with the post at Borussia Dortmund.

Dortmund fired coach Lucien Favre on Sunday following a 5-1 home defeat to Stuttgart. The club announced that Edin Terzic would take over as interim boss until the end of the season, and the youth coach won his first game in charge on Tuesday with a 2-1 win at Werder Bremen (stream the replay on ESPN+ in the U.S.).

According to Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio, Dortmund have an agreement in place to hire Rose next summer.

Without mentioning Dortmund specifically, Eberl said “no” was asked if €5m be an appropriate fee for a coach like Rose. When pressed on what fee Gladbach would hold out for, Eberl responded: “It’s like with the salaries. The most important employees must earn accordingly. It’s similar with the transfer fees.”

13.13 GMT: Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is talking tough when it comes to players who want out of his club.

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Mikel Arteta explains he has no time for disruptive players that may not be happy with their playing time at Arsenal.

12.32 GMT: Pablo Zabaleta says Lionel Messi should sign for Manchester City if he decides to leave Barcelona when his contract expires next summer.

Messi, 33, is free to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with any club from Jan. 1. Zabaleta, who played alongside Messi for many years with the Argentina national team, believes the Barca forward would like to experience the Premier League.

“It’s sad to see Messi in this situation,” Zabaleta said. “I never thought he would reach the last year of his contract with Barcelona. The team is not playing well and it seems he’s not enjoying his football. We’ll see what happens with at the end of the season.

“He has a good friend at City in Sergio [Aguero] and he has worked with Pep [Guardiola] at Barca. Some people on the board at the club know Messi as well. Every player would like to experience the Premier League, it’s the best league in the world and maybe he’ll want to enjoy some years there. I’d like to see Messi, if he decides to go to another club, in England.”

Barca are waiting to elect a new president on Jan. 24 before starting talks with Messi over a new contract. In the meantime, other clubs are free to make their move from next month, with City and Paris Saint-Germain among the front-runners if he decides to leave Camp Nou.

11.59 GMT: Well, that was quick… Just a few hours after reports emerged in the British press that West Bromwich Albion were considering sacking manager Slaven Bilic, the news has now been confirmed, with the Daily Mail reporting that Sam Allardyce is set to fill the vacancy..

Bilic has been sacked by West Bromwich Albion, despite Tuesday’s surprise 1-1 draw with Manchester City bringing them an unexpected point in the battle to avoid relegation.

West Brom are second from bottom in the Premier League after picking up only seven points from 13 games, their sole victory coming against Sheffield United late last month. They have also drawn four games and lost eight.

Bilic, who was appointed West Brom boss in June 2019 and won promotion back to the Premier League last season, is the first top flight manager to lose his job this campaign.

The Mail reports that Allardyce will have talks with the club on Wednesday with a view to taking over on a short-term deal to ensure their Premier League survival, in a similar vein to his midseason appointments at Sunderland, Crystal Palace and Everton.

11.26 GMT: Tottenham forward Son Heung-Min wants to spend the rest of his career at the club, according to manager Jose Mourinho, but the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has meant progress over a new contract for the South Korea international has stalled.

Son’s current contract is not due to expire until 2023 but, after scoring 13 goals already this season and formidable the Premier League’s most formidable attacking partnership with Harry Kane, the club would like to commit the 28-year-old to a new deal.

However, with the club recently announcing losses of £63.9m, Mourinho says now is not the time to be announcing big new player contracts.

Mourinho told a news conference: “How can you sign a new contract with a player? You don’t know what is going to happen next season. You don’t know if you can offer the player a better contract than they have now. It’s a very strange moment.

“I just trust Sonny and Daniel Levy. I know that both want him to stay, if possible, for life, if possible until the end of the career.

“I see Sonny signing a new contract here but I don’t press for something to happen now because probably it’s not the right moment.

“I’m not a money man but I wouldn’t like to be the owner or the CEO of one of these football clubs living with this instability.”

10.39 GMT: Has Jadon Sancho allowed Manchester Unitedf’s failed bid to sign him in the summer to affect his performances for Dortmund this season?

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Jan Aage Fjortoft thinks Jadon Sancho’s self-confidence has lowered since his move to Man Utd never materialised.

09.57 GMT: Slaven Bilic is on the verge of being sacked as West Bromwich Albion manager, British media reported, despite Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Manchester City bringing them an unexpected point in the battle to avoid relegation.

West Brom are second from bottom in the Premier League after picking up only seven points from 13 games, their sole victory coming against Sheffield United late last month. They have also drawn four games and lost eight.

The BBC, Guardian and the Times all reported that Bilic, who was appointed West Brom boss in June 2019, could be sacked on Wednesday despite the club’s draw at Etihad Stadium.

If they do decide to cut him loose Bilic would be the first Premier League manager to lose his job this season.

09.24 GMT: Lionel Messi‘s salary is too big for Barcelona due to their financial predicament, presidential candidate Emili Rousaud has said, adding that he wishes to keep the club’s all-time top scorer on a reduced contract.

Messi, who sought an exit from Barca in the close season, has less than seven months remaining on his deal with the club where he has spent his entire career. He is free to negotiate with rival clubs in a different country from January.

Former Barca vice-president Rousaud, who resigned this year out of protest at how the club was being run by then chief Josep Maria Bartomeu, said Messi would accept a lower salary if he could be convinced the club will return to winning ways.

“In the club’s current situation Messi’s salary is not sustainable, so we’ll have to reach an agreement with him. We will present an attractive project to him,” Rousaud told Spanish newspaper AS on Tuesday.

“What matters most here is the sporting project. When Messi said he was leaving he didn’t mention money. He has the highest salary in the world, no-one earns more than him, he doesn’t want to leave because he earns too little.

“He wants to leave because he wants to win trophies. He referred to that recently when he said: “The Champions League is not within our reach.” He wants a team full of talent.”

– Barca, Messi and the napkin: History of his transfer

08.41 GMT: Lucas Torreira‘s agent has denied reports that the midfielder is set to end his season-long loan at Atletico Madrid early and return to Arsenal.

The Uruguay international joined Atletico on the last day of the summer transfer window as Thomas Partey moved in the other direction.

“Lucas is calm and happy,” agent Pablo Bentancur told Sky Sport Italia. “He doesn’t have anything in his head except continuing at Atletico Madrid. He’s coming to the end of his process of adaptation.”

Torreira has made just two La Liga starts for Diego Simeone’s team so far, and his Champions League action has been restricted to four substitute appearances.

08.00 GMT: Bayern Munich are not planning to make any additions to their squad in the upcoming January transfer window, Sport Bild reports.

The 2020 Champions League winners instead will bank on academy players such as Jamal Musiala and Chris Richards as well as summer signings Marco Roca, Bouna Sarr and Tiago Dantas who will be eligible to play for the senior squad from Jan. 1.

– Bundesliga on ESPN+: Stream LIVE games and replays (U.S. only)

PAPER TALK (by Nick Judd)

Bayern to fend off Prem giants with Musiala offer

Bayern Munich are set to reward Jamal Musiala with a new deal in an effort to fend off interest from Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool, according to the Daily Mail.

The German champions have opened talks with the 17-year-old about the prospect of a new deal worth £100,000 a week after his continued success in his breakout season.

Musiala has just 18 months left on his existing deal and Liverpool, Man United and City are believed to be keeping tabs on his situation, with Reds boss Jurgen Klopp in particular a big fan of the youngster.

Bayern signed Musiala from Chelsea in 2019 for a small fee and they’re keen to avoid losing him in the same way.

Musiala became Bayern’s youngest-ever player in June and their youngest-ever scorer when he netted against Schalke in September.

Upamecano still fancies Premier League move

Dayot Upamecano favours a move to the Premier League next summer, which means he won’t be leaving RB Leipzig in January, reports journalist Jan Aage Fjortoft.

The Norwegian reports that the in-demand central defender doesn’t want to leave before the end of the season and that Upamecano would prefer a move to England over any other country. He also goes on to suggest that both Manchester United and Arsenal are in for him.

Both Arsenal and United require defensive reinforcements. Arsenal have conceded 15 goals in 12 games, United 17 from 11, and so both clubs will be on red alert following the news that the Leipzig defender wants to prioritise a move to England.

It had been reported that United’s interest in Upamecano had cooled and that they were prioritising other players, but Fjortoft believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is still very much behind an offer to sign him.

Tap-ins

– Tottenham Hotspur are trying to secure Son Heung-Min on a new deal, reports Sky Italia journalist Fabrizio Romano. He reports that Tottenham have made the South Korea forward one of their top priorities and that negotiations between the club and the players representatives are “advanced.” Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho has stated Harry Winks won’t be leaving Spurs on loan in January, despite the England star admitting he wants more minutes.

Hakan Calhanoglu is set to stay at AC Milan, ending any hopes Manchester United might have had of signing him in January, reports Calciomercato. They’re reporting that Calhanoglu’s agent Gordon Stipic is set for talks with Milan’s Paolo Maldini and Frederic Massara about the future of the Rossoneri No.10. The two parties will need to meet in the middle of their prospective offers if a deal is to be done, though the Milan hierarchy are in no doubt of the player’s importance to the team.



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