Real Madrid see Aguero, Milik and Giroud as options


The transfer window opened in early January, and speculation is heating up about potential deals. Check out the latest gossip below, and see all official deals here.

TOP STORY: Madrid need attacking options: Aguero, Milik or Giroud?

Real Madrid are short on attacking cover and AS has linked them with Sergio Aguero, Olivier Giroud and Arkadiusz Milik.

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Luka Jovic‘s return to Eintracht Frankfurt on a six-month loan has left Zinedine Zidane with a hole that needs filling in attack, and the report details the three options when it comes to finding the perfect short-term option with the necessary ability and experience.

Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland and PSG’s Kylian Mbappe remain long-term targets for Madrid, so Aguero provides a better option for this year. The Manchester City star is out of contract in June and though Madrid face competition from Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona, he also knows the Spanish capital well following his time at Atletico Madrid.

Giroud is a another name linked and he’s still not getting the game time he craves at Chelsea. Also out of contract in the summer, the Blues may wish to do business in January to avoid the Frenchman leaving on a free in the summer.

Meanwhile, Milik could be added to the squad from Napoli for as little as €10m, though Marseille appear to be first in the queue for his services.

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12.21 GMT: Chelsea want to keep Olivier Giroud until the end of the season, sources told ESPN’s Julien Laurens, despite interest from Inter and Juventus.

Timo Werner‘s £47.7m arrival in the summer pushed Giroud down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge but the Germany international has struggled, along with manager Frank Lampard’s other recruits.

Giroud has scored seven goals in his last seven appearances and emerged as a key player for his under-pressure boss. The France international looked set to leave Chelsea last January as he looked for regular playing time ahead of Euro 2020. The coronavius pandemic led to the postponement of the tournament, now scheduled for this summer, and sources said France coach Didier Deschamps is likely to include him in Les Bleus squad.

11.50 GMT: How do a club like Real Madrid have such issues with squad depth?

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Julien Laurens questions why Zinedine Zidane played right winger Lucas Vazquez at right back vs. Athletic.

11.23 GMT: Lille centre-back Sven Botman is on the radar of a string of clubs in England, sources told ESPN’s Julien Laurens, but the Ligue 1 club are desperate to keep him this month.

Rumours of Liverpool making a move for the 21-year-old appear wide of the mark, with another source insisting there has been no contact between the two clubs.

Botman impressed for Heerenveen last season, on loan from Ajax, and moved to Lille in the summer as a replacement for Gabriel, who joined Arsenal. The Netherlands Under-20 international signed a five-year deal at the Ligue 1 club and has shone this term with Lille in third, one point off leaders Lyon.

Sources said the defender is likely to command a fee around £40m if he was to become available and that various top clubs in England had expressed an interest in him.

11.05 GMT: PSG winger Julian Draxler is going to leave the club but he’ll stay until the summer and move on a free transfer.

Bild reports that the Germany international will announce his new side in March.

10.33 GMT: Beijing Guoan centre-back Kim Min-jae has caught the eye of Tottenham and Chelsea, says the Mirror.

Kim, 24, is a South Korea international, where he is a teammate of Tottenham forward Son Heung-min, and he won a gold medal at the 2018 Asian games.

The report says: “Min-jae’s contract expires in December 2021 and his club in the Chinese capital are ready to cash in.”

The Beijing club only hired new boss Slaven Bilic earlier this month after he left West Brom.

10.11 GMT: Manchester United might have to choose between keeping Paul Pogba and signing Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish. Not a bad choice to have, mind.

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Janusz Michallik picks between Man United’s Paul Pogba and Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish in a hypothetical transfer scenario.

09.45 GMT: Ajax will stick to their policy of keeping their star players in the January transfer window despite increasing interest in centre-back Perr Schuurs, sources have told ESPN’s Tom Hamilton.

Schuurs, 21, has been linked with a move to Liverpool but Ajax are not interested in letting their key defender go as they keep up their three-way chase for the Eredivisie, Europa League and KNVB Cup.

Ajax have adopted this policy in previous seasons when clubs turned attention to the Dutch club’s star players. Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong were both targeted during the January transfer window in 2019 but waited until the end of the season before making big-money moves to Juventus and Barcelona respectively. The same went for Donny van de Beek last season who was linked with a January move to Real Madrid but was given the green light for his transfer in the summer to Manchester United.

Schuurs is a key player for Ajax and has started 13 of their 14 games in the Eredivisie. He has shown promising form in their Champions League matches against Liverpool, but also came in for criticism for his performance against Atalanta.

With Liverpool without their two starting centre-backs, Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, for the rest of the season through injury, Jurgen Klopp is weighing up whether to dip into the January transfer market to reinforce their backline. Schuurs is attracting interest from the Premier League but the player plans to stay at Ajax for at least the rest of this season and preferably beyond, sources have told ESPN.

Lassina Traore is another attracting interest from clubs in the Premier League but again, Ajax will resist any offers for the 19-year-old striker, sources said.

09.10 GMT: Manchester United are prepared to rival Chelsea for West Ham midfielder Declan Rice next summer, sources told ESPN’s Rob Dawson.

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is keen to continue his overhaul of the squad at the end of the season with a forward, central defender and a defensive midfielder his priorities. January is not expected to be a busy month in terms of outgoings, though United have rubber-stamped Amad Diallo’s move from Serie A side Atalanta and a number of fringe players, including defender Marcos Rojo and goalkeeper Sergio Romero, could leave.

Rice, 22, is among the options in midfield for the summer and sources told ESPN he is aware of the interest, although United accept Chelsea are in pole position should he be allowed to leave West Ham in the summer. The England international would command a large fee as he has a contract at West Ham until 2024, with the option of another year. Sources have told ESPN that the Hammers hope a £70m fee would be enough to ward off interest from interested parties.

– Karlsen: Chelsea sees Rice’s potential as one of world’s best

08.33 GMT: Former Barcelona president and current presidential candidate Joan Laporta says his dream is to celebrate “Barcelona’s 125th anniversary [in 2028] in a New Camp Nou with Lionel Messi in the team.”

Barca captain Messi becomes a free agent this summer and has not put pen to paper on a new deal with the Catalan club.

Laporta, who presided Barca from 2003 until 2010, is one of three official presidential candidates for the upcoming election.

“We are going to make Leo an offer that is in line with what he wants and Barca can offer,” Laporta told Mundo Deportivo. “I can’t make that offer on the first day as I have to wait for the result of the audit. First, I want him to continue and he knows that and then, make him a financial offer within the club’s possibilities, and from a sporting standpoint, he is going to find it very attractive.

“I know what he wants and that is to win titles with Barca. I want him to continue at Barca winning titles, to feel like what he is, the best player in the world and that is what I think and I what I want. Leo is not guided by money and I will make him a very competitive sporting proposal.”

08.00 GMT: Arsenal have appointed Richard Garlick as their new director of football, the Premier League club announced on Thursday

Garlick holds a similar post at the Premier League but will leave the organisation later this year. His start date at the Emirates stadium is yet to be finalised.

The move continues a reshuffle of the Arsenal hierarchy with Garlick essentially replacing Huss Fahmy, who left the club in November, and working under technical director Edu.

Arsenal’s internal overhaul has also included the sudden departure of Raul Sanllehi as head of football in August, making 55 non-playing staff redundant and drastically reducing the scale of their overseas scouting network.

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Frank Leboeuf reflects on Neymar’s return to on-field action and the off-field headlines.

TOP STORY (by Nick Judd)

PSG step up efforts for Alli

Paris Saint-Germain have made no secret of the fact they’d like to add Dele Alli to their squad in January, and now it would appear as though the player himself is keen for a mid-season move from Tottenham Hotspur, according to Fabrizio Romano in the Guardian.

New PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino has identified Alli as his top target, the Argentine believing that his former Spurs midfielder can have a big impact in the second half of the season.

Tottenham appear reluctant to let him leave because they feel they will need to utilise their whole squad in the coming months, but Alli is pushing for a departure.

Alli has made just four league appearances this season totalling 74 minutes, and he not only wants more game time, he has his eyes on a place in England’s squad at Euro 2020 this summer.

Locatelli can’t leave despite City, Juve interest

Manchester City and Juventus have been keeping tabs on midfielder Manuel Locatelli, but Sassuolo are playing hardball, reports the Daily Mail. They’re reporting that the Serie A side aren’t prepared to entertain any offers for their star midfielder, even if they’re confronted with bids of up to £30m.

Locatelli, 23, has been one of the stars of the season and he has caught the attention not just of City boss Pep Guardiola, but also Juve’s Andrea Pirlo and AC Milan’s Stefano Piolo.

Sassuolo director Giovanni Carnevali has dismissed all the rumours and says his club won’t consider allowing their prized asset to go in January.

Locatelli joined Sassuolo from AC Milan in 2018 and has returned to his best form. He has helped his side climb to seventh in the table and earned himself a call-up to the Italy squad.

Tap-ins

– Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori is edging closer to a move to AC Milan, according to Fabrizio Romano. The report states that talks are progressing well between the two clubs. Chelsea are hoping to send Tomori on loan with a buy option of €30m; Tomori is said to be keen on the move to Serie A.

– Manchester United are keen to sign AFC Bournemouth’s David Brooks and they’re not alone, with TalkSPORT suggesting that Aston Villa are now keen to add him to their squad in January. Brooks has scored three goals and added five assists in 17 appearances this season.

– Is Radamel Falcao ready to leave Turkish power Galatasaray? According to Argentine outlet Varsky Sports, El Tigre could be on his way to Major League Soccer side Portland Timbers. Colombia’s all-time scorer seems to have plenty of options, with Galatasary’s president admitting the ex-Atletico Madrid and AS Monaco man has offers in South America and Saudi Arabia.



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