Transfer Talk: Barcelona to fund Neymar return with Coutinho sale?

Barcelona, Blog - Transfer Talk, Blog Post, Clubs, Coutinho, Phillippe, Neymar, Paris Saint-Germain, Transfers

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: Coutinho to make way for Neymar?

It seems odd to suggest that Philippe Coutinho is playing for his future at Barcelona, given he made a £142m move to Camp Nou just a year ago, but that’s exactly what the Evening Standard claim.

Coutinho has started only one of Barca’s last five fixtures and has struggled to make an impact this season, so the report states that Barcelona are willing to sell him in order to raise funds to bring Neymar back from Paris Saint-Germain.

Barca’s South America scout Andre Cury has reportedly been working on plans to re-sign Neymar — who left in the summer of 2017 for a world-record €222m — but clearly the club need to come up with some cash first. And the sale of Coutinho, possibly to Manchester United or even PSG, could start things off.


23.13 GMT: That’s going to do it for Thursday’s live edition of Transfer Talk. Thanks very much for joining us, and be sure to check back in a few short hours when we return with the latest headlines pulled from Friday’s back pages.

22.32 GMT — DONE DEAL: Young Mexico star Diego Lainez has completed a move from Club America to La Liga side Real Betis. Read the full story.

21.46 GMT: West Ham United say striker Marko Arnautovic is not for sale, according to Reuters, after the Austrian’s brother said he wanted to sign for a Chinese Super League club that have reportedly tabled a £35m bid.

21.00 GMT — DONE DEAL: Minnesota United has picked up former Seattle Sounders captain Osvaldo Alonso off waivers, the club confirmed on Thursday. Read the full story.

20.09 GMT: Remember when Barcelona submitted bid after bid after bid for Willian in the summer? Their interest hasn’t cooled, according to the Mail, who reports that the Catalan club have offered a player-plus-cash offer worth £50 that includes Malcom, who’s struggled since arriving from Bordeaux in the summer. Because of those struggles, Chelsea may instead prefer a cash offer of £50m for the 30-year-old Brazilian with 18 months left on his contract.

19.23 GMT: Fulham have turned down a £50m offer for striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, the Sun reports, and the 24-year-old Serbian may be tempted by the huge wages on offer.

18.28 GMT: Atletico Madrid are interested in taking Alvaro Morata off Chelsea’s hands, but how will they afford his reported £200,000-a-week wages? According to the Independent, Los Rojiblancos will cut ties with Nikola Kalinic, who they signed for a cut-price fee in the summer from AC Milan, and could also move on Gelson Martins if need be.

17.42 GMT: While Crystal Palace, Fulham and Marseille would all be interested in signing Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi — who’s just had his season-long loan at Valencia terminated — on loan, the Mirror reports that Everton are hopeful of signing the Belgium international on a permanent deal. The report suggests the Toffees would offer £14m, a price that falls £19m short of what Chelsea played for Batshuayi in 2016.

16.56 GMT: Meanwhile, in other Turkish-related news, Everton are scouting Schalke’s 18-year-old rising star Gorkem Can, sources have told ESPN.

The centre-back, who captains the Schalke U19 side, is a favourite of U19s coach Norbert Elgert, who has played a key role in developing talents such as Mesut Ozil, Manuel Neuer, Julian Draxler, Leroy Sane and Benedikt Howedes in recent years.

Can started his career as a No. 10 before being converted into a left-footed centre-back after joining Schalke from Bochum at youth level. He is represented by Family & Football, who also have Arsenal’s Shkodran Mustafi among their clients, and the Toffees already have an open communication channel with the company after signing Mustafi from Hamburg back in 2009.

16.44 GMT: Sivasspor are confident of signing Manchester City forward Marlos Moreno on loan, sources have told ESPN.

The Super Lig side are closing on a deal that would see Moreno brought in to replace Robinho, who joined Basaksehir earlier in the transfer window, and are close to an agreement that would see the 22-year-old given a first-team role.

Moreno has struggled for regular first-team action since joining City from Atletico Nacional in 2016. The Colombia international has been sent on loan to Deportivo La Coruna, Girona and Flamengo since making his move to the Etihad.

16.38 GMT: Some MLS news for you now as Portland Timbers and defender Liam Ridgewell have broken up. At least that’s what we’ve always associated a mutual ‘parting of ways’ with. No, you’re crying.

“Liam is quite simply one of the most important and influential signings in Timbers history,” said Timbers owner Merritt Paulson. “Not only has he been a top defender in MLS since his arrival but he is a winner who greatly contributed to our locker room culture. I thank Liam and will miss him.”

For his part, Ridgewell added: “It has been an absolute pleasure playing in Portland for the past five seasons, and I am grateful to the fans and everyone involved for the opportunity. I am very proud of what we achieved together, and at the same time I am very excited about what the future holds for me as I move on to the next chapter in my career.”

16.33 GMT: So after West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini earlier dismissed the “rumours” Marko Arnautovic might leave for China, his agent and brother Danijel has told TalkSPORT that the 29-year-old wants to leave.

“He wants to go to a new market and challenge for titles. This is what he wants,” Danijel said. “It is his great desire that West Ham accept the offer from China.”

West Ham, almost immediately, handed their social media account over to the work experience lad to post their rebuttal.

16.26 GMT: We haven’t heard from Jose Mourinho for a while — not since he was sacked by Manchester United anyway. He’s been linked with the vacant post at his former club Benfica, but Mourinho has crushed speculation he is set to take over, presumably with a trademark scowl and dismissive flick of the hand.

He told Correio da Manha TV: “I do not like feeding news stories but, today, I have no intention of working in Portugal at all. The best way to respect a great club [Benfica] and a great president is to say that I was not approached.” So he approached, but he’s not interested. OK, that clears that up then.

16.15 GMT: Update on Mauro Icardi‘s future at Inter Milan. Well, sort of. In response to rumours he is going to ditch wife Wanda Nara as his agent, he posted on social media: “Where do these words come from? I’m very, very happy and satisfied with the work we have done together until now. Wanda Nara will always take care of my and our interests until the end of our careers.”

16.07 GMT: Oh look, another Watford player has moved to Udinese (also owned by the Pozzo family). This time it’s left-back Marvin Zeegelaar who has moved on loan.

15.48 GMT: So ESPN already brought you the news that Man United are keen on Milan Skriniar of Inter Milan now that they have cooled their interest in Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic. But Tuttomercatoweb claim United have actually made a €60m bid for the 23-year-old centre-back. Sadly the bid still falls short of Inter’s €90m valuation so we don’t imagine there will be any movement on this one for a while.

15.27 GMT: Roma sporting director Monchi has said Italy U21 midfielder Nicolo Zaniolo will not be leaving the club. “Our aim is to build a big squad and this is why I say Zaniolo is the future of Roma and will not be sold,” he said. “He’s going to go a long way with this club.”

15.11 GMT: One minute you’re being linked with a £50m move to Chelsea, next minute the Daily Mail are reporting that you are West Ham’s No. 1 transfer target. A penny for the thoughts of Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson?

15.05 GMT: Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski‘s former agent Cezary Kucharski has told Pilka Nozna that the striker has turned down moves to PSG and the English Premier League in the past because of lifestyle issues… but claimed there is one club he would always consider.

“The doors to many elite clubs are open to Robert but his wife did not want to go to France and neither of them want to live in England,” he said. “There has always been one clear option for Robert: sunny Spain and Real Madrid.”

14.26 GMT: Claudio Ranieri said as much last week, but he has again suggested that Man United loanee Timothy Fosu-Mensah move to another club to find more regular football. “It’s much better for him to find a solution because here it is a little closed,” he told a news conference.

14.12 GMT: So, Arsenal have no money then… Loan deals only says manager Unai Emery.

Oddly, he also talked about specific players at his news conference:

Barcelona’s Denis Suarez: “I don’t know now his situation but I know the club is working for the possibility players who can help us with this condition [loan].”

Sevilla’s Ever Banega: “I know this player and he is very good. Now I cannot say to you more. The club is working, telling me each moment different situations can happen. At the moment I haven’t any news today.”

And of course the subject of Aaron Ramsey was brought up too: ”I respect a lot his decision. I cannot say more than this situation. For me the most important [thing] is Ramsey with us. His future I respect a lot because it is a very private decision. But between him with us everyday, I am very happy with him now.”

Errr, wasn’t it the club’s decision not to give him a new contract, Unai?

14.03 GMT: Josh Bohui is apparently one of Manchester United’s hottest young prospects, with Monaco and Barcelona showing an interest in the 19-year-old forward. But the Daily Mirror claim that United could lose him for free as his contract ends in the summer and he’s keen to sign a new deal and break into the first-team… which doesn’t look like happening anytime soon.

Dubbed ‘the new Andy Cole’ — he might turn into more like ‘the new Ravel Morrison’ unless United can persuade him to stay.

13.48 GMT: Hoffenheim midfielder/enforcer Florian Grillitsch has caught the eye of Tottenham, according to Sky Sports. The 23-year-old Austria international reportedly has an £18m release clause in his contract, which would certainly help settle a move as the club look to replace Mousa Dembele.

13.33 GMT: Juventus’ 20-year-old left-back Rogerio has been attracted attention in recent weeks and Tuttomercatoweb claim that Wolves have stepped up to make a bid of £18m.

The Brazilian is on loan at Sassuolo but Juve would make a healthy profit given they signed him for a mere €2m a few years ago.

13.26 GMT: West Ham reportedly received a £35m bid from a Chinese club for Marko Arnautovic on Wednesday and are presumably still mulling it over. But Manuel Pellegrini doesn’t seem too worried about the prospect of losing one of his star players.

“They are rumours. We know Marko is a very good player so maybe a lot of clubs will want him to play for their team but at the moment he is a West Ham player and we want to keep him,” he said. “I think Marko and all the other players involved in rumours have their heads here and want to continue playing the way they are doing so far. I am sure his head will be in the game against Arsenal and it will not affect his performance.”

13.14 GMT: Boca Juniors are in advanced negotiations to sign Jorman Campuzano from Atletico Nacional. Goalkeeper Marcos Diaz could also join them as a free-agent after ending his contract with Huracan.

12.58 GMT: Not that long ago, Keylor Navas was being linked with a move to Arsenal. The Real Madrid goalkeeper has slipped down the pecking order as Thibaut Courtois has taken the No.1 spot before his recent injury, but Navas isn’t thinking about a move just yet.

“The day I do not think I can be a starter, I’m going home,” he said in quotes reported by AS. “I’ve always worked for that [to be the Real Madrid No. 1] but then there’s one person who decides and we have to work and do things right when it’s time to play. I have to wait. We don’t know what’s going to happen [with Courtois’ injury]. Only the manager knows. I am 100 percent available to the coach; we have to be united.”

Asked about the prospect of signing a new deal, he said: “I see myself here for many years. I will always fight. Nobody knows the future but I live in the present, which is Madrid and I will continue to give everything.”

12.37 GMT: Earlier, we brought you news that Real Betis sporting director Lorenzo Ferrer has travelled to Mexico to negotiate the signing of Ajax target Diego Lainez from Club America. But Telegraaf claim that Ajax are still in the hunt and the choice now stands with the 18-year-old.

12.27 GMT: Liverpool still have no plans to recruit a centre-back this month and have had a long-held belief that Fabinho can operate adequately in the position, sources have told ESPN FC.

Jurgen Klopp is short of options in the heart of defence due to mounting injuries.

Fabinho, normally a midfielder, operated as a centre-back in the FA Cup third round defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday, with Virgil van Dijk rested and Joel Matip and Joe Gomez still sidelined through injury. And the Brazilian could play in the position again at Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday as there are serious doubts about the fitness of Dejan Lovren, who came off injured at Wolves after five minutes.

12.05 GMT: Valencia general director Mateu Alemany says the club will cut short the loan deal of Chelsea’s Michy Batshuayi. “At the moment we are negotiating with several clubs an exit for Batshuayi,” he told a news conference. “The player knows and we hope to reach a solution soon for the good of all parties. We are expecting an exit in the next few hours or days.”

We know one club that could use a striker… oh wait, it’s Chelsea.

Thoughts of our Chelsea correspondent Liam Twomey? “Batshuayi heading back to Chelsea in January. I suspect he won’t be back for very long though.”

11.44 GMT: Ibai Gomez has confirmed his move from Alaves to Athletic Bilbao. One down, three to go for new Athletic sporting director Rafa Alkorta…

11.25 GMT: Chelsea are ready to loan out Alvaro Morata in January with Maurizio Sarri keen on bringing in Gonzalo Higuain as his replacement, sources have told ESPN FC.

Chelsea are not prepared to sell Morata but will loan him, with Sevilla and Atletico Madrid keen, and want any loan club to cover Morata’s salary in full until the end of the season.

He will also not be allowed to depart until a replacement striker is secured, with sources saying Higuain is the No. 1 target, wjile AC Milan are willing to cut short the Argentine’s loan from Juventus after just eight months and just six goals in 15 Serie A appearances this season.

10.52 GMT: Hold up! Frenkie de Jong is not leaving Ajax in January at all. He says so himself, despite being linked with Barcelona, PSG and basically every top club in Europe.

“I am certainly not leaving this winter,” De Jong said. “I am 100 percent staying until the summer. I don’t know what other people are doing, but personally I would like it if the whole group stay together. We have had a fairly decent first half to the season.

“The atmosphere in the group is very good and we have a lot of quality — so I would be disappointed if people left.”

10.50 GMT: Bayern Munich are all over Chelsea for Callum Hudson-Odoi, but RMC report the German club are keen on PSG starlet Adrien Rabiot too (presumably because they can get him on a free transfer.)

A source has told ESPN that Barcelona have already agreed terms with Rabiot but he’s still free to choose a club and Bayern might offer him the first-team football he so clearly wants.

10.37 GMT: Manchester United remain committed to agreeing new deals with Ander Herrera, Juan Mata and Ashley Young despite letting the trio enter the last six months of their contracts, sources have told ESPN FC.

10.25 GMT: Remember when Arsenal almost signed Yacine Adli, before the midfielder signed professional terms with PSG? Well, Adli is probably regretting that decision now as RMC Sport report that he and his entourage do not understand why he is not even training with the senior squad this season and was on the bench for the quarterfinal Coupe de la Ligue defeat to Guingamp.

RMC add that Christopher Nkunku feels pretty much the same way and is looking for a loan move to Bordeaux this month.

10.12 GMT: Real Betis sporting director Lorenzo Ferrer travelled to Mexico on Wednesday to negotiate the signing of Ajax target Diego Lainez from Club America, sources have told ESPN. The La Liga side are ready to pay around $17m for the Mexico starlet and grab him from under the noses of the Dutch club.

10.04 GMT: Cruz Azul midfielder Ivan Marcone is set to complete a transfer to Argentine giant Boca Juniors, a source close to the negotiations has told ESPN Mexico.

09.50 GMT: Sticking with PSG’s seemingly endless search for a new midfielder, Il Mattino reckon the club are are about to drop €90m plus €10m in bonuses for Napoli’s Allan. Now, far be it for us to question the logic of spending even more than the €75m it would take to sign the younger De Jong, but something doesn’t quite add up here. Maybe it’s Neymar’s impact in wanting another Brazilian on the team…

09.32 GMT: Mundo Deportivo are reporting that an agreement between Frenkie de Jong and Barcelona is now final. But that still leaves an agreement with Ajax to be sorted out and the Dutch club will want €75m minimum, with PSG trying to get involved in talks with the midfielder as well.

However, L’Equipe say that his Ajax teammate Donny van de Beek is the man PSG are now interested in, having been priced out of a move for De Jong.

09.17 GMT: Chelsea are prepared to file a complaint against Bayern Munich to FIFA if evidence is found of an illegal approach to Callum Hudson-Odoi or his representatives, sources have confirmed to ESPN FC.

09.05 GMT: Bayern Munich right-back Rafinha has confirmed that he is in talks to join Flamengo this summer.

The Brazilian, who has made 172 appearances for Bayern since joining the club from Genoa in 2011, will leave the Bundesliga giants once his contract expires in June and he told Brazilian sports newspaper Lance: “I sat down to talk and I saw the whole project of Flamengo and I really liked it. I want to continue to win titles and I see that’s a possibility at Flamengo. I want to clarify that Flamengo would be my first option if I return to Brazil.”

08.55 GMT: Seville-based sports outlet Estadio Deportivo report that Arsenal have made an “irresistible” offer to Sevilla for Argentina international Ever Banega.

Banega is reportedly in talks to sign an improved contract with Sevilla, with his current deal ending in June 2020. According to the Estadio Deportivo, Arsenal have offered Banega a three-year contract, with an optional further year, and wages worth €7m net per season. The 30-year-old midfielder has scored eight goals and set up five more in 29 appearances for Sevilla this season, including 17 league starts.

08.44 GMT: Vitoria Setubal have confirmed that Manchester United have exercised a clause which will see on-loan goalkeeper Joel Pereira return to the club.

Pereira joined the Portuguese outfit on a season-long loan in August and the 22-year-old has made nine appearances.

A statement from the Portuguese club said: “Joel Pereira is returning to Manchester United. The Under-21 Portugal international, who was loaned to Vitoria Football Club at the start of the season, by the English club is returning to his parent club. Vitoria FC wants to thank the player for his hard work and professionalism shown during his time he represented the club and equally thanks Manchester United for its cooperation. The club wishes the best for the player as he continues his professional career.”

08.20 GMT: Manchester United defender Timothy Fosu-Mensah wants his loan spell at Fulham ended early, according to The Times.

The 21-year-old only played eight times before Fulham sacked Slavisa Jokanovic in mid-November, and his fortunes have not improved under new boss Claudio Ranieri, for whom he made his first appearance on Jan. 1.

The versatile Dutch player reportedly wants to leave the Premier League strugglers and join a different side where he can get more game time.

PAPER TALK (Frank Smith, Football Whispers)

Vardy to replace Morata at Chelsea?

Chelsea have made it pretty clear that Alvaro Morata no longer has a future at the club and sources have told ESPN that his agent is in London to discuss a loan exit, with Sevilla and Atletico Madrid keen.

But Chelsea will only let him go if they can secure a replacement and that replacement could be Leicester striker Jamie Vardy, according to the Daily Express.

It seems a long time since Vardy was leading the Premier League scoring charts, landing awards and winning the title but he’s still a top striker and Chelsea may see him as a stop-gap until they can spend upwards of £50m in the summer on either Gonzalo Higuain of Milan (via Juventus) or Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson. Or possibly even Inter’s Mauro Icardi if he can’t agree a new contract (per below).

Somewhere in there we’ve forgotten that Olivier Giroud still plays for Chelsea, but the Blues are certainly keen to improve their striking options in January.

Four clubs chasing one of Europe’s hottest strikers

Mauro Icardi‘s wife, who doubles as his agent, has gone on the attack when it comes to the striker’s future, and the front page of Thursday’s Corriere dello Sport claims that four clubs are interested in signing him.

The 25-year-old is one of the world’s best strikers but is believed to be on less than £100,000 a week, with his £4m-a-year salary making him just the 10th-highest-paid player in Serie A, according to reports. The Argentina striker’s current deal is due to expire in 2021, and his wife, Wanda Nara, claims the sides are a long way from agreeing a new contract. She says he will not be staying unless he receives a lot more money.

Corriere dello Sport’s front page carries Nara’s claims that four clubs are interested in the Inter captain. Three admirers — Chelsea, Real Madrid and Juventus — are well known.

Ramsey agrees Juventus move

This is one that has been expected for a while: Aaron Ramsey will join Juventus in the summer, the Guardian says.

Ramsey is out of contract after the season and will leave Arsenal after 11 years at the club, having moved to North London from Cardiff City as an 18-year-old. The Guardian claims the Wales star has agreed a contract worth around £140,000 a week, or £7.2m a season, which would make him Juve’s second-highest earner behind Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ramsey had attracted the attention of a host of Europe’s biggest clubs, including Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain, to name a few.

Juve ready to spend big to ward off United and Real

Corriere dello Sport’s front page also carries a report claiming that Juventus are ready to splash the cash to keep hold of manager Massimiliano Allegri.

Real Madrid and Manchester United are said to be contemplating the 51-year-old for the manager roles in the summer, with Santiago Solari and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer not expected to start the 2019-20 campaign in charge of their respective clubs. And with arguably the two biggest and wealthiest clubs waiting in the wings, Corriere dello Sport claims Juventus are ready to spend €10m net to keep hold of the man who has won the last four Serie A titles for the club.

City decide on Fernandinho’s successor

Declan Rice may have signed a new long-term contract recently, but that hasn’t stopped Manchester City from deciding that they want to land West Ham United’s talented teen, according to the Sun.

The midfielder may not turn 20 until Monday but he has already become a mainstay in the Hammers side and proven himself to be one of the most promising young players in the Premier League. Rice has already been capped three times by the Republic of Ireland but he is still eligible to play for England long term and is in the middle of deciding which country he wants to represent.

City see the 19-year-old as a potential successor for Fernandinho, who turns 34 in May, and the Sun claims West Ham would want in the region of £50m for their academy graduate.

Striker agrees to leave Premier League for Serie A side

The fire burned bright at the start but after an ultimately unsuccessful spell in England, Manolo Gabbiadini has secured a move back to Italy with Sampdoria, according to reports.

Gabbiadini certainly hit the ground running in England, with four goals in his first three games for Southampton following his £14.6m move from Napoli in January 2017. But then only eight more goals in the following 57 games followed, and he has only featured once for new Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl.

Now he is set to secure regular football once more back at one of his old clubs. Tuttosport claims the Serie A side will pay an initial loan fee of of £2.7m and then in the summer will have to buy him permanently for £8.1m, with further add-ons believed to be included depending on the number of goals he scores or if Sampdoria qualify for Europe.

Football Whispers’ transfer algorithm gives the likelihood of rumours happening a score out of 5.

Kostas Manolas to Manchester United: 3.9

United are reportedly on the verge of signing the Greek international in a cut-price deal, due to the 27-year-old having a £30.5m release clause in his contract. A host of other European clubs are interested in the Roma man though.

Denis Suarez to Arsenal: 3.5

With Ramsey’s move to Juventus close to being finalised, talk of Suarez’s switch to the Emirates has ramped up again in the last 24 hours. The Gunners are said to favour a loan deal for the 25-year-old, while Barcelona are keen to move the ex-Manchester City midfielder on permanently.

Elseid Hysaj to Chelsea: 2.5

The Blues are on the lookout for another full-back, with Davide Zappacosta on the verge of a switch to Lazio, and Maurizio Sarri is keen to secure one of his former Napoli stars. It is believed the 24-year-old Albanian would be potentially available for less than his £45m release clause.

Alvaro Morata to Atletico Madrid: 2.3

The Spain striker’s time at Chelsea appears to be coming to an end, and both Sevilla and Atletico Madrid have shown real interest in the 26-year-old.

Militao to Real Madrid: 2.2

Real Madrid have joined Manchester United and Chelsea in the race for the 20-year-old defender. Militao has a £44m buyout clause despite Porto only paying Sao Paulo around £4m for him in the summer.

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