LIVE Transfer Talk: Liverpool, Barca in pursuit of Gladbach’s Zakaria

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The summer transfer window was unlike any other; see all the major deals and check out how we graded the biggest signings. And just because the window is shut until January, that doesn’t mean the rumours won’t keep coming. Here’s the latest gossip and speculation.

TOP STORY: Liverpool, Barca in for Zakaria

Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Denis Zakaria has a plethora of top clubs interested in signing him, but El Nacional indicates that his first choice would be a move to Liverpool.

Zakaria is also the subject of interest from AS Roma, Juventus, Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich. The fact the Switzerland international will be available as a free agent certainly helps to give him more options, after he has already opted not to sign a renewal with the Bundesliga side as he wants to win trophies and play in the Champions League every season.

Barcelona had been interested in the 25-year-old, having made contact with his representatives, though Barca boss Xavi Hernandez isn’t completely certain of the move, especially if it means losing Frenkie de Jong.

Aside from that, Liverpool are able to offer Zakaria a far more lucrative financial package and the report adds that they are more likely to win trophies and enjoy a more solid project at this time. Therefore, Zakaria has decided to prioritise negotiations with the Premier League outfit, though he is still willing to have talks with Barcelona if things fall through in England.

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LIVE BLOG

09.26 GMT: ICYMI – Barcelona have made a move to sign Spain forward Ferran Torres but talks with Manchester City have so far proven unsuccessful, sources have told ESPN.

New coach Xavi Hernandez wants to add another attacking player to his squad in January, with ESPN reporting last week that Barca have also sounded out City’s Raheem Sterling and Chelsea duo Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech.

Barca have also made Torres one of their primary targets, having monitored him since he first broke through at Valencia. The club believe his experience in LaLiga would ease the adaption process.

Director of football Mateu Alemany and CEO Ferran Reverter were in Manchester on Friday for a meeting with City to discuss a transfer.

Sources have told ESPN that City’s initial response was that they are reluctant to let go of Torres, who is expected to return from an injury at the end of the year.

Torres, 21, is understood to be open to a return to Spain, though, and sources added City could open the door to an exit should he express a desire to leave. However, they would demand over €40m for a player they initially signed for a fee of €23m from Valencia in 2020.

08.46 GMT: Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan believes that teammates Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling are happy at the club after going through difficult spells.

Silva was open to leaving City in the summer, but with no suitable offers arriving he stayed at the club to begin his fifth season in England. He was on the bench for the opening day defeat to Tottenham but has since started every game in the league and Champions League, scoring four goals including one in the derby victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Sources have told ESPN that a lack of game time has also led Raheem Sterling to consider his options, but Gundogan is hopeful the pair are back to their best.

“The only thing you can do is try to support them as much as possible, to help them to train well,” he said. “In our team the players know their responsibility, they know we are all professionals even though we face difficult periods in our career, we need to be able to deal with that… all of us had to do it in our careers.

“It’s something you have to get used to and deal with — it’s disappointment and frustration.

“But they both feel very comfortable in the team with the players we have here. There’s a lot of good friendships and I don’t think it was ever an issue. The other players don’t feel they have to do much, we knew they had enough quality to come back.”

08.00 GMT: Manchester United announced the appointment Ralf Rangnick on Monday as the club’s interim manager until the end of the season.

Rangnick, 63, has left his role as head of sports and development at Lokomotiv Moscow and signed a six-month contract at Old Trafford.

Sources told ESPN that the German was in advanced negotiations with United and a breakthrough was reached when a consultancy role was offered as part of his move to the club.

Rangnick is expected to take charge of his first game when United host rivals Arsenal on Thursday in the Premier League, although this is subject to the finalisation of his British work permit.

He has previously managed Hannover, Schalke, Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga.

– Marcotti: Can Rangnick fix United?

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Mark Ogden explains Ralf Rangnick’s reasons for accepting an interim role as Manchester United manager.

PAPER GOSSIP (by Danny Lewis)

– Despite having the option to do so, Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba is “highly unlikely” to sign a pre-contract agreement with a club overseas in January, as has been reported by The Athletic. The France international is focusing on football as he looks to return from injury and is weighing up all of his options ahead of the summer, when his contract with the Red Devils ends. United have made the 28-year-old an offer, but it would “almost certainly” need to improve if he is to agree to it, the story says.

Manchester City are working to extend Riyad Mahrez‘s contract, writes The Sun, with the winger’s contract coming to an end in the summer of 2023. They want to have fresh terms in place by the time the Algeria international flies out to play in the African Cup of Nations in January. Though, it is added in the report that he could make an exit in the summer if a deal is not eventually agreed before the season ends, with Paris Saint-Germain keen.

Newcastle United are set to move for Manchester United midfielder Donny van de Beek, reports El Nacional, which adds that Real Madrid are unwilling to make a serious investment in the Dutchman due to his lack of playing time since moving to Old Trafford. While Van de Beek would like to move away from the Premier League, he is aware that he would be viewed as an important player as the Magpies look to avoid relegation. There has also been a substantial offer made to the player and to United.

– Xavi backs the idea of bringing La Masia graduate Alex Grimaldo back to Barcelona from Benfica, according to A Bola. The outlet writes that such a move is required to aid in the transition away from 32-year-old Jordi Alba as the main left-back. After Ronald Koeman had supported signing the Spaniard, Xavi has shown the same sentiment.

Dries Mertens is ready to dedicate himself to Napoli despite receiving several proposals from MLS clubs, reports Calciomercato. With his contract ending in the summer, Napoli are considering offering the Belgian forward €2.5m-per-year, which is half of what he earns now, as they look to lower their wage bill. Despite this, Mertens is still keen to sit down and strike a deal.



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