LIVE Transfer Talk: Man City, Man United join Liverpool in Bellingham race

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The summer transfer window is closed for the top leagues in Europe! After a summer full of international football, countless clubs waited until the last minute to pull off their transfers. See all the major deals here and check out how we graded the biggest signings. But just because the window is shut until January, that doesn’t mean the rumours won’t keep coming.

TOP STORY: Premier League giants target Bellingham

Premier League rivals Manchester City and Manchester United have joined Liverpool in setting their sights set on Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham, The Sun reports.

Bellingham, 18, has emerged as one of Europe’s most exciting young talents since moving to the Bundesliga last year. The England international was named Player of the Match for his side’s 2-1 win at Besiktas in the Champions League in midweek after scoring one goal and setting up the other.

Last week, Fabrizio Romano reported that Liverpool were targeting the former Birmingham City player, and now The Sun claims that City and United are also keen to sign him.

However, they may have to be patient: Bellingham still has four years left on his contract with no release clause involved, allowing the Bundesliga club to potentially stand strong on their stance of not losing the midfielder.

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16.17 BST: Brighton & Hove Albion’s Yves Bissouma, who has been targeted by some of England’s biggest clubs, believes he is the best midfielder in the Premier League.

Bissouma, 25, has impressed in the Premier League over recent seasons and has seen Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United all linked with interest in him.

The Mali international clearly thinks he is ready to step up a level, telling the BBC’s “Football Focus”: “I don’t want to be arrogant, but it’s me because in my head I am working to be the best.

“So I cannot say another name, I know in the Premier League there are so many good midfielders, but for me, it’s me because that gives me the confidence and the energy to work hard to show people I am here and I am Bissouma.

“I just want to be focused on football, to play in every game, every week to be good, to help my team win and the rest we will see.”

15.34 BST: Major League Soccer and the New York Red Bulls have voluntarily dismissed a lawsuit in federal court against Scott Pearson, the purported agent of midfielder Alejandro “Kaku” Romero Gamarra, according to court documents.

MLS and the Red Bulls have been locked in a dispute with Kaku since the start of the year, when Kaku signed a contract with Saudi Arabian club Al-Taawoun, despite still being under contract to the Red Bulls.

In a bid to recoup benefits that they say they would have received had Kaku remained with the Red Bulls or been transferred to another club, MLS and the Red Bulls sued Pearson, alleging “tortious interference” in his handling of Kaku’s contract with the league, and the player’s subsequent move to Al-Taawoun. MLS and the Red Bulls had been seeking over $6m in damages from Pearson and his company, Argentine Futbol Tours LLC.

“Yesterday, MLS and the New York Red Bulls voluntarily dismissed their frivolous lawsuit against Scott Pearson,” said Pearson’s attorney, Chris Deubert, in a statement to ESPN. “The lawsuit should never have been filed and it is shameful that Mr. Pearson had to retain counsel to convince MLS and the Red Bulls that the lawsuit had no merit. Mr. Pearson at all times has acted appropriately and professionally in advancing the needs of his clients, including both professional soccer clubs and players. It is unfortunate that MLS and the Red Bulls tried to make up for their own negligence and incompetence by unfairly blaming, maligning, and defaming Mr. Pearson. Mr. Pearson is considering and will continue to consider his legal options.”

MLS didn’t immediately respond for a request for comment.

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

14.57 BST: Thomas Tuchel has insisted Antonio Rudiger is “not distracted” by the ongoing uncertainty over his Chelsea future.

Sources told ESPN’s James Olley on Thursday that the Blues risk losing Rudiger on a free transfer next summer as talks continue to stall over a new contract, chiefly over his wage demands as he seeks a salary in the region of £200,000 a week.

The 28-year-old will be free to talk to overseas clubs directly from January 1 with Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid among several sides likely to be interested given the absence of a transfer fee.

Rudiger has started all six Chelsea games in every competition this season and when asked if he was confident Rudiger would extend, Blues boss Tuchel replied: “No, I hope that they find the solutions but these things as you know are not only between coaches and players and what we wish for. That’s why at the moment, it is between the club, the player and the agent. We hope that they find a solution.

“[Rudiger has been] excellent since a long time, very consistent at a very high level. I feel him very calm, very focused and it is obviously not a distraction for him. Everything is in place, give things the time they need. Sometimes it needs a bit longer, sometimes things get very fast. No news from my side.

“I think Toni feels very, very good at Chelsea. He feels the respect from his teammates and he feels the importance that he has in the team and the squad. It is well deserved because he delivers. He feels the love from the supporters when he plays. He is in the strongest league in Europe in a big club so not many reasons to change that.

“But in the end it is between him and the club. It is in good hands. I am calm and relaxed. Whatever has to happen will happen.”

14.10 BST: Barcelona forward Ansu Fati‘s negotiations over a new contract reached a new phase after his agent, Jorge Mendes, arrived in the city on Thursday to meet the club’s board, Marca reports.

Ansu, 18, has been ruled out of action since last November but he returned to training with the first-team squad last month, raising hopes that he will be back on the pitch soon.

Marca reports that Mendes is set to have further meetings with the Barca hierarchy in the coming days to finalise the details of a new deal, with all parties keen on an agreement.

Ansu, who came through the club’s youth system at La Masia, has inherited the No. 10 jersey vacated by Lionel Messi following his departure for Paris Saint-Germain.

13.28 BST: Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has said there is “nothing to say” on winger Mohamed Salah‘s future at Anfield as contract negotiations over a new deal at the club continue to rumble on.

The Egypt international’s contract runs until the summer of 2023, and Klopp confirmed last month that the club had begun discussions with him over an extension.

“There’s nothing to say, especially from me, I am not involved,” Klopp said in a news conference on Friday. “Obviously I am interested in how sharp he looks. He’s spot on. Really good. Nothing else to say.”

Who’ll follow Salah into Premier League’s 100 Club next?

12.47 BST: ESPN’s James Olley writes that, while Harry Kane remained at Tottenham after the summer transfer window, Manchester City may yet come back in for the striker:

Sources have told ESPN that the key factor in Kane’s failure to move was simply that City never showed any serious intention of an offer close to the £150 million transfer fee that Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy wanted. Spurs refused to countenance transferring Kane — despite the player’s belief he had a gentleman’s agreement — and so from Levy’s point of view, with both his valuation and reluctance effectively out in the open, the onus was on City to make a huge bid.

City let it be known through intermediaries that they were prepared to pay £100m in addition to offering multiple players — both clubs privately denied reports a formal offer was ever actually made — but with Levy having leverage given that Kane had three years left on his contract, Spurs did not budge and prolonged talks never took place

Kane’s approach was somewhat naive, but he never burned his bridges with his teammates, some of whom were even said to be sympathetic to the situation. Sources claim new head coach Nuno Espirito Santo was given assurances Kane would stay and planned accordingly, although it remains to be seen whether City test Tottenham’s resolve again in January or, more likely, next summer.

– Olley: Kane needs to remind Tottenham of his quality after summer saga

12.11 BST: Ed Woodward has said Manchester United remain committed to helping Ole Gunnar Solskjaer deliver success at Old Trafford.

Solskjaer has come in for criticism from some supporters after the Champions League campaign began with a 2-1 defeat to Swiss champions Young Boys on Tuesday night. He is yet to win a trophy in his two-and-a-half years in charge but Woodward said the summer spending to sign Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho is proof the club still believe he is the right man for the job.

“We significantly strengthened the squad over the summer, with the addition of Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho and Tom Heaton,” Woodward said on Friday, in comments to be made to investors on a call. “These signings have demonstrated our continued ability to attract some of the world’s best footballers to Old Trafford, and our firm commitment to helping Ole deliver success on the pitch. Furthermore, we recently sold Dan James to Leeds for a fee of £25m, plus add-ons.

“We were delighted to welcome back Cristiano to the club, along with Raphael, Jadon and Tom, to further reinforce the progress that our first team has been making under Ole. We have been clear in our strategy to build a squad with a blend of top-class recruits and homegrown talent, comprising a balance of youth and experience, with the aim of winning trophies and playing attacking football the Manchester United way.”

11.52 BST: Barcelona vice president Eduard Romeu says firing Ronald Koeman has not been discussed and denied that money would be a problem if the club did want to sack the coach.

Barca’s 3-0 loss to Bayern Munich in midweek has once again brought Koeman’s future into the spotlight after president Joan Laporta toyed with the idea of getting rid of him in the summer.

Laporta decided to stick with Koeman after what he called a “period of reflection,” with sources telling ESPN’s Moises Llorens and Sam Marsden at the time that the cost of sacking the Dutch coach and the lack of credible alternatives weighed in his favour. However, the heavy defeat to Bayern in the Champions League, which came days after Koeman complained about Laporta “speaking too much,” has led to renewed reports in the local media about the manager’s job security.

“The political answer is it’s not been discussed and the real one is that it’s not a money problem,” Romeu said in a news conference on Thursday when asked if Barca’s financial problems prevented them removing Koeman. “But there’s nothing happening. There’s nothing going on.

“Koeman’s a good person. When the president and the board decide that he’s staying on, the commitment [to him] and the support is total, knowing that we are going through a complicated moment in which we have to rebuild the team.

“Losing to Bayern was something that was in the equation. It was the worst opponent at the worst moment. We had several players injured, we were playing against a consolidated side, the game came just after the international break…. It makes us angry, but it was something that could have happened.”

Koeman’s contract runs until the end of the season but sources have told ESPN there are some board members that are unsure it would be wise to keep him in place until then.

– Lowe: Barca’s decline no surprise, it’s their new reality

11.17 BST: Veteran Brazil right-back Dani Alves is a free agent and looking for a new club after terminating his contract with Sao Paulo by mutual consent.

Alves scored eight goals in 76 appearances for the Brazil giants, who he joined in 2019 after spending two seasons at Paris Saint-Germain. The former Barcelona defender won the Brazilian championship earlier this year.

The 38-year-old refused to return to training with Sao Paulo last week due to the financial debt the club has with him, a reported $2m in back-pay. He has the possibility of playing this season for another Brazilian outfit as he has only made six league appearances with Sao Paulo in the current campaign.

The president of Sao Paulo’s Brazilian rivals Flamengo has not ruled out the possibility of signing Alves. Rodolfo Landim said: “I had the chance to get to know him in 2019. He is a top professional. He is a winner. No team would not be interested in a player like Daniel Alves.”

10.34 BST: Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists that Jesse Lingard will remain a Manchester United player as contract talks continue.

United are preparing to face West Ham, the club where Lingard reinvigorated his career last season during a loan spell, scoring nine goals in 16 appearances for the Hammers.

“He’s got this season left on his contract and of course the club is talking to him and his dad,” Solskjaer said. “We see him as a Man United player in the future as well.

“Jesse has come back to us after a great spell at West Ham. He showed his qualities and got back into the England squad, scoring goals for England. We really want to see the best of him this season, we support him and we hope to keep him here with us, he’s a red through and through.”

09.43 BST: Chelsea are risking losing Antonio Rudiger on a free transfer next summer as they refuse to meet his demands over a new contract, sources have told ESPN’s James Olley.

The 28-year-old has entered the final year of his existing deal at Stamford Bridge and there has been little progress in talks over an extension since Euro 2020 finished in July.

Sources have told ESPN Rudiger wants to double his £100,000-a-week wage to sign what would likely be the last big deal of his career. Chelsea have so far only indicated they are willing to offer around £150,000-a-week and the impasse has alerted the interest of several top European clubs.

The financial impact of COVID-19 has limited the transfer power of many top sides and so the prospect of a Champions League winning centre-back in the peak years of his career being available for nothing will likely attract Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Juventus — all of whom have previously expressed an interest in Rudiger.

He will be free to talk to overseas clubs directly from Jan. 1. Rudiger also previously said he discussed a move to London rivals Tottenham Hotspur last summer when Jose Mourinho was in charge.

08.49 BST: Mikel Arteta has dismissed reports of a rift with goalkeeper Bernd Leno but challenged the Germany international to rise to the challenge of competing with Aaron Ramsdale for Arsenal’s No. 1 spot.

Leno was dropped last weekend as Arsenal secured their first win of the Premier League season with a 1-0 victory over Norwich. Ramsdale made his league debut following a £32m summer switch from Sheffield United, after which reports emerged in Germany suggesting Leno had reacted badly but had been told he would start the north London derby against Tottenham later this month.

“No, that’s not true,” Arteta said on Thursday afternoon ahead of Saturday’s trip to Burnley. “He responded, you can be frustrated, but he was top with his team-mates in training with everything so that is not true.

“I don’t know where they are coming from but they are ahead of me! I think I am the one who picks the team at the weekend and sometimes I read things that I haven’t decided yet. They give me ideas at the most, but nothing else because I haven’t made a decision for Saturday — so imagine [if I had] for the north London derby.

“What we want to do is empower performance and ask them to train, behave and play the best possible way. How can I guarantee somebody something?

“It wouldn’t make sense with what we are demanding them to do. So it is on a daily basis, what you did three months ago in football, it doesn’t count. So is what you’re going to do today and tomorrow, and that’s it.

“Aaron has come here to try to make us better. We needed a result on that day and I decided to play him. That’s all.”

08.00 BST: More than 2,500 fans attended Radamel Falcao’s unveiling at Rayo Vallecano. The 35-year-old joined the club as a free agent on deadline day after terminating his contract with Galatasaray,

The former Atletico Madrid player said: “One of my aims is to be in the Colombian national team. We are fighting for a spot in the World Cup in Qatar and what better way than to come to this club that gives me the opportunity to play.

“I’m thrilled to be at Rayo. My dream is to give all of the fans many goals and a lot of joy. LaLiga is a competition I know. I’m very excited. I’ve found a team that has a lot of quality and is hungry.

“I feel good. I’ve taken advantage and I’ve been able to focus on my fitness in the last few months. Perhaps I didn’t have consitency because I knew that I was going to leave Galatasaray. I need continuity, to have minutes and I’m certain that I have that, all will go well.

“I know what the aims are at Rayo. We are ready for this. Everyone here wants to win. As soon as we achieve our aim, which is to defend our league status, we can dream of achieving higher things.”

PAPER GOSSIP (by Adam Brown)

AS reports that members of Barcelona‘s board have asked that Ronald Koeman be sacked immediately. Some of those in the club’s hierarchy are said to have lost patience with the Dutch manager and have no belief in his ability to take the team forward. Recent rumours suggested that Koeman could be in line to be offered a new deal by club president Joan Laporta, but that could be be delayed as concerns mount after Barcelona’s 3-0 defeat to Bayern Munich.

Internazionale will target a striker in January, according to Calciomercato. It is reported that the Nerazzurri are not totally confident in Edin Dzeko, and are beginning to identify potential options for a move in January. Sassuolo‘s Gianluca Scamacca and Napoli‘s Andrea Petagna are two forwards who the Italian club were previously interested in, with the club set to revisit the idea of signing one of the Serie A frontmen.

– Barcelona could cool their interest in Karim Adeyemi with concerns over whether the winger will maximise his potential. Mundo Deportivo writes that the Blaugrana see the Germany international joining RB Leipzig, with the LaLiga club prepared to wait to see how the 19-year-old performs in a more challenging league. The FC Salzburg winger has been the subject of interest from numerous clubs including Liverpool, who have reportedly opened talks with the Austrian club.

Real Madrid were keen on the signature of David Luiz, according to Le 10 Sport. The report claims that Carlo Ancelotti was interested in bringing the former Chelsea defender to the Santiago Bernabeu, but was unable to finalise a move over uncertainty with foreign player slots left for squad registration. The Brazilian signed with Flamengo after playing for Arsenal last season.

Fabrizio Romano says that contract talks with Jesse Lingard are underway with Manchester United. The attacking midfielder’s deal is set to expire next summer and the 28-year-old is yet to agree on new terms over reservations whether he can be promised regular game time. It is reported that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to keep the England international at Old Trafford after an impressive loan spell with West Ham United last season.





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