LIVE Transfer Talk: Vardy to replace Morata at Chelsea? Higuain, Wilson, Icardi linked

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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: 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.


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)

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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