Transfer Talk: Manchester City need £75m to pry Frenkie de Jong from Ajax

ESPN FC’s Julien Laurens explains why Ousmane Dembele is finding himself in hot water at Barcelona and what he needs to do to fix it.

With the winter window opening soon, the rumour mill is beginning to gather pace. Who will be moving where come January? Transfer Talk has the latest.

TOP STORY: City will have to smash transfer record for De Jong

Manchester City will need to break their transfer record to sign Ajax playmaker Frenkie de Jong, according to the Mirror, which warns that they will have to see off competition from Barcelona.

The paper says City, who have long been linked with Netherlands international De Jong, will have to pay £75 million to prise him away from the Dutch club.

City made De Jong their main target after Jorginho opted to join Chelsea from Napoli in the summer and “feel the 21-year-old can become the long-term successor to Fernandinho.”

But they won’t have things their own way, with Barcelona keen and “determined to top any offer City make in the battle for the midfielder.”

Although Ajax have repeatedly said they do not want to lose De Jong in January, the Mirror says that will not deter City.

– Kuper: Believe the hype! De Ligt, de Jong are future stars

– Transfer Rater: Christian Eriksen to Real Madrid, Elneny to Leicester

LIVE BLOG

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

22.25 GMT: With Danny Welbeck likely lost for the season to an ankle injury, Arsenal are seeking to secure Lille’s £27m-rated attacker Nicolas Pepe in January, writes the Times.

21.09 GMT: Arsenal head of recruitment Sven Mislintat wants to hit up former club Borussia Dortmund once more — having already signed Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Sokratis, and being linked with former BVB ace Ousmane Dembele — with the Metro citing Sport Bild as reporting that the Gunners are interested in holding midfielder Julian Weigl.

19.53 GMT: Sky Sports cites its affiliates in Italy as reporting that Manchester United could make an approach for Fiorentina’s 21-year-old defender Nikola Milenkovic in January.

18.37 GMT: Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has suggested his side will enjoy a quiet January window before they splash the cash on superstar signings in the summer, including a desire to bring Edinson Cavani back from Paris Saint-Germain.

“We will not buy anyone in January, but in June we will make a big name purchase,” Calciomercato cites De Laurentiis as saying on Radio Marte. “Cavani, if you ditch Paris and decide to earn less, we will welcome you with open arms.”

17.21 GMT: Arsenal have enquired with Barcelona as to the availability of Ousmane Dembele in January, according to Sport, having been rebuffed after registering their interest in the 21-year-old Frenchman in the summer.

16.05 GMT: Adrien Rabiot could leave PSG for Barcelona in January.

The 23-year-old French international is out of contract this summer. This has prompted the interest of many European clubs like Liverpool and Manchester City.

However, El Mundo Deportivo have reported that Rabiot has decided to join Barcelona after his representatives met with club officials to sort out a deal.

15.00 GMT: Barcelona must pay Liverpool a €100 million premium to sign any of their players.

The Times reported that in order for Barcelona to sign any Liverpool players before 2020 they would need to pay a ‘surcharge’.

This is part of a clause made when Barcelona signed Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool in January. Liverpool included the clause to block Barcelona moving for any of their players in the short term.

The clause came into effect in January and lasts until the end of the 2019-20 season.

14.20 GMT: AC Milan consider making a move for Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen.

Christensen has not featured in the Premier League for Chelsea this season. According to Gazzetta dello Sport, AC Milan are considering a move to sign the Dane.

Milan have been struggling recently with a lengthy injury list. They see Christensen as a potential solution.

13.35 GMT: Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has been told he will not be allowed to leave the club in January.

Mignolet has been playing second fiddle at Liverpool since the arrival of Allison from Roma for £67m.

The Mirror reports that Patrick Vieira, manager of Nice, was interested in signing Mignolet in January.

It has also been reported that Mignolet is keen to leave to re-ignite his career. However, Liverpool are blocking his path as it would leave them without cover for Allison.

12.45 GMT: Real Madrid aim to coax Brahim Diaz away from Manchester City.

The 19-year-old’s current contract is set to expire in summer 2019. 

Manchester City are trying to offer him a contract extension and are urging Diaz to be patient.

However, Diaz is not getting the game time he wants and could be lured back to his homeland of Spain, according to AS.

He has made two appearances for City this season in the League Cup scoring twice in a 2-0 win over Fulham.

12.10 GMT: Ruben Loftus-Cheek looks set to ask Chelsea again for a loan move.

The Times (subscription required) reported that Loftus-Cheek had talks with Maurizio Sarri at the start of the season to discuss his chances of playing this season.

The 22-year-old wanted assurances that he would play regularly this season. However, having only played 382 minutes for Chelsea (little over four games) it seems Loftus-Cheek might look for first team action elsewhere.

In the past, Crystal Palace and Schalke had been interested.

11.25 GMT: Athletic Bilbao secure contract renewal for midfielder Iker Muniain

The 25-year-old midfielder has agreed to sign committing himself to the club until June 2024.

Liverpool were reportedly interested in Muniain and had prepared a contract offer in case Muniain were to leave on a free next summer.

Instead, Muniain will give a press conference tomorrow announcing his loyalty to Bilbao.

10.40 GMT: Manchester United look set to complete the signing of Noam Emeran from Amiens.

The 16-year-old only joined Amiens last summer but according to L’Equipe the deal was agreed weeks ago.

Emeran would stay at Amiens until next year to carry on his development before joining United’s academy. 

He is yet to make a first team appearance for Amiens but has twice played for the French U-16 side.

10.00 GMT: Borussia Dortmund’s Julian Weigl is another player on Arsenal’s radar. According to SportBild, the Germany international could be on his way out of the Westfalenstadion after falling down the pecking order since Lucien Favre took over in the summer.

The 23-year-old, whose contract runs until 2021, has made just six appearances for the club this season.

09.15 GMT: Chicago Fire have renewed their interest in signing veteran goalkeeper Iker Casillas once his contract with Porto ends next summer, according to AS.

The 37-year-old has started in 14 games in all competitions for FC Porto, the club he joined in the summer of 2015 from his all-time club Real Madrid.

Casillas, a World Cup winner and two-time European Champion with Spain, won five La Liga titles and three Champions League trophies with Madrid before joining the Portuguese giants.

Chicago Fire were keen to sign Casillas in May before the former Spain captain decided to extend his contract with Porto for another season.

08.10 GMT: Arsenal are monitoring Pablo Fornals with a view to signing the Villarreal midfielder in January, according to Marca.

Arsenal have reportedly joined the race to acquire the Spain international, who is also a target of Fulham and West Ham.

The 22-year-old, who has started in 11 league games this season, is under contract with Villarreal until June 2022 has a release clause of around €30m.

Fornals is in his second season with Villarreal, who bought him in 2017 from Malaga for €11m.

PAPER TALK (by Chris Borg): Liverpool set to turn their backs on Barca’s Dembele

Barcelona believe they can sell Ousmane Dembele to Liverpool for £100 million — but Liverpool are not so sure, the Mirror reports.

Earlier this month, the Merseyside club were reported to be ready to shatter their record to bring Dembele to Anfield.

The France forward, who joined Barca last summer but could be on his way out amid questions over his attitude, played for Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund.

But the Mirror says Klopp “isn’t as keen as first thought, and has no intention of meeting the steep price tag Barcelona have slapped on him.”

It claims Barca “are driving Dembele’s transfer and trying to offload him,” but Liverpool do not believe he would represent value for that sort of money.

Inter could use Perisic in new Martial bid

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho remains interested in Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic, and the Mirror says he could get his man in January.

Citing reports in Italy, it says Inter would be willing to sell the Croatia international winger for around £30 million.

And it adds that Inter could try to use Perisic as part of a move for United forward Anthony Martial.

Earlier this month, reports said the Serie A club were keen to sign Martial, who is out of contract in the summer although United have the option to extend his deal by 12 months.

The Mirror says Inter “may look to push through a swap deal, but it is unlikely United would entertain such an offer.”

Tap-ins

— Midfielder N’Golo Kante is set to stay at Chelsea, with the club “increasingly confident they will conclude contract negotiations in the next few months,” according to the Evening Standard.

Talks over new terms for the France international began in the summer, and the Blues feel a £290,000-a-week agreement can be finalised after he was linked with both Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United.

— To Leicester, where the Mail says Sevilla want to re-sign their former midfielder Vicente Iborra from the Foxes.

Iborra, 30, joined Leicester last year but, after he struggled to establish himself, Sevilla tried to bring him back in the summer. They will now hold new talks aimed at agreeing a fee.

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