Real Madrid hold "secret talks" with Liverpool star Mohamed Salah

Alex Rea 20/01/2018
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Bernabeu bound? Mohamed Salah

We’re heading into the final weeks of the January transfer window and this is usually the point in which the big deals gather momentum. With that in mind, we take a look at the top transfer stories doing the rounds on Saturday.

MADRID IN TALKS FOR SALAH

Real Madrid have reportedly held secret talks with Liverpool star Mohamed Salah.

According to El Chiringuito TV, the Spanish giants have put the Egypt icon top of their shopping list for the summer transfer window following Salah’s impressive debut campaign for Liverpool.

RATING: 6/10

VERDICT

Salah is an obvious target for Madrid considering not just his prowess on the pitch but his commercial pull off the park. The 25-year-old is undoubtedly the Arab world’s biggest star and his performances this season are equally as transcendent.

He’s scored 23 goals in all competitions for the Reds this term and they will be desperate not to lose another key player this year after Philippe Coutinho’s departure to Barcelona this month.

You feel any move to the Bernabeu would be much further down the line rather than this summer given he only signed from Roma last summer.

PSG PLOT PEP MOVE

Pep Guardiola is top of Paris Saint-Germain’s list of managerial targets, according to the Mirror.

The Manchester City boss has talked up signing a contract extension in the summer but the big-spending Parisians will hope to prise him away from the runaway Premier League leaders.

RATING: 5/10

VERDICT

The list of top-quality managers in the ilk Guardiola is a short one but regardless it’s incredibly difficult to see how PSG – even with their riches – could convince him to leave City so soon into his stint with the Manchester club.

Granted, his current contract is up next year but the Catalan traditionally only signs one-year rolling deals and it’s hard to see him succeeding Unai Emery anytime soon.

FBL-ENG-PR-LIVERPOOL-MAN CITY

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Chelsea bound Edin Dzeko and Real Madrid target Mauro Icardi set for Serie A battle

David Cooper 20/01/2018
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A Real target: Mauro Icardi

Inter Milan ace Mauro Icardi and Roma’s Edin Dzeko are set to clash as Serie A resumes on Sunday – but how much longer will they be in Italy?

Argentine Icardi has been linked with a €110million move to Real Madrid and veteran former Manchester City forward Edin Dzeko is a reported €50million target for Chelsea.

The pair’s battle in the San Siro could be decisive for their teams’ title aspirations. Both Inter and Roma struggled before the winter break and lost ground on leaders Napoli and champions Juventus.

Napoli have 51 points after 20 games – one point more than Juventus – with the Italian title chase looking increasingly like a two-horse race.

Inter Milan are third nine points behind Napoli with Lazio and AS Roma a further two and three points adrift respectively with a game in hand.

Inter were unbeaten until mid December but have picked up just three points from the last five games in a stuttering run of form.

Roma fared worse in the runup to the break, going four games without a win. 

Icardi, 24, has attracted Real’s interest after scoring 18 times in the league this season, but Roma’s Argentina defender Federico Fazio said he is just one of many threats.

“Inter aren’t just Icardi. And we have changed a lot since the first meeting,” Fazio said, referring to Inter’s 3-1 win against Inter at the Stadio Olympico in August.

“This one will be different — we have to work hard to get better and shut Inter down.

“It was important for us to return motivated after the break, which came at the right time.

“We are confident we can address the current situation. We have to start doing so in Milan.

“Our objective has always been to qualify for the Champions League.”

– Napoli meet ‘tormentor’ –

Maurizio Sarri’s Napoli continue their title push with a difficult trip to Atalanta on Sunday, where a slip-up could allow Juventus to go top when they host Genoa on Monday.

Napoli lost just once in the first half of the season at home against Juventus, with the sides set to clash again on April 22 in Turin.

Sarri remains wary of Atalanta against whom his side lost six points last season, resulting in their third place finish in Serie A, and were eliminated from this year’s Italian Cup.

“I’ve been close to Napoli and Sarri and now I’m their tormentor,” said Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini.

“Of course the challenge will be harder for us than them. We have to show maturity, to forget all the positive results and not think that we are sure to get another.”

Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini

Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini

The side from Bergamo also shocked AS Roma 2-1 in the capital in their last game before the break, and are seventh, with Genoa’s lowly 14th position belying they are unbeaten in their last four games.

Meanwhile, fallen giants AC Milan start the second half of the campaign against Cagliari in Sardinia, looking to climb out of the bottom half of the table.

Gennaro Gattuso, appointed coach after Milan made a disappointing start to the season, are was below the European aspirations of their Chinese owners, sitting 11th some 23 points off top spot.

Lazio, in fourth, host Chievo in Rome as sixth-placed Sampdoria welcome Fiorentina three places below.

Tailenders Benevento hope to see the fruits of their transfer market spree when they return to action against Bologna.

Benevento reignited their campaign with two straight wins just before the winter break with Brazilian midfielders Sandro and Guilerme among the five new recruits.

Provided by AFP Sport

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Alexis Sanchez to undergo medical as Man United move could be completed today

David Cooper 20/01/2018
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Alexis Sanchez is expected to undergo a medical at Manchester United today after a breakthrough in the negotiations with Arsenal, according to the Mirror.

The Chilean’s switch could be announced later this evening after reports Sanchez left Arsenal’s team hotel last night to complete the move to Old Trafford.

The 29-year-old was in Arsene Wenger’s squad for the clash with Crystal Palace today but was then pulled out as he bid farewell to his teammates.

United’s Armenian playmaker Henrik Mkhitaryan is also expected to move in the opposite direction after saying his goodbyes after training on Friday.

According to the report, the two deals are separate after the clubs were locked in negotiations over a straight swap with contrasting valuations and contracts complicating the deal.

Sanchez is tipped to be take on the famed number seven shirt at United as the January-long transfer saga draws to a conclusion.

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