Barcelona eye Brazilian starlet, Man United pursue Joao Mario deal

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Expect Gremio's Arthur to be suiting up for Barcelona soon.

The transfer window is closed until January but that doesn’t keep the rumour mill churning as clubs look to get a leg up on potential transfers.

Here are three big stories dominating the headlines on Thursday.

Will any of the following deals happen?

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BARCELONA TARGET LIKELY TO LEAVE GREMIO

Arthur Melo, the young Brazilian midfielder, is likely to leave his club soon, according to coach Renato Gaucho. The Gremio prodigy has been linked with Barcelona, and Gaucho says it’s unlikely Arthur will stay at the club. Arthur was recently spotted wearing a Barcelona shirt, and a move could be imminent.

RATING: 7/10

VERDICT:

Barcelona will always be a draw for young South American talent, after the success of Neymar and Lionel Messi, and it’s no surprise that Arthur sees himself playing for the Spanish giants. The 21-year-old has caught the eye with his performances for Gremio, and Barcelona’s interest has long been reported. With Andres Iniesta nearing the end of his career, Barcelona need a successor in midfield, and Arthur seems to fit the bill. Barcelona have stolen a march on their rivals in the pursuit of the young Brazilian, and Gremio seem resigned to losing the player, so this deal could happen soon.

Arthur looks set to move to Barcelona.

Arthur looks set to move to Barcelona.

MAN UNITED LOOKING AT SWAP DEAL FOR JOAO MARIO

Corriere dello Sport claims Manchester United are looking to land Inter Milan midfielder Joao Mario, who has impressed for the Italian giants and current Serie A leaders. United are prepared to swap Juan Mata for the Portuguese, although Inter would reportedly rather have Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

RATING: 6/10

VERDICT: 

Jose Mourinho has been looking to add depth to his midfield after seeing several of his players in that position get injured this season, with United keenly feeling the impact of Paul Pogba‘s injury-enforced absence earlier this campaign. Joao Mario is not the same type of player, but he’s skillful, composed on the ball, and an accomplished passer, with a better eye for attacking play than any of United’s midfielders bar Pogba. It’s no surprise United are interested.

What is surprising is that they’d be willing to offload Mata – and, that Inter wouldn’t take him. The Spaniard has been left on the bench for recent United games on occasion but is still a valuable part of the squad, whereas Mkhitaryan, whom Inter reportedly prefer, has suffered a loss of form and confidence. Mata also seems like the player who’s more likely to succeed in Italy, although Mkhitaryan’s pace gives him an advantage. If it does come down to negotiating over which player to part with, United would likely accept letting go of Mkhitaryan in order to land Mario.

Joao Mario: the answer to United's struggles in midfield?

Joao Mario: the answer to United’s struggles in midfield?

CHELSEA GIVEN HAZARD WARNING

Former Chelsea star Michael Essien has warned the club in an interview with Goal.com that they need to prioritise securing Eden Hazard on a long-term contract to ward off interest from potential suitors. The Belgian star has been linked with Real Madrid on multiple occasions over the last couple of years, and those links have surfaced again after Hazard’s stunning recent form for Chelsea.

RATING: 8/10

VERDICT

It’s hard to see Hazard staying at Chelsea long-term, whatever contract he may end up signing. The admiration between him and Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane is mutual, and Hazard has never shied away from accepting that his future may lie away from Chelsea.

If Hazard’s form this season continues, or gets even better, and then he goes to Russia and stars for Belgium at the World Cup, it may force Real Madrid president Florentino Perez’s hand. It’s hard to see Madrid being denied once their interest in Hazard leads to a concrete offer, even if Chelsea are prepared to hold out for as long as possible.

Eden Hazard could be celebrating goals for Real Madrid next season.

Eden Hazard could be celebrating goals for Real Madrid next season.

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Real Madrid make move for Chelsea's Hazard, Man United offer Mata to Inter

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WHAT THE PAPERS SAY

Real Madrid have made contact with Chelsea‘s Eden Hazard after manager Zinedine Zidane was given permission to make a move for the Belgian international. Zidane is said to be an admirer of the 26-year-old and may look to bring him in after a slow start to the season, the Daily Mail says.

Jonny Evans, who made more than 130 appearances for Manchester United, could be set to return to the north west, the Daily Mirror reports. The West Brom defender, 29, is a wanted man not only by Manchester City, but Everton and West Ham are also keen at taking on the Northern Ireland international, according to the paper.

Everton are reportedly interested in signing Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, according to German paoper Bild. However, Sam Allardyce will face competition from Chelsea and Liverpool to sign the Gabon international.

Manchester United have offered Juan Mata to Inter Milan as they look to bring in Joao Mario, according to a report in the Daily Mail. The club could face a struggle in bringing the Portuguese star to Old Trafford as Paris Saint Germain are also interested in the 24-year-old.

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PLAYERS TO WATCH

Jean Seri: The 26-year-old midfielder has been lighting up Ligue 1 for Nice since 2015, and is wanted by both Manchester City and Liverpool, the Daily Mail says. The 26-year-old was targeted by Barcelona last summer and Paris Saint Germain are also interested in taking on the Ivorian, the paper says.

Rolando Aarons: The 22-year-old has struggled for game time at Newcastle United and is the subject of interest from Crystal Palace, Huddersfield and Aston Villa, ChronicleLive reports.

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Chelsea back in for Alex Sandro, Man City looking to push through Alexis Sanchez deal

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Alexis Sanchez and Pep Guardiola could be reunited as soon as January.

WHAT THE PAPERS SAY

Everton have shown an interest in Arsenal forward THEO WALCOTT, the Daily Mail reports. Previous reports suggested the Gunners would be happy to let the 28-year-old leave the club for a suitable offer in the January transfer window, and the Toffees reportedly look poised to strike as new boss Sam Allardyce seeks to strengthen his team and lead the club up the Premier League table.

ALEX SANDRO appears ready to leave Juventus, with Chelsea most likely first in line to target the 26-year-old, according to the Daily Telegraph. Antonio Conte had wanted to bring the left-back to Stamford Bridge in the summer but was reportedly put off by Juventus’ £80 million price tag. Now with Sandro said to be unhappy at the Italian club, the Blues could be happy to make a new bid during the impeding transfer window.

Manchester City look set to make another offer for ALEXIS SANCHEZ, the Independent reports. City failed to cement a deal during the summer but with the 28-year-old’s contract soon to come to an end with Arsenal, Pep Guardiola seems likely to want to see a deal through in January. However, he may have to prepared to make a big offer to avoid any last-minute disappointment again, the Independent says.

JACK HENDRY appears to be in high demand with Southampton, Newcastle and Crystal Palace all said to be considering a move for the Dundee defender in January, according to the Daily Mail. The 22-year-old, who has drawn praise from Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers, has 18 months left on his contract and any possible sale could bring in much-needed funds at Dundee, the paper says.

Chelsea failed to land Alex Sandro this summer but could get their man next year.

Chelsea failed to land Alex Sandro this summer but could get their man next year.

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PLAYERS TO WATCH

With West Ham resolving their spat with Sporting Lisbon, the pursuit of WILLIAM CARVALHO looks set to be back on. The Daily Mail reports the Hammers are likely to resume their interest in the £30million midfielder come the new year.

Swansea City could target Slavia Prague’s JAN BORIL in January as part of plans to bolder the squad’s defence, Wales Online reports. Talking to Czech media, football agent Dalibor Lacina, who used to represent Wilfried Bony, said the Swans were “looking for a right-sided defender”, while comparing the 26-year-old to Gary Neville.

William Carvalho's move to West Ham could be back on.

William Carvalho’s move to West Ham could be back on.

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