Juventus eye Arsenal's Bellerin, Man United set for showdown talks with Mkhitaryan

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Hector Bellerin: Juventus' next right-back?

The transfer window may not open again until January 1 2018 but that hasn’t put an end to plenty of speculation throughout Europe.

Here, we take a look at three big stories dominating the headlines on Monday.

Will any of the following deals happen?

Let us know your thoughts.

Get in touch via Twitter and Facebook.

JUVENTUS EYE BELLERIN AS LICHTSTEINER REPLACEMENT

According to Tuttosport, Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin has re-emerged as a target for Juventus. The reigning Serie A champions are resigned to losing Stephan Lichtsteiner after his season, and Bellerin is being lined up as the Swiss man’s replacement.

RATING: 5/10

VERDICT: 

Juventus may need a replacement for Lichtstenier, but they already have a young, quality full-back in Mattia de Sciglio. The Italian has impressed since being given more playing time this season, and it seems counterproductive to bring in Bellerin for the same position – although de Sciglio can switch to left-back, where incumbent Alex Sandro is likely to leave after this season. More importantly, Bellerin hasn’t convinced as a defender, although he’s excellent in attack. Whether that’s good enough for Juventus is debatable.

Hector Bellerin is a target for Juventus.

Hector Bellerin is a target for Juventus.

MKHITARYAN PLANS SHOWDOWN TALKS WITH MOURINHO

Henrikh Mkhitaryan is planning to have showdown talks with Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho over his future at the club, reports the Daily Star. The Armenian has been frozen out at Old Trafford having lost form, and has been linked with a return to Borussia Dortmund.

RATING: 7/10

VERDICT: 

Mkhitaryan is right to be concerned – this is the second time he’s been frozen out of the United squad after losing form, and at the moment it’s difficult to see a way back for him. Mourinho has shown with Anthony Martial, to a certain extent with Luke Shaw, and with Mkhitaryan previously that he’s willing to give players second chances, but as Shaw is finding out, it’s much harder to get a third – not to mention, United have been linked with other, more celebrated players such as Paulo Dybala for Mkhitaryan’s position.

Whether returning to Dortmund is the right option – the German giants have Christian Pulisic, Shinji Kagawa, Marco Reus, and Mario Gotze on their books already – is a different story, but the Armenian’s days in Manchester could be numbered.

Is Mkhitaryan's time at Manchester United coming to an end?

Is Mkhitaryan’s time at Manchester United coming to an end?

REAL MADRID TURN ATTENTION TO HUGO LLORIS

Real Madrid have switched their transfer focus to Hugo Lloris, the Sunday People claims. The Spanish champions have been linked with moves for David de Gea and Thibaut Courtois, and while they remain keen on both goalkeepers, Lloris may be easier to prise away from his current club, Tottenham.

RATING: 6/10

VERDICT: 

Despite Keylor Navas’ success and occasional heroics in goal, it’s been no secret that Real Madrid have been looking for a new goalkeeper for a while. De Gea remains the No. 1 target, but Madrid have repeatedly seen attempts to land the Manchester United goalkeeper fall through, and Chelsea will likely be as stubborn with Courtois. Spurs have always been willing to sell their best players at the right price, and it should be no different with Lloris.

Real Madrid could settle for Hugo Lloris in their search for a goalkeeper.

Real Madrid could settle for Hugo Lloris in their search for a goalkeeper.

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Gossip: Gareth Bale agrees terms to leave Real Madrid next summer

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Gareth Bale is currently in the UAE for the Club World Cup.

WHAT THE PAPERS SAY

Gareth Bale has reportedly agreed terms to leave Real Madrid next summer. The Daily Mail says reports in Spain suggest the forward reached an agreement during a meeting between president Florentino Perez and his agent Jonathan Barnett. The paper says Manchester United and his former club Tottenham are the front-runners to sign him in a return to the Premier League.

Meanwhile, Tottenham would consider selling Harry Kane to Real Madrid in exchange for Bale, the Express reports. According to the paper, reports in Spain suggest Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino is open to considering a deal.

Manchester United have held talks with Marouane Fellaini in a last-ditch attempt to get him to sign a new deal, the Sun reports. The midfielder is free to talk to European clubs in January and is being eyed up by clubs such as Paris St Germain and Besiktas, the paper says.

Also at Manchester United, left-back Luke Shaw is reportedly demanding a £5million pay-off if he is to leave the club next month. According to the Sun, the England defender, who has fallen out with boss Jose Mourinho, wants a settlement from the Red Devils as he knows he is unlikely to get as good a wage packet at any other club.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 05: Luke Shaw of Manchester United runs with the ball during the UEFA Champions League group A match between Manchester United and CSKA Moskva at Old Trafford on December 05, 2017 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Shaw featured in the Champions League last week.

Juventus could be looking to make a move for Arsenal star Hector Bellerin, it is reported. According to Italian news site Tuttosport, the Spain international is a number one target for the current Serie A champions as a potential replacement for Stephan Lichtsteiner.

SOCIAL MEDIA ROUND-UP

@TheSunfootball: Daniel Sturridge reportedly set to quit Liverpool after falling out of favour
@Mirrorfootball: Olivier Giroud told he will NOT be leaving Arsenal in January despite not starting a league game all season

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 01: Daniel Sturridge of Liverpool scores his sides third goal during the UEFA Champions League group E match between Liverpool FC and NK Maribor at Anfield on November 1, 2017 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Sturridge has featured mainly from the subs bench this term.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Josh Eppiah: A number of Premier League and Championship clubs are said to be eyeing up the 19-year-old striker and tracking his progress. ESPN reports that the Belgium Under-19 international has impressed while at Leicester, and is being monitored by sides such as West Ham and Everton.

Giannelli Imbula: Serie A club Torino are said to be ready to launch a third pursuit of Stoke’s midfielder. The Italian side were close to a deal last January and tried again in the summer to cut a deal with the Potters. But according to the Stoke Sentinel, reports in Italy suggest they could be looking to make another bid for the 25-year-old, who is currently on a long-term loan at Toulouse in Ligue 1.

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Chelsea to rival Barcelona's bid for Arthur, Mascherano could stay at Camp Nou

David Cooper 10/12/2017
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Midfield maestro: Arthur is a much talked about talent.

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 Sunday.

Will any of the following deals happen?

Let us know your thoughts via Twitter and Facebook.

CHELSEA IN THE HUNT FOR GREMIO STAR

Chelsea could be set to hijack Barcelona‘s pursuit of Brazilian youngster Arthur, according to reports.

The Gremio prodigy, who is missing the ongoing Club World Cup in the UAE due to injury, is touted as one of South American football’s hottest talents and is attracting big interest.

After helping the Brazilian side to their first Copa Libertadores trophy since 1995 last month, Arthur met with Barcelona sporting director Robert Fernandez and other representatives in Porto Alegre – sparking rumours he was close to finalising a January switch to the Camp Nou.

Indeed, he was even pictured in a Barca jersey.

However, the player has since come out and said that he will not leave his boyhood team behind their back – putting the brakes on any imminent transfer.

That might be just as well for Chelsea, giving the Premier League club more time to muster up a package to tempt the midfielder to west London.

RATING: 8/10

VERDICT:

The 21-year-old could well become a star at next summer’s World Cup in Russia and Chelsea are more than ready to battle for his services, according to the Mirror.

Given Barca have done much of the early running in this deal, don’t expect Blaugrana to let the English side un-do all of their hard work.

Ernesto Valverde’s men are most likely to set about tying up a pre-contract agreement ahead of a transfer at the end of the season.

PORTO ALEGRE, BRAZIL - SEPTEMBER 17: Arthur of Gremio battles for the ball against Wellington Paulista of Chapecoense during the match Gremio v Chapecoense as part of Brasileirao Series A 2017, at Arena do Gremio on September 17, 2017, in Porto Alegre, Brazil. (Photo by Lucas Uebel/Getty Images)

The next Andres Iniesta? Arthur is a fine prospect.

VALVERDE IN NO RUSH TO LET JAVIER MASCHERANO LEAVE

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde has made it clear he will not be weakening his squad during the upcoming transfer window – possibly giving a hint that Javier Mascherano will stay until the end of the season.

The Argentine stalwart, who has spent seven successful years at the Camp Nou, is widely expected to seek a fresh challenge in 2018 with a move to China or return to his homeland both on the cards.

But, as Barcelona fight for silverware on both domestic and European fronts this term, Valverde feels he needs to call upon all the resources in his squad – and is not prepared to allow players to leave if significant re-strengthening has not been completed.

“Our intention is to become stronger, not weaker,” he said ahead of Barca’s must-win clash at Villarreal on Sunday.

“The window hasn’t yet arrived; it’s true there are issues emerging that must be dealt with.

“Mascherano is with us and whenever he has played, he’s done well, if he leaves we will consider alternatives.”

RATING: 7/10

VERDICT:

It is clear this will be the former Liverpool midfielder-turned-defender’s last season in Catalonia but Barca may feel it is worth keeping hold of his experience for the remainder of the campaign.

Mascherano’s professionalism and respect he commands at the club is an asset – plus Barca are under no financial pressure to sell. Expect speculation concerning the 33-year-old’s future to run and run, but also expect him to stay put for now.

Barcelona's coach Ernesto Valverde holds a press conference at the FC Barcelona Joan Gamper sports centre in Sant Joan Despi near Barcelona on December 9, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Josep LAGO

Valverde went on record about the club veteran.

JESUS VALLEJO IMPRESSES ZINEDINE ZIDANE WITH SOLID DISPLAY

The Spaniard put in a terrific performance at the heart of the Los Blancos defence as Real Madrid ramped up the pressure on Barcelona with a 5-0 rout over Sevilla.

In the absence of both Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos, Vallejo did what was asked of him and showed total commitment – impressive, given he had missed the mid-week Champions League clash against Borussia Dortmund due to injury.

The 20-year-old, who signed for the Spanish giants from Real Zaragoza back in 2015 but was immediately loaned back and then spent last season out on loan at Eintracht Frankfurt, had initially failed to convince Zinedine Zidane he was good enough.

But, that perception seems to have changed now, with Vallejo looking like he could become a solid first-team back-up and eventually starter for the whites.

It all but puts an end to speculation linking him with a move away from the club in January.

RATING: 7/10

VERDICT:

While the youngster still has work to do to consolidate his spot in the Real first-team, he has at last shown signs he is up to the task of wearing the famous Whites jersey.

That means he’ll be at Madrid for a while yet.

MADRID, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 25: Henrique Casemiro of Real Madrid CF celebrates with teammates Cristiano Ronaldo (left) and Jesus Vallejo (centre) and Lucas Vazquez of Real Madrid CF of Real Madrid CF after scoring his teamÕs 2nd goal during the La Liga match between Real Madrid and Malaga at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on November 25, 2017 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Solid as a rock: Vallejo.

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