Chelsea handed boost in bid to ward off Real Madrid interest in Courtois

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Staying put: Chelsea stopper Thibaut Courtois

Arsenal are making a last push to keep Mesut Ozil, the Mirror reports. The paper says Arsene Wenger is still hoping a new round of negotiations will persuade the 29-year-old Germany star to stay at the club.

Manchester United and Barcelona are both said to be interested in Ozil, who is free to sign a pre-contract with foreign clubs from January 1.

Crystal Palace are reportedly confident of signing European Cup-winning goalkeeper Diego Lopez.

According to the Mirror, Roy Hodgson is keen to agree a deal with the 36-year-old Espanyol player, with Julian Speroni and Wayne Hennessey his current options.

Newcastle target Kiko Casilla could be leaving Real Madrid in January. Reports in Spain suggest the goalkeeper has been deemed surplus to requirements, with clubs made aware of his availability next month.

Newcastle are said to be on high alert and are keen on signing the 31-year-old.

Mesut Ozil could stay at Arsenal after all.

Mesut Ozil could stay at Arsenal after all.

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Thibaut Courtois: Real Madrid will make a decision on whether to sign the Chelsea goalkeeper this month, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Reports in Spain say Real are close to agreeing a deal to sign Athletic Bilbao’s Kepa Arrizabalaga in the January transfer window instead of waiting until the summer to bid for Courtois.

The paper says the decision could give Chelsea a boost in persuading Courtois to sign a new contract at the club after talks of a new deal stalled amid the interest from Real.

Philipp Max: Chelsea scouts were eyeing up the 24-year-old left-back at Augsburg’s 1-1 draw with Hertha Berlin on Sunday night, the Daily Mail reports.

Manchester United are also said to have sent scouts to the game, with Tottenham and Everton having reportedly watched the young defender in recent weeks.

Augsburg's Philipp Max (R)

Augsburg’s Philipp Max (R)

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Real Madrid look to seal move for Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga

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Real Madrid‘s first foray into the January transfer market will be to snap up Athletic Bilbao’s promising goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, Madrid-based sports daily Marca reported on Monday.

Arrizabalaga’s contract expires in June meaning he could leave Bilbao for free at the end of the season.

However, Real plan on beating any competition to the 23-year-old’s signature by paying his €20million euro buyout clause.

“When the winter window opens, (Madrid) will pay the 20 million buyout clause to evade the risk that (Arrizabalaga) is punished for not renewing his contract by not playing and loses the chance to go to the World Cup in Russia,” said Marca‘s report.

Arrizabalaga, 23, is understudy to Manchester United‘s David de Gea for Spain and made his senior international debut in November’s 5-0 friendly win over Costa Rica.

“We will try everything possible so that Kepa stays here, but shortly there will be a definitive decision,” Athletic president Josu Urrutia told Movistar TV as Arrizabalaga shut out Madrid in a 0-0 draw in Bilbao last weekend.

Madrid famously missed out on the signing of De Gea after failing to register their transfer agreement with United in time on the final day of the transfer window in August 2015.

De Gea was seen then as the long-term replacement to club legend Iker Casillas, but with Keylor Navas in goal Madrid have won the Champions League in each of the last two seasons.

Navas, though, has missed 10 matches due to injury already this season and neither he, nor second choice ‘keeper Kiko Casilla have convinced in a poor start to the season for Madrid, who trail Barcelona by eight points at the top of La Liga.

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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.

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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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