Chelsea to fight Liverpool and Arsenal to sign Lemar, Barcelona surge ahead in race for Griezmann

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In-demand: Monaco's Thomas Lemar.

WHAT THE PAPERS SAY

Chelsea are reportedly considering entering the race to sign Monaco star Thomas Lemar in January, alongside Liverpool and Arsenal.

The France midfielder turned down a move to the Premier League in August but, according to the Daily Mail, reports in France claim the Premier League champions are set to bid £80million next month.

Meanwhile, Chelsea could bag Juventus defender and Manchester United target Alex Sandro in January, the Sun reports. The paper says United have had the Brazilian star on their shopping list but the defender has made it clear he wants to move to Stamford Bridge.

West Ham are said to be eyeing up Reading’s Liam Moore as David Moyes looks to strengthen his defence. The Mirror says the Hammers watched Moore in the Royals’ 2-2 draw with Cardiff on Monday and could be tempted to make a move in the January transfer window.

Manchester United are concerned that Antoine Griezmann will move to Barcelona over Old Trafford in the summer, the Independent reports. The paper claims the Spanish side have surged ahead in the race for his signature, after a deal with United fell apart in June in the wake of Atletico Madrid’s transfer ban.

Chelsea have been rebuffed in a £22million move for Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey, according to the Daily Mail. The Premier League champions see the 20-year-old as a possible replacement for Eden Hazard, the paper says, but Leverkusen will fight to keep the talented youngster. Manchester United, Liverpool and Barcelona are also reportedly keeping tabs on the Jamaican.

Hoffenheim's Nadiem Amiri.

Hoffenheim’s Nadiem Amiri.

SOCIAL MEDIA ROUND-UP

@TheSunfootball: EXCLUSIVE: Man United want £20million German ace Nadiem Amiri.
@Telefootball: Manchester City hoping to tie down Gabriel Jesus with new long-term deal.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Jann-Fiete Arp: Tottenham and Everton have joined the list of clubs keeping an eye on the 17-year-old striker, the Mirror reports. The German starlet has impressed with his record-breaking season, breaking into the Hamburg first team and becoming the first player born in 2000 to play and score in the Bundesliga. Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City are also said to be interested in the young player.

Scott McTominay: The Manchester United star is wanted on loan by several Championship clubs, according to the Sun. The paper says Jose Mourinho is a fan of the 21-year-old, but it is thought the Red Devils would like him to get some regular time on the pitch. Clubs such as Leeds, Preston and Bolton are said to be on alert – although concerns over some of United’s other midfielders could mean he will stay put, the paper adds.

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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.

SOCIAL MEDIA ROUND-UP

PLAYERS TO WATCH

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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