Man City eye move for Barcelona star Sergio Busquets as Arsenal chase Juventus defender Daniele Rugani

David Cooper 23/12/2017
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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 the biggest stories dominating the headlines on Saturday.

Will any of the following deals happen?

Let us know your thoughts.

Get in touch via Twitter and Facebook.

SERGIO BUSQUETS

Man City boss Pep Guardiola is set to launch a bid to sign Barcelona midfielder Segio Busquets, according to Spanish media.

The Sky Blues are preparing a replacement for Yaya Toure – who is expected to leave the club for an MLS outfit in 2018.

Busquets is understood to have a €200 million release clause on his contract at the Camp Nou, but the Manchester hierarchy believes a bid of €55 million will be enough to lure the Spaniard to the Etihad Stadium.

Although the 29-year-old has another four years left on his current contract, Philippe Coutinho’s possible arrival to the club could force him to move away.

RATING: 5/10

VERDICT

Guardiola indicated his interest in the midfielder earlier this year but the move never materialised.

The manager is desperate to bolster his squad as he looks to dominate in Europe, but it is unlikely Busquets will leave the Camp Nou even if a player of Coutinho’s calibre comes into the Barcelona set-up.

FBL-ESP-LIGA-BARCELONA-LASPALMAS

DANIELE RUGANI

Arsenal are to set launch a €35 million bid to sign Juventus star Daniele Rugani, according to the Sun.

The 23-year-old defender has failed to seal a place in the starting XI for the Serie A champions – with Mehdi Benatia in superb form this campaign.

The Gunners are bidding to take advantage of the situation by offering him a four-year deal at the Emirates Stadium.

The ace defender has played 78 times for Massimiliano Allegri’s side.

RATING: 5/10

VERDICT

Arsene Wenger is believed to be looking at defensive reinforcements ahead of the January transfer window as his side have been leaking goals so far this campaign.

Rugani is understood to be an ideal candidate to bolster their defensive options, with the Italy international boasting outstanding pace, timing, strength and a pin-point passing ability.

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PSG to beat Man United to Milinkovic-Savic with €170m bid, Chelsea eye Bonucci

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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 Friday.

Will any of the following deals happen?

Let us know your thoughts.

Get in touch via Twitter and Facebook.

CONTE CHASES UNHAPPY BONUCCI

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has been in touch with AC Milan defender Leonardo Bonucci, according to Tuttosport.  Bonucci only joined Milan this summer, in a shock €40million move from Juventus, but has not settled in at the club and is reportedly dismayed by the club’s poor form in a season that was supposed to see the Serie A giants begin challenging for top honours again.

RATING: 6/10

VERDICT

Conte has seemingly given up on David Luiz, and thus needs another high-quality centre-back to anchor his young defence, with veteran Gary Cahill’s performances becoming inconsistent. There’s no doubting Bonucci’s class, although whether he could make the adjustment to the Premier League quickly enough is a different question. He and Conte have worked together at Juventus and in the Italy national team, and there’s clearly a warm relationship between the pair. If Milan are ready to give up on their Bonucci experiment, Chelsea is among the likelier destinations for the 30-year-old.

Bonucci's blockbuster move to AC Milan hasn't quite worked out.

Bonucci’s blockbuster move to AC Milan hasn’t quite worked out.

PSG READY MAMMOTH MILINKOVIC-SAVIC BID

Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic will be the subject of a mammoth €170million bid from PSGCorriere Dello Sport is reporting. The highly-touted youngster has said he has happy at Lazio, and the club will be desperate to keep him, but a bid of this size would definitely tempt both player and club – and ward off rivals for Milinkovic-Savic’s signature, which include Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, and Barcelona.

RATING: 7/10

VERDICT: 

In a matter of months – if not weeks – Milinkovic-Savic has gone from promising but largely unheralded youngster to the top name on the transfer lists of some of Europe’s biggest clubs. He has been heavily linked with a move to United, but PSG have also been monitoring him closely. The Serb would be a good, though not like-for-like, replacement for Thiago Motta, whose age is catching up to him, and would add firepower to an already loaded midfield. News of this bid could also force the hand of PSG’s rivals, and in all likelihood drive up the transfer price – making it easier for Lazio to agree to sell.

Milinkovic-Savic is happy at Lazio, but Europe's biggest clubs are in pursuit.

Milinkovic-Savic is happy at Lazio, but Europe’s biggest clubs are in pursuit.

COURTOIS SET TO BECOME WORLD’S HIGHEST-PAID KEEPER

The Daily Telegraph claims that the latest contract offer Chelsea have made to goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois would see the Belgian become the highest-paid player at his position. Courtois has been linked with a move to Real Madrid and there have been times when his comments to the press have fueled speculation that his future lies away from Chelsea, but the reigning Premier League champions have been steadfast in their resolve to keep him.

RATING: 8/10

VERDICT: 

While the interest from Real Madrid has no doubt been genuine, it’s no secret that Courtois has never been their first-choice target, given the club’s continued pursuit of David de Gea. Madrid also may have realised that prising him away from Chelsea could prove as difficult as landing De Gea has – news that they’ve switched their focus to Kepa Arrizabalaga of Athletic Bilbao has come as no surprise, since he would be a much easier signing to complete. That move would leave the market for Courtois’ services thin, and it’s likely that his current club could outbid all suitors. The reported contract offer on hand would be just reward for what Courtois has brought to Chelsea.

Courtois is set to become the world's highest-paid goalkeeper.

Courtois is set to become the world’s highest-paid goalkeeper.

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Barcelona eye Griezmann, Real Madrid want Hazard, Man City chase Sanchez

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Antoine Griezmann

Barcelona are making moves to bring Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann to the Catalan capital while Manchester City are eyeing Alexis Sanchez as clubs around Europe prepare for the January transfer window.

The winter window opens at one minute past midnight on January 1, but Barca are looking for a belated Christmas present in the France international.

Both players will likely move in the summer but deals could be struck in January, with Sanchez holding out for a reported £400,000-per-week deal from the runaway Premier League leaders when his contract runs out at the end of the season.

Mundo Deportivo claimed Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu has had dinner with Griezmann’s parents and sister, who manages the player’s affairs, and the club are looking to tie him down to a deal that would see him move in the summer.

Barca’s full coffers

Philippe Coutinho 5

Not even Atletico’s complaint to FIFA about Barca’s public pursual of their star is likely to stop the move from happening, with Barca director Guillermo Amor as good as admitting the meeting took place.

In August, Griezmann’s former agent Eric Ohalts revealed that the France forward would have moved to Manchester United in the summer had FIFA not upheld a transfer ban that stopped the Madrid club from buying any reinforcements, and now Barca are ready to swoop.

Barca still have full coffers after receiving €222 million from the world record-busting sale of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain and Griezmann’s €100 million buyout clause means the club only need to agree personal terms, avoiding the problems they encountered when they failed to sign Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool in August.

Barcelona are however still keeping tabs on Coutinho and could make a lower bid than the €100 million they were prepared to pay in the summer.

PSG fire sale?

Hatem Ben Arfa

After the Neymar signing, Paris Saint-Germain have got to sell players to comply with Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.

Inter Milan are among those looking at PSG midfielder Javier Pastore, who admitted last month he was “disappointed” at his lack of first-team action.

PSG coach Unai Emery admitted that Brazilian midfielder Lucas Moura and French international striker Hatem Ben Arfa are interested in leaving in January, but said nothing about Pastore and Angel Di Maria, who has expressed his annoyance at being forced out of the first team by new arrivals Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

Liverpool and Arsenal are keen on PSG’s Julian Draxler, but the German international has revealed that he has no plans to leave Paris after finding a new role in Emery’s team.

The Qatari-backed Parisians were rumoured to be interested in AC Milan’s rising star goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, but after reports of the stopper complaining about being coerced into signing his summer six million-euro contract extension, the club and player – and crucially his powerful agent Mino Raiola – have made moves towards a reconciliation.

PSG have given themselves an FFP boost after agreeing the €35-million sale of 21-year-old talent Gonzalo Guedes with Valencia, where the Portugal international is currently on loan from the Ligue 1 leaders.

Arsenal exodus?

Alexis Sanchez 3

The sharks are circling Arsenal, as not just Sanchez but other attacking stars Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud head towards potential Gunners exits.

City were denied Sanchez on the summer’s deadline day, but City boss Pep Guardiola has indicated he may now wait until the summer before making his move.

Sanchez is reportedly unhappy at Arsenal, and the London club are prepared to open negotiations with City – knowing that Chelsea and Real Madrid are also both interested – to avoid seeing the Chilean star leave on a free transfer in the close season.

City’s local rivals Manchester United are looking at the Gunners’ other attacking star Ozil, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan the likely player to make way for the Germany international.

United boss Jose Mourinho is a long-time admirer of his former Real Madrid charge but the Reds could wait until his contract expires at the end of the season if no-one else makes a winter move.

Giroud could leave as Borussia Dortmund look for a partner for star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Real Madrid eyeing Hazard

Eden Hazard 3

Chelsea’s attacking dynamo Eden Hazard is a top target for Real Madrid, and should the Belgian make a post-World Cup move to Spain, Real’s Marco Asensio is keen on joining Guardiola at City. Real are not normally a club that does business in the winter window.

Chelsea are pondering an £80 million bid for Monaco star Thomas Lemar, with Blues striker Michy Batshuayi a potential makeweight as he seeks first-team football to boost his chances of making the Belgian World Cup squad.

Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha is also a target for Antonio Conte’s side, as is Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk, who was denied a summer move to Liverpool, while out-of-favour Blues centre-back David Luiz has Juventus and Real Madrid keen on his signature.

Provided by AFP Sport

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