Man United under growing pressure to keep Fellaini as Barcelona's Vidal could be set for Premier League move

David Cooper 17/01/2018
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The transfer window is well and truly in full swing!

Here, we take a look at the biggest stories dominating the headlines on Wednesday.

Will any of the following deals happen?

Let us know your thoughts.

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MAROUANE FELLAINI

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho is certain that Marouane Felliani will stay at Old Trafford, according to the Sun.

The club are in talks with the Belgian over a new deal, with Mourinho desperate to avoid losing the midfielder at the end of the season.

Felliani had reportedly rejected a new contract, but discussions have continued to take place.

With the World Cup fast approaching, the 30-year-old is being lured away by the potential of game-time – having started just three games this term.

Fenerbahce are interested in signing for the player, with a China-based club also wishing to acquire his services.

RATING: 6/10

VERDICT

Several United fans have wanted to see the back of Fellaini almost since his arrival.

However, over the last few years, many have come to appreciate him for what he offers in terms of effectiveness and the dedication he shows to the team’s cause.

It is understood that Mourinho wants the board to renew his contract at all costs, but the Belgian has wants to leave Old Trafford due to a lack of game-time.

ALEIX VIDAL

Barcelona star Aleix Vidal could be on his way to the Premier League this month after Sevilla cooled interest, according to Estadio Deportivo .

The Spaniard has fallen out of favour under Ernesto Valverde with just 10 La Liga appearances this campaign – seven of which have come from the bench.

With Sergi Roberto and Nelson Semedo in sterling from, it looks an even tougher task for him to force a way into the starting XI.

Liverpool and Manchester United have all raised interest in Vidal who can play anywhere down the right flank.

RATING: 7/10

VERDICT

At 28, it would be a good move to leave the Camp Nou in order to get his career back on track.

He is clearly surplus to requirements at Barcelona and a January move needs to be secured in order for him to enjoy his football again.

Of the current players looking to leave Barcelona, the club would raise the most money from the sale of Vidal – who was bought for €18 million back in 2015.

A fee of €10 million would be enough get the deal over the line this month – and the prospect of saving his salary for the next two-and-half years would also reduce Barcelona’s wage expenditure.

MICHY BATSHUAYI

Chelsea are stalling on a loan approach from Sevilla for Michy Batshuayi until they can complete a loan move for West Ham’s Andy Carroll, according to the Daily Mail.

Antonio Conte is currently undergoing a scoring crisis and is planning a shock move for the England international.

Ace attackers Alvaro Morata and Eden Hazard have struggled in recent games, and the Blues are still bidding for their first win of the new calendar year.

Marseille and Monaco are also both reportedly interested in taking Batshuayi back to France – with the 24-year-old not trusted by Conte.

RATING: 8/10

VERDICT

Conte is keen to bring in back-up for striker Morata and doesn’t see Batshuayi as the right man to lead the side when introduced off the bench.

The Italian needs to either fork out for a big name striker or take a gamble to relieve the pressure on Morata and Hazard.

As a short-term fix, perhaps Carroll could be their man.

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Alexis Sanchez move to Manchester United given boost with reports of big money on the table

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WHAT THE PAPERS SAY

Alexis Sanchez‘s highly-anticipated move to Manchester United either lies in the hands of Henrikh Mkhitaryan or the Arsenal money men, according to reports.

Expectations that the wantaway Arsenal forward was on the verge of moving to Old Trafford as part of a cash-plus-player swap appeared to have been somewhat set back, after agent Mino Raiola publicly warned that Mkhitaryan will only leave United on the player’s terms.

However, The Sun says United are prepared to offer Arsenal £35million and Sanchez £350,000-a-week, should the swap fall through.

The Times says Ed Woodward, United’s executive vice-chairman, is hopeful of signing Sanchez and the Chile international is Jose Mourinho’s top target. According to the Daily Mail Mkhitaryan accepts he has no future at his present club and wants an increase on his £140,000-a-week contract. With more than one option open to United, the chances of a rumoured bid by Chelsea coming to fruition are looking slender.

Meanwhile lead candidate to replace Sanchez, Borussia Dortmund forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, has agreed personal terms with Gunners chiefs – leaving it to their Bundesliga club counterparts to finalise a deal, the Daily Mirror reports. The Gabonese international is reportedly intent on the deal going through after he was dropped from Dortmund’s Wolfsburg clash for missing a team meeting, his third internal suspension in 12 months.

David Moyes may have publicly denied that he is aware of a Chelsea bid for Andy Carroll, however West Ham bosses are willing to listen to offers of £20 million, according to Sky Sports. The striker was absent from the squad for the Hammers’ 1-0 FA Cup replay win over League One side Shrewsbury on Tuesday, however the manager insisted this was down to an ankle injury.

Speculation that the 29-year-old could go to Stamford Bridge on loan came as Antonio Conte was said to be looking to enhance their attacking capability.The Daily Telegraph says Chelsea have contacted West Ham about signing him permanently during the January window.

Theo Walcott will complete his £20million move to Everton on Wednesday after spending Tuesday afternoon at the Toffees’ training ground Finch Farm for a medical and finalising terms, the Liverpool Echo reports. After nearly 12 years with the Gunners the 28-year-old England forward is expected to be in the Blues’ squad for their West Brom clash at Goodison Park on Saturday.

Jose Mourinho is close to signing a new five-year contract with United, according to The Sun. The new deal is two years longer than his initial agreement with United, which saw him signed up for three years in May 2016.

The Portuguese 54-year-old is reportedly on £250,000-a-week, said to be the same as Manchester City rival Pep Guardiola, making them the Premier League’s highest-paid managers. United’s top brass will likely be happy with their investment, as Mourinho has reinvigorated the side who lost their spirit under previous boss Louis Van Gaal, the newspaper says.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

James Madison: Tottenham have the 21-year-old Norwich midfielder in their sights, along with Liverpool and Manchester City, according to the Evening Standard.

Sebastian Leto: The Argentinian 31-year-old former Liverpool winger, currently playing in the UAE Arabian Gulf League with Emirates Club, could return to English football after opening talks with Fulham, the Daily Mail says.

Andre Silva: Swansea are favourites to sign AC Milan’s £35million striker, Wales Online reports.

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Three things to expect from Aubameyang as striker nears Arsenal move

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Arsenal are eager to sign Borussia Dortmund star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as a replacement for Alexis Sanchez, who is set to leave the club for Manchester United.

The 28-year-old has established himself as one of Europe’s ace marksmen over the last three seasons and has been in scintillating form in front of goal this season.

He has scored 13 goals and provided three assists in 15 Bundesliga appearances – as well as nine goals in all other competitions.

The Gabon international may have some disciplinary issues to work on but could be the attacking threat that Arsenal have been lacking in recent months.

Here, we look at three things to expect from the Dortmund star if he is to join the Gunners.

Where would he fit?

Aubameyang has been Dortmund’s most prolific striker over the past three seasons but he is capable of playing anywhere across the front three and making an impact from wide positions.

With both Theo Walcott and Alexis Sanchez set to leave the club during the transfer window, his versatility makes him a significant option for a Gunners side lacking in pace, movement and most importantly firepower in attack.

The 28-year-old brings pace in abundance and the ability to create things out of nothing while record signing Alexandre Lacazette tends to need direct service to feet, or his head, to make a direct impact on the game.

However, the acquisition of Aubameyang could provide the north London club with a much-needed spark and help the likes of Lacazette rediscover their goalscoring confidence, or the Frenchman could be affected by a rival for his position given Arsene Wenger’s preference to go with one up top.

How does he compare to current competition?

The elusive Aubameyang has spent a large part of his career out wide – until 2014 – when Robert Lewandowski signed for Bayern Munich, and Jurgen Klopp reshuffled him into the centre forward spot.

With that, it will be interesting to see where Wenger feels he best fits his system – in a bid to bolster his attack without the services of talisman Sanchez and Walcott.

In 1325 minutes of Bundesliga action this season, Aubameyang has scored 13 goals – averaging a goal every 86 minutes. This is in contrast to Alexandre Lacazette who scored eight in 1,609 minutes – and Olivier Giroud who has netted four in 376 minutes.

Lacazette, though, tests the goalkeeper more regularly than the pair, hitting the target with 70 percent of his shots, compared to Aubameyang’s shot accuracy of 56 percent and Giroud’s 43 percent.

Although Aubameyang has scored more goals, Lacazette has been more efficient, with an average of just 2.2 shots per goal scored, whereas Aubameyang has a shots-to-goal ratio of 3.8 and Giroud scores with every fourth attempt.

With a pass accuracy of 77 per cent, Aubameyang marginally has a better eye for picking out his teammates than Lacazette (74 per cent) and Giroud (69 per cent).

With his pace, Aubameyang is a threat any time he is in possession, and his time on the wing, has perhaps given him an appreciation of the movement needed to beat opposition players.

If Arsenal are to land Dortmund’s prized asset, he will add another layer to their star-studded attack and it could be the difference between the north London side securing a Champions League spot this season.

Where he needs to improve?

Although he ticks the right boxes in most areas, Aubameyang’s biggest vice is his temperament.

The ace attacker was suspended for Sunday’s 0-0 draw with Wolfsburg after missing a team meeting the previous day.

It’s the third time in 12 months that Aubameyang has been disciplined in such a manner by the club.

If he is to back-up his world class talents and become a star in the Premier League, then this is an area where he needs to improve.

He may be a key figure in the Dortmund dressing room – but if he is to behave like that at Arsenal – he won’t last long under Wenger and some of his teammates.

Stepping out of line with the support the club has is out of question.

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