Aymeric Laporte inches closer to Man City move

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Manchester City have nearly finalised a move for Aymeric Laporte.

Aymeric Laporte is in Manchester to finalise his move to Manchester City, according to the BBC.

The Athletic Bilbao defender is poised to complete a transfer to England, with the Blues reported to have triggered a £57million release clause in his contract.

The 23-year-old would provide depth at centre-back for City boss Pep Guardiola, whose spending on defenders since last season would reach £190million if Laporte signs.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang still looks likely to move to Arsenal, with the London club now reportedly moving closer to Borussia Dortmund‘s valuation of the Gabon international.

The Bundesliga side are said to want around £60million for the 28-year-old.

Manchester United forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic is being linked with a move to Major League soccer side Los Angeles Galaxy.

The 36-year-old is currently injured and trying to force his way back into United boss Jose Mourinho‘s plans, but speculation has surfaced that he could move Stateside to round off his glittering career.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic's time at Manchester United could be nearing the end.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s time at Manchester United could be nearing the end.

An LA Galaxy source told the BBC though that it was nothing more than “rumours at present”.

Leonardo Ulloa has returned to Brighton on loan until the end of the season from Leicester.

The Argentinian forward returns to the south coast club after three-and-a-half-years with the Foxes.

Brighton boss Chris Hughton said: “We’re delighted to welcome Leo back to the club. He’s scored goals at Premier League level and will further strengthen our attacking options.”

Antonio Conte says Chelsea need Michy Batshuayi, even if the Blues sign another striker.

Batshuayi scored twice in Sunday’s 3-0 FA Cup fourth-round win over Newcastle at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea have been linked with Roma’s Edin Dzeko and Arsenal forward Olivier Giroud, while Batshuayi has been the subject of speculation of a loan move to Sevilla and elsewhere.

Conte said: “If you see our squad, we don’t have three, four, five strikers. We have two strikers: (Alvaro) Morata and Batshuayi.

“When you have to play league, Champions League, then FA Cup. If we have also three strikers I think that’s the minimum.

“It doesn’t mean if we take another player Michy has to go on loan, because we have a lot of competitions.”

Sky also reported on Monday morning that Blues forward Charly Musonda had arrived in Glasgow ahead of a proposed loan move to Celtic.

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Olivier Giroud is new Chelsea target, as Arsenal agree fee with Dortmund for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Matt Jones 29/01/2018
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The completion of Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang deal could see Olivier Giroud move to Chelsea for £35 million (Dh182.16m), according to the Daily Mail.

Giroud would head to Stamford Bridge if the Blues meet the Gunners’ valuation of the Frenchman, who as a bonus would be available to play in the Champions League.

The 31-year-old had been linked with a move to Dortmund as a swap for Aubameyang, however he wants to stay in London. He and Chelsea make a good fit, with the reigning champions desperate to sign a physically imposing back-up for Alvaro Morata.

Bundesliga outfit Dortmund, meanwhile, are said to be lining up Cologne striker Anthony Modeste, currently on loan to Chinese Super League side Tianjin Quanjian, as Aubameyang’s replacement at Westfalenstadion.

Auba

FEE AGREED FOR AUBAMEYANG:

The 28-year-old Gabon international is set to become the Gunners’ record signing just five months after they set that mark to bring Alexandre Lacazette to the Emirates.

The clubs have agreed a £60m (Dh312.2m) fee in principle, Goal understands.

The saga has been raging on for several weeks, with Arsenal refusing to meet the German side’s £70m asking price.

According to the Mirror, terms have been agreed with Aubameyang over a three-and-a-half-year deal worth £180,000 (Dh936,868) per week, though the Gunners will need to pay the full asking price to land their man.

The striker, who scored 31 league goals last season, was left out of two consecutive games for Dortmund after missing a team meeting, with head coach Peter Stoger accusing the frontman of not being focused.

However, Aubameyang started in Dortmund’s draw with Freiburg on Saturday amid claims from the Bundesliga side that a transfer would be sanctioned if Arsenal reached ‘certain parameters’.

“We are ready to realise a transfer under certain parameters, but only if these are fully met,” sporting director Michael Zorc told German TV.

“We have a clear position. Arsenal has started several attempts so far. We have up to now refused them all.”

This season, Aubameyang has scored 21 goals in 24 matches in all competitions. He has found the net 141 times since joining BVB from Saint-Etienne for €13m in July 2013, and he also has 23 goals in 56 caps for Gabon.

Edin Dzeko.

BATSHUAYI HOLD UP COULD STALL GIROUD MOVE, AS DZEKO TALK STALLS:

Even with Chelsea turning their attention to Giroud, Michy Batshuayi looks set to stay as the Premier League side’s attempts to sign Roma striker Edin Dzeko have fallen through, reports the Independent .

Batshuayi had been linked with a loan move to Sevilla, with the Belgian struggling for game time under Antonio Conte.

Having scored twice in Sunday’s clash against Newcastle, however, Batshuayi may find himself getting more minutes ahead of the World Cup in Russia.

Roma head coach Eusebio Di Francesco is not losing sleep over Dzeko’s future at the club, with the situation to be resolved by the time the transfer window closes.

Roma and Chelsea are yet to reach an agreement, though interest from England is believed to have cooled on the 31-year-old striker.

After Dzeko played 90 minutes in Roma’s 1-0 loss at home to Sampdoria in Serie A on Sunday, Di Francesco said the forward’s future will become clearer by Wednesday.

“What gives me sleepless nights is the performance in the first 25-30 minutes and failing to put the ball in the net,” Di Francesco told Mediaset Premium.

“As for the rest, that will be resolved by January 31.”

Jonny-Evans

JONNY ON THE SPOT:

Another player who also continues to be linked to Arsenal is West Brom’s former Manchester United defender Jonny Evans, although a hamstring injury sustained at the weekend could see this transfer put on hold until the summer.

Evans is open to a move, but Arsenal may face a late battle, with the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City keen to land the Northern Ireland international depending on his fitness status.

Aymeric Laporte has been linked with a move to Manchester City again.

LAPORTE SET FOR CITY MEDICAL:

Aymeric Laporte could be a Manchester City player as early as Monday, also being reported by the Mirror.

The Athletic Bilbao defender is said to have bid his La Liga team-mates farewell ahead of a trip to Manchester to complete a medical.

Laporte, 23, who was left out of the Basque club’s squad which drew 1-1 with Eibar on Friday, will cost City €57m (Dh260.1m).

Eden Hazard 6

CITY SEND OUT HAZARD WARNING:

City are ready to launch an astonishing £150m (Dh780.7m) bid for Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, according to the Sunday Mirror.

Hazard is currently in a contract deadlock with the Blues, and if that still stands in the summer City will look to rival Real Madrid for the Belgian’s signature.

Though City refused to pay big money for Alexis Sanchez before he joined Manchester United, they believe Hazard represents greater value, and Pep Guardiola is willing to sanction a move.

Neymar had to make an unscheduled trip to Brazil during the week.

NEYMAR TO MADRID A REAL POSSIBILITY:

Real Madrid want ex-Barcelona frontman Neymar, but will wait until 2019 to make a move for the Paris Saint-Germain superstar, Don Balon claims.

Standing in the way of a swifter conclusion is Cristiano Ronaldo, with Los Blancos finding it difficult to get the Portuguese, and his gargantuan wage bill, off of their books.

As such, Florentino Perez is prepared to wait until next year — allegedly when Ronaldo will make a move to Major League Soccer — before making a serious move for the Brazilian.

Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid

COULD RONALDO RETURN TO ENGLAND?

Another move Ronaldo is allegedly weighing up is a return to the Premier League this summer, with Chelsea, according to The Sun.

Ronaldo is keen to leave Santiago Bernabeu after this season, with the Premier League his preferred destination.

Alexis Sanchez’s move to Manchester United has ruled out a return to Old Trafford, but Chelsea are said to be keen to take advantage and bring the Portugal captain to Stamford Bridge.

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Kyle Walker-Peters:

Southampton are ready to make a loan move for the young Tottenham full-back before the January transfer deadline is up, The Sun reports.

The tabloid claims Saints boss Mauricio Pellegrino is eager to bring in cover for Cedric Soares and feels the Spurs youngster is a perfect fit, having fallen down the pecking order under Mauricio Pochettino.

Keita Balde:

Monaco are willing to listen to offers for the Liverpool and Arsenal target, according to the Mirror.

The 22-year-old winger joined the Ligue 1 side from Lazio last summer for £30m, but sporting director Michael Emenalo reportedly is ready to cash in on the Senegal international.

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Man City plot £150 million move for Chelsea star Eden Hazard

David Cooper 28/01/2018
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The transfer window is heating up and we have our daily transfer gossip column to keep you in the loop. Here, we look at the top headlines doing the rounds in Europe’s media on Sunday.

EDEN HAZARD

Manchester City are ready to launch a £150 million bid for Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, according to the Daily Mirror.

Hazard has reportedly rejected a new long-term contract from the Blues, as he wants to wait until the end of the season to see if Real Madrid or City table a bid for his services.

The 26-year-old is said to be one of City’s prime summer transfer targets, and although they refused to pay big money for Alexis Sanchez, they believe Hazard represents significant value.

While Hazard is happy under Antonio Conte at Chelsea, it is believed he is ready for a change after nearly six seasons at Stamford Bridge.

RATING

VERDICT: 6/10

With City set to ramp up their attempts to sign a number of key players during the summer transfer window, it looks unlikely they will fork out over £100 million on Hazard.

Although he would add even more pace and class to a star-studded attack at the Etihad Stadium, Chelsea and Conte will do what they can to keep hold of their prized asset for next season.

DANIEL STURRIDGE

Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge looks set to sign for Inter Milan, according to Daily Mirror.

The England forward is chasing game time in a bid to increase his chances of going to this summer’s World Cup.

Despite a lack of minutes in recent months, the 28-year-old is still a class act and would be a welcome addition to any squad.

At his best, Sturridge was one of the first names on the Liverpool and England team sheets – but since 2015 injuries have curtailed his development as a player.

RATING: 7/10

VERDICT

It may be hard to usurp Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Tammy Abraham or Jamie Vardy for the four striker positions in the England squad, but the Birmingham native needs to chase first team football if he is to be named in Gareth Southgate’s side for Russia.

If Inter take the bait on his wages, then this would be a welcome move for a player who still has the firepower to bolster any attack.

GettyImages-867439998

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