The transfer window is closed until January but that doesn’t keep the rumour mill churning as clubs look to get a leg up on potential transfers.
Here are three big stories dominating the headlines on Sunday.
Will any of the following deals happen?
ARTHUR PLAYS DOWN PHOTO WITH BARCA HIERARCHY
Gremio star Arthur has denied he is on the brink of agreeing a deal with Barcelona, despite images emerging of the 21-year-old being pictured in a Blaugrana shirt with the club’s directors.
After helping the Brazilian side to their first Copa Libertadores trophy since 1995 last week, Arthur met with Barcelona sporting director Robert Fernandez and other representatives in Porto Alegre on Friday.
The Spanish giants’ hierarchy had earlier watched the dynamic attacking midfielder in action and reportedly, according to Diario Sport, held talks to bring him to the Camp Nou in the near future.
Arthur, who will miss the upcoming FIFA Club World Cup in the UAE through injury, has though come out and denied a switch to La Liga is imminent.
“You can be sure that my heart and my positive energy will be with the family that our team has become,” Arthur, who has a release clause of €50 million and has been touted as a big summer signing for Barcelona, said.
“I respect this institution, who have been helping me every day since I was 14.
“I will never leave the club through the back door, this is my home.”
At this moment nothing is official, but in my opinion it is extremely hard that Barcelona fail to sign Arthur. It’s clear that they want him, and I can’t see a 21-yo turning them down when they seem to value him this much.
His release clause is €50M. pic.twitter.com/pWSk3Ruu2G
— Seleção Brasileira (@BrazilStat) December 2, 2017
While Gremio are set to report Barcelona for alleged tapping up of their star player, it is no secret that Barca want to sign Arthur. The talent, who is comfortable in either the No.8 or No.10 midfield roles, is in high demand and is expected to star at next year’s World Cup in Russia. That all means it will be tough for the King of Cups side to keep hold of their star.
THE END IS NIGH FOR MASCHERANO
The experienced defensive all-rounder is now not first choice in Ernesto Valverde’s line-up and will reportedly leave in the summer following seven trophy-laden years in Spain.
Despite still having a contract until 2019, according to Catalunya Radio, he is plotting a fresh challenge after next year’s World Cup in Russia.
The 33-year-old recently admitted in an interview with ESPN that he felt his time at Barca was coming towards an end.
Given the club are linked with the likes of Arthur and Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly, it seems as if it will be the best move for all parties.
REAL MADRID SQUAD ISN’T WEAKER THIS SEASON – ISCO
It has been a tough season so far for the reigning La Liga and Champions League holders, who have failed to discover their spark of 2016-17.
Despite this, former Malaga man Isco is confident Real have the players to turn the season around and fight on all fronts.
Speaking after the goalless draw at Athletic Bilbao on Saturday night, the 25-year-old said: “Our squad is just as competitive as last year, and we haven’t had all of the squad available yet because of injuries and that’s important.
“Last year we scored in the last few minutes and we are missing a bit of luck.
“Now we have to very important games and the Club World Cup, it’s an opportunity to gain confidence and recoup points.”
While there are plenty of rumours club president Florentino Perez will give Zinedine Zidane a January transfer window warchest to spend, there is no certainty the Frenchman will spend it.
And, according to Isco, that would be a wise move. Injuries to the likes of Gareth Bale have of course unsettled everyone at the club but the Whites midfielder is really putting faith in his current charges judging by his remarks.
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 Saturday.
Will any of the following deals happen?
Let us know your thoughts.
Juventus defender Alex Sandro is keeping the door open on a move to Chelsea after the 2018 World Cup, according to the TMW.
The Blues missed out on the Brazilian during the summer but he is yet to sign fresh terms in Turin.
The 26-year-old would become the club’s record signing at £60 million if he is to put pen to paper on a deal at Stamford Bridge.
Sandro, who has three years left on his current deal at Juventus, is considered a vital cog in Massimiliano Allegri’s side.
He was impressive during Juve’s treble winning campaign last term, scoring three goals and providing five assists in 43 appearances.
Given that Antonio Conte used to work with the player and more importantly, as wing-back, there’s every chance that he’d want to bring him to England.
However, Marcos Alonso has been a revelation on the left side and the quoted price is a bit steep for someone who is guaranteed a starting berth.
It would make sense for Conte to draft in a defender for a cheaper cost, but with the ludicrous price of some players in the summer transfer window, anything seems possible.
Arsenal have suffered a transfer blow after it was revealed Andre Gomes would not be leaving the Camp Nou in January, according to the Mirror.
The 24-year-old had been linked with Arsenal as part of a deal that would include Mesut Ozil going to Barcelona next month, but the move will now not happen.
The Portuguese star has started just four games this season and is currently out with a hamstring injury.
It appears Barcelona will give Gomes another chance to impress when he returns from injury.
Gomes will to fight for his place among a star-studded squad at the Camp Nou for the time being, but should he wish to leave next summer, he will not be short of potential suitors.
West Brom centre back Jonny Evans is the subject of interest from Man City and Arsenal, according to the Telegraph.
The Gunners reportedly had a £25 million bid turned down for the Northern Ireland international in August, with the Baggies demanding more than £30m for their star defender.
The club plan to offer Evans a bumper new contract with new boss Alan Pardew keen to meet the player after being appointed manager on Wednesday.
Evans has two years remaining on his contract at the Hawthorns after joining from Manchester United in 2015.
With Per Mertesacker set to retire at the end of this season, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is prepared to move for Evans in January.
It would make sense for Evans to move to North London as he would be guaranteed a starting place at the Emirates Stadium.
Although Man City Pep Guardiola has expressed an interest in the 29-year-old, he may not be guaranteed a starting place if he moved to the Etihad Stadium.
Although Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has said he expects the midfielder to stay at the Emirates beyond the January transfer window unless “something unbelievable” happens, the Germany international is out of contract in the summer and letting him walk away a free agent would mean Arsenal losing out on the chance to recoup any of the reported £43million they spent on him in 2013.
Meanwhile, Turkey playmaker Turan has reportedly fallen out of favour with Nou Camp boss Ernesto Valverde.
Both Premier League clubs are said to be poised to make offers, while new Albion boss Alan Pardew is said to be considering which players he can sell in order to bring in new talent.
The Gunners, City and Leicester all failed with summer bids for the Northern Ireland international, who the Baggies value at over £30million. However, the club reportedly plan to offer him a new contract and Pardew is keen to sit down with Evans after being appointed on a deal until 2020 on Wednesday.
United are said to be willing to sell Shaw for a reduced fee – having paid £27million for him when he moved from Southampton in 2014. Benitez, who is said to want to sign a new left-back in January, may have to stump up to bag Shaw as Turkish giants Fenerbahce are also said to have made inquiries.
Uncertainty continues to hang over the future of Emre Can at Liverpool amid reports of a contract dispute with Kop chiefs. The Germany midfielder looks increasingly likely to leave the Reds when his current deal runs out in the summer, reports the Liverpool Echo, with Juventus a possible destination.
Meanwhile, Barca’s La Liga rivals Atletico Madrid may see approaches from several Premier League clubs for striker Kevin Gameiro, The Sun reports. The France international, who joined Atletico from Sevilla in July 2016 for a reported £28million, is said to have attracted the attention of Tottenham, Newcastle and Everton.
A lack of time on the pitch may increase the likelihood of the 30-year-old moving on, although the British clubs may have to offer significant sums in order to satisfy Atletico’s money men.
SOCIAL MEDIA ROUND-UP
@TheSunfootball: Pochettino wants surprise Prem midfielder in January
@DailyStar_Sport: Chelsea and Tottenham target Richarlison offered to AC Milan
@MailSport: Barcelona set to ‘launch bid for Willian’ if they fail to land Philippe Coutinho in January transfer window
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Yannick Toure: Newcastle are watching the Young Boys striker, 17, who was born in Senegal but now has a Swiss passport and plays for the country’s youth team, the Daily Mail reports.
Joe Nuttall: The 20-year-old Blackburn striker and former Manchester City youth product is being tracked by a number of Premier League and Championship clubs, according to TeamTalk.