Real Madrid step up Mauro Icardi pursuit after Zinedine Zidane return

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Mauro Icardi is being linked with a move to Real Madrid.

Real Madrid are stepping up their chase of Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi, Tuttomercatoweb report.

With an ongoing dispute between the player and Inter over a new contract having seen Icardi benched and stripped of the club captaincy, there is a growing likelihood that the Argentina international is on his way out of Milan, with Madrid having been mooted as a potential destination.

According to the report, the La Liga club made contact with Icardi’s camp on Monday, the same day Zinedine Zidane returned to take over as manager, a possible indication that the Frenchman has identified Icardi as a summer transfer target.

Though Zidane refused to confirm what he had discussed with the Los Blancos hierarchy, it is expected that he has been promised the authority to make changes to the squad, along with a sizable transfer kitty, in order to convince him to return to the job he resigned from only last summer.

Zidane has a good relationship with compatriot Karim Benzema, Madrid’s incumbent No. 9, but though the Frenchman is having a prolific season, the club have struggled for goals since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo last July, and thus are looking for reinforcements up front.

The 26-year-old Icardi is being viewed as a long-term option at striker by Madrid as well as several other leading European clubs, with Inter’s Serie A rivals Napoli and Juventus also said to be monitoring the Argentine’s situation at his current club.

Napoli have reportedly offered Icardi €9 million per season, plus €2m in bonuses.

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Real Madrid interested in signing Tottenham star Eriksen

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Real Madrid are targeting Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen as part of a summer spending spree, the Mirror claims.

Returning boss Zinedine Zidane is said to be a huge admirer of the 27-year-old, who will only have 12 months left on his contract this summer.

The paper adds that Spurs are keen to keep him, but know that if he does not commit to a new deal, they might have to cash in rather than lose him on a free transfer after next season.

Manchester United are reportedly set to press ahead with an £80million move for Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho this summer.

The Independent claims the midfielder is now one of United’s main targets, although Dortmund are said to be keen to keep him.

The same paper also says the Old Trafford club are unlikely to move for Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho.

There are fears Andy Carroll’s career at West Ham could be over, the Daily Mirror reports.

The 30-year-old’s ankle injury has prompted concerns he could be out for the rest of the season, which, with his current contract due to expire in the summer, could end the striker’s hopes of getting a new deal, the paper says.

In other West Ham news, the club are set to return for Celta Vigo forward Maxi Gomez in the summer as a potential replacement for Carroll, according to the Mirror.

The Hammers were rejected when they made an approach for the 22-year-old in January, but could land him for a cut-price fee if Celta are relegated, the paper says.

Ones to watch

Recoe Martin: Newcastle and Southampton are eyeing up the MK Dons teenager who has been compared to Dele Alli, the Daily Mirror says. The Premier League clubs are closely monitoring the 18-year-old, who has impressed at youth level for the League Two club, the paper claims.

Mo Diame: Crystal Palace and Brighton are among a host of European clubs interested in signing the 31-year-old Newcastle midfielder, the Daily Star reports.

Turkish giants Besiktas and Galatasaray, as well as clubs in Italy and Spain, are also said to be monitoring developments, with the Senegal international’s contract set to expire in the summer.

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Barcelona stepping up Matthis de Ligt pursuit

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De Ligt starred against Barcelona's arch-rivals Madrid in the Champions League.

Barcelona are stepping up their pursuit of Ajax centre-back Matthijs de Ligt, according to Goal.

The 19-year-old, who captained his side to a stunning win over Barca’s arch-rivals Real Madrid in the Champions League last week, is one of Europe’s most coveted young players, with several clubs chasing his signature.

Barcelona have long been considered the favourites to sign De Ligt, but now recognise the urgency of getting a deal done soon.

They already have a deal in place for De Ligt’s good friend and team-mate Frenkie de Jong, with the midfielder set to move to Barca in the summer in a £65million deal that was agreed this January. Barcelona are hoping their relationship with Ajax will help make the transfer smoother.

Eric Abidal, the Catalan club’s technical secretary, has already met De Ligt, back in November when talks over a deal were initiated, while club president Josep Maria Bartomeu is set to take the lead in negotiations now to get the deal over the line.

The Camp Nou side have been looking for defensive reinforcements, as the depth behind 32-year-old Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet and Samuel Umtiti – who has had recurring injury issues himself – is sorely lacking.

Toulouse youngster Jean-Claude Todibo is also joining in the summer, but De Ligt, who is the current holder of the Golden Boy award given to the best young footballer playing in Europe, has long been viewed as the sort of player who could end up being at the club for the next decade.

A deal could be completed as early as April, with the reigning La Liga champions looking to move fast.

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