Transfer news and rumours live: Arsenal chase forward, Liverpool eye swap and Manchester United increase interest

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We’re now halfway through December which means each and every football club is sweating over the opening of the January transfer window.

Which clubs are going to get their business done early?

Let’s start with Manchester United, who are increasing their interest in Juventus defender Alex Sandro and are believed to be preparing a £60m offer in January, but look increasingly unlikely to make an offer for Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann when the transfer window reopens.

The Independent revealed earlier this month that United are keen on 26-year-old Brazilian Sandro, and reports on Monday claim that a huge offer will be made to the Italian champions when the transfer window opens in two weeks’ time.

However, Griezmann looks unlikely to follow after reports in Spain claimed that his family met with Barcelona officials ahead of a proposed summer move at the end of the season.

Chelsea are being linked with Crystal Palace’s in-form winger Wilfried Zaha after he helped lead the Eagles out of the relegation zone, with the Ivory Coast international starring in Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Leicester City. Part of any move could be funded by the sale of David Luiz, who is out-of-favour at Stamford Bridge.

Finally, United believe that they can sign Arsenal midfielder Mesut Özil in the summer for an £8m signing-on fee, with the Germany international out of contract in the summer. However, Arsene Wenger believes that Özil will still sign a new deal with the Gunners and remain at the Emirates beyond the end of the season.

Follow the live news below…

Live Updates

9 mins ago

 
Barcelona have stepped up their bid to sign Antoine Griezmann, according to reports from Spain.
 
Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu met with the forward’s family to finalise a deal for next summer, Mundo Deportivo reports.
 
It’s alleged Griezmann’s transfer fee would be in the region of 100m euros.
 
Such development will come as a blow for United who have not given up hopes of signing the Frenchman having been heavily linked to him last summer.
 
Barcelona are yet to make official contact with Atletico over activating Griezmann’s release clause but Mundo Deportivo says there should be few issues there, with the two clubs sharing a good relationship.
 

55 mins ago

United forced to wait on Valencia

 

 

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho admits he must wait to discover the severity of Antonio Valencia’s injury, which could lead to the club signing a new defender when the transfer window re-opens.

The skipper limped off with a hamstring problem during Sunday’s 2-1 win at West Brom to add to United’s defensive woes.

Valencia now joins Eric Bailly on the sidelines with the centre-back ready to undergo surgery on his injured ankle which could sideline him for three months.

It was the seventh successive game Valencia had started and Mourinho felt his injury was because of his workload.

Mourinho said: “The Valencia injury is what I call a December injury. It is an injury of the accumulation of fatigue. It is a muscular one – hamstring, big small, medium? I don’t know.

“He is an experienced guy to not let it go to difficult limits. But it is an injury of fatigue – everyone in the Premier League, especially the ones with more accumulation of cups and European cups – are at risk.”

Valencia is almost certain to miss Wednesday’s Carabao Cup quarter-final game at Bristol City having captained United in Michael Carrick’s absence.

He has made 24 appearances in all competitions this season, scoring twice – in the 4-0 home win over Everton and 3-1 victory at Arsenal.

United face Leicester at the King Power Stadium on Saturday before hosting Burnley on Boxing Day and welcoming Southampton in their final fixture of 2017.

1 hour ago

Arsenal want Reading man

 
 
The Metro claim that Arsenal are lining up a move for Reading’s academy boss Lee Herron as they look to overhaul their youth-team setup.
 
Current club captain Per Mertesacker is set to begin work as the new academy boss for the 2018/19 season, but the club are keen to further bolster the department.

Wenger recently heaped praise on Mertesacker’s coaching ability, describing him as an “inspirational figure”.
 
“Per is an exceptional character who is a great example for young players,” Wenger said.
 
“He is a deep thinker about the game and committed to helping players fulfil their potential. He will be an inspirational figure for everyone connected with the academy.”

1 hour ago

Here are Samuel Lovett’s talking points from this weekend’s Premier League action:
 

2 hours ago

LVG wants to ‘spite United’

 

 
 
Here’s one to interest Manchester United supporters: ex-boss Louis van Gaal has said he could yet be tempted back into football management “just to spite United”.
 
Van Gaal spent two years at Old Trafford and won the FA Cup in his second season with the club, but was never truly taken in by the club’s supporters and was eventually replaced by Jose Mourinho.
 
The Dutchman said it would be his last job in football management but he now appears to have had a change of heart.
 
Speaking to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, Van Gaal said: “I won’t probably train a club anymore.
 
“If I do, it must be a big English club, just to spite Manchester United.”

2 hours ago

West Brom complete Hegazi deal

 

 
 
West Brom have completed the signing of Egypt international defender Ahmed Hegazi on a permanent deal.
 
The 26-year-old has been on loan from Al Ahly, joining Albion in July, and the option has been taken to prolong his stay at The Hawthorns.
 
An undisclosed fee has been agreed between the two clubs and Hegazi has signed a contract until the summer of 2022.
 
Hegazi was brought to the club by former boss Tony Pulis but new manager Alan Pardew has welcomed the decision to keep the player.
 
He told the club’s official website: “This is great news for the club. Ahmed has been absolutely terrific for me since I arrived and I am sure there is even more to come from him in the future.
 
“He is one of the players we can build around on the road ahead. He has a big role to play and it is good for the player and the club to remove any doubts and make the transfer permanent.
 
“I’m sure it is something the supporters will also welcome.”

West Brom are without a Premier League win since August and sit in the relegation zone after Sunday’s 2-1 home defeat to Manchester United, but Hegazi had no hesitation committing his future to the club and is confident things will improve soon.

“I am very happy with the club and very happy to be part of this group of players,” he said.

“I know the results are not what we would want at the moment. But there is great spirit here and I am sure that we will turn the results in our favour before long.”

Hegazi marked his West Brom debut by scoring the only goal in a home victory over Bournemouth on the opening day of the season and has gone on to make 19 appearances for the club.

3 hours ago

Kaka calls it a day

 

 

Former AC Milan and Real Madrid midfielder Kaka announced yesterday that he is retiring from football.

The devout 35-year old Brazilian wrote on Twitter: “It was much more than I could ever imagined. Thank you! I am €m now ready for the next journey. In Jesus name. Amen.”

Kaka announced this year he would not extend his contract with Orlando City but he opened the door to a possible return to Milan, the club where he made his name.

“I would like to participate in the club in another way, as a manager, a sporting director, as someone who is between the pitch and the club,” he said in a farewell interview with Globo TV in Brazil.

“I prepared very hard to be a professional footballer and I want to prepare for this new role.”

He said Milan, with whom he won the Champions League in 2007, had offered him a role but did not specify the exact nature of the job or say if he would accept it.

Milan and his first team Sao Paulo both offered him a playing contract to extend his career, but Kaka, who was in Brazil’s World Cup-winning squad in 2002 and was the last Brazilian to be voted world player of the year in 2007, said the time was right to call it a day.

3 hours ago

Some transfer news from Spain now, courtesy of our man Gonzalo Cañada:
 

 
 
Barcelona might be interested in signing United’s defender Daley Blind, according to the Catalan press. The 27 year-old Dutch ends his contract with Jose Mourinho’s team in June 2018 and will be able to negotiate with any club from January.
 
Sport.es reveals that ex Ajax player does not enter in Mourinho’s plans and would probably find really interesting to join the Spanish team, that will face ‘El Clasico’ next Saturday.
 
After Javier Mascherano admitted that he will leave Barcelona at the end of current season, Valverde is looking for another central defender to compete with Gerard Pique and Samuel Umtiti. Blind could be a good alternative to this couple and also give rest to Jordi Alba in left-back or even Sergio Busquets as a defensive midfielder.

4 hours ago

There was plenty of reason to smile on Saturday for Crystal Palace as they thrashed Leicester City 3-0, and in particular Christian Benteke as he got himself on the scoresheet just a week after his penalty error cost his side a victory. 
 
But does he have any regrets?

Christian Benteke has no regrets over missed penalty after making it up to Palace

4 hours ago

A blast from the past returned to haunt Stoke on Saturday as Marko Arnautovic inspired West Ham to victory, and quickly drew the ire of the Stoke fans and manager, Mark Hughes.

Mark Hughes left infuriated by Marko Arnautovic’s behaviour on return to Stoke

4 hours ago

Rumours…
Alexis Sanchez is reported to have turned down a huge £400,000-a-week offer to move to China to join an unnamed club, with the Chile international clearly having his heart set on a move to Manchester City at the end of the season.
Alexis Sanchez rejected a move to China
 

5 hours ago

What the papers say…

Manchester United are increasing their interest in Juventus defender Alex Sandro and are believed to be preparing a £60m offer in January, but look increasingly unlikely to make an offer for Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann when the transfer window reopens.
The Independent revealed earlier this month that United are keen on 26-year-old Brazilian Sandro, and reports on Monday claim that a huge offer will be made to the Italian champions when the transfer window opens in two weeks’ time.
And according to The Mirror, Untied will launch a bid in a handful of weeks in order to strengthen their side for the season run-in.
However, Griezmann looks unlikely to follow after reports in Spain claimed that his family met with Barcelona officials ahead of a proposed summer move at the end of the season, according to Mundo Deportivo.
Chelsea are being linked with Crystal Palace’s in-form winger Wilfried Zaha after he helped lead the Eagles out of the relegation zone, with the Ivory Coast international starring in Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Leicester City, as The Mirror claims he could be set for a second Selhurst Park exit.
The Daily Mail adds that part of any move could be funded by the sale of David Luiz, who is out-of-favour at Stamford Bridge.
Finally, United believe that they can sign Arsenal midfielder Mesut Özil in the summer for an £8m signing-on fee, with the Germany international out of contract in the summer. However, Arsene Wenger believes that Özil will still sign a new deal with the Gunners and remain at the Emirates beyond the end of the season.

5 hours ago

Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s transfer live blog, where we’ll bring you the latest news, done deals and rumours ahead of the January transfer window.

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