Man Utd’s Paul Pogba prefers Real Madrid over PSG, Juventus

The summer transfer window is closed for the top leagues in Europe! After a summer full of international football, countless clubs waited until the last minute to pull off their transfers. See all the major deals here and check out how we graded the biggest signings. But just because the window is shut until January, that doesn’t mean the rumours won’t keep coming.

TOP STORY: Pogba prefers Madrid move

Paul Pogba will reject moves to Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus to prioritise a transfer next summer to Real Madrid, reports Mundo Deportivo.

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The Spanish outlet claim that Los Blancos are confident of the France international moving to the Santiago Bernabeu next season on a free transfer after his contract expires.

ESPN’s Julien Laurens had previously reported that the 28-year-old could be transferred in January with Manchester United looking to cut their losses, with PSG entering the chase to sign him.

Despite interest from PSG and former club Juve, the report on Friday suggest that Real Madrid have received assurances that the midfielder wants to make the switch to LaLiga to complete what would be a dream move.

The Premier League star has started the season in fine form with five assists in three matches.

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21.18 BST: Lorenzo Pellegrini‘s contract at AS Roma expires this summer, but according to quotes attributed to manager Jose Mourinho by Fabrizio Romano, there’s little chance the 25-year-old Italy international will leave the capital club: “Lorenzo Pellegrini will extend his contract. He wants to stay, we want him to be part of AS Roma project and so the agreement is really close to be completed. He’ll be our captain for many years.”

20.01 BST: The Telegraph reports that West Bromwich Albion were approached about a deal to take Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley on loan for the 2021-22 season, but the recently relegated Championship club were unable to afford the 27-year-old’s £110,000-a-week wages, leaving the former England international stranded at Stamford Bridge.

18.44 BST: Thiago Alcantara has played just 25 minutes this season, and with the 30-year-old midfielder seemingly not prominent in Jurgen Klopp’s plans, Liverpool are willing to move on the Spain international in January, according to Sport Bild. The German outlet reports that the Reds will propose a swap deal with AC Milan to bring Franck Kessie to Anfield, an operation the Rossoneri are intrigued by with the 24-year-old’s San Siro contract expiring at season’s end.

17.27 BST: Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has denied that he was disappointed at the club’s failure to land Kylian Mbappe on deadline day.

Madrid’s bid to sign Mbappe — who is now in the last year of his contract at Paris Saint-Germain and has so far refused to agree an extension — was one of the summer’s most high-profile transfer sagas.

The Spanish giants offered €160m and €180m and were eventually willing to pay around €200m for the forward’s services, only for PSG to refuse to entertain a deal.

“It isn’t a disappointment,” Ancelotti said on Saturday. “It’s clear that he’s a great player, and we wish him luck. But we have a strong squad.”

16.36 BST: Arsenal coach Jonas Eidevall is hopeful that the club can convince striker Vivianne Miedema to sign a new deal.

Miedema scored her 100th goal for the club in midweek when her hat trick helped the Gunners to a 7-0 aggregate win over Slavia Prague that booked their place in the group stage of the Women’s Champions League.

The Netherlands international is in the final year of her contract, and recently admitted that she is “open-minded” about her future.

“I don’t think nobody is trying to hide that of course we would like Viv to stay on,” Eidedvall said. “But I understand from Viv’s perspective, and what kind of player she is, it’s important for her to see what the direction the club is going to and for her when the time is right to take a decision about her future.

“But I am of the opinion that when you see the squad we have today that, of course, there can be external players coming in making us a little bit better, but I think the most important thing will be trying to keep the foundation of this group of players and to keep on building with them.”

15.42 BST: Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has urged Ross Barkley to “stay humble” after the midfielder failed to secure a move away from Stamford Bridge this summer.

Barkley spent last season on loan at Aston Villa, but failed to seal a permanent transfer there or anywhere else after an underwhelming spell at Villa Park. The 27-year-old was only given a squad number by the European champions this week, and it seems unlikely that he will fit into Tuchel’s plans.

“He is also asking himself the same questions and maybe all of us here, to be honest, don’t have the answers,” Tuchel said. “I’m sure that he worries a lot about the situation: ‘How can it come so far that right now I’m in between the chairs and don’t really know where I belong?’

“I don’t have these answers because I don’t know him long enough. All the advice I can give to Ross right now and what I did say was: ‘Stay humble, get it off your shoulders, all the opinions, all the expectations from everybody, all the past, what could have been, if I did this, if I did that.’

“It does not help in the moment. We have a certain adaptation to intensity and to the impact of the group on him. He is part of the training group. He does not have to love the situation but he needs to accept it in a positive way.”

14.02 BST: Cristiano Ronaldo is in the starting XI for his first match back at Old Trafford, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said in the run-up to today’s game against Newcastle that there was no chance the forward would sign for Manchester City even before Manchester United swooped in to snatch his signature.

City expressed an interest in Ronaldo as they searched for a striker during the final days of the transfer window, but decided not to move forward with a deal after the Portugal captain was offered to them. Solskjaer, however, insists the 36-year-old was never destined for the Etihad Stadium.

“I don’t think there was any prospect of that,” said Solskjaer, when asked how close Ronaldo had come to joining City.

– Ogden: How will Ronaldo fit into this United team?

13.21 BST: Leicester City’s veteran striker Jamie Vardy insists it will be a while yet before the club have to replace him.

Vardy has scored 149 goals for the club and won the Premier League title and the FA Cup since arriving at the King Power Stadium from non-league Fleetwood Town in 2012.

The 34-year-old is due a testimonial at the end of the 2021-22 season, when it will be 10 years since he joined the club, but he is focused on scoring goals for the Foxes at least until his deal expires in 2023.

“I’m not even thinking about that,” he told The Times when asked about a potential testimonial next summer. “I want to keep going. I’ve still got two years left on my contract.”

12.34 BST: Barcelona will make another move for RB Leipzig’s Dani Olmo in January after failing with a bid to sign the forward in the summer, according to Esport3.

The report claims Barca will have up to €70m to spend in the winter transfer window after making big cutbacks this summer, including the departures of Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann.

Olmo, 23, came through at Barca’s La Masia academy, leaving for Dinamo Zagreb in 2014 when he was 16. Leipzig later signed him for around €25m in 2020.

The Spain international, who Esport3 claim is keen on a Camp Nou return, appeared to confirm Barca’s last-ditch attempt to sign him before the transfer window closed two weeks ago.

“There was no time to even think about a transfer, everything happened too quickly,” Olmo told Suddeutsche Zeitung on Friday when questioned on Barca’s interest.

Olmo, who’s scored 12 goals in 61 appearances in Germany, has a contract with Leipzig until 2024, but Barca are said to believe the Bundesliga side will be open to negotiating a transfer.

11.39 BST: Arsenal would consider Graham Potter and Thomas Frank as managerial candidates if Mikel Arteta needed to be replaced, according to TEAMtalk.

Arsenal go into Saturday’s home clash against Norwich bottom of the table, having lost all three of the Premier League matches so far this season.

The first of those defeats was inflicted upon the Gunners by Frank’s newly promoted Brentford in the opening game of the season, giving the Danish coach’s growing reputation another boost.

Meanwhile, Brighton & Hove Albion boss Potter beat Arsenal home and away in 2019-20, although the win at the Emirates in December 2019 came a few weeks before Arteta took over.

– Olley: Arsenal are backing Arteta. Can he turn the club around?

10.46 BST: Dani Alves will no longer be playing for Sao Paulo due to delayed salary payments owed to the veteran right-back, with local media estimating the club owes him about $2m.

The 38-year-old defender, who has multiple honours from his time at Sevilla, Barcelona, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain, did not show up for training after spending the last two weeks with Brazil’s national team for World Cup qualifiers.

Carlos Belmonte, director of football at Sao Paulo, said in a video posted by the club on social media that Alves and defender Miranda were expected to return, but that only the latter appeared.

“We were informed by agents that Daniel Alves will not return to Sao Paulo until the financial debts Sao Paulo has with the athlete are solved,” Belmonte said. “Sao Paulo recognizes the debts and last week made an offer seeking to adjust that, but the agents did not accept.

“We made the decision and told coach Hernan Crespo that Daniel Alves will no longer be available to play for Sao Paulo.”

09.53 BST: Sergio Aguero has said he never considered quitting Barcelona and insisted there is no exit clause in his contract related to Lionel Messi’s departure.

Aguero, 33, joined Barca on a free transfer from Manchester City in June, signing an initial two-year deal at Camp Nou.

However, after Messi joined Paris Saint-Germain in August, reports in Spain suggested Aguero could follow his international teammate out the door.

“I would sign for Barca again [knowing the circumstances now], no doubt,” Aguero told the radio station RAC1 on Thursday.

“I don’t understand why [me leaving] was spoken about. When I signed, Leo, in reality, hadn’t signed anything still. At no moment was there an exit clause related to Leo, that was invented [by the media].”

09.00 BST: Everton are planning to revive their attempts to sign Arsenal’s Ainsley Maitland-Niles in January, sources have told ESPN’s James Olley.

The 24-year-old was close to joining the Merseyside club this summer before Arsenal blocked a deal on deadline day following talks between the player and manager Mikel Arteta.

Maitland-Niles has become frustrated at a lack of first-team opportunities at the Emirates Stadium — he took to Instagram near the end of the window to declare “all I wanna do is go where I’m wanted and where I’m gonna play” — having spent the second half of last season on loan at West Brom, making 12 Premier League appearances.

Arteta told Maitland-Niles he remains part of his plans but sources have told ESPN that Everton are expected to test Arsenal’s resolve to keep him January, particularly if he continues to struggle for opportunities. Everton were previously in talks over an initial season-long loan with an option to buy before negotiations collapsed.

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PAPER GOSSIP (by Adam Brown)

– Sampdoria are facing a fight to fend off interest in Mikkel Damsgaard, with Calciomercato reporting that Serie A clubs are monitoring the 21-year-old. Juventus, Internazionale and AC Milan are the three clubs named at the front of the queue for the Denmark international who had an impressive campaign at Euro 2020, while scouts from I Nerazzurri will keep a close eye on the attacking midfielder when Inter take on Sampdoria on Sunday.

– Aston Villa will revisit the idea of loaning out academy prospect Aaron Ramsey in January, writes The Athletic. The talented midfielder was on the shortlist of a number of clubs regarding a loan move in the summer, but manager Dean Smith was keen to keep the 18-year-old at Villa Park around the first team. Ramsey helped Aston Villa under-18s defeat Liverpool in the FA Youth Cup final back in May.

– Juventus are interested in a move for Ansu Fati, according to Calciomercato. It was earlier revealed that agent Jorge Mendes was offering his client’s services to clubs in a bid to force Barcelona’s hand in contract negotiations, and despite Manchester City ruling themselves out of a move for the Blaugrana star, the Serie A side see the 18-year-old as a strong fit for Massimiliano Allegri’s squad.

Wesley Fofana has revealed that a move to Marseille would be his dream, in an interview with Oh My Goal. The Leicester City centre-back told the outlet how a move to the Stade Velodrome would always be a dream to play for the team he supported as a child. The 20-year-old is set to return for the Foxes at some point in 2022 after suffering an injury in a pre-season friendly.

– Former Celta Vigo forward Facundo Ferreyra looks to have found a new home in Colo Colo, but journalist Pedro Almeida has revealed that the deal has fallen through. Earlier reports suggested that all parties were happy with the proposal that would have seen the striker head to the Chilean club, but the sides couldn’t reach a final agreement. The forward, who was recently linked with Nottingham Forest, will now continue his search for a new club.