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Aug 24, 2014

Manchester United agree Di Maria fee

FC's Craig Burley analyses where Angel Di Maria will fit in to Manchester United's squad should he sign.

We're into the homestretch in the summer transfer window -- and inching ever closer to panic-buying mode. Who will add to their squad in the final days? Here's the gossip, starting with some BIG news.

TOP PICK - Manchester United have now agreed a fee for Real Madrid attacking midfielder Angel Di Maria. The Argentine said farewell to his teammates this morning and is headed to Manchester to finalise the reported 75 million euro deal. Read the full story here.

- AC Milan are interested in replacing Mario Balotelli with Chelsea outcast Fernando Torres. Read the full story here.

- Arsenal could be set to sell World Cup winner Lukas Podolski to Juventus with Arsene Wenger reportedly willing to let the forward leave, according to ESPN sources. Bild also claim MLS sides New York City FC and New York Red Bulls are also keen.

Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed that Angel Di Maria  will be leaving Real Madrid but that Sami Khedira  is going to remain at the Santiago Bernebeu despite widespread reports he was off to Arsenal or Bayern Munich. Read the full story here.

22.40 BST: That's all for tonight, but we'll be back soon with the very latest on Angel Di Maria, Mario Balotelli and plenty more besides.

22.37 BST: Barcelona claimed a 3-0 win over Elche in their first match under Luis Enrique, and the boss has been talking about his decision to send Gerard Deulofeu out on loan to Sevilla.

22.14 BST: Sky Sports News is reporting that Southampton have made a bid of 12 million pounds for Tottenham winger Andros Townsend.

21.47 BST: Sky Sport Italia reports that Roma are stalling on talks over the sale of Medhi Benatia to Bayern Munich because they want 30 million euros and Bayern are offering an initial 24 million euros. You can read more about that one over on Football Italia.

21.27 BST: Southampton manager Ronald Koeman has revealed he is not yet done in the transfer market this summer... "We know inside what we need in the time we have," he told the Basingstoke Gazette. "We will work to bring in one or two players. We need that -- it will be a long season in England."

21.12 BST: There have been a few murmurs this summer that Alvaro Negredo is set for the Manchester City exit door... Well, according to Calciomercato.com, AC Milan are in negotiations with City over the possibility of a loan deal for the striker, who is believed to be open to the move.

20.40 BST: According to Sky Sport Italia, Modibo Diakite is ready to terminate his contract with Sunderland for a return to Serie A. Diakite, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Fiorentina, does not appear to be part of Gus Poyet's plans at the Stadium of Light and is apparently in negotiations to terminate his contract by mutual consent.

20.18 BST: Tottenham are reportedly after a new centre-back with Michael Dawson set for Hull City, and one name to be tipped for a move to White Hart Lane is Sevilla's Federico Fazio... Mauricio Pochettino is keeping quiet on the subject, however, with the Spurs boss telling Sky Sports: "A lot of names are being linked with us but I never comment."

19.55 BST: Andre Ayew has been linked with a switch to Swansea and Leicester of late, although apparently the Marseille forward is not keen on a move to either Premier League club...

19.32 BST: An update on the future of Lukas Podolski for you now... According to the Daily Telegraph, the Arsenal forward is due to hold talks with Juventus this coming week about a move to Italy. Juve would prefer to take the player on a season-long loan with a view to a permanent deal, although the Gunners would rather sell him now.

19.20 BST: Sunderland have still yet to complete a deal to sign Fabio Borini, but manager Gus Poyet says the club should know soon whether they have been successful or not in their bid to acquire the Liverpool forward's services...

18.53 BST: Sticking with Angel Di Maria, Xabi Alonso has wished his soon-to-be former Real Madrid teammate well at Old Trafford...

For those that don't speak Spanish, the former Liverpool player wrote: "Thank you for everything Fideo! I wish you the best, even though it is Manchester United :) We will never forget the zigzag in extra time in Lisbon."

18.48 BST: Louis van Gaal has had more to say to Sky Sports on the prospect of Angel Di Maria joining Manchester United... He said: "I think always the club has to announce it and when we are thinking it's the right time for a transfer then we come to you and say, 'OK, we have bought that player or the other player,' but at this time we cannot say anything."

18.43 BST: More details for you now on Silvestre Varela's move to West Brom... The winger has joined the Baggies from Porto on a season-long loan deal. "He's a fantastic addition to our squad,'' head coach Alan Irvine said. 

Read the full story here.

18.34 BST: Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal refused to give anything away about Angel Di Maria's impending transfer when speaking to Sky Sports after his side's 1-1 draw with Sunderland today... When asked does he like the Real Madrid player, he replied: "Yes, but I like [Lionel] Messi also. I like [Arturo] Vidal also. We have a lot of players in this world that I like but they cannot come always to Manchester United."

18.11 BST: Petr Cech has not had the most enjoyable few weeks, having lost his place in the Chelsea team to Thibaut Courtois, but things could be looking up for him according to the Daily Express... Apparently, Paris Saint-Germain are interested in the goalkeeper and he is seriously considering a loan move to the French capital.

17.35 BST: DONE DEAL! A coup for West Brom!

17.33 BST: According to various reports, Arsenal are set to bid for William Carvalho of Sporting Lisbon but only after they know the outcome of their Champions League qualifying match against Besiktas in midweek. The likely bid will be around the 25 million euro mark though the Portuguese club are likely to want more. 

17.24 BST: ​Looks like 'the Chilean Xavi' could be signing for Leicester City in a four million pound deal from Basel. 

17.20 BST: Crystal Palace fans may not have too much longer to wait for a new signing after reports from Tuttosport claim the Eagles are looking to bring in Zdravko Kuzmanovic from Inter Milan. Apparently the Serbian is available for as little as 4.5 million euros though Leicester City are also keen on bringing in the midfield enforcer.

17.13 BST: And another from Gianluca Di Marzio who claims Abel Hernandez' agent has been speaking to Benfica about a move to Portugal. The Palermo forward's agent Pablo Betancourt said: "Benfica did not present a formal offer for Hernandez, but it's true that we have had some contact with Palermo and that the negotiation is progressing."

17.07 BST: Santos full back Emerson is in Italy and about to sign for Palermo according to Gianluca Di Marzio. Apparently the left-footed Brazilian arrived in Palermo yesterday for a medical, flew to Rome to do some sightseeing and is now back in Palermo to dot the I's and cross the T's on a contract with the Serie A new boys.

17.02 BST: Surprise destination for the highly sought after Belgian. Money clearly talking as yet another European talent heads to the Middle East.

16.55 BST: A perfectly valid question Mr Castles...

16.50 BST: More suitors for Lukas Podolski amid rumours he is leaving Arsenal. According to Bild MLS sides New York City FC and New York Red Bulls are both interested in signing the German World Cup winner.

16.41 BST: MANCHESTER UNITED AGREE FEE FOR ANGEL DI MARIA! Apparently a 75 million euro fee with 15 million further to be paid in add-ons. Read the full story here.

16.39 BST: Amid speculation he could be off to Porto for nine million euros...

16.30 BST: PSG midfielder Clement Chantome, who could leave the French champions on a free transfer next summer, is reportedly a target for Greek champions Olympiakos. It had been reported that Lyon were set to sign the Frenchman but an inability to shift Clement Grenier from their roster meant the deal was doomed to failure.

16.22 BST: Another potential departure? He has been the subject of a 10 million pound bid from Southampton this week.

16.18 BST: Spurs shedding their squad numbers to find room for the new additions it seems. Read the full story here.

16.15 BST: AC Milan's Adriano Galliani and Pippo Inzaghi have met at a hotel in Forte dei Marmi to discuss who is going to replace Mario Balotelli according to Gianluca Di Marzio.

Adriano Galliani and Pippo Inzaghi are plotting as we speak who is going to replace Mario Balotelli.

16.03 BST: To back up what Carlo Ancelotti said earlier, looks like Sami Khedira is back in the Real Madrid fold!

15.56 BST: ESPN FC correspondent Miguel Delaney with some info on the structure of the Angel Di Maria deal.

15.50 BST: Looks like a little veiled dig from AC Milan boss Pippo Inzaghi to Mario Balotelli. He is being reported as saying: "We are certainly losing a great player, but we gain something more in team spirit and hunger." That can be taken in a few ways. Looks like a dig to me...

15.42 BST: Crystal Palace caretaker manager Keith Millen is quoted in the Croydon Advertiser as saying the club are expecting to be busy going into the final week of the transfer window. He said: "We've got a list of players (targets) and the chairman's looking into it.The transfer window closes next Monday and everyone knows we need to strengthen the squad."

15.34 BST: An insight into the future of Geoff Cameron at Stoke. A departure has been on the cards all summer long.

15.28 BST: Strange one from Tuttomercatoweb who claim Manchester City no longer want to sign Ross Barkley because they have been quoted 50 million pounds for the England international. Ok then...

15.15 BST: And more from Valencia as Plaza Deportiva reports Los Che are struggling to get rid of Jonathan Viera because of his ludicrously high wages which is putting off potential suitors.

15.06 BST: Valencia are going to be back in for Fernando Llorente after getting encouragement to make a bid for him. Juventus are keen for Radamel Falcao and are confident of aloan deal, opening the door for a 20 million euro move back to Spain for the big forward, according to reports.

Could Fernando Llorente be headed back to Spain with Valencia?

14.54 BST: According to Sport Bild, Werder Bremen are prepared to let Ludovic Obraniak return to France in a 1.5 million euro move. However, no club is named, only that they will receive the fee they paid Bordeaux for him seven months ago.

14.43 BST: Tottenham Hotspur are STILL in the hunt for central defenders despite coming extremely close to signing Federico Fazio from Sevilla. According to The Mirror, Franco Baldini is keen to bring in Fabian Schar from Basel.

14.30 BST: Monaco are still interested in bringing Gokhan Inler to the club to partner him with Joao Moutinho in midfield. But Tuttosport claim Napoli are not interested in selling for less than 15 million and that the club are concentrating on who they can bring in rather than who they can offload.

14.17 BST: With the news earlier that Benjamin Stambouli may not be joining Marseille, it turns out Fiorentina, PSG, St Etienne and Swansea City have now all been encouraged to make another bid, according to Tuttomercatoweb.

14.10 BST: DONE DEAL! Brighton confirm the signing of Adrian Colunga from Getafe.

14.04 BST: So reports in Greece from Sport 24 claim that Kostas Manolas will sign for Roma when Medhi Benatia completes his move to Bayern Munich. Only thing, they get their information from Il Messaggero who say Roma COULD sign Manolas when Benatia leaves. 

13.53 BST: An interesting poll from AS on Real Madrid fans wanting Angel Di Maria to stay. And above, a sad picture of the Argentine saying goodbye to teammates.

13.45 BST: Sunderland are chasing Liverpool striker Fabio Borini... well we all knew that already. But Gianluca Di MArzio claims The Black Cats are also looking to sign Lille forward and former Chelsea man Salomon Kalou.

13.30 BST: The reason Benjamin Stambouli's move from Montpellier to Marseille is delayed? L'Equipe say it is because Stambouli's father Henri, is angry at Vincent Labbrune for sacking him last year from the south coast club's coaching staff. Bitter and pathetic or what!?

13.19 BST: Juventus are hopeful of Monaco making a decision tomorrow to allow Radamel Falcao to sign for the Bianconeri, according to Gazzetta dello Sport. The report claims Juventus will loan the Colombian marksman and will have to pay his full 12 million euro a year wages should a deal go through.

Radamel Falcao is desperate for a move away from Monaco and could have played his last game for them already.

13.05 BST: According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Inter will only look to sign Ezequiel Lavezzi if they can offload both Fredy Guarin and Ricky Alvarez from their wage bill.

12.58 BST: Borussia Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp has fired a warning shot at anyone interested in signing Marco Reus. Quoted in Mundo Deportivo today, the German manager said: "I have a good feeling that in the case of Reus, he will continue playing for Dortmund for a long time."

12.50 BST: Toulouse striker Wissam Ben Yedder is attracting interest from across the Pyrenees according to L'Equipe. The likes of Villarreal and more interestingly Barcelona are hopeful of signing the 24 year old who has scored 33 goals in two seasons in Ligue 1.

12.41 BST: The list of strikers AC Milan have been linked with is longer than the one Tuttosport reported according to Gazzetta dello Sport. There are the four mentioned below as well as Samuel Eto'o, Fred, Jo, Leandro Damaio, Alvaro Negredo, Roberto Soldado, Javier Hernandez and Luis Muriel. It's just getting silly really.

12.32 BST: According to Tuttosport, AC Milan are dreaming of Radamel Falcao, unlikely to get Mattia Destro and are hopeful of signing Alessio Cerci. However, should none of these deals come to fruition, they will attempt to sign Maxime Lestienne from Club Brugge. However...

12.25 BST: A fairytale story and a new destination for Italian legend Alessandro Del Piero in Hungary.

12.20 BST: Inter Milan are dreaming of Ezequiel Lavezzi according to Tuttosport. The report claims Inter want to bring the Argentine from PSG but can't afford the 30 million euro asking price and so will attempt to loan him with a view to a permanent move next season.

12.13 BST: Well, well, well... Karim Benzema is under pressure at Real Madrid to score goals having scored just one in his last 15 games. And now AS are reporting that Real Madrid have just one week now to find a replacement. 

12.04 BST: Carlo Ancelotti has also just told the press conference that Sami Khedira will be staying at Real Madrid. He said: "Khedira is happy here and he is staying. The matter is resolved & he stays at Real Madrid."

12.00 BST: The bandwagon continues to roll...

11.55 BST: ESPN correspondent Dermot Corrigan with a Diego Simeone quote on Toby Alderweireld - a target for Monaco and Arsenal.

11.47 BST: Arsene Wenger is going to be a busy man in the next eight days according to The Express. The Gunners boss wants to sign Kostas Manolas from Olympiakos, William Carvalho from Sporting Lisbon and Sami Khedira from Real Madrid, to take his spending over the 100 million pound mark.

11.39 BST: Jackson Martinez has told reporters he is fully focussed on Porto amid interest from AC Milan. He said: "I think only about working. I think only to give the maximum on the field. Even if they get 20 or 30 proposals I would continue to focus only on the club with whom I have a contract, with Porto."

11.30 BST: Napoli are set to make a decision on whether to sign Marouane Fellaini tomorrow after the Belgian finds out how bad his ankle injury is according to Tuttosport.

Will Marouane Fellaini get a move to Napoli to try and rebuild his career? We'll find out tomorrow.

11.21 BST: Tuttosport are reporting that Juventus have not yet made an approach to loan Lukas Podolski from Arsenal but may make an enquiry on Monday. They are also not worried by the threat of Galatasaray stealing in for his signature as Cesare Prandelli has said the German would be a 'luxury signing' and is not needed at the club just yet.

11.14 BST: Zenit St Petersburg manager Andre Villas Boas has told reporters he is not interested in signing Inter Milan midfielder Fredy Guarin and doesn't know where the links have come from. So there!

11.05 BST: Hellas Verona are extremely confident of signing Nico Lopez from Udinese on Tuesday according to Gianluca Di Marzio. The attacker is keen on a move to Verona and is expected to fly there over the weekend to confirm the last few details.

10.58 BST: ESPN FC correspondent Jonathan Johnson with a snippet about the Angel Di Maria move and PSG's last hope.

10.53 BST: Lazio and AC Milan have registered interest in signing Marco Van Ginkel from Chelsea according to The Mirror. Reports claim the Dutchman youngster has told Jose Mourinho he wants to be played or he wants to go and has even asked about the possibility of a loan move.

10.44 BST: DONE DEAL! Apparently Porto have slapped a 50 million euro release clause on the contract as well as Vincent Aboubakar joins from FC Lorient for just 3 million euros. However, Porto have only bought Lorient's 30% stake in the player.

10.32 BST: Would be another very shrewd signing for West Brom boss Alan Irvine.

10.23 BST: Napoli have offered Tottenham midfielder Sandro a four-year deal to sign for the club. According to the Daily Star Spurs are willing to sell but will want more than the 10 million pounds offered by Aurelio De Laurentiis for the Brazilian's services.

10.16 BST: Naturally, Danny Welbeck was going to attract interest now he is reportedly been told he can leave. But not many would have linked him with a move to Galatasaray. According to Turkish sports newspaper AMK, the England striker is wanted by boss Cesare Prandelli. Who knew!?

10.07 BST: Norwich City continue rebuilding a squad hopeful for an immediate jump back into the Premier League.

10.00 BST: Celtic are hoping to tie up a 2.4 million pound deal with Sporting Gijon for Stefan Scepovic as a replacement for Newcastle-bound Virgil Van Dijk according to The Express.

09.50 BST: If QPR can't agree a deal with recently sacked former Lokomotiv Moscow midfielder Lassana Diarra, boss Harry Redknapp will move for Bolton Wanderers captain Jay Spearing, according to The Mirror. However, with interest from Aston Villa, The Hoops will have to move fast to sign either defensive midfielder. 

09.42 BST: Spurs are going to sign Danny Welbeck at some point this week according to The Mirror. The report claims Daniel Levy is set to sanction a 15 million pound move for the striker who Mauricio Pocchetino is said to want to play through the middle - his preferred position.

Danny Welbeck could finally get his chance to play through the middle if he secures a move to White Hart Lane.

09.34 BST: Fulham are going to try and sign former Liverpool goalkeeper Nikolai Mihaylov from Hellas Verona on a one-year loan deal. The Daily Mail claim Liverpool are also in for a goalkeeper and could make a move to sign the Bulgarian who will cost around 400,000 pounds.

09.27 BST: Stoke City boss Mark Hughes has told reporters goalkeeper Asmir Begovic is NOT for sale and wouldn't be moving 'sideways' if he was sold. Hughes said: "We don't anticipate any movement from our point of view, it's not a discussion to be had. Begovic will be here and he'll be our keeper. That's how I want it to remain to be honest. It's hands off if anyone comes in. His next move won't be a sideways one to a club on the same level. It will be one of the top clubs in world football."

09.15 BST: Sami Khedira has been QUOTED as saying he is about to leave Real Madrid. Bild have quoted the World Cup winner as saying: "Right now I'm a little out of Real Madrid. But until August 31 anything is possible." Arsenal, Chelsea, Man Utd and Bayern Munich are now all on red alert!

Manchester United to make huge signing

Angel Di Maria is heading to Manchester United.

That's the headline news from this round of Transfer Talk as it appears Ed Woodward has awoken from his slumber to help sort arguably the deal of the summer. This is big.

Di Maria is surplus to requirements at Real Madrid (er, why?) and manager Carlo Ancelotti recently confirmed he asked to leave. Marca reckon United could land Di Maria next week.

This talk spread like wildfire when Spanish football expert and Sky Sports pundit Guillem Balague tweeted about the deal, which will see United have a new No. 7.

The news emerged around 7 p.m. BST on Saturday evening and ESPN FC have checked out the story, too -- have a look there for news on another United target.

Pod off

This one makes sense: Lukas Podolski is set to leave Arsenal. He was left out of their match against Everton on Saturday and an exit is on the cards.

With Arsene Wenger landing Alexis Sanchez earlier this summer and Theo Walcott edging closer to a return, Podolski's chances of regular game time look bleak.

But fear not, Lukas, for you are still wanted somewhere. Tuttosport report the German is admired by Juventus, who will seek talks with Arsenal on Monday.

Bayern win Benatia battle

You know, Javi Martinez's knee injury could be one of the worst things to happen ... for Manchester United.

The Bayern star is out for the rest of the season and Pep Guardiola has reacted by entering the market -- and La Gazzetta Dello Sport believe he has snapped up Roma's Medhi Benatia. The centre-back was strongly linked with a switch to Old Trafford but Louis van Gaal has seemingly missed out on the presence he needs in his back four.

Douglas in limbo

Poor Douglas. He's so close to sealing a move to Barcelona, but the switch has stalled in quite curious circumstances. Luis Enrique originally wanted to keep the full-back at Sao Paulo for a season on loan but the Brazilian club's president, Carlos Miguel Aidar, helpfully reminded Barca that their transfer window has now closed and they can't take him back.

So, where does this leave the 24-year-old? Marca reckon a fee has been agreed for Douglas but Barcelona will call a meeting to decide on what to do.

Khedira saga to end

It has been a long summer of being linked with every club that has, or is perceived to have, a hole in the centre of midfield for Sami Khedira. After rejecting a contract extension from Real Madrid, manager Carlo Ancelotti confirmed Friday that the German international will be leaving Madrid sooner rather than later.

Sami Khedira still isn't fit for duty in midfield. Is time running out for him to regain form?
Sami Khedira's career at Real Madrid looks to be nearing its conclusion, as he's strongly linked with both Arsenal and Napoli.

According to Metro, the deal to take him from Spain will be finalised in the coming week, while the publication cites El Confidencial as reporting that Khedira has already left Madrid to sign with a mystery club.

The London paper has tied that to Arsenal's long-rumoured interest in the midfielder, claiming that it will be the Gunners that will sign Khedira, for a fee of 12 million pounds. La Gazzetta dello Sport, meanwhile, has Italian side Napoli leading the chase for the imminently leaving Khedira.

PSG baiting with Rabiot

Earlier this week, Arsenal had been linked with a move for Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Adrien Rabiot -- which, of course, drew interest from a host of other clubs also keen on the 19-year-old Frenchman. The Parisians initially said that Rabiot wouldn't leave the club for less than 24 million pounds.

The Daily Express report that PSG, fearful of losing the player for nothing next summer after interest in Rabiot cooled following the exorbitant fee mooted, have now placed a 9.5-million-pound price on his head to drum up a bidding war between Arsenal and Chelsea.

Laurent Blanc said "I believe he [Rabiot] will leave, but I can't tell you where."

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