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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Liverpool agree Christian Benteke deal; Man United eye Bale, Muller and Pedro

As always, Transfer Talk has its finger on the pulse when it comes to all the latest rumours and gossip. See all the latest deals here.

TOP STORY: Liverpool close in on Benteke

Liverpool have reached an agreement with Aston Villa over the payment terms for the £32.5 million transfer of Christian Benteke, sources have confirmed to ESPN FC, with the striker to undergo a medical in the next 48 hours.

Meanwhile, Manchester United are determined to splash even more cash than the near-£80 million lavished on their four summer signings so far, and the Mirror reports that another £95 million could be going on Gareth Bale.

United are still interested in the 26-year-old despite Real Madrid repeatedly rebuffing Ed Woodward's advances, while the Express reports that Louis van Gaal will turn to Bayern Munich forwards Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller -- the latter a top target along with Barcelona's Pedro, according to ESPN FC sources -- to complete a title-challenging squad.

LIVE BLOG:

22.58 BST: That's going to do it for today's live edition of Transfer Talk. Thanks very much for joining us, and please check back in just a few hours as we return with all the juiciest rumours ripped from the headlines of Monday morning's papers.

22.44 BST: Jose Mourinho is prepared to cut his losses on Juan Cuadrado after shelling out £26 million on the Colombian in January, reports the Guardian -- but only if Chelsea's valuation is met, rumoured to be £23 million.

22.15 BST: Juventus are set to turn their attentions to Schalke's Julian Draxler, who has a release clause of €45 million, according to Gianluca Di Marzio. This comes hot on the heels of Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola saying he does not want to sell Mario Gotze.

21.46 BST: Sergio Romero has moved to the top of Manchester United's list, reports the Manchester Evening News, as they search for a replacement for No. 2 Victor Valdes, who has spectacularly fallen out of favour with Louis van Gaal.

21.17 BST: In anticipation of receiving a bid from Manchester United for goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen, Ajax have reached out to Arsenal to enquire about the availability of Wojciech Szczesny, reports the Mail.

20.48 BST: DONE DEAL Sporting have wrapped up the signing of Teo Gutierrez from River Plate. Financial details were not disclosed, but the Portuguese club quickly announced the Colombian international has a release clause of €40 million.

20.19 BST: Are Cristiano Ronaldo's days at Real Madrid? The agent of Iker Casillas, Santos Marquez seems to think so. Marquez was speaking about the Portuguese' €40 million image rights deal with Valencia owner Peter Lim's group Mint Media. The Mirror reports that Marquez is quoted in AS as saying: "That's not normal; it suggests that Cristiano is planning to leave."

19.50 BST: Fulham are planning to take Jake Bidwell across West London as the Cottagers eye the Brentford left-back in a £1 million deal, according to the Mail.

19.21 BST: Newcastle are closing in on another arrival from Anderlecht as 20-year-old defender Chancel Mbemba was pulled from the Belgian side ahead of their Sunday friendly with Lazio. The Mail reports that the Congolese is set for a £7.5 million move to Tyneside, where he'll join up with former Anderlecht teammate Aleksandar Mitrovic.

18.52 BST: Tottenham and Liverpool are set to miss out on Ukrainian international Andriy Yarmolenko as Stoke have had a £13.5 million bid accepted by Dynamo Kiev, reports the Express.

18.23 BST: It seems that Mathieu Flamini's second spell at Arsenal is coming to a close as the Star cites Turkish publication Medya Haber as reporting that the Frenchman will move to Galatasaray in the next 48 hours.

17.54 BST: Even though Manchester United have already said that Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez isn't for sale this week, transfer guru Gianluca Di Marzio reports that Tottenham are interested in adding the Mexican international to their strike force.

17.25 BST: Leicester City have made an approach to Chelsea for the season-long loan of Nathan Ake, reports the Leicester Mercury. The Foxes face competition from Newcastle, Aston Villa and Eintracht Frankfurt for the 20-year-old's services.

16.56 BST: The departure of Stefan Savic from Fiorentina edges ever closer as the Montenegrin was pulled from the Viola's preseason squad on Sunday ahead of a proposed £10.5 million deal that will take him to Atletico Madrid, the Star cites Gazzetta dello Sport as reporting.

16.27 BST: AC Milan's new signing Carlos Bacca says it would be "brilliant" to play alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic at the San Siro.

16.05 BST: Here's our full story on Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke confirming that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is not for sale amid reported interest from PSG and Arsenal.

Read more here.

15.50 BST: Lyon fans, here's a video that will bring some joy to your hearts...

15.34 BST: More Manchester United news fresh from their U.S. preseason tour -- Wayne Rooney and Ashley Young have praised the impact of Manchester United's new signings on the squad already.

Find out what Young and Rooney had to say here.

15.22 BST: Manchester United may be readying a bid for Pedro, but ESPN FC's Scott Patterson says that the club's preseason tour already shows the need for Louis van Gaal to recruit more forwards.

- New-look United need striker depth behind Rooney

15.08 BST: Pedro looks to be edging closer to a move to Manchester United, with Marca reporting that the Red Devils will offer Barcelona an initial bid of £18-20 million (€25-29m) next week.

According to the newspaper, Barca have agreed with Pedro to negotiate the player's exit if a bid of €25m comes in, and United are keen to exploit that stance. With the Barca presidential race done and dusted, a move could materialise sooner rather than later.

14.57 BST: Here's more on Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola confirming he has no intention of selling Mario Gotze after the midfielder hinted he could be interested in a move to Juventus.

Click to read here.

14.40 BST: Juan Mata has revealed that he knew about Manchester United's ambitious transfer plans before he signed from Chelsea in 2014.

He said of United's spending over the past two years: "I knew the club was going to have these kind of signings.

"They told me 'you are very important, you are one of the first.'"

14.20 BST: Here's the full story on Michel Platini eyeing a change to homegrown player rules to boost competition as he wants to prevent big clubs from simply collecting the world's best talent.

Click here for more on his plans.

14.08 BST: Bad news for big clubs -- UEFA President Michel Platini wants to stop top teams stockpiling the best players to ensure football remains competitive.

More on this soon...

13.51 BST: Any lingering hopes that Manchester United have of landing Edinson Cavani appear to have been quashed by the PSG forward's representatives.

The Uruguay international's agent says the forward because he will be happy to stay at Paris Saint-Germain after getting assurances he will be used as a striker.

Click here to read more.

13.38 BST: Gregory van der Wiel is keen on staying at PSG but admits he could leave, saying: "I'm at Paris for the moment. You'd have to ask the club [about a transfer]. My future depends on what the club decides to do."

13.25 BST: Pep Guardiola has spoken out about Mario Gotze's future, and denies that Bayern Munich are looking to sell the World Cup winner to Juventus.

"Mario is a top player," Guardiola told a news conference ahead of Bayern's friendly with Inter. "He's a player in my team, and he'll be here for the season which is about to begin. There has been no contact with other teams, and I have nothing else to add."

13.17 BST: Here's our full story on Alexandre Lacazette pledging his future to Lyon.

Find out what the striker had to say here.

Alexandre Lacazette finished the 2014-15 season as Ligue 1's top scorer with 27 goals.

13.00 BST: Ron Vlaar's hopes of finding a new club are on hold after the former Aston Villa captain confirmed he will be out of action for another three to four months due to another knee operation.

Click here to find out more -- get well soon, Ron.

12.42 BST: Another disappointment for Arsenal fans in less than 30 minutes -- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is not for sale, Borussia Dortmund have confirmed.

BVB CEO Aki Watzke confirmed to Bild: "Auba stays with us. He is not for sale!"

12.29 BST: We promised you more on Robin van Persie, and here it is -- the striker believes Louis van Gaal did not give him an "honest" chance of reclaiming his starting spot at Manchester United.

Click to read the full story here.

12.14 BST: Alexandre Lacazette has been linked with Arsenal and Liverpool this summer, but the France international is staying at Lyon next season.

"I want to show those who think that I have my head elsewhere that I'm still here," the 27-year-old told reporters. "I have already said that I want to continue with Lyon. "I have shown that I'm fully committed. It's football that interests me, not money. I hope to have a strong season."

Liverpool fans won't be too fussed with Christian Benteke set to join, but Gunners supporters may be a tad disappointed given that the foward scored 27 goals in 33 Ligue 1 games last season.

12.03 BST: Robin van Persie has been speaking about his former Netherlands and Manchester United coach Louis van Gaal.

Here's a teaser: "I'm a mature player. I'm not stupid. I didn't get angry or emotional. These things are part of football, part of life."

More on this soon...

11.45 BST: Tottenham are closing in on Saido Berahino and will offer West Brom around £15 million for the 21-year-old striker, according to the Mirror.

The England under-21 star is reportedly a priority for Mauricio Pochettino, who looks set to offload Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor to Aston Villa and Sevilla respectively.

11.29 BST: Is Christian Benteke the right man for Liverpool? The Aston Villa striker is a calculated risk, according to WhoScored.com -- take a closer look at the Belgian star's stats in the feature below...

- Benteke a risk worth taking for Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool

11.18 BST: Frank de Boer said it would be a "disaster" for Ajax if Manchester United were to sign Jasper Cillessen, and admits it would be very hard to keep the goalkeeper if Louis van Gaal wanted him.

Click here to read more. 

11.05 BST: Here's our full story on Liverpool have reached an agreement with Aston Villa over the payment terms for the £32.5 million transfer of Christian Benteke, according to Press Association Sport.

Click here to read more.

10.51 BST: More on Christian Benteke -- Liverpool were planning to make their move once Raheem Sterling's sale to Manchester City had been completed, and Press Association Sport reports that Liverpool and Villa have reached a satisfactory conclusion in their discussions with the Anfield club believed to be paying half the £32.5m fee up front.

10.35 BST: The BBC reports that Liverpool's club doctor will now fly from their preseason tour of Australia to oversee Benteke's medical, although the striker is not expected to join up with the tour himself if and when the deal is done.

10.31 BST: Christian Benteke is on the verge of joining Liverpool, according to multiple reports. Sky Sports reports that a deal is agreed, and that the striker will undergo a medical before Wednesday.

10.25 BST: In case you missed it yesterday, Wolfsburg boss Dieter Hecking is confident that Kevin De Bruyne will stay at the Bundesliga club amid interest from man City and PSG.

Click here to read more.

10.15 BST: One for the football hipsters among you -- Arsenal are considering an offer for Man City striker Edin Dzeko, according to the Star.

The paper reports that the 29-year-old striker is on the Gunners' radar, while City could be tempted to sell given the added pressure for places with young new forwards Raheem Sterling, Enes Unal and Patrick Roberts.

10.07 BST: Angel Di Maria's proposed move to PSG could be nearing a conclusion with the Sunday Times reporting that Manchester United are expecting to take a "big loss" on the Argentina international, with the 27-year-old agreeing terms with the French champions and both clubs nearing an acceptable fee.

The silver lining for United (and Ed Woodward) is that selling the club-record £59.7 million signing just 12 months after his arrival from Real Madrid will save the club a cool £11.96m per season in wages.

09.57 BST: Newcastle fans will like this one -- Steve McClaren has confirmed that a deal for Aleksandar Mitrovic is "very close."

After beating Sacramento Republic 1-0, the Magpies boss said: "We are very close to something, There is a lot of speculation and preempting of decisions. But certainly from the feedback back home they are working very hard to bring one or two players back in."

09.42 BST: The fun continues -- here's our full story on Jose Mourinho admitting that he would love to have Juventus star Paul Pogba in his side, but concedes that Chelsea will not be able to afford the midfielder. Let's remind ourselves of his stance...

"I love the Eiffel Tower but I can't have the Eiffel Tower in my garden. I can't even have the Eiffel Tower of Las Vegas."

Superb. Click here to read more.

09.32 BST: Here's our full story on Patrick Roberts joining Manchester City -- pleased with that one, City fans?

09.20 BST: The Press Association reports that the deal for Patrick Roberts is worth around £5 million up front with a further £6m in add-ons.

You may remember that sources told ESPN FC in June that City had agreed a deal with Fulham for Roberts -- told you so...

09.08 BST: Fulham have bid farewell to the 18-year-old winger without revealing a fee, though various reports suggests that City will pay around £11 million for Roberts.

09.05 BST: DONE DEAL Manchester City's English recruitment drive continues with thew club announcing a deal for Fulham starlet Patrick Roberts!

09.00 BST: Welcome to ESPN FC's live, rolling Transfer Talk today -- and we've got some massive news for you lucky lot already...

PAPER ROUND:

Di Maria will have to force exit

Despite a frustrating debut Premier League campaign for Angel Di Maria, Man United are still intent on keeping him. The trouble is that PSG are also keen, and Paris is a tough city to resist.

However, the Mail reports that the Argentina international will have to hand in a formal transfer request if he wants to swap Manchester for the French capital, waiving any rights to a potential lucrative payoff from the Premier League side having only signed a monster deal last year.

And speculation still swirls over David De Gea with AS cheekily picking up on the fact that new signing Kiko Casilla currently has no squad number at Real Madrid as Iker Casillas' former No. 1 shirt sits vacant.

Is that the equivalent of Los Blancos updating their relationship status to "it's complicated," Transfer Talk wonders?

Back to Di Maria -- the Mirror suggests that PSG's interest in the chaotic conductor has improved Manchester City's chances of landing Kevin De Bruyne -- surely another reason for United to block Di Maria's exit.

The paper states that the French champions will end their pursuit of De Bruyne should they land Di Maria, but that could see Wolfsburg raise their asking price for the Belgium star to around £60 million -- serious, serious money.

Benteke waits for top-four clubs

No Christian Benteke news is good Christian Benteke news as far as Aston Villa fans are concerned, with the next official update likely to be his sale after the striker's £32 million release clause was activated by Liverpool.

However, Anfield supporters may also be concerned with the Mirror reporting that the Belgium striker is delaying a move to Merseyside, as he wants to see if Liverpool's offer will flush out a Premier League side competing in the Champions League next season -- that's your cue, Louis.

Villa boss Tim Sherwood is reportedly planning on bringing in Emmanuel Adebayor from Tottenham as Benteke's replacement, while the Mirror also suggests that the Villans are now in a position to meet QPR's £15 million asking price for Charlie Austin.

Failing that, the Mail states that loan starlets such as Man United's James Wilson and Chelsea's Patrick Bamford will do the trick. Go get 'em, Tim.

No Stamford Bridge move for Pogba

Jose Mourinho has ruled Chelsea out of the rich race for Paul Pogba's signature in typically droll fashion: "I think everybody has an interest in Pogba. But there are things you can do and things you cannot do. I love the Eiffel Tower but I can't have the Eiffel Tower in my garden."

Meanwhile, Stamford Bridge misfit Mohamed Salah looks set to continue his renaissance in Italy with a loan move to Roma, but the Mail reports that Mourinho wants 20-year-old left-sided centre-back Alessio Romagnoli as part of the deal.

Toffees to replace Stones with Vidic?

Everton boss Roberto Martinez is determined to keep John Stones at Goodison Park after criticising Chelsea's "methods," while Mourinho has confirmed that the Premier League champions have bid for the 21-year-old centre-back.

The Portuguese coach usually gets what he wants, and the Mirror reports that the Toffees could make a shock move for former Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic.

With top target Angelo Ogbonna joining West Ham and Scott Dann signing a new Crystal Palace deal, Everton will try and tempt Inter defender Vidic back to the Premier League.

Failing that, Middlesbrough starlet Ben Gibson is also high on the list.

Tap-ins

- Mario Gotze appears to be closing in on a move to Juventus -- Corriere dello Sport reports that negotiations are all but completed with Bayern Munich, with the Germany playmaker set to join Juve on a two-year loan deal with an option for the Bianconeri to buy.

- Arsene Wenger is this close to having an Arsenal squad capable of winning the Premier League, but the Mirror reports that the Gunners have been rebuffed in their £5.5 million pursuit of Roma defender Kostas Manolas.

- Samir Nasri is determined not to lose his Manchester City role to new signings Raheem Sterling and Fabian Delph, with the Mail reporting him as saying: "I have never been scared of anyone and it is not today that I am going to be scared of anyone. The only way we will improve is buying players like Raheem and Fabian. They are good additions for the squad."

- New Leicester City boss Claudio Ranieri will join the chase for Sporting Lisbon's £10 million-rated striker Islam Slimani, according to the Express.

- The Mirror reports that Papiss Cisse, Remy Cabella and Emmanuel Riviere head a group of Newcastle players who will be shown toward the St. James' Park exit door as Steve McClaren plans a shake-up of his Magpies squad.

- Crystal Palace will keep up their impressive summer recruitment drive with a £10 million offer for Swansea captain Ashley Williams, writes the Mirror.

- West Ham's latest step towards total domination will be to snare Kevin Mirallas from Everton, with the Mirror reporting that the Hammers have tabled a £6 million offer for the Belgian winger -- that may be vital given that the Telegraph reports Andy Carroll could be out of contention until October.

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