Nicolas Otamendi joining Man City, Thomas Muller eyes Man United move?
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Top story: Nicolas Otamendi heading to Man City?
We've had several minor updates about Valencia's Argentine defender swapping La Liga for the Etihad throughout the day but the story is picking up pace. Having been a significant target for Man United for much of the summer, Man City are first in line for the 27-year-old centre-back, with just a contract negotiation -- specifically, a buy-out clause -- holding up a deal.
Otamendi has reportedly refused to train with his current club and even said "goodbye" to his teammates, according to Valencian newspaper Las Provincias. And AS has backed up this account with their own, noting that Eliaquim Mangala would head to Spain on a season-long loan deal in exchange.
Per Sky Sports News' sources: "It is in progress, I think it is getting closer but not yet finished. City are not open to paying his €50 million buy-out clause but are including Mangala on loan. Valencia will not sell for less than his buy-out clause unless they get Mangala."
It differs slightly from AS reports that a fee of €40m had been agreed between City and Valencia for the 27-year-old, with an official unveiling of the Argentine defender on Monday. We'll have to wait and see if Otamendi represents an upgrade for Manuel Pellegrini's side. When asked about the possible move following Sunday's game, the Chilean was coy: "I cannot confirm nothing and I don't talk about rumours."
23.00 BST: Right. That's our lot for another busy Sunday of Transfer Talk. Check ESPNFC.com again soon for the start of Monday's rolling, all-day live blog with the latest news, whispers, reports and rumours from around football! Just over two weeks left before the transfer window slams shut, too...
22.50 BST: One final note about Mateo Kovacic, who will reportedly join Real Madrid this week. Roberto Mancini benched him for Inter's final preseason game, which ended 0-0 against AEK Athens.
22.45 BST: It would appear that Valencia midfielder Sofiane Feghouli will NOT be joining Fenerbahce this summer, at least according to the Turkish club themselves. A move was rumoured earlier in the week but Fenerbahce have used official channels to deny any connection.
Feghouli, 25, was reportedly the focus of an €8m bid by Fenerbahce despite Valencia's valuation of €10m for the Algerian's services. Feghouli's contract with the Spanish side expires next summer so if he's going to leave (reports in Spain suggest extension talks have begun), it'll have to be this summer.
22.35 BST: Here's an update to an earlier tidbit (around 13.30 BST) involving Fabio Coentrao. the Portuguese left-back had been connected with a move to Inter as part of the deal sending Mateo Kovacic to the Bernabeu but Coentrao's agent has since said that it's Benfica or bust for his client.
Following the above claim by La Gazzetta dello Sport, Ernesto Bronzetti refuted the idea of the 27-year-old switching from La Liga to Serie A.
Per AS, Bronzetti said "I don't think Madrid are planning to let him leave -- at least not at the moment. If the situation changes however, Coentrao will only go to one club and that's Benfica."
It's obviously too early to tell whether that comment would derail a possible swoop for Kovacic, the young Croatian midfielder who has been linked to Liverpool and other Premier League clubs already this summer.
22.10 BST: Given that Nicolas Otamendi is the news of the day, some perspective from Spanish football expert, Guillem Balague feels right.
Tomorrow all confirmed: Otamendi to City for €40m and Mangala on loan. Real Madrid would have paid €50m buy out clause if Ramos had gone— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) August 16, 2015
It's a bit staggering to consider Manchester United's purported role in all of this. They targeted Ramos and failed before being linked with Otamendi and eventually receding from the chase. Equally, it's nice that Valencia would have tried to wring an extra 10 million from their La Liga rivals had the chain reaction begun.
21.50 BST: Are Watford on the verge of another mildly intriguing signing?
The newly promoted Hornets have unveiled a dizzying array of new faces already this summer: Jose Holebas, Etienne Capoue, Valon Behrami, Miguel Britos and Stephan Berghuis are just five of their 11 moves to this point but they should be close to adding a 12th: former West Ham, Real Madrid and Bologna midfielder, Alessandro Diamanti.
The 32-year-old has been training with Quique Flores' side but neither Watford nor Diamanti's current club, Guangzhou Evergrande, have confirmed any kind of transfer. We're sure it will happen soon.
21.30 BST: Quite a fun summer all round in Milan, really. AC Milan have spent handsomely to improve but Inter have also been quite hasty about re-arming so they can stake a credible claim on the Serie A title for the first time in a long time.
With the big news involving the Nerazzurri today hooked upon the Real Madrid target Mateo Kovacic, reports from Sky Sports suggest a trio of others could be joining the young Croatian midfielder in an imminent exit.
That lucky (or unlucky, depending on your perspective) trio? Right-sided defender Davide Santon, central defender Marco Andreolli and full-back Danilo D'Ambrosio. All three have promise but are considered surplus to requirements at Inter. All three also have possible suitors: Sampdoria fancy Santon, Bologna are curious about Andreolli and it's believed that AS Roma might covet D'Ambrosio, though that might require sending Adem Ljajic to Inter in return.
The turnover continues apace!
21.10 BST: Is Suso heading back to Spain? Calciomercato.com believes that he is. According to them, the former Liverpool prospect and Milan stop-gap is set to leave the San Siro on a season-long loan, with Malaga or Villarreal reportedly interested.,/p>
The 21-year-old has struggled to make an impact in Milan, appearing just three times under former manager Filippo Inzaghi after spending 2013-14 on loan at another La Liga side, Almeria.
20.45 BST: Are West Ham giving up on the possibility of a reunion with a former goalkeeper?
Sky Sports believes that after earlier consideration this week, Slaven Bilic and Co. are moving on from a bid for QPR shot-stopper Robert Green. The 35-year-old represented the Hammers from 2006-12 before moving across London. West Ham could use the help following Adrian's red card in last weekend's season opener but it's understood by Sky sources that the club is focused on addressing other areas of weakness instead.
20.25 BST: Sunday's big Premier League game at the Etihad has sent some serious ripples through the transfer rumour mill, it seems! The Mirror reports that Chelsea are joining the list of interested clubs hoping to sign hotly rated Ghana and Cagliari prospect, 21-year-old Godfred Donsah.
Donsah notched two goals in 21 Serie A appearances for the relegated side and appears eager to find a new home for the 2015-16 season. Bologna, Fiorentina and Juventus are also reportedly interested but Jose Mourinho is sending representatives to Italy in order to secure the midfielder's services, according to the Mirror.
20.10 BST: Manchester United's manager, Louis van Gaal, has made no secret of the club's intentions to bring Thomas Muller to Old Trafford this summer, but the Bayern Munich forward is seemingly happy at one of the best -- and richest -- clubs in the world.
However, the Express reported the Germany international has "confided in friends that he is interested in a move to United alongside [Bastian] Schweinsteiger, who has been delighted with his Old Trafford welcome."
It doesn't hurt, of course, that Muller would command a huge pay raise at United, though Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said the Bundesliga champions would be "out of our minds" to sell the 25-year-old. Whether Bayern are ready to lose two key players to United in one summer is up for debate, but money talks -- and United are making all the noise these days.
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19.30 BST So, Manchester City will reportedly confirm the signing of Nicolas Otamendi tomorrow but will they continue to show interest in Wolfsburg playmaker, Kevin De Bruyne?
Sources at the German club have told Sky Sports that they're expecting a revised bid for the prodigious Belgian. Man City have previously tried and failed with an offer of £47 million for the 24-year-old but curiously, this comes after Wolfsburg's sporting executive, Klaus Allofs, stated on the record that he's yet to see an actual offer.
19.05 BST: Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood is eyeing up Wolverhampton Wanderers' England U-21 international Benik Afobe to lead the line at Villa Park, reports the Express.
18.40 BST: Bayern Munich legend Lothar Matthaus has said that his former side should attempt to bring Jose Mourinho to the Allianz Arena should Pep Guardiola leave the club next summer, reports the Mail.
18.15 BST: DONE DEAL FC Augsburg have confirmed that left-back Baba Rahman has joined Chelsea on a permanent deal. Read more.
18.05 BST: The Express reports that Bayern Munich may struggle to hold on to World Cup winner Mario Gotze, whose difficult relationship with manager Pep Guardiola has alerted Arsenal to a potential move.
17.50 BST: Everton are considering a move for Dynamo Kiev's Andriy Yarmolenko, reports the Liverpool Echo. The Merseyside publication reports that the Toffees have been alerted to the possibility of a deal as the Kiev vice-captain is keen to ply his trade in the Premier League.
17.10 BST: Here's an "update" of sorts regarding Nicolas Otamendi and Manchester City from a respected sports writer.
Spanish press saying Otamendi joining city from Valência for €40m. Mangala, who City paid more than £40m for, going other way on loan.— tariq panja (@tariqpanja) August 16, 2015
It would be odd of City to seemingly give up on the expensive Mangala, but we've seen weirder things in recent seasons.
17.00 BST: If you're a Milan fan who has been energised by the summer's signings so far (Andrea Bertolacci, Alessio Romagnoli, Luiz Adriano, Carlos Bacca) and you're eager for more transfer talk involving the Rossoneri, I'm sorry to disappoint you. New manager Sinisa Mihajlovic is having none of it.
Said Mihajlovic ahead of Milan's season-opener vs. Perugia, "I don't talk about players I don't coach. I don't talk about the transfer market with you [the media], but with my directors. They know where we need to take action, if action is needed... I'm satisfied. I think we're at a good point."
Milan have been linked with Sampdoria midfielder Roberto Soriano, with whom Mihajlovic worked last season -- a link that perhaps prompted the Serbian manager's pointed (or cryptic) comments.
16.30 BST: Is Jonny Evans on his way out of Manchester United? He might be. The Sun reports that West Brom are lining up to relieve Louis Van Gaal of the Northern Ireland international defender, who appears surplus to the Dutch manager's plans. LVG started Chris Smalling and Daley Blind as the centre-backs against Aston Villa on Friday night, which probably says it all, really.
16.20 BST: Hull boss Steve Bruce has had a rough few months. After overseeing the Tigers' relegation from the Premier League back in May, he's now focused on surviving a fire-sale at the KC Stadium before the transfer window shuts: in particular, the link of Tom Huddlestone to West Ham.
"We have lost 14 players and brought in five or six but the transfer window is still three weeks away," he said. "I've had enquiries from 15 clubs about players. It's no secret they have buy-outs [clauses]. There's three weeks to go -- I hope we can hold on to them but if I was a betting man I would be betting against it."
16.06 BST: Here's a simple equation. Everton need depth, particularly in midfield, and Barcelona have an Alex Song they're happy to get rid of on a permanent basis. Win-win-win, right?
The 27-year-old midfielder is on the fringes of the Camp Nou crowd and isn't likely to ever work his way back in but after a decent loan spell with West Ham last season, a permanent return to the Premier League might well be on the cards. Spanish media outlet Fichajes reports that Everton have nipped ahead of the Hammers in pursuit of a transfer, with a fee of around £3.6 million apparently agreed between the two clubs.
15.30 BST: It's expected year after year that Atletico Madrid will make plenty of moves every summer and their latest hopeful signing, Matias Kranevitter, has expressed his confidence at completing a switch from River Plate to the Calderon.
The 22-year-old Argentine midfielder (who also holds an Italian passport) has been linked with Diego Simeone's side this offseason but is waiting for a formal offer as Atleti have struggled to sign Thiago Motta from Paris Saint-Germain.
Said Kranevitter to the Spanish press: "I know River are in contact with Atletico Madrid and trying to reach an agreement. I'm waiting patiently, but I'm sure things are going to work out for all parties concerned.
As far as I know, the two clubs are in talks. It would be a great step to take in my career... it would be great to mark Messi at the Club World Cup, but it would be even better to have teammates [in competition with him]."
15.02 BST: We've known all summer long that Man United need defensive reinforcements, what with their apparent "negotiations" with Real Madrid for Sergio Ramos being a particularly tedious transfer window tidbit. But then there was some "interest" in 27-year-old Valencia defender Nicolas Otamendi... so what would you say if we told you that it's now Manchester City who are "leading" the "hunt" for the Argentine's services?
A Valencian newspaper, Las Provincias, reckons that Otamendi has "said goodbye" to his teammates and asked to be excused from the week's training sessions in order to complete a move. As with everything transfer-related, we reserve the right to retain a healthy sense of skepticism until the player in question is holding up a different club's shirt or scarf, is shaking hands with a new manager or is signing a piece of paper in another team's conference room.
14.30 BST: Fanatik in Turkey says Bestikas want Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini.
14.11 BST: This Mateo Kovacic story is moving along very quickly. You'll no doubt be aware that Inter have been after Wolfsburg winger Ivan Perisic all summer but they haven't met the German side's asking price. Well, Perisic's agent has told FCInter1908 that he hopes Kovacic's apparently imminent move to Real Madrid will "unlock negotiations" for his client to move to the San Siro, saying: "I think we can do it."
13.51 BST: Lucas Leiva's agent, Kia Joorabchian, is reportedly set to be in Italy tomorrow. The Liverpool midfielder could join Inter Milan.
13.29 BST: Inter Milan boss Roberto Mancini has been talking about transfers. Well, sort of, and not about Mateo Kovacic or Fabio Coentrao, but he says there may be more business done. "We still need a bit more time," he told Inter Channel. "There's still a fortnight to go and the club are doing some great work. Let's see."
13.05 BST: The Mirror reports that West Ham are interested in signing former Spurs midfielder Tom Huddlestone from Hull City, with other reports suggesting he could move in a swap deal for Morgan Amalfitano.
12.35 BST: La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Real Madrid are closing in on the signing of Inter Milan's Mateo Kovacic, who was also linked with Liverpool. AS reported yesterday that Inter are interested in Real full-back Fabio Coentrao, and Gazzetta suggests he may be involved in the deal.
There are suggestions elsewhere that it might even be a done deal...
This just in: reports in Italy state that Inter midfielder Mateo Kovacic has signed for Real Madrid for a 30-million-euro fee. More to come.- AS English (@English_AS) August 16, 2015
12.23 BST DONE DEAL Midfielder Simone Verdi has joined Eibar on loan from AC Milan:
Simone Verdi, con la camiseta del Eibar y estampando su firma por una temporada con el Club armero. pic.twitter.com/cjx5RHro9M- SD Eibar (@sdeibar) August 16, 2015
12.20 BST: West Bromwich Albion are planning "lots of business" before the close of the window and could "surprise a few people" with their signings, manager Tony Pulis has said.
The Baggies have made a disappointing start to the new season, having lost 3-0 to Manchester City in their opening game before drawing 0-0 at newly-promoted Watford.
12.15 BST DONE DEAL Striker Cristian Herrera is on the move, joining Almeria from Elche. The 24-year-old becomes their ninth signing of the summer:
11.43 BST: Chelsea have been linked with Everton defender John Stones all summer -- but now the Premier League champions believe one or other of the Manchester clubs could scupper their hopes of bringing him in, says the Daily Mail.
11.30 BST: Laurent Blanc has said he hopes want-away midfielder Thiago Motta will still be a Paris Saint-Germain player by the time the transfer window closes.
Italy international Motta has spoken of his desire to leave, with his former clubs Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan his most likely destinations.
PSG want him to see out the remaining year of his contract in the French capital and Blanc, speaking at a news conference, described the situation as "delicate"
11.05 BST: Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe is keen to move back to the south of England -- and that means he could be leaving the Black Cats only months after arriving, the Mirror reports. Defoe signed a three-and-a-half year contract when he moved to the Stadium of Light, with his goals helping them to avoid relegation last season.
10.57 BST: Real Madrid coach Rafa Benitez wants to bolster his squad with the addition of a striker and another midfielder - but the latter is only likely to arrive if Asier Illarramendi moves on, Spanish newspaper AS says. It claims that if Benitez could choose between a forward and a midfielder, he would go for the former.
10.33 BST: Speaking of Kevin De Bruyne -- which we're doing quite a lot -- AS has a piece about Real Madrid's interest in him. It would seem that it may have come out of a very poor translation of these Dieter Hecking quotes, though, when the Wolfsburg boss was talking hypothetically about the likes of Barcelona and Real having an interest. He was actually saying that they weren't interested, but the wonky translation has been going around Europe and creating mayhem.
10.24 BST: You can read the full Kevin De Bruyne story here.
09.59 BST: Wolfsburg sporting executive Klaus Allofs has told Bild am Sonntag "there is no official offer" for Manchester City target Kevin De Bruyne. He maintains that the player is likely to stay but also says he can't guarantee it. More to come on that one in a little while.
09.46 BST: El Confidencial says David De Gea might hand in a transfer request to secure a move to Real Madrid. Sounds like he's finding the whole saga almost as testing as Transfer Talk is.
09.19 BST: Can QPR hold on to Charlie Austin after suffering relegation? Leicester, Newcastle, Tottenham and West Ham have all been linked, and the striker told Sky Sports: "Every player wants to play in the Premier League and I would be lying if I said I didn't want to be there, but I've got to work hard while I'm at QPR and try my best."
08.50 BST: Manchester United are apparently offering €5 million less than Pedro's €30 asking price (or buyout clause, depending on which report you believe), and it doesn't sound like Barcelona will accept it. Sport has some details for you.
De Gea back but not first choice
It's difficult to know where the truth lies in the standoff between Van Gaal and David De Gea, with both the coach and the No. 1 goalkeeper perhaps preferring the facts remain a little grey until the future is decided.
Despite Van Gaal's suggesting the Spaniard will not play for United before the end of the transfer window, the Mail reported the 24-year-old was restored to first-team training Saturday, after reportedly working with the reserves in midweek.
While De Gea is a step closer to normality at United, amid Real Madrid's interest, the Mail also said he will not replace Sergio Romero as Van Gaal's No. 1 for the time being. Marca reported De Gea's mind is made up to leave, and he will pass up a contract at United worth €14 million more than Madrid's offer over the next six seasons to seal a move.
Madrid could do with putting us all out of our misery and making a concrete offer at this point, but they are content to play chicken with the clock ticking down -- and official news would ruin the fun of Transfer Talk now, wouldn't it?
Mourinho lines up defensive reshuffle
Chelsea have expertly navigated the transfer market in recent seasons, with thrifty acquisitions and mind-boggling sales, and Jose Mourinho argued the club's recent fine work gives them a "moral right" to make big signings, regardless of Roman Abramovich's backing.
Transfer Talk will leave the response to that observation to fans of Chelsea's rivals. But Chelsea have been handed a boost, with the Express reporting Everton are set to sign Argentinian defender Ramiro Funes Mori for around £8 million as a replacement for Stamford Bridge target John Stones.
Chelsea could make room for Stones by selling another young talented centre-back, with the Mirror reporting Roma have launched a £25 million bid for Kurt Zouma, after selling Alessio Romagnoli to AC Milan for £22 million.
Zouma has huge potential, but a big Giallorossi offer would go some way toward paying Stones' asking price of £36 million. With the Mail reporting Chelsea are worried either Man City or United will steal Stones from under their noses, there could be movement soon.
Belgian waffle baffles City
It should be clear to us all that Man City can have Kevin De Bruyne if they pay Wolfsburg the right price, but the Mirror reported the Premier League club insist they have not launched a £50 million bid for the playmaker's services and are "baffled" by reports to the contrary.
City have apparently seen an initial £47 million bid for the 24-year-old Belgium international rejected, and the Mirror suggested the Bundesliga side value their star player at closer to £60 million -- a figure that could prove too much even for a club of City's means.
In contrast, the Star led with De Bruyne being available for £50 million, so a potential second bid from City might prove to be key in ending this saga one way or another.
Spurs seal striker deal
Tottenham lack firepower if Harry Kane is not firing on all cylinders, as witnessed Saturday in their frustrating draw with Stoke. But the Mirror reported Spurs are set to follow the sale of Roberto Soldado to Villarreal and the purchase of Clinton N'Jie by signing Saido Berahino for £20 million next week.
The paper said the West Brom striker has agreed to a contract of around £100,000 a week and will move to White Hart Lane in the coming days, bringing a drawn-out negotiation process to an expensive end.
There's some disappointing news for Spurs fans as well, with the Mirror suggesting their left-back target, Monaco's Layvin Kurzawa, would prefer a move to Paris Saint-Germain -- though that's not so much stating news as observing a simple fact of life.
Defoe ready to ditch Sunderland
Sunderland fans can be forgiven for heading into the new season with a bit of hope, but two crushing defeats have made them early favorites for relegation.
The Black Cats will need strong characters to avoid that fate, but the Mirror reported star striker Jermain Defoe, signed from Toronto FC just seven months ago on a huge wage, is ready to quit the Stadium of Light for a club in the south.
The 32-year-old forward has three years left on his current deal, but Sunderland could cash in, given his age and the need for new recruits. Speaking of which, the Mirror also reported manager Dick Advocaat is targeting Nantes centre-back Papy Djilobodji, who would be available for around £5 million -- an absolute steal if he can stop Sunderland from conceding fewer than three goals a game.
- Newcastle's 2015-16 campaign hasn't started brightly, with just one point from two games, but the Mirror reported the team is on the edge of taking its summer spending to £50 million by closing in on Marseille winger Florian Thauvin for around £12 million.
- Mario Balotelli's Liverpool career looks dead and buried, but the Italy international has taken to Twitter with this cryptic tweet. If you can decipher where he's going, you win a prize -- our admiration.
Patience and result will arrive soon Belive me or not! What you guys doing? ��- Mario Balotelli (@FinallyMario) August 15, 2015
- West Ham's curious 2015-16 campaign has seen them crash out of the Europa League, beat Arsenal away and then lose at home to Leicester. The Mirror reported manager Slaven Bilic is targeting Hull midfielder Tom Huddlestone for a bit of solidity in the centre, though some would say Reece Oxford offers more defensive maturity at just 16 years old.
- PSG boss Laurent Blanc admitted he "hasn't got a crystal ball" to assess Thiago Motta's future but is hoping both parties can work through the "delicate situation" to see the midfielder stay at Parc des Princes.