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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Napoli's Gonzalo Higuain has Juventus medical, Riyad Mahrez close to Arsenal

With the summer transfer window upon us, rumours are picking up steam. Transfer Talk has its finger on the pulse when it comes to the latest gossip. Follow our live blog below, and see the latest deals here.

Top story: Gonzalo Higuain has Juventus medical, Mahrez close to Arsenal

Juventus have agreed to pay Gonzalo Higuain's €94.7 million release clause, Sky Sport Italia reports, with the Napoli striker said to have undergone a medical with Bianconeri officials in Madrid on Friday. Based on the latest reports, he could complete a move as early as the middle of next week.

Meanwhile, Eurosport claims Arsenal will soften the blow of having missed out on Higuain by announcing a €50m deal to sign Riyad Mahrez "imminently." Mahrez, who was named PFA Player of the Year as Leicester won the title last season, scored 17 goals and set up 11 in 36 Premier League appearances.

LIVE BLOG

23:04 BST: In the latest on Gonzalo Higuain, journalist David Amoyal (writing for Gianluca Di Marzio's website) says that the Argentina forward and Juventus are ready to join forces. He should be in Turin as early as Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.

Higuain is not the club's only ongoing negotiation, of course. Amoyal reports that Paul Pogba is still waiting for the details of his move to Manchester United to be agreed upon by all parties involved. His agent Mino Raiola remains by his side in Miami, anticipating the conclusion of what could become the most expensive purchase in the history of the game.

22:52 BST: Arsenal's "imminent" signing of Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez has been all of the talk, and while nothing has come of it yet, Arsene Wenger has assured the Gunners' faithful that the club "are very active on the transfer market but it's a long time to go."

"We look still for an offensive position and defensive position," Wenger told the Arsenal website. "Everybody has a handbrake on at the moment. It's a little bit of a poker game until mid-August in my opinion. So we might have to be good at poker."

22:32 BST: Liverpool left-back Brad Smith looks set to join winger Jordon Ibe at Bournemouth, according to the Sun. It's a move that would make sense, particularly given that Smith appears to be the most vulnerable defender in Jurgen Klopp's side at the moment.

The Cherries are reportedly offering £6m for the 22-year-old, and with the manager already on the hunt for a left-back to compete with Alberto Moreno, it's an offer that will be tough to refuse.

22:12 BST: Claudio Ranieri told Sky Sports that he is "confident" reported Arsenal target Riyad Mahrez will stay at Leicester City following the club's 6-5 win on penalties over Celtic in the International Champions Cup. 

Mahrez appeared to be enjoying himself against Brendan Rodgers' side; he was applauded  by both sides' fans after a stellar performance in the victory.

"Did you see how Riyad is happy? He played so well, worked so hard for the team, he scored a goal and he stays with us," Ranieri said after the match. "It is very important [to keep him]. He is one of our stars."

21:48 BST: Lazio have completed the signing of striker Ciro Immobile from Sevilla, according to Gazetta dello Sport. The deal is reported to be worth €8.5m.

The move marks Immobile's first permanent return to the Serie A since leaving Torino to join Borussia Dortmund in 2014.

21:25 BST: Rumours of Kolo Toure's medical at Celtic were circulating earlier and now the defender looks set to be confirmed as a Celtic player on Sunday, according to Hoops boss Brendan Rodgers.

While Wednesday's Champions League qualifier at Astana might be too soon for Toure to make his debut, Rodgers said he may be ready to take part next weekend.

"I would be more looking towards the weekend and some game time against Barcelona to assess where he is at, before the following week. All being well, he will get a good week's training," said Rodgers.

21:06 BST: The Portland Timbers are close to signing long-time Newcastle United centre-back Steven Taylor.

The Oregonian, the major daily newspaper in Portland, Oregon, wrote that making a move for a strong centre-back would make sense for the Timbers, as starters Nat Borchers and Liam Ridgewell will both be out of contract at the end of the season.

ESPN FC analyst Taylor Twellman tweeted that he saw Taylor inside Providence Park ahead Saturday's game between the Timbers and LA Galaxy on ESPN. 

20:51 BST: Stoke City are doing everything they can to sort out paperwork in a timely manner in order to introduce Ramadan Sobhi during the team's training camp in Florida.

Mark Hughes told the Stoke Sentinel that the 19-year-old, who is set to arrive from Egypt champions Al Ahly, has all-but signed with the club. Stoke need to secure a visa and a work permit for the player.

"The process is a bit frustrating but there's no problem. We hope to see him out in America or if not, when we get back," said Hughes.

20:30 BST: Bayern Munich manager Carlo Ancelotti told ESPN FC that he will not look to sign another attacking player in the wake of Arjen Robben's hamstring troubles and Mario Gotze's return to Borussia Dortmund.

"We are well covered in those positions," said Ancelotti ahead of the club's summer tour to the United States. "Even with Robben picking up a little injury, he'll be ready for the start of the season, so all positions are really well covered. We don't need another player, we are enough and we are competitive."

20:08 BST: Roma have reportedly told Arsenal that they have 24 hours to finalize a loan deal with the club for goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny

Szczesny kept nine clean sheets in 42 appearances for the Serie A side last campaign, but Express reports that talks of a new deal have been dragged out due to the North London side demanding the keeper's wages be covered in full.

If the deal is not concluded  by this time, then Roma will pursue AC Milan's Diego Lopez as suggested earlier.

19:42 BST: Earlier we told you that there has been plenty of speculation about the future of Axel Witsel, who has been linked with Inter Milan, Napoli, Chelsea and Everton.

Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio is now reporting that Everton have agreed to a €30m fee with Zenit St Petersburg for the transfer of the Belgium midfielder, who is still on holiday following Euro 2016.

Will we see him at Goodison Park this Premier League campaign?

19:15 BST: On Friday, a source in South America told ESPN FC's Peter O'Rourke that Manchester City are in talks to sign Brazilian sensation Gabriel Jesus.

Now, it appears the race to sign the 19-year-old is heating up, with reports from Brazil stating that Jose Mourinho is eager to bring him to Manchester United. The Mirror suggests that the Red Devils have told Palmeiras they are willing to dish out €35m for his services.

18:54 BST: Well, reported Arsenal target Riyad Mahrez's transfer worth might continue to rise if he keeps up his scoring ways.

Mahrez struck early in the second half of Leicester's meeting with Celtic in the International Champions Cup, a beautiful curling shot into the opposite corner. His team went on to win 6-5 on penalties.

18:40 BST: Fiorentina are reportedly interested in a loan move for Liverpool winger Lazar Markovic.

Markovic, 22, made 18 appearances on loan at Fenerbahce during 2015-16, and has since gone on to feature for Liverpool in the Reds' 5-0 pre-season victory over Fleetwood on July 13.

Gazetta dello Sport is reporting that Fiorentina hope to sign Markovic on a season-long loan, anticipating a permanent deal at the end of the 2016-17 campaign worth around £8m.

18:25 BST: Reported Arsenal target Riyad Mahrez and Leicester City are level with Brendan Rodger's Celtic side at half-time in the International Champions Cup.

18:10 BST: It's no secret that Wilfried Bony has struggled since moving from Swansea City to Manchester City in a deal worth £25m a mere 18 months ago.

Now, the Swans appear ready to launch a bid to re-sign the Ivory Coast forward. While Everton have looked to be the favourites to sign Bony as a part of a deal that would bring John Stones to the Etihad, Swansea are emerging as contenders to bring him back to Liberty Stadium, where he was a hit after arriving from Vitesse in July 2013.

17:50 BST: Leicester City have initiated a £6.25m bid for Poland midfielder Bartosz Kapustka, according to the Daily Mail

Kapustka, 19, started for Poland at Euro 2016 and plays his club football for Cracovia. Gary Lineker praised the left-footed player for his performance against Northern Ireland, describing him as "deliciously talented."

Everton, Southampton, Cologne and Ajax are among the other clubs interested in signing the young winger.

17.30 BST: Earlier we told you how Manchester United legend Paul Scholes had given his opinion on the club's pursuit of Paul Pogba. He has also been speaking about another new recruit at Old Trafford, Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

"We don't know about Zlatan," Scholes told Sport Witness. "He is 34 and probably going to play only for a year. Okay, he is a fit lad. I think with Ibrahimovic, he was playing in a team at PSG and they created a lot of chances, it was easy for him to score goals in that league.

"This Manchester United team isn't as good as the PSG team. It might be in time to come [but] he is going to have to do more for himself in the Manchester United team. More than he did at PSG."

17.22 BST: Reported Arsenal target Riyad Mahrez starts for Leicester against Celtic in the International Champions Cup. Will Arsene Wenger be watching?

17.12 BST: It seems to have gone quiet on the John Stones to Manchester City trail of late, but the Mirror reckons a fresh bid of £50m will be lodged for the England international defender soon.

Apparently the deal had collapsed with City reluctant to pay more than £40m but such is Pep Guardiola's desire to sign Stones talks have been revived and a move could be on the cards again.

16.36 BST: Amid talk of interest in Alexandre Lacazette and Riyad Mahrez, Arsene Wenger has promised Arsenal will spend money this summer if the right players are available.

He said: "We are very active and if we find the right candidates, we will spend the big money. We have already spent big and, until now, nobody has made a bigger transfer than we have in the country.

"Even if Pogba might fly from Italy to England, I don't know, but overall we have made a big investment already and we are active. I believe we are active, very are active every day, and it's not over. Today we are in July and the transfer market finishes on Aug. 31.

"A lot happens many times in the last week so it's a long time to go but we are active, we are working."

16.04 BST: Marseille have signed Aaron Leya Iseka, the younger brother of their departed striker Michy Batshuayi, on loan from Anderlecht.

15.40 BST: The agent of Roma defender Kostas Manolas has talked up a move to the Premier League for his client.

Speaking to Il Tempo, Ioannis Evangelopoulos said: "The best clubs in Europe want him. There isn't just Manchester City, but also United and Chelsea. I haven't spoken with Roma for a while. Will he remain in the capital? No comment."

15.28 BST: Borussia Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel has said Matthias Ginter is not for sale following reported interest from Arsenal.

"With Ginter, I think everything is said," Tuchel said. "German clubs wanted to sign him and now English clubs want to sign him. I don't know if everything is true or it is just rumours but we made our point clear -- Matthias is our player and stays our player."

15.02 BST: Kolo Toure has been speaking ahead of his mooted move to Celtic. He told Sky Sports: "It's a great football club and for me I'm ready for a new challenge. I'm here to play, to be ready and to help the team as much as I can."

14.41 BST: Roma are ready to rival Chelsea for AC Milan goalkeeper Diego Lopez, Gazzetta dello Sport reports. Lopez is expected to leave the Rossoneri this summer and link up with Antonio Conte at Chelsea as back-up to Thibaut Courtois, but having failed to land Wojciech Szczesny as expected Roma are now in the race to sign the Spaniard.

14.17 BST: Leicester, Southampton and Everton are all trailing Poland international midfielder Bartosz Kaputska, according to the Daily Mail. Premier League champions Leicester currently lead the way having made a £6.25m bid for the versatile 19-year-old who plays for Cracovia. Ajax and Cologne are also said to be interested.

13.50 BST: Here's confirmation of the news we brought you earlier that Guillermo Varela has left Manchester United to join Frankfurt on a season-long loan with a view to a permanent move.

13.27 BST: Manchester United legend Paul Scholes is an outspoken pundit nowadays, and he has had his say on potential recruit Paul Pogba, a player he knows from his time at Old Trafford.

Scholes told Sport Witness: "He was a very talented young player, I played with him and I knew how good he was. He played for the first team maybe once or twice, but from my understanding he was asking for too much money."

And of Pogba's current status, Scholes added: "I just don't think he is worth £86m. For that sort of money, you want someone who is going to score 50 goals a season like Ronaldo or Messi. Pogba is nowhere worth that kind of money yet."

13.00 BST: Kolo Toure pictured in Glasgow on Saturday morning ahead of undergoing a medical with Celtic.

12.45 BST: Massimiliano Allegri didn't comment on the potential arrival of Gonzalo Higuain at Juventus or the expected sale of Paul Pogba to Manchester United, following the Bianconeri's International Champions Cup penalty shootout defeat against Melbourne Victory. 

12.16 BST: West Brom have turned their attention to Brighton defender Lewis Dunk, according to the Mirror, and have made a £7m bid for the 24-year-old defender who is a long-term target for Baggies boss Tony Pulis.

12.01 BST: There has been plenty of speculation about the future of Axel Witsel, and Zenit Saint Petersburg boss Mircea Lucescu confirmed there are offers on the table for the Belgium international midfielder who has been linked with Inter Milan, Napoli, Chelsea and Everton.

He told CalcioMercato: "He has spoken with the club and he has asked to leave. He has two offers from Italy and two from England. The club placed a high valuation on him because he is an important player, one of international level. I know that he has been offered a contract renewal, but it won't be easy.

"He's had important proposals for the last two years, the transfer market is long and has its own logic. We are talking about a player who can do well in many teams."

11.44 BST: The BBC reports Kolo Toure, recently released by Liverpool, is having a medical at Celtic where he would link up with Brendan Rodgers the man who took him to Anfield.

Former Arsenal and Manchester City defender Toure might be 35 years old now but he showed for Liverpool last season he is still capable of performing to a high level and his experience will prove very useful to Celtic.

11.25 BST: It looks like a big deal is in the offing. While Juventus are in action against Melbourne Victory in the International Champions Cup it has been reported by Sky Sport Italia that the Bianconeri are willing to meet Gonzalo Higuain's release clause and a deal is being agreed with Napoli for the Argentina striker.

11.06 BST: Arsene Wenger could be about to pull off one of the transfers of the summer, if Eurosport are to be believed. They reckon Riyad Mahrez could be leaving Leicester to join the Gunners. A €50m move could happen very quickly it is said. Watch this space.

10.48 BST: The arrival of Andre Gomes at Barcelona looked to have ruffled Ivan Rakitic with one of the Croatia international's representatives tweeting "It's time to go" apparently in reaction to the signing. However, Rakitic has tried to clear up any doubts about his happiness at Barca with the below post on Instagram.

10.20 BST: James Rodriguez insisted he had no plans to leave Real Madrid on Friday. But El Confidencial in Spain reports that hasn't put Manchester United off making a £54m bid for the 25-year-old Colombia international.

09.58 BST: Well, that didn't take long. Sunderland have replaced Sam Allardyce with David Moyes. The former Manchester United and Everton manager has signed a four-year deal with the Black Cats and will be sure to arrive at the Stadium of Light with some transfer targets in mind. The club are yet to sign anyone this summer.

09.50 BST: Liverpool fans should be looking forward to seeing Georginio Wijnaldum in action, that's according to the man who brought him to the Premier League, Steve McClaren.

He told ESPN FC: "He's fit, flexible and mobile. I remember one or two goals where he made unbelievable 80-yard sprints to get from one end into the other and in the box.

"He always arrives in the box at the right time and has that composure to be able to finish the move, which not a lot of players have. There's more to come -- he's just got to find the best position."

09.32 BST: The new Serie A fixture list inevitably dominates the front cover of Gazzetta dello Sport, but there is also talk of Napoli moving for Sevilla's Ciro Immobile as a replacement for Gonzalo Higuain. Big shoes to fill.

09.08 BST: Frankfurt have struck a deal to sign Guillermo Varela from Manchester United on a season-long loan after the Uruguayan fell behind Matteo Darmian, Antonio Valencia and Timothy Fosu-Mensah in the pecking order under Jose Mourinho.

08.53 BST: Real Madrid are not worried by Andre Gomes' move to Barcelona, according to Marca, as he wasn't viewed as a first-team option at the Bernabeu. It says the European champions could yet move for Paul Pogba, although there doesn't seem to be much suggestion that there's any real intent to hijack Manchester United's deal at this point.

Man City to offload Toure to chase Kroos?

Manchester City will have to shift Yaya Toure off their wage bill if they are to afford the signing of Toni Kroos from Real Madrid in a £60m deal, according to the Sun.

Kroos is viewed as the long-term heir to Toure at the Etihad, but the Germany international's £240,000-a-week salary has left even mega-rich City "reluctant to make their move," the report says. It now seems that Toure will have to go before Kroos arrives.

Toure, who reportedly takes home £230,000 a week, has been linked with a string of sides across the globe. However, the uncertainty in the boardroom at Inter Milan and the closure of the Chinese Super League's transfer window leaves few suitors capable of matching the riches he commands in the Premier League.

In order to afford Toni Kroos, Pep Guardiola, left, may have to find a buyer for Yaya Toure, right.

Conte needs five more signings

New Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has told club owner Roman Abramovich that the West London outfit must sign five more players before the end of the transfer window or they won't be able to challenge for the Premier League title, according to the Mirror.

The report claims that Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia and technical director Michael Emenalo were also present at what was described as "a stormy two-hour summit" after Rapid Vienna's 2-0 win against the Blues in Austria last weekend. Abramovich was reportedly unimpressed by what he heard from Conte, the former Italy coach, about the state of the squad -- but could be willing to back his manager. The Russian does have concerns about increased competition from Manchester United and Manchester City in the transfer market.

Chelsea have already invested around £63 million this summer in the signings of Michy Batshuayi and N'Golo Kante, but Conte wants another striker and a defender, at least. Romelu Lukaku and Alvaro Morata have been linked to strengthen the club's attack, while Leonardo Bonucci, Kalidou Koulibaly and Kostas Manolas have been mooted as potential defensive arrivals.

Tap-ins

-- Crystal Palace have upped the ante in the race to sign Saido Berahino by offering £20m plus add-ons for the West Brom striker, the Guardian claims. Earlier in the week, Stoke boss Mark Hughes confirmed the Potters had made a bid for Berahino, thought to be in the region of £17m plus £3m add-ons.

-- The Mirror reports David Moyes wants to make Micah Richards his first signing upon taking over at Sunderland, and Moyes will attempt to sign the former Manchester City and Fiorentina defender from Aston Villa for £5m.

-- Aston Villa and Norwich are set to battle it out over Fulham striker Ross McCormack, with Newcastle and Hull also following developments, according to the Daily Mail. Expected to sign for about £10m, the Scottish striker scored 23 goals in the Championship last season.

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