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Transfer Talk: Man United to pursue Sancho over new centre-backs

ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno explains who he feels should be Zinedine Zidane's first signings after rejoining Real Madrid.

The transfer window for Europe's biggest clubs is closed, but click here for all the deals, and keep track of who has joined the big boys. Transfer Talk will continue to scour the world's media and set correspondents loose to see what's on the agenda for the summer.

TOP STORY: Sancho is a go for Man United

Manchester United's centre-backs have come under scrutiny over the course of the Premier League season, but manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks set to give them his renewed backing after telling Old Trafford bosses of his wish to get stronger in other areas of the pitch.

The right-wing position appears to be the Norwegian's priority, and atop his shopping list is Borussia Dortmund and England winger Jadon Sancho. The 18-year-old has been a revelation in the Bundesliga since his £8 million move from Manchester City last summer, and United could be set to splash out more than 10 times that fee to secure their man in the close season, according to The Sun.

Meanwhile, the Red Devils are continuing to keep tabs on long-term targets plying their trade in Serie A. Juventus' Douglas Costa and Ivan Perisic of Inter Milan remain on the United radar as Solskjaer looks to sharpen his attacking options while counting on his coaching staff to improve his current crop of defenders.

LIVE BLOG

23.59 GMT: That's going to bring Wednesday's live edition of Transfer Talk to a close. Thanks very much for joining us, and be sure to check back in a few short hours when we return with the latest gossip pulled from Thursday's back pages.

21.22 GMT: AC Milan lead the race for 17-year-old Newell's Old Boys prodigy Juan Sebastian Sforza, according to Calciomercato, with Roma, Inter, Juventus, Napoli, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City all chasing the central midfielder's signature.

19.45 GMT: Looking increasingly likely to be handed the Manchester United manager's job on a permanent basis, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has told the Red Devils board the club needs strengthening in four positions -- right-back, left-back, right wing and attacking midfield -- and that he'll be handed a £200m transfer kitty this summer, the Metro reports.

18.08 GMT: According to Calciomercato, Barcelona have told 25-year-old centre-back Samuel Umtiti, who has missed nearly five months this season with a knee injury, that he's free to leave the club, with Manchester United and Manchester City reportedly interested in the France World Cup winner.

16.31 GMT: NYCFC are closing on a striker, but the club are being coy about who that might be -- perhaps because the player will be stepping into the sizeable boots left by David Villa.

"He's a good player. That's all I could say," NYCFC director of football operations Claudio Reyna told SBI. "We're excited and we have to be a little bit patient and there was always a lot of targets and finding the right one but we feel good. We feel, first of all, with the group we have now, until the player comes in, that we can get results.

"But he's only going to add more depth and competition into the team and obviously someone who can score goals."

15.49 GMT: When Paul Pogba was rubbish, Man United were keen to sign Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic. Now the Frenchman is good again, they've cooled their interest, say the Evening Standard.

15.14 GMT: Porto striker Moussa Marega has been in good form recently with six goals in the Champions League and another 10 elsewhere, and that has attracted the interest of Leicester and West Ham, according to Portuguese outlet Correio da Manha.

Marega, 27, won't need convincing as he told SFR Sport last summer: "For me, I think this is perhaps the best time to try my luck elsewhere, to live a new experience, to know a new championship, the Premier League, for example."

Better luck this time around.

14.27 GMT: Liverpool, Manchester City and PSG are all reportedly interested in Napoli striker Lorenzo Insigne, but his father has played down talk of a move.

"Lorenzo is doing very well in Naples and does not intend to go anywhere else," he told Napolimagazine.com. "The captain's armband is a source of great pride for him and for our entire family."

13.51 GMT: Defender Jacob Mensah, who plays for Ramsgate FC and has been compared to Manchester United's Chris Smalling (presumably because they both played non-league football), is set to sign for Crystal Palace ahead of Wolves, according to Football Insider.

12.42 GMT: Chelsea defender David Luiz looks set to sign a new contract with the club.

The 31-year-old said when asked if he would still be at Chelsea next season: "I think so. We are talking with the club. Everybody knows I love this club, I feel comfortable here and am happy here. I am doing my job very well so I think a lot is going to happen. I have the job best job in the world so I have to be motivated every single day. I love football, if I didn't love football I would not be playing anymore."

12.17 GMT: Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski, who has previously been linked with a move to Major League Soccer, said he thinks the German champions will be his last European club.

Lewandowski said he is unlikely to join another side in Europe, with his wife having previously admitted she hoped her husband would end his career with a club in Los Angeles.

"I can imagine it [Bayern being my last European club], because it's a great city, a great club that will develop even more from next season," Lewandowski told Przeglad Sportowy. "I want to break more records. The thought that I could make my mark on the pages of history could make me stay in Munich."

11.43 GMT: Borussia Dortmund have been watching to see how loanee Jeremy Toljan has been getting on at Celtic, but the Guardian maintain they have been getting a bit distracted by Kieran Tierney's performances on the other side of the pitch and are now looking to sign him.

10.52 GMT: Anyone else getting a little bored of who Real Madrid will sign?

According to El Chiringuito TV, Real want Lazio and Serbia midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. The 24-year-old was one of Europe's hottest properties this time last year but a series of underwhelming performances have seen his transfer value drop. So while he was once a €100m, he might be available for around €50m now. Oh football, you're so fickle.

10.03 GMT: Speaking of Bale, according to AS, Tottenham are keen on loaning the Wales winger as long as Madrid pay the majority of his wages.

Of course Bale would probably be delighted with that as he used to play for Tottenham, but we're not so sure that Madrid will go for it. They'd rather recoup some of the €100m they spent on him back in 2013.

09.43 GMT: Contrary to reports in England, Barcelona are not thinking about signing Alexis Sanchez from Manchester United.

Sanchez played at Camp Nou from 2011-14 before leaving for Arsenal. But Mundo Deportivo claim they aren't interested in him now.

Perhaps a swap deal with Gareth Bale at Real Madrid should be on the cards? That would be something!

09.13 GMT: PSG coach Thomas Tuchel has had something to say about reported Real Madrid interest in Kylian Mbappe this summer.

He told Canal+: "We have him -- that is the difference."

And then on beIN Sports, he was asked about Neymar and Mbappe's futures after Zinedine Zidane's return to Real Madrid. "I have nothing to say about these rumours. Zidane is back at Real, so they will be harder to beat next season. We have contracts with the players -- there is nothing else to say."

08.42 GMTTyC Sports report that Atletico Madrid are prepared to make a €30m move to sign Bayer Leverkusen's Argentinian striker Lucas Alario this summer.

Alario has scored three goals in 19 Bundesliga appearances, although the 26-year-old has only started in seven league games and would be open to leaving Bayer this summer in search of more playing time.

08.00 GMT: See above that Jadon Sancho is one again in the thoughts of Europe's top clubs. And quotes from Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc will certainly give them some encouragement.

"Jadon will play for Borussia Dortmund in the coming season. We are planning with him," he told Sport Bild. "Even though all that touting, specially coming from the English clubs, will grow stronger if he continues like that. He will not retire at Borussia Dortmund. That's also part of the truth. I am far from attaching a price tag on him. But I maintain: Even the biggest clubs in the world would not be able to stem his transfer." 

PAPER TALK

Mourinho wanted four for Real Madrid

It's all a moot point given that Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema reportedly vetoed the appointment of Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid but El Chiringuito report that the Portuguese had some interesting transfer plans.

Namely, he would have ditched Thibaut Courtois and signed former Man United charge David De Gea, while also dipping into the Premier League for Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk and Tottenham pair Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen. Which would have probably cost about £400m in total.

The Mirror report that Eriksen is the club's top target under Zinedine Zidane -- and of course Eden Hazard is a priority too. It will certainly be an interesting summer in Madrid.

Arsenal's bargain hunt leads to Brazil

Arsenal may be set for a summer of prudent spending, and manager Unai Emery appears to be looking to the Brazilian fourth tier as a source for up-and-coming talent. The Gunners have asked about Brazilian teenage forward Gabriel Martinelli, who has been impressing for Sao Paulo-based Ituano, according to The Daily Mail.

It's not just the Gunners who are keen on Martinelli, with Manchester United and Barcelona also keeping an eye on the youngster.

Meanwhile, Emery remains keen to acquire the services of Argentine left-back Nicolas Tagliafico, but only if they can fight off competition from Atletico Madrid for the Ajax man. Tagliafico has been a mainstay in the Dutch side since his arrival in January 2018, and was part of the team that dismantled Real Madrid in the Champions League last week.

Tap-ins

- AC Milan's pursuit of Nice winger Allan Saint-Maximin is in the balance, after scouting reports from the Rossoneri revealed doubts about the Frenchman's character, per reports in Italy. The Parisian-born wide man had previously impressed Milan boss Gennaro Gattuso with his pacy displays in Ligue 1 this season.

- Newcastle United and Southampton are leading the chase for highly-rated MK Dons striker Recoe Martin, who has been dubbed "the new Dele Alli." Championship high-flyers Norwich are also keeping track of the 18-year-old, who caught the eye following a five-goal blitz in just 17 minutes in a youth league win over Leyton Orient last week.

- Zinedine Zidane's return to Spain could spell an end to Juventus' pursuit of Real Madrid's out-of-favour left-back Marcelo. The 30-year-old Brazilian is currently being kept out of the team by academy graduate Sergio Reguilon, but Zidane looks set to offer the full-back a fresh start at the Bernabeu.

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