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Transfer Talk: Real Madrid have first dibs if Kante bolts Chelsea

ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop explains how Lionel Messi could add to his already historic career by reuniting with Pep Guardiola at Man City.

The transfer window has closed across Europe, but thankfully, it's never too late to look forward to January! Click here to view the latest transfers and keep up to date with the newest gossip below.

All the major completed transfers | European transfer review

Real Madrid have first option on Kante

Spanish giants Real Madrid have a first option agreement with Chelsea over the potential sale of midfielder N'Golo Kante, Calciomercato reports.

The France midfielder has been the source of great speculation over the course of the last few months, as he continues to establish himself as one of the most consistent players in world football.

All the talk has been about his compatriot, Paul Pogba, leaving Manchester United for the Spanish capital but, according to Calciomercato, Los Blancos now have Kante in their sights.

Such a move would be a second transfer from Stamford Bridge to the Bernabeu in consecutive years, following Eden Hazard's switch this summer.

In terms of the deal itself, the Blues will have to inform Real if they receive any kind of offer for Kante in the near future as we look ahead to the January transfer window.

LIVE BLOG

22.00 BST: We'll close Friday's live edition of Transfer Talk with some gossip surrounding one of Major League Soccer's biggest glamour clubs. Italian transfer guru Gianluca Di Marzio reports that LAFC could be about to add Juventus forward Mario Mandzukic, who would be unable to play for the remainder of the 2019 season, but would move to Los Angeles to train with his new teammates before officially joining for the 2020 season.

20.43 BST: Before Sebastien Haller joined West Ham in a £45m deal, Bayern Munich were interested in adding the 25-year-old striker, only to be gazumped by the financial package on offer in East London, according to the Mail.

19.26 BST: Marca writes that FIFA has approved 16-year-old Giuliano Simeone's move from River Plate to Atletico Madrid, where he will join the youth setup at the club managed by his father, Diego.

18.09 BST: While Lionel Messi and a large faction of the leaders of the Barcelona dressing room have campaigned for Neymar's return to the Camp Nou, Mundo Deportivo reports that there is debate at the board level as to whether bringing the Brazilian back to the Catalan capital is in the club's best interests, or if they'd be better served by instead luring Kylian Mbappe out of Paris Saint-Germain next summer.

16.52 BST: Tottenham have offered midfield star Christian Eriksen an eye-watering £230,000-a-week deal to keep him at the club, amid summer interest from Real Madrid, according to the Mail.

Eriksen, 27, has just one year remaining on his contract at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and the club have reportedly tabled a huge contract offer in a bid to keep the player long-term.

The Denmark international will be free to enter contract negotiations with other clubs in January under the Bosman ruling.

Erkisen has started in just two of Spurs' four Premier League games this season, including in the North London derby.

16.10 BST: Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has said that everyone is at fault over the near departure of star Gareth Bale, adding that he wants to move on from the situation, according to Spanish outlet Marca.

"Here we are all guilty of the things we do right or wrong, we are in the same boat and it will not change," Zidane said. "The players want to change things and they will do it thinking about the team alone and contributing.

"I have always said that Bale is a player who has an impressive quality. When what happened this summer happened everyone knew the situation.

"The one [situation] now will not change. Gareth is with us and I am happy, he too, as the club and the fans. You have to push forward."

Bale scored twice before he was sent off in the final minutes in Madrid's previous game, a 2-2 away draw to Valencia.

15.27 BST: Arsenal summer arrival Dani Ceballos is finding out just how difficult it is to play in the Premier League, head coach Unai Emery said in a news conference on Friday.

Ceballos, who joined Arsenal on a season-long loan from Real Madrid this summer, has started in two of Arsenal's four Premier League games this season and came on as a substitute in the other two.

"Every player, when they're coming to a new competition or team, they need some adaptation," Emery said. "[He] told us he knows in that moment how difficult it is to play in the Premier League, above all against a team like Liverpool.

"He needs that adaptation to move very quickly with us, the new ideas and the opposing teams."

15.00 BST: Jose Mourinho has been out of a job since leaving Manchester United in December...but is he throwing his hat in the ring for the non-vacant Real Madrid post?

14.28 BST: Former Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin Van der Sar has said that David de Gea is not irreplaceable at Old Trafford, saying that the club need to make a decision now over his future.

De Gea's contract expires at the end of the season, meaning that he will be free to talk to other clubs as of January over a free transfer move in next summer.

Despite praising De Gea's level of play, Van der Sar said that he goalkeeper can be replaced if he decides to leave next summer.

The decision needs to come at a certain point," the former United goalkeeper said. "It takes a long time now, so it's a case of 'yes' or 'no', but I'm not a director of United."

"Other goalkeepers can also fill the gap. There are a few Premier League goalkeepers playing at the club who can also take the step up.

"I was 34 when I went to United. So there are lots of opportunities there."

14.05 BST: Manchester United are looking to double the wages of centre-back Victor Lindelof to £150,000-per-week in a bid to ward off interest from rival European clubs, according to the Sun.

Lindelof dismissed talk of a move to Barcelona in an interview with ESPN FC during preseason, insisting that he is "happy" at United, but the Red Devils could look to keep that sentiment going with a huge wage hike.

Head coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is reportedly interested in avoiding making changes to the side's back four, led by summer arrival Harry Maguire, and is confident that the group can bring long-term success to the club.

13.40 BST: Alphonse Areola is hoping to prove he can be Real Madrid's number one as the club's new goalkeeper was unveiled at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium on Friday.

A 2018 World Cup winner with France, Areola joined Madrid on a season-long loan this summer from Paris Saint-Germain, sealing the move in the final hour of the transfer window.

"I know the number one represents a lot at Real Madrid," Areola told a news conference. "It was worn by Iker Casillas, who was one of my idols when I was a child. I think it's a beautiful number. Now I need to prove that I can be number one."

Areola was signed as Thibaut Courtois' understudy after Keylor Navas left Madrid last month to seek first-team opportunities at PSG.

13.00 BST: Barcelona star Lionel Messi has spoken about a reported clause in his contract that means he can leave for free at the end of the season if he wishes.

12.42 BST: Former Paris Saint-Germian forward Jeremy Menez could be on his way back to the French capital... with Ligue 2 side Paris FC.

According to L'Equipe, Menez is set to return to France with talks ongoing with the Parisian side.

Menez left Liga MX side Club America after two years at the club having said goodbye to his teammates via social media last month.

Menez left PSG in 2014, and has since had spells at AC Milan, Bordeaux and Antalyaspor.

12.15 BST: Manchester United are interested bringing Leicester City midfielder James Maddison to Old Trafford, according to the Manchester Evening News.

The newspaper reported that both Manchester clubs are admirers of the England international, with United looking to move for the midfielder next summer.

Maddison, 22, is under a long-term contract with Leicester, with his contract not expiring until 2023.

A move to United would follow in the steps of former teammate Harry Maguire, who made the move to the Red Devils this summer in a world-record deal for a defender.

Maddison joined Leicester from Norwich for £20m.

11.50 BST: Tottenham right-back Serge Aurier has admitted that he wanted to leave the club this summer, but said he has is not concerned about his place in the team, insisting that he has no competition for a starting spot this season.

Speaking to Bal des Productions, Aurier, 26, said: "What competition? There isn't any. I'd simply decided to leave [this summer], which was normal for me."

"Many things were taken into consideration. In the end, I wasn't able to leave.

"It proves the club trust me on a lot of points, and we'll see."

Aurier has been benched in three of Spurs' four Premier League games so far this season, with Pochettino preferring to deploy centre-back Davinson Sanchez in the right-side position in Spur's previous game to Newcastle.

11.35 BST: Former Southampton striker Dani Osvaldo is set for a return to football with Diego Maradona at Argentine Club Gimnasia La Plata, according to the Mail.

Maradona took over as head coach at Gimnasia La Plata last week. His unveiling saw 20,000 fill the Juan Carmelo Zerillo stadium where things got a little wild.

11.03 BST: Barcelona star Lionel Messi said that he isn't sure if the club did everything to bring back Neymar from PSG, he told Spanish publication Sport.

ESPN FC's Julien Laurens weighs up what that says about the current state of the Barcelona dressing room.

10:27 BST: Former Barcelona right-back Dani Alves has said that he could have returned to the club this summer after leaving PSG on a free, Tutto Sport have reported.

The 36-year-old Brazil international joined Sao Paulo this summer, but has admitted that he could have returned to former clubs Bacelona or Juventus.

"I could have returned to Juve as well as to Barcelona ,but I wanted a guarantee," Alves said.

09.55 BST: Borussia Dortmund midfielder Julian Weigl has hinted at being open to a move to French champions Paris Saint-Germain, saying that he is often in contact with former boss Thomas Tuchel.

Weigl, 23, told German outlet BILD: "We (he and PSG coach Tuchel) maintain good relations and we write each other regularly. This time, though, we were not close to a transfer. There were offers, but with my entourage, I decided to stay."

Weigl has made 156 senior appearances for Dortmund since joining the club from 1860 Munich in 2015.

09.05 BST: Jose Mourinho attended a La Liga event on Thursday and was asked about Joao Felix's €126m move to Atletico Madrid this summer.

"I feel special about him as he is Portuguese," Mourinho said. "I think he is very talented. Atletico got an incredible player that at 19, he has a lot of growing up to do.

"The price tag is on his shoulders and will be on his shoulders until somebody pays more for a player and people forget a little bit about it. I think he can cope.

"I don't know him personally but it looks to me that he has a good personality and he can cope with the pressure. I think he will be really interesting to follow. He is in a good team, surrounded by experienced players with a manager that knows what he wants. I believe Atletico is a good place for his development."

08.26 BST: Barcelona goalkeeper Mar Andre ter Stegen is confident Lionel Messi will stay at Barca beyond 2021. Messi has a clause on his contract that allows him to leave at the end of each season should he wish to do so.

"[Gerard] Pique has already said that Messi has earned the right to decide his future," Ter Stegen told reporters during a marketing event. "We are convinced that he feels comfortable in this club and I hope he stays here for many years to come. We want the best to play here and he is key."

Ter Stegen also spoke about Neymar's failed PSG to Barcelona move this summer.

"Nothing can be done now and I'm happy with the team we have," Ter Stegen said. "Would I have liked for him to come? We want the best to be here but we can't do anything about that (Neymar move):"

08.00 BST: Edwin van der Sar is not ruling out a return to the Premier League amid speculation he is on Manchester United's wanted list as their new technical director.

The former United goalkeeper is currently chief executive at Ajax and although the 48-year-old insists he is happy at the Dutch giants, he admits he is open to moving on in the future.

"You never know," said Van der Sar, who spent six years as a player at Old Trafford between 2005 and 2011. "At the moment Ajax is the principle thought where I'm putting all my time and effort in and whatever happens in the future, we will see."

Van der Sar was part of a staff that helped Ajax reach the semifinals of the Champions League last season. He was named marketing director in 2012 before being promoted to chief executive in 2016. Former Netherlands teammate Marc Overmars is director of football -- a position United have been looking to fill since Jose Mourinho was sacked in December.

The former Ajax, Juventus and Fulham goalkeeper added that his role at Ajax is the best for his progression right now, saying: "I stopped playing in 2011, did a masters degree in sports management and started as a marketing director in 2012, so you learn along the line. In that way I want to develop myself and that goes perfectly with Ajax at the moment."

PAPER TALK (by Harry Kettle): Manchester City make transfer deadline plans

Premier League champions Manchester City have put forward plans for new transfer deadline proposal, Daily Mail reports.

City, who have had their own issues with FFP regulations following the punishment handed down to Chelsea, have suggested an idea that would see transfers involving clubs from abroad being set back to the end of August.

When it comes to domestic transfers, however, they would need to be completed on the Thursday prior to the new PL campaign getting underway. This comes in the wake of great debate over the recent transfer deadline schedule changes, which saw English clubs being at risk of foreign clubs taking their players with no possibility of replacing them.

Pochettino clarifies Trippier situation

As reported by The Guardian, Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has clarified his stance regarding Kieran Trippier's departure from the club.

The defender made the switch over to Atletico Madrid earlier this summer, but made it clear during a recent interview that he wasn't entirely happy with the manner in which he left North London. Pochettino, as a retort, has taken a more dignified approach.

"I've got no problem with Kieran," Pochettino said. "In football, decisions happen and players move from one club to another. We need to move on. The reality is one reality but who is right in all this process? I keep very good memories of him."

Tap-ins

- Calciomercato reports AC Milan are currently in the process of working on a contract extension for Daniel Maldini, the son of club legend Paolo Maldini. The third generation star has been turning heads for a while now, and at the age of just 17, he has an incredibly bright future ahead of him. Milan are believed to have turned down several loan offers for Daniel during the recent summer transfer window.

- During a recent interview with Sky Sport Italia, Juventus forward Gonzalo Higuain claimed that he had always been hoping to stay with the Italian champions. The Argentine forward spent time on loan at Chelsea towards the end of last season, failing to make much of an impact in the Premier League. When discussing the rumours regarding his future from the summer, Gonzalo had the following to say: "When I returned, nobody told me anything. I returned to work, to demonstrate my quality. I wanted to return to Juventus from day one. I feel good and happy."

- Rangers star Ryan Kent claimed during a press conference earlier today that he was lied to throughout the process of his transfer from Liverpool to the Scottish giants this past summer. "It was very tough. I had to stay mentally strong. When you are told you can do one thing and then you are lied to and it doesn't happen, that is quite hard to take." Kent was initially set to re-join Rangers on loan, but after some negotiation, they managed to get a permanent deal over the finish line.

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