The winter window might have shut, but the rumour mill rolls on. As always, Transfer Talk has its finger on the pulse when it comes to the latest rumours and gossip. See the latest deals here.
TOP STORY: Hazard and James to trade places?
Eden Hazard hasn’t had the greatest season for Chelsea after sparkling so often last time around — but that hasn’t stopped the Belgium international from being linked with moves to here, there and everywhere in the summer window.
Yesterday, French champions PSG were reported to be keen. Today, it’s Real Madrid. But this wouldn’t be any old deal — it would be “a sensational swap deal,” says the Sun, because the player going the other way would be James Rodriguez.
It reports that Real are willing to go for the swap because James hasn’t pulled up many trees this season either, and a fresh start for both the Colombian and Belgium’s Hazard could be an attractive proposition.
The Blues, it says, value Hazard at more than £100 million — yes, that much — but Real believe a deal involving James would tempt them to do business. Not only that, the Sun adds that Bernabeu boss Zinedine Zidane is also “a huge admirer” of Hazard, who has “admitted Zizou is his big idol.”
It isn’t the first time James has been linked with a move to Chelsea — he was widely reported to have been a target after the 2014 World Cup.
Meanwhile, naughty Diego Costa is considering his Stamford Bridge future after being sent off at Everton, says the Star.
It claims the Spain international will “weigh up his options for a summer move away from Stamford Bridge” after being frustrated by life in West London. Sources have told ESPN FC that one of those options appears very likely to be his former club Atletico Madrid.
– Nick Sutton (@suttonnick) 14 March 2016
Toure tempted by Premier League stay
It’s been widely suggested that Yaya Toure is a fairly sure bet to be on his way out at Manchester City once Pep Guardiola makes his way in — but that doesn’t necessarily mean the two won’t be meeting next season.
That’s because Toure wants to stay in the Premier League if he moves on in the summer, according to the Telegraph.
The 32-year-old, who has a year left on his contract, is keen to stay in England — but whether he stays at City “is Guardiola’s call.”
The Mirror says City “know selling Toure to a direct rival would be a major risk as he could come back to haunt them” and quotes a source close to the player as saying that he and his family “are very happy in the UK and see no reason to change.”
Guardiola was Barcelona coach when Toure left to move to City in 2010 — but both the Telegraph and Mirror report that there is no bad blood between the two and the midfielder would be open to working with him if he does stay in Manchester.
Toure has been one of several Premier League players linked with a move to China in recent weeks, while Inter Milan — where former City boss Roberto Mancini is in charge — are also said to be interested.
As far as City incomings go, Barcelona defender Marc Bartra is a target for Guardiola, says the Mirror.
Stay here, Gunners fans urge Ozil
Arsenal supporters are not the happiest bunnies at the moment, and some appear to have been gripped by a terror that Germany star Mesut Ozil could take it upon himself to leave the club.
As a season that looked so promising not long ago unravels, the Mirror reports that fans surrounded Ozil’s car as he drove away from the Emirates after the FA Cup holders went out to Watford in the quarterfinals on Sunday.
It says Ozil’s “plush Mercedes” — rather than one of those down-at-heel ones — “was stopped by supporters who chanted at their star player, with hosts of them begging the 27-year-old not to leave.”
“Mesut, don’t leave, we love you,” it quotes one fan as saying, seemingly unfazed by the fact that Ozil has not been linked with a move to anywhere at all.
Dembele: Europe’s most wanted
Manchester United and four other Premier League clubs sent representatives to watch Rennes teenager Ousmane Dembele against Lyon at the weekend as interest in the forward hots up.
Arsenal, West Ham, Southampton and Stoke also had scouts to the game, the Mail reports, adding that 18-year-old Dembele “is being touted as the best talent to emerge from France in years.”
France Football, meanwhile, are citing a source close to Rennes as saying that Barcelona had a €35 million offer for Dembele rejected.
– New Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez saw his team get off to a losing start at Leicester on Monday, but the club are making summer plans and want to sign highly-rated Ajax left-back Mitchell Dijks, according to the Mirror.
It says Dijks has also attracted the attention of both the Foxes and Crystal Palace, but that Newcastle’s interest is strongest and they will turn it into a move when the window opens.
– Borussia Monchengladbach sporting director Max Eberl has told German football magazine kicker he believes Danish teenager Martin Odegaard would have been better off moving to the Bundesliga club than joining Real Madrid.
“I am convinced Odegaard would be a Bundesliga player in Gladbach,” he said. “He would have played Champions League with us. At Real, he is having a hard time at the moment.”