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Thursday Transfer News| Vidic & Villa, Ighalo To Chelsea ?, Magala, Arsenal… HOT AS HELL !!!

by on January 21, 2016
 

Vidic ‘in Villa talks’

Former Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic has been linked with a shock return to the Premier League with relegation-haunted Aston Villa.

The 34-year-old is a free agent after ripping up his contract at Inter Milan.

Vidic is wanted by MLS clubs but favours a move back to England, with strugglers Villa said to be keen on the commanding centre-back.

The Serbian left Old Trafford in 2014, but his time in Serie A has been cut short after leaving by mutual consent.

Here’s the rest of the gossip from Thursday’s papers.

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Villa Park bound? Nemanja Vidic has been linked with the strugglers

Vieira into his new role

Patrick Vieira has been unveiled as the new head coach of New York City FC in the MLS.

Speaking in his opening press conference, he revealed that he hopes to bring success to the Big Apple but wants to do it in their own way.

“One of the biggest mistakes I can make is to try to bring the Manchester City philosophy to New York City,” Vieira said.

“It’s true that I may not have the best knowledge of the league [MLS], but the game is still the game.”

Hooper to sign permanent Wednesday deal

Sheffield Wednesday have sealed the £3million signing of striker Gary Hooper from Norwich.

Hooper will pen a permanent deal with the Owls after notching six goals in 13 outings on loan for boss Carlos Carvalhal’s Championship promotion chasers.

Wednesday and the Canaries have been in talks for a week and finally struck a compromise agreement after the Premier League outfit lowered their asking price for the former Southend and Scunthorpe hit-man.

City were originally seeking £3.5million for Hooper,27, who cost them £5.5million from Celtic in July 2013. But Wednesday refused to go beyond £3million for the player, whose contract at Carrow Road runs out in the summer.

The Owls eventually got their way because Hooper does not figure in Norwich boss Alex Neil’s plans and has been told he has no future with the East Anglian side.

Hooper has still to thrash out personal terms, but Wednesday are ready to match his £32,000-a-week wage at Norwich.

Dave Thompson

Eboue confident to prove himself

Emmanuel Eboue has once again been speaking about his future in the game.

It appears that he could be on his way back to France as he searches for a new club, after recently becoming a free agent.

“I would really like to come here and show my talent to the French,” said Eboue, speaking to France Football.

“It’s an interesting league that is on television fairly regularly.

“The most important thing for me is to find a club and be happy on the field. I’m a free agent. I’m very hungry. I really want to prove to people that Emmanuel Eboue is not finished.”

Angel Martinez

Expensive Mangala

Eliaquim Mangala may have cost Manchester City a staggering £42MILLION, according to a leaked transfer document, writes Rob Pollard of the Manchester Evening News.

Website Football Leaks claim to have got hold of a copy of the transfer contract that took the defender to City in 2014.

It shows that the club paid a lot more than the £32million they originally claimed they had shelled out for him.

According to the document, which appeared online on Wednesday, Porto only owned 56.67 percent of Mangala’s economic rights.

The remainder was split between The Doyen Sports Investment Limited, who owned 33.33 percent, with another 10 percent belonging to an Austrian marketing company.

Reuters / Phil Noble

Reading make addition

Reading have completed the signing of Yann Kermorgant.

The experienced striker joins from Bournemouth, although the length of his contract is yet to be confirmed.

Kermorgant, 34, has also enjoyed spells at Leicester and Charlton.

Berahino made to wait

Saido Berahino is being kept waiting over whether he will be allowed to leave West Brom in this window.

The former England Under-21 international is desperate to quit the Hawthorns, withNewcastle , Tottenham and Stoke all interested.

But West Brom chairman Jeremy Peace is playing hard-ball and has threatenedstriker Berahino and his advisers that he is going nowhere.

The 22-year-old would like to go to Tottenham, but it’s Newcastle who have shown the strongest interest.

West Brom would prefer to deal with the Toon, following the summer’s protracted wrangle with Spurs over Berahino .

Newcastle are willing to pay £15million to get the deal done now, but West Brom are determined not to let the player have his own way — despite him having just 18 months left on his contract.

Dan Mullan

Mariappa wanted by Championship clubs

Crystal Palace defender Adrian Mariappa is a target for Championship clubs Fulham and Reading.
Mariappa, 29, has made just one Premier League outing this season and can leave Selhurst Park this month.
Reading want Mariappa back after selling him to Palace for £2.5million back in September 2013.
But they face competition from Fulham, who want Mariappa on loan with a view to a permanent move in the summer.

Christopher Lee

Chelsea ready for Pato gamble

Chelsea are ready to take a risk on one-time Brazilian golden boy Alexandre Pato.

The striker has fallen out with current club Corinthians in his homeland, and they are desperate to sell the former AC Milan star for £8million.

Pato held talks with Roman Abramovich’s trusted transfer fixer Marina Granovskaia on Tuesday night and wants a three-year deal.

However, struggling Chelsea would prefer a loan deal with a view to a permanent transfer in the summer.

The 26-year-old, who burst onto the scene as a teenager, has suffered a series of off-the-field and fitness problems and is a long way from being match-ready.

Sao Paulo-based Corinthians have also publicly stated they want shot of him and Pato hopes to conclude negotiations with Chelsea in the next 48 hours —but the Blues will not match his club’s valuation.

Friedemann Vogel/Getty

No deal for Keane

Championship promotion challengers Burnley have not rejected an approach for Michael Keane, according to the Lancashire Telegraph.

It had been reported that Keane was the subject of a £7million bid from Stoke, but the Clarets appear to not have had to turn down an offer.

The former Manchester United centre-back is also reportedly being tracked by Everton.

Martin Willetts

ICYMI: Biggest done deal today

West Ham’s capture of Sam Byram is still the biggest done deal of the day so far.

He put pen to a blank piece of paper – judging by this video – earlier today after completing his move from Leeds.

League Two goalkeeper on the move

Tony Thompson has left Morecambe until the end of the season.

The former Rotherham shot-stopper has linked up with Vanarama National League side Chester on a loan deal.

Francis says it was an “easy decision”

Simon Francis says that it was an easy decision to commit his future to Bournemouth after signing his new three-and-a-half-year deal.

“It was an easy decision for me because I am really settled. It means a lot to me personally,” said Francis.

“The manager has brought in some quality signings but he’s managed to improve the lads that have been here since League One.”

Steve Bardens

Francis signs new deal at Bournemouth

Bournemouth have tied down the services of defender Simon Francis for the long-term.

Francis has put pen to paper on a new deal on the south coast, keeping him at the club for another three and a half years.

Since signing for the club in 2011, Francis has become a stalwart in the line-up and was named in the PFA Championship Team of the Year last season.

He has continued his fine form into the Premier League.

A deal down in League Two now.

Portsmouth midfielder Nigel Atangana has joined Leyton Orient.

Atangana joins managerless Orient for an undisclosed fee.

Roma keen on Nacho

Reports in Spain suggest Roma are keen on Real Madrid defender Nacho.

The 26-year-old remains back-up at the Bernabeu and Cadena Copa radio suggest Roma are plotting a move.

It is claimed they will table an £8m offer before the end of the January window.

Ruben Albarran/REX

Xhaka keen on Premier League move

Borussia Monchengladbach’s Granit Xhaka admits it is his dream to play in the Premier League.

The Switzerland star has been linked with Arsenal and Liverpool in recent times with a summer move seemingly on the cards.

And Xhaka is keen on a switch to England in the near future.

Speaking to Tor Fabrik in Germany, Xhaka said “I have a childhood dream, that is the Premier League.

“Whether I play two or a hundred games in England, I would like to eventually make this childhood dream come true.”

Dean Mouhtaropoulos

Blackburn sign Ward

And there’s another one.

Blackburn have their second signing of the day.

As we expected, Rovers have completed a deal for Elliott Ward after his release by Bournemouth.

Ward has agreed a two-and-a-half year contract at Ewood Park.

Kramaric leaves Leicester on loan

Leicester striker Andrej Kramaric has joined Hoffenheim until the end of the season.

The Croatia striker moved to the King Power Stadium for a club record £9m last January.

But his opportunities have been restricted this season since the arrival of Shinki Okazaki and he has now moved on.

Down in the Conference Premier, Chester have snapped up goalkeeper Tony Thompson.

The 21-year-old has recently been released by Morecambe after joining the club in the summer.

Thompson made one start for the club in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

Boro to make renewed McCormack bid

Middlesbrough will make an increased bid of £9million bid for Ross McCormack – with Fulham aware that their Scottish forward wants a move to the Riverside.

McCormack, 29, is keen to join the Championship leaders in the hope that he can finally play Premier League football next term.

Boro are desperate to increase their goal threat in this month’s window and have targeted McCormack, who has scored 18 goals in a struggling Fulham
team.

An initial inquiry from Boro has been knocked back by Fulham chairman Shahid Khan, whose club are under a transfer embargo and cannot make any
permanent signings in the mid-season window.

But McCormack, who has captained Fulham for most of the season, has made it clear he wants to leave the west London club he joined in an £11m move from Leeds 18 months ago.

Ker Robertson

Black Cats launch improved Ayew bid

Sunderland have reportedly tabled an improved bid for Andre Ayew.

The Black Cats maid a cheeky enquiry for the Swansea star, although they were told he is not for sale.

But Sam Allardyce has returned with a cash-plus-player bid, according to the Mail.

The offer is said to be £6m plus Fabio Borini, who has failed to impress since returning to the Stadium of Light.

Borini had a spell on loan with Swansea in 2011 and is a target for new boss Francesco Guidolin.

Jordi Gomez, who has also been on loan in south Wales, is another possible makeweight.

Stu Forster

*CONTRACT TERMINATED KLAXON*

Bournemouth have terminated the contract of defender Elliott Ward.

Ward has not played for the Cherries since the end of last season and has spent time on loan at Huddersfield this term.

He is now thought to be on the brink of a move to Blackburn until the end of the season after playing under boss Paul Lambert at Norwich.

Stoke bid rejected for Keane

Burnley have reportedly rejected a £7m offer from Stoke for Michael Keane.

The former Manchester United defender joined the Clarets on loan in 2014 before making the deal permanent a year ago.

Keane has been ever-present this season with Everton and Stoke keeping tabs.

And Stoke have attempted to steal a march on their rivals with a £5m bid + £2m in add-ons, according to the Lancashire Telegraph.

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Sam Byram says farewell to Leeds fans

Because this is what footballers do these days!

Pereira: I need to play more

Andreas Pereira says Manchester United must play him more – or risk losing him.

The Brazilian youngster has long been tipped for the top and made his senior debut in August 2014, but has since found first-team opportunities hard to come by.

He has largely been restricted to outings in the League Cup and has made just four substitute appearances in the Premier League under Louis van Gaal.

“I’m a United player, [but] I’ve seen in the press that there are various other clubs interested,” he told GloboEsporte.

“I don’t know if United want to loan me out but I’m working hard to get more opportunities. It’s their decision.

“I’m focused on doing my job at United, [but] of course I want to be more visible to those in Brazil. So I need to play more and get more chances.

“Playing in the Olympics is a big dream of mine.”

Action Images via Reuters / Jason Cairnduff

Arsenal scouting Benfica youngster?

According to reports in Portugal, Arsenal sent scout Luis Boa Morte to watch Goncalo Guedes in action last night.

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The young winger, 19, was hauled off at half-time of their 1-0 win in over Oriental Lisbon in the Taca de Portugal however.

Atletico Madrid have also been linked.

Philipp Schmidli

Livin’ in Vancouver

Swinging across Stateside now and…well, Canada to be more exact.

Costa Rica international Christian Bolanos has moved to MLS and joined Vancouver Whitecaps.

The ex-Copenhagen man had been plying his trade in the Middle East with Al-Gharaffa most recently.

Laurent Blanc set for new deal

PSG boss Laurent Blanc hopes to have signed a contract extension in the French capital before their Champions League tie with Chelsea.

Les Parisiens, romping to a fourth successive French crown, are set to reward Blanc – despite the availability of supposed long-time target Jose Mourinho.

“I hope I can sign a new contract before the Chelsea game on February 16,” said Blanc.

“My agent will meet the club soon and they will have to reach an agreement. If they can’t, we’ll see after.”

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Baggies coach wants Berahino stay

West Brom coach Gerry Francis wants Saido Berahino to stay at the club.

Berahino’s future remains up in the air, with Newcastle joining the masses ranks keen to take him away from the Hawthorns.

But Francis believes the England Under-21 striker can become a key man for the Baggies again, if he can focus and get back to playing.

“From our point of view, a top quality, fit Berahino would only benefit West Bromwich Albion,” Francis told Sky Sports Now.

“I don’t think we will be too disappointed if he is still there [when the January transfer window opens] but you just don’t know what’s going to happen.

“It looked last summer at one stage as if he was going to go but he didn’t. It’s the same again, we just don’t know. Financially, that’s going to be down to the club. We don’t know who’s going to offer what or whether they are going to accept it.”

Dan Mullan

Done deal in Italy

Remember this man?

Formerly of Fulham but perhaps most famous for missing a crucial penalty for Brentford.

Yep, it’s Marcello Trotta. He’s joined Serie A side Sassuolo today, in a move that sees him form a new-look strike partnership with Domenico Berardi. (Maybe – assuming he plays).

Done deal at Liverpool

Liverpool Ladies have completed a signing this afternoon.

Dutch international defender Mandy Van Den Berg has signed on the dotted line from Lillestrom SK.

“Once I heard of Liverpool Ladies’ interest there was only one place I wanted to move to,” the 25-year-old told the club’s website.

“It is a massive Club with real ambitions for the 2016 season and I cannot wait to get started.

“Moving to England is a really exciting opportunity for me and I am really looking forward to playing in front of the passionate Liverpool Ladies supporters.”

Messi discusses Barca future

Lionel Messi has handed Premier League clubs a blow by insisting he won’t leave Barcelona for another team in Europe.

The Argentine superstar scooped his fifth Ballon d’Or crown earlier this month, pipping Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo to the coveted prize.

After the ceremony, he reiterated his desire to see out his career at the Nou Campamid reported interest from Manchester City, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain.

And while he concedes it is possible he will return to Argentina before hanging up his boots, a move across the continent is out of the question.

Read more here.

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Wycombe face fight to keep star defender

Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth admits he is struggling to keep star defender Aaron Pierre this month.
The stopper,22, released by Fulham as a teenager, was outstanding in both FA Cup games for the League Two club against Premier League Aston Villa.
Pierre impressed as Wanderers took Villa to a replay and only lost 2-0 to two late goals from Ciaran Clark and Idrissa Gana.
MirrorFootball yesterday revealed League One Fleetwood have had a bid rejected for the defender , who has 18 months left on his contract.
And Championship clubs like QPR, Fulham and Brentford are also monitoring him closely.
Ainsworth said: “He is one of the players who is destined for bigger things without a shadow of a doubt.
“There are all sorts of clubs watching him at the moment and rightly so with his performances he has done in the two cup ties.
“He has pace to burn, is left-footed which is an advantage , rarely loses a header and is a threat in the opposition box.
“He is a real good centre-back and still learning. My biggest challenge is holding onto players like Aaron Pierre in January.”

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Sam Byram completes West Ham move

Just as we thought he might, Sam Byram has joined West Ham.

The Hammers have confirmed their move for the Leeds right-back, who has signed a four-and-a-half year deal after joining on an undisclosed fee.

“I’m unbelievably proud and happy to join a club as big as this,” Byram told the West Ham website. “I’m just looking forward to what the future holds and hopefully I can achieve things with the team going forward.

“It’s a childhood dream of mine to play in the Premier League, so to have the chance to get into a team like this and I just want to get my head down, work hard and hopefully get a chance.
“I spoke to the manager and he is one of the main reasons which attracted me to West Ham. I think he’s done unbelievably well with his team so far, so I’m really looking forward to working with him and his staff.
“My uncle and my cousin are big West Ham fans and have bought their tickets for the new Stadium. My uncle was down here yesterday getting a shirt with my name on the back! It’s nice to have them down here and they’ll help me settle so I’m looking forward to seeing them.
“I’m also really looking forward to seeing the new Stadium in person. That was another big part in me wanting to come here. It’s a massive part of the future of the Club and I can’t wait to see and hopefully play in it.”

Riise on the lookout for a new club

Former Liverpool left-back John Arne Riise has issued a ‘come and get me’ plea to English clubs.

The 35-year-old Norwegian has finished a spell at Delhi Dynamos in the Indian Super League and says he wants to play until he’s 40.

“I am free and I will see where I end up next,” Riise told the Liverpool Echo.

“I’m 35 but age is just a number. It all depends how you look after your body. In my head I’m still 18!

“Physically, I feel strong and I want to play on until I’m 40. I think it’s still too soon to go back to Norway and play. I still have a lot to offer on the pitch.

“It just has to be the right offer for me and my family. If the right offer doesn’t come along then there are lot of other things I can do like TV work.

“I’d love to play in England again. That would be ideal in this window. I’ve had a few offers from different places but I would love to come back to England.

Zak Kaczmarek/Getty

5 Championship players that could make a move

The January transfer window continues, with Premier League clubs increasingly searching for the signing who can make all the difference – whether it be pushing them towards Europe or away from the relegation zone.

With more money available to top-flight clubs than ever before, the current window could be on of the busiest mid-season period’s since the January sales began.

Having picked out possible targets from Italy, France, Germany and Brazil, it’s now the turn of the Championship to get some attention in our scouting series.

Sam Byram looks set to take the step up, heading to West Ham, while Benik Afobe has already traded in Wolves for Bournemouth.

Alex Richards has five players who could similarly exchange the second tier for the top flight right here.

Watford in for Suarez?

No, not that one.

The happy Hornets have reportedly reignited their interest in Fiorentina midfielder Mario Suarez.

The London side had been interested in the former Atletico Madrid man earlier in the window, but talks broke down, according to Sky Sports.

Should he make the move, it would be on a permanent deal.

The 28-year-old only joined Fiorentina in the summer, as part of a swap deal involving Stefan Savic.

Mike Hewitt

Pato nearer Chelsea switch?

Brazilian striker Alexandre Pato is desperate to join Chelsea after being offered a three-year contract.

Pato, 26, and his advisers held talks with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich’s trusted transfer fixer Marina Granovskaia on Tuesday night.

Chelsea are now hoping to thrash out a cut-price deal with Pato’s club Corinthians, who are desperate to sell after the ex- AC Milan star fell out of favour in Brazil.

John Cross has more here.

Bolton unable to confirm staff will receive wages on time

Bolton were finally able to secure their place in the FA Cup fourth round last night when they saw off Eastleigh, but any feel-good factor will have worn off now.

That’s because the club have just put out a statement saying that they cannot confirm if their staff will receive their January wages on time.

This could have an impact on their efforts to keep players such as Zach Clough at the club this month.

The statement reads:

Bolton Wanderers has stated that due to the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the club’s current funding position, it has been unable to confirm to its staff today that they will receive their wages for the month of January on the due dates.

Every effort continues to be made by the board of directors and its advisers to pay staff and also resolve the longer term funding issue during what remains a difficult and challenging time for the football club.

Alex Livesey

Swansea knocked back over Joe Allen

Swansea have made an enquiry over Joe Allen – but Liverpool have told the midfielder’s former club that they must wait until the summer if they want secure a homecoming for the Welshman, report Wales Online.

Allen is into the final 18 months of his Anfield contract and has not yet been offered an extension, but with Liverpool still campaigning on four fronts, Klopp will not consider his departure this month.

AFP/Getty

Sam Byram to West Ham done?

It would appear that Sam Byram’s transfer from Leeds to West Ham is just about done and dusted.

That’s because Jack “David’s son” Sullivan has taken to Twitter to confirm the news.

We’re still waiting for official confirmation, but with the Leeds academy product having done his medical at the London club yesterday, this one is expected to go through any time now.

Chelsea Ladies sign Bethany England

Chelsea Ladies have completed the signing of Bethany England from Doncaster.

The forward, 21, scored 14 times last season in all competitions.

Speaking to the club’s website, England said: “It is great to be signing for this club and I am ready for the exciting challenge ahead.

“I feel I am at the stage in my career to test myself at a higher level and there is no doubt that will happen at Chelsea, not just during games but in every training session.

“It is an honour to be here and I am just looking forward to starting training and working with top players on a daily basis.”

Rennes change managers

Ligue 1 side Rennes have sacked manager Rene Ruello and replaced him with Rolland Courbis.

“On Wednesday morning, president Rene Ruello decided to end the partnership between Stade Rennais and its head coach,” read a statement on the club’s website.

“Rolland Courbis, assisted by Jacques Bayle, will succeed Philippe Montanier and Michel Troin at the head of the first team until the end of the season.”

Milan eye Fellaini deal

AC Milan are reportedly interested in signing Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini.

Sky Italia say the Serie A club’s CEO Adriano Galliani will meet with the Belgian’s agent, Luciano D’Onofrio this week to discuss a move.

Fellaini is said to prefer a loan until the end of the season.

Action Images via Reuters / Carl Recine

West Ham digging heels in over Obiang

West Ham have dismissed speculation that Pedro Obiang is on his way out of Upton Park.

The former Spanish youth international has been linked with a return to Serie A, with his agent suggesting that the 23-year-old “would be perfect” for Italian table-toppers Napoli. The Evening Standard report that the Hammers will not let him depart this January though.

Obiang only signed for the club in a £4.3million deal in the summer.

Steve Paston/PA Wire

Spurs offered Barcelona forward

Not that one, obviously. Or the other one. Or, indeed, the other one.

With Barcelona having an embarrassment of riches up front, they are offering around forward Sandro Ramirez, according to the Evening Standard.

The Catalans are eager to ditch the 20-year-old before the end of the transfer window and have given Spurs their best come hither eyes after rejected Real Betis’ loan bid.

Tottenham have an interest in the player, but Barca would likely insist on a buy-back clause, just as they do with most of their young players.

Reuters

Coventry starlet turning heads

Down to League One again, where Coventry hotshot James Maddison is attracting admiring glances from the Premier League.

The 19-year-old midfielder has impressed in the Sky Blues’ exciting side this season, netting twice in his 11 games and this has got him on Everton, Liverpool, Manchester City, Southampton and Newcastle’s radar.

But the Independent believe that Tottenham are in the driving seat for the teenager and are preparing a bid that would see him loaned back to Coventry until the end of the season.

Jordan Mansfield

Liverpool lodge goalkeeper bid?

To what is becoming a staple of this January transfer window next, Liverpool’s goalkeeping situation.

Despite Simon Mignolet putting pen to paper and signing a new deal, Jurgen Klopp is still after a new stopper, according to Don Balon.

They report that the Reds have put in a £10.8million bid for Barcelona gloveman Marc-Andre Ter Stegen – but the Catalans are holding out for £23million,

Reuters

Watford decide against Adebayor move

Crystal Palace appear to have a clear run at signing Emmanuel Adebayor after Watford cooled their interest in the Togo striker.

The Evening Standard report that Hornets boss Quique Sanchez Flores was pondering a move for the striker as back-up for Troy Deeney or Odion Igahlo, but has reconsidered, fearing that he could upset the harmony of the squad.

Getty Images

More on Blackburn’s Danny Graham loan

Graham arrives at Ewood Park having made eleven appearances for Sunderland this season and is expected to go straight into Rovers’ squad for this weekend’s clash with Charlton.

He won’t be able to pull on the blue and white shirt for the FA Cup fourth though, as he is cup-tied after turning out for Sunderland in the third round.

Graham’s contract at the Stadium of Light expires at the end of the season.

Rovers’ move to sign another striker has got the Ewood faithful worried about the future of Jordan Rhodes, who has been attracting interest from Sheffield Wednesday and Middlesbrough during the current transfer window.

February 2nd can’t come soon enough for Rovers fans, one would imagine…

Reuters / Toby Melville

Blackburn confirm Danny Graham signing

Another done deal, as Blackburn Rovers have secured Sunderland striker Danny Graham on loan until the end of the season.

“It’s been a mad 24 hours, I was training with Sunderland yesterday morning and then I came down here last night to get things sorted, so I’m delighted to get it done, I’m looking forward to the first game against Charlton and hopefully we can get off to a flying start,” Graham told the Blackburn website.

“I was aware of the interest in the background and obviously I’ve been playing a bit at Sunderland the last few weeks, so I’m coming here with games under my belt, which is also pleasing, so hopefully we can both do well for each other.

“I spoke to the manager a few times and obviously he’s got some good players. The transfer embargo has been lifted, so they want to sign players and move the club forward. For me to get out of Sunderland and have a fresh challenge is superb for me, so I’m delighted to get it done, I can’t wait to get going and hopefully we can pull together and move up the table.”

Jose Angel Crespo leaves Aston Villa on loan

We have a done deal.

Aston Villa defender Jose Angel Crespo has joined Rayo Vallecano on loan until the end of the season.

The defender only arrived at Villa Park from Corodoba in the summer and has failed to nail down a regular place in the Premier League stragglers first-team.

Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images

Reading close in on Kermorgant

Reading are set to seal a deal for Bournemouth striker Yann Kermorgant.

Getreading.co.uk report that the 34-year-old is set for a medical at the Madejski Stadium today after the clubs finally agreed a fee of around £500,000 for the frontman who has dropped down the pecking order at the Cherries this season.

Kermorgant is set to sign a one-and-a-half year deal with the Royals.

Reuters / Suzanne Plunkett

Real Madrid close in on Boca Juniors starlet

Real Madrid hope to complete the signing of Boca Juniors wonderkid Rodrigo Bentancur this week.
The Spanish side are deep in talks with Argentine giants Boca over the 18-year-old Uruguayan, who is tipped to become one of the world’s top midfielders.
Juventus have been keeping tabs on Bentancur, and even tried to include him in the deal that took Carlos Tevez back to Buenos Aires last year, but Boca insisted on keeping the deep-lying playmaker.
Instead, he looks set to move the Spanish capital for nearly £10million but those around the club are insisting that this is not a move triggered by their FIFA transfer ban.
It is a year tomorrow since Bentancur made his professional debut and he has just 25 senior appearances under his belt. He looks set to play for Real Madrid’s second team, Castilla, who up until last month were coached by Zinedine Zidane.

Denis Doyle/Getty

Zarate set for Hammers exit?

Mauro Zarate’s West Ham career could soon be a thing of the past.

The striker is attracting interest from Serie A side Fiorentina, report Sky Italia, who will move for the striker if Giuseppe Rossi leaves this month. A loan, followed by permanent £3million deal is looking most likely, although Bologna are also interested in the Argentine who wants to return to Italy.

Action Images via Reuters / Tony O’Brien

Comings and goings at Swansea?

To South Wales next, where a couple of rumours have popped up concerning Swansea City.

The Sun report that the Swans and Crystal Palace are in talks over a swap deal involving strikers Dwight Gayle and Bafetimbi Gomis, while Watford are eyeing a move for Jefferson Montero.

Everton are also interested in the Ecuadorian, but are balking at the £10million asking price.

Our colleagues at Wales Online say that the club are willing to listen to offers for the winger.

Julian Finney/Getty

Wolves waiting on Ajax skipper

Wolves are waiting for Ajax club captain Nicolai Boilesen to make up his mind over a move to Molineux.

Wanderers have agreed a £300,000 deal with the Dutch club for the left-back, and have held talks with his representatives.

The Danish international, 23, is out of favour in Amsterdam after rejecting a new deal last summer – he is yet to play for the club since, with Frank de Boer sending him to train with the club’s second string.

Reports he was set for a medical on Monday were wide of the mark.

And Boilesen is yet to give a definitive answer over moving to the Championship, and there is a belief at Molineux that he’s holding out for Premier League interest to stir.

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Papy’s Chelsea days numbered?

Oh Papy, we hardly knew thee.

Chelsea defender Papy Djilobodji – one minute of first-team football under his belt – is set to exit Stamford Bridge.

The Senegal international is set to sign a loan deal with Werder Bremen, according to Sky in Germany.

Will the Blues be able to cope without their defensive talisman?

Chelsea FC

Bradley Dack turning heads

Bristol City interim boss John Pemberton has heaped praise on Gillingham star Bradley Dack – but remained coy on the Robins’ transfer interest.

Gills chairman Paul Scally revealed yesterday he has turned down three bids from Bristol City, thought to be around the £1million mark.

And Pemberton, speaking after last night’s FA Cup exit, said: “Bradley Dack is a player I like.

“He is a player who has an excellent future.

“We played Gillingham a lot last season and I like him.”

Dack has made nine assists this season – more than any other player in the league – and scored 13 goals in all competitions.

Charlie Crowhurst

Ten years ago today…

Back to 2006 and a simpler time now.

Twitter and transfer live blogs were only a glint in Bill Gates’ eye back then, but just imagine how crazy social media would have gone for Theo Walcott’s move from Southampton to Arsenal?

That’s right, it’s ten years to the day since the a fresh-faced teenager ditched the south coast for north London.

He’s done alright, hasn’t he?

In fact, our man John Cross believes that Walcott will go down as one of Arsene Wenger’s greatest ever signings.

Find out why here.

Xhaka going nowhere, says Gladbach

Borussia Monchengladbach’s sporting director Max Eberl has again declared that Granit Xhaka will not be sold this month.

The Swiss midfielder, who in recent days has declared his happiness at Borussia Park, has been linked with both Arsenal and Bayern Munich, for a fee in the region of €40million.

The 23-year-old is currently leading Gladbach’s charge for Champions League qualification.

Asked about Xhaka leaving this month, Eberl declared: “No. That is something I can control”.

However, he does concede that in the summer, it will likely be a different story.

“[In recent years] players like Reus and ter Stegen, Kruse and Kramer have left. Perhaps in the summer Granit Xhaka is also away.”

Eberl also lambasted the €55million figure on the head of Schalke whizkid Leroy Sane, who has been linked with Man City and Real Madrid.

“After half a year in the Bundesliga; of course Sane is a top talent but €55million? That is already bizarre.”

Dean Mouhtaropoulos

Lewandowski would welcome Higuain at Bayern

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski says he’ll have “no problem” if he’s joined in Bavaria by Gonzalo Higuain this summer.

Argentine hitman Higuain has struck 19 goals for Napoli in Serie A already this term, and has been linked with a summer move to the Allianz Arena.

Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge recently spoke of his admiration for the Argentine, but admitted Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis “does not want to sell him”.

Lewandowski’s future is also in question, amid speculation linking him with Real Madrid, but he says he’s more than happy to fight his corner at Bayern.

“If another striker were to come – whether Higuain or another – that would be no problem for me,” he told Bild.

“I’m strong enough. I’ll still play.”

Getty

Chelsea made to wait over Teixeira?

Chelsea’s mooted move for Shakhtar Donetsk attacking midfielder Alex Teixeira could be a non-runner, as the Ukraine side dig their heels in.

The Ukrainian side’s president Rinat Akhmetov is reportedly refusing to sell the Brazil star in this transfer window according to the Daily Star.

The Blues had been linked with a £30million bid for Teixeira, who has netted 22 times in 15 league games this season.

Christian Hofer

Fredy Guarin set for Inter exit?

One-time Chelsea target Fredy Guarin appears to be on his way out at Inter.

But it doesn’t look like the Colombian will be heading the Premier League, as reports suggest that Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning are ready to spend €18million on the 29-year-old.

Guarin was left out of Inter’s squad for the 2-0 Coppa Italia win over Napoli last night and Inter sporting director Piero Ausilio has confirmed he could soon be on his bike.

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“He is still an Inter player,” Ausilio told Rai Sport. “There’s no point hiding we are in negotiations, but until the documents are signed we cannot talk about a done deal. We’ll see where all these negotiations take us.

“If Guarin did leave, he’d be replaced in the squad, but we’ll make those evaluations later on.”

Claudio Villa

Undone deal

We’re still waiting for a done deal today… but here’s an undone one.

Brazil striker Luiz Adriano looked set to swap AC Milan for Jiangsu Suning after the clubs agreed a €14million fee.

He went to China to seal the deal, but the deal fell apart at the last moment for contractual reasons.

The 28-year-old has already returned to Italy.

Marco Luzzani

Ivanovic set for new Chelsea deal?

Branislav Ivanovic is reportedly set to sign a new deal at Chelsea this week.

The Blues defender is out of contract in the summer and is therefore free to negotiate with overseas clubs about a free transfer in the summer, but is set to pen a one-year deal to remain at Stamford Bridge.

Like Arsenal, the Blues have a policy of only offering one-year contracts to players over 30.

After an early-season wobble, the right-back is looking more like his old self this season and has made 22 appearances for the London side this term.

Getty

Have Villa found a keeper?

Aston Villa could be set to land a new goalkeeper in the shape of Croatia stopper Lovre Kalinic.

The Villans had been linked with a £4.9million move for the Hajduk Split man and boss Remi Garde has confirmed that they are in for the 6ft 7ins gloveman.

“I’m looking for a goalkeeper…and it might be this one,” he told the BBC.

Getty

A departure at Southampton?

Southampton look set to ditch Gaston Ramirez.

The Uruguayan international’s contract runs out at the end of the season and Saints boss Ronald Koeman has confirmed he will not be counting on him during the reminder of the campaign.

“The situation with Gaston is different to our other players because he is ending his contract,” the Dutchman has said.

“He is not in the plans for the future of the club.”

Mike Hewitt

Falcao set to head home?

Radamel Falcao’s miserable Chelsea spell could soon be over.

Monaco are considering ending the Colombian’s Stamford Bridge loan spell shortly in a bid to get him fit and firing for the end of the the French season, report the Telegraph.

The striker has been sidelined since October, currently suffering a “serious” thigh injury, according to Guus Hiddink.

He has only scored one goal during his spell in west London.

Paul Terry/JMP/REX

Wilfried Bony going nowhere this month

Wilfried Bony has cooled speculation that he may be leaving Manchester City during the current transfer window.

The Ivory Coast frontman has been linked with a return to his former club Swansea, a year after jumping ship.

But despite his unhappiness at playing second fiddle to a less-than fully fit Sergio Aguero in recent weeks, he’s told the BBC he is going nowhere.

I’m happy at the club.

All this speculation is not true. I have a contract so I’m happy and I think I’m at one of the top clubs in the United Kingdom.

I have no regrets about joining Man City. We play in the Champions League and we’re one of the top clubs in the world.

I’m happy here and I can just say I’m blessed.

Liverpool target Juve striker?

Liverpool have held talks with Juventus about the availability of striker Alvaro Morata, according to reports.

The Spaniard enjoyed a fine 2014-15 season but has struggled this campaign, scoring just once in Serie A.

Italian outlet Gazzetta dello Sport claim Liverpool are willing to spend £45million on the former Real Madrid striker.

Reuters / Phil Noble

Yaya Toure considering options?

To the Etihad next, where Yaya Toure’s agent has been talking the talk again.

Dimitri Seluk has told SportItalia that they will listen to “every offer” for the Ivory Coast midfielder this summer.

He won’t move in January, but in the summer everything could change.”

“We’re ready to listen to every offer that will come to the table.”

Toure has been linked with a reunion with former City boss Roberto Mancini at Inter.

Alex Livesey

Cheik Tiote’s China move on the rocks?

Newcastle midfielder Cheik Tiote’s proposed move to Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua look set to fall through after he failed to agree personal terms.

A fee of £8million had been agreed between the two clubs, but the Ivory Coast midfielder’s wage demands have put the kibosh on the deal.

The out-of-favour central midfielder had even undergone a medical, but is wanting an increase on the £60,000-a-week deal he has at St James’.

Neville Williams

Gary Neville in for Premier League target

Reports in SuperDeporte, the local Valencia newspaper, claim that Neville and Pitarch are keen to reinforce the defence with the Cameroon international and help end the nine-game winless run in La Liga that is threatening to torpedo the club’s season.

While Valencia signed the highly-rated Aymen Abdennour from Monaco for some £20million last summer to replace Manchester City-bound Nicolas Otamendi, the Tunisian has disappointed and was last week left out by Neville after some error-strewn displays.

Read more here.

Lars Baron

Chelsea join Ighalo chase?

Chelsea are monitoring Watford striker Odion Ighalo.

The 26-year-old has scored 13 times in 23 appearances for the promoted Hornetsthis season and finished as the leading scorer for the 2015 calendar year with 30 goals.

The Blues are one of several clubs impressed by Nigeria international Ighalo’s performances during his first season in the Premier League.

Chelsea already have a number of strikers under consideration for a short-term move this month. But they are keen to see whether Ighalo could be a candidate for a summer switch.

Read more here.

Tottenham eye Kane help?

Jackson Martinez is the latest striker to be linked with a move to Tottenham, as Spurs look to lessen the load on Harry Kane.

Spanish newspaper Marca report that Spurs have tabled a £23million bid for the Atletico Madrid striker, who has struggled to adapt to La Liga following his £26.6million move from Porto in the summer.

The Colombia striker has only netted three times in 20 games this season, but the Madrid side are digging their heels in and have rejected this opening offer.

Atletico were hit with a transfer ban that will come into effect in the summer earlier this month, so that could pay a part in their thinking.

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno

Watford swoop for Costel Pantilimon

Watford signed 6ft 8in goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon from Sunderland in a shock £500,000 deal yesterday.

Pantilimon joins the Vicarage Road payroll on a three-and-a-half year contract after slipping down the pecking order at the Stadium of Light.

The former Manchester City keeper, who was also wanted by Spanish club Espanyol, started the season as the Black Cats’ first choice.

But he had not played for Sam Allardyce’s men since their 3-1 defeat at Chelsea on December 19 and was third-choice behind Vito Mannone.

Read more here.

Mark Runnacles

Spurs stand firm with Newcastle over Townsend

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is up to his usual no-nonsense tricks by standing firm over Andros Townsend.

Newcastle have made an opportunistic bid to sign the out-of-favour winger on loan, report the Daily Mail, but Levy has met this with a very straight bat.

He wants £14million for the England man, no questions asked, as he fears his value may be affected by a loan move out of White Hart Lane.

Townsend himself is desperate to move clubs, as his hopes of a place in England’s Euro 2016 squad diminish as he fails to feature for Spurs.

Matthew Lewis

Do these documents show the true cost the Martial deal?

Documents have been leaked which claim to explain the full details of Anthony Martial’s transfer to Manchester United.

The file, which first appeared on Football Leaks, purports to reveal the true extent of spending from United on the former Monaco youngster.

It reveals that United will pay their €50million for Martial across two separate installments.

The second of those payments will be made at the end of this season, regardless ofperformance levels shown by the Frenchman.

But as reported when Martial signed, the transfer could progressively become more and more expensive or United.

Read the full story here.

Rex

Norwich finally get their man

Steven Naismith joined Norwich for £8.5million yesterday – after originally snubbing the Premier League new boys.

Mirror Sport understands that Scotland striker Naismith originally phoned the Canaries to say he was staying at Everton when the clubs agreed a fee early in the transfer window.

But Norwich boss Alex Neil persuaded the 29-year-old to make a U-turn with his persistence and a lucrative three-and-a-half-year deal.

Naismith, who has not played for Everton this year, admitted: “I had to think a lot about the future.”

More from the Canaries new boy here.

Steven Naismith signs for Norwich

Wednesday’s transfer gossip round-up: Lukaku to cost how much?!

After all the excitement heading into January we’re already over half way through and the deadline is fast approaching.

The madness is really starting to kick off now after a slow couple of weeks. Arsenal have signed Mohamed Elneny. Norwich have signed Timm Klose. Southampton have signed Charlie Austin.

With so much to keep across why not take a look at our round-up of all the stories from Wednesday’s papers:

EMPICS Sport

Costly addition

Aldo: Liverpool MUST sign a striker

Liverpool’s striker situation is a cause for concern, admits Reds legend John Aldridge.

The former Anfield frontman believes that the 1-0 loss to Manchester United could have been avoided, had his old team had a proven goalscorer up front, he writes in the Liverpool Echo .

Daniel Sturridge remains sidelined following the latest in a long line of setbacks and Aldridge worries that the Reds’ forward options still revolve around the injury-ravaged striker.

“It wasn’t a bad performance from Liverpool against Man United,” he says.

“All that was lacking was a goalscorer. You needed a Roger Hunt, a Kevin Keegan, a Kenny Dalglish, a Robbie Fowler, a Michael Owen, a Luis Suarez – any one of them strikers would have ensured Liverpool won this game.”

Michael Regan/Getty

Substitute Daniel Sturridge walks to the bench past Jurgen Klopp

Arsenal star pens new Emirates deal

Arsenal defender Nacho Monreal has signed a new long-term deal at the Emirates.

The full-back has made more than 80 Premier League appearances for the Gunners since arriving from Malaga in January 2013 and has featured in each of their 22 league games this season.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has said that the 29-year-old is a positive influence onArsenal squad.

“Overall, his attitude has been absolutely fantastic on a daily basis since he arrived here,” the Frenchman told the Arsenal website.

“He’s 100 per cent committed and I think as well he has always improved since he has arrived and has shown that in many big games as well.”

Action Images via Reuters / Matthew Childs

High praise from Wenger

Man United hand 16-y-o trial

Manchester United have handed a trial to 16-year-old teenager Matthew Knox.

The Livingston starlet has spent a week at the Red Devils’ training base in Carrington, reports the Manchester Evening News.

Knox has already spent time with Everton, Liverpool and Tottenham – and is also being considered by Chelsea.

he teenager only made his debut for Livingston on Boxing Day – but United have been alerted to his considerable potential.

He became Livingston’s youngest ever player in the 4-1 win against St Mirren. Knox’s father, Matthew, confirmed Premier League clubs have been pursuing his son.

“He’s had interest from Manchester United and Chelsea and he’s been on trials at Spurs, Everton and Liverpool,” he told the East Lothian Courier this month.

Livingston’s Matthew Knox in action

Southampton flop Gaston Ramirez heading for transfer (after costly appearance rate)

Ronald Koeman has told flop Gaston Ramirez he can leave this month after costing Southampton £8,000 for every minute on the pitch.

Saints have splashed out £21m on Ramirez in transfer fees and wages since his then-club record £12m move from Bologna in the summer of 2012.

The Uruguayan playmaker, who earns £60,000-a-week, has played just 55 games in four years – a total of 2,662 minutes.

Saints boss Koeman said: “The situation with Gaston is different to our other players because he is ending his contract. He is not in the plans for the future of the club.”

Ramirez, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Hull, is wanted by Middlesbrough and old club Bologna.

Mike Hewitt

£8,000 a minute – eek!

Good morning one and all

Blink and you miss it, the January transfer window is nearly over and done with.

Thirteen days remain for managers up and down the land to make late additions to their squad, or offload a player who is no longer of use.

And we’ll bring you all the very latest throughout the day and right up to the deadline on Feb 1.

Our back page leads on the future of Watford’s Odion Ighalo, with Chelsea joining the race for the Hornets hotshot.

The 26-year-old has also struck 13 times in 23 games this season and was the leading scorer in 2015.

We’ll bring you developments on that and more right here.

Stephen Pond

Summer goodbye? Ighalo is a Blues target (among others)

Mirror.co.uk
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