Liverpool close to signing Dani Ceballos as Philippe Coutinho replacement: Wednesday's transfer news and rumours


Liverpool have emerged as the favourites to sign Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos, according to reports in Spain.

The 21-year-old central midfielder moved to the Santiago Bernabéu from Real Betis last summer, for a transfer fee of around €18m.

However despite his fine form last season, Ceballos has struggled to make any significant impression at Madrid, featuring in just six La Liga matches this season.

And according to reports in Spain, Real Madrid are ready to cut their losses on the young player, with Liverpool at the front of the queue.

But the Reds will have to move quickly if they want their man.

The Real Betis president recently confirmed the club were interested in resigning Ceballos – but player registration laws in Spain mean they will have to wait until next summer before making their move.

“In football it is difficult to say if something can happen or not, as anything can happen,” Betis president Angel Haro told Canal Sur.

“Yes I have heard a lot of rumours but right now we are focusing on planning but I cannot give out more information, but we do have certain budget limitations.

“We are trying to reinforce our most important positions and want to strengthen but in football it is not always possible for everything to work out as you want it.”

Ceballos has as astronomical €500m release clause in his contract, although it is understood Madrid will be tempted into offloading the player for the same price they signed him for.

Mkhitaryan ready to leave

Henrikh Mkhitaryan is willing to return to Borussia Dortmund this window, with the Bundesliga club also keen on a move for the playmaker, but there is currently a considerable gap between their positions on potential wages. That should make a summer move more likely.

Other than a few flashes since signing in the summer of 2016, Mkhitaryan has generally been a disappointment for Manchester United, struggling to both fit into Jose Mourinho’s system and really settle at the club.

The Portuguese would sanction a sale if the right deal comes along, and Dortmund looks like that, although considerable negotiation is required as regards wages.

Mkhitaryan is currently on a deal of over £120,000 a week, and the German club’s current stance would bring an offer well short of that.

Internazionale also have an interest in the Armenian playmaker, and may act if Dortmund progress, but that could see United looking to leverage their position on summer target Ivan Perisic.


The Armenian could quit Old Trafford (Getty)

Mourinho had greatly wanted the Croatian winger, only for the Old Trafford hierarchy to struggle to do a deal with Inter, and Perisic ultimately signed a new contract.

Vidal rules out Chelsea move

Arturo Vidal has dismissed rumours linking him with a move to Chelsea.

Bayern Munich‘s Chilean midfielder admitted to knowing of the links, but insists he’s committed to the German champions.

“Yes, I’ve heard about it, but I’m fully focused on the season with Bayern and I’m only looking day-to-day,” he told Sport.


There will be no Vidal – Conte reunion (AFP)

“We’re a great team and we have big goals. We want to win every trophy. That’s what my focus is.”

Vidal was one of Antonio Conte‘s first signings at Juventus, winning three consecutive Serie A titles under the now-Chelsea boss.

Everton chase Barkley replacement

Everton appear to be in the market for a midfielder following the departure of Ross Barkley.

The agent of Juventus midfielder Stefano Sturaro confirmed the Toffees are interested in his client.

“The market is in Italy 80% of the clubs, with some very insistent, abroad it’s Valencia and Everton mainly,” he told Il Bianco Nero.


Ross Barkley left Everton for Chelsea in a £15m deal six months before his contract expired (Getty)

Sturaro, 24, has made 56 appearances for Juve and been capped twice by Italy.

Darmian to depart?

Matteo Darmian could be on his way out of Old Trafford this transfer window.

The Manchester United full-back’s agent told Portuguese newspaper A Bola that no offer has been received and, while there’s no reason to leave the club, the Italian would entertain offers elsewhere.


Will Darmian go? (AFP/Getty Images)

“I didn’t hear anything. At this point, Darmian is at United and good right there. I don’t believe he’s leaving.

“If they call, we’ll listen.”

Benfica are reportedly interested in bringing Darmian to the Estadio Da Luz.

Rumours from around the web

Tottenham and Real Madrid are reportedly in advanced negotiations over Harry Kane, with the 24-year-old reportedly keen to wear the number 10 shirt for Los Blancos. The Daily Express says reports in Spain suggest the England international is planning to quit the Premier League, with a move to Real firmly in his sights.

Jack Wilshere is expected to hold new contract talks with Arsenal next week, the Mirror reports. The paper says the club are finally ready to make a formal contract offer to the 26-year-old midfielder, but he has been warned he may have to accept a pay cut if he wants to stay with the Gunners. Wilshere’s current deal expires at the end of the season.

Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic is expected to leave Old Trafford later this year, the Mirror reports. The paper says the Red Devils are considering replacements, and that he could potentially leave before he is out of contract at the end of United’s current campaign.

Arsene Wenger: ‘The transfer window should be banned to keep our lives a bit more focused on football’

Southampton are plotting a transfer bid for Atletico Madrid’s Nicolas Gaitan, the Mirror reports. But the paper says Mauricio Pellegrino will face competition from Crystal Palace and Everton for the 29-year-old, who has fallen out of favour at the Spanish club.

Newcastle are said to be eyeing up Sparta Prague goalkeeper Martin Dubravka after Kevin Trapp opted to stay at Paris St Germain. The Daily Mail says Slovakia international Dubravka is Rafael Benitez’s latest transfer target, as the club continue their hunt for a new goalkeeper.

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