Transfer Talk: Real Madrid have 'pact' to sign Mbappe

The transfer windows in Europe's top leagues are closed, but 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.

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TOP STORY: Real Madrid have 'pact' to sign Mbappe

The fuss about Neymar leaving PSG this summer created a bit of a smokescreen for the future of a player that the French club would want to lose even less: Kylian Mbappe.

Mbappe, 20, has already won the World Cup, the Ligue 1 title three times, and been named the French league's best player. And, after the forward hinted he could be ready for a new challenge, Real Madrid have been continually linked with a move that would see Mbappe link up with France legend Zinedine Zidane.

El Chiringuito reports that Real have agreed a 'pact' with PSG that they will only sell Mbappe to them, and have already handed over a €40m downpayment for an eventual deal worth €260m.

That would be quite the coup if Real could pull it off and the forward's France teammate Raphael Varane is working on it. "I always want Mbappe playing in his team. This season is in Paris but we don't know what will happen in the future," he told AS. "I only can tell him positive things about Real Madrid. He knows it."

Neymar who?


22.29 BST: We'll close Wednesday's live edition of Transfer Talk with some discussion from London. Just a month into the season, Christian Pulisic has begun to find minutes hard to come by at Chelsea. Should the U.S. international be concerned after joining from Borussia Dortmund?

20.52 BST: Two years before signing Neymar, Paris Saint-Germain had plans to recruit a different superstar. Le Parisien reports that in 2015, knowing that Zlatan Ibrahimovic would leave following the 2015-16 season, PSG created a plan to lure Cristiano Ronaldo to the Parc des Princes. The report states the plan was a two-pronged attack, beginning with recruiting Karim Benzema to Paris in 2015 -- which, reportedly, nearly came off -- and then leveraging Benzema's relationship with Ronaldo to get the Portuguese to join him in the French capital.

Alas, Benzema is still in Madrid, Ronaldo left Spain for Juventus, and Neymar remains in Paris -- despite his best efforts. What could have been.

19.15 BST: Former Tottenham and Fulham midfielder Lewis Holtby is in talks with Blackburn Rovers over joining the Championship side, according to the Mail, with the free agent's contract at Hamburg expiring at the end of last season.

17.38 BST: The BBC reports that Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane blocked the signings of both Christian Eriksen and Donny van de Beek after Los Blancos had already agreed terms with both players, because he insisted club president Florentino Perez sign his No. 1 midfield target: Paul Pogba.

16.01 BST: Victor Lindelof has signed a new long-term contract with Manchester United.

The Sweden defender, 25, will stay at the club until at least June 2024, with an option to extend for a further year.

"Since the day I arrived at United it has felt like home," Lindelof told the club website. "I have grown significantly both as a player and as a person in the last two years and for that I am grateful to everyone at the club for their help and support. I love playing football and my aim now is to help the team to win trophies and repay the fans for their unrivalled support.

"I know that everyone at the club shares this vision and will give everything to get Manchester United back to where it belongs. I'm still young and know I can improve further but with the help of the boss and his coaching staff, I believe that only good things are ahead for this great club."

15.52 BST: Former Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet rejected moves to FC Porto and Benfica before eventually signing for Club Brugge this summer, says Het Nieuwsblad.

Aston Villa also made an approach for the Belgium international, before eventually landing Tom Heaton from Burnley, while interest from Crystal Palace and Bournemouth never got beyond the valuation stage as neither club wanted to pay the £6.4m he eventually moved for.

15.11 BST: Who would have thought that a club with Manchester City's resources would be in the midst of a defensive crisis?

14.31 BST: Jack Clarke signed for Tottenham this summer but went straight back to Leeds United on loan. However, the 18-year-old is yet to feature in the Championship for Leeds so far this season and the Daily Mail reports that Spurs are considering recalling him.

13.54 BST: You can tell it's a slow news day in the world of transfers because (see Cristiano Ronaldo to Arsenal below) it's all about players who ALMOST signed for other clubs.

Chris Coleman has revealed that Fulham almost signed Nemanja Vidic before Man United did.

"I'd spoken to the agent and [Fulham owner] Mohamed Al Fayed was on board. He [Vidic] was sensational, only young but already a man," Coleman told the Athletic. "I knew Jim Lawlor, United's chief scout, because we'd done our Pro Licence together out of Belfast. He's a top boy.

"I said to him, 'You can't take him, he's not ready for you, let him come to me for a few years, do well, then you can take him.' He was laughing. 'No we're taking him now.'"

13.13 BST: Paris Saint-Germain's Thomas Tuchel hasn't set the world alight in Ligue 1 but apparently his management of the champions has been enough to keep Man United and Barcelona interested.

Le10 Sport claims that unless PSG win the Champions League then Tuchel won't be around next season, while any slips from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer or Ernesto Valverde would see him leap to the top of the list to replace them at United and Barca respectively.

12.27 BST: Bayern Munich > Liverpool. At least according to Philippe Coutinho, who is on loan there from Barcelona.

"The first few days they showed me the facilities, I met my teammates, the coaches," he told Sky Sports Germany.

"Every day I feel a little better, I am very happy. Bayern are more of a family than my old clubs. I know there's the atmosphere of Liverpool, but it's even more of a family here."

11.28 BST: ESPN sources have said that Manchester United are looking at signing Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, but the teenage winger isn't thinking too much about a transfer.

After the 0-0 draw with Barcelona on Tuesday, he told Viasport: "I can't tell the future. I just take it game by game. I just want to give 100 percent for Borussia Dortmund. I really want to do well with Dortmund. Obviously, I want to win titles and give everything."

10.43 BST: All the top clubs in Europe are interested in Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz, but SportBild claims that Bayern, Barcelona and Real Madrid are leading the race.

Havertz, 20, is tipped as one of the best young midfielders around and Leverkusen will listen to offers above €100m next summer.

Liverpool have also been mentioned, though the fact that Jurgen Klopp is manager means they are usually linked to Bundesliga players.

Havertz himself said earlier this month: "I'm happy to be here and stay in Leverkusen for another year. We'll see what will happens next summer."

09.45 BST: Don't forget to make your own transfers as you pick your team for our Premier League and Champions League fantasy games! Take on your mates in head-to-head leagues, selecting a team each weekend to maximise points. Here's how to play the game, and click through to sign up.

08.28 BST: Liverpool fans were already unhappy about losing to Napoli and then £75m defender Virgil van Dijk confirms he's not in talks over a new contract.

"There is nothing going on, so that's it," he told Sky Sports.

Then asked again about an extension, Van Dijk added: "That's not on me! I saw some reports in the media that I was agreeing a new deal and stuff. But I'm not even discussing anything at the moment. The only thing I want to do right now is focus on the games and we'll see in the future what may happen."

08.00 BST: Manchester City's defensive crisis is unlikely to be alleviated by a new signing in January as the club remains unwilling to pay over the odds for transfers, according to The Guardian.

Tuesday's news that John Stones will join Aymeric Laporte in the treatment room for up to five weeks leaves the Premier League champions with only Nicolas Otamendi as their only full-time centre-back.

City were interested in signing Harry Maguire from Leicester in the summer to fill the gap left by Vincent Kompany's departure, but they were not willing to pay more than £65m. Maguire eventually joined Manchester United for £80m, becoming the world's most expensive defender in the process.

The Guardian adds that it was a similar story when Virgil van Dijk was targeted by City but ended up joining Liverpool, who were willing to pay Southampton their £75m asking price.

Given their situation, it remains to be seen if city will loosen the purse strings and go after a new centre-back in January.

PAPER TALK (by Harry Kettle)

Napoli's Fabian a man in demand

Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz has established himself as one of the premier talents in Italy and is drawing attention from other big clubs across Europe.

The Spain international is on the radar of the major sides back in his homeland, with Real Madrid and Barcelona showing interest in him, according to the Daily Mail.

Another team keeping tabs on him is the one he helped defeat on Tuesday in the first match of Champions League group stage action: defending champions Liverpool.

Fabian, who played at Real Betis prior to moving to Naples, has been compared to former Barca great Xavi">Xavi. That's certainly good company for the budding 23-year-old to keep.

Ronaldo could have been a Gunner

Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo has told Piers Morgan that he came close to joining Premier League side Arsenal.

"I was one step away from joining Arsenal," Ronaldo said during an interview on ITV. "I appreciate what Arsenal did for me, especially Arsene Wenger. They're a great club."

The Portuguese sensation is well known for being one of the biggest stars of his generation, and arguably the best player in world football. Ronaldo has made a few major moves in his career between Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus, breaking countless records along the way

"I don't follow the records, the records follow me," Ronaldo added. "I'm addicted to success. It motivates me. The records come in a natural way. "

As always, it's a case of the one that got away for Gunners fans.


- Borussia Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc has told the Mirror that Jadon Sancho was "not close" to completing a move to Manchester United this past summer. "Not close at all. We didn't talk to them," Zorc said. "They were asking us for a meeting. [We said] Sancho is not for sale."