LIVE Transfer Talk – Cristiano Ronaldo’s Manchester United future hinges on new manager

The 2022 January transfer window is open (find out when it closes here) and there’s plenty of gossip swirling about who’s moving where. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz on rumours, comings and goings and, of course, done deals!

TOP STORY: Ronaldo’s Man Utd future in the balance

Cristiano Ronaldo is considering leaving Manchester United after less than a season at Old Trafford, according to the Daily Star.

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It is reported that the 36-year-old striker has become disillusioned with the club’s performance in the title race, with the Red Devils now 22 points behind Manchester City after an encouraging start to the season.

And with the Portugal international not supportive of interim manager Ralf Rangnick acquiring the job on a full-time basis, whether he stays in the summer now depends on who the board appoint over the next months — and he is ready to leave if he does not agree with the decision despite being under contract until 2023.

The club have been linked with a number of names to take the helm in the Old Trafford dugout, with Mauricio Pochettino, Erik ten Hag and Brendan Rodgers all names that the board have looked at in recent weeks — though any potential candidate would be much more enticed to take on the project with Ronaldo committed to the squad.

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11.29 GMT: West Ham United have extended forward Michail Antonio‘s contract by two years, The Times reports.

Antonio now has a deal that runs until 2025 and a increase on his previous £70,00-a-week wage, making him one of the club’s top earners.

The 31-year-old Jamaica international has scored eight goals and registered five assists in the Premier League this season as the Hammers continue to build on the big strides made last season.

10.46 GMT: AS Roma coach Jose Mourinho is hopeful his club can bring in reinforcements ahead of Sunday’s league game against Juventus.

The Giallorossi are in advanced talks with FC Porto to sign midfielder Sergio Oliveira. The Portugal international could join Roma on loan until the end of the season with a €15m buyout option included in the deal.

“We’ll see if it’s possible to complete the negotiations before the match against Juventus, even if they don’t train with us,” Mourinho said on Thursday regarding potential transfer targets.

Roma have reportedly already agreed a deal with Arsenal to sign Ainsley Maitland-Niles on loan for the rest of the season. Roma will pay up to £800,000 plus bonuses to Arsenal as well as the England midfielder’s wages.

10.04 GMT: Following confirmation that Ed Woodward will leave his post as executive vice-chairman at Manchester United later this month, ESPN has been told that one of his biggest regrets is that he was unable to take Harry Kane from Tottenham to Old Trafford.

Sources told ESPN’s Mark Ogden that, as the outstanding English centre-forward of his generation, Kane has always been regarded as a prime target for United should he ever become available.

United’s frustration, sources said, is that Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has always been one step ahead of interested clubs and Kane himself by ensuring the England captain was given contract extensions at crucial stages to avoid him entering the final two years of his agreements with the club.

Levy persuaded Kane to sign a six-year contract in 2018 — a deal which enabled Spurs to hold out for £150 million for the player when Manchester City tried, and failed, to sign him last summer.

Kane’s future at Spurs remains a subject of intense speculation, especially with the 28-year-old about to enter the final two years of his contract and therefore able to exploit the diminishing length of his deal to his advantage.

And although sources said that United have a number of areas to address in their squad, the age profile of their attacking options — Cristiano Ronaldo is 37 on Feb. 5 and Edinson Cavani will be 35 nine days later — means they will be active if a top-class centre-forward becomes available this summer.

– Ogden: Why United failed under Woodward

09.31 GMT: And there it is! Aston Villa have agreed a deal to sign former Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho on loan from Barcelona until the end of the season, the Premier League club announced on Friday.

Sources told ESPN that five Premier League sides held talks with Coutinho’s camp, with Villa and one other English club showing the most serious interest.

However, the presence of Steven Gerrard, Coutinho’s former teammate at Liverpool, helped swing the balance in Villa’s favour.

The Premier League club said in a statement: “Aston Villa and FC Barcelona have agreed terms for Philippe Coutinho to spend the rest of this season on loan at Villa Park.

“The agreement, which is subject to the player completing a medical and receiving a work permit, also includes an option to buy and Philippe will travel to Birmingham in the next 48 hours.”

Gerrard, who left Rangers to replace Dean Smith as the coach at Villa Park at the end of last year, played a key role in convincing the Brazilian to make the move to the Midlands.

Coutinho, 29, has previously been reluctant to leave Barca, but a desire to play regular football in a World Cup year has led to a change of mind.

Welcome, Philippe Coutinho! 🙌

Aston Villa and FC Barcelona have agreed terms for Philippe Coutinho to spend the rest of this season on loan at Villa Park. 🇧🇷

— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) January 7, 2022

08.39 GMT: Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard has described Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho as “a special footballer” amid the possibility of a January transfer.

Sources have told ESPN’s Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens that Coutinho is open to leaving Barcelona this month and five Premier League clubs, including Villa, have expressed an interest in signing him on loan.

Multiple sources have confirmed that Villa, coached by Coutinho’s former Liverpool teammate Gerrard, are one of the clubs interested in signing the attacking midfielder.

“He is someone I’ve got an incredible amount of respect for, but I don’t want to add to speculation because he belongs to Barcelona,” Gerrard told a news conference. “I don’t think you get a nickname of ‘The Magician’ if you’re not a special footballer.

“I’ve got nothing but positive things to say about the player. He’s a friend of mine so if I’m asked the questions I can speak for as long as you want. But if you’re trying to link it to any speculation or catch me out you’re in for a long afternoon.”

Introducing the first signing of our new era… 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿


— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) January 7, 2022

08.00 GMT: Newcastle United have completed the signing of Kieran Trippier from Atletico Madrid, the club announced on Friday.

The England full-back returns to the Premier League after a successful two-and-a-half year spell in Spain.

The defender has signed a two-and-a-half-year deal and becomes Newcastle’s first signing since being taken over by a consortium led by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund in October.

Trippier, 31, made 83 appearances for Atletico in all competitions after joining from Tottenham in 2019, and helped them win the LaLiga title last season.

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PAPER GOSSIP (by Adam Brown)

– Newcastle United are preparing an offer of £70 million to begin talks with Dusan Vlahovic, writes beIN Sports. But while Fiorentina are open to doing a deal with the Magpies, it is reported that the 21-year-old striker isn’t keen on switching the Serie A for St. James’ Park, with a number of other clubs also tracking his contract situation in Florence.

– Tottenham Hotspur are considering an approach for Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Adama Traore, according to The Athletic. With attacking wing-backs a crucial part of Antonio Conte’s system, the former Internazionale boss is interested in bringing the 25-year-old Spain international to North London. And after entering the final 18 months of his contract this January, the Wolves star could be available for a fee in the region of £20m.

Ousmane Dembele will be once again freezed out of the Barcelona squad is he does not sign a new contract, Marca has revealed. The Blaugrana have offered the 24-year-old a reduced salary in his latest contract offer, with the club looking to reduce their wage budget, and it is reported that Xavi Hernandez is keen to get the France international playing regularly. But if no progress is made from Dembele and his representatives, club president Joan Laporta is ready to banish him from first team activities for good.

– Fabrizio Romano states that Liverpool and Porto have denied that there are any talks ongoing regarding Luis Diaz. The 24-year-old winger has been linked with an Anfield switch this week, but it is reported that Jurgen Klopp’s side are currently prioritising the renewal of Mohamed Salah’s contract, which now has just 18 months remaining on it.

– Newcastle will continue talks to bring Sevilla playmaker Diego Carlos to St. James’ Park despite having their first approach rejected, according to The Athletic. Eddie Howe is looking to acquire two centre-backs before the end of the transfer window, and while he has identified the 28-year-old LaLiga star as a key target, Sevilla are likely to command a substantial fee for one of their first-choice players, who has already made 24 appearances this season.

Philippe Coutinho will make a decision over his future on Friday, with two potential suitors ready to acquire him from Barcelona. That’s according to Sky Sports, who link Aston Villa as one of the clubs keen to strike a deal for the 29-year-old attacking midfielder. Coutinho will look to restart his career after a rough period at Camp Nou has seen him struggle for regular minutes in the first team, starting just five games this season.


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