The winter transfer window does not open until January 1, but clubs across Europe are busy planning and contacting the players they hope to sign.
Our friends at Football Whispers have scoured the European newspapers and websites to bring you the latest transfer gossip and news from the continent.
Barcelona have reached an agreement to sign long-term Manchester United transfer target Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid. The Catalan giants are willing to pay the France international €20m (£17.8m) a year on a five-year contract. It is unclear over how much the deal has been agreed for, but Griezmann’s release clause was said to be raised to €200m (£178.4m). (Le10Sport)
Julian Draxler has dismissed speculation linking him with a move to Bayern Munich. Reports claimed the Bavarians had lined up the Paris Saint-Germain playmaker as one replacement for either Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, whose contracts are set to expire next summer. “I am not thinking about leaving the club in winter or even in the summer,” the 24-year-old said. (L’Equipe)
Under-fire Italy manager Gian Piero Ventura last night failed to confirm whether he will remain in charge after they missed out on World Cup qualification for the first time in 60 years. The Azzurri failed to score in 180 minutes of football against Sweden, meaning it was the first time they will not be present at the World Cup since 1958.
But Ventura, who has been criticised for his tactics and selection throughout the qualifying campaign, said he would talk to Italian Football Federation president Carlo Tavecchio. (La Gazzetta dello Sport)
Meanwhile, Italy legends Gianluigi Buffon, Daniele De Rossi and Andrea Barzagli all announced their retirement from international football. Giorgio Chiellini has yet to decide if he will continue. (La Gazzetta dello Sport)
Juventus director Giuseppe Marotta has confirmed the club’s interest in Liverpool midfielder Emre Can and in-demand Schalke star Leon Goretzka. “Emre Can and Leon Goretzka are two players with expiring contracts and I don’t hide the fact that we are following them both, like many other teams. The will of the players will be decisive,” Marotta said. Can has also emerged as a Borussia Dortmund transfer target while Goretzka has been the subject of Barcelona, Arsenal and Bayern Munich transfer rumours. (Corriere dello Sport)
Talks over a deal for Barcelona transfer target Philippe Coutinho are still ongoing. The Brazilian playmaker will play alongside Barca midfielder Paulinho tonight as the Selecao take on England at Wembley. The La Liga side courted Coutinho all summer and, although a deal never materialised, they have been widely tipped to go back in for the 25-year-old in January. (Mundo Deportivo)
Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema says he lost respect for Jose Mourinho after the coach called him a cat. The forward was speaking in a documentary broadcast on French television, during which he detailed the breakdown in relationship between himself and the current Manchester United boss, prompted by a press conference in which Mourinho likened the former Lyon player to a cat. “We always had a good relationship,” Benzema explained to the French media organisation, “but after that, there were expressions and statements that were not necessarily well intended.” (AS)
Manchester United’s Andreas Pereira wants to stay at Valencia. The 21-year-old is at the Mestalla on loan after failing to break into the first team at Old Trafford and has been impressive so far. “It would be a very good option for me, it would be positive. I’m happy at Valencia CF,” Pereira said. (Superdeporte)
Schalke director Christian Heidel insists Goretzka’s departure from the Veltins-Arena is not inevitable. The young midfielder will be able to leave the Royal Blues for nothing on June 30 but Heidel is hoping the Liverpool transfer target will take into consideration the direction the club is moving in under new coach Domenico Tedesco. “I have faith in Leon and his advisers. We remain in the race,” Heidel said. (Kicker)
Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt will not join Barcelona at the end of the season, according to his agent. “We mean to remain at Ajax at least until next summer,” Barry Hulshoff said. Recent reports had claimed that de Ligt was set to join the Blaugrana at the end of the current campaign but, with evidence of young players struggling to break into the Barca side, De Ligt wants to stay in Amsterdam and continue his development. (Ziggo Sport)
Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne has hit out at Belgium manager Roberto Martinez over his tactics. Belgium cruised through their qualifying group with nine wins and a draw but, after drawing 3-3 against Mexico, De Bruyne bemoaned Martinez’s style of play.
“Mexico were just tactically better,” De Bruyne said. “Their system made our five defenders sit deep and we were swimming in midfield – it was five against seven.
“As long as we don’t have a good tactical system, we will have difficulties against countries like Mexico. It’s a pity that we have not yet found a solution.” (Het Laatste Nieuws).