LIVE Transfer Talk – Liverpool eye Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong

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LIVE Transfer Talk – Liverpool eye Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong

Frenke de Jong could be facing an exit from Barcelona. Joan Valls/Urbanandsport /NurPhoto via Getty Images

The summer transfer window is closed for the major leagues in Europe. However, with an eye on January, there’s plenty of gossip swirling about who’s moving where. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz on rumours, comings, goings and, of course, done deals!

TOP STORY: Liverpool eye De Jong

Liverpool are now interested in signing Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong in January, joining rivals Manchester United in the chase for the Dutchman’s signature.

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That’s according to Spanish outlet Sport, who believes the Merseysiders have entered the race for the in-demand midfielder.

De Jong, who stayed at Barcelona in the summer despite strong interest from Manchester United and others, isn’t getting as many minutes as he would like under Xavi Hernandez, and so would appear more open to leaving Camp Nou.

Meanwhile, Liverpool face the prospect of having four midfielders out of contract at the end of the season, with none of them yet having renewed. Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, James Milner and Arthur Melo (on loan from Juventus) could all be on the move at the end of the current campaign.

Liverpool’s initial plan was to scour the market next summer, but Jurgen Klopp could be tempted to make winter moves, particularly given his side’s slow start to the Premier League season.


14.26 BST: Manchester United will activate an extension in Diogo Dalot‘s contract to ward off interest from Barcelona, sources told ESPN’s Rob Dawson. Dalot is into the final year of the deal he signed after joining from Porto in 2018 but United have an option to extend his stay until 2024.

Barcelona are one of a number of clubs monitoring his situation, but the 23-year-old will not be available on a free transfer next summer.

Dalot has established himself at the first-choice right-back since Erik ten Hag’s arrival as manager, playing 11 games in all competitions so far this season. The Portugal international is into his fifth season at Old Trafford and approaching 100 appearances for the club. He spent the 2020-21 campaign on loan at Milan but has since become a key part of the squad at United.

He is also set to be part of the Portugal squad at the World Cup in Qatar alongside club teammates Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes.

– Stream Real Madrid vs. Barcelona LIVE on ESPN+ at 10:15 a.m ET (U.S.)

13.32 BST: London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Brentford are both monitoring Sunderland left-back Dennis Cirkin, The Sun reports.

Cirkin, 20, came through the youth ranks at Spurs but never made a first-team appearances before joining Sunderland in the summer of 2021.

However, he has since impressed for Sunderland, making 37 appearances last season as they gained promotion back up to the Championship via the playoffs last term.

Cirkin returned from injury this weekend to make his ninth appearance of the season, scoring his first professional goal in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Wigan.

– Olley: Kane leads Spurs past Everton but can Conte’s lack of rotation last?

12.37 BST: Antoine Griezmann apologised to Atletico Madrid’s fans for the “hurt” he caused them by leaving the club, after scoring the only goal in Saturday’s 1-0 win at Athletic Club in LaLiga (stream the replay on ESPN+ in the U.S.).

Griezmann’s return was made permanent on Monday — signing a contract until 2026 — after Atletico and Barcelona agreed a €20m transfer fee, ending a dispute over the forward’s loan agreement which saw him used as a substitute for most of this season.

Under the terms of the two-year loan agreed in 2021, Atletico were due to pay €40m if the player featured for over 45 minutes in 50% of the games for which he was available, leading the club to order manager Diego Simeone to keep him on the bench in an attempt to force Barca into a compromise.

Griezmann upset Atletico fans by leaving for Barca in 2019 in a €120m deal — before failing to settle at Camp Nou and rejoining on loan two years later.

“I’m very proud to have finally been able to get to this point, to be able to renew [my contract] and to be an Atletico player completely,” Griezmann said on Saturday. “I apologise. I know that a lot of people want to hear it directly from me. I’m sorry if I hurt the fans, but the biggest apology I want to make is on the pitch.”

The France international has begun six of Atletico’s nine LaLiga games so far this season on the bench, but started the 1-0 win at San Mames that saw them move up to third in the table.

“[Not starting games] was difficult personally, but I tried not to show it,” he said. “When I play, I give 100%, and if not I support my teammates and make a difference when I come on.”

11.41 BST: Real Madrid will be watching Xabi Alonso‘s performance as Bayer Leverkusen manager with interest, sources told ESPN’s Alex Kirkland and Rodrigo Faez, viewing the former Liverpool, Madrid and Bayern Munich midfielder as a potential candidate to take charge at the Bernabeu.

Alonso, 40, was appointed by Leverkusen on Oct. 5 as the Bundesliga club look to turn around a dreadful start to the season in which they have taken just five points from their first eight league games. Madrid will be monitoring Alonso’s progress closely, sources said, as the LaLiga giants believe that he fits the profile of a possible future Real Madrid manager.

The former midfielder had the opportunity to play for and learn from some of the most successful coaches of recent years including Rafa Benitez, Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti and Pep Guardiola. Alonso is a familiar face at Madrid, having followed his five-year spell there as a player by managing their under-14s through the 2018-19 season in his first coaching job. He went on to impress in his three years in charge of Real Sociedad’s B team, leading them in 2021 to their first promotion to Spain’s Second Division in 60 years.

Madrid now want to see how Alonso develops in this next phase of his coaching career with Leverkusen, which is his first top-flight appointment. Alonso had an immediate impact, beating Schalke 4-0 in his debut last week. However, a 3-0 home defeat to FC Porto in midweek left them bottom of Champions League Group B with two rounds of matches remaining, while Saturday’s 5-1 thrashing at Eintracht Frankfurt left them hovering above the Bundesliga relegation zone (stream the replay on ESPN+ in the U.S.).

10.48 BST: Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea says he wants to stay at the club for years to come as he prepares to make his 500th appearance for them.

De Gea, 31, will become the 11th player to reach the milestone for the Red Devils when they host Newcastle United later on Sunday.

The Spain international’s contract is due to expire at the end of the season, although United have the option to trigger a 12-month extension, and De Gea hopes he can stay at Old Trafford.

“This is my club and where I feel good,” he told the Mail on Sunday. “I’m playing well and I feel very well. I have many more years to play. Yes, I would like to stay here more years and make records for games and everything.

“I’d like to try to help the young people here as well with my experience and try to win trophies. I feel very confident.”

09.54 BST: Everton forward Anthony Gordon‘s contract talks with the club have stalled, according to The Sun.

Gordon, 21, was a target for Chelsea in the summer transfer window, but Everton stood firm on their £50m valuation of the player and rejected several bids from Stamford Bridge.

Now Gordon reportedly wants a new deal worth £100,000 a week that reflects that valuation to replace his current contract, which runs until 2025.

The England youth international was suspended for Saturday’s 2-0 loss at Tottenham, having already picked up five yellow cards in the Premier League this season.

09.00 BST: Manchester City have made a central midfielder their priority ahead of next summer’s transfer window, sources have told ESPN’s Rob Dawson.

The club are looking at options to strengthen their midfield including Borussia Dortmund teenager Jude Bellingham. City spent an initial £42m to sign England midfielder Kalvin Phillips from Leeds United last summer and they are set to invest again at the end of the season. There remain doubts over the futures of both Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva. Gundogan has entered the final year of his contract and could leave for free at the end of the season.

Bernardo, meanwhile, is still a target for Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain.

PAPER GOSSIP (by Nick Judd)

– Liverpool are scouting Chelsea target Christopher Nkunku, in the hope that the French forward’s move from RB Leipzig to London falls through. That’s according to the Sun, who believe that Liverpool insiders still monitoring the situation in case the deal hits any snags. Newcastle United are also scouting Nkunu, as they sent head of recruitment Steve Nickson to watch the player during Leipzig’s 2-1 victory over Celtic on Tuesday.

– Chelsea are keeping an eye on Leandro Trossard from Brighton & Hove Albion, according to the Mirror. The 27-year-old attacking player worked with Blues boss Graham Potter at Brighton and is out of contract in the summer. However, Chelsea aren’t the only club on the prowl, with Atletico Madrid leading a number of other clubs looking into the prospect of signing Trossard on a free transfer.

– Chelsea are also watching the situation in Napoli with regards to Stanislav Lobotka, according to Calciomercato. The report suggests that the 27-year-old midfielder is edging closer to renewing his contract with the Italian club, but that Potter is hopeful he can tempt Lobotka to London in an effort to add to his midfield options. With Jorginho and N’Golo Kante approaching the final year of their contracts, Potter is looking to the future, and Lobotka has been a key part of Napoli’s barnstorming start to the season.

– Manchester United are keeping tabs on AC Milan striker Rafael Leao, according to the Mirror. Reds boss Erik ten Hag is said to be a big fan of the 23-year-old Portuguese playmaker, who helped the Italian side win their first Serie A title in 11 years last season. As such, United sent club scouts to watch him in action during the Rossoneri’s last two Champions League matches. Manchester City and Chelsea are also said to be monitoring the forward’s situation, with Milan believed to value Leao’s transfer at around £60 million.