Sampdoria midfielder Dennis Praet has emerged as a Newcastle transfer target. The Belgian playmaker has shone in Serie A this season and reportedly has a €20m (£17.8m) release clause in his contract. Sampdoria are under no pressure to sell the 23-year-old having already moved on Patrik Schick, Milan Skriniar and Luis Muriel in the summer, but they may be receptive to a bid from the Premier League side. (Calciomercato)
Manchester City have ended their interest in Liverpool and Juventus transfer target Faouzi Ghoulam. The Napoli left-back has been linked with several of Europe’s top clubs after impressing recently, but City will not be pursuing him as cover for Benjamin Mendy, who is recovering from a cruciate ligament injury. (Calciomercato)
Barcelona are believed to be one of three clubs who have made contact with Schalke over in-demand midfielder Leon Goretzka. The Bayern Munich and Liverpool transfer target has not extended his contract with Bundesliga club amid intense speculation over his future and is aware of interest from several clubs. Barcelona and two Premier League clubs have held preliminary discussions with the 22-year-old’s agent. (Calciomercato)
Barcelona are continuing to lay the groundwork on a potential deal to sign Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho in January. Despite signing Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund in the summer, the Catalan club are still keen on luring the Brazilian away from Anfield and are prepared to pay £133m for his services. If that deal goes through, Coutinho would become the second-most expensive player behind Neymar. (Mundo Deportivo)
The La Liga leaders are also interested in Chelsea transfer target Kalidou Koulibaly. The Napoli centre-back has established himself as one of the finest defenders in Serie A and is a key part of Maurizio Sarri’s side with his form has attracting attention from Barca. However, Koulibaly would not be available until next summer and Napoli would demand at least €50m (£44m) for the 26-year-old. (Sport)
Barcelona director of football Raul Sanllehi is close to joining Arsenal. The Gunners are searching for a replacement for Dick Law, the figure who oversaw transfers at the Emirates Stadium. Law is stepping down after a frustrating summer.
Sanllehi has been heavily involved in the transfer business at Barcelona since 2008 and was prominent in negotiating the deal that brought Neymar to the club from Santos in 2013. Former Arsenal winger Marc Overmars, currently sporting director at Ajax, is also being considered for the position. (Diario Sport)
Zinedine Zidane is prepared for the moment when he will have to leave Real Madrid. Zidane, who has just won FIFA’s Manager of the Year Award, was appointed in January 2016 to replace Rafa Benitez and, although there is no immediate concern that the Frenchman will leave his post, he understands how quickly things can change in football. “Football always brings ups and downs so you need to understand how to recover,” the 45-year-old said. (Marca)
Paris Saint-Germain players are not impressed with some of the special privileges that have been afforded to Neymar. The Brazilian became the most expensive player of all time when he moved to the Parc des Princes from Barcelona for £198m in the summer and has been treated accordingly, with the player having two personal physiotherapists dedicated to him.
Neymar is also exempt from defensive exercises in training while the squad have been forbidden from putting in robust tackles on him. It is also believed that Neymar will be given sole penalty-taking responsibilities instead of sharing them with Edinson Cavani. (Le Parisien)
A friend of Hatem Ben Arfa believes the player’s exile at PSG is taking its toll mentally. Sylvain Idangar has grown concerned about his long-time friend, who has not played for the French club since April and was demoted to the reserve team in September. “I was afraid that old demons had returned and that he breaks down. I am worried all the time,” Idangar said. The 30-year-old playmaker has only started nine games for PSG since signing from Nice in 2016 and has recently been linked with a sensational move back to Newcastle. (L’Equipe)
Borussia Dortmund midfielder Marco Reus is an Arsenal and Manchester United transfer target. The Germany international’s contract is set to expire in 2019 and he has hinted recently that he may be ready for a change of club. The 28-year-old is currently sidelined with a cruciate ligament injury, but is still of interest to Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger. (Sky Germany)
Meanwhile, Reus’ team-mate Mario Gotze believes he is close to discovering his best form again and hopes to be recalled to the German national team. Gotze returned to Dortmund last summer after a disappointing three-year spell with Bayern Munich but has struggled with form and fitness since, and was diagnosed with metabolic disturbances in February. However, since recovering, the 25-year-old has impressed in a deeper midfield role under Peter Bosz and feels ready to return to international football.
“I am finally back at 100 per cent,” he said. “I have a really good feeling out there on the pitch,” Gotze said. “I realise that I want to take on responsibility and that I can actually do so as well. The team gives me the trust.” (Sport BILD)