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Paper Talk: Man Utd in advanced talks to sign dynamic midfield pivot; Newcastle launch nine-figure striker bid

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1639904103 french midfielder boubacar kamara on the ball for marseille vs lazio

Manchester United are in advanced talks to sign highly-rated Marseille midfielder Boubacar Kamara on a potential free transfer, while Newcastle are ready to launch a huge bid to sign a Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester City striker target  – both in Sunday’s Paper Talk.

UNITED IN KAMARA TALKS

Manchester United are reportedly in advanced talks to sign Marseille midfielder Boubacar Kamara, despite strong interest from LaLiga giants Barcelona.

The France Under-21 star has been in impressive form over the first half of the season. However, he looks set to quit Marseille, with his contract running out in the summer.

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That has led to a scramble for his signature, with United and Barca the leading contenders to complete deal.

But a report from Catalan publication El Nacional (via the Manchester Evening News) claims that the Red Devils are in the advanced stages of bringing the 22-year-old to Old Trafford.

Kamara will be able to sign a pre-contract with clubs outside of France from January, and that is what United are working towards.

The report adds that interim boss Ralf Rangnick wants to add Kamara to his midfield mix, with Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Juan Mata all tipped to move on over the next six to eight months.

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Kamara playing key Marseille role

Kamara has played 19 games this season, helping Marseille keep nine clean sheets in that time from his pivotal defensive midfield role.

He is described as player who has the ability to play several midfield positions but can also drop into the defensive line, if required.

Kamara could be the first of many signings under Rangnick, who will continue to work in a consultancy role when his managerial stint concludes at the end of the season.

Indeed, United are expected to overhaul a squad that has largely underachieved – especially given the growing strength of rivals Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea.

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Where next for Anthony Martial? Five potential destinations for Man Utd star


NEWCASTLE LAUNCH VLAHOVIC BID

Newcastle have reportedly tabled a nine-figure bid for Arsenal target and Serie A top scorer Dusan Vlahovic. (Daily Star Sunday)

Manchester City are likely to give full-back Joao Cancelo a bumper new contract extension. (Daily Star Sunday)

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Brazilian football legend Ronaldo has become the new majority owner of former club Cruzeiro, beating out a bid from Liverpool chiefs Fenway Sports Group. (Daily Star Sunday)

Sporting Lisbon manager Ruben Amorim has emerged as a surprise candidate to become the next permanent Manchester United manager. (Sunday Express)

Barcelona want to sign Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford as a replacement for Sergio Aguero. (Sunday Express)

Tottenham have been put on red alert after AC Milan star Franck Kessie told the club he does not wish to extend his contract. (Sunday Express)

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AND THE REST FROM PAPER TALK

Takumi Minamino, Divock Origi, Curtis Jones Liverpool

West Ham are ready to make a move for Liverpool’s deputy striker Divock Origi in January. (Sunday Express)

Juan Mata is increasingly keen to leave Manchester United, so he can join Spanish giants Barcelona. (Daily Star Sunday)

Chelsea want to sign exciting AC Milan defender Theo Hernandez. (Sun on Sunday)

Leeds are looking at signing Juventus’ American midfielder Weston McKennie but he will cost them about £20m. (Sun on Sunday)

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Newcastle want a loan move for Manchester United striker Anthony Martial in January. Meanwhile, Inter Milan forward Edin Dzeko is another target. (Sun on Sunday)

West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady says it is vital the game avoids another Covid-19 enforced shutdown of football as it cost Premier League teams £2bn last time. (Sun on Sunday)

Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen “dreams” of playing football again after his Inter Milan exit, his agent has said. (Mail on Sunday)

West Brom forward Rayhaan Tulloch looks likely to be loaned out next month. (Mail on Sunday)

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Agent reveals Arsenal interest in Gabriel Martinelli-style ace, with transfer labelled ‘ideal’

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nicolas pepe celebrates with gabriel martinelli after premier league goal against sheffield united

An agent has revealed Arsenal are hoping to sign a young star who is drawing comparisons with Gabriel Martinelli.

20-year-old Martinelli has been impressive over the last couple of months, hitting four goals and two assists in his last eight Premier League outings. That includes two strikes in December’s 4-1 victory over injury-hit Leeds United.

Following the 2-0 win against West Ham earlier in the season, during which Martinelli got on the scoresheet, Arsenal legend Martin Keown said: “In view of the backdrop, the manager taking the captaincy away from [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang, the team showed it didn’t affect them at all in their performance.

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“The youngsters, again, leading from the front. Martinelli, a player I just love watching. I just believe in what he does. The pace for that goal was outstanding.”

The skilful Brazilian is forming a deadly attacking partnership with the likes of Emile Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka and Alexandre Lacazette. Their form means Aubameyang faces a fight to get back into the team upon his return.

The Gunners are looking to sort out a Martinelli repeat by signing a wonderkid with similar attributes.

The man in question is Atletico Mineiro’s teenage winger Savio. During a recent interview, the starlet’s agent confirmed Arsenal were keeping tabs on him.

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Arsenal offer yet to arrive, says agent

“There are these surveys from Red Bull Bragantino and Arsenal, but nothing official. No offer has arrived for Savio,” representative Juliano Rodrigues said (via HITC).

The Brazil U18 international has admirers in his home country but is struggling to get into the Atletico Mineiro team.

Rodrigues went on to explain how a permanent exit is the ‘ideal’ solution.

“He needs to play to evolve. Atletico don’t play him. So the best thing would be a transfer, with Atletico getting part of the rights for a future sale (a sell-on clause).

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“This way, Savio will be able to take off in his career, as he is one of the best players of his age in Brazilian football.

“Going out on loan now is not interesting. The ideal (thing) is to leave permanently.”

Savio has exceptional pace and great dribbling ability, hence the comparisons with Martinelli.


D’Margio Wright-Phillips the latest in a soccer dynasty to rival the Maldinis, Alonsos and Kluiverts

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Aubameyang provides health update

Meanwhile, Aubameyang has given a promising update on his health.

The goalscorer contracted Covid earlier in the month and was sent home from the Africa Cup of Nations due to ‘heart lesions’.

But Aubameyang is likely to make a full recovery. He posted the following statement on social media: “I came back to London to do some additional checks, and I’m very happy to say that my heart is absolutely fine and I’m completely healthy!!

“Really appreciate all the messages over the last few days and I’m already back at it.”

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Aubameyang’s future at the Emirates is still up for debate, however.

According to CBS Sports, Saudi Arabian outfit Al Nassr are hoping to take him on loan for the rest of the season. They want to include an option to buy worth €8million (£6.6m) which will become active in the summer.

The Gunners are yet to respond to that offer. But they could also face bids from several other teams.

Sky Sports journalist Dharmesh Sheth reveals a number of European clubs are aiming to secure Aubameyang’s signature. AC Milan, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Marseille and Sevilla are among them.

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READ MORE: Arsenal swiftly make serious move for replacement after Newcastle approach fringe player

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Ousmane Dembele hits back at ‘blackmail’ as forward contests Barcelona version of events

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Ousmane Dembele during a Barcelona match in January 2022

Ousmane Dembele has issued a powerful response after Barcelona confirmed they are expecting to sell him before the end of the month.

Dembele’s future has been a hot topic for Barcelona for a number of months. He is out of contract at the end of the season. Signed for a nine-figure sum in 2017, losing him for free would be a big blow.

But Barcelona have been unwilling to meet his extortionate wage demands. And the situation reached boiling point on Thursday when their director Mateu Alemany confirmed the forward is up for sale.

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“It seems obvious to us that the player does not want to continue at Barcelona,” Alemany said. “He is not committed to Barca’s future project.

“We told him and his agents that he must leave the club immediately. Barcelona only want to have players committed to the project.

“We expect a transfer to take place before January 31.”

It has led to heightened speculation over where Dembele may end up. Chelsea have been named as the early frontrunners; they could reunite him with his former Borussia Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel.

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There have also been links with the likes of Man Utd and Newcastle if he is to move to the Premier League.

It will be a busy couple of weeks to determine Dembele’s future. Immediately, he has been left out of Barcelona’s squad for their Copa Del Rey clash with Athletic Bilbao on Thursday.

While his teammates were preparing for that fixture, though, the 24-year-old was speaking up on his future.

In doing so, Dembele defended himself and his representatives and contradicted his club’s claims that he is no longer at their disposal. Rather, he insisted he is there for coach Xavi and complained of blackmail.

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Ousmane Dembele issues Barcelona response

Dembele wrote on Instagram: “Hello, everyone. It’s been four years since I’ve stopped reading things about myself without ever trying to justify myself.

“Gossip about me has been piling up for four years. It’s been four years that people have spoken for me, shamefully lied with one sole purpose, the intention of harming me. I have been following my line of never answering for four years, of never justifying myself.

“Has it been a mistake? Surely. As of today, it’s over. Starting today, I will answer honestly, without giving in to any kind of blackmail.

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“I am 24 years old and like every man, I have flaws, imperfections. I have lived through complex moments, injuries, Covid has affected me. Without the slightest training session, the mister has asked me and I have always complied… without question.

“Perform as well as I have always done because it is my PASSION. I am fully aware of my luck to dedicate myself to the most beautiful job in the world. Also, my message is transparent.”


D’Margio Wright-Phillips the latest in a soccer dynasty to rival the Maldinis, Alonsos and Kluiverts


Dembele insists he’s involved

The 2018 World Cup winner continued: “I forbid anyone to give the impression that I am not involved in the sports project. I forbid anyone to attribute intentions to me that I have never had. I forbid anyone to speak for me or my representative, whom I trust completely.

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“Still under contract, I am fully involved and at the disposal of my club, my coach. I have always given everything for my colleagues and also for all the partners… it is not now that that is going to change. I am not a man who cheats and even less a man who has a habit of giving in to blackmail.

“Surely love is a variant of blackmail. As you know, there are negotiations. I let my agent handle it, it’s his turf. My field is the ball, simply playing soccer, sharing moments of joy with my colleagues and all members.

“Above all, let’s focus on the essentials: WIN.

“Take care of your own. Ousmane Dembele”

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Dembele has scored 31 goals from 129 appearances in a Barcelona shirt. But there are now serious doubts as to whether he will add to them.

READ MORE – Euro Paper Talk: Barcelona in panic mode as Man Utd step in to snatch powerhouse

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