Tottenham have reportedly renewed their interest in signing defensive midfielder Ebrima Darboe from Jose Mourinho’s Roma.
Spurs are known to have been monitoring the 20-year-old since turning to Antonio Conte to replace Nuno Espirito Santo back in early November. Indeed, the Italian is said to have informed sporting director Fabio Paratici to keep tabs on Darboe over the course of the last couple of months.
The Gambia midfielder has only made one Serie A start this season. But despite that, Mourinho is known to be a big admirer of the talented midfielder.
The report from 90min has confirmed Tottenham’s interest. However, it claims that a summer deal is more likely one happening during January.
Mourinho is currently hunting a top-four spot with Roma and is not interested in weakening his squad this month.
However, Darboe, who is currently away with Gambia at the Africa Cup on Nations, could be tempted by a switch to London later in the year – especially if his game time remains limited in Rome.
Newcastle fans hoping Kieran Trippier’s top-flight return is more Lineker than McManaman
Kessie deal remains in the balance
Meanwhile, a Tottenham deal for Franck Kessie that looks even more appealing after a recent incident could go either way, and the ongoing uncertainty is causing anger at AC Milan, per a report.
Spurs struggled all across the pitch at times during their nervy 3-1 FA Cup victory over Morecambe on Sunday. Club-record signing Tanguy Ndombele was in the spotlight, and became a lightning rod for criticism after reacting poorly to his substitution.
He came off for Oliver Skipp after 69 minutes to a chorus of boos from the home fans. Their dissatisfaction stemmed from Ndombele leaving the field slowly while Spurs were 1-0 down.
Today’s Paper Talk suggested that could be the final act for Ndombele in a Tottenham shirt. If true, a potential free agent acquisition of Franck Kessie would assume greater importance.
The 25-year-old has developed into a fine all-round player at the San Siro. Kessie’s contract expires in the summer, and predictably, interest has been widespread.
Spurs are one of a number of clubs chasing his signature and have reportedly already seen a swap offer rebuffed.
A more likely scenario is the signing of a pre-contract agreement that would see Kessie move on a free.
Tottenham match two Kessie offers
Now, according to Sport Witness, Tottenham are well placed to land Kessie after reportedly lodging the same salary offer as Milan and PSG. Per the article, the decision over Kessie’s future now solely rests with the player.
Citing Italian journalist Sandro Sabatini, Spurs have offered a post-tax salary of €6.5m.
Sabatini is quoted as saying: “If the agent has gone around the seven churches and it seems that there is no offer higher than that of Milan, Tottenham or PSG, possibly the 6.5 million euros per year is the fair valuation for the player.”
Working in Tottenham’s favour could be the lure of guaranteed first-team football. Kessie would likely slot straight into the starting eleven alongside Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, thus bumping Skipp to the bench. His chances of being a regular starter at PSG given their expensively-assembled squad are slimmer.
READ MORE: First Conte signing nears as Tottenham agree demands and ‘convince star’ into change of position
Man City ‘closing in’ on Man Utd striker target with replacement already lined up
Manchester City are ‘about to close’ a deal to sign Manchester United striker target Julian Alvarez, according to one journalist.
Alvarez, 21, has been making headlines in his native Argentina thanks to his promising form at River Plate. He hit 18 goals in 21 games during the most recent Liga Profesional season as River Plate won the domestic crown.
Alvarez is clearly good enough to make it at a top club in Europe and transfer rumours surrounding his future are rife.
Aston Villa and Tottenham were the original clubs eyeing his signature, before Man Utd came in.
Reports claim Ralf Rangnick is eager to sign Alvarez, as soon as Anthony Martial’s future is sorted.
However, the Red Devils boss could be left disappointed as rivals City are marching ahead in the pursuit.
According to Sport Illustrated, who cite journalist Hernan Castillo, Pep Guardiola’s side will soon finalise an agreement for Alvarez.
Two Julian Alvarez proposals made
Castillo is not the only person to provide a transfer update. According to Cesar Luis Merlo, City have made two proposals for a deal.
They are willing to sign him this month or in the summer, depending on River Plate’s preference.
There are also rumours of an initial loan move which will become permanent after a six-month spell at the Etihad.
Whatever form it may take, Alvarez’s transfer may be imminent as River Plate already have his replacement in mind. They are attempting to sign Atlanta United’s Ezequiel Barco.
City were not expecting to bring in a new centre-forward this month, although Ferran Torres’ exit seems to have changed their stance.
The player left for Barcelona after informing City officials of his desire to make it at the five-time Champions League winners.
With Gabriel Jesus now wanting to play out wide, a successor to Sergio Aguero needs to be found. Alvarez seems to have the capability to fill his boots, although it will not be an easy task.
When will Salah, Mahrez, Mane and the rest of AFCON Premier League players return?
Spanish club plan Man City raid
Meanwhile, Spanish club Real Betis are reportedly ready to test the waters by making an approach for Oleksandr Zinchenko.
Zinchenko’s reputation as a utility man means he does not start in the Premier League as much as some of his team-mates. Indeed, he has only made seven appearances in the competition this season, registering one assist in that time.
The player’s contract runs until June 2024, putting City in a strong position in terms of a transfer.
Nevertheless, The Sun report Real Betis are aiming to test their resolve by preparing to move in. They have already made an ‘enquiry’ about Zinchenko’s availability, too.
However, it looks set to be good news for Guardiola and City as the player has no intention of leaving Manchester.
He wants to continue being a part of the trophy-laden squad and to help them win more silverware this season.
Zinchenko is also gunning for a new deal at the Etihad, which could see him spend the majority of his prime with the club.
READ MORE: Ajax starlet with ‘unprecedented’ talent backed to join Man City amid Tottenham rumours
Burnley out for Chris Wood revenge after bidding for reported Newcastle target as replacement
Various sources are indicating that Burnley have made a bid for Lyon striker Sardar Azmoun, who could become their replacement for Chris Wood.
Burnley recently lost Wood to Premier League relegation rivals Newcastle. The Magpies activated a release clause in the New Zealand international’s contract. As such, the Clarets were powerless to keep one of their most successful players of recent years.
Now, if they are to stand any chance of avoiding the drop, they need to use the last 10 days of the transfer window to find a new source of goals.
And according to multiple reports, one man they have identified as a potential replacement is Sardar Azmoun.
The Iran international is out of contract with Zenit Saint Petersburg at the end of the season. He appears to be ready for a move to one of Europe’s bigger leagues.
Azmoun has admirers in France, where Lyon are aiming to snap him up. But the Ligue 1 outfit have been aware of competition for some time.
Ironically, one of the supposed threats to their pursuit of the player – according to reports towards the start of the month – has been Newcastle.
It is not clear if their interest in Azmoun remains, but if it does, Burnley could be about to try and get their own back.
Football Insider are among the sources reporting that the Lancashire side have made an offer to Zenit for the 27-year-old.
The offer is reportedly worth around €10m (or £8.3m), which would be a decent fee for Zenit to receive just before his contract ends. The Russian side are yet to respond, though.
Azmoun’s scoring record suggests he would be worth the investment. He has found the net on 62 occasions from 104 Zenit appearances. At international level, he has 39 goals from 60 Iran caps.
When will Salah, Mahrez, Mane and the rest of AFCON Premier League players return?
Burnley still favourites to sign another striker
Meanwhile, TEAMtalk understands that Andy Carroll has rejected an initial offer from Burnley, but talks are continuing over a return to the Premier League.
The 33-year-old is now out-of-contract after his short-term deal with Reading came to an end at the weekend. Carroll returned to action in November, joining Reading following his exit from Newcastle United in the summer.
Carroll performed well for the Royals with two goals and an assist from six starts. We understand that Reading boss Veljko Paunovic is desperate to keep him and they have offered a new deal.
However, Burnley have opened talks to land Carroll, who they believe could help fill the void vacated by Wood.
We now understand that Burnley’s opening offer was shunned by Carroll, who is now training by himself. However, there is an anticipation of another offer and the Clarets remain favourites to land him.
READ MORE: Arsenal have competition for Tottenham conqueror as Burnley plan £10m move