The coronavirus pandemic made the summer transfer market unlike any before it, but there were still plenty of deals done, and you can check out the major ones here. The window might be closed across the top leagues in Europe, but here are the best rumours from around the globe.
TOP STORY: Real Madrid lead six-club chase for Alaba
David Alaba won't sign a new contract with Bayern Munich and the defender is available on a free transfer when his deal expires in the summer of 2021. As a result, Manchester City, Liverpool, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus are keen to sign him, but could be disappointed.
AS has revealed that the player's agent, Pini Zahavi, is plotting a way for the Austria international to land at Real Madrid. Zahavi is desperate to build up a relationship with the Spanish giants -- having previously failed to get fellow Bayern client Robert Lewandowski to join Los Blancos -- and reportedly feels that guiding Alaba to the Bernabeu could help to make that a reality.
Alaba, for his part, only has eyes for La Liga, says Bild. Barcelona could battle Real for the 28-year-old next summer, but with their current financial situation they may not be able to offer him the same wages as their rivals.
23.00 BST: That will do it for the latest edition of our LIVE Transfer Talk blog. We hoped you enjoyed following along with us and remind you to check back shortly for the latest transfer rumours, reports and completed deals. Goodnight!
22.48 BST: Could a surprise Italian team swoop for Benfica phenom Darwin Nunez?
The 21-year-old Uruguayan, who has widely been linked with Barcelona and Man City, is also now on the radar of Napoli, according to Calciomercato. The young striker has five goals and six assists in 10 games for the Portuguese giants and is valued at over £100 million.
22.16 BST: Chelsea are tipped as one of the favourites to trigger Reading star Michael Olise's £8 million release clause.
The 18-year-old midfielder is in the midst of a breakout season for the table-topping Royals, which has led to interest from some of the Premier League's elite. Leeds, Arsenal and Liverpool have also been credited with interest but Football Insider writes that Chelsea are also keen on the Frenchman.
21.49 BST: Fiorentina frontman Pedro is enjoying a standout season in Brazil with 18 goals and now loan club Flamengo want to buy him outright.
Flamengo president Marcos Braz revealed in his latest new conference that Pedro is a priority for the reigning Copa Libertadores winners.
"The outright purchase of Pedro would be important for Flamengo. Our club will make every effort to complete this operation. We will try to buy him despite all the economic difficulties. of this period. We are already talking with Fiorentina ".
The 23-year-old Pedro has yet to score in four appearances for La Viola following his €11 million move from Fluminense in 2019.
21.18 BST: PSG are currently in negotiations with veteran winger Angel Di Maria over a new two-year contract extension, reports French outlet Foot Mercato.
The 32-year-old, whose current contract expires at the end of the season, has been at PSG since 2015. PSG believe the Argentine is still a key figure in their ambitious project and are hopeful of tying down the El Fideo through 2023.
20.29 BST: Diogo Jota has been a Grade A signing by Liverpool but was he actually the club's Plan B?
According to the Daily Mail, Jota was in fact a fall-back option, as the club initially coveted Watford's Ismaila Sarr. The report adds that Jota, then with Wolves, became a priority only after Watford had slapped a steep £50 million price tag on Sarr.
Jota, 23, has made a dream start to life at Anfield with seven goals in 10 games and at least according to this report, Liverpool have Watford to thank!
19.04 BST: Middlesbrough are expected to go again for both Everton's Yannick Bolasie and West Brom's Kamil Grosicki in January, reports the Northern Echo.
Boro saw a move for Bolasie collapse at the final hurdle in the summer window, while Grosicki's proposed summer move to Nottingham Forest was denied on appeal due to tardy paperwork. Promotion hopefuls Boro currently sixth in the table but won't be keen to rest on their laurels.
18.15 BST: Europa League participants Dundalk have confirmed that former United States international Josh Gatt has left the club.
The oft-injured 29-year-old had joined the Irish club this summer on a short-term deal but wound up only making three appearances for the Lilywhites.
17.31 BST: Liverpool and versatile star Fabinho could soon enter negotiations over a bumper contract, according to transfer guru Fabrizio Romano.
In his podcast, Here We Go, via TEAMtalk, the reporter said the following:
"Talks are going to start for Fabinho to extend his contract with Liverpool. It is the same situation [as Virgil] van Dijk, they have the same contract, so two years (remaining) with Liverpool.
"Fabinho wants to extend his contract with Liverpool. He [gave] an interview explaining he is so happy with Liverpool, but he's also so happy for the future of Liverpool."
Romano also revealed that the Brazilian rejected an advance for a marquee Spanish club last summer. The 27-year-old, who has been deployed in both central midfield and central defence, won the Champions League in 2018-19 and Premier League title in 2019-20 with the Reds.
16.56 BST: Tottenham want to add another centre-back and Fiorentina's Nikola Milenkovic is the latest man linked with a move to North London.
Corriere dello Sport claims that the 'Next Nemanja Vidic' is a target of Jose Mourinho, though Spurs will face steep competition from Man United, Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan for the towering 20-year-old.
Tottenham let Jan Vertonghen's contract expire last summer and signed Joe Rodon for Swansea as a potential long-term replacement.
16.12 GMT: Bild claims that Liverpool target Ozan Kabak could be available for just €20m.
Kabak, 20, has been linked with the Reds as they seek cover for the injured Virgil van Dijk. But despite Kabak having a €45m release clause in his contract, his club Schalke are ready to listen to offers due to the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
15.31 GMT: The future doesn't look great for Arsenal's £27m defender William Saliba.
14.44 GMT: The Manchester Evening News reports that Man United are keen to appoint former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino as their next manager.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer suffered a fourth defeat in nine Premier League and Champions League games as Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir beat United 2-1 on Wednesday night and appears on the brink.
The report states that "MEN understands United have made contact with Pochettino's representatives amid the team's dismal form under Solskjaer. The MEN reported last December Pochettino wants to take over as United manager and his stance on the role is not believed to have changed.
"Insiders say the United hierarchy were privately backing Solskjaer prior to Wednesday night's shambolic Champions League defeat by Istanbul Basaksehir and are reluctant to part company with the Norwegian so early in the season. But if United lose at Everton on Saturday they could end the weekend 17th in the Premier League table."
Pochettino led Tottenham to the Champions League final for the first time in the club's history in 2019, but was sacked months later after a poor run of form and has not held a job since.
14.00 GMT: Elaine Teng on why Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland could become the world's best footballer.
In his very first game, in January 2020, Haaland came on in the 56th minute when Dortmund were down 3-1 to Augsburg. Looking sleek in the all-black away kit, his hair slicked, Haaland ran onto the pitch roaring at his teammates. Within 23 minutes, he had scored a hat trick to secure an epic comeback win.
"When many players reach the next level, they stop producing or they don't make the challenge," Berntsen says. "But Erling has always coped with new levels well."
Since then, on a young Dortmund team often criticized for lacking a killer instinct, Haaland has been clinical. His brace earned Dortmund a famous victory against Paris Saint-Germain in last season's Champions League. He celebrated by pretending to meditate on the pitch, which so aggravated PSG that Neymar and his teammates did mocking imitations of it after winning the return fixture. This season he has 10 goals and three assists in 10 games across all competitions, as of Nov. 4. "Some sweet goals," he says with a laugh.
With such sustained success, it's unsurprising that Haaland is being linked with moves away from Dortmund to the likes of Real Madrid and Liverpool. He already has played more games for Dortmund than he did for Salzburg, and it seems like only a matter of time before he's ready to level up again. It could be as soon as next season.
13.02 GMT: Juventus did brilliantly to land Alvaro Morata from Atletico Madrid on loan this summer.
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12.20 GMT: Borussia Monchengladbach forward Marcus Thuram is very much on the radar of Europe's top clubs after scoring twice against Real Madrid last week.
Thuram, 23, is the son of France defensive legend Lilian Thuram, but plays at the other end of the pitch to his father and has three goals and five assists in 10 games so far this season.
Bild reports that Manchester City, Barcelona, AC Milan and Juventus are all looking at the youngster, with Gladbach open to sale next summer.
11.37 GMT: Portugal international Pepe has signed a contract extension with FC Porto that will see him play until he is 40. The former Real Madrid centre-back has put pen to paper on a new deal until June 2023, the Portuguese club announced.
Pepe, who returned to FC Porto in 2019 from Benfica, said: "Up to 40 and maybe even up to 42. We always work with the intention of being able to honour FC Porto. We work with seriousness and rigour, which is what this club requires.
"I want to thank the President, the Board and coach Sergio Conceiçao who makes us competitive and allows me to compete at the highest level at 37. When I arrived I told him that I just wanted an opportunity to be able to compete and fight for a position on level terms. I'm here to help two more years and give my grain of sand to take the club further and further. And so that, in the end, we can celebrate titles. That's why I get up every day to add more titles to a club as big as FC Porto."
11.13 GMT: Barcelona will again try to sign Manchester City's Eric Garcia and Lyon's Memphis Depay once the transfer window opens in January.
Both players were close to joining Barca in the summer and will become free agents in June 2021. El Mundo Deportivo reports that Barca's strategy is to sign both players when the two are free to negotiate in January before agreeing a minimum payment with their respective clubs.
Barca will reportedly try to convince both City and Lyon to let their players leave in January for a fee knowing that the two could join the club for free next summer.
10.27 GMT: Is Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in trouble?
Laurens feeling 'sad' for Arsenal's Saliba after UEL omission
Julien Laurens explains why William Saliba was excluded from Arsenal's Europa League squad.
09.44 GMT: Marc-Andre ter Stegen says he never considered leaving Barcelona this summer.
The Germany goalkeeper recently signed a contract extension with Barca until June 2025 and was linked with various clubs including Bayern Munich, as the Catalan club look to save around €300m to avoid a financial crisis.
"I had no doubt whatsoever regarding continuing at Barca," Ter Stegen said.
Ter Stegen made six saves to help Barca beat Dynamo Kiev, 2-1, in his first appearance of the season after recovering from a knee problem. "The saves were not important," he said. "It was important to win. I was very eager to be on the pitch again and do what I like most doing."
Ter Stegen added that Barca must improve, saying: "They had too many opportunities and we have to improve in that respect. We suffered a lot at the end."
09.03 GMT: Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has been linked with a return to Juventus, though the Italian club's director Fabio Paratici wasn't giving much away when asked about a move for the 27-year-old.
"Paul Pogba as our target? In this moment he's a Man Utd player, it's difficult to think about transfers," he told Sky Italia. "We love Pogba, he's a fantastic player but it's too early to talk about our targets for the future."
08.36 GMT: Darwin Nunez's agent says that no official offer has arrived from Barcelona, or any other club.
Nunez, 21, was a target of Barca before the player became Benfica's most expensive signing when he arrived from Almeria in a €24m deal in September. Barca need to strengthen their attack in the next transfer window having lost Luis Suarez to Atletico Madrid in the summer and sources told ESPN that their chase for Nunez had intensified.
"Darwin is happy at Benfica and there's officially nothing with any other club," Nunez's agent Edgardo Lasalvia said. "Asked if there's any interest or offer from Barcelona for the player, Lasalvia added: "That's something to ask Barcelona."
However, Lasalvia did warn Nunez's potential suitors that the player's price tag has increased. Nunez's release clause at Benfica is set at €150m. "Now, whoever wants Darwin Nunez will have to pay more," he said.
08.00 GMT: Sergio Ramos and Real Madrid have begun conversations over a new contract for the defender, multiple sources have told ESPN's Alex Kirkland and Rodrigo Faez.
Both parties are keen for the club captain to extend his deal at the Santiago Bernabeu with Ramos' contract expiring in June 2021. The defender would be free to negotiate with other clubs from January.
In June this year, ESPN reported that both sides had agreed to delay negotiations until the end of the summer as the club assessed the financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
When the extent of the impact became clear, Real opted not to spend in the summer transfer market and put talks with Ramos on hold too. However, sources have told ESPN that in recent weeks the club and Ramos' representatives have started to sound each other out over discussions on a contract renewal which is viewed as a priority.
Erling Haaland as 'clinical as ever' vs. Club Brugge
Shaka Hislop praises Erling Haaland's goalscoring instincts after his brace for Dortmund against Brugge.
PAPER TALK (by Danny Lewis)
Bayern to swoop past Real Madrid, Man United for Haaland
Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke has, once again, denied that the Norway international has a €75m release clause in his contract that would allow him to leave in 2021. However, the report speculates that Dortmund may have cause for concern the following year as rumours suggest the clause activates in 2022 instead.
Haaland is reported to have been a player of interest to Bayern since 2017, but they had felt he was too expensive to bring into their youth ranks. In 2022, when star striker Robert Lewandowski is 34, they will certainly be looking for a replacement.
With both Bundesliga giants set for another edition of Der Klassiker on Saturday (watch all Bundesliga matches on ESPN+ in the U.S.), it'll no doubt add further intrigue to the rivalry.
BVB hard pressed to turn down Sancho offer again
Yet Watzke admitted that, due to coronavirus and its financial impact, there are limits on what they will be able to turn down moving forward.
Manchester United have been long-term admirers of Sancho, but the Bundesliga outfit refused to budge from their €120m valuation of the England international.
- It seems likely that striker Luka Jovic will be leaving Real Madrid in the near future, but he'll have no shortage of options despite his failure to score goals since his €60m arrival last summer. According to Calciomercato, AC Milan and Napoli may look to bring him in during the January transfer window, having already showed interest during the summer.
- Edson Alvarez joined Ajax Amsterdam in the summer of 2019 from Liga MX powerhouse Club America, but it seems as though he has his eyes on bigger destinations. Speaking to Voetbalzone, the 23-year-old admitted that he would love a move to the Premier League, citing Manchester City as his favourite side. But before any such transfer can happen, the Mexico defender needs to improve his form at Ajax and find consistent playing time.