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Transfer Talk: Liverpool lead Barcelona in pursuit of Gladbach's Denis Zakaria

The summer transfer window was unlike any other; see all the major deals and check out how we graded the biggest signings. And just because the window is shut until January, that doesn't mean the rumours won't keep coming. Here's the latest gossip and speculation.

TOP STORY: Liverpool, Barca in for Zakaria

With Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Denis Zakaria's contract up in the summer, a plethora of top clubs are said to be interested in signing him.

The fact the Switzerland international will be available as a free agent certainly helps to give him more options, after he has already opted not to sign a renewal with the Bundesliga side as he wants to win trophies and play in the Champions League every season.

El Nacional indicates that he may have decided who to join when the season ends, but adds his first choice would be a move to Liverpool.

Barcelona had been interested in the 25-year-old, having made contact with the midfielder and his representatives -- though Xavi Hernandez isn't completely certain of the move, especially if it means losing Frenkie de Jong.

Aside from that, Liverpool are able to offer Zakaria a far more lucrative financial package and the report adds that they are more likely to win trophies and enjoy a more solid project at this time.

Therefore, Zakaria has decided to prioritise negotiations with the Premier League outfit, though he is still willing to have talks with Barcelona if things fall through in England.

Zakaria is also the topic of interest from AS Roma, Juventus, Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich.

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PAPER GOSSIP

- Despite having the option to do so, Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba is "highly unlikely" to sign a pre-contract agreement with a club overseas, as has been reported by The Athletic.

The France international is currently focusing on football as he looks to return from injury and is weighing up all of his options ahead of the summer, when his contract with the Red Devils ends. United have made the 28-year-old an offer, but it would "almost certainly" need to improve if he is to agree to it, the story says.

- Manchester City are working to extend Riyad Mahrez's contract, writes The Sun, with the winger's current contract coming to an end in the summer of 2023.

They want to have fresh terms in place by the time the Algeria international flies out to play in the African Cup of Nations in January. Though, it is added in the report that he could make an exit in the summer if a deal is not eventually agreed before the season ends, with Paris Saint-Germain keen.

- Newcastle United are set to move for Manchester United midfielder Donny van de Beek, reports El Nacional, which adds that Real Madrid are unwilling to make a serious investment in the Dutchman due to his lack of playing time since moving to Old Trafford.

While Van de Beek would like to move away from the Premier League, he is aware that he would be viewed as an important player as the Magpies look to avoid relegation. There has also been a substantial offer made to the player and the Red Devils.

- Xavi backs the idea of bringing La Masia graduate Alex Grimaldo back to Barcelona from Benfica, according to A Bola.

The outlet writes that such a move is required to aid in the transition away from 32-year-old Jordi Alba being the main left-back. After Ronald Koeman had supported signing the Spaniard, Xavi has shown the same sentiment.

- Dries Mertens is ready to dedicate himself to Napoli despite receiving several proposals from MLS clubs, reports Calciomercato.

With his current contract ending in the summer, Napoli are considering offering the Belgian €2.5 million-per-year, which is half of what he earns now, as they look to lower their wage bill. Despite this, Mertens is still keen to sit down and strike up a deal.