Transfer Talk: Barcelona plan €60 million move for Real Betis star Nabil Fekir

The 2022 January transfer window is closed, but there's still plenty of gossip swirling about who's moving where. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz on rumours, comings and goings and, of course, done deals!

TOP STORY: Barca target Betis' Fekir

Barcelona president Joan Laporta is said to be readying a bid of €60 million for Real Betis midfielder Nabil Fekir, according to Sport.

Fekir has been impressive for the Spaniards following his move from Lyon in 2019, scoring 19 goals and adding 20 assists in his first 100 appearances and forming a dangerous attacking trident alongside Sergio Canales and Juanmi.

Fekir's form saw him recently rewarded with a new contract that runs until 2026, with the Frenchman joining teammates Borja Iglesias, Canales and Alex Moreno in putting pen to paper on a prolonged stay under boss Manuel Pellegrini.

News of Fekir's extension is said to have frustrated Laporta, but he remains undeterred and prepared to plot a big-money move for the 28-year-old. Betis, though, are said to be only willing to let him go for a figure closer to €80m.

That figure could be an issue for Barca, who are not only planning a bid for Borussia Dortmund prodigy Erling Haaland in the summer, but who also need to reinforce throughout the side, particularly in defence.

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22.15 GMT: In our final post for today's blog, Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers stressed that Youri Tielemans has made up his mind yet on his future the clock winds down on the playmaker's deal this summer.

"He hasn't declined. For me his position is exactly the same as what it was," Rodgers told the BBC after Sunday's draw with West Ham. "Till the last day he's here whether that's at the end of the contract or summer or beyond that, he will always give his best because he's a top professional and he showed his commitment today."

The Belgian, who scored a penalty in the match at King Power Stadium, has been linked with various other Premier League sides, including Liverpool and Arsenal.

21.30 GMT: Atalanta sporting director Marino knocked down rumors of Diego Costa joining as a free agent. Speaking to DAZN ahead of Sunday's match against Juventus, Marino called a move for the ex-Atletico Madrid and Chelsea striker as "fantasy."

Costa is available after helping Brazilian side Atletico Mineiro to a domestic Double. And despite an injury to Duvan Zapata, it seems that the Bergamo side will not be bringing in reinforcements as it battles for a top-four finish this season.

20.25 GMT: ICYMI - from ESPN's Insider Notebook ... Barcelona have made extending Gavi and Ronald Araujo's contracts a priority following the closing of the January transfer window, according to sources, who concede they have both outgrown their existing deals.

Initial talks between Barca and the players' respective representatives have revealed some differences in terms of expectations, but there's a desire from all parties to reach an agreement as soon as possible.

Sources close to Gavi and Araujo, whose terms expire in 2023, confirm several top European clubs have made contact with regard to a possible transfer. ESPN revealed in November that Liverpool and Manchester United are tracking Araujo.

19.30 GMT: Following Chelsea's Club World Cup win to complete their trophy cabinet, Blues owner Roman Abramovich will back Thomas Tuchel with a padded coffer to challenge Manchester City for Premier League prominence.

According to the Evening Standard, the front office has been impressed that Tuchel didn't make big January demands despite the loss of Ben Chilwell and Reece James through injuries. As such, the Stamford Bridge hierarchy will help Tuchel in aiming to bring in options such as Sevilla defender Jules Kounde from Sevilla, West Ham midfielder Declan Rice from West Ham, Monaco's Aurelien Tchouameni.

18.30 GMT: The San Jose Earthquakes have acquired Jamiro Monteiro from the Philadelphia Union in exchange for upwards of $450,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM) plus an international roster slot, sources confirmed to ESPN's Jeff Carlisle.

MLSSoccer.com was the first to report the news.

Monteiro will, at least for the moment, be a classified as San Jose's third and final Designated Player alongside midfielder Eduardo "Chofis" Lopez and winger and winger Cristian Espinoza. The Union now have an available DP slot with new arrivals Mikael Uhre and Julian Carranza both counting as DPs.

17.28 GMT: Barcelona are targeting low-cost defensive and midfield signings this summer -- including a trio of Chelsea defenders -- in order to go all out for Erling Haaland, sources told ESPN's Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens this week. But how can they really sign him when they are €1.4 billion in debt?

16.35 GMT: New York City FC has rejected an offer for striker Valentin Castellanos from Argentine giants River Plate, a source close to the club confirmed to ESPN's Jeff Carlisle.

The source told ESPN that River's offer, which TyC Sports reported to include a transfer fee of close to $10m, is "below the team's valuation" and that River will need to increase its offer in order to get a deal done. ESPN previously reported that the Blues would require a transfer fee of $15m in order to sanction the departure of Castellanos.

Since the conclusion of the 2021 season, one in which NYCFC claimed its first MLS Cup, Castellanos has drawn interest from across South America. Brazilian side and Club World Cup finalist Palmeiras made an offer of about $12.5m, which the MLS team rejected, although sources tell ESPN that the Verdao remain interested in the striker. Fellow Brazilian outfit Internacional has also expressed interest.

Brazil's transfer window closes on April 12, while Argentina's will conclude on Feb. 19.

15.46 GMT: Manchester United are preparing to offer goalkeeper David de Gea a new contract, according to The Sun.

De Gea, 31, has been in fine form of late and was name January's Premier League Player of the Month.

United will reportedly trigger an option to extend De Gea's deal by 12 months to 2024, giving them time to negotiate a new contract with the Spain international.

The Sun reports that United may even relax their policy of offering players in their 30s shorter deals for less money in order to convince De Gea to commit.

14.55 GMT: Chelsea are considering a move for Brighton & Hove Albion's Adam Webster this summer as they prepare for an overhaul of their defence, the Daily Mirror reports.

Chelsea defenders Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger are all out of contract at the end of the season. It is likely that at least one of them will leave, with Barcelona linked with interest in Azpilicueta and Christensen while Real Madrid are one of the sides aiming to attract Rudiger.

Webster has impressed at the heart of Brighton's defence since signing from Bristol City in a £20m transfer in 2019. The 27-year-old has scored seven goals in 74 Premier League appearances for the Seagulls.

14.01 GMT: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says that the club is in talks with veteran midfielder James Milner over a new contract.

Milner, 36, is due to become a free agent in the summer when his deal at Anfield expires, but Klopp is optimistic that the club's vice-captain will extend his stay.

"There are talks [with Milner], but usually we don't comment about that," Klopp said. "There is no reason for it, but I am in talks, the club is in talks with Milly, so we will see.

"There is no chance Milly will retire next year so he is desperate to play on. I understand it, to be honest, because life after career, when you are lucky enough to stay healthy, is much longer than your career. So you can surely extend your career as long as you can so if you can play football, it is better than other things.

"Milly will be fine after his career as well, but he obviously loves what he is doing and he will play football next year, definitely."

13.09 GMT: Alexandre Lacazette's former club Lyon will try everything possible to bring him back to the club when his contract at Arsenal expires in the summer, sources have told ESPN's Julien Laurens.

Lacazette, 30, spent several years at the club's academy and was with the first team for seven years before moving to Arsenal in 2017.

With 100 goals in 203 Ligue 1 appearances, he is one of Lyon's all-time great players, and club president Jean-Michel Aulas is dreaming of signing the France forward in the summer.

Lyon are aware that there will be other clubs interested in Lacazette as a free agent, so they are preparing a huge proposal for their former captain with a big wage package, signing fee and bonuses.

They are also hopeful he will be attracted to the idea of ending his career where it all began.

12.17 GMT: Manchester United's new CEO Richard Arnold is keen on Ajax coach Erik ten Hag to become the club's new permanent manager, The Sun reports.

Over the past week sources have told ESPN's Mark Ogden that Ten Hag is on the shortlist of candidates to become the club's permanent manager this summer, along with Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino and Spain coach Luis Enrique, while ESPN's Rob Dawson reported that United's players are keen for Pochettino to get the job.

However, The Sun reports that United's interim manager Ralf Rangnick wants Ten Hag to take over from him in the summer when he moves into a consultancy role at Old Trafford, and he has the backing of Arnold in that decision.

Ajax are two points clear at the top of the Eredivisie table going into Sunday's match against FC Twente (stream LIVE at 10:45 a.m. ET on ESPN+ in the U.S.). Ten Hag's side have scored 102 goals and conceded only 10 in all competitions so far this season.

11.24 GMT: Newcastle United are hopeful of signing midfielder Corentin Tolisso in the summer if he doesn't agree a new contract with Bayern Munich, The Chronicle reports.

Tolisso's contract with the Bundesliga champions is due to expire at the end of the season. So far, he has started just seven league games for Bayern this term.

However, Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn recently said that talks had opened with the 27-year-old over extending his five-year stay at the Allianz Arena.

If those talks do not lead to a new deal, and Newcastle can win their battle against Premier League relegation, then they will try to recruit the 2018 World Cup winner for next season.

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10.32 GMT: West Ham boss David Moyes has said his side were "close" to making at least one signing in the January window, but ESPN can reveal just how near they were to signing Atalanta striker Duvan Zapata: one missing signature.

Sources told ESPN's James Olley the deal was hastily arranged as it only became a realistic proposition a few hours before the window closed on deadline day. The presence of multiple agents on the Italian side of the transaction complicated negotiations, but nevertheless an agreement was reached and paperwork was exchanged between the clubs with sufficient time remaining on Jan. 31.

Sources involved in the negotiations claim a representative from West Ham signed the final deal sheet, as did Zapata, before it was sent to Atalanta for their final contribution to complete the deal. However, sources suggest the Italian club "went missing" as the deadline approached and then passed, meaning the deal collapsed.

To compound Zapata's disappointment, the 30-year-old has suffered an adductor injury, which could rule him out for up to three months.

Moyes' defence of the club's owners in failing to strengthen the squad last month was interpreted in some quarters as a manager automatically defending his employers, but in the case of Zapata, they could hardly have done any more to get the deal over the line.

09.47 GMT: Lyon defender Jason Denayer is the subject of interest from several big European clubs including Barcelona, according to Het Nieuwsblad.

Denayer, 26, is out of contract this summer, and is yet to take up Lyon on their offer of a new deal.

The Belgium international has reportedly been the subject of enquiries from Barca, Serie A giants Juventus and Napoli as well as Premier League side Newcastle United.

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09.00 GMT: Everton manager Frank Lampard heaped praise on Donny van de Beek after the on-loan Manchester United midfielder's impressive performance fired them to a dominant 3-0 win over Leeds United in the Premier League on Saturday.

The 24-year-old, who started alongside Allan in central midfield, was a constant presence as he controlled the game and played a part in Everton's opener that was scored by Seamus Coleman in a rampant first-half performance.

"I thought Donny van de Beek was great. To play like that at home -- his calmness, work rate and intelligence was great," Lampard told reporters after his first league win as Everton boss. "I think he can do different roles and that's why I moved so quickly to get him. He played in a double No. 6 today and has the talent to link and get us through the lines. He's a goal threat, too, so that was one of the big pulls of bringing him in."

The Netherlands international signed for United from Ajax in August 2020 but failed to establish himself as a regular at Old Trafford, making just four league starts before his deadline-day to Goodison Park last month.

"Dele Alli was [also] active when he came on, Lampard added. "There will be more from them both. They are great additions and I believe they will get better."

PAPER GOSSIP (by Nick Judd)

- Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta is out of contract in June, and Sport believes the defender is edging closer to a move to Barcelona. They believe the 32-year-old has an agreement in principle to join the Catalan club later this year, and his versatility across the defence could be invaluable to Xavi Hernandez's new-look defence. Andreas Christensen could follow his captain to the Nou Camp too, with Barca also reportedly working on getting a second free agent from west London in a boost bolster their back line.

- Antonio Conte has made no secret of his desire to strengthen his Tottenham side in the summer, and top of his wanted list appears to be AC Milan's Franck Kessie, followed by Internazionale's Arturo Vidal. Sport says Spurs have made a "powerful offer" for Kessie, despite the fact that he's reportedly already agreed terms with Barcelona. Vidal, meanwhile, played under Conte at Inter and is also out of contract in the summer. However, Spurs face competition from Aston Villa, Marseille and Galatasaray.

- Following Ralf Rangnick's statement of the obvious need for a new striker for Manchester United, the club appear to be turning their attentions to Alexander Isak or Patrik Schick, according to the Daily Mail. Arsenal have been heavily linked with Real Sociedad striker Isak but the Gunners were reluctant to pay the Sweden international's release clause of £75m. Schick is another option, and the Bayer Leverkusen man has netted 18 times in 22 appearances.

- Fresh from signing Niklas Sule, Borussia Dortmund are now working on bringing in Karim Adeyemi for next season, according to Fabrizio Romano. The 20-year-old striker has scored 14 goals in 17 matches in Austria's top flight for Salzburg, plus a further three goals in the Champions League. Adeyemi has been strongly linked with a move to Signal Iduna Park for some time, following in the footsteps of Haaland, who made the same move in 2020.

- AC Milan's Alessio Romagnoli is out of contract in the summer, and has been linked with a move to Serie A rivals Juventus and Lazio. That is according to CalcioMercato, which suggests that Romagnoli's agent, Mino Raiola, would prefer that the defender would join Juve.