Josko Gvardiol remains "totally happy" at RB Leipzig with "no hurry" to rush into a pre-transfer agreement amid growing links to Real Madrid and Chelsea.

That was the message from the centre-back's agent Marjan Sisic as Gvardiol continues to impress at the World Cup with Croatia, who beat Japan on penalties to reach the quarter-finals on Monday.

Chelsea reportedly had a £77million (€90m) offer rejected before the start of the season before the 20-year-old signed a new contract with Leipzig.

Madrid are said to have joined the growing list of Europe's elite clubs interested in the defender, though Sisic insists his client will not be forced into making a quick decision on his future.

"Regarding a possible transfer in summer 2023, we are in no hurry and I can make clear that there are no pre-agreements with any clubs," Sisic told Sky Sport Germany.

"For sure, a lot of top clubs have shown interest in him but Josko has a long-term contract in Leipzig.

"Josko feels totally happy in Leipzig. His development is amazing and RB is playing very well under Marco Rose."

Gvardiol has become a reliable figure for Zlatko Dalic in Qatar, ranking second among Croatia players for successful passes (281) and joint-third for tackles won (three).

No player managed more than the Leipzig defender's eight clearances and two interceptions in the round-of-16 clash with Japan in yet another astute performance.

Croatia team-mate Borna Barisic believes Gvardiol displays experience that belies his age, stating he has "everything in football".

"Josko is an amazing player. I think you can see that when he plays. He plays like he has 100 caps for the national team," Barisic said after the Japan triumph.

"That's [what happens] when God gives you everything in football. That's what he has. I think he will have an absolutely amazing career. He's a top player and a top guy.

"Sometimes when I'm looking at him, when he speaks before the game or in training also, it's like it's just some game without any pressure, like he's playing with some friends.

"He's very, very relaxed, but that's coming from confidence. He has crazy confidence because he knows how good he is."

Cristiano Ronaldo's spat with South Korea's Cho Gue-sung frustrated Fernando Santos, who was unsure on reports surrounding the Portugal captain's future.

Ronaldo was involved in an exchange with Cho during his side's World Cup defeat to South Korea on Friday, where he appeared to get into a verbal tussle with his opponent as he was substituted.

The 37-year-old confirmed after the game that his frustrations had been with Cho, and not at Santos' decision to take him off.

While Santos has put the matter behind him ahead of Portugal's last-16 tie with Switzerland on Tuesday, he made it clear he was not impressed by Ronaldo's reaction.

"Did I see the images? I did," he said, in reference to footage of the incident. "Did I like it? Not at all. I really didn't like it at all.

"But from then on, these matters are resolved internally. From there, we think about the next game, for which everyone will be focused. The matter is over."

News emerged shortly before Santos' pre-match press conference that Saudi Arabian side Al Nassr were close to signing Ronaldo, who is a free agent after leaving Manchester United.

"I haven't spoken to him about this. I didn't know about this," Santos said.

"Someone only told me a few minutes ago. But that's his decision, and something that he has to deal with. We are focused on the World Cup and this team."

Ronaldo has scored only once in Qatar, converting a penalty he won in Portugal's 3-2 win over Ghana in their opening Group H match.

He became the first man to score at five different World Cups in the process, though he is yet to score in a knockout game in the competition.

Indeed, only Brazil great Roberto Carlos has had more attempts (29) without scoring in the knockout stages than Ronaldo (25) since 1966.

Cristiano Ronaldo is set to sign for Saudi Professional League club Al Nassr on a two-and-a-half-year deal following his exit from Manchester United, according to reports.

The Portugal forward saw his stint at Old Trafford brought to an early conclusion by mutual agreement last month following an inflammatory interview with Piers Morgan where he revealed his unhappiness with United and their manager Erik ten Hag.

Ronaldo has been in action for Portugal at the World Cup in Qatar, scoring in their opening game of the tournament to become the first man to net at five different World Cups.

The 37-year-old wished to leave United ahead of the 2022-23 season, and confirmed in his interview with Morgan that he had turned down a lucrative offer from a Saudi Arabian club.

However, Marca on Monday reported that Riyadh-based side Al Nassr are close to signing the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

A move to the gulf state would mark the end of Ronaldo's illustrious career in Europe, having starred for United, Juventus and Real Madrid - indeed, he is Los Blancos' record goalscorer.

No player has scored more in the Champions League than Ronaldo, who is also the highest goalscorer in international football, with 188 to his name.

At Al Nassr, he is expected to net close to €200million per season, with additional economic incentives, a sum that would make him the highest-paid athlete in the world.

Al Nassr's squad also includes Cameroon's World Cup star Vincent Aboubakar and former Napoli goalkeeper David Ospina.

Ronaldo originally returned to United ahead of the 2021-22 campaign, but has mostly been frozen out under new boss Erik ten Hag this season, prompting an explosive interview that contributed to his departure.

Cody Gakpo's reputation has grown exponentially during the World Cup having netted three goals for the Netherlands in the group stage.

Manchester United, who are managed by ex-Ajax boss Erik ten Hag, were keen on the 23-year-old during the off-season but no move materialised.

The Red Devils have since parted ways with five-time Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo and are eager to bolster their forward options.

TOP STORY – PSV UP GAKPO ASKING PRICE

Manchester United are ready to make their move for Netherlands forward Cody Gakpo in January, according to The Sun.

However, Gakpo's Dutch club PSV will demand £50million (€58m) for him, claims The Mirror, which is double what they wanted in the off season.

If that asking price is prohibitive, United may opt to switch their attention to Milan's Rafael Leao, who is contracted until 2024.

 

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Real Madrid's plans to sign Leao will be deferred until 2024, according to Sport. Madrid's sights are set on chasing Manchester City's Erling Haaland, who reportedly has an exit clause from 2024, and Palmeiras teenager Endrick, who cannot move to Europe until he is 18, in 2024.

– Atletico Madrid are looking to sell Portuguese forward Joao Felix in January, reports Marca. Manchester United and Chelsea have been linked with the 23-year-old who is contracted until 2026.

– GiveMeSport's Dean Jones claims Newcastle United are considering Chelsea midfielder Christian Pulisic, who is currently the subject of plenty of speculation.

Arsenal are not making plans to sign a replacement for Gabriel Jesus whose World Cup was ended prematurely by a knee injury, despite there being no certainty on how long he will be out injured, claims Football Insider.

– La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Inter are in the hunt for a midfielder and weighing up a move for Valencia's United States international Yunus Musah, who caught the eye at the World Cup.

Virgil van Dijk said Manchester United are not "at the same level" as Real Madrid as he offered transfer advice to his in-form Netherlands team-mate Cody Gakpo.

PSV forward Gakpo scored in each of the Netherlands' three group-stage games and played alongside Van Dijk as the Dutch defeated the United States 3-1 to reach the World Cup quarter-finals on Saturday.

With nine goals in 14 Eredivisie games this season, Gakpo's stock has continued to rise in Qatar and rumours of a switch to United have exacerbated since the Red Devils terminated the contract of Cristiano Ronaldo.

LaLiga heavyweights Madrid have also been registered with an interest, while Liverpool are also reportedly monitoring the situation.

Van Dijk has no doubt Gakpo is ready to take the next step in his career but offered a cheeky dig at Liverpool's rivals when speaking to reporters after the USA game.

"Are Manchester United and Real Madrid on the same level? No disrespect, not at all," he said.

"I definitely think he has that next step in him. I definitely feel like it could happen, whether that is in the winter or the summer or next year, time will tell. 

"He is a great boy who works hard, very talented and definitely there is more in him. We are so pleased he is doing so well for us. Long may it continue."

Gakpo did little to quell rumours of a January move when speaking to De Telegraaf about his future last week.

"As it stands now, I will still be playing for PSV after the winter break," he said. "But, as I said before the start of the World Cup, we will see what will happen."

Jude Bellingham is expected to leave Borussia Dortmund at the end of this season, with numerous clubs lining up to sign him.

The England international, who has impressed during the World Cup, is contracted with Dortmund until 2025.

It has been speculated that Bellingham will cost English clubs more than £100million to fund the deal.

TOP STORY – CITY TO USE GREALISH IN DEAL FOR BELLINGHAM

Manchester City will dangle Jack Grealish to Borussia Dortmund as part of a deal to land Bellingham, claims Football Insider.

Grealish, who City signed for £100m from Aston Villa 18 months ago, has not fully convinced since his switch to the English champions.

According to the report, City are intensifying their interest in Bellingham and are willing to use Grealish.

Le10Sport have also reported French powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain are also interested in 19-year-old Bellingham.

 

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Liverpool are plotting a surprise move for Juventus forward Dusan Vlahovic, reports Calciomercato. The Serbian striker has scored six Serie A goals this term.

– Mundo Deportivo reports Borussia Dortmund's Thomas Meunier is willing to listen to offers from Milan, Juventus, Manchester United and two other Premier League clubs if Barcelona do not bid for him.

– Atletico Madrid forward Joao Felix is open to a Premier League switch amid interest from Chelsea, claims GiveMeSport transfer expert Dean Jones.

– Calciomercato reports that Arsenal are interested in a January move for Real Madrid's Marco Asensio.

Leeds United are interested in a January move for Newcastle forward Chris Wood, claims Football Insider. Wood left Leeds for Burnley in 2017.

Matthijs de Ligt has no issues with being left out of Louis van Gaal's starting line-up for the Netherlands' past three games as he "expected to play nothing" at this World Cup.

De Ligt came on as a 93rd-minute substitute in the Netherlands' 3-1 win over the United States in Saturday's last-16 encounter.

That marked the 23-year-old's first appearance for the Oranje since starting in their World Cup opener, the 2-0 win over Senegal, having been demoted to the bench by Van Gaal for the ensuing three games.

"It's not so frustrating, honestly," De Ligt told The Athletic. "Every player wants to play but we are a group of 26 players.

"Honestly, I have played more than I expected to play at this World Cup. I expected to play nothing. I'm quite okay. We won together and we are in a quarter-final."

The defender, who has established himself at Bayern Munich since his off-season switch from Juventus, has seen Ajax 21-year-old Jurrien Timber take his place alongside Nathan Ake and Virgil van Dijk in Van Gaal's back three.

"No, it's just the way of playing," De Ligt replied when asked if injury was behind his non-selection. "Maybe the coach doesn't put me in the team and I am okay with that. I expected it.

"So for me it's fine. I know my role and I train hard every day to be important for the team."

Meanwhile, Van Dijk backed 23-year-old Netherlands team-mate Cody Gakpo to take the next step in his career.

Gakpo, who scored in all three of the Dutch's World Cup group-stage wins, has been linked with Manchester United and Real Madrid.

"Are Manchester United and Real Madrid the same level at this moment? No disrespect, not at all," Liverpool defender Van Dijk told The Athletic.

"I think he definitely has a next step in him. I definitely feel like it could happen. Whether it happens in the winter or next year, time will tell.

"But he's a great boy. Works hard, is very talented and there's definitely more in him. We are very pleased he's doing so well and long may it continue."

Gakpo would not be drawn on his future after the win over USA, while United defender Tyrell Malacia backed him to step up should an opportunity arise.

"He's good enough for the top, there's no doubt," Malacia said.

Cody Gakpo and Denzel Dumfries have both made it clear their focus is on their World Cup exploits with the Netherlands amid ongoing speculation regarding their futures.

Both featured as the Dutch beat the United States 3-1 in their last-16 clash in Qatar on Saturday, with Dumfries recording a goal and two assists.

PSV forward Gakpo has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United, and may have attracted further suitors after scoring in each of his first three World Cup appearances.

"To be honest, I'm not thinking about that now, I'm really focused on the tournament," he told reporters after the win over the USA.

"I try to keep performing well, keep helping the team, hopefully when we become world champion we can think about it."

Asked whether his future was a distraction, he added: "No not really because I just keep trying to stay focused, and the other players don't really talk about this sort of thing, and they help me also in this situation."

Dumfries is another player who has attracted speculation, and his performance against the USA would have only served to strengthen any interest.

Chelsea are among the clubs linked with a move for Dumfries, though the Inter right-back made it clear he is happy to continue in Milan when asked about interest from the Premier League side.

"The only thing I'm focused on right now is the national team, and I play for a very, very, beautiful club in Italy," he stressed.

"I'm very proud I can play for Inter. I'm not focused on anything else other than the national team and Inter.

"Of course, it's a compliment [to be linked with other clubs]. But I can tell you, when you put the Nerazzurri jersey on, that is a big compliment."

Once every four years players from across the globe get a chance to perform on the world stage and force their way into the football zeitgeist.

Whether it is a young midfielder from Ghana who has been battling injuries the past couple of seasons, or a mercurial Dutch forward trying to push his way out of the Eredivisie, it is the perfect launchpad to alter the course of a player's career.

Stats Perform has identified four players who have lit up Qatar and, in turn, have seen their profile and transfer stock skyrocket, opening the door to a new world of possibilities come the January transfer window.

Take a look at these young leading lights...

Cody Gakpo, the Netherlands

Cody Gakpo has perhaps been the breakout star of the tournament, finding the back of the net in all three of the Netherlands' group matches.

Having spent his entire career with PSV, the 23-year-old six-foot-four forward took a huge step forward in the 2021-22 season when he shattered his best goal return, following up his 11 goals in the 2020-21 campaign with 21 last time out.

While those in the Netherlands set-up were waiting to see if he could replicate his terrific 12 months, he has taken another leap, with 12 goals and 14 assists in 19 combined Eredivisie and Europa League contests this term.

There were rumours in the most recent transfer window that Leeds United were among the clubs looking to lure Gakpo away from PSV for a fee in the range of €30million, but he opted to reject their contract offer in the hope of landing at one of Europe's biggest clubs.

That bet on himself has proven to be a masterstroke, with his performances on the Qatar stage well and truly putting him on the radar of Champions League sides including Real Madrid, Liverpool and Bayern Munich, per Dutch journalist Marco Timmer.

He became the first player from any European nation since 2002 to score in each group match, while he also became only the second player to put his side 1-0 up in all three group fixtures.

Enzo Fernandez, Argentina

Just over six months ago, Enzo Fernandez was playing for River Plate back in Argentina, but just half a season after arriving at Benfica for a deal worth up to €18m, the attacking midfielder could be moving on to greener pastures.

Fernandez, 21, broke into the Argentina squad while still with River Plate, but did not receive his senior debut until September 24 this year.

His lead-up to the World Cup was strong enough to book his ticket to Qatar, and after coming off the bench in Argentina's first group-stage loss to Saudi Arabia, he came on and scored against Mexico, forcing his way into the starting XI before contributing an assist against Poland.

His rapid rise has not gone unnoticed, and Marca is reporting Benfica have slapped a €100m fee on their new star if any team wants to pry him away while his contract still has another four seasons locked in.

Real Madrid are one side said to be accepting of that figure, with Marca claiming they now view him as an alternative option to Borussia Dortmund and England prodigy Jude Bellingham.

Mohammed Kudus, Ghana

Ajax's Mohammed Kudus had begun to break out at the club level this season heading into the World Cup.

The 22-year-old central midfielder scored four goals – including one each against Liverpool and Napoli – while adding two assists in six Champions League fixtures.

After being awarded his first senior international cap for Ghana back in 2019, he was spotted at Danish side Nordsjaelland and brought over to Ajax for a €9m fee in 2020.

He missed extended stretches of both the 2020-21 and 2021-22 campaigns through injuries, and still has not been used as a guaranteed starter this season, but his emergence on the World Cup stage has been undeniable.

Against South Korea, Kudus delivered Ghana their only win of the group as he found the back of the net twice in a 3-2 triumph, and it was a performance that is said to have caught the eye of European powerhouses.

Fichajes named Liverpool, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain as interested parties, and Sports Illustrated believe his price will be around £90m.

 

Harry Souttar, Australia

Australia have now qualified for five World Cups in a row, but after not winning a game at both the 2014 and 2018 editions, they had centre-back Harry Souttar to thank for finally taking three points against Tunisia.

Souttar, 24, stands at a towering six-foot-six and showed off an impressive ability to cover ground in a hurry when he was called upon for a potentially game-saving, last-man challenge to defend Australia's 1-0 lead.

It was one of the most spectacular defensive efforts of the tournament so far and one that will go down in Australian football folklore, and it is even more significant when taking into account his recent history.

Tipped as a potential £20m transfer target late in 2021, Souttar then tore his ACL and missed 12 months of action, returning to the field in time to get three games under his belt with Stoke City before jetting off to the World Cup.

While he could be forgiven for needing time to work his way into form, he has instead started all three group games and been the Socceroos' top performer, including his stellar efforts in a second clean sheet against Denmark to help his side through to the knockout stage.

Clearly back to the player he was before his injury – at least – Souttar's showings on the world stage have been the kind that can take a career to a new level.

Sofyan Amrabat has been at the centre of Morocco's surprise success at the World Cup, and his performances have put the Fiorentina midfielder on the radar of several Premier League clubs.

Amrabat, 26, had his first taste of Serie A football when he was loaned from Club Brugge to Hellas Verona for the 2019-20 season, catching the eye of Fiorentina, who scooped him up the following year.

The defensive midfielder has steadily increased his role at Fiorentina, making 10 starts and three substitute appearances in the league this season.

He played every minute of Morocco's three group games, guiding his side to an undefeated record (W2 D1) with clean sheets against both Belgium and Croatia, and now he is reportedly wanted by the English elite.

 

TOP STORY – AMRABAT EMERGES AS LIVERPOOL AND TOTTENHAM TARGET

According to Sky Sports Germany, Liverpool believe Amrabat can address their midfield depth issues, and could be available for €30million in January.

An earlier report from La Repubblica claimed Tottenham had enquired about a potential deal last January, and his terrific tournament has only strengthened their interest. 

With a blockbuster last-16 clash booked against Spain on Tuesday, another standout performance could have Amrabat packing his bags for an impending move to England.

 

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– Calciomercato is reporting 23-year-old Barcelona target Martin Zubimendi is also on Manchester United's radar, although the Spaniard's contract ties him to Real Sociedad until 2027.

– Calciomercato is also reporting Cristiano Ronaldo is "very interested" in joining Chelsea if the Stamford Bridge side will have him.

– According to Fichajes, Inter would like to bring Barcelona midfielder Franck Kessie back to Serie A, but cannot afford to purchase him outright in January, while the Spanish side are not willing to let him leave on a loan deal.

– 90min is reporting Real Madrid would need Kylian Mbappe to agree to certain conditions – including a pay cut and significantly less behind-the-scenes influence – if he wants to come to the club in the near future.

– Newcastle United are not planning any moves in January, and are open to parting ways with 28-year-old winger Ryan Fraser, according to the Telegraph.

Reported Manchester United target Jonathan David believes the Premier League is "the best in the world" and says every footballer wants to play there.

David, who featured in all three of Canada's games at the World Cup, has started the 2022-23 season in fine form for Lille in Ligue 1, scoring nine goals in 15 appearances.

That has apparently caught the attention of English giants United, who are in the market for a new forward following the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo.

David, 22, is not aware of any interest, but revealed he has ambitions to play in the English top flight "some day".

"I am aware of nothing," David said. "When I am at the World Cup I am just focused on trying to enjoy the World Cup and enjoying the moment.

"What happens after I do not know, we will have to see.

"The Premier League is the best league in the world and I think every player would want to play there some day."

Canada crashed out of their first World Cup since 1986 after losing all three of their Group F games.

However, David believes the Maple Leafs gathered enough experience in Qatar to put in a much better showing in four years' time when they co-host the tournament alongside the USA and Mexico.

"What makes the difference at the highest level is the smallest differences," he added.

"Any player who plays at the World Cup, no matter what the outcome, you become a better player, you learn from it, and it helps you grow.

"The future is bright, despite the three losses. There are some good things we take and learn from to try and do better in the future.

"What makes the difference at the highest level is the smallest things, not finishing our chances and not holding onto scorelines."

Atletico Madrid are reportedly ready to part ways with their club-record signing, setting a €100million asking price for Portuguese forward Joao Felix.

Felix, 23, was purchased from Benfica back in 2019 for a fee of €126m – shattering their transfer record by more than €50m.

He helped Atletico to a LaLiga title in the 2020-21 season, before being named the club's Player of the Season for the 2021-22 campaign, but he has now fallen out of favour, starting just five of his side's 14 league games.

Felix has been able to put himself in the shop window during his two starts to begin Portugal's World Cup group stage, including a goal against Ghana, and now Champions League contenders are expected to come calling in January.

 

TOP STORY – PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN NAMED AS ONE OF THREE SUITORS FOR FELIX

Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Manchester United have been named the main interested parties by Spanish publication AS.

The report states Felix's relationship with head coach Diego Simeone has become too strained to continue persisting, and includes a claim that Atletico rejected a €130m offer from United before the season.

With his contract tying him to the club until 2026, there will be no need to settle for an offer deemed unsatisfactory, but AS believes anything approaching that €100m figure – including bonuses – will be enough to get a deal done.

 

ROUND-UP

– Sport is reporting Barcelona view 32-year-old Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan as a potential replacement for Sergio Busquets when the German international's contract expires after the season.

– According to Express, Saudi Arabian clubs Al Hilal and Al-Nassr are considered the leading candidates to fight it out for ex-United superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

Paris Saint-Germain will offer Lionel Messi a new contract at the conclusion of the World Cup, according to Goal.

Chelsea and Newcastle United are competing to land 18-year-old Vasco da Gama midfielder Andrey Santos, per 90min.

– Gazzetta dello Sport is reporting Milan would like to bring in Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech on a loan deal with the option to make it permanent, but the Moroccan's contract demands could be too expensive.

Josko Gvardiol insists he is happy at RB Leipzig but would not rule out the possibility of a future move to Chelsea.

The 20-year-old was the subject of intense speculation at the start of the season, with Chelsea said to have had a £77million (€90m) offer rejected.

Gvardiol subsequently signed a new contract at Leipzig and has continued to impress.

But talk about a transfer has never gone away, and the centre-back discussed the possibility after starring for Croatia against Belgium at the World Cup.

"You know what happened in the last few months," he said. "To be honest, I have no idea. My agent is taking care of this, and we will see.

"Right now, I'm happy in Leipzig. We will see. You never know.

"We know the stories, but all I can see is that I'm happy in Leipzig. Right now, I'm going to stay there."

Asked for his opinion on Chelsea, Gvardiol replied: "It's a big club. Who knows? Maybe one day I'll be there.

"It's really nice to see things like this, especially because there is [Mateo] Kovacic. You should ask him [if he wants me there]. Just talk with him."

Gvardiol was described as "the best stopper in the world" by Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic on Thursday, with the defender relishing the global stage.

"Of course it is [good for my career]," he said. "To be here at this biggest event, it's a big thing for me at 20 years old. I'm happy."

Real Madrid are long-term admirers of Bruno Fernandes, dating back to his time with Sporting CP.

The 28-year-old midfielder impressed with both goals in Portugal's 2-0 win over Uruguay at the World Cup on Monday.

Fernandes signed a new contract with Manchester United in April, keeping him at Old Trafford until 2026 with the option of a further year.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID CONSIDER JANUARY MOVE FOR FERNANDES

Spanish giants Real Madrid could try to tempt Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes to the club in January or at the end of the season, reports The Express.

Los Blancos' long-held interest in Fernandes has intensified amid his impressive displays at the World Cup.

Portuguese outlet Record claims that Madrid are scouting Fernandes while he plays for the national team.

The Express report says that the lure of Champions League football may tempt Fernandes should United miss the top four this season.

 

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Cristiano Ronaldo is close to agreeing to a deal with Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr, according to Marca. The Telegraph had reported that the deal was worth £150million per season, although The Sun has claimed that the ex-Manchester United star still wants to play Champions League football and has not accepted the offer.

Gareth Bale's LAFC contract has a break clause that could see him leave the club prior to the new MLS season in February 2023, according to The Sun. The Mirror claims the Welshman will make a decision on his future by February.

– The Mirror claims that Manchester United are bullish about retaining Marcus Rashford's services, with the striker out of contract at the end of this season. United will exercise an option to extend his deal by another 12 months in January.

Manchester United have made Bayer Leverkusen defender Jeremie Frimpong their top transfer target in January, reports the Daily Mail. United have sent scouts to watch the Dutch defender, with a view to ramping up talks after the World Cup.

– Inter expect €30m for Tottenham-target Denzel Dumfries, according to Tuttosport. The Nerazzurri are willing to sell the Dutch right-back in January.

– The Times reports Brighton and Hove Albion's Scottish midfielder Billy Gilmour could join Spanish club Villarreal in January.

Real Madrid have reportedly pivoted away from Borussia Dortmund's Jude Bellingham and are now treating Benfica's Enzo Fernandez as their top transfer target.

Bellingham, 19, was considered the top priority for the Spanish giants, but a report from Marca claims they now believe he is destined for the Premier League and will instead focus their resources on 21-year-old Fernandez.

Fernandez arrived at Benfica in June after they were able to pry him away from River Plate for a deal worth up to €18million including add-ons, but his exploits on the Champions League stage – including assists against Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus – have that price looking like a steal.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID SET THEIR SIGHTS ON ARGENTINA'S NEW STAR

Fernandez was handed his international debut as a 20-year-old back in November 2021, and his continued growth on the European stage earned his spot in Argentina's World Cup squad.

Not content to purely come along for the ride, Fernandez was brought on as a substitute in each of his side's first two group games, and against Mexico he became Argentina's youngest goalscorer at a World Cup since Lionel Messi in 2006.

His ability to both break into and perform for such a quality international side – entering the tournament on a 35-match unbeaten streak before falling to Saudi Arabia – has reportedly sent Fernandez's transfer value through the roof.

Marca's report claims he is now viewed as a €100m talent by Benfica, and they expect to field offers in that neighbourhood soon.

 

ROUND-UP

– According to Relevo, Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag views the Netherlands' World Cup hero Cody Gakpo as his ideal replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo.

– Fichajes is reporting Liverpool, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain are all showing interest in 22-year-old Ajax midfielder Mohammed Kudus amid his excellent performances for Ghana.

Bayern Munich remain interested in Tottenham's Harry Kane and are working on an offer between €80-100m, per Sky Sports Germany.

– The Sun is reporting Chelsea are not happy with both Edouard Mendy and Kepa Arrizabalaga and will look to bring in a new first-choice goalkeeper.

– With Rafael Leao likely leaving Milan at the end of the season, Gazzetta dello Sport claims they will try to fill the void with RB Salzburg's 22-year-old Swiss international Noah Okafor.

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