Galatasaray like to make their incoming transfer business known and, ahead of the Turkish window closing on Thursday, the Super Lig giants are set to be busy.

Mauro Icardi is the headline name of four players who are close to joining the Istanbul club.

Former Inter captain Icardi has agreed to join Gala on loan from Paris Saint-Germain, where he has fallen well down the pecking order.

Icardi, who was one of Europe's most prolific strikers while at the peak of his powers at Inter, has not made an appearance for PSG this season and has not even featured in a matchday squad under Christophe Galtier in Ligue 1.

The 29-year-old arrived in Turkey to much fanfare on Wednesday, and is set to be joined at Gala by Juan Mata.

Gala confirmed on their official social media channels that they were in negotiations with the former Chelsea and Manchester United playmaker, who left Old Trafford at the end of last season after the expiration of his contract.

Yusuf Demir, who spent half of last season on loan at Barcelona, is also moving to Gala, joining from Rapid Wien, reportedly in a €6million deal, while centre-back Mathias Ross Jensen arrived in Istanbul ahead of sealing a transfer from Danish club Aalborg.

Gala, who have won three of their five Super Lig matches this season but will not be competing in Europe after finishing 13th last term, have also been linked with 2014 World Cup golden boot winner James Rodriguez.

James left Everton for Al-Rayyan in Qatar in September 2021, but is reportedly pushing for a move back to Europe.

Premier League champions Manchester City may be willing to do more business in January.

Pep Guardiola's side added Erling Haaland, Kalvin Phillips, Sergio Gomez and Manuel Akanji in the last transfer window.

But City may be looking to further strengthen their squad amid a chaotic schedule in 2022-23.

TOP STORY – CITY CONSIDERING KROOS MOVE IN JANUARY

Manchester City are plotting a January move for Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos, according to El Nacional.

The 32-year-old is out of contract at the end of this season and he has rejected Madrid's offer of an extension.

As a result, Los Blancos may consider selling Kroos in January and Pep Guardiola is a long-time admirer.

ROUND-UP

Galatasaray are set to clinch a loan deal to sign Paris Saint-Germain forward Mauro Icardi, reports Fabrizio Romano. The final details of the move are being discussed, with Icardi set to undergo a medical in Turkey soon. The Turkish transfer window closes on Thursday.

– After being heavily pursued prior to the transfer window closing, Aston Villa's Brazilian midfielder Douglas Luiz is planning to leave the club when his contract expires at the end of this season, according to UOL.

– The Telegraph reports that Wolves will consider signing ex-Newcastle United forward Andy Carroll should their move for Diego Costa collapse. Carroll is a free agent after leaving West Bromwich Albion.

– Southampton's Nathan Redmond will fly to Turkey to complete a move to Besiktas on a one-year deal, claims Fabrizio Romano.

Dele Alli opened his Besiktas account in a 3-2 Super Lig win over Ankaragucu on Sunday, ending the former Tottenham midfielder's 13-month wait for a competitive goal.

Alli left Spurs to sign a two-and-a-half-year deal with Everton in January, but he only made one Premier League start for the Toffees before heading to Turkey on loan last month.

Having made his Besiktas bow against Sivasspor last week, Alli got on the scoresheet on his second appearance, firing Valerien Ismael's men into a 2-1 first-half lead.

The 26-year-old raced onto a knock-down from Burnley loanee Wout Weghorst to side-foot home after 35 minutes, scoring his first league goal since he converted a penalty in Tottenham's 1-0 win at Wolves in August 2021.

Alli's goal came from his first attempt in the match, while Weghorst has now recorded a league-high four assists this season – each of them for a different player (Alli, Jackson Muleka, Georges-Kevin Nkoudou and Rachid Ghezzal).

Alli scored 51 goals in 181 Premier League appearances for Spurs, although over half of that tally (28) came in his first two seasons (10 in 2015-16, 18 in 2016-17). His last open-play goal in the English top flight came in January 2020.

Dries Mertens says his time at Napoli "could have ended differently" after he departed the club at the end of last season following a breakdown in contract negotiations.

The Belgium international ended a nine-year spell in Naples ahead of the new campaign after failing to agree fresh terms with the Serie A side, subsequently moving to Super Lig outfit Galatasaray on a free transfer.

The 35-year-old was an integral presence for the club over the best part of a decade, helping them to two Coppa Italia triumphs and a further Supercoppa Italia crown during his tenure.

Reflecting on his exit, Mertens revealed he has kept his family home in the region, while acknowledging that had discussions started earlier, he may well have stayed on Napoli's books.

"It's been a wonderful nine years," Mertens told DAZN. "Of course, it could've ended differently. I think the club could've talked about [the contract] earlier. I hope I can learn from this experience to become even greater. 

"Today I'm very happy because my family and I have embarked on a new adventure. I'm in a great city and a great club. 

"[But] of course leaving Napoli was hard. My wife cried at the thought of leaving home, so we decided to keep it and try to spend as much time there as possible."

Mertens, a Belgium centurion, will have his eyes likely set on securing a place in the national team squad for the World Cup in Qatar later this year.

Mesut Ozil has been confirmed as an Istanbul Basaksehir player after having his contract terminated at fellow Turkish Super Lig side Fenerbahce.

The former Germany international has signed a one-year deal at the Fatih Terim Stadium with the option of a further 12 months.

Ozil had been under contract with Fenerbahce until the end of the 2023-24 season, but he was banished from the first team in March and new boss Jorge Jesus made it clear the playmaker was not part of his plans either.

Following confirmation of his exit from last season's Turkish top-flight runners-up on Wednesday, Ozil took to Twitter to acknowledge that his "dream" move did not go as expected.

"One of the things that makes life is that it is full of uncertainties. Our plans, desires and wishes may not always go in the direction you want them to," he tweeted.

"I wanted to achieve success by getting more chances to play in the Fenerbahce jersey, which has always been my childhood dream.

"I would like to thank the Fenerbahce community and fans for the great support they have shown me."

Former Arsenal midfielder Ozil, a World Cup 2014 winner with Germany, made 37 appearances across his season and a half with Fenerbahce and scored nine times.

Mesut Ozil acknowledged his "dream" move to Fenerbahce did not go in the "direction" he wanted as he heads for Istanbul Basaksehir.

The 33-year-old had been at odds with interim head coach Ismail Kartal, and Jorge Jesus seemingly made it clear Ozil was not part of his plans following his appointment as boss last month.

Former Germany midfielder Ozil joined Fener on a three-and-a-half-year deal in January 2021 following his release from Arsenal.

Ozil's move did not go to plan, though, and the playmaker has been in the wilderness once again since being banished from first-team duties in March.

Media speculation linked him with Basaksehir and the club hinted at an agreement with a tweet in which Ozil was tagged on Wednesday.

That was followed by Ozil bidding farewell to Fenerbahce, recognising his time at the club was a disappointment.

He tweeted: "One of the things that makes life is that it is full of uncertainties. Our plans, desires and wishes may not always go in the direction you want them to.

"I wanted to achieve success by getting more chances to play in the Fenerbahce jersey, which has always been my childhood dream.

"I would like to thank the Fenerbahce community and fans for the great support they have shown me."

However, Ozil's apparent choice of a move to Basaksehir may not come as a huge surprise to many.

The 2019-20 Turkish Super Lig champions have close ties to the country's controversial president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was allowed to score a hat-trick in the exhibition game that inaugurated their Fatih Terim Stadium in 2014. His number 12 jersey was retired.

In 2018, Ozil – and Ilkay Gundogan, who is also of Turkish heritage – courted significant criticism for posing for photographs with Erdogan when he visited London.

Ozil retired from international football after the 2018 World Cup. He felt the backlash and media coverage relating to his meeting with Erdogan were part of a wider racist agenda, which was key in his decision to call it quits.

The following year, Erdogan was Ozil's best man at his wedding on the banks of the Bosphorus.

Fenerbahce have confirmed Mesut Ozil has left the club after his contract was terminated by mutual consent.

The former Germany midfielder joined the Istanbul giants on a three-and-a-half year deal in January 2021 following his release by Arsenal.

Ozil's move has not gone to plan, though, and the playmaker has been in the wilderness once again after being banished from first-team duties in March.

The 33-year-old was in dispute with interim head coach Ismail Kartal and Jorge Jesus made it clear he was not part of his plans following his appointment as boss last month.

Ozil has reportedly held talks with Istanbul Basaksehir and Fenerbahce announced his departure on Wednesday.

The club tweeted: "It has been agreed that the contract between our club and Mesut Ozil will be terminated by mutual agreement.

"We wish Mesut Ozil success for the rest of his career."

The ex-Real Madrid man had stated at the end of May that he had no intention of leaving Fenerbahce.

He wrote on Instagram: "I repeat with emphasis; I will not end my career in a team other than Fenerbahce.

"This decision is very clear and final. As per the requirements of professional life, if our management takes a decision about me, I will only respect this attitude. I will work hard and always keep myself ready."

Sevilla have moved to replace Diego Carlos by bringing in Marcao from Galatasaray.

The Spanish side sold Diego Carlos to Premier League team Aston Villa in June, in a deal that is reportedly worth up to £34million (€40m) when potential bonuses are taken into account.

Sevilla, a team used to selling on its best performers for profit yet still been able to build a side capable of competing in LaLiga and Europe, have now brought in the Brazilian's replacement in the form of his compatriot Marcao.

The 26-year-old centre-back has joined on a five-year deal after completing a move from Turkish giants Galatasaray.

He is Sevilla's first signing of the close season, and has travelled to South Korea to link up with his new team-mates ahead of their pre-season friendly against Tottenham on Saturday.

Marcao might not be the only centre-back Sevilla sign in the transfer window, however, given the uncertainty over Jules Kounde's future.

Kounde has long been linked with a move to Chelsea, who need defensive reinforcements after Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger left for Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively.

Mario Balotelli finished the Turkish Super Lig season in stunning fashion with the first five-goal haul in Adana Demirspor's top-flight history.

Ninth in the table heading into Sunday, Balotelli's ADS had little to play for against already-relegated Goztepe but put on a show.

Vincenzo Montella's side ran out 7-0 winners, with Balotelli hitting five to finish the season on 18 league goals – behind only Kasimpasa's Umut Bozok (20).

The Italy international's outstanding display represented a club first, while Alex in May 2011 had been the last Super Lig player to net five in a match, for Fenerbahce against Ankaragucu.

This was Balotelli's first hat-trick since scoring three for Manchester City against Aston Villa in December 2010, making him the first foreign player to hit a treble for ADS.

As if these achievements were not enough, Balotelli's fifth goal was an outrageous effort perhaps set to be considered for the FIFA Puskas Award.

Seven step-overs tied Atakan Cankaya – who had earlier scored an own goal – in knots, finally working space seemingly for a left-footed shot before the striker executed a sublime right-footed rabona finish across the goalkeeper and into the bottom-right corner.

"Five goals for me today," Balotelli posted on Instagram. "There was no better way to finish the championship! Thank you to everyone."

Mesut Ozil has offered his first public reaction to being cut adrift of the Fenerbahce first team.

Former Real Madrid and Arsenal playmaker Ozil has been dropped from the senior squad with immediate effect, the Turkish giants announced on Thursday.

Fenerbahce did not explain the reason behind the decision to sideline Ozil, with the same fate befalling Turkey midfielder Ozan Tufan.

Reports in Turkey have claimed the decisions followed disputes involving the players and coach Ismail Kartal, and that neither will train with the first team.

It is unclear at this stage whether there is any way back at the club for either player.

Ozil posted a message on social media on Friday that translated as "The main thing is Fenerbahce", accompanied by the club flag and Turkey's national flag.

German star Ozil was substituted at half-time in Fenerbahce's game against Konyaspor on Sunday, with the team trailing 1-0 at that stage. They recovered to win 2-1, with Tufan entering the game late on as a substitute.

Kartal praised the squad after the Konyaspor game and announced all of his players, aside from those going away on international duty, could have a three-day break.

Fenerbahce signed Ozil from Arsenal in January 2021 after he fell out of favour with the Premier League club. Tufan spent the first half of this season at Watford.

The signing of Ozil was considered a major coup for the Istanbul giants.

Fenerbahce sit third in the Turkish Super Lig this season, two points behind Konyaspor but 17 adrift of runaway leaders Trabzonspor.

Mesut Ozil has been cut from the Fenerbahce first-team squad with immediate effect, the Turkish giants announced on Thursday.

No explanation was immediately forthcoming for the decision to drop former Real Madrid and Arsenal star Ozil from the club's plans.

The same action was taken regarding Turkey midfielder Ozan Tufan.

Fenerbahce issued a statement that read: "Our football A team players Mesut Ozil and Ozan Tufan were excluded from the squad as per the decision taken."

Ozil was substituted at half-time in Fenerbahce's game against Konyaspor on Sunday, with the team trailing 1-0 at that stage. They recovered to win 2-1, with Tufan entering the game late on as a substitute.

In an Instagram post on Wednesday, Ozil revealed he had taken a short getaway since that game, with the 33-year-old accompanying his message of "Back in Istanbul after 3 days off" with a picture of himself on an aeroplane.

That followed coach Ismail Kartal praising the squad after the Konyaspor game and announcing all of his players, aside from those going away on international duty, could have a three-day break.

Former Germany international Ozil was a star-name signing when he arrived from Arsenal in January 2021, having fallen out of favour with the Premier League club. Tufan spent the first half of this season at Watford.

Fenerbahce sit third in the Turkish Super Lig this season, two points behind Konyaspor but 17 adrift of runaway leaders Trabzonspor.

Barcelona midfielder Miralem Pjanic has warned Alvaro Morata and Matthijs de Ligt to think carefully before joining the Catalan club.

Morata is currently on loan at Juventus from Atletico Madrid, but reports suggest new Blaugrana head coach Xavi wants to further bolster his attack by signing the forward after already acquiring Ferran Torres.

Barca cannot register Torres, or any other potential signings, until they have offloaded players to negotiate salary-cap difficulties, though they have been linked in recent days to numerous attackers.

Club president Joan Laporta seemingly feels his LaLiga outfit are back in the market after telling the world that Barca have returned, with speculation even suggesting a move for Erling Haaland.

However, Pjanic, who is currently on loan at Besiktas, called for caution for any player considering joining his parent club.

He told Tuttosport: "Morata has had an amazing career so far. He played for big clubs like Chelsea, Atletico Madrid and Juventus. Sometimes players need motivation, but I would think twice before leaving a club where they feel good.

"Morata knows what to do, Barcelona hired Xavi, a coach who knows the club really well, I don't know the details, but I've always heard that Morata was happy at Juventus even if when Barcelona call you always need to think about it."

 

Pjanic endured a torrid time after leaving the Bianconeri in 2020 for Camp Nou, where he clashed with former Barca boss Ronald Koeman and was subsequently loaned to Besiktas at the start of this season.

He extended his encouragement to consider any potential move carefully to De Ligt, who has been a long-term target of Barca ever since coming through at his boyhood club Ajax.

After initially underwhelming in Turin following his €75million transfer, De Ligt has flourished under Massimiliano Allegri this campaign, ranking second among Juve defenders for minutes played in Serie A (1,293), while he last committed an error leading to goal in his debut 2019-20 season.

Indeed, among defenders to player 700 or more minutes in this year's Serie A, no player has been dribbled past fewer times than De Ligt (just once) but his future remains in doubt.

The centre-back's agent Mino Raiola revealed in December that his client would be open to new challenges away from the Allianz Stadium, yet Pjanic is unsure whether that is the best thing for De Ligt.

"De Ligt has three years left in his contract with Juventus, he has the right commitment, but I don't know if Barcelona are interested," he added.

"He made a great choice by deciding to join Juventus and work with Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini, he is happy at Juventus and when you are happy, it's better not to leave. We'll see if he will have the motivation to leave."

Juventus are set to have the pair available for their home clash with Napoli on Thursday, currently sitting fifth in the league – 12 points behind leaders Inter ahead of their first game of 2022.

Mario Balotelli believes he can earn a dramatic Italy recall in time for the World Cup play-offs, according to his club boss Vincenzo Montella.

The former Inter, Manchester City and Liverpool striker scored 14 goals in 36 games for the Azzurri before his international career ground to a halt in 2018.

Despite his long-time ally Roberto Mancini being head coach of the Azzurri, there has been little hint of a return to Italy duty since Mancini gave him three caps early in his reign.

Those three appearances were Balotelli's first for Italy since the 2014 World Cup, and he has not been called into a squad since September 2018, with his club career taking him in the meantime from Nice onwards to Marseille, Brescia, Monza and currently Adana Demirspor in Turkey.

Balotelli has scored five Super Lig goals this season for a team who sit eighth in the table after 16 games.

Former Roma frontman Montella, who also played for Italy, has floated the idea that there could yet be another chapter in the story of Balotelli's Azzurri career.

"Balotelli has extraordinary technical qualities. He is a good guy who sometimes goes off a little. But I found him very motivated, and I believe that in his career he has never been as concentrated as this year with us," Montella told Italia 1's Tiki Taka programme.

"He is growing a lot, it is a pleasure to coach him. He has the obsession to return to the national team. He is motivated, he believes in it, he knows he has to work hard, but he knows he has three months to convince Mancini that he knows everything about him, his strengths and weaknesses."

 

Italy won Euro 2020 just five months ago but face a battle to get to the World Cup, knowing they must beat North Macedonia on March 24 to set up a decider against Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal or Turkey.

This is because, despite remaining unbeaten in qualifying so far, they finished only second to Switzerland in the group stage. Italy missed out on the 2018 World Cup, so to do so for a second successive time would be a major blow.

Montella said: "Mancini has done an extraordinary job since the beginning of his Azzurri adventure and winning the European Championship was a great thing. Getting to the World Cup will be difficult but Italy, in difficulties, always manage to bring out the best of its potential. I wish and hope that we will be able to qualify."

Newcastle are making plans for the January transfer window following their Saudi ownership takeover.

The Magpies are currently 19th in the Premier League, with three points from eight games and no wins.

Newcastle have been linked with a host of top players at the start of a new era for the club.

 

TOP STORY – OZIL ON NEWCASTLE'S SHORTLIST

Newcastle have shortlisted former Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil as one of their transfer targets, according to Ekrem Konur.

Ozil is currently playing in Turkey with Fenerbahce after moving from the Gunners in January.

The Magpies have made no official offer yet, but they see Ozil, along with Fenerbahce goalkeeper Altay Bayindir in their plans.

 

ROUND-UP

- Tuttosport reports that Argentina international Paulo Dybala is set to agree to an extension with Juventus , securing his future with the Turin club until 2026.

- Roma have reignited their interest in Aston Villa's Dutch winger Anwar El Ghazi,  according to Football Insider. Villa are ready to let him go in January for £18million (€21m) if Jose Mourinho's side meet their asking price.

- Netherlands international defender Matthijs de Ligt is unhappy with his role at Juventus and his agent has held talks with Barcelona about a potential move, claims Sport.

- Fabrizio Romano claims that Spain international Yeremy Pino, who turned 19 on Wednesdayis set to agree a new five-year deal with Villarreal.

- Mundo Deportivo reports that Ansu Fati is close to renewing with Barcelona, with an in-principle agreement set to tie him down until 2026.

Real Madrid's pursuit of Paris Saint-Germain's 22-year-old forward Kylian Mbappe has been widely observed.

Los Blancos could not prise the France striker away from PSG during the last transfer window but may be ready to enter the market in a major way next year.

Carlo Ancelotti took over as Madrid head coach in June and is beginning to build his side.

 

TOP STORY –   REAL CONFIDENT OF HUGE DOUBLE SIGNING

The Sun reports that Real Madrid are confident of signing both Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe next year.

The report claims securing Pogba's signature would help Los Blancos clinch a deal for the Paris Saint-Germain star who is a France team-mate.

Pogba is out of contract with Manchester United at the end of this season, while Mbappe has stalled on an extension with PSG and appears set to exit.

ROUND-UP

- Madrid are also interested in signing Italy international Federico Chiesa from Juventus, reports Fichajes.

- Atletico Madrid, Juventus and Tottenham are keen on Fiorentina's Serbian forward Dusan Vlahovic, but Mundo Deportivo reports La Viola have set a €70million (£59m) asking price for him.

- Roma are willing to offload Everton target Gonzalo Villar in the January transfer window in order to raise funds to move for Borussia Monchengladbach's Denis Zakaria, claims Tuttomercatoweb.

- Liverpool are leading the race to sign highly sought-after Belgian talent Jeremy Doku who is currently with Rennes, reports RTL.

- Sky Sports reports that Atletico Madrid are eager to complete new deals for Jan Oblak and Thomas Lemar, with talks under way.

- Tottenham's Ryan Sessegnon could be offered a fresh start by Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce, according to Takvim.

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