Anthony Martial has made no secret of his desire to leave Manchester United in the January window – and the France international appears to have been granted his wish.

Restricted to just four starts in all competitions this season, Martial has very much been on the periphery at United in what is his seventh campaign at the club.

However, there are no shortage of suitors for Martial and it looks increasingly likely that the 26-year-old will spend the remainder of the campaign away from Old Trafford.


TOP STORY – SECOND TIME LUCKY FOR SEVILLA

Sevilla had a loan bid for Martial rejected earlier this month, but Goal reports that the issues have been ironed out and the out-of-favour forward is now set to undergo a medical.

Juventus are said to have been among a number of other European sides in the running to sign Martial, but Sevilla were always his preferred destination.

The LaLiga club are expected to pay a loan fee for the former Monaco man, potentially as much as €5.96million (£5m), while the player himself will accept a cut in wages.


ROUND-UP

– After growing frustrated in their attempt to sign Dusan Vlahovic from Fiorentina, The Sun reports that Arsenal may now instead go after Real Madrid's Luka Jovic this month.

– Calciomercato claims that Serie A leaders Inter are close to strengthening their squad with the addition of striker Felipe Caicedo from Genoa.

Watford are set to move quickly on the back of sacking head coach Claudio Ranieri by bringing in Roy Hodgson as early as Tuesday, according to Sky Sports.

– Goal suggest that Bayern Munich are targeting Chelsea's Andreas Christensen on a free transfer after Niklas Sule turned down the offer of a new contract in Bavaria.

Manchester City are increasingly confident of wrapping up a deal for Julian Alvarez. However, the Daily Mail reports that the striker will initially remain on loan with River Plate.

Newcastle United have made a fresh approach for Man Utd winger Jesse Lingard, according to The Telegraph. The Magpies are happy to pay a £6m loan fee.

Fiorentina have received "important offers" for Dusan Vlahovic and would even be willing to let him move to rivals Juventus. 

Vlahovic is one of the most in-demand players in Europe after a sensational 2021 saw him join Cristiano Ronaldo and Luca Toni as the only players in the past 60 years to score more than 30 Serie A goals in a calendar year. 

The 21-year-old has found the back of the net 20 times in 24 appearances in all competitions this season alone, with Ciro Immobile (21) the only Serie A player to have registered more. 

Vlahovic will be out of contract at the end of next season and has been heavily linked with Juve, Arsenal and Manchester City.

Fiorentina are open to selling him and have received offers, but the lack of responses from the player's camp have hampered their chances of doing a deal during the January transfer window. 

The Viola are hoping to receive in the region of €70million but have also offered the striker a new contract in an attempt to avoid losing him for nothing when his deal expires. 

"We've received some important offers for him but have never received feedback from his agents," Fiorentina sporting director Daniele Prade told Sportitalia. 

"There has always been great transparency on our part in all communication. All the doors are open. We really want to understand what the agents and the player want to do. 

"We're ready to spend money with important offers for his renewal. We also have important offers to sell him. A club like Fiorentina cannot afford to lose a player on a free transfer.  

"They were all valid and satisfactory offers, with payment methods that suited us. We couldn't go ahead with the deal because there was never any contact with the player's agents. 

"It's an important valuation, over €70million with no swap deal and no way of paying in instalments. The president has imposed this on us." 

Asked specifically if Fiorentina would even be willing to sell to Juve, Prade replied: "The doors are open to everyone." 

Newcastle United have been eager to make some big moves in January, as their wealthy owners look to splash the cash in order to secure Premier League survival.

They have already brought in Kieran Trippier and Chris Wood, though a move for Sevilla centre-back Diego Carlos appears to have hit an impasse.

However, Eddie Howe also wants more attacking reinforcements and Tottenham's out-of-favour Dele Alli is the latest name to be linked with a move to the north east.

 

TOP STORY – ALLI TO SWITCH SPURS FOR ST JAMES' PARK?

Alli was omitted from Spurs' squad for Sunday's defeat to Chelsea and it seems that the England midfielder is surplus to requirements under Antonio Conte.

Once a bona fide star under Mauricio Pochettino, it has been a stark fall from grace for Alli, though at 25 he will still no doubt feel he has much to offer.

The Athletic reported on Sunday that Alli would be allowed to leave Tottenham on loan before the end of the window, and the Daily Mail have now claimed that Newcastle want to add him to their squad. 

 

ROUND UP

- Newcastle  are now being rivalled by Serie A giants Milan in the race to sign Diego Carlos from Sevilla, who have put a high valuation on the defender. The Athletic reported last week that another Premier League club were also interested in the Brazilian.

- Fabrizio Romano says that Gedson Fernandes, who spent an unsuccessful loan spell at Spurs last season, is to join Galatasaray from Benfica.

- Romano has also reported that Christian Eriksen is in advanced talks with Brentford over signing a short-term deal with the Bees. The Denmark playmaker, who had a cardiac arrest on the pitch at Euro 2020, left Inter last year.

- Goal are reporting that Spurs are also open to letting Giovani Lo Celso leave the club. The Argentina midfielder was also left out of their squad on Sunday.

- Multiple sources are reporting that Aston Villa are in talks with Juventus over midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur.

- The Times and Tuttosport have both suggested Juve will look to use funds from the sale of Bentancur to push on with a deal for Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic

Mikel Arteta was frustrated at a lack of guile from his Arsenal in a goalless draw at home to Burnley and the Gunners boss did not seem optimistic he will be able to bring in reinforcements this month.

Arsenal were looking to move level to go fourth in the Premier League by overcoming a Burnley team that had lost their last two away games 3-1.

However, the Clarets held firm at Emirates Stadium on Sunday, with Nick Pope making some fine saves and Alexandre Lacazette spurning a glorious opportunity.

It means Arsenal head into the Premier League's winter break sitting in sixth, while Burnley are bottom but hold between two and four games in hand on their relegation rivals.

The Gunners had 20 attempts, with five hitting the target, yet they have now failed to score in four successive matches in all competitions. It is the first time they have gone on such a run since December 2005.

Arsenal have also failed to win any of their first five games in a calendar year for the first time in 27 years, while it is the first time since October 2008 that they have not beaten a team at the bottom of the league at home.

"We started slow, we looked leggy and didn't have enough rhythm or intention to attack the way we wanted," Arteta told BBC Sport.

"We tried in every different way but lacked the quality in the final third. At the end, when we have a really low block, you need spark and creativity to win football matches and today we didn't do that."

For all their possession (75.7 per cent), Arsenal only created one big chance against Burnley, defined by Opta as an opportunity from which a player would be expected to score, though they finished with an expected goals (xG) of 1.4, suggesting their finishing was below par.

Pope made two excellent saves to deny Martin Odegaard and Emile Smith Rowe, who subsequently turned provider for Arsenal's best chance, only for Lacazette to prod wide of an open goal from the midfielder's cut back. 

With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's future uncertain – albeit he was unavailable for health reasons on Sunday – Arsenal are reportedly keen to bring in a striker this month, and it would seem it is a vital need if they are to secure Champions League qualification.

Dusan Vlahovic is said to be a target, with Fiorentina willing to sell the forward, who scored 33 goals in Serie A in 2021, matching Cristiano Ronaldo's record from 2020. However, the Viola have insisted no offer has yet been received for a player rumoured to be valued at €70million (£58.6m).

Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin has also been linked, while Arteta has previously said he would like to bolster his midfield, but asked about Arsenal's transfer plans for the remainder of January, he replied: "In this market things are complicated."

Burnley did offer a threat of their own, with Dwight McNeil particularly dangerous on the counter. No player had more than his four attempts, one of which almost caught Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale cold early on.

Ramsdale did his part, however, and that was the only save he had to make. The former Sheffield United goalkeeper echoed Arteta's complaints about Arsenal's attacking output.

"I will give credit to Burnley, we know what they are about, it is frustrating from our behalf because we were putting balls into the box and that's meat and drink for Burnley," he told BBC Sport. "We didn't create that quality we needed."

Ramsdale was not wrong. Arsenal played 42 passes/crosses into the box – a season-high for the Gunners. Indeed, their 23 crosses from open play was also a high mark for 2021-22, yet only two of these were successful.

Battling Burnley made 42 clearances, including 27 headed clearances. Both figures are season-highs for Sean Dyche's side.

Fiorentina have demanded clarity from Dusan Vlahovic amid ongoing transfer speculation but Viola director Joe Barone reiterated that no offers have been made for the striker.

Several of Europe's biggest clubs, including Juventus, Manchester City and Arsenal, are said to be interested in the Serbia international.

Reports in Italy suggest Juve are the 21-year-old's preferred destination.

Vlahovic has scored 17 times in 21 Serie A appearances this season, finding the net every 109.5 minutes on average and outperforming his expected goals tally of 12.2.

He also ended 2021 in impressive fashion, equalling Cristiano Ronaldo's 21st-century record for the most goals in the Italian top flight in a calendar year (33), set in 2020 – only Gunnar Nordahl in 1950 (36) has ever scored more across the same period.

But Fiorentina, who have already confirmed they are open to selling their star forward, want Vlahovic to provide them with some clarity on his future.

 

Barone told Sky Sport Italia ahead of Sunday's clash with Cagliari: "I want to talk about Fiorentina, who are playing today [Sunday] and deserve all the focus of the club and fans.

"We talk every day about this, we said a lot recently, Fiorentina have not received any offers. We have been very clear, we are open to anything, but we want clarity.

"We want clarity from the player and his entourage. Fiorentina have a future, which isn't just today's game, but also the future of a group, a fanbase, a city. We need to concentrate on that too."

Vlahovic was left out of the squad for the trip to Cagliari with Fiorentina announcing, but not naming, that two members of their matchday squad had tested positive for COVID-19. Riccardo Saponara was also absent.

Fiorentina are open to selling Dusan Vlahovic in January but the Viola's director Joe Barone denied they have reached an agreement with Arsenal.

Mikel Arteta's Gunners are among a plethora of Europe's elite who are chasing the in-form striker in the mid-season transfer window, with Premier League champions Manchester City also linked.

Vlahovic has scored 17 times in 21 Serie A appearances, netting once every 109.5 minutes on average and comfortably outperforming his expected goals tally of 12.2, and his stock continues to rise.

The 21-year-old ended 2021 on a high as well, matching Cristiano Ronaldo's 21st-century record for most goals in the Italian top flight in a calendar year (33), set in 2020.

In fact, only Gunnar Nordahl in 1950 (36) has ever scored more times in a calendar year than Ronaldo and Vlahovic.

But Barone revealed Vlahovic's time in Tuscany will likely come to an end soon with the Serbia international unwilling to sign a new contract, with his current deal expiring at the end of the next season.

 

"Some English clubs have made contact, but there is no agreement yet. We are open [to selling]," Barone told Italian outlet La Nazione on Friday.

Barone previously asked Vlahovic to publicly state whether he wants to leave the club or not, while suggesting no bids had been made for the forward in the last week.

But the Fiorentina chief claimed he is still yet to hear from Vlahovic's entourage as the Viola reportedly hold out for €75million for their prized asset.

"I haven't heard anything from them, I had asked Vlahovic's agent to be clear, but I haven't heard anything, no contacts at all," he added.

Fiorentina sit sixth in Serie A on 35 points ahead of their next clash with Cagliari on Sunday.

Luis Suarez's future at Atletico Madrid is unclear with his contract to expire at the end of the season.

Suarez helped Atleti win LaLiga last term with 21 goals.

The Uruguayan joined Atletico from top-flight rivals Barcelona in 2020 on a two-year deal.

TOP STORY – SUAREZ WANTS GERRARD REUNION AT VILLA

Suarez wants a reunion with former Liverpool teammate Steven Gerrard at Aston Villa, reports Gerard Romero.

The Atletico Madrid forward's contract expires at the end of this season and has been sounded out by numerous Brazilian clubs.

Suarez has had offers from Palmeiras, Corinthians and Atletico Mineiro but wants to link up with Gerrard who took over at Villa in January.

 

ROUND-UP

- ESPN claims Paris Saint-Germain have opened talks with Manchester United's Paul Pogba and Milan's Franck Kessie, as part of their effort to convince Kylian Mbappe to stay in the French capital amid interest from Real Madrid.

- Juventus have made an enquiry for Borussia Monchengladbach's Denis Zakaria according to 90min as they prepare for Arthur Melo to join Arsenal .

- Arsenal's bid to sign Fiorentina's Dusan Vlahovic looks to have hit a roadblock with the Serbian only interested in joining Juventus, reports the Mail.

- Milan want to bolster their backline and are interested in a loan deal for Tottenham's Japhet Tanganga, claims Fabrizio Romano.

- Leicester City and Newcastle United may rival Brentford to sign Inter's Christian Eriksen, reports the Times.

Barcelona remain determined to strengthen their squad despite financial constraints and could be ready to move for Adama Traore.

It appears the Wolves winger may be sold this month as Bruno Lage's men have already secured a potential replacement.

Any Barca deal would be complicated by interest from Tottenham, however – assuming they are prepared to match Wolves' demands.


TOP STORY – TOTTENHAM, BARCELONA ON ALERT AS WOLVES READY TO SELL TRAORE

Adama Traore could leave Wolves in January, and Barcelona and Tottenham are both interested in the winger, according to the Daily Star.

Wolves have previously insisted they want to keep the Spain international, but Monday's signing of Portugal Under-21s international Chiquinho could open the door for Traore's exit.

Spurs are keen but their proposed loan until the end of the season is not something Bruno Lage's side are prepared to accept, as they are holding out for a £25million sale.

Barca have been linked with the 25-year-old but they must be careful of their spending due to their financial problems.


ROUND-UP

Barcelona are determined to bring in a striker this month and Alvaro Morata remains the top target, according to Marca. However, negotiations with Juventus have proved difficult.

– It appears Dusan Vlahovic may not be leaving Fiorentina yet after all. Gianluca Di Marzio reports the Arsenal and Juventus target will be kept until the end of the season.

Manchester United have turned their attention to signing John McGinn from Aston Villa, but not until the close-season, the Telegraph says.

– Meanwhile, United striker Anthony Martial does not want to join another English club, leaving BarcaJuventus and Sevilla as his main options, Fabrizio Romano reports.

– Newcastle United's bid to sign a new centre-back took a blow as Monaco rejected their £33.4m (€40m) bid for Benoit Badiashile, L'Equipe claims.

– A striker is also on Newcastle's shopping list and they have launched a £25m (€30m) offer for Atalanta's Duvan Zapata, the Daily Record says.

Real Madrid's squad is already packed with a magnitude of talent – and it could become even stronger should Erling Haaland arrive from Borussia Dortmund later this year.

Haaland has scored 78 goals in his two years with Dortmund – only Robert Lewandowski (107) has more in Europe's top five leagues – and would be a major coup for Madrid.

But while the Spanish giants remain confident of bringing in the in-demand striker from Dortmund, it could have a negative knock-on effect.


TOP STORY - HAALAND IN, BENZEMA OUT?

Karim Benzema is a much-loved figure at the Santiago Bernabeu and is enjoying another impressive campaign, but El Nacional claims that Madrid risk losing the Frenchman.

The report suggests that Benzema does not like the fact that president Florentino Perez is so fixated on bringing in a new player to lead Los Blancos' attack from next season.

While the 34-year is not currently seeking an exit, that could change should Madrid reach a pre-contract agreement with Haaland in the coming weeks, as has been suggested.

Benzema would not feel the need to move on should Kylian Mbappe join, though, as he considers that case to be different given the PSG striker is set to become a free agent.


ROUND-UP

Barcelona accept that it is increasingly likely Ousmane Dembele will leave Camp Nou as a free agent at the end of the season. According to Sport, Manchester United and Juventus have held talks with the player's camp, while Chelsea and Bayern Munich have an outside shot of signing the forward.

Arsenal have made their first move to sign Dusan Vlahovic from Fiorentina, with Corriere Della Sera reporting that the Gunners have tabled an offer of £50million (€60m) plus Lucas Torreira, who is currently on loan with the Serie A side.

Chelsea are interested in signing Layvin Kurzawa on loan as they look to bolster their full-back ranks. However, Fabrizio Romano claims that the Blues have not yet officially opened talks with PSG.

– Calciomercato reports that Man Utd forward Anthony Martial has emerged as a January target for Juventus. The France international has struggled for games this season and has openly admitted he wants to find a new club this month.

Everton are on the lookout for a new manager after parting company with Rafael Benitez on Sunday and hope to make a swift appointment. According to ESPN, former boss Roberto Martinez – now in charge of the Belgium national team – is the leading candidate to take over.

Newcastle United have already brought in Kieran Trippier and Chris Wood this window, but The Telegraph reports that they have been knocked back in their bid to bring in Donny van de Beek on loan. The Man Utd midfielder is said to have been put off by the Magpies' position in the Premier League.

The futures of Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe, arguably the two most sought-after players in world football, could be determined by the end of the January transfer window.

While the forwards look set to stay at Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain respectively this month, moves away at the end of the campaign look increasingly likely.

And despite intense competition from fellow heavyweight clubs, Real Madrid are determined to win the race for both players.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID TO PUT ASIDE €350m FOR HAALAND

Madrid had two bids knocked back for Mbappe last year but, according to Marca, they remain in pole position to sign the France international in six months' time.

Landing Haaland could prove to be a little more complicated, though, given he will still have two years to run on his contract at the end of the 2021-22 campaign.

However, the Spanish publication reports that Madrid are willing to spend big on the prolific striker, who is thought to have a €75million release clause in his deal.

On top of triggering that, it is claimed that Los Blancos will have to set aside cash for Haaland's father, agent Mino Raiola and a hefty salary for the player himself, which could total around €350m.

 

ROUND-UP

- Madrid may be considered the frontrunners to sign Mbappe and Haaland, but they already have a back-up plan in place should either of those moves fail to materialise. According to El Nacional, Fiorentina's in-demand Dusan Vlahovic is also on the Spanish giants' radar.

- CalcioMercato reports that Milan have joined the queue to sign Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen. Christensen, who comes out of contract at the end of this season, is being chased by Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona.

- Newcastle United could beat Manchester United in the race for RB Leipzig's Amadou Haidara, with The Mirror reporting that the newly-rich Magpies are set to make an offer.

- The Everton board got together on Saturday to discuss manager Rafael Benitez's future in the job, according to Sky Sports. Everton have won one of their past 13 league games and lost to bottom club Norwich City 2-1 on Saturday.

- PSG, Bayern and Madrid are among Kalvin Phillips' suitors. El Nacional reports that Leeds United have a battle on their hands fending off interest in the midfielder, who has been capped 19 times by England.

- The Mirror reports that Chelsea are considering a move for Inter's Ivan Perisic. The Blues are in the market for a versatile player who can play at left-back while Ben Chilwell recovers from a long-term injury.

 

Kylian Mbappe is widely expected to join Real Madrid as a free agent at the end of this season.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward has stalled on signing a new deal with the French giants.

Madrid have long courted Mbappe with a view to signing him, but PSG remain determined to keep their man.

TOP STORY – PSG RE-ENTER TALKS WITH MBAPPE

PSG have launched a determined attempt to retain Mbappe after making the France frontman a new contract offer, claims Telefoot.

The Parisians are said to have offered Mbappe a massive two-year deal to fight off attempts to woo him by Real Madrid.

Mbappe is reported to be unwilling to make a decision yet and could let his contract expire. It runs only until the end of June.

 

ROUND-UP

- La Repubblica reports Arsenal are closing in on a deal for Serbian striker Dusan Vlahovic, with Fiorentina said to be considering accepting a £58million offer from the Gunners.

- Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano claims both Barcelona and Bayern Munich are keen to sign Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen at the season's end.

- Manchester United are interested in Inter head coach Simone Inzaghi taking over as their manager next season, according to Corriere dello Sport.

- Southampton have contacted Manchester United about signing goalkeeper Dean Henderson, reports Football Insider. Saints also want to sign Chelsea's Armando Broja permanently but will stiff competition, claims Sky Sports.

- Lille are pursuing former Newcastle United winger Hatem Ben Arfa, reports L'Equipe. Ben Arfa left Bordeaux at the end of last season.

Fiorentina general manager Joe Barone has told Dusan Vlahovic to publicly state whether he wants to leave the club and revealed no bids have been made for the prolific striker.

Vlahovic has been linked with a host of top European clubs after scoring 16 goals in 20 Serie A appearances this season.

Arsenal have been strongly linked with a move for the 21-year-old Serbia international, who is the leading scorer in the Italian top flight.

Fiorentina are reportedly holding out for a fee of €75million for their prized asset.

Barone has urged Vlahovic to make his intentions clear amid constant speculation over his future, which began even before the transfer window opened this month.

He told Mediaset: "Dusan is talked about every day, but I would like to talk about the group. We expect an answer from him on the future, obviously we have our plans and we want to take action.

"Two days ago I had a conversation with Dusan, saying if you want to stay, please state it publicly and sign. A city cannot wait, but from what I have heard he does not seem willing to speak and therefore we as a club have to make decisions."

Barone said Fiorentina are willing to consider bids for Vlahovic, whose contract runs until the end of next season, but stressed they have not received any.

"All offers will be evaluated. But nothing has arrived at the moment." he added.

Vlahovic was named in the starting line-up for his side's Coppa Italia clash at Napoli on Thursday.

Fiorentina president Rocco Commisso has urged Dusan Vlahovic to recognise how the club gave him his big break.

A host of wealthy European clubs are keeping a close eye on the 21-year-old striker, who is going from strength to strength with the Viola.

Arsenal and Atletico Madrid have been among the teams most recently linked, with Tottenham and Juventus also potentially keen on a deal.

Vlahovic joined Fiorentina as a teenager from Belgrade giants Partizan, making his Serie A debut in the 2018-19 season.

He has 18 club goals this season, netting on average once every 104.17 minutes. Only four strikers from Europe's top five leagues have scored more in 2021-22: Robert Lewandowski (31), Mohamed Salah, Karim Benzema (both 23) and Erling Haaland (19).

Commisso said in an interview with the Financial Times: "He developed here. And he should give recognition, whatever happens, to the club that got him to where he is."

Vlahovic is massively outperforming his expected goals (xG) total of 12.61, and that points to sharp finishing from the Serbian. Indeed, he has tucked away 80 per cent (12 of 15) of the opportunities defined by Opta as big chances.

That is the best big-chance conversion rate among all forwards with 10 or more goals in the Premier League, LaLiga, Serie A, Bundesliga or Ligue 1 this season.

 

Fiorentina chief Commisso gave his interview to the newspaper in November, with the interview published on Thursday.

According to the FT, he said Fiorentina were "under active considerations as to what to do" about Vlahovic.

Fiorentina have a high-value player on their hands, but Vlahovic's contract runs only until the end of next season, when he could walk away from Florence on a free transfer.

He has turned down big-money offers to extend his deal, with Commisso saying in October that Fiorentina would have been willing to make him the best-paid player in the club's history.

Commisso, an Italian American businessman and billionaire, acquired Fiorentina in June 2019 and admits he has been amazed by the goings-on within football.

"The more I live here, with this crazy sport, the more I realise how screwed up it is," he said.

The 72-year-old also said he has poured money into Fiorentina and is not banking on a return.

"I'm not doing it for the money," he added. "Why do I need another 100 million, you follow me? I'm gonna lose money."

Mikel Arteta may be confident that his side can still recruit any player in the world, but Arsenal may have to wait if they are to sign Dusan Vlahovic from Fiorentina.

The in-demand Serbia international is the joint-fourth highest scorer in Europe's top five leagues this term and is wanted by an array of clubs across the continent.

While a January move has been touted, however, Fiorentina appear to be playing hardball when it comes to the future of the 21-year-old striker.


TOP STORY – FIORENTINA DEMANDS PREVENTING ARSENAL'S VLAHOVIC PURSUIT

Arsenal are reportedly willing to match Fiorentina's €75million (£62.62m) asking price for Vlahovic, which would make him the second-most expensive player in their history.

However, The Independent reports that the Serie A side want the majority of that money paid upfront, whereas Arsenal intend to spread the cost over the next four years.

The Gunners may therefore have to wait until the end of the campaign, at which point Vlahovic will have a year to run on his contract, before renegotiating with Fiorentina.

 


ROUND-UP

– It is shaping up to be a busy conclusion to the January window for Arsenal as Goal reports that the Premier League side have made contact with Juventus over a loan move for midfielder Arthur Melo, while Leicester City's Youri Tielemans is another potential target.

– L'Equipe claims that Paul Pogba remains a target for Paris Saint-Germain as he nears the end of his Manchester United contract. The midfielder has not featured since November due to injury and is not expected to return until next month.

– According to The Mail, Man Utd are eyeing a move for Brighton and Hove Albion's Tariq Lamptey as an upgrade on Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Diogo Dalot. Interim boss Ralf Rangnick is said to be a big fan of the right-sided player's versatility.

– Sticking with Rangnick and United, the German coach has put Ajax boss Erik ten Hag's name forward as the best option to replace him when his interim spell at Old Trafford ends in June. That is according to Le Parisien, with the French outlet also suggesting PSG's Mauricio Pochettino still remains in the frame.

– Ambitious Newcastle United have already brought in Kieran Trippier this month and more players look set to follow. Tuttomercato suggests that Roma's Chris Smalling could be lured to St James' Park as the Magpies desperately attempt to strengthen at centre-back.

Freiburg's Nico Schlotterbeck is attracting plenty of interest this month, with Bayern Munich and Real Madrid among those being linked. Bayern appear to be leading that particular race if reports from Spain are anything to go by, with the defender supposedly keen to stay in the Bundesliga.

Mikel Arteta insists Arsenal still have the pulling power to attract the world's biggest names, but refused to be drawn on speculation linking his side with Fiorentina striker Dusan Vlahovic.

The Gunners have been tipped to move for the in-demand Serbia international, who matched Cristiano Ronaldo's 21st century record for the most Serie A goals in a single calendar year in 2021 with 33.

Vlahovic has also been touted as a target for Juventus, Manchester City and Manchester United, though Arsenal are said to be willing to spend big to land the 21-year-old, who has 18 months to run on his contract.

However, according to fresh reports on Wednesday, Vlahovic will only consider joining the north London club should they qualify for next season's Champions League after a five-year absence.

Arsenal have not placed higher than fifth in the Premier League since then and have finished eighth in back-to-back campaigns, but Arteta does not believe the Gunners' plight will put players off moving to Emirates Stadium.

"Historically this club has always been targeting the best players in the world and they were always interested to come here," he said at a news conference on Wednesday. "I can say that hasn't changed. 

"Every time I've spoken to a player they were so willing to come. That's a big advantage for us."

Vlahovic has 16 goals in 20 Serie A games for Fiorentina this season alone, making him the joint-fourth highest goalscorer in Europe's top five leagues behind Karim Benzema, Patrik Schick (both 17) and Robert Lewandowski (20).

Fiorentina are reportedly holding out for a €70million (£58m) fee, but Arteta would not comment specifically on his side's interest in the young attacker.

"I'm really sorry to disappoint you but you know I'm not going to be discussing any transfer rumours," he said when asked about the latest on Vlahovic.

"What I really want this month is that we have as many players fit and healthy and we do as much as possible with these players. After that we have a strategy and we will do that when possible."

Arsenal suffered a shock 1-0 loss to Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup third round on Sunday and will be looking to hit back when they take on Liverpool on Thursday in a rescheduled EFL Cup semi-final first leg.

Last week's fixture was called off after a COVID-19 outbreak forced Liverpool to shut their training ground, but Jurgen Klopp has since revealed a number of the cases were false positives.

The first leg will now take place at Anfield, with the return fixture set for Emirates Stadium next week, and Arteta will also have one eye on Sunday's Premier League trip to Tottenham.

"The dynamics have changed because the timing of the games becomes different," the Spaniard said. "It's completely uncertain but it's what it is.

"Last week's game being called off is something that is not in our control. The EFL is responsible to check every player's status and make the decision whether to play or not.

"You can never guarantee anything because you know that this changes dramatically in 10 seconds. Our willingness is always to play."

Arsenal, who will find out on Wednesday whether Granit Xhaka is clear to play after recently testing positive for coronavirus, have won just one of their last eight EFL Cup games against Liverpool at Anfield.

This is the third successive season the sides have met in the competition, while the last five meetings have produced a total of 28 goals.

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