Chelsea are reportedly closing in on a loan deal for Atletico Madrid club-record signing Joao Felix in January.

Felix, 23, was signed in 2019 for €126million after winning the European Golden Boy award with Benfica, shattering Atletico's previous transfer record of Thomas Lemar by over €50m.

However, despite netting 33 goals for his new club, Felix has struggled to consistently earn a spot in their starting XI, with seven of his 12 LaLiga appearances this season coming as a substitute.

Having made such a substantial investment, Atletico are not willing to sell him at a massive loss just yet, and while they have made him available for transfer, a loan move to rehabilitate his value appears far more likely.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA LOOK TO LOAN DEAL TO ADDRESS FORWARD WOES

Chelsea have been actively seeking reinforcements up front, but with significant investment also planned in defence, a cheaper loan deal could be the band-aid solution for their goalscoring issues.

The Telegraph is reporting Chelsea and Atletico are deep in discussions about a deal that would involve either an option or an obligation to turn the loan into a permanent move at the conclusion of the season.

ESPN added Atletico will also demand a loan fee in the range of €9m for the half-season rental.

It remains to be seen if Chelsea can afford to secure a quality forward option in January on a permanent basis, with Fabrizio Romano reporting they are also in the final stages of negotiations for a €35m purchase of 21-year-old Monaco centre-back Benoit Badiashile.

 

ROUND-UP

– According to CBS, Cristiano Ronaldo has a medical scheduled with Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr ahead of signing a contract that will pay him €70m per year.

– The Telegraph is reporting Arsenal have submitted a £55m bid for 21-year-old Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhaylo Mudryk.

Napoli will look to sign 26-year-old Wolves winger Adama Traore in January as he enters the final six months of his contract, per Calciomercato.

– The Daily Mail is reporting Everton are one of a number of Premier League clubs showing interest in 20-year-old Manchester United winger Anthony Elanga.

– According to journalist Ekrem Konur, Premier League teams including West Ham, Everton and Aston Villa are considering offers for 28-year-old Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Chelsea have reportedly made Monaco centre-back Benoit Badiashile their top defensive target in the January transfer window.

They have been strongly linked with RB Leipzig and Croatia standout Josko Gvardiol, but Fabrizio Romano believes Chelsea will have to break the record for the most expensive transfer fee paid for a defender to get a deal done.

Instead, the Stamford Bridge club are said to have pivoted to 21-year-old Monaco powerhouse Badiashile, who stands at six-foot-four and has racked up 106 club appearances since debuting at the age of 17.

Badiashile also earned his first senior caps for France this year, playing a full 90 minutes in UEFA Nations League fixtures in September against Austria and Denmark before ultimately missing out on the World Cup squad.

With just over 18 months remaining on his contract, Monaco will need to decide if they can tie him down up long term, otherwise it may be time to cash-in.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA TARGET YOUNG MONACO TALENT

According to The Athletic, Badiashile is a player who has been on the Premier League radar for some time, noting a £22million bid from Manchester United back in 2020.

The report claims Badiashile was in no rush to leave back then as he was already a first-team regular, but he has since opened up to the idea of moving on to take the next step of his career.

Chelsea are said to be preparing a £35m offer for the man who has experience playing in a back-three, which would be less than half of the potential asking price for Gvardiol.

 

ROUND-UP

– Fichajes is reporting Aston Villa boss Unai Emery has no interest in retaining Argentinian World Cup hero Emiliano Martinez, and would prefer to replace him with Sevilla and Morocco star Yassine Bounou for a fee in the range of £40m.

Chelsea are in the best position to land 23-year-old West Ham midfielder Declan Rice as he enters the final 18 months of his contract, per The Athletic.

– Journalist Nicolo Schira is reporting Atletico Madrid have agreed to personal terms with 26-year-old Leicester City centre-back Caglar Soyuncu, and he could be allowed to join the club in January despite his contract not expiring until the end of the season.

– Atletico will allow Joao Felix to join a Premier League club on loan in January if their financial demands are met, per the Mirror.

– According to Teamtalk, Liverpool and Tottenham are included in the Premier League sides prepared to offer a contract to 27-year-old Inter centre-back Milan Skriniar for when he becomes a free agent at the end of the season.

Diego Simeone has left the door open for Joao Felix to prove himself at Atletico Madrid but warned "no one is essential".

Joao Felix has been linked with a January exit from the LaLiga side, with club CEO Gil Marin stating this month that the Portugal forward and Simeone do not have a good relationship.

Atleti head coach Simeone has suggested Joao Felix could be allowed to move on next month.

"I want the best for Atletico, we are going to celebrate 11 years giving everything I have for the team and the club to grow," he said ahead of the Copa Del Rey tie against Arenteiro.

"I care about winning, keep improving, growing, keep focusing game by game and then everything that can happen will happen.

"No one is essential, no one, and things will be as they have to be."

The former Argentina midfielder did, however, make it clear Joao Felix could still have a future in the Spanish capital.

He added: "I have no doubt that he is a very important player.

"He had a good World Cup, with an important job for his team, participating in goals and the importance that the coach gave him to develop what he has.

"Hopefully, we can have the best Joao he showed in the World Cup and hopefully he can represent himself in our team."

One player who will be leaving Atleti is Matheus Cunha, with is poised to join Premier League club Wolves.

"Cunha is about to sign with his new club. He is a boy who gave us everything he had, we gave him everything we had," he stated.

Rather than look to the transfer market for additions to replace those who leave, Simeone expressed his intention to look within Atletico's ranks.

"I'm looking inward. For the club, I'm looking at the boys from B, who excite me and are in a great moment," he explained.

"It is a low category to compare it with LaLiga, but they are very excited, [Luis] Tevenet is working very well and if we have to raise boys for the club it is the best thing that can happen to us."

Chelsea are reportedly weighing up a bevy of forward options in the January transfer window, including Milan's Rafael Leao and Juventus' Dusan Vlahovic.

The Stamford Bridge side are said to have already come to terms on a deal worth at least €10million for 19-year-old striker David Datro Fofana from Norwegian side Molde, per Fabrizio Romano, but their hunt for reinforcements will not stop there.

With young Chelsea striker Armando Broja set for an extended stint on the sidelines due to injury, they are looking to bring in at least one more new face – or perhaps an old face.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA LOOK TO SERIE A FOR NEW MARQUEE FORWARD

According to Calciomercato and ESPN, Chelsea are engaged in discussions about Serie A forward Leao, Vlahovic, and Roma's Tammy Abraham – who left Chelsea in August 2021.

Recent reports claimed Milan had rejected a €70m offer from Chelsea for Leao, and are trying to hold out for his full €150m release clause, but ESPN's update states it will take "at least €80m" – a figure that is not scaring the Premier League side away.

Vlahovic is also believed to be available due to Juventus' behind-the-scenes turmoil, while Abraham has a €75m buy-back option, but that price is said to be above what Chelsea are willing to pay for him.

Meanwhile, the Evening Standard are reporting Atletico Madrid have offered Chelsea two more options up top, giving them the opportunity to buy Joao Felix or Matheus Cunha.

 

ROUND-UP

– Mundo Deportivo is reporting Liverpool will have to pay £87m for 21-year-old Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez, who they are believed to have made a pre-agreement with.

– According to 90min, Manchester City have circled Borussia Dortmund's Jude Bellingham and Arsenal's Bukayo Saka as two key targets going forward.

Manchester United, Newcastle United and Real Madrid are the teams competing for the signature of breakout PSV talent Cody Gakpo, per the Mirror.

– Sport are reporting Barcelona are the favourites to sign Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot, as he would prefer to head to Spain instead of the Premier League.

– According to SoccerNews, the agent of Fiorentina midfielder and Morocco standout Sofyan Amrabat is pushing for his move to Liverpool.

Arsenal will reportedly launch a move for Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhaylo Mudryk in January, with his price now said to be more negotiable than the initial demand of €100million.

The 21-year-old has been a revelation this season for the Ukrainian club, announcing his arrival with a goal and two assists in a 4-1 win against RB Leipzig to kick off his side's Champions League campaign.

He scored both home and away against Celtic, while also racking up seven goals and six assists in 12 league fixtures, emerging as one of the most talented young forwards outside of Europe's big five competitions.

Earlier reports had claimed Shakhtar would hold out for a fee matching what Manchester United paid for Antony, but new information states that is no longer believed to be the case.

 

TOP STORY - ARSENAL PLOT JANUARY MOVE FOR UKRAINIAN SENSATION

According to The Athletic, there is a "good chance" Mudryk's move to Arsenal will materialise, with the publication claiming he is "determined to make the Emirates Stadium his destination".

The report says Arsenal will investigate what other deals they could potentially accomplish for a similar fee, but that "interested parties are of the understanding that a lower fee [than the initial €100m demand] would be deemed acceptable".

Adding fuel to the fire is the belief that the Kroenke family are willing to throw their trust into Edu and Mikel Arteta's decisions amid an unexpected Premier League title challenge, increasing the chance of such a significant January investment.

 

ROUND-UP

– Marca is reporting Arsenal have become the favourites to land 23-year-old Atletico Madrid forward Joao Felix in January, providing further indication the Gunners plan on making a splash in the upcoming transfer window.

– According to Sky Sports Germany's Florian Plettenberg, Milan rejected a €70m bid from Chelsea for Rafael Leao, and are holding firm on his €150m release clause with just over 18 months remaining on his contract.

– La Capital is reporting Liverpool have signed a pre-agreement for 21-year-old Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez, who is believed to be valued at €100m.

Paris Saint-Germain are interested in signing 25-year-old Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele, per El Nacional.

– Foot Mercato claims Manchester City have joined Manchester United and Chelsea in the pursuit of 20-year-old Croatia and RB Leipzig centre-back Josko Gvardiol.

Marcus Rashford is free to negotiate with overseas teams from next month, with his Manchester United contract expiring at the end of this season.

The 25-year-old England international has had a couple of difficult seasons at Old Trafford but remains hot property.

United are eager to re-sign their forward, with Metro claiming they are looking to exercise an option in his contract to extend his stay.

TOP STORY – PSG TO LODGE LUCRATIVE RASHFORD DEAL

Paris Saint-Germain are prepared to offer Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford a bumper contract to lure him to the French capital, claims The Mirror.

The Parisians are readying a fresh bid which would make the 25-year-old one of the best-paid players on the planet, amid interest from Bayern Munich along with Real Betis.

PSG's package would be worth up to £850,000 (€990,000) a week for Rashford, who has been with United since he was a boy.

 

ROUND-UP

–  Juventus are interested in Chelsea's Mason Mount and would be willing to let three players go to fund any deal, reports Calciomercato. Adrien Rabiot, Leandro Paredes and Weston McKennie are among those named in the report.

– AS claims Arsenal have joined the pursuit of Atletico Madrid's Joao Felix , while the Mirror claims the Portuguese's agent is ready to speak with Aston Villa and Newcastle United about a deal. Manchester United and Chelsea have already held discussions.

– The Mirror claims Liverpool are in contention to sign Napoli's Mexican forward Hirving Lozano in January.

Bayern Munich are interested in signing RB Leipzig's Josip Gvardiol, but Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United have already lodged bids for him, claims Foot Mercato.

Arsenal are reportedly the leading candidate to land Juventus striker Dusan Vlahovic after an injury to Gabriel Jesus exposed their lack of depth in attack.

Vlahovic, 22, was purchased from Fiorentina for €70million in January this year, and started the current Serie A campaign in fine form, with six goals and an assist from his first 10 starts.

He missed Juventus' final four league games leading into the World Cup break due to an adductor injury, and failed to make much of an impact for Serbia in Qatar, scoring one goal from a combined 79 minutes on the field.

While he still has another three seasons on his contract, Juventus' behind-the-scenes turmoil could make the young talent available as the club sort out their financial issues.

 

TOP STORY – ARSENAL EMERGE AS FAVOURITES FOR SERBIA'S VLAHOVIC

According to Calciomercato, Vlahovic is no longer viewed as the "immovable cornerstone" he was before the season, mentioning the "corporate situation" as an important factor.

The report implies Vlahovic will only be sold if it is necessary to do so, and, more importantly, that it will likely not be until the end of the season that Juventus begin to entertain the possibility. 

With Jesus scheduled to miss three months following his knee surgery, Arsenal will need to decide if their need for cover means they need to pivot to an alternate option.

Meanwhile, a separate Calciomercato report adds Juventus would be happy to exchange Vlahovic for Atletico Madrid forward Joao Felix, who is also reportedly nearing the end of his time with his club.

 

ROUND-UP

– Il Romanista is reporting Roma will attempt to bring in Barcelona's Hector Bellerin in January if right-back Rick Karsdorp leaves the club as he has requested.

– Sport reports Barcelona could secure midfielder Ruben Neves in January for less than Wolves' initial €50m asking price, but Xavi is said to prefer Real Sociedad's Martin Zubimendi or Chelsea's N'Golo Kante.

Eintracht Frankfurt's 24-year-old forward Randal Kolo Muani is reportedly being tracked by Liverpool, Tottenham and Atletico Madrid, per Fichajes.

– According to O Jogo, Real Madrid have approached Benfica about a potential purchase of 21-year-old midfielder Enzo Fernandez.

– The Mirror claims Everton are exploring a £35m move for 24-year-old Watford winger Ismaila Sarr.

Fernando Santos' decision to drop Cristiano Ronaldo from Portugal's team might have come too late in the eyes of some.

Ronaldo started each of Portugal's World Cup group games in Qatar, though only managed one goal, converting a penalty he won in the opening win over Ghana.

That goal made history, as Ronaldo has often done. He is the only male player to have scored at five World Cups.

Yet after frustrating Santos with his reaction to a South Korea player's taunts in Portugal's final Group H game, Ronaldo found himself on the bench for Tuesday's 6-1 rout of Switzerland.

His replacement Goncalo Ramos scored a hat-trick, surely ensuring the bench is where Ronaldo will stay for Saturday's quarter-final against Morocco, the fourth African team to make the last eight of a World Cup.

Yet Ronaldo's omission might have afforded another Portuguese youngster (and like Ramos, one who made his name with Benfica) a chance to finally prove his worth.

Struggling to live up to the hype

Joao Felix seemed set to be a superstar when he broke into the Benfica side in the 2018-19 season.

He directly contributed to 22 goals in 26 league appearances, netting 15 and assisting seven, creating 29 chances. Joao Felix was awarded the Primeira Liga's Best Young Player of the Year and the Golden Boy award, and a huge move was on the cards.

Atletico Madrid, cash-rich with the imminent sale of Antoine Griezmann to Barcelona, pipped the rest of Europe's elite to the 19-year-old boy wonder, paying a club-record €126million to take him to the Spanish capital.

Yet, for whatever reason, whether that be Diego Simeone's pragmatic approach or Joao Felix suffering the inconsistencies that many young players do, it hasn't quite clicked at Atleti.

He has started only 53 games across three and a half years, and in only one season has he created over 20 chances. Joao Felix's best return for goals and assists combined has been 12, coming in the 2020-21 and 2021-22 campaigns.

 

Sure, at times it has looked as though it has started to fall into place, but a player of Joao Felix's talents needs the space and time and tactical flexibility to show what he can do. Too often under Simeone, that has not been the case.

During his time at Atleti, Joao Felix – whose best role falls somewhere between a striker and an attacking midfielder – has played second fiddle to or had to complement Luis Suarez, Alvaro Morata, Griezmann (the man he was brought in to replace, of course) and even Marcos Llorente, before Simeone moved the Spain international to a wide berth.

It has been a similar story on the international stage. Ronaldo has been the player Santos has worked his system around, the entire team geared to getting the best out of international football's record goalscorer.

That has seen Joao Felix often fall to the wayside, what with Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes, Andre Silva and Diogo Jota, who has missed out in Qatar through injury, among the other attackers he has to compete with.

Time to shine

Yet he has been entrusted in Qatar, starting all three of Portugal's truly meaningful matches, scoring in the 3-2 opening win over Ghana. The first two of those starts came alongside Ronaldo, but against Switzerland Joao Felix was placed on the left of a narrow front three that included Ramos and Bruno Fernandes.

Joao Felix thrived. With freedom to drift, he set up two of Portugal's goals, becoming the nation's first player to provide two assists in a World Cup knockout game, and his performance even drew comparisons to Kaka.

It was Joao Felix's neat ball through to Ramos from the half-space on the left side of Switzerland's box that led to Portugal's 17th-minute opener. 

 

Having received the ball on the cusp of the opposition area midway through the second half, Joao Felix had the awareness to get his head up rather than shoot, and the poise to find another perfect pass through to Ramos for Ronaldo's replacement to wrap up his hat-trick. 

His 42 touches occurred across the pitch, while he lost possession only seven times, a particularly impressive figure given, of Portugal's players, only Bernardo Silva (15) attempted more passes in the final third than the 23-year-old (11).

Santos must stick to his guns

"I don't think it's mandatory to pass to Cristiano. We try to pass to the player that's available," said Joao Felix when previewing the meeting with Morocco.

"Independent of Cristiano being on the field, we have the same tactics, the ones we've been using for all four games. He has skills that other players have and vice-versa. We, as a team, have our own identity and we focus on that."

Joao Felix might have claimed that the tactics do not change, but it seemed clear against Switzerland that, without Ronaldo in the side, Portugal had found their groove.

The signs had been there even before the World Cup, though. Ronaldo did not feature in a pre-tournament friendly against Nigeria and Portugal won 4-0.

Portugal had 15 shots against the Swiss, and remarkably got nine of those on target and finished with 2.28 expected goals (xG).

 

In the three matches Ronaldo had started, Portugal had only finished with an xG of 2.0 once – in their opening win over Ghana, and a penalty in that game will have accounted for a large chunk of that value.

With Portugal playing so well against Switzerland, Santos must stand by his decision.

Yes, Ronaldo can still provide great moments, but he can do so off the bench. At 37, this will likely be his last World Cup, if not his final major tournament.

Joao Felix, who could well leave Atleti for pastures new in January, is the future, and he has proved capable of taking up the mantle.

Joao Felix appeared to take a swipe at Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone by stating conditions with Portugal are more "favourable" than with the LaLiga giants.

The Atleti forward has been linked with a move away from the Wanda Metropolitano, with Los Rojiblancos chief executive Gil Marin believing a January exit is "reasonable" to expect.

Joao Felix has scored 33 goals for Atleti since arriving from Benfica for €126million in 2019 - a tally only bettered by Luis Suarez (34) during that span.

But the 23-year-old has a frosty relationship with Simeone, with the pair reportedly falling out earlier this season. 

And he appeared to aim a dig at his club boss after Portugal booked their World Cup quarter-final place with a comprehensive 6-1 rout of Switzerland on Tuesday.

"The way you play here and at the club are different," he said. "When the conditions are favourable, things go better."

Joao Felix set up two of Goncalo Ramos' three goals against the Swiss, becoming the third Portugal player to provide two assists in a World Cup game after Jose Torres - against Brazil in 1966 - and Bruno Fernandes - versus Ghana in this tournament.

He saluted Portugal's most impressive performance so far in Qatar, where he feels confidence and concentration levels are high in Fernando Santos' side ahead of facing Morocco in the last eight.

"The preparation was the same as the other games," he added. "We saw what was best and worst and played because of that, not losing our identity. We played a great game, perhaps the best so far.

"We are focused and believe completely in us. I hope it's been shown that we have a great team, we know what we want. We have the support of everyone, and won't be held back."

Joao Felix could leave Atletico Madrid in January due to his relationship with Diego Simeone, with the LaLiga club's chief executive Gil Marin believing an exit is "reasonable" to expect.

Atleti secured the services of the forward from Benfica in 2019 for a €126million fee, handing the Portugal international a seven-year contract.

Since he joined the club, only Luis Suarez (34) has scored more goals for Atletico than Joao Felix (33), who has also contributed 16 assists, but he has a frosty relationship with Simeone.

A fallout reportedly occurred earlier this season and, although Simeone spoke positively about the 23-year-old staying with the club in November, Marin believes a move is on the cards.

"Joao is the biggest bet the club has made. I think he has the highest level in the world," he told TVE.

"But, for reasons that now it is not worth getting in to, the relationship between the coach and him is not good, nor is his motivation.

"The reasonable thing is to analyse if any exit options arrive. The reasonable thing is to think that he will leave, even if I would love him to stay, but that is not the idea of the player."

Manchester United reportedly had a mammoth bid for Joao Felix's rejected following Erik ten Hag's arrival at Old Trafford, while Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich have also been attributed with an interest.

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.

 

ROUND-UP

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.

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.

 

ROUND-UP

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.

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.

Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player to score in five World Cups, but Portugal required a couple of late goals to rescue a nervy 3-2 win against Ghana on Thursday.

Just two days after having his Manchester United contract terminated by mutual consent, free agent Ronaldo converted a penalty to break down a stubborn Ghana side in their Group H opener. 

Ghana were furious with the awarding of the 65th-minute spot-kick for Mohammed Salisu's challenge on Ronaldo, but they hit back through Andre Ayew in the 73rd minute.

However, Joao Felix fired Portugal back in front and substitute Rafael Leao added a third, which proved important when Osman Bukari scored a late consolation for Ghana, who missed a glorious chance to snatch a point through Inaki Williams.

 

Ronaldo was denied by Lawrence Ati-Zigi after a heavy first touch and headed wide from the best of Portugal's limited first-half chances, before having a goal ruled out for a foul.

Alidu Seidu was lucky to only be shown a yellow early in the second half after locking heads with Joao Felix, but Ghana were less fortunate when a penalty was given to Portugal

Salisu was penalised for his challenge on Ronaldo, despite appearing to touch the ball before the player, and the superstar forward made no mistake from the spot.

That sparked some life into Ghana and Ayew steered home a leveller after Mohammed Kudus pulled the ball back into his path, but Portugal's own response was equally as swift.

Joao Felix raced onto Bruno Fernandes' throughball and dinked over Ati-Zigi, before Leao – on the field for just 45 seconds – curled in a delightful third for Fernando Santos' side.

Bukari, himself introduced from the bench, headed in from a Baba Rahman cross to set up a tense finish and Williams almost snuck an equaliser when he took the ball off the feet of an oblivious Costa before slipping at the crucial moment. 

Liverpool are reportedly keeping a close eye on Declan Rice's performances for England at the World Cup, and will prepare a move for the West Ham midfielder if they feel he handles the pressure of the big stage.

Rice, 23, played in all seven games for England in their run to the Euro 2020 final, and he has played in every minute of West Ham's 15 fixtures this Premier League season.

The defensive midfielder is a favourite of manager David Moyes, who declared in April that his price had risen to such an extent that "£150m just now would be minimum" – but his contract situation could force the club's hand.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL WATCHING IF RICE CAN RISE TO THE CHALLENGE

According to Football Insider, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is a "huge admirer" of the man with 35 international caps already under his belt, but he still wants to see more.

The report claims Liverpool will be paying attention to "how Rice copes with the type of scrutiny and huge-game pressure he does not get at West Ham, who do not compete in the Champions League or challenge for trophies".

Rice's contract ties him to the club until 2024, although there is a club-option to extend the contract for an extra year.

He turned down a bumper new deal earlier this year that would have paid him £200,000 per week, indicating this will likely be his last contract with West Ham, and that factor will drive his price down the longer the club waits.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sport are reporting Manchester City are close to locking up Pep Guardiola on a new contract through 2025.

- According to 90min, Tottenham are eyeing Everton's Jordan Pickford, Brentford's David Raya and Brighton's Robert Sanchez as potential replacements for 35-year-old club captain Hugo Lloris.

- Chelsea's Christian Pulisic will likely be headed to the Serie A, per Fichajes, with Inter and Juventus said to be competing for his signature in January.

- AS are reporting Atletico Madrid will loan out Joao Felix in January after a lack of transfer interest.

- Newcastle United will make another run at 21-year-old Watford forward Joao Pedro, according to Football Insider, after having a £30m offer rejected before the season.

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