Newcastle United are reportedly preparing an improved offer to pry midfielder James Maddison away from Leicester City in January.

Maddison, 25, is away at the World Cup with England after a blistering start to the Premier League season saw him force his way back into the national set-up after three years in the wilderness.

After scoring a career-high 18 goals last season, Maddison has continued to show it was no fluke, bagging seven goals and four assists in 13 league fixtures this campaign.

Newcastle have been fond of the Foxes star for some time, having had two bids rejected in the range of £50million in the previous transfer window, but they are said to be discussing if they should "break their wage structure" to meet the demands.

 

TOP STORY – NEWCASTLE READY ANOTHER OFFENSIVE FOR LEICESTER'S MADDISON

According to Sky Sports, Maddison's contract demands have been a stumbling point for Newcastle in their pursuit, but the club are now willing to go above and beyond to secure their key target.

The report claims Leicester value Maddison at £60m, meaning the two sides are not far apart, and with just over 18 months remaining on his contract, his value will continue to fall the closer he gets to its conclusion.

Newcastle may face some competition, as GiveMeSport also believes Tottenham boss Antonio Conte is pushing to bring Maddison to north London.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sport is reporting Aston Villa are interested in a January move for Barcelona midfielder Franck Kessie, and hope they can land him for a fee around €14m after he arrived in Spain as a free agent in July.

- According to 90min, Chelsea have offered goalkeeper Edouard Mendy to Tottenham amid news they are looking to replace club captain Hugo Lloris.

- Juventus and Newcastle United are discussing a potential swap deal that would send Moise Kean back to the Premier League and Allan Saint-Maximin to Turin, per Juve Dipendenza.

- Calciomercato is reporting Inter have rekindled their interest in Borussia Monchengladbach's Marcus Thuram after their attempt to sign him 18 months ago was torpedoed by a knee injury at the 11th hour. 

- Arsenal have been joined by Monaco and Ajax in the chase of 21-year-old Palmeiras midfielder Danilo, who the club are reportedly willing to part ways with for €24m, per ESPN.

Cristiano Ronaldo's second spell at Manchester United officially came to an end on Tuesday.

United confirmed the Portugal superstar has departed Old Trafford by mutual consent, despite having six months to run on his contract.

The news comes a week on from an explosive interview in which Ronaldo declared he feels "betrayed" by United and expressed his lack of respect for manager Erik ten Hag.

While the World Cup will be top of the agenda for Ronaldo in the weeks ahead, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner must also now find a new club for the start of next year.

Which team he joins, though, remains difficult to predict.

Having unsuccessfully pushed to join a Champions League club prior to the start of the season, a return to Europe's elite competition may prove difficult once more.

However, now he is officially a free agent, that may change the situation.

Here, Stats Perform has taken a look at some potential destinations for the 37-year-old, with options both in Europe and further afield.

MLS

With the MLS season recently concluding, a move to North America would present Ronaldo with a clean slate for 2023 and would help to boost the profile of the league ahead of the World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico in 2026.

Ronaldo would absolutely require a Designated Player spot for any franchise looking to make a move, eliminating a number of clubs from the equation, but David Beckham's Inter Miami have been attributed with a strong interest.

Interestingly enough, Inter Miami have also been heavily touted for a move for Lionel Messi, who sees his contract with Paris Saint-Germain expire at the end of the season. Will the two greats ever line up in the same side?

 

Sporting

Ronaldo's return to United was not as successful as fans would have wanted, but there could be better fortunes for the superstar if he returns to his homeland to rejoin boyhood club Sporting CP, where he began his career.

His initial stint with Sporting was short, with United making the move to secure his services less than a year after he made his first-team debut, which means there is not a high bar to reach from his previous spell at the club.

Sporting would also likely be able to offer Ronaldo Champions League football next season, though it would be more Europa League football this term after their third third-place finish in Group D of the Champions League.

Saudi Arabia

It has been widely reported that the only offers United received in the previous transfer window for Ronaldo's services came from Saudi Arabia, with Al Hilal said to have offered him a whopping £2million-a-week contract, with an offer from Al-Nassr also rejected.

Saudi Football Federation president Al-Misehal stated in September he believes further offers will be made to Ronaldo, with the Middle East region potentially looking to capitalise on the increased focus following the World Cup in Qatar.

While a move to Saudi would be the most lucrative for Ronaldo, it would be seen as a significant step down for him in competitiveness and one he will probably avoid.

Bayern Munich

One of the clubs linked with Ronaldo in the previous window, Bayern executives publicly stated it was not a transfer that was under consideration and the Portugal international does not fit their 'philosophy'.

However, reports have suggested Bayern held talks with Ronaldo's agent, Jorge Mendes, earlier this month before details of his explosive interview were revealed, perhaps indicating a change in the club's stance.

Bayern have seen Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting excel this season following Robert Lewandowski's sale to Barcelona, though the contract of the striker is due to expire at the end of the season and the capture of a new – and higher-profile – forward could be on the cards.

Chelsea

Ronaldo's expected departure from United does not necessarily mean he will wave goodbye to the Premier League, with Chelsea continuing to be linked with a move to snatch the 37-year-old from their domestic rivals.

New owner Todd Boehly was widely reported to have explored the possibility of a move ahead of the season but Thomas Tuchel was against the proposal – and his sacking earlier this year may have changed the situation at Stamford Bridge.

It would, however, be a surprise if Graham Potter supported the move considering his history of developing young players, while he has not appeared to be keen on the high-earning forward he already has at his disposal, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Honourable mentions

Paris Saint-Germain: With Kylian Mbappe reportedly pushing for a move, PSG could have a spot available for a new superstar and the allure of partnering him with Messi could be difficult to turn down.

Napoli: Top of Serie A and heading into the World Cup break on the back of an 11-match win streak, Napoli are flying high and do not necessarily need Ronaldo – but he may be the final piece of the puzzle to bring the Scudetto to Naples.

Newcastle United: Eddie Howe's side have excelled this season and are pushing for European football, which Ronaldo could propel them towards as well as standing out as a marquee addition for the Saudi-owned side.

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.

Christian Pulisic has accepted being his "best self" is all the United States want from him after spending years obsessing about being the team's talisman.

The Chelsea forward is set to play a big part when the USA launch their Qatar World Cup campaign against Wales on Monday.

Gregg Berhalter's team later face games against England and Iran, and their presence at the finals comes as a huge relief after the team surprisingly missed out four years ago.

The US missed out on the Russia 2018 finals after losing 2-1 against Trinidad and Tobago in their final qualifier, described by Pulisic as a "freak game".

All the results that had to go against the Americans did just that, and they were left despondent and distant from the action that unfolded.

Pulisic says he used that failure as "a lot of motivation" this time around, explaining his disappointment by saying: "A lot was going on in my head. One of my biggest dreams was to be playing at a World Cup."

He was just 19 at the time of the finals in Russia, starring as a teenage breakout star in Germany for Borussia Dortmund, and has since relocated to the Premier League.

The acclaim that was coming his way was tough for the young Pulisic, and he said: "To be honest, I took a lot of that weight on my shoulders at that time because I felt it was my job to help the team and score goals to put us in a position to qualify for that World Cup.

"That whole process was definitely tough on me and in the end not qualifying was one of the biggest disappointments of my life."

Pulisic explained, in an interview released by US Soccer, how initially he felt "a little chip on my shoulder throughout the qualifying process" this time around.

"I felt like I had to really perform and be the main man at times," he said.

"But there came a point when I realised I don't need to be that with this team. There's so many unbelievable players in this team now that I can just be my best self and be a part of the teams and that's enough.

"I used my team-mates and leaned on them at times and the guys did an unbelievable job."

He feels "incredibly proud" to qualify this time around.

"Playing in the World Cup would obviously mean everything for me," Pulisic said.

"Knowing a lot of these guys for so long, and being able to do it with them by my side, is definitely special and hopefully a moment we're going to cherish for the rest of our lives."

Manchester United are looking sever ties with Cristiano Ronaldo following his explosive interview this week, according to reports.

United put out a statement that they are taking "appropriate steps in response to Cristiano's recent media interview".

That has fuelled speculation his contract – which is due to run out at the end of the season – will be torn up.

TOP STORY – CHELSEA AND FIORENTINA READY FOR JANUARY RONALDO MOVES

The Mirror claims Chelsea are ready to reignite their interest in Cristiano Ronaldo in January, while Italian reports have linked Fiorentina with him too.

Blues owner Todd Boehly was keen on the 37-year-old during the last transfer window but nothing materialised. However, following their slow start to the season and head coach Thomas Tuchel's exit, Chelsea may be back in for the under-fire Portugal international.

Calciomercatoweb claims Fiorentina could also make a move in January, with wealthy owner Rocco B Commisso ready to offer him a lucrative deal.

ROUND-UP

- Manchester City loom as an option for Lionel Messi, according to El Nacional. City are managed by Messi's former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola, who could lure him to England. Barca are eager to secure a return for Messi, whose contract with Paris Saint-Germain ends in mid-2023, but he has deferred all talks on his future until after the World Cup.

- The Sun on Sunday claims Chelsea will keep a close eye on Everton's Jordan Pickford with England during the World Cup as Boehly considers a move for a new goalkeeper.

- Chelsea are considering moving for Aston Villa's Leon Bailey, according to the Mail on Sunday. Jamaica international Bailey is close friends with Blues winger Raheem Sterling.

- Milan are contemplating a January move for Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar, whose agents approached the Italian champions. Aouar's contract expires at the end of this season.

- Manchester United teenager Alejandro Garnacho is set to see his wages multiply 10 times on a bumper new contract, claims the Daily Star. The Argentine's new deal would see his wages rise from £5,000 to around £50,000.

Cesar Azpilicueta says he would not swap any of his Chelsea trophies for a World Cup title with Spain.

Azpilicueta has lifted nine trophies with Chelsea since signing for them in 2012, and the Blues' Club World Cup win in February this year means the defender has won every club prize possible with the London outfit.

In contrast, the 33-year-old is yet to taste glory with his international side, having made his debut after their World Cup triumph in 2010 and the European Championship successes of 2008 and 2012.

Spain have not returned to a final since that 2012 victory, but Azpilicueta revealed he would not trade any of his club titles for a World Cup win, telling reporters: "Why would I swap any trophies?

"I want to get another one, this one [the World Cup] if I can.

"I made my debut for Spain against Uruguay here in Qatar, in Doha, in 2013, so it would be a good story for me to win the World Cup here. 

"We have a brilliant opportunity. We have an amazing group, we can play our football and after that it’s a tournament where you cannot make any mistakes.

"You have to start well and small details make the difference.

"We will try our best and, of course, I’d love to add this trophy to my cabinet."

Spain get their World Cup campaign underway against Costa Rica on Wednesday, before going on to face Germany and Japan in Group E.

Tottenham are reportedly interested in Sporting right-back Pedro Porro, and could launch a move as soon as January for the Spain international.

Porro, 23, was identified by Manchester City back in 2019, when they purchased him for £11million from LaLiga's Girona.

He never played a game for the Premier League champions, spending a season on loan with Real Valladolid before two further campaigns on loan to Sporting, with the Portuguese club eventually agreeing to make his move permanent earlier this year for £7m.

That has proven to be a masterstroke, as he has contributed four assists in 10 Primeira Liga games, and apparently caught the eye of Antonio Conte when starting in a 2-0 home Champions League victory over Spurs.

 

TOP STORY – SPURS PREPARE JANUARY BID FOR SPORTING RIGHT-BACK

According to Portugal's Jornal de Noticias, Tottenham are joined by Spanish giants Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid in the chase for Porro, who made his senior international debut for Spain last year.

He remains under contract with Sporting until 2025, but reportedly has a €45m release clause that could force their hand.

Currently 12 points adrift of Primeira Liga leaders Benfica, Sporting may choose to ride out the rest of the season with their breakthrough talent, but the report claims they will listen to offers "close to" Porro's release clause in January.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to Sport, Barcelona are investigating a potential move for 20-year-old centre-back Josko Gvardiol, who RB Leipzig reportedly rejected a €90m bid for in the offseason from Chelsea.

- The Guardian report that Liverpool and Juventus are monitoring Chelsea's Mason Mount as the 23-year-old's contract negotiations continue to stall.

- Football Insider believes Borussia Dortmund may be open to a January move from Liverpool for Jude Bellingham.

- According to The Athletic, Shakhtar Donetsk are demanding €100m for 21-year-old Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal and City target Mykhailo Mudryk.

- ESPN is reporting Fulham, Bayer Leverkusen and Villarreal will make a run at 31-year-old Arsenal full-back Cedric Soares in January.

N'Golo Kante's Chelsea contract is winding down, with the deal due to expire at the end of this season.

Kante, who will miss the World Cup due to a hamstring surgery, has only played twice this season for the Blues.

The France midfielder joined Chelsea in 2016 from Leicester City following their shock Premier League triumph and looks set to be on the move again.

 

TOP STORY – SERIE A GIANTS CHASE CHELSEA MIDFIELDER

La Repubblica reports Juventus and Inter are circling for Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante in January.

The report claims that the 31-year-old does not have a good relationship with new Blues boss Graham Potter and wants to leave Stamford Bridge.

It is also claimed that any January move would cost around £18m (€20m).

 

ROUND-UP

– Juve may be willing to allow midfielder Weston McKennie to leave in January amid interest from Premier League clubs, claims CalcioMercato. The United States international has previously been linked with Tottenham, Chelsea and Leeds United.

Chelsea made a breakthrough "in the past few weeks" in negotiations with Mason Mount over a new deal, reports The Athletic. Mount's deal expires in 2024 and Football London claims the issue has been the length of a new contract.

– Talks are ongoing between Arsenal and Gabriel Martinelli on a new contract, claims Fabrizio Romano. The Gunners view re-signing the 21-year-old, who is contracted until 2024, as a priority.

– 90min claims Villarreal will demand a club record transfer fee of more than £40m (€46m) for defender Pau Torres, who is being pursued by Unai Emery's Aston Villa in January.

Real Madrid could bid €10m (£8.7m) for Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta in January, reports SPORT. Azpilicueta signed a new deal before this season started but has been used sparingly.

Former Chelsea and England defender Gary Cahill has announced his retirement from football.

Cahill made 22 Championship appearances for Bournemouth last season, but the last of those came in January and he was released following their promotion to the Premier League in May.

Having made his name during spells with Aston Villa and Bolton Wanderers, Cahill enjoyed a successful seven-year stint with Chelsea, making 191 Premier League appearances for the Blues.

Cahill won eight major trophies during his time at Stamford Bridge, including two Premier League titles and the Champions League – starting in Chelsea's final win over Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena in 2012.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Cahill wrote: "Football is a game that has given me so much enjoyment and success and as I make the decision to hang up my boots, I can honestly say I gave it everything I had.

"I've achieved things I once dreamt of, creating some incredible memories. From amazing highs like winning the Champions League and Premier League, to the privilege of captaining my country and Chelsea in an FA Cup-winning team.

"I've had time to consider my options and after much deliberation and reflection, I feel now is the time to move on to the next stage of my career.

"Football will always be part of who I am and what I love, so this is just the end of this chapter. For me, it's important to look forwards, not backwards, as a new chapter in my life begins."

Cahill won a total of 61 senior caps for England during his career, and appeared for the Three Lions at World Cups in 2014 and 2018, as well as at Euro 2016.

Speaking to Sky Sports after announcing his retirement, the 36-year-old revealed he received several offers to continue playing this campaign, but had opted to prioritise family matters.

"Obviously, it's been a tough decision in some aspects but I think I just knew the journey had to come to an end at some stage - I just got the feeling that now is the right time," Cahill said.

"I did have options. I could have played in the Premier League with one side, and I had a couple of options in the Championship which is flattering, to still get the offers.

"But at the moment, as well as my career, my kids are settled at school and it would've meant moving again."

Manchester United are reportedly setting their sights as high as possible for their Cristiano Ronaldo replacement, planning a massive bid for Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe.

According to The Mirror, the 37-year-old Ronaldo has played his last game for the Red Devils after burning bridges with his explosive interview during the week.

Meanwhile, Mbappe is considered arguably the most valuable player in world football, racking up 169 goals in 193 games across his past five seasons with the French giants.

While there has been no indication the 23-year-old would consider United as a potential landing spot for the next stage of his career, the report claims he is their number one target.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED PLAN SHOCK BID FOR PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN'S MBAPPE

The Mirror claims that if United can get Ronaldo's contract off their books, they will be one of the only clubs in Europe who can afford the eye-watering contract demands of France's top star.

Sure to demand a fee north of £150million, and a contract exceeding £500,000 per week, it is a financial proposition that has caused even heavyweights such as Liverpool to declare him too expensive.

The report also states United will push forward their plans to invest at striker to January, further harming their chances of securing Mbappe as Paris Saint-Germain seek their first Champions League title.

However, it also mentions 23-year-old Napoli striker Victor Osimhen as their back-up plan, as the Nigeria international is expected to be available in the range of £60m.

 

ROUND-UP

- Football Italia is reporting Bayern Munich right-back Benjamin Pavard would be open to joining Milan, despite the 26-year-old being heavily linked with Manchester United.

- According to 90min, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United are all showing interest in 27-year-old Inter centre-back Milan Skriniar, who is yet to renew his contract beyond this season.

- Leicester City, Everton and Brighton and Hove Albion have Lens goalkeeper Brice Samba on their radars, per 90min.

- According to Sport, Manchester City are monitoring 33-year-old Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos with the hope that he does not renew his contract.

- Calciomercato is reporting Tottenham target Weston McKennie could leave Juventus in January.

Manchester United are reportedly setting their sights as high as possible for their Cristiano Ronaldo replacement, planning a massive bid for Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe.

According to The Mirror, the 37-year-old Ronaldo has played his last game for the Red Devils after burning bridges with his explosive interview during the week.

Meanwhile, Mbappe is considered arguably the most valuable player in world football, racking up 169 goals in 193 games across his past five seasons with the French giants.

While there has been no indication the 23-year-old would consider United as a potential landing spot for the next stage of his career, the report claims he is their number one target.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED PLAN SHOCK BID FOR PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN'S MBAPPE

The Mirror claims that if United can get Ronaldo's contract off their books, they will be one of the only clubs in Europe who can afford the eye-watering contract demands of France's top star.

Sure to demand a fee north of £150million, and a contract exceeding £500,000 per week, it is a financial proposition that has caused even heavyweights such as Liverpool to declare him too expensive.

The report also states United will push forward their plans to invest at striker to January, further harming their chances of securing Mbappe as Paris Saint-Germain seek their first Champions League title.

However, it also mentions 23-year-old Napoli striker Victor Osimhen as their back-up plan, as the Nigeria international is expected to be available in the range of £60m.

 

ROUND-UP

- Football Italia is reporting Bayern Munich right-back Benjamin Pavard would be open to joining Milan, despite the 26-year-old being heavily linked with Manchester United.

- According to 90min, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United are all showing interest in 27-year-old Inter centre-back Milan Skriniar, who is yet to renew his contract beyond this season.

- Leicester City, Everton and Brighton and Hove Albion have Lens goalkeeper Brice Samba on their radars, per 90min.

- According to Sport, Manchester City are monitoring 33-year-old Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos with the hope that he does not renew his contract.

- Calciomercato is reporting Tottenham target Weston McKennie could leave Juventus in January.

Rafael Leao is very happy in Italy, according to his father, though he also credited Barcelona, Real Madrid and Chelsea with an interest in his son.

The Milan forward was named the best player in Serie A last season after his 11 goals in 34 games helped the Rossoneri win their first Scudetto since 2010-11.

Leao's contract at San Siro expires in 2024, with a number of Europe's top clubs consistently being credited with an interest in him, and his father has named three of them but also did not rule out an extension at Milan.

In an interview with Record, Antonio Leao said: "He feels very comfortable in Milan because the cultures are similar. The Italian club has done a lot for him, but he has become the best player in that league. He is simply the best.

 

"There is time until the date of 2024 and we will take care of everything, without necessarily Chelsea, Barcelona or Real Madrid.

"He loves being in Italy. He has a predilection for Italians, the one the Portuguese do not have for him.

"He won the award for best player in Serie A not because he was beautiful, but simply… because he is the best."

Leao has scored six in 14 Serie A games for Milan this season, with a further one in six Champions League outings.

He has been named among the 26-man Portugal squad for the World Cup in Qatar, and could feature in their opening game against Ghana on November 24.

Some of the Premier League's top clubs are reportedly keeping a close eye on Borussia Monchengladbach striker Marcus Thuram – including Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham.

Thuram, 25, is a towering presence up front, standing at six-foot-four and, after arriving at Gladbach from Ligue 1's Guingamp in 2019 for a fee of €12million, he has continued to grow as a goalscorer.

Through just 15 Bundesliga games this season, Thuram has matched his career-high tally of 10 league goals, including strikes against both Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

His recent run of form has seen him earn a late inclusion into France's World Cup squad as they look to defend their title, and although he may not receive a start, he was worked his way onto the radar of some of the world's elite clubs.

 

TOP STORY – 25-YEAR-OLD FRANCE INTERNATIONAL LIKELY AVAILABLE ON FREE TRANSFER

Thuram has spent four seasons with Gladbach, and this is looking like his last as he is yet to renew his contract ahead of its expiry date at the end of this campaign.

With a transfer value likely north of €40m, the ability to land a powerful striker entering his prime as a free agent is a deal too good to pass up for forward-hungry Premier League sides.

90min is reporting Tottenham sent scouts over to Germany recently to watch him play, while Liverpool and Arsenal are also mentioned as interested parties.

 

ROUND-UP

– According to Express, Cristiano Ronaldo could move to Chelsea after the departure of Thomas Tuchel, who was said to be the one blocking the idea.

– Express is also reporting Liverpool, Barcelona and Manchester City have identified 19-year-old Las Palmas midfielder Alberto Moleiro as a target. 

– Sky Sports Germany is reporting 22-year-old Salzburg striker Noah Okafor is available for a January transfer, with City, Liverpool and Milan named as suitors for the €40m-rated Switzerland international.

Chelsea are confident they have done enough to secure 25-year-old RB Leipzig striker Christopher Nkunku in the January window, per 90min.

– According to Relevo, Barcelona are willing to let Memphis Depay leave on a free transfer in January.

Cristiano Ronaldo's time at Manchester United is surely up. 

Following an explosive interview with Piers Morgan in which the superstar forward said he feels "betrayed" by senior figures at Old Trafford and does not respect manager Erik ten Hag, Ronaldo's departure seems certain.

Having tried and failed to join a new club in the past transfer window, Ronaldo may be granted his wish in January once the World Cup is done and dusted.

If that is the case, there are only a few likely destinations for the Portugal international, who is reportedly eager to continue his career at the highest level despite turning 38 in February.

 

Napoli

A return to Serie A has been touted for Ronaldo, with Napoli being named as potential suitors earlier this year after losing attacking spearheads Lorenzo Insigne and Dries Mertens. Whether the that remains the case, with Luciano Spalletti's side eight points clear at the Serie A summit, remains to be seen.

But in Ronaldo's three years in Italy with Juventus, no player scored more Serie A goals than his tally of 81 and, despite spending the past year and a half with United, only Ciro Immobile (117) has scored more Serie A goals since 2018.

Napoli would certainly match Ronaldo's aspirations, with Champions League football post-Christmas to look forward to and a first Scudetto since the glory days of Diego Maradona a realistic target. However, the club's finances and the forward's wage demands may prove to be restrictive.

Chelsea

Finances will certainly not be a problem for Chelsea, who are at somewhat of a crossroads following Todd Boehly's takeover earlier this year. The American billionaire is said to have previously met with Ronaldo's agent Jorge Mendes, but no transfer went through in August.

Thomas Tuchel has since been replaced by Graham Potter in the Stamford Bridge dugout, though, and while the Englishman may not be on board with the idea of signing another ageing attacker, Boehly will very much have the final say.

Whether Ronaldo would accept a move to a Premier League rival, even if his reputation at Old Trafford has plummeted in recent months, is the biggest question regarding any hopes the Blues may have in signing the Portuguese. There is also then the small matter of United agreeing to offload to a domestic rival midway through the campaign, with both sides battling for a top-four finish.

Sporting CP

With a United homecoming already under his belt, could Sporting secure a sensational return of their own and bring Ronaldo back to where it all began? It's certainly not beyond the realm of possibility – especially as he enters the final six months of his United contract.

Ronaldo had just a single season in the senior squad with Sporting before he moved to United, so he may feel he has unfinished business – and it is a side that can definitely compete, having ended a 20-year barren spell without a league title in the 2020-21 season.

That said, Sporting have endured a difficult campaign this time around as they sit fourth in the Primeira Liga and have exited the Champions League. As head coach Ruben Amorim recently stated, however, there is no harm in dreaming of seeing CR7 in the famous green and white strip once again.

 

Real Madrid

Another possible return destination... could Ronaldo wind back up in the Spanish capital?

The Champions League winners are hardly in need of another superstar forward, given they already have the world's best player in Karim Benzema, but bringing Ronaldo back to the club where he scored 450 goals would surely appeal to president Florentino Perez, who is never shy in his attempts to make statement signings.

Madrid missed out on Kylian Mbappe earlier this year, much to their frustration, and having Ronaldo in their side would undoubtedly provide some depth up top until the PSG forward is further into the new, three-year contract he signed with the French club in May.

MLS

Champions League football has been documented as the reason for Ronaldo's strong desire to leave United but, if such offers are not forthcoming, could a move to MLS be on the cards? 

Financial rules and designated player spots would make a switch complicated, with there only being a handful of teams likely to be able to make a move possible – likely to be those in Los Angeles, Miami and New York.

With the 2026 World Cup taking place in North America, bringing Ronaldo to MLS would raise the profile of the league further – and would undoubtedly be the biggest acquisition for the league since David Beckham's move to LA Galaxy in 2007.

That move marked the start of a new era of soccer in the US and has evolved considerably since, though Ronaldo's arrival would send things to a completely new level.

Barcelona are expected to be major players in the January transfer market after a busy pre-season.

The 26-time Spanish champions are top of LaLiga at the World Cup break but crashed out of the Champions League.

The Blaugrana are still battling financial challenges, while they also have some unsettled players on their books.

TOP STORY – BARCELONA PLOTTING JANUARY GUNDOGAN MOVE

Mundo Deportivo reports that Barcelona are planning to move for Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan in January, with fears Franck Kessie may exit soon.

The Blaugrana are eager to bolster their midfield options and a move for Bernardo Silva appears difficult despite their ongoing interest.

As a result, Barca have turned to the Germany international, whose contract with City ends in mid-2023. The report also claims the Catalans could move for Leicester City's Youri Tielemans.

Kessie has been linked with Premier League clubs Aston Villa and Fulham by Spanish media outlet Sport. The Ivorian only joined in July, but the club's financial position means they are open to letting players go.

ROUND-UP

– Despite being linked with a long list of names, Sport claims Barcelona will only make one signing in the January transfer window, with a right-back seen as a priority. Manchester United's Diogo Dalot, Bayern Munich's Benjamin Pavard and Villarreal's Juan Foyth are among their options.

– New Aston Villa heard coach Unai Emery wants to bring in Real Madrid's Eden Hazard and Nacho Fernandez, according to El Nacional. Spanish boss Emery left Villarreal for the Villans last month.

Juventus are ready to offer a new contract to French midfielder Adrien Rabiot, claims Tuttosport. Rabiot had been linked with an off-season move, with Manchester United mentioned as a possible destination, but has impressed this term.

– La Gazzetta dello Sport claims Milan are putting together a bid for Chelsea's Hakim Ziyech in January. The Moroccan winger is expected to cost less than €20million (£17.5m).

Inter are keen on Valencia left-back Jesus Vazquez in January and a mid-2023 move for Borussia Monchengladbach forward Marcus Thuram, reports La Gazetta dello Sport.

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