Chelsea chase Balotelli and Rooney

Posted by ESPN staff

A 'frustrated' Mario Balotelli could be on his way to Chelsea.GettyImagesA 'frustrated' Mario Balotelli could be on his way to Chelsea.


Chelsea may have missed out on Napoli’s Gonzalo Higuain but that hasn’t stopped the Blues from looking to strengthen their misfiring frontline. Now AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli and Manchester United’s England international Wayne Rooney have entered Jose Mourinho’s radar.

Here’s what else is making news on the transfer grapevine.

21.28 GMT We mentioned earlier that Robert Lewandowski's agent has claimed that Real Madrid tried to hijack Bayern Munich’s deal to secure his client's services... Well, we have that full story for you now. READ STORY.

20.40 GMT West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has revealed he is interested in signing Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott this month. Allardyce, who saw a move collapse for Johnny Heitinga earlier this week, is not overly confident of securing the England international, however. "I don't know if Joleon is available," he told Sky Sports. "But if it is possible I would like to get him."

20.00 GMT Nikica Jelavic has refused to give up hope of saving his Everton career as Queens Park Rangers bid to sign him. "We will see in the end but I hope [Roberto Martinez] is going to give me more chances,” he said. READ STORY.

19.10 GMT We brought you news earlier today on Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge insisting that Mario Mandzukic is going nowhere, despite the Bundesliga leaders confirming the signing of Robert Lewandowski on Saturday... Well, we have that story in full for you now right here. READ STORY.

17.35 GMT Despite Lyon coach Remi Garde denying that Maxime Gonalons has agreed a deal to Napoli, the 24-year-old midfielder has come out and confirmed that he could be on his way to the Serie A outfit. Speaking after Lyon's 6-1 cup win over La Suze, Gonalons said: "We all know that Napoli is interested in me. Many things are said, some true/false. But yes there will be discussions this week."

Meanwhile, Russia media are claiming that CSKA Moscow striker Seydou Doumbia and Rubin Kazan forward Salomon Rondon have been highlighted as potential Borussia Dortmund replacements for the Munich-bound Robert Lewandowski.

17.20 GMT Feyenoord starlet Tonny Vilhena is the latest player to be linked with a move to Italian champions Juventus. The 19-year-old midfielder is regarded as one of the finest talents in the Eredivisie with his passing abilities and reports in Holland suggest that the Bianconeri are prepared to make a 3.5 million euro offer.

ESPN blogger Mina Rzouki gives her thoughts on some other potential Juventus transfer targets here.

17.00 GMT Speaking after West Ham's 5-0 FA Cup defeat to Nottingham Forest, manager Sam Allardyce admitted that he was interested in bringing Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott to Upton Park. The Hammers have conceded 16 goals in their last five matches in all competitions and Allardyce has identified Lescott as the ideal candidate to shore up the West Ham defence as they seek to climb out of the relegation places. "I don't know if Joleon is available, but if it is possible I would like to get him," he said.

16.40 GMT Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Everton, Tottenham and Manchester United make up the top seven of the Premier League but who should they buy in the January transfer window? Rory Smith assesses some potential targets here.

16.25 GMT We brought you news earlier today that Magnus Wolff Eikrem may be subject to a bid from Cardiff after being spotted at St James' Park on Saturday. Confirmation has now come from Heerenveen manager Marco Van Basten that the player has indeed agreed to join Cardiff. “It’s a shame he’s leaving," Van Basten told the Leeuwarder Courant. "It is a pity because he has been important for us.” Eikrem will become Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's first signing as Bluebirds boss.

16.15 GMT Reports in Germany suggest that Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Sidney Sam is edging closer to a move to fellow Bundesliga side Schalke. The 25-year-old winger has been in superb form for Sami Hyppia's side this season, scoring seven goals in 13 league matches. Sam was rumoured to be a transfer target for Liverpool but it appears that Schalke have now won the race to seal his signature after activating his 2.45 million euro release clause. Jens Keller's side are also expected to finalise a deal for Fortuna Dusseldorf goalkeeper Fabian Giefer in the coming days.

15.55 GMT Derby County chief executive Sam Rush has insisted that talented 19-year-old midfielder Will Hughes will not be leaving the club in the January transfer window. The Rams have been in magnificent form under newly-appointed coach Steve McClaren and Rush says that the club are prepared to fend off interest from Liverpool and a number of other Premier League sides to hold onto the coveted midfielder.

"Will is best placed in Derby," he said. "There is a huge amount for him to achieve here and I don't feel commercially it is the right time for us to entertain any other discussions.

15.35 GMT Reports in Germany suggest that Real Madrid attempted to hijack Bayern Munich's signing of Robert Lewandowski by offering the Polish international striker an "immoral" salary. The Polish international striker signed a five-year contract with the European champions yesterday to finally bring the protracted transfer saga to an end.

"There was an immoral offer from Real Madrid," Lewandowski's agent Maik Barthel was quoted as saying by Spiegel Online. "We listened to their offer out of respect for such a big club but breaking our word never crossed our mind."

15.20 GMT According to the Daily Star, Newcastle are closing in on the treble swoop of Everton defender Johnny Heitinga, Reading goalkeeper Alex McCarthy and Saint-Etienne wonderkid Nathan Dekoke. Heitinga is reportedly keen to move to St. James' Park as he looks to boost his World Cup hopes for the Netherlands while McCarthy will be allowed to leave Reading if Newcastle can raise five million pounds. The Magpies are also rumoured to have reached a verbal agreement with versatile Dekoke who has represented France at U-18 level.

15.05 GMT Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella has admitted that he is looking to strengthen his squad in the January transfer window. Speaking to reporters ahead of the Viola's Serie A clash with Livorno, Montella refused to rule out a move for Verona midfielder Jorginho, who has impressed in his debut Serie A campaign, scoring seven goals in 16 appearances.

“Jorginho? He is an interesting player, but I know nothing about it," Montella said. "We’ll try to improve the squad, seeing as we have three competitions to take part in."

14.55 GMT Reports in Italy suggest that Inter striker Ishak Belfodil could join promotion-chasing QPR on a six-month loan deal. The 21-year-old Algerian forward moved to the Giuseppe Meazza from Parma in the summer but he has found first-team chances hard to come by. Inter coach Walter Mazzarri is rumoured to be keen to allow the youngster to get some regular first-team football and QPR may prove a more suitable option than fellow admirers West Ham.

14.40 GMT Turkish side Konyaspor have confirmed on their official website that former Arsenal and Barcelona midfielder Alexander Hleb has passed a medical at the club. The 32-year-old will agree terms after his contract expired at native Belarusian side BATE Borisov.

14.35 GMT Fresh from their 5-0 thrashing of West Ham in the FA Cup third round, Nottingham Forest announce that 31-year-old midfielder Andy Reid has signed a new two-and-a-half year contract with the club.

14.30 GMT Still very much in the early days of his tenure at Cardiff, it seems Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is wasting little time in the transfer market. Reports in Norway have already linked Solskjaer with bids for midfielders Magnus Wolff Eikrem and Mats Moller Daehli, both of whom were graduates of Manchester United's academy and worked with Solskjaer at Molde. With a busy window expected for Cardiff, the news comes amid reports that Heerenveen midfielder Eikrem had been spotted at St James' Park during Cardiff's 2-1 FA Cup third round victory on Saturday.

14.15 GMT Everton are the latest side to have declared an interest in Sunderland's Jack Colback. The 24-year-old midfielder is out of contract in the summer and has been linked with a move to Swansea and West Bromwich Albion. The Chronicle claim that Roberto Martinez is a keen admirer of the Black Cats man and hopes to land Colback on a free transfer.

14.00 GMT Stoke City appear to have won the race for the loan signing of Manchester City striker John Guidetti. The Mirror claim that Mark Hughes has struck a deal with his former side to bring the young Swedish striker to the Britannia Stadium as he looks to add more goals to the Potters attack. However, one man who appears to be staying in Manchester is Jack Rodwell, with Manuel Pellegrini denying the advances of Malaga.

13.30 GMT Bayern Munich have revealed on their official website that they have no intention of selling Mario Mandzukic despite sealing the transfer of Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski on a five-year contract. Club chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told reporters that he was keen to extend the Croatian striker's contract and also ruled out a move for Chelsea centre-back David Luiz.

“We’re very pleased with Mario. He made a significant contribution to us winning so many trophies last year," he said. "We have absolutely no intention of letting Mario go."

"We’re being linked with David Luiz and other Spanish players at the present time. Let me state this very clearly: it’s all of no interest whatsoever to us," he added.

13.10 GMT Speaking ahead of his side's Serie A match against Sampdoria, Napoli coach Rafa Benitez has dismissed reports that he is plotting bids for Barcelona's Javier Mascherano and Chelsea pair Juan Mata and David Luiz. The Partenopei trail league leaders Juventus by ten points and Benitez is determined to close the gap by adding one or two players in the January transfer window. Napoli had been linked with a move for Genoa defender Luca Antonelli but Football Italia say that they have now turned their attentions to landing Zenit left-back Domenico Criscito.

12.50 GMT According to the Daily Mail, Tottenham could be set to pip Celtic to the signing of Sunderland forward Steven Fletcher. The Scottish champions are prepared to spend their six million pound budget on the Black Cats striker but Sunderland are reportedly demanding ten million pounds to secure his services. Such a price tag is expected to be too high for Celtic and fellow admirers Hull but it could tempt new Tottenham boss Tim Sherwood who is keen to bolster his attack.

12.25 GMT Spain international midfielder Xabi Alonso is yet to renew his contract with Real Madrid and the Daily Star say that the Spanish giants have offered him to a number of top English sides. The 32-year-old's contract expires in the summer and Real Madrid would rather cash in on Alonso in January than lose him on a free at the end of the season. Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini is believed to be a keen admirer of Alonso while there are reports he could join up with former coach Jose Mourinho at Chelsea. However, former side Liverpool are also monitoring his situation and that could allow for an emotional return to Anfield.

12.00 GMT Thibaut Courtois' father has insisted that a transfer to Barcelona was "never an option" for his son. The 21-year-old Chelsea goalkeeper, on loan at Atletico Madrid, has impressed with a number of brilliant performances for the Spanish side and helped Los Colchoneros to concede the fewest goals in La Liga last season. With Victor Valdes leaving the Catalan side in the summer, Barcelona are expected to turn their attentions to Borussia Monchengladbach’s Marc-Andre Ter Stegen.

“Thibaut is not disappointed that Barca have gone for Ter Stegen,” Thierry Courtois told Het Nieuwsblad. “They were never an option. There are only two clubs important to him -– Atleti and Chelsea."

11.30 GMT Reports in Italy suggest that Fiorentina could swoop for Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic. The 32-year-old Serbian is out of contract in the summer and Viola boss Vincenzo Montella is said to be keen to add experience to his defence in their push for a Champions League spot.

11.10 GMT Crystal Palace promotion hero Kevin Phillips was recently released by the Selhurst Park outfit and the Mirror are touting Leicester as a possible destination for the 40-year-old goal poacher. The former England striker is determined to end his career on a high and feels that a spell at the promotion-chasing Foxes would be the ideal challenge.

“There has been quite a lot of interest but it is a case of finding the right club," Phillips said. “Hopefully I can get some minutes under my belt, find the net and finish my career on a high note.” Wolves are also rumoured to be monitoring the situation.

10.50 PSG have been thwarted in their attempts to sign Roma midfielder Miralem Pjanic. There had been speculation of a potential exchange deal involving Javier Pastore but L'Equipe say that the Giallorossi are not prepared to let their Bosnian playmaker leave Italy. Roma have made a blistering start under coach Rudi Garcia and aim to extend their 17-game unbeaten league run when they face Juventus this evening.

10.35 GMT Jonas Gutierrez could be on his way out of Newcastle after falling out of favour with manager Alan Pardew. The Mirror say that Norwich and QPR are both interested in the Argentine midfielder as he seeks regular playing time ahead of the World Cup in Brazil. Steven Taylor, Sylvain Marveaux and Gabriel Obertan could also leave St. James Park in the January transfer window.

10.20 GMT Southampton striker Rickie Lambert scored in his side's 4-3 FA Cup win over Burnley but the Sun claim that it could be his last goal for the Saints after the 31-year-old reportedly declared his intention to move to West Ham. Sam Allardyce is desperate to add much-needed firepower to the Hammers' attack and could tempt Lambert by doubling his existing 35,000 pound per week deal. It is understood that Southampton would accept eight million pounds for the England international but only after they have brought in a replacement.

10.05 GMT Reports in Italy suggest that Inter have fought off the attempts of Milan and Roma to agree the two million euro signing of Torino defender Danilo D’Ambrosio. The 25-year-old can play at right-back or on the right side of a five-man midfield and is reported to have agreed a three-and-a-half year contract.

09.50 GMT The potential arrival of Nantes centre-back Papy Djilobodji could pave the exit for Chelsea captain John Terry. The Mirror claim that Galatasaray are preparing a 10 million pound bid for the 33-year-old defender whose contract expires in the summer. Galatasaray face Chelsea in the Champions League round of 16 and coach Roberto Mancini is reportedly desperate to bolster his defence and close the eight-point gap on league leaders Fenerbahce.

9.30 GMT Chelsea currently have the second-best defensive record in the Premier League but the Daily Star Sunday report that Jose Mourinho is exploring the possibility of signing Nantes centre-back Papy Djilobodji. The 25-year-old Senegal international has impressed with a number of powerful defensive displays in Ligue 1 this campaign as the Canaries have conceded only 17 goals in 19 league matches. However, there is further interest from Germany as Borussia Dortmund are poised to rival Chelsea for his signature.

GMT 09.00 New Cardiff boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hoping to use his ties with Manchester United to land England starlet Wilfried Zaha on loan. The Mirror say that Solskjaer has identified the exciting winger as a potential target to bolster the Bluebirds attack and with Zaha finding chances hard to come by at Old Trafford, a loan move could suit both parties. However, Zaha's former employers Crystal Palace are rumoured to be interested in bringing the 21-year-old back to Selhurst Park with Stoke and Newcastle also keeping an eye on the situation.

GMT 06.40:Tottenham seem to have Juventus on the mind with the Mirror reporting that Spurs are looking to replace the MLS-bound Jermain Defoe with either Mirko Vucinic and Fabio Quagliarella.

GMT 05.00:Swiss outlet Infoticker are reporting that Napoli midfielder Gokhan Inler could be heading to Manchester United. The Switzerland international could be made surplus to requirements if the Serie A club secure Olympique Lyonnais’ Maxime Gonalons and Old Trafford is a likely destination.

GMT 03.00:The Mirror is reporting that Stoke City are chasing AZ Alkmaar striker Aron Johannsson. The USA international has scored 11 goals in the Eredivisie this season and is rumoured to have jumped to the top of Mark Hughes’ shopping list.

Strikers are the flavour of the month at Chelsea with rumours surfacing that Blues boss Jose Mourinho is after either Wayne Rooney or Mario Balotelli. Chelsea, who were already said to have made a bid for Napoli hit man Gonzalo Higuain, are on the lookout to spark their misfiring forward line and are targeting two of the world’s premier front men. The Daily Mail is reporting that Chelsea will make a bid for Rooney if he refuses to sign a new contract with Manchester United, while the Daily Star believes that the Stamford Bridge outfit will make a play for Balotelli who is reportedly become ‘frustrated’ at AC Milan.

Luis Suarez admirers will have to bust open the treasure chest if they want to pry the striker away from Liverpool with the Mirror revealing that the Uruguay international has a 70 million pound escape clause in his latest contract. The 26-year-old was one of the main storylines of the summer transfer window, famously the target of a 40,000,001 pound offer from Arsenal. But the Gunners, along with any other rival, will have to pay much more than that if they want to secure the Premier League’s top scorer.

Finally, Real Madrid have told Portugal international Fabio Coentrao that he can leave in the January window according to the Mirror. The left-back has not been a mainstay in the Spanish capital this season, making only two appearances under Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti, and with the World Cup just around the corner, Ancelotti is prepared to let the 25-year-old leave to find some playing time. And that could be music to the ears of Manchester United who missed out on a loan bid for the defender in the summer.

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