Zaha out, Mata in?

Posted by ESPN staff

Wilfried ZahaPA PhotosWilfried Zaha has hardly played for Man Utd since joining.

Wilfried Zaha looks to be on his way out of Manchester United after the Daily Mail reported the winger being spotted outside a hospital in Cardiff ahead of a potential loan move to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Bluebirds, while the Red Devils have tabled a 35 million pound bid to Chelsea for Juan Mata, sources have confirmed to ESPN.

The Premier League champions are also hopeful of persuading Arturo Vidal to swap Serie A for the Premier League by offering the Juventus midfielder a wage increase to move to Old Trafford, while Real Madrid have entered the race to sign Wayne Rooney, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Stay tuned for more rumours and done deals.

22.38 GMT: Kasper Schmeichel – son of the famous Peter – is attracting the interest of Milan, according to the Mail. The paper reports that the Rossoneri have sent scouts to watch the 27-year-old as the continue their search for a reliable shot-stopper.

22.01 GMT: The Mail reports that Diego Costa is still a target for Chelsea, though the Blues are unlikely to land the Atletico forward in January.

21.41 GMT: Manchester United have agreed a fee of 37 million pounds for Chelsea playmaker Juan Mata, according to ESPN sources.

21.27 GMT: Italian striker Domenico Berardi is interesting Manchester United and Chelsea, according to the Mail. The 19-year-old forward is co-owned by Juventus, and has netted 11 goals for Serie A side Sassuolo this season.

21.09 GMT: Sky Sports are reporting that Leicester City have turned down an improved bid from Fulham for defender Liam Moore.

20.31 GMT: Juventus general manager Beppe Marotta has accused Inter Milan of "lacking seriousness" in the way they handled the prospective swap deal that would have seen Mirko Vucinic join Milan, with Fredy Guarin coming in.

20.03 GMT: Manchester United winger Wilfried Zaha is close to securing a loan move to struggling Cardiff City for the rest of the season, the Manchester Evening News has reported.

19.36 GMT: Schalke chief-executive Clemens Tonnies said Germany midfielder Julian Draxler would be making a mistake if he opts to pursue a big money move to Arsenal in this transfer window.

19.03 GMT - DONE DEAL: Southampton striker Billy Sharp has signed for his former club Doncaster Rovers on loan until the end of the season.

18.45 GMT: Brentford manager Mark Warburton could be set to strengthen his defensive options with a loan move for Wigan's Rob Kiernan but stressed: "He is a Wigan player, and it is up to them whether they will let him out."

18.35 GMT - DONE DEAL: Diego Forlan has tweeted confirmation of the move we mentioned earlier -- to Cerezo Osaka:

18.00 GMT: Blackburn striker Jordan Rhodes has been strongly linked with a January move, but the prolific Scotland international has stressed that he is happy with life at Ewood Park. He said: "I love being at Blackburn Rovers and being a Blackburn player. It's full of good people, good players and a good team spirit. I like going in every day and, until told otherwise, I'm a Blackburn Rovers player."

17.45 GMT: Falcao has been the subject of speculation this January as his big-money summer move to Monaco has proved trying, but the Colombian has just suffered what could be a bad knee injury and had to be be stretchered off against Chasselay in the Coupe de France.

17.30 GMT: Sky Sports reports that Manchester United have bid 40 million pounds for Juan Mata -- a 5 million pound mark-up on the fee that ESPN and BBC sources have reported. We'll have the latest on all things Mata-related throughout the evening.

17.15 GMT: In the wake of all the transfer hubbub, a new report carried out by the Centre International d'Etude du Sport (CIES) has revealed that the Premier League has the second-highest number of imported players of any top-flight league in 31 European countries studied. READ MORE.

17.02 GMT: Cardiff City are set to sign Wilfried Zaha on loan from Manchester United, according to the Daily Mail. The Old Trafford winger was spotted outsid Bridgewater Hospital in Cardiff earlier on today, and could be set for a temporary move to ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Bluebirds.

16.52 GMT: Southampton duo Dejan Lovren and Gaston Ramirez both suffered ankle ligament damage in the 2-2 draw with Southampton on Saturday, the club have confirmed on their official website. Whether that spurs the Saints on in the January transfer market is a difficult matter, as the club have just announced Gareth Rogers -- the club's chief financial officer -- will take over as as interim chief executive officer with immediate effect.16.40 GMT: The Chronicle reports that Sunderland are relaxed about reports linking Danny Graham with a move away from the Stadium of Light. The striker is on loan at Hull for a season but the Tigers are trying to offload the misfiring forward, but Black Cats boss Gus Poyet said: We are trying not to get too involved, because it is not really to do with us. It is a three-way thing, between Hull, whichever other club, and then we have to give our permission. It's not as though we are looking to bring him back or anything."

16.30 GMT: Napoli are the latest side to be interested in Inter's Fredy Guarin, according to Tuttomercatweb.com. The Colombia international's future is far from certain after his swap deal with Juventus' Mirko Vucinic fell through.

16.21 GMT: Sources have confirmed to ESPN that Manchester United have submitted a 35 million pound bid for Juan Mata. With the news that the Blues want 42 million pounds, initial negotiations suggest the clubs aren't too far apart in the valuations of the Spaniard. READ MORE.

16.15 GMT: More on Mata now, and Chelsea are “playing hardball” over a fee and want Manchester United to pay 42 million pounds to sign the playmaker, according to ESPN sources close to both clubs. READ MORE.

16.05 GMT: The BBC reports that Manchester United have made a 35 million pound bid for Juan Mata. The organisation states that United have denied making an official offer, but an initial bid has been tabled through intermediaries acting on behalf of the Premier League champions.

16.01 GMT: A busy week for Sunderland could be set to continue with the news that Lee Cattermole is close to a move to Stoke City according to the Stoke Sentinel. The midfielder had been brought back into the side by Gus Poyet, but it seems will now be allowed to leave the club. Sources at the Wearside club earlier confirmed to ESPN that the 25-year-old is nearing a move to the Britannia.

15.50 GMT: Matt Law of the Telegraph reports that Juan Mata's proposed move to Manchester United has moved a step closer with the Chelsea player telling his nearest and dearest he has sealed a deal to Old Trafford.

15.40 GMT: Previously linked with a move to the middle east this January, it seems Papiss Cisse has gained another suitor. Reports in Turkey claim the striker is attracting interest from Besiktas, who wish to take him on loan for the rest of the current campaign.

15.25 GMT: Previously linked with a move to the middle east this January, it seems Papiss Cisse has gained another suitor. Reports in Turkey claim the striker is attracting interest from Besiktas, who wish to take him on loan for the rest of the current campaign.

15.15 GMT: There could be bad news for Manchester United fans as Bayern Munich centre-back Dante has told Munich media that he is not using the Red Devils as leverage for a new contract at the Treble holders, and will only leave if the club tells him to. The Brazilian again said that the United interest makes him 'proud', “But I don’t know how big it is. And I am delighted to be at FC Bayern. Today, I am playing for the best club in the world. And only should Bayern say: "Pack your bag", I will close my bag and say goodbye." READ MORE.

Joleon Lescott PA PhotosJoleon Lescott has been linked with West Ham and Fulham.

15.00 GMT: DONE DEAL! Port Vale have signed young Sunderland midfielder Micky Adams on loan until the end of the season, the League One club have announced on their official website. Meanwhile Vale have also revealed that Fulham have given permission for on-loan defender Jack Grimmer to play for them in the FA Cup against Brighton on Saturday.

14.52 GMT: Manchester United may be interested in bringing Paul Pogba back to Old Trafford in the near future, but they may have a tough task on their hands after the Juventus midfielder revealed his 'disgust' at Sir Alex Ferguson picking Rafael ahead oh him against Blackburn in 2011 with a host of regular midfielders out injured. "It was a very, very difficult moment for me because I was in love with Manchester and I was a Mancunian. And there was Rafael in midfield and I was disgusted... I was pushed. My eyes were opened. I'd made this decision to sign with Juventus. There was nothing to regret." READ MORE.

14.40 GMT: Here's our full story on the revelations that Barcelona may be forced to spend millions of euros on topping up the wages of their star players when the full details of Neymar’s transfer and contract are apparent. The deal taking the Brazilian to Camp Nou is under investigation by a Spanish judge and AS reports that, should details emerge that Neymar is earning significantly more than first thought, a number of Blaugrana players will look for improvements to their contracts, with four-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi likely to be at the front of the queue. READ MORE.

14.30 GMT: Joleon Lescott is keen on staying at Manchester City, but talkSPORT reports that Besiktas are now interested in signing the centre-back. The England defender is out of contract at the end of the season, and the Turkish side apparently believe they can prise Lescott away should Manuel Pellegrini succeed in buying a utility defender, which would Micah Richards to play at centre-back.

14.19 GMT: Andy Cole believes that Juan Mata would be a good fit for Manchester United, and says he would be "very surprised" if Wayne Rooney left Old Trafford for Chelsea -- either in January or the summer. "(Mata's arrival) would be a massive boost, given United supporters were disappointed there were no major signings in the summer," he told Sky Sports.

On Rooney, he said: "I couldn't imagine Wayne Rooney being sold to Chelsea or in a swap deal with Mata. Wayne Rooney's a pivotal player for United, not just now but hopefully for many years to come. I think everyone there wants him to stay."

14.13 GMT: Here's our full story on Everton receiving a 45,000 pound fine and a warning about their future conduct from the FA after making an unauthorised approach for Nottingham Forest defender Jamaal Lascelles in 2010. READ MORE.

14.08 GMT: Diego Forlan is closing in on a move to Cerezo Osaka, according to El Observador. The paper reports that the former Manchester United striker has been offered a huge deal by the Japanese club: "The contract is one and a half years, and is a very difficult figure to reject," the player's father Pablo Forlan is quoted as saying.

14.03 GMT: Manchester City have announced that Norway international Abdisalam Ibrahim has been released from his contract. The 22-year-old midfielder moved to City in 2007 but has failed to make himself a regular for the Blues.

13.57 GMT: Danny Rose has signed a two-year contract extension with Barnsely, the Championship club have announced on their official website.

13.51 GMT: Omre Toprak has signed a new deal at Bayer Leverkusen today. The new contract ties the Turkey international to Leverkusen until 2018. The 24-year-old had previously been under contract until 2016. Toprak joined Leverkusen from SC Freiburg in 2011, making 67 Bundesliga appearances for the club since then. "He has developed into one of the best centre-backs in the league," Leverkusen CEO Michael Schade said.

13.44 GMT: The Mail reports that Juan Mata missed Chelsea's training session this morning, which could well be further proof that the Spanish midfielder's proposed move to Manchester United is accelerating.

13.30 GMT: Here's our full story on Arturo Vidal's modest quotes on his ability about being the best midfielder on the planet: "Many try to imitate my style, but I want to say one thing -- I'm the best in the world. In my role, no one defends like me or scores as many goals as me." READ MORE.

13.15 GMT: Former Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini says that Manchester United need to overhaul their squad -- you don't need to be a title-winning manager to make that insight, but it doesn't hurt. "Chelsea changed and bought some new players. City bought four or five new players. After many years, it's the time [for United] to refresh the team," he told BBC World Service. READ MORE.

13.05 GMT: Goal correspondent Wayne Veysey suggests on Twitter that Manchester United could feasibly buy Juan Mata and keep Wayne Rooney during the January transfer window, though it might be difficult for the Red Devils to keep the striker beyond the summer.

12.55 GMT: Here's our full story on Manchester United's hopes that a massive wage rise can entice Arturo Vidal to Old Trafford from Juventus, either this month or in the summer. READ MORE.

12.45 GMT: Arturo Vidal has been linked with a move to Manchester United this month, and judging the player's own view, David Moyes is after the right man. "I am the best player in the world in my position. That's simply the way it is for me," the Chile international is reported as saying to Sport Bild by Football Italia. When you're good, you're good...

12.35 GMT: Tottenham are holding up Etienne Capoue's transfer to Napoli due to their “crazy” demands according to the midfielder’s agent Marta Fischer, who told Radio Crc yesterday: "The problem's not the player, nor Napoli. Tottenham want a lot of money and what they are asking for is crazy, but it's still only Jan. 21 so 'Forza Napoli.' I can't say too much, sorry." READ MORE.

12.26 GMT: Joleon Lescott has said he wants to stay at Manchester City but admitted he doesn't know if he will still be at the Etihad Stadium when the transfer window closes. He told Sky Sports after the 3-0 Capital One Cup win over West Ham: "Hopefully I'll be at the final (in March), but it's still ongoing and you never know." READ MORE.

Arturo Vidal celebrates the first of his two goals in the win over Sampdoria.GettyImagesArturo Vidal celebrates the first of his two goals in the win over Sampdoria.

12.21 GMT: Goal reports that Manchester United have rejected a fresh approach for Wayne Rooney from Chelsea. The site reports that the Blues are willing to part with 30 million pounds this January for the forward, but the Old Trafford club have reportedly stood firm despite their own interest in Juan Mata.

12.16 GMT: Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone has said he is desperate to sign on-loan Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. Asked if he would pay 26 million euros for Courtois -- who wants a swift decision on his future -- Simeone replied: "Definitely. For me, any price for Courtois would be cheap. He is a young guy who has a huge future ahead of him and is on course to be one of the best goalkeepers in the world." READ MORE.

12.09 GMT: Roma have apologised after new signing Michel Bastos inadvertently carried a scarf denigrating city rivals Lazio. It's perhaps not the best preparation for the prospect of three Rome derbies in a week in February, but it should make for a good build-up to some fiery clashes. READ MORE.

12.03 GMT: The Mirror reports that Newcastle United are closing in on Borussia Moenchengladbach forward Luuk De Jong for a deal worth 8.5 million pounds after Ajax and PSV were predictably priced out of a move.

11.55 GMT: Montpellier owner Louis Nicollin has told RTL that Remy Cabella "deserves something different" than joining Newcastle United. "Remy, I think, deserves something different than Newcastle. Personally, I wouldn't go there. You must get bored s---less in Newcastle." That's one way of putting your player off a transfer. READ MORE.

Wilfried ZahaPA PhotosWilfried Zaha has hardly played for Man Utd since joining.

11.48 GMT: Everton have been fined 45,000 pounds by the FA for an unauthorised approach for Nottingham Forest defender Jamaal Lascalles in 2010. Andy Niedzwiecki -- the football agent who was representing Mr Lascelles at the time -- has been fined 10,000 pounds and warned as to his future conduct after admitting his part in the matter. Here's the statement in full on the FA's official website.

11.41 GMT: The Daily Star reports that Ricardo Montoya will not be joining Liverpool. The Anfield club are apparently interested in the young full-back who is out of contract in the summer, but the 22-year-old looks set to agree an extension at Camp Nou.

11.33 GMT: Kwesi Appiah has signed a new contract with Crystal Palace. The 23-year-old forward has joined Notts County on a one-month emergency loan deal, but it seems his long-term future lies with the Eagles.

11.25 GMT: Claudio Pizarro has told Passauer Neue Presse that he will either leave Bundesliga or stay at Bayern after the season. The 35-year old will be out of contract in the summer, and said: “I don't know yet. But should I leave Bayern only to play abroad.”

11.13 GMT: Real Sociedad coach Jagoba Arrasate has admitted interest in Sergio Canales, who Valencia appear to be willing to let leave this month. "At the moment there is nothing, he is a player who could leave, we are watching the situation as he has a profile which would fit for us, but at the moment there is nothing at all."

11.06 GMT: Mame Biram Diouf's agent Jim Solbakken has still not given up on making a Cardiff move possible for the striker. According to Bild, he is in daily contact with Hannover sporting director Dirk Dufner, who tells Bild: "It's 1000 percent clear that we want to keep Mame. But you never know in football." Meanwhile, midfielder Adrian Nikci could leave Hannover after being demoted to the reserves. Currently, the 500,000 euro fee could hinder a return to Switzerland, but a loan deal for the 24-year-old could also be on the cards.

10.58 GMT: Real Madrid beat Espanyol 1-0 last night in the Copa del Rey with Iker Casillas keeping a clean sheet to go 592 minutes unbeaten in goal, breaking his own record in the process. Carlo Ancelotti was also careful to also mention first choice goalkeeper Digeo Lopez after the game: "[Casillas] is doing very well and deserves the record because of his professionalism. He helps the team a lot. He has played very well in every match. We have a lot of league and cup matches to play and the two goalkeepers are playing more or less the same number of matches. Iker is a starting goalkeeper, as is Diego Lopez."

Casillas himself showed frustration at not playing La Liga games: "Even I am bored about talking about my situation. People should enjoy the players in the team, whoever the boss puts out in each competition and game and that's it." Asked whether he will still be at Madrid next year, he said: "Of course yes. It is up to me to enjoy it, as the boss said, we are still in the three competitions." It's a tricky situation, and while both goalkeepers are content for now, one world-class shot-stopper could well be up for grabs in the summer transfer market.

10.50 GMT: Inter president Erick Thohir released a statement on the club's official website last night stating that he has ended negotiations with Juventus over the swap move for Fredy Guarin and Mirko Vucinic: "I decided not to continue negotiations with Juventus. I felt it was not possible to reach an agreement on a deal in which the opinions of the two parties differed and which did not offer a clear financial or technical benefit to the club."

10.40 GMT: The news that Lucas will be out for up to two months is a big blow for Liverpool, and David Usher suggests that the Anfield hierarchy need to release funds to Brendan Rodgers to strengthen his squad and ensure a top-four finish. Here's a taste from his ESPN FC blog:

"I have no doubt that there is money available, but will Liverpool be prepared to pay more than they would like in order to secure the players they need to make that final push for the top four? They should be, as not paying it could end up costing them a lot more in the long run."
READ MORE.

10.32 GMT: Here's our full story on Patrick Herrmann and Max Kruse have rejected rumours of a January switch from Borussia Moenchengladbach to Manchester United.READ MORE.

10.25 GMT: Atletico boss Diego Simeone has had his say about Koke being admired by the likes of Manchester United: "It makes me happy when lots of teams look at our players. That speaks well of the club and of us. He is an important player because of the characteristics he has for the future." When questioned on whether Diego Costa could leave, he respoonded: "Atletico has always had replacements, since Torres, Aguero... Nobody is irreplaceable. The club is the most important thing." That suggests that there could well be players leaving the Liga title chasers.

10.17 GMT: Blackburn forward Ruben Rochina was presented to the press yesterday after completing a loan move to Rayo Vallecano: "For me this is a step forward. Coming from the second division, although it is a good club (Blackburn Rovers), the best shop window is the first division, and even more with this being one of the best leagues in the world. I like Rayo for the style they play, always looking to take care of the ball, to play well. That attracted me."

10.10 GMT: The Telegraph reports that Atletico Madrid are prepared to offer Manchester United the option to sign striker Diego Costa and left-back Felipe Luis, providing they drop their interest in Juan Mata. The paper suggests that David Moyes is set to ignore the Spanish club and push through a deal for the Chelsea midfielder before bidding for Luis -- that would most probably be unsuccessful, but shows confidence.

10.01 GMT: While the future of Fredy Guarin is still uncertain, it seems that Mirko Vucinic is on the move regardless, as Andrea Barzagli says that the striker's Juventus locker is 'empty.' "He had emptied his locker. We said goodbye to Mirko and he was an integral part of two and a half fantastic years. If he returns to Vinovo then we’ll embrace him again," he is reported as saying by Gazzetta dello Sport.

09.53 GMT: Leipziger Volkszeitung continues to link VfL Wolfsburg attacker Stefan Kutschke with a return to RB Leipzig. According to the paper, Wolfsburg are willing to sell the 25-year-old if they find a replacement for Kutschke, who is one of three attackers at Die Wolfe.

09.46 GMT: The Mirror reports that regardless of whether Swansea stay up or not this season, Michael Laudrup will be leaving the club. After a string of poor results and a training ground bust-up between Chico Flores and Garry Monk on Friday, the paper suggests it will simply be a case of whether the manager resigns or is sacked -- and that could well have an impact on the Swans' transfer plans both this month and in the summer.

09.37 GMT: Bild continues to link SC Freiburg goalkeeper Oliver Baumann, 23, with the spot between the Borussia Moenchendladbach sticks once Marc-ander ter Stegen leaves for Barcelona in the summer, stating that Baumann apparently has a 7 million-euro buyout clause. "Oliver has not talked to me about it. That's why this is no issue for me right now," SC Freiburg coach Christian Streich is quoted as saying by Bild, who also got a "No comment" out of Gladbach's sporting director Max Eberl.

09.26 GMT: However, we have word from Germany that Max Kruse and Patrick Herrmann have had their say about the Telegraph's rumours linking them to Old Trafford. Kruse told Bild: "Manchester? I don't think that will be an issue anytime soon." And Herrmann added: "When other clubs are reported to be interested, it's always a compliment. But I am happy here in Gladbach." The club's sporting director Max Eberl added: "We don’t plan to sell anyone." That seems fairly conclusive, then.

09.18 GMT: The Telegraph reports that Manchester United manager David Moyes will monitor Borussia Moenchengladbach striker Max Kruse in action against Bayern Munich, with team-mate Patrick Herrmann and Bayern's Dante also presumably the subject of his attentions.

09.05 GMT: Over to Italy now, where Hernanes' agent says he has not had an approach from any club yet -- Inter are reported to be interested in the Lazio midfielder if they do eventually sell Fredy Guarin to Chelsea. Coincidentally, Juventus should be making an announcement on the proposed swap deal with Inter for Mirko Vucinic and Guarin, so we'll keep you up to speed with that move later on.

08.57 GMT: Diego has told Bild that he will give it his all until the last day at Wolfsburg, saying: “There is good reason to be happy here. Everything is good and very positive. Especially with Kevin [De Bruyne] now here.” On former Chelsea man De Bruyne, added: “It's a pleasure to have him here. It's now about making Kevin feel welcome here and helping him find his place.” Diego, of course, has strongly been linked with a return to his former club Santos in the summer, with a pre-contract waiting to be signed once the January window is closed.

08.34 GMT: Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone has said he is desperate to sign on-loan Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, telling Cuatro: "Any price would be cheap." STORY HERE.

08.17 GMT: As you may have seen in yesterday's blog, Norwich City midfielder Wes Hoolahan has seen a transfer request rejected. But the 31-year-old Ireland international, who has been linked with Aston Villa, has issued a statement to Sky Sports insisting he should be allowed to go.

It read: "Following a meeting with the club chief executive, I felt I had no option but to hand in transfer request. I have noted that request has been turned down. However, I believe it is in the best interest of Norwich, for whom I have the greatest respect, and myself that I am allowed to move on and play my football elsewhere."

08.06 GMT: Hoffenheim have terminated former Germany goalkeeper Tim Wiese's contract after "open and constructive talks." Wiese played only 10 games for the club and a TSG official said that they have found a "reasonable solution for all involved." Wiese had been demoted in January 2013, when he was replaced by on-loan Spurs keeper Heurelho Gomes. Earlier this month, there had been speculation that Wiese, who joined Hoffenheim from Bremen in 2012, could retire from football altogether, but he said his time at Hoffenheim gave him "new options."

07.39 GMT: Yet more from The Sun, which claims Arsenal offered Lukas Podolski plus 20 million pounds for Schalke attacking midfielder Julian Draxler, but it was turned down. Apparently, the Gunners are planning to offer 35 million pounds, despite Schalke demanding the full 37 million pounds (or 45.5 million euros) written into the Germany international's contract as a release clause. In any case, the release clause wouldn't appear to be active until the summer, and it's worth bearing in mind that Schalke told ESPN FC last week: "In recent weeks, all the stories regarding FC Schalke 04 in the English media have had very little substance."

07.28 GMT: The Sun claims Wayne Rooney will reject a contract extension at Manchester United, even if Juan Mata signs, and the papers expects him to leave on a free transfer at the end of next season.

06.30 GMT: SBS understands that Scottish giants Celtic have tabled a 1.5 million pound offer to lure Socceroos defender Rhys Williams away from Middlesbrough.

04.30 GMT: Done deal! Brisbane Roar striker Besart Berisha will join A-League rivals Melbourne Victory at the end of the season. READ THE FULL STORY.

04.00 GMT: Sunderland midfielder Lee Cattermole is edging closer towards a move to Stoke City, sources at the Wearside club have informed ESPN. READ THE FULL STORY.

Real Madrid have entered the race to sign Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney, the Telegraph reports. England international Rooney has yet to commit himself to signing a new contract at Old Trafford, sparking rumours the 28-year-old could depart the reigning Premier League champions in the summer following the World Cup. Domestic rivals Chelsea have a longstanding interest in the player, while Arsenal have made it known they are keen to add another striker to their squad. But the Spanish capital could soon be the new home of Rooney, with the Telegraph reporting that the Bernabeu club see the forward as "more attainable" than their first-choice option -- Manchester City's Sergio Aguero.

Talking of United, manager David Moyes could be about to get very busy in the transfer market with the Daily Mirror suggesting the Red Devils are on the verge of a 70 million pound splurge in the January window. As reported by ESPN, United are close to signing Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata, with a deal as close as this weekend, but that will only mark the start of a busy period for the club with a number of targets firming as potential deals. Newcastle midfielder Yohan Cabaye is a reportedly high on the wish list while the club are rumoured to be monitoring Bayern Munich’s Brazil international Dante. Borussia Monchengladbach winger Patrick Herrmann is also on their radar.

Finally, just because we love to imagine the lavish lifestyle of the world’s premier footballers, The Sun is reporting that Lionel Messi is in line for an unbelieveable 37 million pound-a-year contract at Barcelona. Messi and the club had been at loggerheads after revelations vice-president Javier Faus questioned the wisdom of offering the Argentine star a revised deal just months after handing him a new contract. But in a massive about-turn, the reigning Spanish champions are set to make the 26-year-old the world’s highest-paid player -- beating the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar. The new deal, which will see Messi earn an extra 2 million pounds a year, will run to 2018 and will be backdated to include this season.

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