Football

Man United move for West Ham starlet Declan Rice

The transfer window for Europe’s biggest clubs is closed, but click here for all the deals. Transfer Talk will continue to scour the world’s media and set correspondents loose to see what’s on the agenda for the summer.

Jump to: Real’s low-ball Hazard offer | Top clubs eye Ndombele

TOP STORY: Man United to entice Rice to Old Trafford?

West Ham are braced for an approach from Manchester United for newly-capped England international Declan Rice, according to the Irish Independent.

Despite signing a long-term contract at the London Stadium in December, midfielder Rice could be tempted by a big-money move to United.

However, the 20-year-old’s contract situation leaves West Ham in a strong negotiating position and the Londoners are expected to demand at least £50 million despite him having played in only 56 Premier League games.

A move for Rice isn’t the only thing on United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s agenda, with Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho also on his shopping list. Solskjaer, meanwhile, is planning a clear-out of some of United’s ageing stars.

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10.44 BST: There are reports on both Sky Italia and Il Corriere dello Sport that Edin Dzeko is likely to move to West Ham in the summer. He was left on the bench by coach Claudio Ranieri at the weekend and doesn’t look particularly happy at Roma.

10.03 BST: Fede Valverde says it’s an honour to be linked with Napoli but insists he is happy at Real Madrid.

The 20-year-old midfielder has played 21 games for the club this season and is tied to Los Blancos until June 2021. Former Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti, now in charge of Napoli, has reportedly monitored Valverde’s season and is keen to bring the Uruguay international to the San Paolo stadium this summer.

Asked about Napoli’s reported interest, Valverde told Corriere dello Sport: “It’s wonderful that a coach that has so much class and experience wants me. But I’m a Real Madrid player and I will give everything for this club.”

09.37 BST: Arsenal are interested in Ajax defender Nicolas Tagliafico — and the Mirror reports that the Argentina international left-back “has given the Gunners a huge boost by saying he wants to play in the Premier League.”

08.45 BST: Young Real Madrid centre-back Jesus Vallejo remains confident he can be a long-term success at the Bernabeu despite reports he will be moved on in the summer because he is not part of Zinedine Zidane’s first-team plans.

Former Real Zaragoza youngster Vallejo, 22, has started just two games in another injury-affected season and is the only currently fit senior player not to feature at all in the four games since Zidane returned as coach.

That has led to reports in the Spanish press that the Spain under-21 captain will be either sold or loaned out this summer, especially with the arrival of €50m signing Eder Militao from Porto in the summer.

However a source close to the player told ESPN FC they had heard nothing yet from the club and Vallejo, under contract until June 2021, remains “delighted” to be Madrid player.

08.00 BST: Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has said he does not want to sign a midfield alternative to Jorginho but would like to make Mateo Kovacic‘s loan from Real Madrid permanent.

Since the January sale of Cesc Fabregas, the coach said Kovacic is the only other player in his squad capable of filling in at the base of midfield.

“You know very well that, in that position, we have some problems because we have only Jorginho,” Sarri, whose side face West Ham at home on Monday, told a news conference. “In my opinion, Kovacic could become a very good central midfielder.

“Of course he is not a defensive midfielder but, as you know, in that position I prefer a very technical player. For us it’s very important for us to have big quality in that position. Big quality not for the last pass, but big quality in terms of moving the ball.”

Asked whether he would like to see Chelsea sign someone else to play the role, Sarri said: “No, I want to try with Kovacic. He is only on loan, of course. I’d like very much that Kovacic will stay with us.”

PAPER TALK (by James Capps)

Real seek cut-price Hazard switch

Real Madrid are stepping up their pursuit of Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard, with the Telegraph saying they want a deal to be done before the end of the season.

Hazard’s contract at Stamford Bridge expires in summer 2020 and, with the 28-year-old seemingly not interested in signing an extension, Real are confident they can get their man on a relatively cheap deal.

Chelsea value the Belgium international at £100 million, but Madrid officials are reluctant to pay anything above £85 million as they look to make the Chelsea No. 10 their first major signing of the second Zinedine Zidane era.

Ndombele attracts attention from six of the best

Calciomercato claims six top clubs are chasing Lyon midfielder Tanguy Ndombele, with Juventus in pole position for his signature.

Ndombele is developing a big reputation following some impressive displays in both Ligue 1 and the Champions League, having signed permanently from Amiens last summer for €8 million.

His performances have attracted attention from some of the continent’s biggest sides, with Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain keeping an eye on the 22-year-old.

But Juventus appear to have stolen a march after the player’s agent met officials in January ahead of a potential €60 million switch in the summer.

Tap ins

— Roma are eyeing a cut-price move for Sevilla winger Pablo Sarabia. The 26-year-old has just over a year left on his contract and could be available for €18 million in the summer, with the Calciomercato claiming claiming Roma will trigger his release clause in the coming months.

— Chelsea are plotting a permanent deal for on-loan Real Madrid midfielder Mateo Kovacic. The Croatian has become a mainstay in the Blues midfield, racking up 30 starts for Mauricio Sarri’s side, but a deal is dependent on the outcome of the club’s appeal against a two-window transfer ban. Chelsea boss Sarri has said Kovacic is the type of player he needs for his system.

— Calciomercato claims Juventus are interested in signing Roma defender Kostas Manolas, but only if Claudio Ranieri’s side fail to qualify for the Champions League. Greece international Manolas has a contract at the Stadio Olimpico until 2022, but failure to finish in the top four could tempt him to move elsewhere.

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