Gareth Bale future, Lionel Messi contract – European Paper Talk

It might be the international break, but clubs around Europe are scouting players, discussing targets and making offers as the January transfer window looms. 

Our friends at Football Whispers round up all the latest news and gossip from the continent.

  • Transfer Centre
  • January transfer window – key dates

Spain

The Chinese Super League appears to be Gareth Bale’s only escape route from Real Madrid in January. A combination of his salary, age and history of injuries make a move to a top European side, a Major League Soccer franchise or a Qatari club impossible. Shanghai Shenhua, who looked set to sign the 30-year-old last summer, remain keen. (AS)

Barcelona have opened contract negotiations with club captain and icon Lionel Messi, according to technical secretary Eric Abidal. (Mundo Deportivo)

Abidal is eyeing Internazionale striker Lautaro Martinez as a replacement for Luis Suarez, saying: “He is a complete player, he plays at a great level. He is a player we know, there are also other players with a lot of quality.” (Mundo Deportivo)

Karim Benzema has hit back at French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet after he claimed the Real Madrid forward’s international career was over. Writing on Twitter, the 31-year-old said: “Noel, I thought you wouldn’t interfere with the coach’s decisions. Bear in mind that it’s only me that will decide when to end my international career. If you think I’m done, let me play with one of the other countries I am eligible for and we’ll see.” (Marca)

Italy

Arsenal are preparing a January offer for Juventus defender Merih Demiral. The Turkish international was linked with Manchester United in the summer. (Tuttosport)

Roma have been told they will have to pay £18m to sign Chris Smalling on a permanent basis from Manchester United. The 29-year-old has impressed on loan in the Eternal City. (Tuttosport)

Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain are both keen on signing Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma. Milan are reluctant to sell the 20-year-old but are under pressure to raise funds. (Gazzetta dello Sport)

Ivan Rakitic could join Milan if the Rossoneri can meet Barcelona’s asking price of €35m (£30m) and the Croatian midfielder’s wage demands. The 31-year-old currently pockets €7.8m (£6.7m) per year in Spain. (Calciomercato)

Germany

New Bayern Munich president Herbert Hainer has refused to rule out the prospect of Pep Guardiola returning to Bavaria, saying: “Pep Guardiola is a great coach who has a contract in Manchester. Let us wait until the board comes up to us. In principle, we want the best possible coach for Bayern.” (Sport-BILD)

Bayern Munich are eyeing Schalke goalkeeper Alexander Nubel as a potential replacement for Manuel Neuer. The 23-year-old is out of contract next summer and would be available for nothing as a result. (Sport1)

France

Paris Saint-Germain’s all-time leading scorer Edinson Cavani intends to finish his deal in the French capital. One option when his contract expires would be to follow former team-mate Zlatan Ibrahimovic to LA Galaxy. The Swede will leave the MLS franchise next month, leaving a spot open for the Uruguayan. (Le10Sport).

When does the January transfer window open?

As the January transfer window inches ever closer, clubs across the Premier League, Europe and beyond will be identifying potential transfer targets and holding discussions with clubs and agents over future deals.

  • Transfer Centre LIVE! | Latest transfer news
  • Transfer Ins and Outs: What happened in the summer?

At this traditionally difficult time to make big moves, the start of the new year looks set to be frantic for a host of top Premier League clubs.

Here, Sky Sports provides you with all you need to know about the 2019/20 mid-season transfer window.

Where can you follow all the latest transfer news?

As well as keeping an eye on Sky Sports News, you can make sure you don’t miss a thing with our dedicated Transfer Centre blog.

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