Real Madrid join Bayern, Liverpool, Man City in race for Sesko

The summer transfer window is closed for the top leagues in Europe! After a summer full of international football, countless clubs waited until the last minute to pull off their transfers. See all the major deals here and check out how we graded the biggest signings. But just because the window is shut until January, that doesn’t mean the rumours won’t keep coming.

TOP STORY: Real Madrid join race for Sesko

Real Madrid have joined Bayern Munich, Liverpool and Manchester City in the race to sign FC Salzburg striker Benjamin Sesko, according to AS.

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Sesko, 18, has attracted the attention of several top European clubs since gaining promotion to the first team this summer. The 6-foot-4 striker has scored six goals in 14 games in all competitions this season.

The Slovenia international, who has drawn comparisons in style of play to Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland, is under contract with the Austrian club until June 2026.

Madrid are looking to sign Haaland, as well as PSG forward Kylian Mbappe, as they look for a long-term replacement for 33-year-old Karim Benzema. But Sesko would be available for a much cheaper fee in January.

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11.16 BST: Why haven’t struggling Barcelona made a change yet?

10.32 BST: Dani Olmo and Raheem Sterling are January targets for Barcelona as they look to strengthen their attack, according to Mundo Deportivo.

Coach Ronald Koeman has bemoaned Barca’s lack of firepower, with his team managing just 11 goals in nine matches in all competitions this season. Seven of those goals came in wins against Real Sociedad and Levante, while they have failed to find the net in four of their last six outings.

Koeman says the team needs players that can add width, with Olmo and Sterling both linked in the summer, too. Barca failed with a late bid for RB Leipzig’s Olmo in August after Antoine Griezmann left for Atletico Madrid. Preliminary talks to sign Sterling from Manchester City, meanwhile, never advanced.

Mundo Deportivo claimS both remain on Barca’s radar ahead of the winter transfer window opening in two months. The report says, despite being hit with a €97m spending limit by LaLiga, lower than six other sides in Spain’s top flight, Barca will have money to make signings.

Memphis Depay is Barca’s top scorer this season with three goals. Koeman, who’s been handed a stay of execution by president Joan Laporta, is hopeful things will improve after the international break as players return from injuries. Ansu Fati came back recently, scoring against Levante, and Sergio Aguero and Ousmane Dembele are nearing the final stages of their recovery work.

09.55 BST: Talks between Barcelona and Sergi Roberto over a contract extension have stalled, the player’s agent has told Mundo Deportivo.

Roberto, 29, is out of contract next summer and previous reports suggested he was close to signing a new deal to prolong his stay at Camp Nou until 2024. The reported agreement included a reduction to his salary, in line with previous pay cuts accepted by the club’s other three captains, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba.

However, Josep Maria Orobitg says negotiations have been suspended, with ESPN revealing in September that several clubs have shown an interest in signing Roberto on a free next summer.

“Everything’s stopped,” Orobitg confirmed to the Catalan newspaper Mundo Deportivo. “But talks could start again at any moment.”

Roberto has made eight appearances for Barca in all competitions this season, but despite scoring two goals it’s been a difficult start to the campaign for the academy graduate. He was whistled by his own supporters during the 3-0 loss to Bayern Munich and was left on the bench as Barca were beaten by Atletico Madrid at the weekend.

09.13 BST: Valencia owner Peter Lim has no intention of selling the club and has reiterated his commitment to continue to manage the LaLiga outfit.

Former Valencia vice-president Miguel Zorio announced last week he had made a €368m bid to buy Valencia from Singaporean business magnate Lim.

But a club statement said: “Valencia CF is not for sale, not even a part of the shareholding package of its largest shareholder. Peter Lim reiterates his commitment and involvement as the maximum shareholder, an example of this is the capital increase proposal that must be approved at the next Ordinary General Shareholders’ Meeting. Even in the hypothetical case that such offer existed, it would be rejected.”

08.51 BST: In more FC Salzburg news, Liverpool and Bayern Munich are battling to sign forward Karim Adeyemi, says the Daily Mail.

Adeyemi, 19, already has 10 goals this season (including three in the Champions League) and scored on his senior Germany debut as well.

Salzburg reportedly want €20m for him, which doesn’t seem a lot given his potential.

08.30 BST: Mohamed Salah starred this weekend but his contract situation at Liverpool remains unresolved, with the forward yet to agree a deal to replace his existing terms that expire in June 2023.

But sources told ESPN’s Mark Ogden his focus and dedication amid the uncertainty have further enhanced his reputation among his teammates.

Salah and fellow forwards Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, who are all free agents at the end of the 2022-23 season, have yet to extend their contracts, but Salah’s situation is the one that is likely to be the most challenging, according to sources, with talks ongoing.

The former Chelsea and Roma forward has previously refused to play down the prospect of a move to LaLiga, with both Real Madrid and Barcelona both linked with the 29-year-old in the past, but neither team are in a position to sign Salah in the coming transfer windows due to financial issues at both clubs and Real’s primary focus on signing Kylian Mbappe. Paris Saint-Germain have also been admirers of Salah over recent seasons, but the summer signing of Lionel Messi appears to have closed the door on any possible move.

Liverpool are aware of the limited options Salah has in terms moving away from Anfield for a fee in 2022, but with the Egypt international set to turn 30 next June, sources said the club must also consider the financial implications of committing to a long-term deal for a player who would be in his mid-30s by the time it expires.

PAPER GOSSIP (by Danny Lewis)

– Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland has been linked to pretty much every one of the world’s biggest clubs ahead of the 2022 summer transfer window, with Real Madrid and Bayern Munich among the most prominent in these discussions. However, while speaking to Sport Bild on “Die Lage der Liga,” Jan Aage Fjortoft suggested that the Norway international could still stay put for longer than many are expecting.

There has been plenty of discussion around the reported €75m release clause in his contract that comes into effect in the summer, while his deal comes to an end in 2022. Although that somewhat forces the Bundesliga side’s hand, Haaland is still very much able to turn down any moves that come his way. Speaking on the show, he said: “I think the Haaland team and the family don’t know where he’s going either. Because the football world is changing. There are so many things that affect that. They don’t know where he will play in the 2021-22 season. Haaland and his team are always looking for development. And if that is the case in Dortmund, then he will stay there.”

– Free agent Serge Aurier is very close to joining LaLiga outfit Villarreal, as has been reported by L’Equipe. The Ivory Coast international has been without a club since being released from his contract at Tottenham Hotspur, but is said to already be in Spain to discuss the final details of a deal with last season’s Europa League winners. Villarreal coach Unai Emery knows Aurier well, having managed him at Paris Saint-Germain in the 2016-17 campaign. “He is a player that I know and he is free,” Emery said of Aurier after Sunday’s 2-0 win over Real Betis. “We shall see.”

– Fiorentina chairman Rocco Commisso is beginning to have concerns about whether star striker Dusan Vlahovic actually intends on extending his contract that comes to an end in 2023, as has been reported by Sky Sports Italia. The Serbia international has received plenty of interest from big-name clubs in recent months, but La Viola are doing all they can to keep him, offering a renewal of €4m-per-season and an €80m release clause. However, Vlahovic’s agent has received higher requests than the initial agreement, putting doubts in the minds of Fiorentina bosses.

– Internazionale are willing to pay Ajax a transfer fee to sign goalkeeper Andre Onana in January so that he can settle in properly, rather than waiting until the end of the season to sign him for free, according to Calciomercato. The plan is for the Cameroon international to take over from Samir Handanovic, and while that won’t happen straight away, the feeling is that a move to Italy could prepare the stopper ahead of next season. To make this happen, the Scudetto winners would need to find a new home for Ionut Radu, as well as coming to an agreement with the Eredivisie champions.

– Roma are looking to renew the contracts of Gianluca Mancini, Bryan Cristante and Nicolo Zaniolo, as has been reported by Calciomercato. All three of them already have deals that run until 2024, but after Tammy Abraham‘s arrival and Lorenzo Pellegrini’s new contract, they are making a move to ensure that Jose Mourinho doesn’t lose any of the trio after Roma have seen their stars leave in the past.

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