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PSG boss Pochettino exploring Aguero, Dybala moves

The transfer window opened in early January, and speculation is heating up about potential deals. Check out the latest gossip below, and see all official deals here.

TOP STORY: Pochettino exploring Aguero, Dybala moves

Mauricio Pochettino is plotting ways to strengthen his Paris Saint-Germain squad and the Daily Mirror believes he’s contemplating a swoop for Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero. Meanwhile, Tuttosport adds PSG are renewing their interest in Juventus attacker Paulo Dybala.

Aguero, 32, is approaching the last six months of his contract at City and is yet to agree a new deal, which means he is free to talk to clubs outside of England. Though his season has been ravaged by injury, he is still one of the best strikers around, and Pochettino is targeting a free transfer for the Argentina international in the summer.

PSG are one of the few clubs who could afford the Aguero’s £240k-a-week wages, while he would be a boost to PSG’s already diverse attacking options alongside Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Mauro Icardi and Angel Di Maria.

Dybala, meanwhile, reportedly turned down a move to PSG last summer but has yet to agree his long-term future in Turin and could be open to a move.

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09.52 GMT: Manchester United signed Atalanta winger Amad Diallo for €41m after 24 first-team minutes. What does the scouting world think? Tor-Kristian Karlsen examines.

Diallo is far from unknown on the scouting circuit, having been on the radar of Europe’s leading clubs for quite some time due to his performances at youth level — where he often stands out against older opponents — and his more recent displays in the Italian “Primavera” (U19) league.

His stats in the Primavera over the past two years are impressive — 12 goals and nine assists in 39 games — while he also notched one goal and three assists across six games in the UEFA Youth League in 2019-20.

A top scout at one such club granted ESPN access to their entire file on Diallo, which dates back to 2019 and is based on his appearances in youth tournaments and the U19 league. In the club’s internal system, Diallo is rated as a potential 7.5 player (out of a maximum 10), which equates to “a prospective regular at a Champions League-level club” — just for reference, a peak Messi was apparently a 9.0 according to their system (clearly nobody can be perfect!)

09.20 GMT: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has urged midfielder Donny van de Beek to stick with it at Manchester United after suggestions he should try to leave in January to avoid losing his place in the Netherlands team ahead of the European Championships.

Van de Beek has made just two Premier League starts since his £40m move from Ajax in the summer, prompting Holland legend Ronald de Boer to say the 23-year-old should “declare he should be loaned or even sold” to make sure he keeps his place in the Dutch national team.

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Solskjaer, however, has revealed he has spoken to Van de Beek to reassure him over his future prospects and insists he will get opportunities to play, starting with the FA Cup third round tie with Watford on Saturday.

“I’ve answered this question so many times and there’s so many examples of players needing a little bit of time, quality players,” Solskjaer told a news conference on Friday. “We have many examples ourselves and there are other clubs with examples and sometimes it takes time.

“You don’t expect people who care for him to be quiet at times, especially when they want the best for them. Donny is going to play [against Watford], it’s another chance for him.”

09.00 GMT: Former Montenegro striker Dejan Damjanovic has signed for Hong Kong Premier League champions Kitchee as the veteran forward continues his quest to become the all-time leading scorer in the Asian Champions League.

The 39-year-old, who is second on the list behind recently retired South Korean forward Lee Dong-gook, will join Kitchee early next month after completing a period in quarantine, the club announced on Saturday.

Damjanovic, who won three Korean league titles with FC Seoul, has scored 36 times in the continental championship, one fewer than Lee, and he will line up in this year’s competition for his new club.

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The 2021 edition of the Asian Champions League has been expanded from 32 to 40 teams and the increase means Kitchee have earned an automatic spot in the group phase following their Hong Kong Premier League title success last year.

Damjanovic has never won the Asian Champions League, coming closest in 2013 when he helped FC Seoul to the final, where they lost on the away goals rule over two legs to Chinese Super League side Guangzhou Evergrande.

The veteran striker spent last season with Daegu FC in South Korea after spells with Suwon Bluewings and Chinese sides Jiangsu Sainty and Beijing Guoan.

PAPER TALK (by Nick Judd)

Milik wanted by England’s ‘top clubs’ says agent

The future of Arkadiusz Milik continues to be shrouded in mystery, and in The Sun his agent explains how the Napoli striker is wanted by “the best Premier League clubs.”

Milik’s contract is set to expire in the summer and he is yet to agree an extension. In fact, he’s at loggerheads with his employers and hasn’t made a single appearance all season. But, even though he’s out of practice, it hasn’t prevented a host of aspiring English clubs enquiring about his services.

The Poland international’s agent explains that as well as Tottenham Hotspur and Everton, Atletico Madrid and Marseille are also keen to land the 26-year-old, who has scored 48 goals in 122 appearances for Napoli since joining from Ajax in 2016.

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City youngsters could follow Sancho example

Man City fear losing more academy stars in January according, to the Daily Mail, with Jaydan Braaf, Luke Mbete and Josh Wilson-Esbrand all wanted by rival clubs.

Braaf is a target for German side Bayer Leverkusen, and discussions are said to already be underway. The 18-year-old Dutchman is yet to make his senior debut for City and is being watched by a number of other clubs across the continent.

Juventus are reported to be among the clubs monitoring Mbete, 17, while Leeds United are also interested in both Mbete and Wilson-Esbrand, 18.

City’s academy is considered one of the best in Europe, but rivals clubs are more willing to offer a clearer pathway to first-team football. Jadon Sancho famously left City to join Borussia Dortmund for around £8m before becoming one of the best in the world, and three more players could follow suit this month.


– River Plate defender Gonzalo Montiel is closing to a move to Europe, with AS Roma, Lyon and Bologna on the radar, sources told ESPN Argentina reporter Gustavo Yarroch. The right-back, who started for the Argentina national team in the first two matches of the 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign, had a preliminary offer from Roma last summer but River didn’t accept the terms, according to sources.

Calciomercato report that Roma have also made contact with Lille over right-back Zeki Celik. Celik has been a long-term target for AC Milan, but now the Giallorossi appear to be the frontrunners. Lille want €15m and aren’t prepared to accept any loan move or reduction in the fee.

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– PSG have made enquiries about right-back Emerson, according to Sport. Emerson is co-owned by Real Betis and Barcelona, where he is contracted until 2024. PSG and AC Milan both tried to sign him last summer but his complex ownership issues ruled out a move. PSG are set to return for a second attempt, and it’s reported that Barca would be willing to let him go and split the profits with Betis now that they have Sergino Dest.

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