LIVE Transfer Talk: Manchester City look to Patrik Schick to fill striker role

The January transfer window is almost upon us and, naturally, all the gossip on who's moving where is heating up. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz as we count down to the 2022 winter window.

TOP STORY: Schick in City's sights

Manchester City could be ready to reveal their hand, with reports that Pep Guardiola is targeting Bayer Leverkusen forward Patrik Schick.

That's according to Ekrem Konur, who writes that they are looking to make an offer in the January transfer window. Sources have told ESPN, however, that City are unlikely to sign a replacement for Ferran Torres, who recently agreed a deal with Barcelona.

The Citizens are yet to sign a centre-forward since Sergio Aguero left last season and, after an impressive Euro 2020 campaign with the Czech Republic and fine form for Leverkusen in the Bundesliga, it looks as though Schick has worked his way up Manchester City's shortlist.

The 25-year-old has been one of the best forwards in Europe so far this season, scoring 16 goals in 14 starts, including a quadruple against SpVgg Greuther Furth on Dec. 4.

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21.39 GMT: Ousmane Dembele has an agreement in principle to join Juventus this summer, according to Sport. The 24-year-old winger's Barcelona contract expires at the end of the season, leaving him free to negotiate with clubs abroad as of Saturday, as talks between the France international and the Catalan club remain complicated.

21.06 GMT: Brazilian club Flamengo are interested in Barcelona playmaker Philippe Coutinho, reports Sport.

The 29-year-old is said to be free to leave the La Liga club in the coming window, having endured a miserable tenure in Catalonia since signing from Liverpool in 2018. However, Flamengo would not be able to pay his full wages during any loan arrangement, and have offered to pay €3m instead.

20.33 GMT: Lyon have rejected Chelsea's offer to terminate the loan of left-wing-back Emerson Palmeiri, reports Calciomercato. The 27-year-old is in the midst of a season-long loan in Ligue 1, which includes an option to make the move permanent, but as the Londoners seek replacements for the injured Ben Chilwell they will have to find an alternative to the Brazilian they signed from AS Roma in 2018.

20.00 GMT: Tottenham Hotspur are monitoring a potential deal for Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson, writes the Manchester Evening News.

The report suggests that Spurs are considering a move if they cannot secure the future of Hugo Lloris, who is into the final six months of his contract at the club. Henderson, 24, has struggled for minutes this season with David de Gea rediscovering his form in goal and solidifying his status as first choice at Old Trafford.

19.26 GMT: Napoli have enquired about a loan for Manchester United defender Axel Tuanzebe, reports the Mail. The 24-year-old is on loan at Aston Villa, but has struggled to have an impact, and the Partenopei will look to secure a deal if that loan is cut short as they seek to replace Kostas Manolas.

18.51 GMT: Arsenal have overtaken Tottenham Hotspur for pole position in the race to land Juventus winger Dejan Kulusevski, writes Calciomercato. The Serie A side are said to be willing to transfer the Sweden international for a fee of around €35m, with the north London rivals set to go head to head to try and secure his signature.

18.15 GMT: Corinthians are still pursuing a deal for Manchester United striker Edinson Cavani in January, but view former Chelsea forward Diego Costa as a more viable transfer, according to ESPN Brasil. The Brazilian club are reportedly interested in the duo as potential options to end their search for a centre-forward, however they are also said to be in contact with representatives of Luis Suarez, whose contract at Atletico Madrid ends in the summer.

17.38 GMT: Liverpool and Newcastle United are interested in Olympiakos starlet Aguibou Camara, reports Foot Mercato. The 20-year-old has impressed for the Greek side since joining from the Lille academy in the summer, leading the Premier League duo to be interested in the potential of the Guinea attacker.

17.00 GMT: Inter Milan and Napoli are targeting Everton left-back Lucas Digne, according to the Telegraph. The 28-year-old France international is said to be out of favour on Merseyside following a dispute with manager Rafa Benitez, leading to a potential exit in January.

16.21 GMT: Sevilla are still making the loan signing of Manchester United forward Anthony Martial next month their priority, L'Equipe reports.

Sources told ESPN's Rob Dawson earlier this week that United had rejected an initial loan offer for Martial from Sevilla, who are second in LaLiga over the winter break in Spain.

Martial has told coach Ralf Rangnick he wants to leave in January but United have turned down an approach from the Spanish side because they only offered to cover half of his wages.

Sources have told ESPN that the club will only consider offers that cover all of Martial's wages and includes a loan fee, and that they are happy to keep the 26-year-old if the conditions are not met.

However, Sevilla sporting director Monchi is still confident of securing a January loan move for the 26-year-old, although it is unlikely to include an option to make the deal permanent in the summer.

15.18 GMT: Antonio Conte has urged Tottenham Hotspur to act in the January transfer window after admitting signings are essential if the club is to qualify for Europe next season.

The 52-year-old replaced Nuno Espirito Santo early in November and he has since undergone an evaluation of the current squad with a meeting due to take place with chairman Daniel Levy, football managing director Fabio Paratici and director of technical performance Steve Hitchen to finalise their plans.

Sources have told ESPN that Conte will be given considerable funds to overhaul the squad although the bulk of that work will take place at the end of the season.

Conte's priorities are believed to include signing a centre-forward, a centre-back and a right-back. Dele Alli and Matt Doherty are just two of several players who will be allowed to depart if suitable offers arrive as Conte eyes changes to help improve the club's fortunes, currently lying sixth in the Premier League with at least two games in hand on teams above them.

"After only two weeks, I said we need to improve the quality of the squad," said Conte, speaking at a news conference on Thursday. "For sure we need to improve the quality of the squad. I was sure after seven days, 10 days, two weeks about this. And then I make the evaluation who are the players I can count on and the players I can't count [on].

"This squad needs to improve the quality but in an important before to think something [about] a different place in UEFA [Champions League, Europa League] or Conference League. This league, the level is very high and now you are in the middle.

"You have to think to build something important, for this reason I ask for patience and time. In this moment, the gap is very large and we need to work a lot and also to try to build and improve the quality of the squad.

"For sure, now the situation is more clear than before. I am waiting to have a meeting with the club and then also to give my opinion about the squad and what I think about our situation."

14.26 GMT: Portuguese coach Paulo Sousa signed a deal to manage Rio de Janeiro club Flamengo on Wednesday, just hours after the Polish Football Association terminated his employment as national team coach.

Sousa had asked to be relieved of his duties with the Poland national team earlier this week after getting an offer from the Brazilian top-flight club, a request Polish FA president Cezary Kulesza had branded "extremely irresponsible."

Sousa, 51, had a contract with Poland until March. However Kulesza said on Wednesday the FA had taken the decision to part ways with the former Sporting CP and Benfica midfielder. Hours later, Flamengo announced a two-year deal with Sousa.

"This is a message for the biggest fan base in the world," Sousa said on Twitter. "It is with pride and satisfaction that I am to represent a club as incomparably great as Flamengo. It is time to work hard together to bring joy and trophies."

- Vickery: Will Sousa escape Jorge Jesus' shadow at Flamengo?

13.24 GMT: Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is on the radar of Nice, according to Foot Mercato.

Lloris, 35, is out of contract at the end of the season, with conflicting reports as to the progress of talks over a new deal at Spurs.

Nice, the France captain's former club, are ready to take advantage should he not agree to fresh terms, and Foot Mercato reports that Lloris could be interested in a move.

Speakingin a news conference on Thursday, Spurs coach Antonio Conte said: "Hugo is a Tottenham player. He is the captain and for sure, he talks with the club to try to find a solution. I think Hugo wants to stay in this club. He loves this club. He stays well in Tottenham and I think this could be his opinion."

12.31 GMT: The Africa Cup of Nations remains one of the few major tournaments in world football where gems can still be unearthed, allowing undiscovered players to transform the trajectory of their career.

In the tournament's history, some of Africa's hottest talents have used the AFCON as a platform to secure a move to European football and the riches that can await across the Mediterranean.

ESPN looks back at five African players who made the move to Europe on the back of a Nations Cup, and profile some emerging stars who could follow in their footsteps in 2022.

- Dove: AFCON still a scout's paradise

11.37 GMT: Barcelona have made Alvaro Morata their top target for January following the signing of Ferran Torres for €55m, sources have confirmed to ESPN's Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens.

Morata, 29, is on loan at Juventus from Atletico Madrid, but sources told ESPN he is ready to cut his stay in Italy short with Barcelona head coach Xavi Hernandez pushing for his signing.

Barca have held initial discussions with all parties involved over a loan deal with an option to make the move permanent in the summer.

However, the Catalan club's financial situation is complicating any potential deal as they are restricted by LaLiga's €97m spending limit. Until they are within that limit -- which will not happen this season -- they are only permitted to spend 25% of what they recoup in transfer fees or save on wage reductions.

After completing the signing of Torres from Manchester City earlier this week, Barca still need to lighten their squad before being able to register him and any other new signings. The loans of Yusuf Demir and Luuk de Jong are set to be cut short, while the club remain open to offers for Philippe Coutinho and Samuel Umtiti. Sources have told ESPN Barcelona will also listen to interest for United States international Sergino Dest.

Sources add that Barca are also exploring other ways to increase what LaLiga permits them to spend and to allow them to register Torres.

10.45 GMT: Premier League strugglers Norwich City are open to letting midfielder Todd Cantwell leave the club in January, The Sun reports.

Cantwell, 23, was one of the Canaries' leading lights when they were last in the top flight for the 2019-20 season, scoring six league goals for his boyhood club.

However, upon Norwich's return to the Premier League, he fell out with former manager Daniel Farke and has remained a peripheral figure under new boss Dean Smith.

The Sun reports that Norwich have even contacted other clubs about a potential transfer for Cantwell, who is out of contract in the summer.

09.53 GMT: Newcastle United hope to sign Atletico Madrid right-back Kieran Trippier early in the January transfer window, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Defensive reinforcements remain a priority for Newcastle, who have conceded a Premier League record 80 goals in this calendar year.

England international Trippier, 31, has been high on Newcastle's list of targets since they were taken over by the Saudi-backed PIF in October.

They may also have to adjust their transfer plans in order to sign a new centre-forward to cover for the potential long-term absence of Callum Wilson, who picked up a calf injury during Monday's 1-1 draw against Manchester United.

09.00 GMT: Kylian Mbappe has said he will not leave Paris Saint-Germain in the January transfer window and played down reports linking him with a move to Real Madrid next season.

Sources previously told ESPN that PSG rejected a €200m offer from Madrid in August despite Mbappe having made it clear he did not wish to renew his contract at the Parc des Princes.

Mbappe, 22, is free to negotiate a move away from Paris in January, as he will be a free agent next summer, but said he doesn't plan on leaving the French capital next month.

"I will give everything I have to win the Champions League, the league and the cup," Mbappe told CNN. "And to give all the pleasure to the fans, because they deserve it."

When asked if he planned on moving to Madrid in the summer, Mbappe laughed and replied his "mind is to beat Real Madrid in February and March" when both sides meet in the Champions League.

In October, Mbappe confirmed that he expressed his desire to leave PSG last July and said he doesn't regret his decision being open about his future.

"I was honest. I gave a feeling, I gave what I have in my heart," he added. "I'm happy to stay ... it's my city too. I'm French ... I want to win everything this season."

PAPER GOSSIP

- Borussia Dortmund want Erling Haaland to make a decision on his future by the end of February, according to Sport Bild. The 21-year-old forward has been heavily linked with an exit throughout the season, but with the Bundesliga club wanting time to prepare a replacement should he leave, they want him to make his mind up sooner rather than later.

- Olympiakos' Aguibou Camara has been attracting plenty of interest in recent months, and Foot Mercato writes that both Liverpool and Newcastle United are set to battle it out for his signature. The 20-year-old is a compatriot of Naby Keita, which could give the Reds an advantage in the pursuit of the midfielder, though it is reported that he may not be allowed to leave during the winter transfer window.

- Manchester Evening News reveals that Dean Henderson will remain at Manchester United in January. It was reported that he had requested a meeting with manager Ralf Rangnick to discuss his future at Old Trafford, and despite wanting to see whether he would be allowed a short term exit, the 24-year-old goalkeeper was told that he will be kept at the club for now.

- With Barcelona yet to confirm a new deal for Ousmane Dembele, Sport Italia's Rudy Galetti writes that Newcastle United have made a "monster contract offer" for his services. The 24-year-old was reported to be delaying signing a new deal at Camp Nou for some time that saw him excluded from first team activities but, despite things looking positive after he was welcomed back into the squad, it now looks as though Newcastle could get their man.

- Nicolo Schira reports that Adem Ljajic wants to leave Besiktas in January after the 30-year-old was cast out of the first team project. There is reported to be interest from Basaksehir, though he was also offered to Bologna and Genoa which would set up a return to the Serie A after spending nine years there with four different clubs.

- The Japan Times writes that Daizen Maeda is expected to join Celtic on loan. The 24-year-old Yokohama F. Marinos forward has scored 23 goals in 33 starts this season, and he could see his stay in Europe made permanent if the Scottish Premier League club decide to exercise the €2 million option fee in the loan deal.