Transfer Talk: Arsenal to investigate Ozil-Isco swap with Real Madrid

The transfer window for Europe's biggest clubs might be closed, but they are still working tirelessly behind the scenes to line up the arrival of their next star. Transfer Talk has been scouring the world's media to see who could be heading to your club when Jan. 1 arrives.

TOP STORY: Arsenal want Ozil-Isco swap

Arsenal are prepared to let Mesut Ozil out on loan this January, the Times reports, with the 30-year-old seemingly not in manager Unai Emery's plans.

The German World Cup winner was left out of Wednesday's Carabao Cup loss to Tottenham, and afterward Emery refused to be drawn on Ozil's future, diplomatically saying the decision was purely "tactical."

The club was already coming to terms with selling the player just after handing him a new contract, but with his salary so high now (a reported £350,000 a week), they fear they won't get any credible offers for him. If this still doesn't help matters, Arsenal might have to subsidise Ozil's wages in a future transfer away from the Emirates, as Chelsea did with Fernando Torres.

But the Independent reports that the Gunners have a potential solution: sending Ozil and a truckload of cash to Real Madrid in exchange for Isco.

The Madrid playmaker has been all but frozen out by new manager Santi Solari, and the report suggests that Arsenal will investigate returning a player who enjoyed a successful three-year spell in the Spanish capital in exchange for one who seemingly no longer has a future there.

However, there are some complications. For one, Los Blancos value Isco at £l00 million, so it will take Ozil and a sizeable transfer fee to bring the Spain international to North London. Two, Arsenal will face competition from Premier League rivals Chelsea, Tottenham and potentially Manchester City for Isco's signature.


23.09 GMT: That's going to bring Friday's live edition of Transfer Talk to a close. Thanks very much for joining us, and be sure to check back in a few short hours when we return with the latest gossip pulled from Saturday's papers.

21.16 GMT: Former Crystal Palace, Inter Milan and Ajax boss Frank de Boer is a candidate to become the next manager of Atlanta United, multiple sources have told ESPN FC. Read the full story.

19.06 GMT: What's the latest with Bayern Munich's aggressive, wide-ranging recruitment drive? Our own Raphael Honigstein has the latest. Read the full story.

16.26 GMT: Claudio Ranieri is considering a Leicester reunion with defender Danny Simpson as the newly installed Fulham manager searches for a way to remedy the Cottagers' porous defence, the Mail reports.

15.10 GMT: Arsenal boss Unai Emery has dismissed speculation linking Mesut Ozil with a move away from the club, insisting he still has a future at the Emirates Stadium.

"I want every player with a good mentality for helping us and give us his quality and characteristic, and we need Mesut Ozil," Emery said.

14.40 GMT: Reports in Italy say AC Milan could be closing in on the signing of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic from Lazio.

The Serbia international enjoyed a fine campaign last season, but he and Lazio have struggled to reproduce that form this year.

14.15 GMT: Maurizio Sarri has responded to reports linking Gonzalo Higuain with a move to Chelsea.

"As you know, I like him very much," he said of Higuain. "He is a wonderful player, a wonderful man. But I don't want to talk about Higuain. I have two strikers, two and a half at the moment, and Gonzalo is playing for AC Milan. It's better not to talk about him at the moment."

Sarri also said his friendship with Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe could get in the way of any potential move for Callum Wilson.

13.35 GMT: If anyone is going to leave Napoli in the January transfer window, manager Carlo Ancelotti says they will have to go to extremes to get their wish.

"In all honesty I can say that we won't make any moves in January," he told Gianluca Di Marzio. "I am satisfied with my team and unless someone chains himself up to the doors of our training centre asking to leave, we will stay with the players we have."

Defender Kalidou Koulibaly has frequently been linked with a move to the Premier League.

13.00 GMT: Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino -- enjoying the freedom not having to answer any more questions about the Manchester United job -- has hinted that midfielder Mousa Dembele still has a future at the club.

Dembele will be out of contract in the summer and there has been little indication that the 31-year-old will sign a new one.

Asked whether the club will sell the Belgium international in January, Pochettino replied: "That's for Daniel [Levy, the chairman]. What do you think Daniel's going to do if he receives a bid?"

12.15 GMT: Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone appears to have confirmed the possibility that defender Lucas Hernandez could join Bayern Munich next month.

On Wednesday, Atletico denied any deal between them and the German champions for the France international had been agreed after Marca reported that Hernandez will move for €80m in the January transfer window.

Simeone, a man usually very careful with his choice of words in news conferences, told reporters on Friday: "It is normal that a team like Bayern, appear to want to pay his clause. They are a very big club, but then there is the decision of Lucas and the work of the club to see what happens. Both Lucas and the club know what I think and what I want.

"At this moment I am thinking that Lucas is here with us. So there is no point in talking about if he is leaving or what will happen, as it might not happen in the end. I don't like talking about hypotheticals, don't think about negative things might happen.

"If he is fit he can play for us this weekend. The fans can make him feel tomorrow what they think of him and what this club means."

11.35 GMT: Paris Saint-Germain could revisit their interest in Borussia Dortmund midfielder Julian Weigl, according to Le Parisien.

The French daily reports that Germany international Weigl frustrated by his lack of playing time for the Bundesliga leaders under Lucien Favre.

A loan move in January until the end of the season with a €20 million option to buy is being studied by the French champions.

10.40 GMT: Spain coach Luis Enrique says he is a big fan of Isco but says the Real Madrid playmaker has to play regularly for his club if he is to continue in the national team.

Isco has lost his starting place at Madrid under coach Santiago Solari.

"I like Isco a lot," Luis Enrique said, as reported in AS. "He was perhaps our best player at the World Cup. He has been called up six times since then and played the majority of those games. No one is going to dispute his quality but his form and the minutes he plays [for his club] will determine the possibilities he has in the national team."

09.50 GMT: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has given his first news conference as Manchester United caretaker manager this morning, and he spoke about the club's plans for the January transfer window:

The Norwegian said ahead of United's trip to Cardiff, his former club: "I will have an input but the job is to get to know the players, observe them I've seen more or less every game from Norway, but to get to know the players, what do I think I can improve them on. The club have got the recruitment and scouting. They've got their targets but I've not sat down and talked about that."

09.15 GMT: River Plate president Rodolfo D'Onofrio has denied reports that Exequiel Palacios is on the verge of joining Real Madrid in the winter transfer window.

Real Madrid are considered favourites to land the River midfielder, who is also rumored to be a target of Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City. Los Blancos are reportedly prepared to pay €20m for the River Plate man.

The 20-year-old, who played for Argentina for the first time in September, has made 25 league appearances since making his River debut in the top flight in the 2016-17 campaign.

Asked about reports linking Palacios with Real Madrid, D'Onofrio, who is in the United Arab Emirates where his team is competing at the FIFA Club World Cup along with the Spanish giants, told TyC Sports: "There is no truth in Palacios' transfer to Real Madrid. The player only spoke once to [Real Madrid international director Emilio] Butragueno and that was that. There was nothing more. I was with [Real Madrid president] Florentino Perez and he didn't say anything to me."

08.30 GMT: Sao Paulo defender Rodrigo Caio's move to Barcelona has been put on hold despite the player undergoing a medical in a clinic in Brazil this week with a view to joining the Catalan outfit, according to Brazilian sports newspaper Lance.

Barca reportedly sent a doctor to Sao Paulo to oversee the 25-year-old's medical and all that was missing was the signing of the contract, a loan deal with a buy-out option.

However, Barca, who were negotiating simultaneously the signing of Valencia defender Jeison Murillo, finally opted to acquire the Colombian international and not Caio.

Caio, who has made over 142 appearances since being promoted to Sao Paulo's first team in 2011, is tied to the Brazilian giants until 2021.

He is reportedly keen to leave Sao Paulo in the winter transfer window.

PAPER TALK (Mark Thompson, Football Whispers) by Chelsea's Sarri wants Higuain-for-Morata swap

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri is keen for a reunion with Gonzalo Higuain, and he sees the struggling Alvaro Morata as the perfect makeweight for the deal, according to Sky Sports journalist Luca Marchetti.

Higuain had a stellar season under Sarri at Napoli when the two crossed paths there and before he was sold to Juventus. The report also claims that Milan have long been admirers of Morata, whose five goals in the Premier League thus far have failed to impress the new Chelsea boss.

However, there's a third party that needs to be considered in any future move, with Juventus owning the rights to the on-loan Higuain. The Biaconeri's involvement could be a stumbling block as they are as yet unaware of Chelsea's interest and would have to sign off on any deal and ostensibly take a cut of whatever fee was involved.

Everton director says quality PSV duo Lozano, Bergwijn overpriced

Everton football director Marcel Brands is an admirer of PSV duo Hirving Lozano and Steven Bergwijn, but not enough to pay for the reported fee each one would demand.

Brands, who joined Everton this year after holding the same position at PSV for eight years, was responsible for bringing Lozano from Mexican club Pachuca to the Eredivisie in 2017.

"Lozano and Bergwijn are interesting players, but at €30 million for Hirving and €20m for Steven, we won't pay that," Brands told Dutch outlet Voetbal International.

"If Lozano cost €20m, I would consider it, but for that high of an amount we look at players who have demonstrated their talent in the Premier League or another big league."

Football Whispers' top five emerging whispers

Football Whispers' transfer algorithm gives the likelihood of rumours happening a score out of five.

Samir Nasri to West Ham -- 3.4

West Ham are set to make a decision about whether to sign Samir Nasri later this week, the Evening Standard reports. Nasri has been without a club since he was handed an 18-month ban for a doping violation that took place in 2016. The Frenchman was part of Manuel Pellegrini's title-winning Manchester City team.

Gary Cahill to Monaco -- 2.3

Cahill seems to have no path to first-team football at Chelsea, and Monaco are the latest team to join the hunt to sign him, according to BeInSports. Monaco's young squad has struggled defensively this season, and manager Thierry Henry is looking to add experience in the department. Cahill, though, is just one on a list that is said to also include Laurent Koscielny, Pepe, and Martin Skrtel.

Cengiz Under to Bayern -- 1.9

Arsenal and Tottenham have been chasing the Roma winger, but ESPN sources have revealed that Bayern Munich are interested as well. With Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery moving on at the end of the season, the Bundesliga giants will be in need of wide forwards, and the talented 21-year-old fits the bill.

Cesc Fabregas to Monaco -- 1.8

Gary Cahill isn't the only ageing Chelsea star that Henry is interested in, according to Gazzetta dello Sport. The Ligue 1 club have joined AC Milan in interest for the Spanish midfielder, who has admitted that he'd be open to a move in January. Milan have had the head start, but Monaco have the advantage of a personal connection, with Henry knowing Fabregas from their days at Arsenal.

Mario Lemina to Paris Saint-Germain -- 1.6

The Southampton midfielder is on a list of options to replace Adrien Rabiot at PSG, according to The Sun. Lemina has been a bright spot in an otherwise troubling couple of years for the Saints, but it might be hard to pry him away from new manager Ralph Hasenhuttl, who is said to be a fan.