LIVE Transfer Talk: N'Golo Kante eyes Barcelona summer move if he exits Chelsea

With the January transfer window now open around Europe there's plenty of gossip swirling about who's moving where. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz on rumours, comings, goings and, of course, done deals!

TOP STORY: Kante eyes Barcelona if he exits Chelsea

N'Golo Kante wants to continue his career at Barcelona, according to Sport, with the 31-year-old Chelsea midfielder set to be out of contract in the summer.

With little sign of progress towards an extension, the 2018 World Cup winner is now drifting closer towards leaving Stamford Bridge.

Barcelona are looking to continue their trend of acquiring high-profile players on free transfer deals, and it looks as though the France international is their latest priority, with belief that he can still perform at the highest level for a positive number of years.

Despite some interest from Al Nassr, the Blaugrana are reportedly confident they can win the race for Kante's signature, though they are aware that they would be unable to match the level of salary that the Saudi Pro League club -- who recently signed Cristiano Ronaldo on a reported $75 million-per-year deal -- could propose.

Kante is hopeful of returning to action later this month, after a hamstring injury sustained in an August match against Tottenham Hotspur has kept him sidelined and made him miss the 2022 World Cup.

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21.40 GMT: Thomas Strakosha has been told by Brentford that he can leave on loan this January, writes the Evening Standard.

The former Lazio goalkeeper arrived at the Premier League side after signing a four-year contract in the summer, but he has since made just one appearance.

Strakosha, 27, is understood to not be forcing a move away from the side, though he would be open to a temporary switch to garner first team minutes.

20.59 GMT: Manchester United are interested in signing Axel Disasi, reports the Daily Mail.

Erik ten Hag's side are understood to have identified the 24-year-old as a potential future replacement for Harry Maguire, despite the club not believed to be looking to move on the England star in the current transfer window.

Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham are also linked with the Monaco and France international defender.

20.30 GMT: Juventus and AC Milan are keeping close tabs on Mohammed Kudus, according to Calciomercato.

The 22-year-old Ajax attacker has been in impressive form this season, and he also shined for Ghana at the FIFA World Cup, with two goals in three appearances.

Borussia Dortmund have been linked with interest in his signature as a potential midfield replacement for Jude Bellingham, but the latest indicates that multiple teams could challenge for his signature.

20.00 GMT: Milos Kerkez is on the radar of a number of clubs across Europe, reveals Sky Sports.

Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund are reported to be keen on landing the 19-year-old defender, while there is also Premier League interest from Leicester City, Leeds United, and Bournemouth.

Kerkez is a regular starter for AZ Alkmaar, having made 20 appearances across all competitions this season, and he has also been capped by the Hungary national team.

19.35 GMT: Aston Villa have announced the signing of England Lionesses midfielder Jordan Nobbs.

The 30-year-old arrives at the club from Arsenal, where she made 270 appearances across a 12-year spell, and joins on an 18-month deal that includes an option to extend by a further season.

Speaking about the move, manager Carla Ward said: "This is a big signing for us and Jordan is one of the country's most decorated footballers,

"She's a winner and will bring a wealth of experience that her new teammates will thrive off."

18.54 GMT: Yann Sommer has no plans to extend his contract with Borussia Monchengladbach, reports Sky Sports Deutschland's Florian Plettenberg.

Sommer's deal will expire at the end of the season, and on the radar of Bayern Munich, it looks as though the 34-year-old Switzerland international goalkeeper is keen to move on. It is reported that Julian Nagelsmann's side would be prepared to offer a fee of €5 million to sign him this month.

18.30 GMT: AC Milan are looking to land Noah Raveyre, writes Le 10 Sport.

The 17-year-old goalkeeper is set to be out of contract at Saint-Etienne in the summer, and having failed to reach an agreement over new terms, the Serie A champions are hopeful of acquiring him quickly before other teams across Europe join the race for his signature.

18.00 GMT: Croatia international Mislav Orsic is closing in on a move to Southampton, understands the Athletic.

The Premier League side are reported to have submitted a swift improved offer worth £6 million plus add-ons after their opening one was turned down by Dinamo Zagreb. The 30-year-old forward is now set to undergo a medical in the final stages before his move can be announced.

17.40 GMT: Alex Sandro is looking for potential other clubs as he prepares to leave Juventus, according to UOL.

With just six months remaining on his deal at the Allianz Stadium, the 31-year-old left-back is able to sign a pre-contract agreement with clubs outside of the Serie A, and it is understood there is early interest in his signature emerging from Brazil and Turkey.

17.08 GMT: Leeds United midfielder Mateusz Klich will be leaving to join MLS side D.C. United, reports the Yorkshire Evening Post. The club has terminated the Polish international's contract to allow him to leave after five years at Elland Road, the club announced.

Kilch, 32, made 177 appearances for Leeds but has found his playing time reduced this season.

16.30 GMT: U.S. midfielder Brianna Pinto has agreed to a three-year, guaranteed contract with the North Carolina Courage through the 2025 season, the club announced Thursday. Pinto was traded to the Courage from NJ/NY Gotham FC prior to the 2022 season and appeared in 22 matches for the Courage in 2022, 17 of them starts.

Pinto graduated from UNC and was drafted into the NWSL in 2021. She was called into the U.S. U-23 Camp in January 2022, and represented the U.S. at the 2018 U-20 Women's World Cup France, starting every match.

16.02 GMT: Chelsea have wasted little time in this January transfer window. Promising 18-year-old striker David Datro Fofana has completed a move to Stamford Bridge, prodigious 18-year-old Vasco da Gama midfielder Andrey Santos is already in London waiting to finalise his transfer, and now 21-year-old AS Monaco centre-back Benoit Badiashile has signed his deal with the Blues.

So, who is Badiashile, and what can Chelsea fans expect from their latest recruit? ESPN's Tor-Kristian Karlsen breaks down every detail of the France international's game, and illustrates the football journey that's taken him from Monte Carlo to west London.

- Karlsen: What can Chelsea fans expect from new defender Badiashile

15.13 GMT: Benfica coach Roger Schmidt has branded Chelsea "disrespectful" over their pursuit of Enzo Fernandez and accused them of "pretending" they were ready to pay the midfielder's €120m release clause.

Sources told ESPN's James Olley on Wednesday that there were mixed messages around the deal with those close to Benfica indicating that the Blues had shown a willingness to meet or even surpass the 21-year-old's clause while others close to the Blues were playing down any reports they would agree to that valuation. It is understood Chelsea had intimated at one stage during negotiations that they could pay a higher figure in return for paying the fee in a series of annual instalments.

However, Benfica are demanding the entire fee up front and as talks continue with Fernandez keen on a switch to Stamford Bridge, Schmidt voiced his frustration at the Blues' approach during a Thursday press conference ahead of Benfica's Primeira Liga match against Portimonense.

"There is a club who wants our player," said Schmidt. "They know we don't want to sell the player. They tried to get the player on their side and they know that they can only get this player when they pay the clause.

"So it is a very clear situation. What the club is doing, who wants to buy Enzo, is disrespectful against all of us, against Benfica and I cannot accept what they are doing.

"To make the player crazy and then to pretend they can pay the clause and later they want to negotiate, I think this is not what I understand about a good relationship between clubs who maybe want to discuss about the player. So that's what I can say about the whole topic of Enzo and I will not answer further questions."

Sources have told ESPN that while Chelsea believe they have significant headroom in their compliance with UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules, the attempt to negotiate a lower first instalment is driven partly by an acknowledgment the club spent more than £270m in the summer and want to invest heavily again in the current transfer window.

14.18 GMT: Chelsea have signed centre-back Benoit Badiashile from Monaco, the Premier League club announced on Thursday.

Badiashile, 21, has made 135 appearances for Monaco and has been capped twice by France, having risen through the national team's youth ranks.

The highly rated youngster bolsters Chelsea's defence after the departures of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen on free transfers in the summer.

Chelsea brought in centre-backs Wesley Fofana and Kalidou Koulibaly from Leicester City and Napoli respectively to cover for those exits, while full-back Marc Cucurella, signed from Brighton, can also play in that position.

13.51 GMT: Newcastle United are in talks with Spanish club Real Valladolid over the signing of 18-year-old right-back Ivan Fresneda, Sky Sports reports.

Scouts from the Magpies have watched the former Real Madrid youth player several times, while Juventus and Borussia Dortmund are also interested in him.

Fresneda, who has a contract at Valladolid until 2025, could be the next teen prospect to arrive at St James' Park following the arrival of Australia international Garang Kuol from Central Coast Mariners.

12.57 GMT: Sergio Ramos hasn't received an approach from Al Nassr regarding a possible transfer to follow in the footsteps of his former Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo, sources have told ESPN's Alex Kirkland and Rodrigo Faez.

Marca reported last week that the Saudi Arabian side were keen to bring in the Paris Saint-Germain defender, 36, next summer as they look to build a new team around Ronaldo, who was unveiled on Tuesday.

Sources told ESPN that there had been no contact between Ramos' entourage and Al Nassr, and the player is fully focused on PSG.

Ramos had a difficult, injury-hit first season in Paris after joining in July 2021 but has been a regular starter in 2022-23. His current contract is due to expire in June, and no decision has yet been made on a possible extension.

12.05 GMT: ESPN's Sophie Lawson looks at Bethany England's record transfer from Chelsea to Tottenham and what it tells us about the progression of the women's game:

A consistent goal-threat over her time in the Women's Super League, England should help Spurs with their goal scoring draught, and Spurs are counting on that with the fee they are paying for her signature. Indeed, from the men's game we know attackers tend to command bigger sums of money, but what is so notable about the winter move is the record transfer fee paid by Spurs for the 28-year-old.

Although there remains a general cloak of mystery about fees and wages in the women's game, with a sizable margin for error when figures are reported, we do know that Chelsea received somewhere in the market of £250,000 for the sale, which makes it one of the priciest transfers in the women's game and the biggest ever within the WSL.

For context, England midfielder, Keira Walsh is believed to be the most expensive signing in the women's game, with her move to Barcelona last summer pocketing Manchester City around £400,000.

As the game grows, it should be no surprise to see larger and larger figures make headlines, but it was only seven and a half years ago that Chelsea were reported to have set a new British transfer record fee for Fran Kirby -- at a cost of only one-fifth of England's fee. Although the sums were disputed by the Blues, the reports suggested that the midfielder moved for between £40,000 and £60,000.

- Lawson: What England deal means for Spurs, and for women's game as a whole

Why Beth England's WSL record transfer makes sense for everyone

Sophie Lawson explains that Spurs, Chelsea, England and the player all benefit from the WSL record transfer.

11.26 GMT: Talks between Chelsea and Benfica over the transfer of Argentina midfielder Enzo Fernandez have broken down, according to TyC Sports.

Sources told ESPN's James Olley on Wednesday that the two clubs were locked in negotiations over what could turn into a British record transfer for the 2022 World Cup winner, with the 21-year-old is keen on a move to Stamford Bridge and Benfica are willing to agree to the move if their €120m release clause is met in full.

However, TyC's Cesar Luis Merlo reports that, after several days of talks involving Benfica president Rui Costa, the Portuguese club's unwillingness to budge on that fee has put an end to the negotiations.

10.34 GMT: Real Madrid's bid to land England star Jude Bellingham is "on track" according to Marca's front page on Thursday.

The LaLiga giants are "optimistic" about signing the Borussia Dortmund midfielder, 19, despite fierce competition from the Premier League, the newspaper reports.

Sources told ESPN's Alex Kirkland and Rodrigo Faez last week that Madrid believed talks over Bellingham would speed up during the month of January, with the club ready to spend over €100 million to sign him.

Marca call €100m the "minimum price" that Madrid could expect to pay, while praising Bellingham for "not succumbing to any of the juicy offers" that have come his way as he prioritises a move to the Spanish capital.

09.41 GMT: Former Ajax defender Daley Blind is in talks Bayern Munich over a free transfer to the Bundesliga giants, sources have told ESPN.

Blind, 32, is a free agent after he and Ajax agreed to terminate his contract last week, six months before it was due to expire.

Sources have said that details of a contract with Bayern are being discussed, and an agreement could be reached as soon as later on Thursday.

Blind won seven titles with Ajax, making 333 appearances, scoring 13 goals and contributing 21 assists.

He played almost every minute of Netherlands run to the quarterfinals of this year's World Cup in Qatar, scoring in their round-of-16 win over the United States.

08.48 GMT: Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea has said he is confident his contract stand-off with the club will end "in a good way."

De Gea's deal at Old Trafford is set to expire at the end of the season, and United have an option to extend it by another year. Sources have told ESPN's Rob Dawson the club have chosen instead to start negotiations over a longer agreement.

However, if fresh terms are not agreed and United do not trigger his extension, De Gea could leave for free in the summer, although the 32-year-old said he expects to stay.

"I'm very relaxed," De Gea said after the 3-0 win over Bournemouth on Tuesday. "I'm just focused on training, perform as best as I can. But, for sure, it's going to end in a good way."

De Gea has made more than 500 appearances for United since arriving from Atletico Madrid in 2011.

Sources have told ESPN that United are in talks about a deal for Jack Butland to provide backup for De Gea, with Martin Dubravka having returned to Newcastle United after his season-long loan was cut short.

08.00 GMT: United States center back Aaron Long has finalised a deal to join LAFC, the Major League Soccer club announced on Wednesday evening.

Long spent the last seven seasons with the New York Red Bulls, where he blossomed into one of the league's best defenders. He was the MLS Defender of the Year in 2018 and has been capped 29 times by the national team, serving as captain five times.

Long, whose contract with the Red Bulls expired at the end of the 2022 season, was an unused substitute for the U.S. in all four World Cup matches in Qatar.

Inter Miami and Seattle Sounders also reportedly sought to sign Long as a free agent.

PAPER GOSSIP (by Adam Brown)

- Sergio Ramos is the latest player to be added to Al Nassr's radar, reveals CBS journalist Ben Jacobs. Paris Saint-Germain are yet to offer the 36-year-old defender a new contract extension, and with just six months remaining on his deal at the Parc des Princes, the Saudi Pro League club could make a move for his signature. They are also willing to part ways with Cameroon international striker Vincent Aboubakar.

- Tottenham are looking to complete a double swoop from Sporting CP to bolster their squad, according to the Daily Mail. Pedro Porro is understood to have a release clause of £40m, with Spurs boss Antonio Conte looking to reinforce his options at the right-back position. Tottenham are also keen on bringing back former academy player Marcus Edwards. While Edwards' release clause is set at £52m, the report indicates that they could acquire the forward for less than that due to a 50% sell-on clause when he initially joined the Lisbon club in 2019.

- Everton have seen their loan offer for Aston Villa's Danny Ings rejected, according to the Daily Mail. It is reported that Villa are only interested in parting ways with the 30-year-old striker if it is on a permanent basis, and there is also interest from AFC Bournemouth, West Ham United, and Southampton. Ings scored on Wednesday night as Unai Emery's side played out a 1-1 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers at Villa Park.

- Villarreal and Argentina keeper Geronimo Rulli is set to make the switch to Ajax, reveals Relevo. After rejecting Ajax's first approach for the 30-year-old, it looks as though Villarreal have now agreed on a fee in the region of €15m including bonuses to part ways with the World Cup winner.