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LIVE Transfer Talk: Manchester City eye River Plate star Nicolas de la Cruz

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Gareth Bale 'almost can't' leave Real Madrid until summer (1:17)

Sid Lowe explains why it will be tough for Real Madrid to move on from Gareth Bale in January. (1:17)

The transfer windows in Europe's top leagues are closed, but it's never too early to look forward to January. Click here to view the latest transfers, and keep up to date with the newest gossip below.

TOP STORY: Manchester City eye River Plate star

River Plate are still digesting their defeat to Flamengo in the Copa Libertadores final last week, but the aftermath could get worse for the Argentine side if you believe Marca, who report that Manchester City are preparing to bid for 22-year-old Uruguayan midfielder Nicolas de la Cruz.

De la Cruz has been in sensational form for River Plate in the last few months following a disappointing first year following his move to the Argentine giants from Liverpool Montevideo, and his form has attracted admiring glances from Pep Guardiola.

Marca are reporting that City have already been in touch with River Plate and are preparing a bid of €25 million. His release clause is set at €22m.

De la Cruz has scored four times and contributed four assists in nine league games, and he scored three times as River Plate marched to their second consecutive Copa Libertadores final.

LIVE BLOG

23.00 GMT: That will do it for the latest edition of our LIVE Transfer Talk blog. We hoped you enjoyed following along with us and remind you to check back shortly for the latest transfer rumours, reports and completed deals. Goodnight!

22.41 GMT: Here's one that we are pretty sure is a first...

Everton have reportedly made a €35 million bid for... wait for it... Everton!

According to the report, the Merseyside club have bid for Gremio forward Everton Sousa Soares, more commonly known as Everton. The 23-year-old had a standout summer for Brazil, winning the Golden Boot at the past Copa America with three goals. In all, "Everton" has played 14 times for Brazil, and after his breakout tournament has appeared on the radar of many in Europe's Big Five leagues.

Has a club every tried to sign a player with the exact same name? We feel safe in saying this would be a first...

21.53 GMT: Benfica's Ruben Dias, 22, is one of the highest rated young centre-backs in the world, with Man United, Man City and Tottenham all reportedly keen.

For now though, Dias remains a Benfica player, the Portugal international having signed a contract extension with the club through 2024. Dias, who has been at Benfica since 2008, has made 104 appearances for the Eagles at the first-team level, while also appearing 16 times for Portugal's senior team. In the club's release they revealed that Dias now has a release clause in an excess of €100 million, so Europe's elite will not be getting a discounted rate.

Dias explained his decision to extend his deal with the Portuguese giants saying:

"I've always been calm over this time. My mind was always where it should be. Me and the club were in line and we have reached this deal in time.

"There's only one thing in my head: to win and bring titles home. I believe that this was the main reason for the renewal."

21.04 GMT: If you haven't been paying attention to the English Championship you might not realise the scintillating form that Fulham's Aleksandar Mitrovic is in at the moment.

The Serbian striker is as hot as any forward in world football, having bagged 23 goals in his last 23 games for club and country. With this form comes attention from bigger clubs and Fulham manager Scott Parker unfortunately knows as much.

"[Aleksandar] Mitrovic loves it at this place [Fulham], it's his home and he's comfortable," said Parker. "When you have a top striker like Aleksandar in your team there will always be people floating around, but he's happy and I'm sure we'll be alright.

"He's motivated by goals, typical striker, he's first class. We get the ball in the right areas and he's there to finish them."

Could a club in the Premier League or Europe come in for Mitrovic in January? Fulham will surely hope not but if he keeps scoring at this rate Fulham would do well to hold on to him.

20.10 GMT: With Arsenal in turmoil, the talk of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang leaving the Emirates has loudened in recent weeks.

The likeliest destination for the Gabon international? Real Madrid.

It is no secret that Real Madrid chief Florentino Perez is an admirer of Aubameyang, and according to El Desmarque of Spain, Los Blancos are set to offer out-of-favour midfielder James Rodriguez plus £70 million for the Arsenal hitman.

Aubameyang reportedly misses Champions League football and is keen on leaving the Emirates to pursue an opportunity to play in Europe's biggest competition again next season. The 30-year-old has 10 goals in 16 games for Arsenal this season, and has scored an impressive 40 in 62 league appearances for the Gunners.

One reason Madrid won't go for Auba? Well they already have an in-form Karim Benzema and also shelled out over €200 million this past summer for attackers Luka Jovic, Eden Hazard and Rodrygo.

Then again, when has money every stopped Real Madrid...

19.18 GMT: Mario Mandzukic to Man United in January?

This rumour has been out there for a few months now but The Athletic has now revealed that Mandzukic to United is off, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to sign a player who can jump right into game action and not a player who hasn't played a single minute for Juventus this season.

The report adds that instead of the 33-year-old Croatian, United are focussing on a move for 18-year-old Red Bull Salzburg phenom Erling Braut Haaland.

18.29 GMT: Liverpool are 11 points clear atop the Premier League table but it has not been all good news for the Reds this week.

Earlier this week, Jurgen Klopp revealed that central midfield lynchpin Fabinho will be out until at least January with an ankle injury. With Fabinho out could Liverpool look to add a midfielder in January? Reports from Europe suggest one player the Anfield club could target is Genk youngster Sander Berge.

The highly-rated 21-year-old has been drawing rave reviews in Belgium and Liverpool will have gotten a good look at the Norway international in the two games against Genk in the Champions League. Berge would reportedly be available for around £18 million and could provide much-needed midfield cover for the Premier League title hopefuls.

17.41 GMT: Barcelona striker Luis Suarez has talked up some young strikers who are making waves across Europe -- Chelsea's Tammy Abraham, Valencia's Maxi Gomez and Inter Milan's Lautaro Martinez.

Martinez has been linked with a big-money move to Barcelona following his early success in Serie A, and Suarez picked him out for praise.

"I personally have certain strikers that I look at because I like to watch their football, whether young or old," the Uruguay international told OneFootball.

"One is Abraham, the No. 9 of Chelsea. I think he's a very good forward, a good finisher, who moves very well despite how young he is.

"Another one that I love is Maxi Gomez. Apart from being Uruguayan, he is a player who has many characteristics that any club in a centre-forward can look for.

"There are also more players like Lautaro Martínez who is also demonstrating a great level."

16.29 GMT: Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea has said the team's poor form is due to a "lack of quality" in certain areas, in an apparent message that the club needs to strengthen the squad.

United have won only two of their last eight Premier League games and sit ninth in the table, nine points behind the Champions League places ahead of Sunday's match at home to Aston Villa.

"I don't think it's through any lack of effort, the boys are leaving everything out on the field in training and games," De Gea told Sky Sports. "You could point maybe to a lack of quality in certain areas, but certainly not a lack of fight."

15:01 GMT: Chelsea have Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha and Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho on their radar, according to the Daily Telegraph.

The Blues have attacking wide players Willian and Pedro Rodriguez both out of contract in the summer, and are yet to offer either over-30 player a new deal.

Chelsea are awaiting the outcome of their appeal against their FIFA-imposed transfer ban. If that fails, they will have to wait until the summer to make big-money moves for either Zaha or Sancho.

13:52 GMT: Zlatan Ibrahimovic has said he can maintain his level until the age of 50 if he finds the right project and added he sees AC Milan as his "second home" amid speculation he could return to Serie A.

The former Sweden international has ended his two-year spell with LA Galaxy and has since been announced as part-owner of Hammarby but sources have told ESPN FC a playing role has not yet been ruled out.

Ibrahimovic, 38, spent two seasons at Milan and won a league title in 2011, before leaving for Paris Saint-Germain a year later.

"Milan is my second home," Ibrahimovic told Gazzetta dello Sport. "Milan is not my second city, it's my second home. I have some wonderful memories."

He added: "If there is a project which stimulates me, I could play at the same level until I'm 50 years old."

12.45 GMT: Everton forward Richarlison in on the verge of signing a new contract at Goodison Park, according to manager Marco Silva.

"We have to look at the positives ahead and one of the positive thing this week is that we are now busy with the last details of extending a new contract with one of our key players, Richarlison, until 2024," Silva told reporters ahead of Sunday's Premier League clash with Leicester. "So that is something positive for the long-term."

11.31 GMT: Real Madrid attacking midfielder James Rodriguez has been linked with a January move to Arsenal. ESPN analyst Craig Burley assesses how the 28-year-old Colombia international, who won the Golden Boot at the 2014 World Cup, might fare in the Premier League, and if the Emirates would be the right destination.

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Will James Rodriguez find a home in the Premier League?

Craig Burley says James Rodriguez is a talented player, but needs to find a club where he can play regularly.

10.25 GMT: Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has urged the club to offer midfielder Willian a new contract, according to the London Evening Standard.

Willian has quickly become a key senior player in Lampard's young side, but the 31-year-old's contract at Stamford Bridge expires at the end of the season.

That means that from Jan. 1 the Brazil international can open talks with foreign clubs over a free transfer in the summer, with Barcelona regularly linked with interest.

However, the Evening Standard report claims that Lampard has told Chelsea transfer chiefs Marina Granovskaia and Petr Cech that he wants his former teammate to stay at Chelsea.

09.30 GMT: Pep Guardiola says he is "open" to extending his stay at Manchester City. The 48-year-old has a contract until 2021, but has suggested he would welcome the chance to sign a new deal.

"I'm open, yes," he told a news conference on Friday. "I'm so comfortable working with this club."

Next season will be Guardiola's fifth at the Etihad Stadium, making it his longest managerial tenure at any one club, and he hinted his future is in the hands of his players.

"It depends on results," he said. "When you are five years it depends on the results. We will see what happens this season and next season."

PAPER TALK (by Nick Judd): Juventus send for Chelsea's Emerson

Italian champions Juventus are seeking defensive cover on the flanks and they're focusing their efforts on luring Chelsea full-back Emerson Palmieri away from Stamford Bridge, according to Italian title Calciomercato.

Emerson could add vital cover the Bianconeri's backline, though he has enjoyed plenty of first-team football under Frank Lampard this season. The Italian international has played eight league games and once in European action for the Blues this season, and the 25 year old might not want to risk regular football for a spot of bench warming in Turin.

Emerson's contract runs out in 2022, which is why Juve sporting director Fabio Paratici has been in touch with the Londoners to scope out the potential for a move.

Tap ins

-- Borussia Dortmund have ruled out selling England hotshot Jadon Sancho in the January transfer window, according to the Daily Mail. The winger has been the subject of intense speculation about a possible return to England, particularly after he was substituted against Bayern Munich in the first half against Bayern Munich, and then forced to start the midweek clash with Barcelona on the bench. Manchester United have been among the clubs leading the chase for the youngster, but Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc has ruled out a departure, insisting any issues between the club and player have been resolved.

- AC Milan have a Leo Duarte-shaped hole to fill in the centre of their defence after the Brazilian was ruled out for four months, and Calciomercato believe the Rossoneri are set to raid Juve for central defender Merih Demiral. The 21-year-old has struggled to hold down a first-team place at Juve under Maurizio Sarri but was sensational last season for Sassuolo. The Turkey international is believed to be priced at an eye-watering €36m.