Arsenal make approach for Real Madrid’s Odegaard

Arsenal have made an approach to Real Madrid for attacking midfielder Martin Odegaard.

The Norway international is expecting to be granted his wish to leave on loan this month for regular first-team football.

The Real Madrid board is currently considering the latest proposal from the London club.

Arsenal, who have already failed with an approach for the midfielder, face strong competition for Odegaard, including at least one other Premier League club.

Odegaard has struggled for game time under Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane this season, featuring just 12 times without scoring a goal.

The 22-year-old impressed while on loan at Real Sociedad last season, registering seven goals and nine assists across 36 appearances.

Odegaard in Arsenal’s window of two halves

Sky Sports News’ Dharmesh Sheth on the Transfer Show:

“You’ll remember last month, we said the January window would be all about two halves – the first would be trying to offload players on loan to cut the wage bill, reduce the size of the squad.

“Then if they could get enough off the wage bill, maybe in the second half they could concentrate on an opening.

“Edu, the technical director, has said Arsenal would focus on the attacking midfield area. It looks like Real Madrid will grant his wish for Odegaard to leave on loan.”

What would one-time wonderkid Odegaard bring to the Premier League?

Sky Sports’ Peter Smith:

What would Odegaard bring to the Premier League? Well, hype, hope, and a lot of media attention for starters.

The attention of the footballing world was centred on him in 2015 when, a month after his 16th birthday, Real Madrid won the race for his signature – and the interest in the now 22-year-old will ignite again if he comes to these shores.

Already a Norway international when he joined Real, Odegaard – who had drawn excitable comparisons with Lionel Messi – immediately began training with the first team and became the club’s youngest-ever player in the final game of that season.

Back then, the anticipation of what Odegaard would become at the Bernabeu knew no bounds – but his progress, perhaps disappointingly for some, has been quieter since, as the gradual progression of a midfield technician has taken shape.

Patience is paying off now, though. After an underwhelming 18-month loan spell at Heerenveen, Odegaard had a standout season at Vitesse in 2018/19, creating more chances than any other player in the Netherlands’ top flight, and finishing third in the assists charts to Dusan Tadic and Hakim Ziyech.

He backed it up with an impressive season at Real Sociedad last year, when he hit double figures for goal contributions, and was recalled to Real Madrid as a result.

While a way into Zinedine Zidane’s line-up has ultimately been hard to find, Premier League clubs are now pursuing a classy creator, a pass master, and an attacking midfielder with a fine touch and bright awareness of the game.

Odegaard – if he does come to England – will bring excitement on the pitch as well as off it.

Ozil close to finalising Fenerbahce move

Arsenal are set to lose Mesut Ozil, who they signed from Real in 2013, imminently, with the creative midfielder’s move to Fenerbahce set to be finalised on Friday once his period of quarantine is over following his arrival in Turkey.



Mesut Ozil file photo
File photo dated 02-02-2020 of Arsenal's Mesut Ozil arrives for the Premier League match at Turf Moor, Burnley.




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The Good Morning Transfers team discuss Mesut Ozil’s imminent Arsenal exit and whether the club need to replace him this January.

Arsenal and Ozil are close to finalising the outstanding details of his contract termination ahead of joining Super Lig club Fenerbahce on a three-and-a-half-year deal as a free agent.

Ozil, whose contract at the Emirates was due to expire this summer, arrived in Istanbul on Sunday evening and is quarantining in Istanbul, in line with Turkey’s Covid-19 protocols.

On Sunday, the 2014 World Cup winner with Germany said goodbye to his Arsenal team-mates and staff at the club’s training ground.

“I am a Fenerbahce fan,” Ozil told NTV in Turkey earlier this week

“That is why I am very happy to be coming to Turkey with Fenerbahce. I’m very excited. God gave me the chance to wear this jersey as a Fenerbahce fan. God willing, I will carry it with honour and do everything I can for the team.”

Follow the January transfer window with Sky Sports

The winter transfer window is open until Monday, February 1 at 11pm.

Follow all the news and analysis on Sky Sports News and across Sky Sports‘ digital platforms, including our dedicated Transfer Centre blog.

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Real make Alaba offer

Real Madrid have offered David Alaba a lucrative contract to join the club – but the Bayern Munich defender is yet to make a decision on his future.

The Austria international is out of contract at the end of the season and is free to discuss a pre-contract agreement with clubs outside of Germany.

Bayern have offered Alaba multiple contract extensions, including a £13m-a-year deal which the player rejected, but talks ceased in November.

Real could face competition to sign the 28-year-old, who can also operate in midfield, with Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United and Manchester City reportedly interested.

Alaba is not expected to make a decision this month, with the final call on his future likely to come either in April or May.

His agent, Pini Zahavi, is close friends with Barcelona presidential candidate Joan Laporta and may wait until after elections to discuss a possible move to the Nou Camp.

A move will end the Alaba’s 13-year stay at Bayern, where he has won nine Bundesliga titles and two Champions League crowns.

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Real Madrid beaten by Bilbao in Super Cup

Athletic Bilbao forward Raul Garcia scored twice in a 2-1 win over Real Madrid to knock the holders out of the Spanish Super Cup and set up a final against Barcelona.

Garcia, who was sent off during a 3-1 defeat by Real Madrid last month, made the most of two glaring errors from Real’s Lucas Vazquez to net twice in the first half before Karim Benzema pulled one back 17 minutes from time.

Athletic Bilbao meet Barcelona on Sunday in Seville in a repeat of the 2015 final, which Barca won 5-1 on aggregate. This year’s Super Cup was moved to southern Spain after the coronavirus pandemic stopped it from being held in Saudi Arabia for a second straight season.

Karim Benzema pulled a goal back for Real Madrid late on - AP
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Karim Benzema pulled a goal back for Real Madrid late on

Athletic Bilbao reach the final after being boosted by the arrival of coach Marcelino Garcia Toral, who was hired less than two weeks ago to try to halt the team’s struggles. It was only his second match in charge of the club, coming after a 3-2 home loss to Barcelona in La Liga last week.

Garcia got Athletic off to an ideal start when he pounced on indecision in the Real defence to latch on to a through ball and slot into the net in the 18th minute after right-back Vazquez had given the ball away.

Athletic Bilbao celebrate after reaching the Spanish Super Cup final - AP
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Athletic Bilbao celebrate after reaching the final

Garcia doubled the lead by sending Real goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois the wrong way from the penalty spot in the 38th minute, after Vazquez had hauled down Inigo Martinez.

Iker Muniain should have added a third early in the second half but missed the target with a free header and Marco Asensio hit the woodwork twice before Benzema pulled Real back into contention. The Frenchman’s strike had initially been ruled offside but was awarded after a VAR review.

Benzema put the ball in the net again and was again given offside but this time the VAR ruled against him.

Real probed for an equaliser deep into six minutes of added time and Athletic faced an agonising wait for a VAR check to be completed on a potential Real penalty but they were spared and wildly celebrated the win.

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Mbappe: All roads leading to Madrid?

The city of Madrid is currently a zombie town, and that’s not just down to a global pandemic. Spain has been buried in recent days by the country’s worst snowstorm for the past 60 years.

The adverse weather conditions claimed Atletico Madrid’s La Liga game against Athletic Bilbao with roads in and out of the Spanish capital blocked due to Storm Filomena.

For Zinedine Zidane, it has been another unwanted obstacle. He and his Real Madrid staff were made to wait for hours at Barajas Airport before being allowed to fly ahead of their game of Osasuna last weekend.

His players subsequently froze as Madrid missed the chance to go top of La Liga following an uninspiring 0-0 draw at El Sadar in Pamplona.

The result highlighted once more the need for Real to strengthen their attacking options if they are to claw in their cross-city rivals Atletico, who remain top by a point but with three games in hand. Moussa Dembele’s imminent arrival at the Wanda Metropolitano only heightens the need for reinforcements.

Karim Benzema is Real Madrid's top scorer this season with  12 goals
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Karim Benzema is Real Madrid’s top scorer this season with 12 goals

Karim Benzema has 12 goals for the season in all competitions, but besides the Frenchman there is no other member of the squad that has at least five goals to his name so far this term.

Zidane complained after the clash with Osasuna went ahead, but he knows that is not sustainable if Real are to defend their title.

“We’ve handled it badly, but we did what we could on this pitch,” he said. “It wasn’t a football match. It should have been suspended. The conditions weren’t right for a match. I’m repeating myself, but that’s how it is.”

Benzema has now gone three games without scoring, and the stalemate demonstrated how Real still struggle to break down sides content to sit back with a low block.

So will Zidane be able to strengthen this month?

Real's goalless draw at Osasuna came after another stalemate at Elche
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Real’s goalless draw at Osasuna came after another stalemate at Elche

Kylian Mbappe, with 12 goals in 14 Ligue 1 matches this season for Paris Saint-Germain, has been Real’s long-term target for some time.

Sky Sports understands that Liverpool are not currently trying to sign the forward, but Real will have to generate funds this year in order to prise the forward away from the Parc des Princes.

On Tuesday, Spanish publication Diario AS ran the headline ‘Formula Mbappe’, claiming Madrid are working on an economic plan to sign Mbappe in 2021.

One reported option would be to raise between £90m and £135m by selling squad players alongside an expected £720m in revenue when fans are permitted to return to the Santiago Bernabeu later this year.

The club’s president, Florentino Perez, has had close contact with PSG’s Qatari owners but shifting out the deadwood could prove the biggest stumbling block given the wages of the players in question.

AS run the headline 'Formula Mbappe' on Tuesday with Marca (right) leading with Zinedine Zidane hopes of using the Copa del Rey as a launchpad for Real's season
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AS run the headline ‘Formula Mbappe’ on Tuesday with Marca (right) leading with Zinedine Zidane’s hopes of using the Copa del Rey as a launchpad for Real’s season

Gareth Bale, Isco, Dani Ceballos, Luka Jovic, Marcelo and Brahim Diaz are said to be the six surplus to requirements, and Real are keen to sell in order to pave the way for the PSG striker’s arrival should the French giants demand a likely fee in the region of £200m.

But Spanish football expert Alvaro Montero doubts whether Real will be able to generate the necessary funds, and the noises coming from Spain following Tuesday’s striking AS headline is that Barcelona are more likely to swoop.

“There is no specific mention of Real Madrid so maybe the formula in fact involves Barça,” Montero told Sky Sports. “I don’t think Real are going to sell six players.”



Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland




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Spanish football journalist Alvaro Montero believes Real Madrid will pursue deals for Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe next summer, amid speculation over Mohamed Salah’s future

Montero confirmed to Sky Sports this week that the club are yet to finalise talks with Sergio Ramos over a new contract, despite the defender being offered a two-year deal on reduced wages as a result of the economic climate. Ramos is on £312,000 a week, the third-highest earner at the club behind Gareth Bale and Eden Hazard.

Mbappe’s current deal expires in 2022 and Real will be able to pay the player’s annual salary of £19m, the report claims. But the arrival of Mauricio Pochettino is likely to complicate any such move away given Mbappe will be central to his own vision at his new club.

Pochettino confirmed that Mbappe is in “perfect condition” to face Marseille in the Trophee des Champions on Wednesday, and the Argentine admitted he is becoming accustomed to the constant speculation surrounding the star striker.

When asked about the Real link, he said: “When you are in Paris, the rumours are always amazing. We’re connected with many different names. It happened with me at Tottenham, at Southampton and at Espanyol. Of course, here is no different. For sure, now is a moment to talk and people are talking about rumours.

“We will be having internal discussions with the club and with [sporting director] Leonardo, and the club will communicate with you as soon as anything happens. But I can’t be focused on this.”



Moise Kean (left) and Neymar




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PSG striker Moise Kean’s value keeps rising with no pre-agreed amount set in his loan agreement from Everton, according to French football journalist Jonathan Johnson.

But is the formula for such a high-profile transfer ever clear-cut?

In spite of their perceived state of privileged seclusion at a time where financial constraints are being felt across the globe, PSG are not awash with cash. Indeed, the French champions are in need of balancing the books more than most elite clubs.

Moise Kean’s loan move from Everton has so far exceeded expectations, and Carlo Ancelotti says the club are willing to talk with PSG about Kean’s future.

French football expert Jonathan Johnson told Sky Sports on Tuesday that Pochettino will sit down with Leonardo in the very near future to look at potential incomings this month, but the prospect of Mbappe being sold to facilitate making Kean’s switch permanent is still far from being on the table.

Pochettino has already said of the World Cup winner: “Big players like Kylian can play in different spaces. You may see him more at one time on the left, on the right or as the second striker but the most important thing is how he feels on the pitch and how we can profit the most from his set of skills.



Kylian Mbappe




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Mauricio Pochettino challenged Kylian Mbappe and his team-mates to improve following Paris Saint-Germain’s 1-1 draw at Saint-Etienne

“It’s about putting him in the best position to show all of his qualities. Like Neymar, he is a top player and our aim is to put both of them in the best position to create situations where they can be decisive.”

Following the weekend’s 3-0 win over Brest, Pochettino added: “Mbappe is a special player. He came back in good shape after the break, with a very good state of mind. He is the top scorer in the championship. We hope that he will have fun and find the performances of which he is capable.”

Mbappe only has one-and-a-half years left on his current contract and the outside chance he could quit Ligue 1 and walk away for free in 18 months is a daunting prospect for the PSG hierarchy.

View from France: ‘PSG confident on Mbappe stay’



Mauricio Pochettino, Manager of Tottenham Hotspur looks on prior to the UEFA Champions League group B match between Tottenham Hotspur and Crvena Zvezda at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on October 22, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)




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French football journalist Jonathan Johnson says Mauricio Pochettino’s top priority at Paris Saint-Germain will be to win the Champions League

Speaking on a recent Transfer Talk podcast, French football expert Julien Laurens outlined the complexities of any such transfer taking place this coming year.

“There’s no way Mbappe or Neymar could leave this month but the big priority is extending their deals, which expire in 2022,” Laurens told Sky Sports.

“It’s a big challenge – the club doesn’t want to let them go on a free in the summer of 2022; if they still only have one year left on their deal this summer, the price will be much lower.

“The club are quite confident – at least that’s what they’re saying – that both want to stay. If they renew their deals, even if they want to leave in 2022, the money will be better for the club.

Mbappe has been previously linked with a move to Liverpool
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Mbappe has been previously linked with a move to Liverpool

“There is clarity now with the new manager so that should help but it will be very interesting to follow. Especially for Mbappe, if Liverpool and Real Madrid could make a deal for him, though I’m not sure they could right now – we’re talking 200m, 250m euros.

“What chance of Messi? I think they will try to find a way of doing it. It would be incredible but putting the numbers together, to me it seems impossible with FFP, with the pandemic, with the wage bill. They could be paying 150m a year just in wages. Pochettino slightly opened the door by saying the big players are welcome but I don’t think it’s financially realistic.”

Zidane will for now remain a long-term admirer and watchful observer of Mbappe, but the hope is that with supporters returning through the gates once the Covid-19 pandemic eases, the club will be ready to strike.

Transfer Talk Podcast: Inside Poch’s PSG plan

Pete Graves and Dharmesh Sheth are joined by ESPN football expert Julien Laurens to discuss the job facing Mauricio Pochettino at PSG and what that could mean for the likes of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe as well as the likelihood of a move for Barcelona‘s Lionel Messi.

Frank Lampard‘s future at Chelsea is under scrutiny following a poor run of form, the panel assess whether the Blues need to once again back their boss in the transfer market or start looking for a replacement.

Is this the window Mesut Ozil finally leaves Arsenal? The panel touch upon that and if Lyon‘s Houssem Aouar is the long-term replacement for the German.

Plus there’s news from Manchester United, Manchester City, West Ham, Leicester and much more, including Pete’s final thought, this week on free agent Diego Costa.

Follow the January transfer window with Sky Sports

The winter transfer window is open until Monday February 1 at 11pm.

Follow all the news and analysis on Sky Sports News and across Sky Sports‘ digital platforms, including our dedicated Transfer Centre blog.

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Atletico game off as snowstorm hits Spain

Atletico Madrid’s LaLiga clash with Athletic Bilbao was called off on Saturday after a snowstorm caused severe disruption in Spain.

Storm Filomena blanketed parts of the country in heavy snow, as Madrid – one of the worst affected areas – could see up to an exceptional eight inches of snow throughout the day.

The Athletic Bilbao squad boarded a private plane on Friday night ahead of the league encounter at the Stadio Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday, but as they approached the Spanish capital they were refused permission to land at Barajas airport and were diverted back to their origin.

A LaLiga statement read: “Given the exceptional situation caused by the storm across a large part of the Iberian peninsula, causing the closure of Madrid Barajas airport throughout the day, and the impossibility of having the pitch in optimal playing conditions, LaLiga, after contacting both clubs, have asked the Professional Competition Committee first thing this morning to postpone the match between Club Atletico de Madrid – Athletic Club initially scheduled for Saturday (16:15 CET) at the Wanda Metropolitano.”

Real Madrid players and staff were also affected by the adverse weather on their journey to Pamplona on Friday as they get set to face Osasuna on Saturday.

At one stage it appeared the flight would not be able to take off and the Real travelling party was made to wait for almost four hours before being given permission to leave Barajas airport, which was closed on Saturday.

However, Zinedine Zidane’s men were able to take part in a training session in the snow which included a snowball fight.

Real’s players appeared in a cheery mood after their session. Atletico were unable to train.

Madrid’s third club side, Rayo Vallecano, were forced to abandon their journey to Miranda de Ebro for their Segunda Division clash against Mirandes.

Their club bus was forced to stop as roads were closed on Friday evening, but a viral clip shows their players helping to free cars that had been stuck in the snow on the motorway.

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