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Premier League W2W4: Positivity powering Man United? Will Higuain help Chelsea?

Premier League W2W4: Positivity powering Man United? Will Higuain help Chelsea?

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The transfer window for Europe's biggest clubs is open again. Transfer Talk has been scouring the world's media and setting our correspondents loose to see who could be heading to/out of your club this month.

With help from former Tottenham and Liverpool director of football Damien Comolli, we show you a step-by-step guide to a transfer.

Can a 44-year-old man cut it in the Premier League? Our writer suffers -- and suffers some more -- through a medical at Everton.

Arsenal are in the midst of a defensive injury crisis. With Sokratis and Laurent Koscielny injured this week, plus Hector Bellerin and Rob Holding out long-term, the Gunners may need to dip into the market in January to ensure they can actually field four recognised defenders each week and stop poor old Ainsley Maitland-Niles being forced to fill in everywhere.

France Football claim that Napoli right-back Kevin Malcuit is high on the agenda, having become first-choice under Carlo Ancelotti this season.

The former Lille and Saint-Etienne defender only joined the Italian club last summer for around £11m and has a contract until June 2022, so might it might be a tough ask to land him. And that's before you consider that Arsenal will have to deal with president Aurelio De Laurentiis, a known tough negotiator.

13.55 GMT: The BBC are reporting that Manchester United are in talks with a Chinese club over the sale of Belgian midfielder Marouane Fellaini.

ESPN sources revealed a few weeks ago that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is open to selling Fellaini this month and said that Chinese Super League sides Beijing Gouan and Guangzhou R&F are targeting him.

13.50 GMT: PSG midfielder Adrien Rabiot is unlikely to go anywhere soon as sources have told ESPN FC that "football (understandably) has taken a back seat" after the deaths of his maternal grandmother and his terminally ill father.

A lot of options remain open to Rabiot, but a January move now looks like it will not happen as the family have more important things to think about.

Manager Thomas Tuchel is keen to reinstate the 23-year-old if he is still a PSG player at the start of February, but the club leaders remain against it. No indication whether a thaw in relations could occur at any point before the end of the season.

13.18 GMT: Burnley defender Ben Gibson is the subject of interest from Aston Villa, according to Sky Sports who say: "It's thought the original deal would be a loan, but Villa want to include a clause to make the deal permanent in the summer."

12.59 GMT: Sporting Lisbon defender Merih Demiral has been on loan at Alanyaspor but sources have told ESPN FC that he is on a flight to Italy to complete a €6.5m move to Sassuolo. One of the most highly-rated young players in Turkish football, the 20-year-old would be a great signing for the Serie A side.

12.46 GMT: Manchester City could be set to sign Ante Palaversa shortly, with the 18-year-old midfielder undergoing a medical today ahead of a £7m move from Croatian side Hajduk Split, according to Sky Sports News.

12.36 GMT: PSG are still active in their pursuit of Everton's Idrissa Gueye after he reportedly handed in a transfer request.

Everton like defender Thomas Meunier, but PSG are not keen to include him in the deal as that would create an issue for them at right-back.

So PSG are set to make one last effort for Borussia Dortmund's Julian Weigl and Napoli's Allan in the hope that one of the three deals come off, having already signed Leandro Paredes, with Gueye looking most likely Another arrival would free Christopher Nkunku up for a move, with Arsenal keen on a loan there.

12.23 GMT: Just when you thought it was over ... it pulls you back in. Cadena COPE reported that Arsenal have agreed a deal with Barcelona to take Denis Suarez on loan, with an option to buy in the summer and Mundo Deportivo report the move will be done in the "next few hours."

And sources have confirmed to ESPN FC that Denis is finally set to complete his move.

Talks broke down last week after negotiations reached a stalemate with Arsenal only wanting to sign Denis on loan. Barca were willing to let the midfielder leave temporarily, but only if any prospective deal included an obligatory option to buy.

However, with the player keen to push through a switch to London, sources said Barcelona have found a workaround. Denis will join Arsenal on an initial six-month loan, with the Premier League club paying a small fee up front. They will then have an option to sign the former Manchester City youngster for around €20 million at the end of the campaign.

But the Catalan club will prolong Denis' contract by an additional year until 2021, which they believe will protect his sell-on value should Arsenal choose not to make the deal permanent in the summer.

12.04 GMT: Eddie Howe says Bournemouth have had no offers for defender Nathan Ake, with the Dutchman linked with a return to Chelsea for £40m.

"The speculation, as it has been all January, has been purely that -- as with all our players," he told a news conference. "We've had not contact from any other club so it's business as usual."

11.49 GMT: Legolas-lookalike Domagoj Vida is back on the radar after impressing at the World Cup with Croatia and Il Messaggero report that Fulham and Inter Milan are facing competition from Roma for the Besiktas defender.

11.26 GMT: Celta Vigo president Carlos Mourino says West Ham target Maxi Gomez will only leave the club if his €50m release clause is met.

The Uruguay striker has attracted the attention of several clubs after scoring nine goals and setting up five more in 19 league appearances this season. The 22-year-old is not the only Celta player to be strongly linked with Premier League outfits though, Spanish midfielder Brais Mendez is a target of Newcastle, who are reportedly prepared to pay his €25m release clause.

"There has not only been an interest in Brais (Mendez) and in Maxi (Gomez)," Mourino said in a news conference. "There's a fear that there are other players that can have their release clause met. It's a sporting situation that causes us anxiety. There are negotiations in place for three (Maxi Gomez, Brais Mendez and Stanislav Lobotka) of our players to have their release clauses paid. We have no way of stopping that, but none of them will leave for less than their release clause. The market is about to close and besides those tempting offers for key players, we don't expect many departures."

11.14 GMT: Jese (remember him?) looks set to join Real Betis on loan from PSG, who will cover most of his wages. He will have a medical in Seville later today.

10.57 GMT: Danny Batth has left Wolves, with Stoke making the defender their third permanent signing of the January transfer window for around £3m. 

The move ends Batth's 18-year association with the club he joined as a 10-year-old, while his former Molineux teammate Benik Afobe and Ryan Woods have already signed for the Potters.

10.43 GMT: TSG Hoffenheim have signed 20-year-old centre-back Lucas Ribeiro from EC Vitoria. He will join his teammates following the ongoing U20 South America championships.

10.30 GMT: A court case between Barcelona and Neymar, originally due to start this week, has been delayed until March 21, a Catalan court has announced.

Neymar has taken his former club to court regarding the non-payment of a loyalty bonus. The Brazilian was due a fee of around €26m on July 31, 2017, just four days before his world-record €222m move to Paris Saint-Germain was made official. But Barca refused to make the payment.

10.20 GMT: Marko Rog has joined Sevilla from Napoli on loan until the end of the season, the Serie A club confirmed on Tuesday.

The 23-year-old midfielder joined the Azzurri from Dinamo Zagreb in 2017, but struggled to force his way into the first team regularly this season. The move happened so quickly that he has already taken part in his first training session for the Spaniards after passing a medical on Monday and could make his debut against Barcelona on Wednesday night in the Copa del Rey.

10.14 GMT: Leicester City have been at the front of the queue for Monaco midfielder Youri Tielemans for a while, but it looks like Tottenham might be planning a late swoop.

The Daily Telegraph report that "sources at Monaco claim Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is willing to sanction the move and is now just waiting on the green light from manager Mauricio Pochettino."

Pochettino has repeatedly been downbeat at the prospect of signing players this month but, with Mousa Dembele having left, there is a gap in the squad to fill.

10.00 GMT: Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic has said he wants to stay at the club despite the persistent rumours linking him with a move away from the La Liga leaders.

Diario Sport reported on Tuesday that Chelsea, as well as Arsenal and Manchester United, are interested in signing him from Barca at the end of the season. Rakitic, 30, is out of contract in 2021 and the club have no immediate plans to extend his terms but the Croatian remains hopeful of penning a new deal.

"I want to be at Barcelona and, if I can renew my contract, I want to be here for many more years," Rakitic said at Mundo Deportivo's annual gala on Monday.

"I am really happy here, everyone knows that, above all the president [Josep Maria Bartomeu]. I don't have anything else to say [about my future]."

The signing of Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong for an initial €75m, announced last week, is set to ramp up the competition for a place in Barca's side next season. De Jong's arrival is also expected to trigger a number of summer sales -- mainly of fringe players -- as Barcelona look to balance the books.

09.30 GMT: Inter Milan general manager Beppe Marotta has conceded it would be hard to stand in the way of Ivan Perisic as he seeks a move to Arsenal.

Unai Emery is interested in the Croatia winger, who has put in a transfer request, but Arsenal and Inter have yet to discuss terms.

At the weekend, Marotta insisted a transfer would only happen if all sides were satisfied but he has now shown a willingness to negotiate rather than be left with an unhappy player in his squad for the remainder of the season.

"It is hard to keep hold of players if they don't want to stay," he told Sky Sport Italia after emerging from a meeting with club directors on Monday evening. "There have been very few moves [this winter] and a lot of unsatisfied players, so it's up to us to deal with this situation.

"As things stand, no concrete offer has arrived so there are no conditions [to sell Perisic]."

09.10 GMT: DONE DEAL! Paris Saint-Germain have finally completed the signing of midfielder Leandro Paredes from Zenit St Petersburg on a four-and-a-half year deal.

The Argentina international arrives at Parc des Princes for an initial fee of around €40 million with bonuses that will take the deal near the €47m mark.

08.55 GMT: Speaking of Callum Hudson-Odoi, sources have told ESPN FC that Chelsea have rejected his transfer request and will not be selling him to Bayern Munich in January.

Hudson-Odoi formally notified Chelsea of his desire to join Bayern on Saturday, but was nevertheless picked to start by Maurizio Sarri against Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup fourth round less than 24 hours later and scored an impressive goal in a 3-0 victory at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea have insisted from the moment that Bayern's interest became widely known that they want to keep Hudson-Odoi, who enters the final year of his contract at the end of the season and has no intention of committing to a long-term extension.

Willian revealed that he and Hudson-Odoi's other teammates are trying to talk him out of a move, telling reporters: "We want him to stay. He's a great talent. A great player. We tell him all the time to stay here.

"We don't want him to leave. He can become one of the best players for Chelsea, one of the best players in the world, in the future. He has to stay.

"The quality he has, he has everything. He's fast. Of course, he can improve, he's only 18, but he can improve a lot to become one of the best players."

08.35 GMT: There could soon be another young English talent leaving the Premier League for the Bundesliga -- and it's not Callum Hudson-Odoi.

Sources told ESPN FC on Monday that Manchester City academy graduate Rabbi Matondo was close to completing a move to Schalke. Now kicker reports that the 18-year-old winger has arrived in Germany to complete his move.

City could reportedly receive around €13m for Matondo, 18, who would be eligible to face City when the two clubs meet in the Champions League round of 16.

08.00 GMT: Tottenham are planning a £30m summer move for Valencia midfielder Carlos Soler, sources have told ESPN FC.

The London club have not signed a player for Mauricio Pochettino's squad since capturing Lucas Moura from Paris Saint-Germain during the 2018 winter window.

But efforts are already being made to add to the squad at the end of this season, with Spain Under-21 midfielder Soler -- who scored in Valencia's 2-1 Champions League win against Manchester United at La Mestalla in December -- regularly watched by Tottenham's scouting team during this campaign.

Soler has scored two goals in 28 games in all competitions for Valencia this season, but the right-sided player has also created six assists for the club, who have overcome a slow start in La Liga to be challenging for Europa League qualification.

Paris Saint-Germain are also monitoring the 22-year-old, but sources have told ESPN FC that Spurs are the frontrunners to sign the player due to their ability to offer a greater prospect of regular football than the French champions.

Monaco have entered the race to sign Inter Milan defender Miranda, reports Sky Sport Italy's Gianluca Di Marzio.

The Brazilian has only managed eight Serie A appearances this season with Milan Skriniar and Stefan de Vrij favoured at the heart of defence, and is thought to be pushing for a move away from Italy.

Monaco seem intent on trying to buy their way out of trouble, having already splashed the cash this January, not only on players, but on re-hiring Leonardo Jardim, to whom they had paid around £7 million in compensation after dismissing him in October.

In order for a deal to be considered though, the Nerazzurri will first need to find a suitable replacement for the ex-Atletico Madrid centre-back.

The Independent reports that Rafa Benitez is for the first time seriously considering his future at Newcastle after another fruitless transfer window.

With his contract at St James' Park coming to an end this summer, the ex-Liverpool boss could leave before the end of this campaign for free, with a penalty clause no longer valid.

Once again this January, Benitez has been left frustrated at the Geordies' failure to sign a single player and with little more than 48 hours to go until the market closes, it seems increasingly likely that the 58-year-old will have to make do with his current squad or walk away.

Newcastle were reportedly close to signing Jordan Lukaku last week, however the deal did not materialise, nor did an agreement for key target Miguel Almiron, leading Benitez to confirm that he might not even last until May.

"No I cannot guarantee anything," Benitez said.

Spurs are believed to have opted against signing Udinese's Rodrigo De Paul, leaving the door wide open for Inter Milan to pounce.

Calcio Mercato reports that the London club were given an opportunity to move for the 24-year-old star but have decided against doing so, despite injuries to key men Harry Kane and Dele Alli, and two cup exits in just one week.

Inter are now at the front of the queue for the Argentine attacker, which would in turn facilitate Ivan Perisic's departure to Arsenal before the end of the window.

Cue a change of heart from Spurs and an ensuing deadline day auction between the North London rivals in a bid to claim the transfer bragging rights.

Football Whispers' transfer algorithm gives the likelihood of rumours happening a score out of 5.

Nathan Ake to Chelsea -- 2.5

According to the Daily Star, Chelsea are readying an attempt to re-sign the defender who left for Bournemouth in July 2017. The London club have first refusal on the Dutchman and in a bid to boost their homegrown quota, would reportedly be willing to part ways with £40m.

Youri Tielemans to Leicester -- 3.5

Leicester City are rumoured to be in talks with Monaco to sign the Belgian midfielder. The Foxes had been planning for a quiet transfer window, but having let Vicente Iborra leave for Villarreal, they are believed to be pushing for the 21-year-old in what would be a £20m deal.

Gerard Deulofeu to AC Milan -- 2.5

The Watford forward is being courted by AC Milan, according to Calcio Mercato. The Spaniard spent six months on loan at San Siro back in 2017 and is believed to be interested in returning to Italy. Watford reportedly want around £26m for the player, whilst the Rossoneri would favour an initial loan deal with an obligation to buy thereafter.

Danny Drinkwater to Fenerbahce -- 2.8

Drinkwater could follow Victor Moses from Chelsea to Fenerbahce, according to reports. The English midfielder has been a peripheral figure at Stamford Bridge this season and may look to re-ignite his career at the Turkish club, in what would likely be a loan deal.

Nicolo Barella to Manchester United -- 2.0

Manchester United are weighing up a move for the Cagliari midfielder, according to reports in Italy. The Red Devils would have to fork out around £44m to secure the Italian international's signature, and fend off interest from a host of rival European clubs in the process.

LONDON -- Maurizio Sarri has said Chelsea have assured him Callum Hudson-Odoi will still be at the club next season after the 18-year-old's request to join Bayern Munich for £35 million in January was rejected.

Sources told ESPN FC on Monday that Chelsea have turned down Hudson-Odoi's transfer request and will not be selling him to Bayern before Thursday's transfer deadline, despite the fact that the winger has no intention of committing to a contract extension. 

Hudson-Odoi enters the final year of his deal at the end of the season, when he expects Bayern to revive their interest. Should they do so, Chelsea will be in a very difficult position, but Sarri insisted that the club have told him they are unlikely to consider offers for their prized academy asset in the summer.

With help from former Tottenham and Liverpool director of football Damien Comolli, we show you a step-by-step guide to a transfer.

Can a 44-year-old man cut it in the Premier League? Our writer suffers -- and suffers some more -- through a medical at Everton.

"I have not the power to sign new contracts here," Sarri said. "On the pitch I am really very happy with him. I know the club told me that, in this window, he will remain with us for sure. Very probably also in the next.

"So we are really very happy with this. As I said, he is improving on the pitch and he is the future of our club and the future of English football."

Chelsea have been angered by the public nature of Bayern's interest in Hudson-Odoi but Sarri said the situation has not been a distraction for him.

"I am not frustrated," he added. "On the pitch, he's doing very well: very well in training, very well in matches. So I'm really very happy with him. I'm not happy with the situation, of course, but I know very well that every big team here in England has the same problem.

"It's not easy to keep these young players. He is, of course, one of the best 18-year-olds in Europe, so it's very difficult. But, as I said before, the club told me he is off the market, for sure. And, probably, he will be off the market in July, too.

"I don't know [if he'll be happy with that], but I can say what I see on the pitch. On the pitch at the moment, he's fantastic."

Chelsea face the prospect of losing Hudson-Odoi for a cut-price fee if they refuse to sell next summer. In the meantime, they are hoping that Sarri can involve him enough in the final four months to change his mind; he has played 209 minutes in January but is still waiting for his first Premier League start.

Sarri, however, does not believe he can affect the situation. "I cannot do anything," he insisted. "If I had the power to make him sign a new contract, I could do everything. In my condition, I cannot do anything.

"It's impossible to promise him he will play every match because it depends on the situation, so I cannot do anything."

Chelsea are running out of time to sign a replacement for Cesc Fabregas in January after Paris Saint-Germain concluded a deal worth around £35m for reported target Leandro Paredes on Tuesday, and Sarri reiterated that his opinion on the need for a new midfielder has not changed.

"You know very well my opinion," he said. "I thought, for us, it was important to have two players. One has arrived [Gonzalo Higuain] and I am waiting for the other. But if he will arrive, I will be very happy. Otherwise I have to work with these players. It's not a big problem for me.

"Of course I have to adapt players in that position. [Ethan] Ampadu didn't play very well in that position [against Sheffield Wednesday], but I think he is very young, it's a new position, it's not easy to play there in our team.

"In the second half, we tried with Mateo [Kovacic], who is able to move the ball very fast and very cleanly. But now we have to see if he is able to play there in a defensive match. So we have to try."

Denis Suarez is finally set to complete his loan move to Arsenal after Barcelona re-opened talks over a January switch, sources have confirmed to ESPN FC.

Talks broke down last week after negotiations reached a stalemate with Arsenal only wanting to sign Denis on loan. Barca were willing to let the midfielder leave temporarily, but only if any prospective deal included an obligatory option to buy.

With help from former Tottenham and Liverpool director of football Damien Comolli, we show you a step-by-step guide to a transfer.

Can a 44-year-old man cut it in the Premier League? Our writer suffers -- and suffers some more -- through a medical at Everton.

However, with the player keen to push through a switch to London, Barcelona have found a workaround. Denis will join Arsenal on an initial six-month loan, with the Premier League club paying a small fee up front. They will then have an option to sign the former Manchester City youngster for around €20 million at the end of the campaign.

But the Catalan club will prolong Denis' contract by an additional year until 2021, which they believe will protect his sell-on value should Arsenal choose not to make the deal permanent in the summer.

Barcelona would have preferred to sell Denis this month, and had offers worth more than €15m from both Real Betis and Sevilla, but the player was set on a reunion with Arsenal coach Unai Emery, who he previously played under while on loan at Sevilla four years ago.

The Catalan club were initially reluctant to agree to a loan move without the security of an obligatory option to buy. They are still aggrieved about Inter Milan not taking up their option to sign Rafinha permanently last summer after a successful loan spell.

But with Denis extending his contract, they were prepared to soften their stance. It now means he will still have two years left on his deal if Arsenal decide not to sign him when his loan ends.

Denis, 25, has made just eight appearances in all competitions this season for Barca. Only two of those appearances have been as a starter -- in the early rounds of the Copa against third division side Cultural Leonesa.

He has played in England before with Man City but left to sign for Barcelona in 2013 and, following spells with Villarreal and Sevilla, he returned to Camp Nou for a second spell 2016, inheriting Xavi's No. 6 shirt.

In total, he has made 71 appearances for Barca's first team, playing across the midfield and as a winger.

MANCHESTER, England -- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has challenged Manchester United's fringe players to force their way into his team.

Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez and Fred are among the stars who have been reduced to bit-part roles during United's eight-game winning run under Solskjaer but the United caretaker insists the onus is on them to win back their places.

"I don't think it's my challenge to incorporate players," Solskjaer told a news conference ahead of Burnley's visit to Old Trafford on Tuesday.

ESPN+ is America's home for a host of professional soccer leagues from around the world, highlighted by Italy's Serie A, Major League Soccer, UEFA Nations League and English FA Cup. |
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ESPN FC's experts ranked the best men's players and managers in world football. Check out the list.

Fear, paranoia, difficult behaviour and constant battling with club officials and players led to the inevitable, writes Rob Dawson.

When Boca Juniors and River Plate were set to meet in Argentina's most important match, Buenos Aires lost its mind, writes Wright Thompson.

"It's about the players being ready when they get the chance. It's difficult to leave players out but it's easy to put players in. That's the thing. As long as you have got players to put in, that's no problem because someone has to play, you can only play with 11 but as long as you have got so many players like I have that's a good problem, an easy problem."

Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial, Lukaku and Sanchez have all scored since Solskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho in December. He accepts he cannot pick all five in the same team and revealed he will call on his own experiences as a player when having difficult conversations with some of his squad.

"I have been on the end of a couple of 'I need to speak to you son' and [Sir Alex Ferguson] has given me the reason why and he's told when I am going to play again so that's no problem," Solskjaer said.

"Everyone who wants to be part of a successful team has to have the understanding that I have my time and the other players in the squad have their time and we do this together."

Fred, in particular, has found himself on the fringes of the team after making just one Premier League start in the last two months. The Brazilian, the fourth most expensive signing in United's history following his £47 million move from Shakhtar Donetsk last summer, was an unused substitute in the 3-1 FA Cup fourth round win at Arsenal on Friday but Solskjaer has backed the 25-year-old to come good.

"Fred has been working really hard in training," he said. "He's a good lad. We know there's a very, very good player there with Fred so hopefully he'll adjust to the English game because there's no doubt there's talent, absolutely no doubt.

"It's always difficult to come here. One: It's Man United, you're expected to perform straight away. Two: It's an English league that he's not used to.

"But he's a Brazilian international. The talent is there. There's loads of players that have come in and found the first few months difficult. I don't think he needs to worry too much. He'll get chances."

Gonzalo Higuain has hit back at criticism he is a mercenary for deciding to cut short his loan spell at AC Milan and join Chelsea until the end of the season.

Italy's interior minister Matteo Salvini -- an outspoken Milan supporter -- said in an interview with RTL radio on Monday: "I'm glad that Higuain has gone and I hope we'll never see him again in Milan because he really behaved in an unworthy manner. I don't like mercenaries in politics or football."

With help from former Tottenham and Liverpool director of football Damien Comolli, we show you a step-by-step guide to a transfer.

Can a 44-year-old man cut it in the Premier League? Our writer suffers -- and suffers some more -- through a medical at Everton.

Chelsea signed Higuain on loan with an option to extend or buy last week after he decided to push for an exit from Milan, where he had scored eight goals in 22 appearances across all competitions this season on loan from Juventus and endured public criticism from sporting director Leonardo.

Alongside a picture of him making his Chelsea debut against Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup on Sunday, Higuain wrote on Instagram: "If they speak badly of you, you should feel proud because it means that your life is more important than theirs.

"When you don't have a go at others, you focus on your things and you reach certain achievements, it appears that certain people are annoyed by that and in that eagerness to achieve what one is or has, far from getting to work and make an effort to succeed, they try hard to speak badly of the rest."

Chelsea have reportedly agreed to pay €9 million to Juventus to loan Higuain for the remainder of the season, and the Italian giants revealed there is also an option to extend the agreement for a further year for €18m or make the deal permanent for a fee of €36m.

Higuain's arrival paved the way for Alvaro Morata to end an unhappy and disappointing spell at Chelsea, with Atletico Madrid announcing the signing of the Spain international on an 18-month loan deal on Monday.

Information from ESPN FC's Spain correspondent Adriana Garcia was used in this report.

Inter Milan general manager Beppe Marotta has conceded it would be hard to stand in the way of Ivan Perisic as he seeks a move to Arsenal.

Unai Emery is interested in the Croatia winger, who has put in a transfer request, but Arsenal and Inter have yet to discuss terms.

At the weekend, Marotta insisted a transfer would only happen if all sides were satisfied but he has now shown a willingness to negotiate rather than be left with an unhappy player in his squad for the remainder of the season.

"It is hard to keep hold of players if they don't want to stay," he told Sky Sport Italia after emerging from a meeting with club directors on Monday evening. "There have been very few moves [this winter] and a lot of unsatisfied players, so it's up to us to deal with this situation.

"As things stand, no concrete offer has arrived so there are no conditions [to sell Perisic]."

With help from former Tottenham and Liverpool director of football Damien Comolli, we show you a step-by-step guide to a transfer.

Can a 44-year-old man cut it in the Premier League? Our writer suffers -- and suffers some more -- through a medical at Everton.

The transfer window closes on Thursday and Inter would be keen to bring in a replacement for a player who has missed just three games this season, including Sunday's 1-0 defeat to Torino where he was left out due to the distraction caused by the transfer speculation.

Yannick Carrasco, who plays for Dalian Yifang, could be an option with his agent saying Inter "are a big club ... we're flattered such clubs are interested in Yannick."

"I cannot confirm [that Inter have made an offer], but I can say that there are a lot of clubs in Europe interested in Yannick," Christophe Henrotay told fcinter1908.it 

"He and his family have struggled to adapt to the Chinese culture and learn the language and Yannick has already informed the club about this situation, because we have a lot of respect for them and we don't want to go behind their backs. It depends on them.

"They will analyse the situation, but they know how things are. We've just informed the club that there are a lot of clubs interested and that his family is struggling to settle. Let's now see how the situation develops."

W2W4 previews the weekend's Premier League action by highlighting its most compelling storylines ...

ESPN+ is America's home for a host of professional soccer leagues from around the world, highlighted by Italy's Serie A, Major League Soccer, UEFA Nations League and English FA Cup. |
ESPN+ schedule

ESPN FC's experts ranked the best men's players and managers in world football. Check out the list.

Fear, paranoia, difficult behaviour and constant battling with club officials and players led to the inevitable, writes Rob Dawson.

When Boca Juniors and River Plate were set to meet in Argentina's most important match, Buenos Aires lost its mind, writes Wright Thompson.

Manchester United were 11 points shy of the Champions League places when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was appointed caretaker manager on Dec. 19. By the end of this midweek round of fixtures, with United hosting Burnley, they might have closed that gap entirely. Granted, it's slightly unlikely because it relies on Chelsea losing to Huddersfield and Arsenal not beating Cardiff, but it emphasises the fairly remarkable turnaround that United have made since his return to Old Trafford.

It's a point that has been made a lot in the last six weeks or so, but listening to him talk on Monday, it's not a surprise that the atmosphere around United has been much more positive.

"That's not the dream, though, to be top four," he said. "We're Man United -- you should always aim to win the league. We can't do that this year, but we've just got to look forward to that again because we have to get back to that."

As ever in these situations, it feels at best insensitive, or missing the point of wider life, to worry about Cardiff playing a football match. But despite the Emiliano Sala tragedy, that is what they must do, away to Arsenal on Tuesday. It's perhaps a cruel twist that they were witness to another match following such a disaster earlier this season, as they were Leicester's first opponents after Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha died in a helicopter crash in November.

Cardiff's players and staff must be in a slightly curious position, losing this man who barely any of them will have got to know, but who was one of them nonetheless. But inevitably it will affect them.

"I think it was only right that they speak to people who might help them in this situation," said Neil Warnock on Monday, about whether any of his squad have required professional help after the accident. "I've been surprised at the number of players who have required a little bit of help, from outside as well as inside."

You hope they can pull through the game as best they can. You wish they didn't have to.

The Alvaro Morata experiment is over, and so begins another. Under most circumstances the arrival of Gonzalo Higuain would be regarded as a gamble, a striker whose last few months have been awful and around whom there seem to be near constant questions about his weight and/or fitness. But it's a gamble Chelsea needed to take, because without a reliable centre-forward, so many areas of their team go askew.

Chelsea need this to work for slightly more complicated reasons, such as the delicate balance of their team with Eden Hazard allowed to move back to his favoured role on the left flank, but mainly for the simple reason that they need goals. They're the lowest scorers in the top six and their options at centre-forward thus far this season produced six goals.

But in truth, Higuain needs Chelsea as much as they need him, to rehabilitate his reputation as one of the world's best No. 9s, so the question is whether this co-dependency will put extra and intolerable pressure and strain on the two sides to get it right, or whether necessity will provide the motivation they need.

There were a few problems with Mauricio Pochettino's comments after Spurs were knocked out of the FA Cup on Sunday. Pochettino intimated that neither domestic cup competition was a particularly big deal, that it was progression in the league that really mattered. But after the dismissal of actual trophies as mere ego-fluffing frippery, one of those problems is that extra pressure is now put on Tottenham to do well in the league. You can punt the cups in favour of success in the Premier League, but you had better succeed in the Premier League.

It's turned what would under most circumstances be a relatively routine match against Watford -- not exactly in the most sparkling form having won just one of their last five -- into a virtual must-win, with the three points needed as a justification of Pochettino's priorities.

By the end of Wednesday evening Spurs could have a relatively paltry four-point cushion over fifth place, and without either domestic cup as a fall-back. Clearly it's too dramatic to say their season is unravelling, but they must be careful.

Having games on a day or two before the transfer window shuts is an improvement on previous years, when we had the frankly absurd situation of the deadline being on the same evening as a full round of fixtures. We never had the sight occasionally seen in baseball, when players are quite literally removed from the field of play as a move is finalised, but it's hard to see how someone around whom there is speculation can't be affected as the clock ticks down.

Several players will go into Tuesday and Wednesday night's games with half a mind on the idea that this might be their last for their current clubs, or at least with their thoughts not 100 percent on the task at hand. Callum Hudson-Odoi and Idrissa Gueye are just two players subject to heavy interest from two of Europe's biggest hitters in Bayern Munich and PSG, respectively, which is bound to be a distraction so close to the deadline. The gamble their managers must take is not even whether they will be concentrated enough to perform at 100 percent, but that they won't be distracted enough to be a liability.

ESPN