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Transfer Talk: Girona’s City loanee Couto destined for Madrid?

The winter transfer window is now open in Europe, and there are plenty of moves in the works and gossip swirling around. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz on rumours, comings, goings and, of course, done deals!

TOP STORY: Madrid look to Couto

Real Madrid’s pursuit of the world’s best young talent continues with their interest in Manchester City defender Yan Couto, according to Marca.

The 21-year-old is currently impressing with his displays at right-back for LaLiga leaders Girona while on loan from City, his second loan spell at the Spanish club since signing for City permanently from Coritiba in 2020.

Girona currently sit top of the division after historic wins against the likes of Barcelona and Atletico Madrid. Adept defensively, Couto can also get forward, and has even shown glimpses of promise on the left side of midfield. The youngster’s form hasn’t gone unnoticed. He’s also being monitored by Bayer Leverkusen, after earning his first call-up to the Brazil national team last October.

Couto is contracted to Man City until 2025 and there have been talks that the Brazilian could return to be featured under manager Pep Guardiola next season, but Madrid are likely to test City’s resolve with a bid. The Spaniards consider Couto the perfect replacement for aging stars Dani Carvajal and Lucas Vázquez, and a “signing for a decade.'”

Madrid are also scouting other young players such as Leny Yoro of Lille, António Silva at Benfica and Sporting CP star Goncalo Inacio.

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PAPER GOSSIP

– Eintracht Frankfurt have reached a verbal agreement with Paris Saint-Germain over a move for Hugo Ekitike, according to Sky Sports Germany’s Florian Plettenberg. The Bundesliga club were keen on signing the 21-year-old striker in the summer, but now look likely to complete their deal in this winter window. The Frenchman is keen on the move and has even agreed to forgo some of his salary, though the two clubs are yet to agree on financial terms. Brentford, Wolfsburg and Wolverhampton Wanderers have also expressed an interest in Ekitike’s services.

– Tottenham Hotspur have rejected a bid from Al Nassr for right-back Emerson Royal, according to The Sun’s Tom Barclay. The Saudi club, for whom Cristiano Ronaldo, Sadio Mané and Aymeric Laporte all play, are said to be readying another bid, though Barclay reports Emerson is happy in north London. Royal has made 18 appearances for Spurs this season and remains in and out of the side as a result of the club’s injuries, though Pedro Porro is widely perceived to be Ange Postecoglou’s first choice at right-back. The 25-year-old Brazilian has had to play in the centre of defence, and Spurs may be unwilling to let him go as a result of their lack of depth in defensive areas.

– Juventus striker Moise Kean is on the verge of joining Atletico Madrid, according to Calciomercato. The 23-year-old former Everton forward has fallen down the pecking order in Turin following the emergence of 18-year-old star Kenan Yildiz, and he’s keen to go on loan abroad once more following two successful stints at PSG. Kean is looking for more game time, and in doing so he could even land a chance to play in the Champions League, with Atletico set to face Internazionale in the last 16. Fiorentina and Monza are also both interested.

Tiago Djaló is on his way to Turin for a medical with Juventus after having agreed a move from Lille, according to Fabrizio Romano. The 23-year-old Portugal international can play anywhere along the back line, and he will arrive at the Bianconeri for a fee of just €3.5 million plus add-ons, a result of his contract in France expiring this June.

– Despite getting 90 minutes for Tottenham against Manchester United last week, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is still looking for an exit this January in search of a new challenge, according to Florian Plettenberg. The 28-year-old defensive midfielder was said to be a target for both Juventus and Bayern Munich, though the German club’s interest appears to have waned.

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