Rumours: Mikel Heading To China, N’Zonzi To City, Others

CELTIC IN EBOUE TALKS Celtic in advanced talks to sign Ivory Coast midfielder Kouassi Ebouefrom Russian side FC Krasnodar, according to Sky sources.  
Chelsea stalwart John Obi Mikel is closing in on a move to Chinese club Tianjin Teda, reports TMW. The Nigerian is set to end his lengthy association with Chelsea by joining Tianjin Teda, who have offered him a three-year deal worth between £6.8m and £7.7m a season. Mikel had previously been linked with a move to Valencia, whose sporting director Jesus Garcia Pitarch met the midfielder for talks in December.  
STEWART NOT FOR SALE Liverpool are unwilling to sell midfielder Kevin Stewart and have already rejected a number of approaches for the former Tottenham trainee, reports the Daily Mirror. SwanseaWest Brom and Sky Bet Championship trio BrightonNewcastle and Aston Villa have all registered an interest in the 23-year-old.
EVERTON MEDICAL FOR LOOKMAN Ademola Lookman is travelling to Merseyside today to undergo a medical ahead of his proposed move to Everton, according to Sky sources. We understand the fee for the 19-year-old Charlton winger is in the region of £10m. It is anticipated the deal will go through in the next 24 hours. We expect this will be the start of a busy window for Everton, who are also understood to be looking for a central midfielder and centre back.
DUDLEY LOANED TO MACCLESFIELD Bury striker Anthony Dudley has joined National League side Macclesfield Town on loan for the rest of the season.  
ANTONIO AFTER ANTONIO Chelsea boss Antonio Conte will make a surprise move for West Ham forward Michail Antonio, according to The Sun. Antonio has stood out in what’s been a testing campaign for West Ham, leading the Hammers’ goalscoring charts with eight goals. The versatile 26-year-old has played centre-forward, wing-back and right-back for the Hammers this term, characterises which have perked Conte’s interest. The Sun claim Hammers boss Slaven Bilic would rather see Dimitri Payet leave the club over fan-favourite Antonio. But with Conte keen to strengthen his squad ahead of the title run-in, they claim West Ham’s resolve could be tested.
VILLA IN FOR LANSBURY And Aston Villa aren’t hanging around in reinvesting the money they’re set to receive from Gestede, with Sky sources indicating they are preparing a bid in the region of £3m for Nottingham Forestcaptain Henri Lansbury. The midfielder has scored six goals in the Sky Bet Championship this season – including the equaliser against Villa in September.
GESTEDE CONFIRMATION IMMINENT Rudy Gestede will be confirmed as Middlesbrough‘s first signing of the January transfer window this morning. The Benin striker passed his Boro medical on Tuesday night and will move to the Riverside Stadium for £6m – the same amount Aston Villa paid Blackburn for him 18 months ago.
MILAN DEULOFEU BID REJECTED Everton have rejected AC Milan’s first offer for Gerard Deulofeu, reports Gazzetta dello Sport. The Serie A side are keen to sign the 22-year-old in January and they have already put an initial proposal on the table. Milan want to sign Deulofeu on loan with an option to buy, but Everton have turned down that proposal. The Rossoneri are keen to sign the former Barcelona man and are willing to explore other ways of doing so. The player is understood to be open to leaving Goodison Park.  
CHERY OFF TO CHINA Queens Park Rangers forward Tjaronn Chery is close to moving to China, Sky sources understand. Guizhou Hengfeng Zhicheng have agreed a fee of more than £4m with Sky Bet Championship club for the 28-year-old Dutchman (right).  
GIBSON INSTEAD OF VAN DIJK? Everton could switch their attention to Middlesbrough defender Ben Gibson if they fail to sign Southampton star Virgil van Dijk, according to the Daily Mirror. Netherlands international Van Dijk is understood to be Toffees boss Ronald Koeman’s preferred defensive target in January. Despite having major financial backing from Everton investor Farhad Moshiri, Koeman’s hopes of raiding his former club could by scuppered by Saints’ valuation of Van Dijk, believed to be £50m. The hefty price tag has forced Koeman to consider alternatives, with the Mirror claiming Gibson is on his radar. The 23-year-old Boro centre-back, who signed a new deal in August, is under contract at the Riverside Stadium until 2021.
Pep Guardiola is ready to bring forward his interest in Sevilla midfielder Steven N’Zonzi to January, reports The Sun. The 28-year-old, who enjoyed spells with Stoke and Blackburn in the Premier League, was initially understood to be a summer target for Manchester City. However, in light Ilkay Gundogan’s injury nightmare and Fernandinho’s disciplinary issues, Guardiola has set his sights on a move this window. The Frenchman (right) could be the subject of a £25 million swoop from City, who could look to use Samir Nasri – currently on loan at Sevilla – as a makeweight.
CONTE PLOTS JANUARY ACTIVITY Antonio Conte has outlined his January transfer plans ahead of leaders Chelsea‘s Premier League clash at Tottenham. Victory for the Blues at White Hart Lane would see them open up an eight-point gap at the top of the table – a testament of the work the Italian has already done at Chelsea. But Conte is not resting on his laurels and is keen to strength ahead of the title run-in.  
MORGAN TO MARSEILLE? Marseille have entered the race to sign out-of-favour Manchester United midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin, according to The Sun. The Frenchman’s brief and underwhelming spell at Old Trafford looks at an end, with bids lodged from Everton and West Brom for his services. The Sun, however, claim Marseille believe Schneiderlin could help them return to the top of French football, and would be willing to match United’s £24m valuation.

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