Mick McCarthy slams ‘spoof’ striker link, Benitez ‘confident’, Aston Villa, Arsenal, Chelsea make headlines

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It’s silly season with transfer speculation and former Sunderland boss Mick McCarthy has responded in his own inimitable fashion.

The Ipswich Town manager was responding to rumours about his striker David McGoldrick, who has been linked with Aston Villa, Cardiff and Birmingham among others.

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“It’s just agents spoofing, ringing round trying to create a deal where there isn’t one,” he told the Green ‘Un.

Nonetheless, McGoldrick could still leave this month. Strikers are in demand and Darren Bent has left Derby County on loan today to join Burton Albion.

Sunderland’s Championship rivals have strengthened by signing the ex-Black Cat, while Chris Coleman remains keen on Bent’s Derby team-mate Chris Martin and hopes to speak to him this weekend.

Elsewhere, Rafa Benitez has told our sister title the Shields Gazette that he is ‘confident’ of signing a striker before the deadline.

Here’s a pick of the headlines elsewhere:

Paris St-Germain’s Brazil forward Neymar, 25, would be allowed to join Real Madrid, but only if he delivers Champions League success to the French side, club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi says. (Goal)

Negotiations have stalled between Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund over a deal for the German club’s 28-year-old Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. (Kicker - in German)

The Bundesliga side have told Arsenal they will need to break their £52m transfer record to sign Aubameyang. (Star)

Dortmund are also set to walk away from talks over signing Gunners striker Olivier Giroud. The 31-year-old France international reportedly wants more regular football. (Mail)

Chelsea are considering a swoop for Giroud, hoping to convince him to swap north London for the west of the capital (Mirror)

PSG and Brazil winger Lucas Moura, 25, met Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy in London on Thursday to discuss a move to Spurs. (RMC - in French)

Diafra Sakho has told West Ham he wants to leave with French side Rennes his likely destination. The 28-year-old Senegal striker has hardly featured for the Hammers this season. (Sun)

The Hammers have also made a £12m bid for Norwich City’s midfielder James Maddison, 21. (Guardian)

Crystal Palace have had a second bid rejected for Lille defender Ibrahim Amadou. The Eagles were linked with a move for the 24-year-old Cameroon-born Frenchman earlier this month. (Sky Sports)

Arsenal are keen on signing Corinthians’ Brazil Under-20 midfielder Maycon, 20. (Sun)

Leicester boss Claude Puel says winger Riyad Mahrez will not be going anywhere during the transfer window. The 26-year-old Algeria international was pictured at Arsenal’s Carabao Cup semi-final against Chelsea at Emirates Stadium on Wednesday, but Puel insists he was just scouting for the Foxes. (Mirror)

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