Man City defender ‘excited’ to play with Messi; Bale’s Madrid return to help Arsenal’s Odegaard bid

The international break has not meant a lack of activity in the transfer market. Here’s a look at some of the biggest stories in Thursday’s papers.

Manchester City defender set to sign five-year Barca deal; reveals his excitement to play with Messi

Eric Garcia is reportedly going to sign a five-year contract with Barcelona after his deal with Manchester City expires in the summer, according to The Sun.

The Spanish centre-back, 20, had already spent nine years in Barca's youth system before heading to the Premier League with City, but has found his playing time limited this season with the form of John Stones, Ruben Dias and Nicolas Otamendi in defence.

On his excitement at the prospect of playing with Lionel Messi, he said: "It would be very special to play alongside Messi because he's the best footballer in the world.

"We see week after week what he does and it's incredible."

Messi could still leave Barca at the end of the season, though, and the odds vary greatly as to what he will do in the summer.

The Argentine is best priced at 11/8 to stay at Barcelona with BoyleSports, and as high as 9/1 with 888sport to head to Manchester City in the summer transfer window.

Bale's planned Bernabeu return could aid Arsenal's bid to sign Odegaard

Arsenal have been impressed with Martin Odegaard's impact since he signed on loan from Real Madrid, and their bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur may have inadvertently helped them land their man on a permanent basis.

The Daily Mirror report that Odegaard could be open to a move away from Madrid, with his game-time having been limited under Zinedine Zidane.

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Real find themselves in a mountain of debt and, while Arsenal also reported hefty losses last summer, Los Blancos may need to offload high-earning players to be able to bring their finances onto a more even keel.

With Gareth Bale's extremely high wage packet of a reported £600,000 per week being split equally between Madrid and Spurs, that financial burden could see Real more willing to sell when the Welshman returns to Spain.

With Real still behind in the title race in La Liga, Zidane's future is still under a microscope at the club. Betfair have RB Leipzig's Julian Nagelsmann priced at 5/6 to be the next permanent Real Madrid manager.

Luis Suarez heading back to Liverpool?

In what would be a sensational turn of events, the Daily Mail report that Liverpool may make a move for former striker Luis Suarez, if Mo Salah leaves the club in the summer.

Suarez is held in the highest regard at Anfield after a successful first stint at the club and, while he is now 34, the Uruguayan is still firing on all cylinders for Atletico Madrid - his 19 goals so far this season see him behind only Lionel Messi in the top scoring charts in La Liga.

If Salah does leave Liverpool in the summer, Sky Bet have a host of Europe's top clubs priced up to sign the Egyptian.

PSG and Real Madrid are joint-favourites at 8/1, Barcelona are 9/1, Bayern Munich are 16/1 and Manchester City are 25/1 to sign the attacker in the summer transfer window.

READ MORE: Check out a full round-up of the day's transfer rumours on TEAMtalk