The January transfer deadline is now just two days away, and the winter window has already seen some huge deals.
Virgil van Dijk has arrived at Liverpool for £75 million, making him the world’s most expensive defender, while Philippe Coutinho headed to Barcelona for a massive £142m.
Manchester United fended off competition from Manchester City to complete a swap deal for Alexis Sanchez, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan going from Old Trafford to the Emirates, but there are still big deals to be done in the final days and hours of the window.
So which way are they going to go, and have too many clubs left it too late to get negotiations over the line?
Is Conte going to get the striker and defender he wants?
Chelsea are still trying to thrash out a deal for Roma forward Edin Dzeko, but the costs of signing the former Manchester City forward are a problem for the Stamford Bridge hierarchy. Roma will hold out for at least £20m for Dzeko, who wants a three-and-a-half year deal worth £90,000-a-week at Chelsea.
With the club having a policy of offering short-term deals to players over 30, Dzeko (who will be 32 in March) threatens to disrupt the pay structure but Conte is ready to push hard for the Bosnia international due to Alvaro Morata’s loss of form and his lack of faith in Michy Batshuayi. Dzeko’s proven Premier League pedigree with City is likely to prove decisive, however, with Chelsea expected to get a deal done.
Roma left-back Emerson Palmieri is set to arrive at Chelsea too, with the club close to sealing an £18m deal for the Brazilian. David Luiz could be sold to make way for Palmieri but the former Paris Saint-Germain defender is more likely to stay until the summer.
Spurs have been quiet. Will they sign Lucas Moura?
Tottenham are closing in on Paris Saint-Germain winger Lucas Moura, who has been touted around Europe’s top clubs by the French league leaders. Manchester United rejected the chance to sign the Brazil international, who snubbed a move to Old Trafford in 2012, but Spurs are now making progress on a deal worth up to £25m.
PSG need to sell to reduce their wage bill and raise funds after their £198m outlay on Neymar last summer. With the club also having to boost funds due to the commitment to pay £166m to make Kylian Mbappe’s loan from Monaco permanent this summer, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy may yet attempt to drive down the fee for Lucas in the knowledge that PSG need to sell.
Either way, a deal is likely to happen.
How many deals will Man City get done before the deadline?
Pep Guardiola has already missed out on Alexis Sanchez this month, and the Manchester City manager has claimed in recent days that the club cannot afford to pay the wages for a 22-man squad. Despite Guardiola’s concerns, it would be a surprise if City did not close the window without adding Aymeric Laporte, and there is a chance that Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred could also seal a move.
City have triggered Laporte’s £57m buy-out clause at Athletic Bilbao and the deal is now just dependent on final details being signed off. The centre-half could even complete his move by Monday evening, which will end City’s interest in West Brom defender Jonny Evans.
Fred, meanwhile, could also arrive at the Etihad this week, with Shakhtar Donetsk prepared to sell the Brazilian midfielder for £45m. City had been set to accept that a deal would have to wait until the summer but positive contact with the Ukrainian club have opened the door to a transfer being completed.
If Evans isn’t going to City, will he sign for Arsenal?
West Brom are prepared to sell Evans in order to raise funds for Alan Pardew to boost his squad, but Manchester City are set to drop out of the race for the Albion captain due to their pursuit of Laporte. That would leave just Arsenal in the running, which potentially knocks down the Northern Ireland international’s price tag.
Another complication could be the hamstring injury sustained by Evans during Saturday’s FA Cup fourth round victory at Liverpool. If the injury results in a long-term lay-off, Evans will miss out on a move entirely. But with the former Manchester United man able to leave Albion for just £3m in the summer, Arsenal know a deal can be done relatively cheaply this month so Arsene Wenger is likely to push for a deal this week if scans rule out a serious hamstring problem.
If Arsenal get Aubameyang, what will happen with Giroud?
Arsenal have spent the past two weeks attempting to seal a deal with Borussia Dortmund for striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and look like spending €65m on the 28-year-old.
But that could mean some late drama for Olivier Giroud, who is getting interest from Chelsea and Dortmund.
Arsenal will not let Giroud leave until they sign Aubameyang, which means the France forward could be set for an anxious evening on Wednesday.
Will Moyes wheel and deal on Deadline Day?
West Ham have the funds to make late moves for players and they also have a number of out-of-favour stars who could be shipped out by manager David Moyes.
Javier Hernandez is the most likely to find a club due to his goalscoring record and cool relationship with Moyes but goalkeeper Joe Hart looks set to stay, despite losing his place to Adrian.
Moyes is interested in Fulham midfielder Tom Cairney but is only prepared to pay half of the Championship club’s £30m valuation of the 27-year-old. Having signed several former Everton and Manchester United players during his ill-fated spell in charge of Sunderland last season, do not be surprised if Moyes turns to some more old faces as the clock ticks down to the deadline on Wednesday.
Any surprises that could happen?
There are some potential deals out there that could be done if managers have the funds and ambition to pull them off.
Liverpool will listen to offers for England forward Daniel Sturridge, but he will not come cheap due to his £150,000-a-week wages at Anfield. Inter Milan are keen on the 28-year-old but no deal has yet been agreed, so a Premier League club in need of goals could yet make a late move.
It will also interesting to see how Manchester United react if they receive an offer for Marouane Fellaini. The Belgium midfielder is out of contract in the summer and showing no signs of committing to a new deal. It is difficult to imagine where he will fit into Jose Mourinho’s team over the second half of the season, meaning Fellaini could be a surprise departure this week.
Mark Ogden is a senior football writer for ESPN FC. Follow him @MarkOgden_