Europe’s biggest clubs continue to work behind the scenes as the winter transfer window approaches. Transfer Talk has been scouring the world’s media to see who could be heading to your club when Jan. 1 arrives.
TOP STORY: De Jong chooses PSG over Barca, City, Bayern
If Dutch publication De Telegraaf is to be believed, one of the biggest transfer sagas is already over: Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong has chosen to move to Paris Saint-Germain.
The 21-year-old Netherlands international has been attracting interest from every single major club, but mostly from Barcelona, Bayern and Manchester City. However, the report states that PSG officials are in Amsterdam to negotiate a €75m deal, with France striker Kylian Mbappe evidently playing an important role in getting his club to make a move.
Ajax director Marc Overmars has said no deal is confirmed yet, but it seems likely to be soon.
18.01 GMT: As AC Milan have cooled their interest in Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the Express cites Corriere dello Sport as reporting that the Rossoneri have turned their attention to Liverpool strikers Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi.
16.45 GMT: Earlier today, TT told you that Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock had watched Nantes striker Emiliano Sala in action in midweek – and now the Mail reports that a £25 million bid has been submitted.
16.15 GMT: Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho’s wait for a new central defender goes on – the Mirror reports that he “has been told not to waste his time” by making another bid for Leicester’s Harry Maguire in January.
15.45 GMT: Queens Park Rangers have announced that defender Angel Rangel has, as expected, extended his contract until the end of the season. The former Swansea player initially joined the Londoners until January after leaving the Swans in the summer.
14.44 GMT: It seems the media may have touched a nerve with Jose Mourinho’s agent… In a rare public statement Jorge Mendes said his client is “very happy” at the club.
“There have been more rumours of Jose Mourinho leaving Manchester United,” said Mendes. “It’s totally untrue. Jose is very happy at the club and the club is very happy with him. He has a long-term contract with Manchester United and is fully committed to the club in building a solid winning project.”
14.04 GMT: Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock watched two players in Nantes’ 3-2 win over Marseille on Wednesday. Emiliano Sala and, erm, someone else.
“He [Sala] has scored some good goals this year,” said Warnock. “He didn’t have a very good game the other night, but he’s done well. And the Marseille lad did well as well. It could have been a full-back or a midfielder but, if I told you the name, it wouldn’t be as interesting a story then, would it?”
12.38 GMT: Columbus Crew and United States international goalkeeper Zack Steffen is close to completing his move to Manchester City, sources have told ESPN FC.
The 23-year-old is expected to cost the Premier League leaders around £7m with the deal set to be completed when the January transfer window opens. Steffen would need to acquire a work permit and would likely need to receive a special exemption as he does not have enough international caps with the U.S. to automatically qualify. He could, however, be sent on loan while City go through the process.
11.55 GMT: Southampton’s floundering footballers have been put on alert by new manager Ralph Hasenhuettl, who has hinted a number of the squad will likely be shown the door in January.
The former Red Bull Leipzig coach, appointed this week to save the Saints from relegation, indicated he would use the transfer window to offload some players who do not suit his high-energy style.
“I think the squad is very big,” the former Austrian international striker told reporters. “So we have a lot of positions where we have too many players and maybe one or the other is leaving us and we bring something new. I have spoken with the chairman about that and they do everything to help my wishes.”
11.09 GMT: Ecuadorian teenager Gonzalo Plata is starting to attract some buzz. The 18-year-old Independiente del Valle star has Barcelona on his trail, according to Sport.
10.37 GMT: Everton fans could perhaps start getting a little excited about the prospect of Andre Gomes signing a permanent deal with the club.
“He’s enjoyed his first two months but let’s see what we can do,” manager Marco Silva told a news conference. “We are working on that, I don’t know if I have answer in one week or two weeks.
“It is not something that it is in our hands. The best scenario to look at is – it is not just in our hands as a club, not just in the hands of Andre, there is a third party as well. Barcelona are included, let’s see when we can talk about the situation.”
10.04 GMT: Arsenal head of recruitment Sven Mislintat has said the signing of Matteo Guendouzi from Lorient has proved that young players have the chance to shine at the Emirates.
“For us, the transfer of this then 18-year-old was important to show the world that we are the old Arsenal again,” he told German weekly Die Zeit. “Young players will get their chance to shine here.”
09.48 GMT: West Ham are big fans of taking on older players and Manchester United right-back Antonio Valencia, 33, is the latest to be linked. The Sun claim that West Ham will move for him in the summer.
09.32 GMT: Nice president Jean-Pierre Rivere has told RMC he does not expect Mario Balotelli to stay at the club when his contract expires at the end of this season.
Asked whether he thought Balotelli would sign a new deal, Rivere said: “No, I think it’ll be over.”
09.03 GMT: Crystal Palace’s Mamadou Sakho tells So Foot: “We will see for a PSG return. I am happy in England. My children speak English and I am learning a new culture. Crystal Palace made a significant effort to bring me in and London is great too. There are more people here than in Paris and it is also very big and very multicultural.”
08.40 GMT: Juventus full-back Alex Sandro is set to extend his contract with the Serie A club by three years until 2023, according to reports in Italy. The 27-year-old, who has attracted interest from several Premier League clubs and admitted while on international duty last month that he would like to play in England one day, is close to agreeing improved terms with the Bianconeri on a deal which will run beyond his 32nd birthday.
According to Turin-based Tuttosport, the Brazilian’s new deal will be worth €4 million per year. The paper also suggests his contract, which was originally due to expire in 2020, is being extended as a safety net to prevent the Serie A club from feeling forced to sell him for a reduced fee as he enters into the final year of his deal.
08.17 GMT: River Plate will begin talks with Real Madrid over the possibility of selling midfielder Exequiel Palacios after the Copa Libertadores final.
Madrid are reportedly keen to sign the 20-year-old, who is expected to start in Sunday’s Libertadores second leg against River Plate in Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu.
“[Real Madrid’s institutional director Emilio] Butragueno spoke 20 days ago with River manager Enzo Francescoli regarding Exequiel Palacios,” River president Roldolfo D’Onofrio told Cadena Cope. “We said that once this (Copa Libertadores) is over, we would talk.
“It’s true that they have monitored him and there is an interest but I don’t know if there is anything concrete.”
Palacios, who made his Argentina debut in September, has made 25 league appearances since making his River debut in the the top flight in 2016-17 campaign. Palacios could face Real Madrid in the upcoming FIFA Club World Cup if River win the Copa Libertadores on Sunday.
PAPER TALK (By Frank Smith, Football Whispers)
United line up Pochettino to replace Mourinho
Manchester United have decided they want Mauricio Pochettino as their new manager and he is the only man they are currently considering for the job, according to The Sun. Mourinho’s time at Old Trafford looks set to come to an end sooner rather than later and The Sun claims United’s hierarchy is willing to pay up to £40 million to land the Argentine.
Pochettino has been keen to take Spurs into their new White Hart Lane home next year and only signed a new five-year, £8m per season deal last summer. But the Red Devils believe they will be able to persuade the 46-year-old to join the global powerhouse, even though the former Espanyol and Southampton boss is believed to be wanted by Real Madrid also.
Chelsea and United target set to remain at Juve
While United remain hopeful of landing their new manager, they do look set to miss out on one of their transfer targets, with Alex Sandro expected to sign a new deal at Juventus in the coming days, reports Goal.
Sandro was reportedly a target for United, Chelsea and PSG and with his current deal set to expire in 2020, the clubs were keen to see whether they could land the talented full back.
However, Goal reports the Brazilian is set to sign a new €4m (£3.6m) per season deal in the coming days, which would keep him at the club until 2023.
Newcastle will have to spend big to land MLS star
One of the MLS’ brightest talents is already set to move to the Premier League in the form of goalkeeper Zack Steffen, with his £6m switch to Manchester City set to be announced, but any hopes clubs had of landing Atlanta United’s Miguel Almiron for a similarly small fee are very much mistaken.
Almiron, who said he likes the competitive challenge of the Premier League, is one of MLS’ best players and is wanted by a host of European clubs, with Newcastle United reportedly set to make a move for the Paraguay international in January. However, Atlanta United president Darren Eales told Sky Sports some of the “chump change” figures being reported are “laughable.”
Eales, whose Atlanta United side play in the MLS Cup final on Saturday night against Portland Timbers, said: “I have seen some laughable things in the press, clearly we are never going to loan one of our players out and we are certainly not going to let them go for the ‘chump change’ that I have seen in some reports.
“If it’s a proper, serious offer then it’s something we would consider, but not for the laughable figures that I have seen mentioned in the press.”
Balotelli set to move again this summer
It seemed like Mario Balotelli had finally found a home at Nice after two exceptional seasons. But then came the links away in the summer and since then, it has been downhill and the club’s president has confirmed he expects the Italian to leave in the summer, during a conversation with RMC Sport.
After difficult spells at Liverpool and AC Milan, Balotelli joined the Ligue 1 side in 2016 and in his first two seasons scored 43 goals in 66 games. But after a move to Marseille in the summer failed to materialise, the 28-year-old has been unable to score in 10 outings this campaign. Balotelli’s contract expires next summer and when Nice president Jean-Pierre Rivere was asked if he could remain at the club by RMC Sport, he replied: ‘”An extension? No I think it will be over.”
Pellegrini tells Carroll he has six months to prove worth
Andy Carroll’s talent is undeniable. His ability to get on the field regularly is the issue though. And his manager Manuel Pellegrini has told Sky Sports that the giant striker has six months to prove his worth if he wants to earn a new contract.
The England international is unique. Liverpool wouldn’t have once paid a then club-record £35m for him if that wasn’t the case. But in the last two-and-a-half seasons he has only managed 22 starts and just 113 minutes since Jan. 2. The 29-year-old has come on in two of the last three games though, following ankle surgery. And with his contract due to expire in the summer, it is now or never for Carroll when it comes to his West Ham career.
Pellegrini said: “We know what Andy can give to our team, now he must demonstrate he is able to do it week by week. He has now the last six months, and I hope that he will be able to do it.”
Football Whispers’ transfer algorithm gives the likelihood of rumours happening a score out of five,
Shoya Nakajima to Wolves — 3.8
Portimonense president Rodiney Sampaio said Shoya Nakajima proposed transfer to Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers was “80 percent done.” Sampaio said advanced talks have taken place but it has yet to be decided exactly how much the transfer will be. The Japan international is rated at around £17m but has a release clause of £35m.
Eden Hazard to Real Madrid — 3.2
Spanish radio station Onda Madrid claims Real Madrid have reached an agreement with Eden Hazard over a move in the summer. Chelsea are said to value him at around €170m (£151m) despite only having 18 months left on his contract and Real are believed to be open to the idea of Mateo Kovacic’s loan move at Chelsea being made permanent to reduce the transfer fee.
Ozan Kabak to Manchester United — 2.3
Galatasaray’s Turkish centre-back Ozan Kabak is a target for Manchester United, although the £20m-rated defender is also wanted by a host of other European clubs, including Arsenal and Inter Milan. It has been previously claimed that the defender may have a €7.5m (£6.6m) release clause in his contract.
Wesley Moraes to Arsenal — 2.2
Arsenal have set their sights on Club Brugges striker Wesley Moraes ahead of the January window opening. The 22-year-old has a contract until 2023 and reports claim Arsenal would face competition from Valencia and Fiorentina for the £15m-rated Brazilian.
Fabio Borini to Newcastle — 2.0
Former Sunderland striker Fabio Borini could be set for a switch to fierce rivals Newcastle United, if reports in Italy are to be believed. The 27-year-old has only made six starts for AC Milan this season and Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez has been keeping tabs on the Italian in recent weeks.