The summer transfer window was unlike any other; see all the major deals and check out how we graded the biggest signings. And just because the window is shut until January, that doesn’t mean the rumours won’t keep coming. Here is the latest gossip and speculation.
TOP STORY: Pogba puts Man United contract talks on hold
Manchester United‘s Paul Pogba has put talks over a new contract on hold, according to The Sun. The midfielder is out of contract in the summer and, while the Red Devils have expressed a desire to extend his stay, he could leave for free at the end of the season.
The report comes after the 28-year-old apparently snubbed manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after his side’s 5-0 loss to Liverpool on Sunday. Pogba came off the bench at half-time before he was sent off 15 minutes later for a rash challenge on Naby Keita. The France international is said not to have apologised to his teammates for the red card.
When asked by the Times for new about his client’s contract, Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola said: “You would have to ask Manchester United about it. At this moment everything is calm. There is no update.”
Pogba is the club’s record signing, re-joining Manchester United after he left the academy in 2012 to join Juventus. He returned from Italy in 2016 for £89.3 million, making over 200 appearances in that time.
The midfielder has been linked with a move to a number of clubs, including a return to Juventus as well as LaLiga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona.
– ESPN+ guide: LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, FA Cup, more (U.S.)
– Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ (U.S. only)
– Don’t have ESPN? Get instant access
09.02 BST: Spanish midfielder Santi Cazorla believes his Al Sadd coach Xavi Hernandez “is totally ready” to guide Barcelona one day.
Xavi, a Barcelona legend from his playing days, is considered among the candidates to replace Ronald Koeman, should the Dutchman be dismissed.
Asked if Xavi is ready to triumph at Barcelona, Cazorla, who helped Al Sadd win the Emir Cup earlier this month, said: “I see him totally ready. It’s his dream and it’s in his mind at some point in the future. Few people know the club [Barca] like he does. I see him perfectly capable.”
Xavi left Barcelona in 2015 for Al Sadd, having played for the Qatari side until 2019 before taking over the coaching position.
“Our training drills are based on rondos, possessions, positional play… pure Barca school,” Cazorla added. “And to defend while having the ball. That is how we play each game. Xavi understands football in this way and that is how we play. In Spain’s national team we already had that football philosophy. It’s very clear to him.”
Al Sadd have not lost since March 2020, which is 34 league games.
“Since I’ve arrived, I have not lost in the league and I’ve won five titles in total,” the former Arsenal player said. “I’ve been lucky to have won things in Europe but not as often as here, and in only a year and a half.”
08.30 BST: Carlo Ancelotti has warned €100m signing Eden Hazard he will have to fight to win a place in his Real Madrid team, and said “the problem he has right now is he has a coach who prefers another player.”
Hazard, 30, was an unused substitute in Madrid’s 2-1 El Clasico win over Barcelona on Sunday after he missed last week’s 5-0 Champions League thrashing of Shakhtar Donetsk with an injury picked up on international duty.
Ancelotti picked the in-form Vinicius Junior — who has scored seven goals this season — and Rodrygo on the wings at Camp Nou and was rewarded when both were involved in David Alaba’s opener.
“The problem [Hazard] has right now is he has a coach who prefers another player,” Ancelotti said in a news conference on Tuesday ahead of Madrid’s LaLiga game with Osasuna. “That can happen in a squad like Real Madrid’s. What’s important is the player has the motivation to work to play. He is doing that.”
Ronald Koeman condemns fans who surrounded his car following Barcelona’s El Clasico defeat.
PAPER GOSSIP (by Luke Thrower)
– While Arsenal and AC Milan have previously been linked with a move for Club Brugge playmaker Noa Lang, Borussia Monchengladbach are also said to be interested. According to Calciomercato, the Bundesliga club are eyeing a potential move if forward Marcus Thuram leaves in January.
– Chelsea are willing to negotiate with Paris Saint-Germain over a move for striker Mauro Icardi according to journalist Ekrem Konur. The 28-year-old has been linked with a move away from the French capital as he struggles to get game time at the club, who have opted for a front four of Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Angel Di Maria.
– Barcelona are no longer considering making the loan move of Yusuf Demir permanent, according to Sport. The 18-year-old is on loan with the LaLiga club from Rapid Vienna, with an option to make the move permanent for €10m. However, the youngster has failed to break into the team after a decent start under Ronald Koeman. The clause would only become an option if he plays 45 minutes in more than 20 games.
– Despite only signing him in the summer, there are concerns over Denzel Dumfries at Internazionale, which may force the Serie A side back into the market for a right-back. According to Gazzetta dello Sport, the full-back’s performances have been a concern, as Inter keep an eye on Sampdoria player Bartosz Bereszynski as an alternative option.
– Inter have also met with the agent of Morten Thorsby over a potential deal, according to Calciomercato. The 25-year-old plays for Sampdoria, joining on a free transfer from Heerenveen in 2019. He is viewed as an option to bolster Inter’s central midfield ranks.