The transfer window for Europe’s biggest clubs might be closed, but they are still working tirelessly behind the scenes to line up the arrival of their next star. Transfer Talk has been scouring the world’s media to see who could be heading to your club when Jan. 1 arrives.
TOP STORY: Fekir saga now includes Madrid
Nabil Fekir, a Liverpool transfer target back in the summer who has also been on Chelsea’s radar, has been offered to Real Madrid, according to Marca.
The 25-year-old’s current deal expires in 2020, and Lyon’s president Jean-Michel Aulas wants to sell him before his value drops or he has to leave for free.
Madrid are said to be looking for a midfield playmaker who could play a similar role to Ballon d’Or winner — and 33-year-old — Luka Modric.
Fekir, a World Cup winner in the summer with France, scored in September’s 2-1 win at Manchester City in the Champions League, and netted in each of his final three matches of 2018 before the French winter break.
22.58 GMT: That’s going to bring Monday’s live edition of Transfer Talk to a close. Thanks very much for joining us, and be sure to check back in a few short hours when we return with the latest gossip pulled from Tuesday’s back pages.
22.02 GMT: Fox Deportes journalist Mariano Trujillo has reported that New York Red Bulls centre-back and Major League Soccer Defender of the Year Aaron Long is the subject of interest from Eintracht Frankfurt and several other European clubs ahead of the January transfer window.
— Mariano Trujillo #SuckItUp #SinLlorar (@marianot19) December 24, 2018
20.00 GMT: Liverpool will be open to signing players in the January transfer window should they need reinforcements to aid their Premier League title challenge, manager Jurgen Klopp said on Monday. Read the full story.
17.57 GMT: The Houston Dynamo have signed Slovenian defender Aljaz Struna from Italian Serie B side Palermo, the team announced on Monday. Read the full story.
15.26 GMT: With Arsenal in the market for a centre-back amid their injury crisis, the Metro reports that the club’s No. 1 target for the January window, Real Valladolid’s Fernando Calero, was spotted in London ahead of a proposed £10m move.
13.50 GMT: Liverpool will be open to signing players in the January transfer window should they need reinforcements to aid their Premier League title challenge, manager Jurgen Klopp has said.
Klopp’s side has suffered a number of casualties in recent weeks, with defenders Joel Matip and Joe Gomez ruled out until mid-January with injuries.
While full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold and midfielder Naby Keita could return against Newcastle United on Wednesday, Klopp suggested further fitness problems could force him to rethink his transfer strategy.
“I’m very happy with what I’ve got, but you don’t know. That’s why I always keep the door open, in case something happens and we need to have a look,” Klopp told a news conference.
“If a few more things happen then we need to have a look because there are a monstrous number of games still and it’s really important that we can always react.
“If something will dramatically change then we need to have a look, that’s all. If nothing happens, then I would say we will not do anything.”
13.00 GMT: Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani has been linked with a move to Chinese Super League club Guangzhou Evergrande.
Cavani’s future has been the subject of increased speculation ever since his on-pitch row with teammate Neymar over who would take a penalty.
However, seven-time CSL champions Guangzhou Evergrande have played down the chances of them bringing in a marquee player any time soon.
A club source is quoted as telling Guangzhou-based newspaper Information Times: “It will be extremely difficult for us to buy good players in the transfer market. The club will not stay competitive (in attracting big names) after the salary cap goes into effect.”
12.15 GMT: Celtic have signed 15-year-old wonderkid Karamoko Dembele to his first professional contract with the Scottish champions.
Dembele made headlines back in October 2016 when, at the age of 13, he came on as a substitute to play for Celtic’s under-20 side.
Before the end of that year the London-born midfielder, whose parents came to the UK from Ivory Coast, had turned out for both Scotland’s U16 and England’s U15 teams.
Dembele told the club’s official website: “It means a lot to me to start my professional career at Celtic. I came here at a young age, and, after all the stuff me and family have been through together, it’ll be good to make them proud.
“I’d like to say thank you to everyone, and I’d like to thank everyone for everything they’ve done for me. I’d also like to thank everyone for the training I’ve received, the discipline I’ve been taught, and the advice I’ve been given all the way.
“Getting attention at a young age has been hard, but I’ve obviously had my family to help me through that. You need to be strong mentally, you need to stay grounded, and you just need to get on with everything that you do on a daily basis.”
11.05 GMT: Borussia Dortmund have denied reports linking midfielder Julian Weigl with a January move to Paris Saint-Germain.
Bild reported that Weigl, 23, was a target for the French champions, but Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc has ruled that out.
“We won’t let any players move on which we need to achieve our goals,” he is quoted as saying by kicker. “We need four players for the two holding midfield spots.”
10.15 GMT: Arsenal’s hopes of signing Lille winger Nicolas Pepe have been hit by the Gunners being told they’ll have to break their transfer record to sign him.
Telefoot quotes Lille sporting director Luis Campos as saying that Ivory Coast international Pepe would cost Arsenal £72m to bring him over from Ligue 1, significantly more than the £56m they paid for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang last January.
09.25 GMT: Bad news for Manchester United fans who are hoping the club can strengthen their defence in the January window — it looks like long-standing target Kalidou Koulibaly might be off the table.
According to reports in Italy, the Napoli defender is set to extend his Napoli contract until 2023, making him one of the highest-paid players at the club.
PAPER TALK (Mark Thompson, Football Whispers): Arsene in Milan
Rumours of Arsene Wenger getting a job at AC Milan have been sparked again by a report in Italian newspaper Tuttosport. Gennaro Gattuso‘s job is in the balance, the paper reports, with the spectre of Wenger looming.
The common link is, of course, Ivan Gazidis, who has left his role at Arsenal to take on an executive position at Milan.
Bats in Rome
Roma are interested in bringing in Chelsea forward Michy Batshuayi, who’s currently on loan at Valencia, Corriere dello Sport are reporting.
Talented 22-year-old Patrik Schick is on the way out of Rome, according to the paper, and the Serie A side have identified Batshuayi as a possible replacement.
The 25-year-old Belgian has only scored one goal in La Liga this season, though.
That’s Dwight alright
Dwight Gayle has hinted that his loan at West Bromwich Albion could be turned into a permanent affair, reports the Birmingham Mail.
The 28-year-old was part of a swap loan deal with Newcastle United, sending Salomon Rondon to Tyneside, and West Brom fans were chanting “sign him up” as Gayle scored a hat-trick against Rotherham on Saturday.
“It could be on the cards,” Gayle said after the match, “but for me the most important thing is getting promoted this season and finishing in the top two.”
Leaving, on a Jetro plane
Newcastle are planning a “swoop” for Jetro Willems in the January transfer window, according to the Daily Mail.
Rafael Benitez would like to bolster his defensive options, particularly the left-back area, and 24-year-old Willems, currently at Eintracht Frankfurt, fits the bill.
The fee would have to be larger than the £4.5 million that Frankfurt paid for the Dutchman last year, when he joined from PSV, and Newcastle may also face competition from Roma for the defender.
Football Whispers’ transfer algorithm gives the likelihood of rumours happening a score out of five.
Douglas Costa to Manchester United — 4.1
Manchester United have made a €60 million offer for the 28-year-old winger, according to Calciomercato, but it was turned down by Juventus. However, the Mirror has reported that United will only make loan signings this January, stockpiling cash for the next permanent manager to use in the summer.
Adrien Silva to Sporting — 4.0
Silva has made it clear that he’s willing to take a pay cut in order to get a move out of Leicester, Portuguese newspaper A Bola report. He has struggled to make it into the first team under Claude Puel, and spent six months unable to play after his transfer from Sporting to the East Midlands was late by 14 seconds. The only thing that was holding up a potential return was money, and the lowering of contract demands should help speed things up.
Aaron Ramsey to Juventus — 3.4
Juventus have emerged as favourite to sign Arsenal player on a free transfer this summer, according to Sky Italia. Both Milan clubs have been in the running as well, but have reportedly been priced out of contention by the 27-year-old’s contract demands.
Idrissa Gueye to Paris Saint-Germain — 3.3
PSG have made their interest in Gueye known to Everton, but are yet to make a formal bid for the midfielder, Sky Sports have reported. Everton’s 6-2 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, for which Gueye was absent through injury, may bolster their resistance to any sale,
Jadon Sancho to Real Madrid — 3.0
The 18-year-old has impressed the world this season with his performances for Borussia Dortmund, and they’ve caught the eye of Real Madrid in particular, say Marca. Signing promising youngsters has been a strategy of Madrid for a number of years now — remember Martin Odegaard? — but they would have to fight Barcelona and Bayern Munich to sign him.