With the opening of the January transfer window coming closer, there’s plenty of gossip swirling about who’s moving where. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz on rumours, comings, goings and, of course, done deals!
TOP STORY: Chelsea close in on Argentina star Fernandez
Chelsea are hoping to complete the deal for Benfica forward Enzo Fernandez early in the January transfer window and are prepared to pay the £105 million release clause in his contract, reports the Evening Standard.
Fernandez, 21, suffered an inauspicious return to club football on Friday night as Benfica slumped to a surprise 3-0 defeat at Braga. The Argentina international, fresh from winning the World Cup and being named the tournament’s best young player, played 89 minutes before being substituted.
However, it could be his last game for the Portuguese club with Chelsea now ready to trigger the clause. The only sticking point appears to be whether Chelsea pay the fee up front or in installments, reports the Daily Mail.
“I don’t know if that was the last match of Enzo,” Benfica head coach Roger Schmidt said after the loss to Braga. “I think Enzo is a great player. Since he arrived at Benfica, he’s played fantastic football. Also, as a person, he’s completely identified with the club. Sometimes things in football happen and then players have to make decisions. We will see what happens.”
Liverpool are unlikely to be contenders having signed Cody Gakpo from PSV Eindhoven, but Man United are still trying to make a deal happen. Erik ten Hag has already lost out on Gakpo as a key target, and could now see another of the World Cup’s exciting young players head to a Premier League rival.
Benfica are reported to have offered Fernandez a new contract but would be powerless to stop him leaving in January should his release clause be met and he choose to move on.
Chelsea have already agreed a deal with Norwegian club Molde FK for the transfer of 20-year-old striker David Datro Fofana.
– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga and more (U.S.)
22.15 GMT: Danish forward Kasper Dolberg could cut his loan at Sevilla short to rejoin parent club Nice next month ahead of moving on to Hoffenheim in 2023, according to Mundo Deportivo.
Dolberg opted to join Sevilla as part of a season long loan despite playing a regular role for the Ligue 1 side in the previous campaign. However, he has struggled in Spain as the Andalusian club currently finds itself in a relegation fight.
22.00 GMT: Napoli right-back Giovanni Di Lorenzo is set for a contract extension with the current Serie A leaders, according to Calciomercato.
Following the departures of Lorenzo Insigne and Kalidou Koulibaly in the summer, Di Lorenzo was named captain and has thrived under Luciano Spalletti this season.
21.30 GMT: Premier League bottom side Southampton are eyeing some January signings to try and salvage their season, according to the Sun.
Lorient striker Terem Moffi, who has 10 Ligue 1 goals this term, is being considered. But the Saints are also seeking help on the defensive side. The report states that two new centre-back signings are being mulled. In addition, Jan Bednarek (on loan at Aston Villa) and Jack Stephens (on loan at Bournemouth) could be recalled.
21.00 GMT: The Telegraph reports that Leeds United are eyeing FC Salzburg defender Max Wober, which would reunite the Austria man with his former manager Jesse Marsch at Elland Road.
Wober, 24, won the Austrian title with Marsch after joining from Sevilla three years ago, with Salzburg nowing seeking a transfer fee of £14 million.
Leeds’ priority in the January market is in attacking positions but the report states that Salzburg could accept staggered payments.
20.30 GMT: Borussia Monchengladbach striker Marcus Thuram is keen to remain with the club for the rest of season unless any of his four “dream clubs — Bayern Munich, Inter Milan, Manchester United and PSG — make an offer in the January window.
According to Bild, Thuram was to have help Gladbach qualify for the Europa League next season and compete for the Bundesliga’s top scorer prize. He has 10 goals so far this season, tied with Niclas Fullkrug for second behind Christopher Nkunku (12).
The France man is set to become a free agent at the end of season and seems to be on the verge of a big move.
19.45 GMT: Newcastle United are looking at shoring up their defensive line and have turned their attention to Ferland Mendy, according to FootMercato.
The Real Madrid and France left-back is under contract with the LaLiga outfit until 2027, but Newcastle — who are in third place in the Premier League — could make a move for a Champions League-calibre player such as Mendy.
PSG have also been linked with the ex-Lyon man in the past, but are instead hoping that Juan Bernat and Nuno Mendes return from nagging injuries over trying to sign someone else.
18.45 GMT: Dejan Lovren is on the verge of returning to Ligue 1 side Lyon, according to L’Equipe. The Croatian centre-back has six months left on his contract with Zenit St. Petersburg.
Lovren made 72 appearances for Lyon from 2010-13 before heading to the Premier League, playing for Southampton for the 2013-14 season and then Liverpool until 2020.
17.55 GMT: Luis Suarez has officially joined Gremio, the Brazilian club announced on Saturday. The ex-Ajax, Liverpool, Barcelona, and Atletico Madrid striker had joined boyhood club Nacional prior to the World Cup.
The 35-year-old Uruguay star reportedly had offers from MLS, Liga MX, and Saudi Arabian sides but will instead will continue in South America with his deal at Gremio going through 2024.
É DO GRÊMIO! 🇪🇪🇺🇾 Um dos maiores da história do Uruguai, @LuisSuarez9 chega ao Tricolor para seguir sua trajetória vitoriosa, agora vestindo a nossa camisa! Artilheiro, multicampeão, copero y peleador! Seja bem-vindo, Luisito! pic.twitter.com/eOW9LXQ6fA
— Grêmio FBPA (@Gremio) December 31, 2022
17.00 GMT: ESPN’s Taylor Twellman says that Cristiano Ronaldo held extensive talks over a move to Major League Soccer with Sporting Kansas City.
Ronaldo, who on Friday signed for Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr, is said to have held multiple meetings with the club.
Multiple @MLS teams inquired about Ronaldo and his future but 1 team was already at the table: @SportingKC
Their offer was so compelling that Ronaldo’s team had multiple meetings w/SKC before taking the Saudi deal. The package (wages/commercial) was said to be “very close”. #MLS
— Taylor Twellman (@TaylorTwellman) December 31, 2022
16.18 GMT: Memphis Depay will reject any transfer offers in January and leave Barcelona on a free transfer in the summer, reports Todofichajes.
Depay, 28, has been linked with a cut-priced move in the window as Barca look to get his salary off the wage bill.
15.33 GMT: L’Equipe reports that Leicester City have submitted a bid for Morocco World Cup star Azzedine Ounahi.
The Angers midfielder is sure to be in demand in January after commanding displays as Morocco produced a huge surprise to finish fourth in Qatar.
The French paper says that Leicester are the first club to lodge a firm offer, said to be €20m plus an additional €10m if the Foxes qualify for the Champions League.
14.50 GMT: AS Monaco head coach Philippe Clement has insisted that Chelsea have competition for the signature of central defender Benoit Badiashile.
Badiashile, 21, is reported to have agreed terms over a move to Stamford Bridge in January as boss Graham Potter begins to reshape his squad.
But Clement has insisted it’s not a done deal, after he left Badiashile as an unused substitute for Wednesday’s 3-2 win at Auxerre.
“I think that there is not only one club that has contacted Benoit Badiashile. There is not just Chelsea,” Clement told a news conference. “There are lots of interests for several of our players over the last six months. That is also the case with Benoit.
“The most important thing, remains AS Monaco and the players. That’s my role. I see that he is good with the squad, during training sessions. He celebrated the win vs. Auxerre, he was giving them pointers.
“I also have to look to the future, it is normal to play with Malang Sarr [vs. Auxerre], he’s proving on the pitch that I integrate him more than in the last few months.”
14.04 GMT: Canada international Jonathan David says he expects to be playing in the Premier League sooner rather than later.
The 22-year-old, who plays in France for Lille, has been linked with a move to England for some time.
“I don’t know, I think it’s possible, very possible,” the striker told La Voix du Nord about his next move. “I don’t know if I can see myself anywhere other than the Premier League. It could well be the Premier League.”
13.19 GMT: Salernitana are reported to be considering giving a contract to Isco after he was offered to the Serie A club on Friday.
Isco, 30, is a free agent after Valencia ripped up his contract earlier this month unhappy with his performances after signing on a free transfer from Real Madrid in the summer.
Fiorentina and Hellas Verona have already reportedly rejected the proposal to sign the midfielder, but Salernitana are yet to give an answer.
Journalist Alfredo Pedulla reports that Isco’s team is looking for a salary of €1.5-1.8m through to the end of the season.
12.33 GMT: Manchester City are hoping to secure the signing of another Argentina star of the future, Maximo Perrone of Velez Sarsfield.
With the 22-year-old Julian Alvarez having been signed from River Plate in the summer, and winning the World Cup with Argentina earlier this month, coach Pep Guardiola now wants to add defensive midfielder Perrone, who has been capped to under-20 level.
Perrone, who turns 20 next week, has also been tracked by Benfica, Newcastle and Wolves, but it seems City are now favourites to complete a deal and have triggered his release clause — set at just £8m.
The Daily Mail reports that Perrone will play for Argentina at the South American Under-20 Championship, which kicks off next month, and could head to the Etihad afterwards.
11.52 GMT: Real Madrid are ready to spend over €100 million to sign Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham and are confident they will be able to speed up transfer talks in January, sources told ESPN.
The LaLiga giants view the England international, 19, as a priority signing for next season but are aware of competition from Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and, above all, Liverpool.
Madrid would view a €100m fee as a sensible figure and hope that the good relationship between club president Florentino Perez and Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke could help clinch the deal.
11.06 GMT: Arsenal have told Atletico Madrid they are prepared to take Joao Felix on loan in January — but they aren’t interested in a clause that would commit the Gunners to a permanent deal in the summer.
Felix, 23, appears to have no long-term future at Atletico after failing to impress coach Diego Simeone. He scored the opening goal in Atletico’s 2-0 win at home to Elche on Thursday, but the club are open to offers in the January window.
Todofichajes reports that Atletico are insisting that any club that takes Felix on loan must agree to the permanent transfer.
Shakhtar Donetsk forward Mykhailo Mudryk remains Arsenal’s No. 1 target, but their opening €65 million offer was rejected, sources have told ESPN.
10.21 GMT: Erik ten Hag has said Manchester United will have to be “creative” if they want to sign a striker in January.
A lack of available funds meant United missed out on Cody Gakpo, who has joined Liverpool from PSV Eindhoven, and the club are looking at short-term options instead, including signing a forward on loan until the end of the season.
“It’s always difficult, strikers are expensive, especially in the winter,” Ten Hag said. “But you have to set the limits high.
“We’re looking for it, we need to be creative and do everything we have in our power to get the right players in, who are fitting in the balance.”
09.43 GMT: In case you managed to miss it on Friday, Cristiano Ronaldo has joined club Al-Nassr after leaving Manchester United, the Saudi Arabian club announced Friday.
Ronaldo signed a contract through to the summer of 2025 and, according to reports, will receive $75 million per year to make him the highest paid player in history. Sources did not dispute that figure to ESPN.
“I am excited to experience a new football league in a different country,” Ronaldo said in Al-Nassr’s statement announcing the deal.
09.00 GMT: RB Leipzig have made contact with Spezia for defender Jakub Kiwior as a future replacement for breakout star Josko Gvardiol, according to FootMercato. Leipzig are keen to bolster their defensive reinforcements as they prepare for life without Gvardiol who has attracted interest from across Europe. Manchester City are just one of a number of clubs linked with Gvardiol, who endured a stellar World Cup as he helped Croatia to a third-place finish in Qatar. Foot Mercato also reported earlier in the week that the Premier League side offered over £85 million for the Leipzig defender earlier in December.
– Aston Villa have enquired about Gerard Deulofeu, according to FootMercato. Villa are looking to strengthen their options up front, having netted just 18 goals in 16 Premier League games this season, and the Udinese star is one target identified for January. The report states that AC Milan and Napoli were interested in the Spaniard last summer, but could not agree a deal with Udinese looking for €20m.
– Marley Ake is set to depart Juventus in January for Genoa, according to journalist Gianluca di Marzio. The 21-year-old winger has made just six appearances under Massimiliano Allegri and could depart the club in the winter, with Genoa looking to strengthen their promotion bid back to Serie A. Ake joined Juventus in January 2021 from Marseille for €8m, but has struggled to break through with the Italian giants.
– Matias Soule has decided against leaving Juventus on loan this winter, according to TuttoSport. Soule has struggled for consistent game-time this season, making eight first-team appearances, but the report states that he is eager to continue his development with the Bianconeri. The 19-year-old joined Juventus in January 2020 and has been viewed as a player with immense potential after progressing through the youth ranks.
– Arsenal have activated the option to extend William Saliba‘s contract until June 2024, according to The Athletic. Saliba’s deal was set to expire in June 2023, with the Gunners having a Dec. 31 deadline to trigger the option. The report also states that talks are continuing over a fresh contract for the defender.
– Raul Jimenez could depart Wolverhampton Wanderers this January, according to the Daily Mail. Following the arrival of Matheus Cunha, Jimenez has slipped further down the pecking order at Molineux, and could be allowed to depart this winter. The report states that Wolves have been open to offers for the Mexico international since the summer, and with new coach Julen Lopetgui interested in adding another striker in January, it could spell the end to Jimenez’s stay at Wolves.