The January transfer window is almost upon us and, naturally, all the gossip on who’s moving where is heating up. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz as we count down to the 2022 winter window.
TOP STORY: Haaland would rather move to Spain than England
Journalist Gianluca Di Marzio claims that Erling Haaland prefers a move to Spain’s LaLiga over the English Premier League as his next destination.
The Norway international has been heavily linked with a move away from Borussia Dortmund, with a number of English clubs — including the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Newcastle United — all said to be interested. However, that may now be unlikely, as the journalist claims that it’s not “exactly his dream right now.”
LaLiga and Bundesliga are touted as his current preferences, with Real Madrid and Barcelona said to be the only destinations he believes are right for his next step.
The 21-year-old is reported to have a clause in his contract that will allow him to leave Dortmund for €75 million next summer.
However, Di Marzio does note that Haaland may not necessarily leave Dortmund in the summer, with the club tabling a new contract offer as they believe another year could be key to his progression.
Haaland has scored 13 goals and assisted five times in 11 Bundesliga appearances so far this season, adding four more goals across the Champions League and DFB Pokal.
– Transfer window preview: Mbappe, Haaland to move next month?
– FC 100: Messi, Lewandowski are No. 1s; Premier League dominant
– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, FA Cup (U.S.) | FC Daily
20.57 GMT: AC Milan are keen on acquiring a defender and are looking to target Issa Diop in the January transfer window, according to Foot Mercato. The Serie A club are looking for reinforcements having lost Simon Kjaer for the next six months, and It is reported that the 24-year-old West Ham United centre-back is open to a switch to the San Siro.
20.24 GMT: Tom Bogert of MLSsoccer.com writes that Philadelphia Union attacker Paxten Aaronson is attracting interest from Europe, with both RB Leipzig and FC Salzburg tracking him. The 18-year-old scored three times in 16 appearances in his first season in MLS, following in the footsteps of brother Brenden Aaronson, the United States international whose scintillating form with Salzburg has seen him linked with Leipzig, AC Milan and Leeds United.
20.08 GMT: ESPN MX reports that a possible swap could be in the works for Monterrey’s Carlos “Charly” Rodriguez and Cruz Azul’s Luis Romo. An agreement between the two Liga MX clubs has apparently been reached.
Romo reportedly has accepted the offer and the deal could be finalised once Rodriguez has approved as well. Both midfielders were key figures for Mexico’s bronze-medal winners in last summer’s Olympic Games.
19.51 GMT: Sergino Dest could be set for a switch to the Premier League, with Chelsea interested in securing the United States international’s signature, according to Fabrizio Romano.
As reported earlier in the day, Thomas Tuchel’s side are assessing a number of options to replace Ben Chilwell, who will miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury. While the Blues have been reported to be in “pole position” to sign Lucas Digne on loan from Everton, there are still a number of names under consideration to share the left wing-back role with Marcos Alonso: Emerson Palmieri, Ian Maatsen (both of whom are on loan from Chelsea) and Ajax’s Nicolas Tagliafico. However, the 21-year-old Barcelona full-back (who’s played on the right flank for much of his career, but has deputised on the left at Camp Nou) is said to be high up the list of desirable additions.
19.18 GMT: Toronto FC are set to sign attacker Lorenzo Insigne on a free transfer, according to ESPN’s Taylor Twellman.
Personal terms reportedly have been agreed for the 30-year-old, who has been linked with the MLS side for a number of months. The Italy international will join up with the 2017 MLS Cup champions in the summer, when his contract at Napoli expires, with expectations of reviving the Reds after a disastrous 13th-place finish in the 14-team Eastern Conference in 2021.
18.45 GMT: Chelsea are moving quickly to find a replacement for Ben Chilwell after it was revealed earlier on Tuesday that he would miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury, and Gianluca Di Marzio reports that they are now in pole position for the signature of Everton left-back Lucas Digne.
The report suggests that Thomas Tuchel is keen to land the 28-year-old France international on loan until the end of the season, with Marcos Alonso now the only senior left-back available for selection at Stamford Bridge. The Blues are also considering recalling either Emerson Palmieri or Ian Maatsen, who are on loan at Lyon and Coventry City, respectively.
18.12 GMT: Andrea Pirlo could be set for a return to management, with reports that Benfica are keen to appoint him as head coach. According to Pedro Almeida, talks have already begun after the Lisbon giants parted ways with Jorge Jesus earlier on Tuesday. The 42-year-old last managed Juventus during the 2020-21 campaign, achieving a top-four finish to secure Champions League football for the Bianconeri, but was dismissed after the season.
17.39 GMT: The Telegraph writes that Everton are considering a loan move for Ross Barkley. The 28-year-old attacking midfielder came through the Toffees’ academy before leaving for Chelsea in January 2018, but it is now reported that manager Rafael Benitez is keen on bringing him back to Goodison Park. Barkley has mainly featured from the bench this season for Thomas Tuchel’s side, starting just once in the Premier League.
17.06 GMT: VfL Wolfsburg are leading the charge in the race to bring Ricardo Pepi to Europe, with Fabrizio Romano reporting that the Bundesliga club are locked in negotiations with FC Dallas, although a deal is considered a work in progress at this stage. The 18-year-old United States striker has been on the radar of a number of continental clubs in recent months and is expected to leave in January after contributing to 15 goals in 24 starts for the MLS side.
16.33 GMT: Fabrizio Romano reports that MLS side Toronto FC are trying to sign Napoli striker Lorenzo Insigne.
Insigne, 30, is available on a free transfer in the summer but has attracted attention from Juventus and Inter Milan.
Toronto have reportedly offered Insigne around €60m over a five-year contract and the Italy international is tempted. The MLS side found great success with another diminutive forward, Sebastian Giovinco, who signed in 2015 from Juventus and spent four great years at the club, winning the MLS Cup and Supporters’ Shield in 2017.
15.36 GMT: Real Madrid veteran Marcelo could end his career if he can’t agree fresh terms to stay, says Marca.
Marcelo, 33, has been linked with a return to Fluminense in Brazil — the club he joined Real Madrid from in 2007. However, as the left-back reaches the last six months of his contract, he has made it clear that he wants to remain at the Bernabeu and could hang up his boots if the club don’t want to keep him on.
15.02 GMT: Chelsea’s Ben Chilwell is set to miss the rest of the season after deciding to undergo knee surgery, sources have told ESPN’s James Olley.
The 25-year-old left-back originally sustained anterior cruciate ligament damage in Chelsea’s 4-0 win over Juventus on Nov. 23 with boss Thomas Tuchel ruling him out for an initial six-week period.
Chilwell then returned to light training in an attempt to determine whether the partial rupture could be resolved without any need for an operation but sources have told ESPN that a scan on Monday provided a downbeat prognosis and he will be sent for surgery.
The club may now have to dip into the January transfer market to replace him, possibly with a loan signing.
14.52 GMT: Could Liverpool make a move to reinforce their midfield?
Janusz Michallik names Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans as Liverpool’s dream January signing.
14.13 GMT: Brazilian Serie A side Palmeiras has made an offer of around $12.5m for New York City FC striker Valentin “Taty” Castellanos, sources have told ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle and Daniel Bocatto.
The offer was made in the days following the NYCFC’s MLS Cup final victory over the Portland Timbers, a match in which Castellanos scored in regulation time as well as in the penalty shootout, but the sources have added that the amount doesn’t yet meet the Blues’ valuation for the player — NYCFC are seeking in excess of $15m.
In 35 league and playoff appearances this season, Castellanos scored 22 goals and added eight assists while winning the Golden Boot. In parts of four seasons with NYCFC, he scored 40 goals with 18 assists in 99 league and playoff appearances.
In a recent interview with ESPN, the 23-year-old revealed that he dreams of playing in Argentina, but made it clear that he is focused on a move to Europe, where he said he already has offers.
13.30 GMT: Barcelona have completed the signing of winger Ferran Torres from Manchester City, it was announced on Tuesday.
Sources told ESPN that Barca were nearing a €55m deal for Torres, with the move now completed.
Manchester City director of football Txiki Begiristain said: “Ferran should be proud of what he has achieved here at Manchester City. Last season was his first time in a new country, but he adapted well. He always gave 100%, worked hard for the team and scored goals which helped us win trophies.
“Injury unfortunately prevented him from playing more games this season, but Ferran is a player we have all enjoyed working with and we wish him all the best at Barcelona and for the rest of his career.”
Torres, 21, has signed a contract at Camp Nou until 2026 and could make his debut in the Copa del Rey against Linares Deportivo on Jan. 5 — he won’t be registered in time to face Mallorca on Jan. 2 — having recovered from a foot injury that’s kept him out since September.
13.04 GMT: Diario Sport reports that Barcelona will go all out for striker Erling Haaland in the summer, but are also lining up possible alternatives in the event they’re unable to land the Borussia Dortmund striker.
Fiorentina’s Dusan Vlahovic is said to be another option, with FC Salzburg’s Karim Adeyemi also a target.
Adeyemi’s camp revealed earlier this month that Barca had made an approach for the forward but that they had turned it down, with reports that he has agreed a move to Dortmund. However, Sport claims that Barca have not given up on the Germany international and remain interested in signing him if they miss out on Haaland.
Vlahovic, meanwhile, is attracting plenty of attention with his goal-scoring feats and could cost €80m, which is more than the €75m release clause coming into effect in Haaland’s contract next year.
Barca are closing in on a €55m deal for Manchester City forward Ferran Torres, with the signing likely to be announced on Tuesday, but still want to add a No. 9 to their squad next season.
12.25 GMT: Manchester United have rejected a loan offer from Sevilla for forward Anthony Martial, sources have told ESPN’s Rob Dawson.
Martial has told coach Ralf Rangnick he wants to leave in January but United have turned down an approach from the Spanish side because they only offered to cover half the Frenchman’s wages.
Sources have told ESPN that the club will only consider offers that cover all Martial’s wages and includes a loan fee, while United are happy to keep the 26-year-old if those conditions are not met.
Martial has returned to full training but was left out of the squad for the 1-1 draw with Newcastle on Monday night and has not featured since the 2-0 win over Villarreal on Nov. 23. The France international is under contract at Old Trafford until 2024, with the option of another year, after signing an extension in 2019.
12.11 GMT: Barcelona want to sign Chelsea duo Cesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen when their contracts expire next summer, according to reports in the Catalan press.
Sport and Mundo Deportivo claim Barca are in negotiations with both players as they bid to strengthen their defence ahead of next season.
ESPN reported in November that new coach Xavi Hernandez is keen on Azpilicueta. The Spain international can play across the back four or as part of a back three.
Denmark centre-back Christensen, meanwhile, is viewed as someone who could improve Barca’s backline, which is currently being held together by an ageing Gerard Pique and youngsters Ronald Araujo and Eric Garcia.
Mundo Deportivo add that Lazio’s Luiz Felipe, who is also out of contract in six months, is also being monitored.
If possible, Barca would like to reinforce their defence with players whose contracts are expiring so they can save money to sign a striker next summer.
11.29 GMT: Newcastle United reportedly have two France internationals in their sights as they look for defenders to sign in the January transfer window.
Newcastle conceded the 80th goal of 2021 in the Premier League in Monday’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United, more than any other side in the division in a calendar year for more than 30 years.
Everton left-back Lucas Digne, who has been frozen out at Goodison Park since falling out with manager Rafa Benitez, is one potential arrival next month. The Sun reports that Everton will demand a transfer fee of £25m for the 28-year-old.
Meanwhile, Samuel Umtiti is another player being targeted by Magpies boss Eddie Howe, with Barcelona desperate to get the centre-back’s €260,000-a-week wage off of their books to help them accommodate the signing of Ferran Torres from Manchester City. According to The Sun, the 28-year-ol would be available for a fee of £17m.
10.33 GMT: Albirex Niigata have issued a statement of intent in their bid to reclaim the Singapore Premier League in 2022 with the capture of ex-Southampton and Japan forward Tadanari Lee.
Albirex, who won four SPL titles in five years between 2016 and 2020, relinquished their crown last season after finishing two points behind champions Lion City Sailors.
Lee, 37, played for Southampton from 2011 to 2013 but is perhaps best known for scoring the winning goal in the 2011 AFC Asian Cup final, coming off the bench to win it for Japan in a 1-0 extra-time triumph over Australia.
09.56 GMT: Lille will not consider a transfer for defender Sven Botman , a target for AC Milan, for a fee of anything less than €30m, Tuttomercatoweb reports.
Milan are keen on signing the 21-year-old, so much so that they would like to bring him on board in the January transfer window on loan with a view to making the signing permanent in the summer.
However, Lille will not countenance losing Botman in midseason, after he helped them win the Ligue 1 title last season thanks on large part to them having the best defensive record in the division.
09.00 GMT: Manchester City forward Ferran Torres was in Barcelona to have his medical on Monday, although there could be a delay in the announcement of his impending transfer.
Sources have told ESPN that Barca and City officials have agreed a deal worth an initial €55m with a further €10m in potential add-ons.
However, financially-stricken Barca still have work to do to pull off the transfer. Hampered by LaLiga’s financial restrictions and €1.4bn debt, the club must move players on before they can make new signings.
Their spending limit for the season has been set at €97m by the Spanish league, which is significantly lower than their wage bill but they are permitted to spend 25% of any savings they make, be that in wages or transfer fees.
Football Espana reports that Barca may have to wait the window for player registration opens in Spain on Jan. 3 before they can officially confirm they have signed Torres.
Shaka Hislop says Spurs are looking like a team that can challenge for the top four again.
PAPER GOSSIP (by Luke Thrower)
– Tottenham are leading the race to sign AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie on a pre-contract agreement in January, reports the Daily Express. The 24-year-old’s deal with the Rossoneri expires at the end of the season, with a number of clubs having been linked with a potential free transfer. However, the report claims that Spurs boss Antonio Conte is keen to land him and currently leads the way in doing so.
– Internazionale could be willing to listen to offers for defender Stefan de Vrij if they cannot secure him to a new contract, reports Calciomercato. The Netherlands international has a deal that lasts until 2023, however talks are on standby over a renewal. There is no intention to speed up the process from the club, but if an offer of €20m comes in for him, they are said to be willing to negotiate a move.
– Leeds United are eyeing a move for Atletico Mineiro left-back Guilherme Arana, says journalist Ekrem Konur. Arana, 24, joined the Brazilian club in the summer from Sevilla and has played most games since, going on to earn an international debut with Brazil back in October. However, Marcelo Bielsa’s side are now pondering a potential move in an effort to guide them away from Premier League relegation.
– Leicester City and Newcastle United have enquired about Internazionale midfielder Matias Vecino, according to journalist Nicolo Schira. The Uruguay international is out of contract at the San Siro next summer and has only played a role from the bench so far this season.
– Real Madrid could recall youngster Reinier from his loan at Borussia Dortmund over a lack of game time. Mundo Deportivo says that both Los Blancos and the 19-year-old want to cut the loan short, with him having only made 11 appearances in his second spell at the Bundesliga club.