The 2022 January transfer window is closed, but there’s still plenty of gossip swirling about who’s moving where. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz on rumours, comings and goings and, of course, done deals!
TOP STORY: Mahrez could be set for Man City exit
Four big clubs are considering a potential move for Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez, says Foot Mercato.
The 31-year-old’s contract at the Etihad expires in 2023, with Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Chelsea all said to be interested and in contact with the Algeria international. Mahrez has won plenty of trophies in his time with Man City, including two Premier League trophies, three League Cups and an FA Cup, but could look to make the move away.
The winger has played a more secondary role this season, starting predominantly in the Champions League and Carabao Cup. In the Premier League, he has made 22 appearances, scoring 10 goals and assisting four times.
Barcelona are said to be very keen on a move, with Mahrez seen as another potential option on the right of midfield. The Blaugrana have also been linked with a €35 million move for Leeds United’s Raphinha, with new boss Xavi keen on reinforcing his squad and preparing for the possibility of Ousmane Dembele leaving on a free transfer.
Real Madrid and PSG have followed Mahrez for a number of months, with his contract situation creating uncertainty surrounding his future. However, any potential move to Chelsea may be scuppered by the club’s inability to sign players under their current sporting license due to sanctions placed on Russian owner Roman Abramovich.
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14.54 GMT: Barcelona are in talks with an American cryptocurrency company to sponsor the sleeves on the club’s shirt and, potentially, to help them create their own digital currency, sources told ESPN.
Sources added that Barca hope the deal will be worth as much as €13m-€15m annually plus add-ons depending on how the team performs.
Barca president Joan Laporta recently revealed plans for the club to develop their own cryptocurrency to help them “survive financially” against clubs owned by big corporations and foreign investors. Negotiations are ongoing with a company that could help them do that at the same time as becoming a sponsor.
The Catalan club turned down several proposals from cryptocurrency companies in favour of signing an agreement with Spotify to become their main sponsor earlier this month. They also cancelled a contract with Ownix, an NFT (Non-Fungible Token) marketplace, last November following the arrest of Moshe Hogeg, who was acting as an advisor for the partnership, on charges of cryptocurrency-based fraud.
14.32 GMT: Calciomercato says that Tottenham and Roma are keen to sign young Rennes striker Hugo Ekitike.
Ekitike, 19, has scored 10 goals in 23 appearances for Reims this season and was the subject of a €35m bid from Newcastle in January.
LaLiga pair Barcelona and Atletico Madrid are also reportedly interested, though all the teams mentioned are looking for a backup striker and not a first-choice player.
A figure of €20m is quoted, though it’s unlikely Rennes will let the young star leave for anything less than double that, even with his contract expiring in 2024.
13.56 GMT: Borussia Dortmund are starting to draw up a list of potential replacements for Erling Haaland, says Bild.
Haaland, 21, looks set to leave the club for his €75m release clause this year and seemingly has his pick of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain.
Dortmund have been linked with FC Salzburg striker Karim Adeyemi as a €40m replacement, but also have Ajax’s Sebastian Haller, Sparta Prague’s Adam Hlozek and Bayer Leverkusen’s Patrick Schick on their radar.
13.17 GMT: United States youth international Adrian Simon Gill has signed a new three-year contract with Barcelona, the Catalan club announced on Friday.
Gill, 16, first joined Barca’s La Masia academy in 2018 and has advanced through the youth teams over the last four campaigns. He currently plays for the U16 side.
The midfielder will be promoted to the U19 set up next season, along with U.S goalkeeper Diego Kochen, who also penned new terms at Camp Nou recently.
Born in Denver, Gill has represented the States at youth level in the past and has been involved in training camps with the U17s this season.
Kochen, also 16, signed a three-year deal earlier in March to extend his stay at Barca, where he has already featured for the B team in a recent friendly fixture played behind closed doors. He was born in Miami to parents from Venezuela and Peru but has represented the U.S on the international stage. He was in the U17 squad for matches against Argentina and Uruguay this month.
13.03 GMT: Barcelona have finalised agreements to sign Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen but if the new LaLiga season started tomorrow they would not be able to register either of them, sources confirmed to ESPN.
AC Milan midfielder Kessie and Chelsea defender Christensen have both agreed to join Barca on free transfers in July when their contracts expire with their respective clubs.
Barca’s spending limit has been reduced to minus €144m by the Spanish league — the only club with a negative cap — following the signings of Ferran Torres, Dani Alves, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Adama Traore in January. Therefore, they can only spend 25% of any money they save or bring in on new players.
That means they are not able to inscribe any more players with LaLiga. To do so, they must further reduce a wage bill that has already been reduced by over €150m since Joan Laporta was elected as president in March 2020.
12.20 GMT: Arsenal, Manchester United and Newcastle are all eyeing a move for Bayer Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby, says Sport1.
Diaby, 22, has scored 12 goals and seven assists in 25 Bundesliga appearances this season. He joined the club from PSG in 2019 after struggling to make the breakthrough into the first team.
The France international has no release clause, but his contract expires in 2025 and Leverkusen are reportedly willing to let him go for €60m.
11.33 GMT: Man United really need to sign one player above all others this summer.
Steve Nicol names Declan Rice as the most important signing Manchester United could make.
11.04 GMT: Crystal Palace left-back Tyrick Mitchell has caught the eye of Manchester City, according to The Sun.
Mitchell, 22, was recently called up to the England squad for the first time after an impressive season with Palace. The defender has previously been linked with Arsenal and Chelsea, but City need a replacement for Benjamin Mendy after he was suspended following his arrest and charge for rape and sexual assualt.
10.43 GMT: Brazil coach Tite could manage Arsenal once he steps down from the national team after the 2022 World Cup, according to TV Globo.
Tite, 60, recently announced he would not continue at the helm of the national team next year, with the tournament in November being his last in charge of the Canarinha.
According to TV Globo, negotiations between the Gunners and Tite’s representatives have started, despite current manager Mikel Arteta turning the club around in recent years. The Spaniard won the FA Cup in May 2019 and is on course to bring Champions League football back to the Emirates this season, but if he fails then Arsenal could look to replace him.
Should Tite join the Premier League club he would reunite with friend Edu Gaspar — the Arsenal technical director worked with him at Corinthians and with Brazil.
Tite has been at the helm of the national team since 2016. He has vast experience coaching in Brazil but his only stints overseas have been with two clubs in the United Arab Emirates.
09.59 GMT: The consortium led by Los Angeles Dodgers and LA Lakers part-owner Todd Boehly has made the shortlist to buy Chelsea, sources have told ESPN’s James Olley.
The New York-based merchant bank Raine Group, appointed to handle the sale of the club, are in the process of identifying preferred bidders after receiving between 20 and 30 offers.
Sources have told ESPN that Boehly’s group, which also includes Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss and British property investor Jonathan Goldstein, have been informed they have advanced to the next stage.
The other confirmed to have progressed on Friday morning is the consortium headed by British businessman Sir Martin Broughton, former chairman of British Airways, containing World Athletics president Sebastian Coe and rumoured to involve Crystal Palace shareholders Josh Harris and David Blitzer.
09.15 GMT: Mauricio Pochettino could be forced to wait until the end of the season to learn his fate as Paris Saint-Germain coach, sources told ESPN, due to the prospect of wholesale changes at the club which may lead to a change of coach, sporting director and the exit of several high-profile players.
Pochettino, 50, is under contract at Parc des Princes until the end of next season, but PSG’s round-of-16 Champions League elimination against Real Madrid, having led 2-0 in the tie, has left the former Tottenham manager vulnerable to being dismissed by the club’s demanding Qatari owners.
Manchester United’s interest in speaking to Pochettino as a potential permanent replacement for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who was sacked last November, has complicated the Argentine’s situation, with sources telling ESPN that PSG would rather force the Premier League club to pay a sizeable compensation fee for his services than allow him to move to Old Trafford for nothing if his contract in Paris is terminated first.
08.00 GMT: Bruno Fernandes is close to agreeing a new five-year contract at Manchester United, sources have told ESPN’s Mark Ogden.
The 27-year-old midfielder, who arrived at United from Sporting for an initial €55 million in Jan. 2020, still has three years to run on his existing deal at Old Trafford. But with United preparing to lose France international Paul Pogba as a free agent when his contract expires in June, the club has accelerated talks to secure Fernandes to a new long-term contract.
Sources have said that discussions are progressing well and that an agreement is likely to be finalised when the player returns from international duty with Portugal, who will play North Macedonia in Porto next Tuesday for a place at the World Cup following a 3-1 win at home to Turkey on Thursday.
Gab and Juls discuss the latest on the sale on Chelsea, as bidders start to be informed whether they have been shortlisted.
PAPER GOSSIP (by Luke Thrower)
– Philippe Coutinho has recaptured some of his best form since making the switch from Barcelona to Aston Villa on loan, scoring four and assisting three in 10 Premier League appearances so far. And now Mundo Deportivo reports that Arsenal are eyeing a potential move in the summer. The 29-year-old is said to be free to leave the Blaugrana at the end of the season, though the Gunners may have to compete with Villa, who have a €40m clause to sign him.
– Forward Dries Mertens is set to leave Napoli at the end of the season as a free agent, reports Gazzetta dello Sport. The Belgium international has spent nine years at the Azzurri, making 389 appearances with 144 goals and 89 assists in that time. Internazionale are said to be one side interested in the 34-year-old once he is out of contract.
– Leeds United are monitoring Rangers winger Ryan Kent, according to Football Insider. The former Liverpool forward has spent three years with the Scottish Premiership side and has only 15-months left on his deal. Leeds are said to be holding an interest should they remain in the Premier League.
– Newcastle are set to make an offer for Sporting CP defender Goncalo Inacio in the summer, reports Ekrem Konur. The centre-back recently received a first call-up to the Portugal senior national team, rewarding his impressive displays. The 20-year-old has played in most games for Sporting this season, guiding them to second and attracting transfer interest along the way.
– Lazio are progressing in talks to sign AC Milan captain Alessio Romagnoli, with the defender set to be a free agent in the summer. That’s according to Nicolo Schira, who reports that Le Aquile are pushing hard to sign Romagnoli on a five-year deal. The 27-year-old has spent five years with the Rossoneri, but has recently become a second-choice central defender for the side.