The coronavirus pandemic made the summer transfer market unlike any before it, but there were still plenty of deals done, and you can check out the major ones here. The window might be closed across the top leagues in Europe, but here are the best rumours from around the globe.
TOP STORY: Liverpool eye Sanches and Garcia
Barcelona are hotly tipped to sign Wijnaldum in the summer and could even agree a deal in January, with the player still yet to agree an extension to his contract at Liverpool that expires in 2021. And if that’s the case, Lille star Sanches — who flopped at Bayern Munich — reportedly tops Klopp’s most-wanted list as a replacement.
Barcelona tried to sign Garcia in the summer but could not reach an agreement, though they are favourites to get the deal over the line next summer, when Garcia becomes a free agent. However, while Garcia has expressed an interest in re-joining Barca, City could be more willing to do business in January in an effort to recoup some of their investment and Liverpool have emerged as a potential competitor for his signature, with the Premier League champions still threadbare in defence following injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez.
15.01 GMT: RB Leipzig have announced the signing of FC Salzburg midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai for around €20m.
OFFIZIELL: Dominik #Szoboszlai wechselt in die deutsche Bundesliga und unterschreibt bei RB Leipzig einen Vertrag bis Sommer 2025.
— FC Red Bull Salzburg (@RedBullSalzburg) December 17, 2020
14.59 GMT: ICYMI – The LA Galaxy are in discussions to acquire left-back Jorge Villafana from the Portland Timbers, sources have told ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle.
One proposal has the two teams swapping selections in the first round of the 2021 MLS SuperDraft, with the Timbers getting the Galaxy’s first round pick — No. 8 overall — while LA will obtain Portland’s selection, which is the 17th overall pick.
Any deal would be contingent on Villafana signing a new contract.
The deal, if completed, would satisfy objectives for both teams. For the Galaxy, it would give them an established full-back to bolster a defense that was the second-worst in MLS in 2020 at 1.95 goals allowed per game. Portland meanwhile would create space within their salary budget. While the MLS Players Association didn’t provide salary data in 2020, information from 2019 revealed that Villafana made $600,000 in base salary and $617,500 in guaranteed compensation.
14.27 GMT: A couple of potential exits at Manchester United, according to The Athletic…
Defender Marcos Rojo is reportedly keen to find regular football elsewhere in the Premier League and Newcastle are keen.
And backup goalkeeper Sergio Romero is in talks with an unnamed Spanish club over a loan deal that would cover the remainder of his contract at United.
14.00 GMT: Dortmund have some player on their hands in young Gio Reyna.
Jan Aage Fjortoft says he is loving Gio Reyna’s evolution at Borussia Dortmund.
13.03 GMT: Philadelphia Union and USMNT defender Mark McKenzie says he is open to a move to Celtic in January.
McKenzie, 21, almost moved in the summer but Celtic signed Brighton’s Shane Duffy on loan instead.
“Yeah, ultimately it’s about the situation being right for all parties,” McKenzie told Sky Sports News when asked about a transfer.
“As the player you are probably the most important piece in the puzzle, but it’s about making sure it’s right for the club I’m at now but also the club I could potentially be going to.
“I want to be playing regular and consistent minutes — at least fighting for my spot and then trying to keep that spot. That’s the most important thing. It’s something I’ve obviously talked to my agents about and talked to the club and staff about and make sure it’s right for everyone.
“I’ve done my fair share of research [on Celtic and the Scottish Premiership] and I’ve always loved football so I’ve known about Celtic for a while. You hear about Celtic and the path of Virgil van Dijk — going from there to the Prem.”
12.30 GMT: Chelsea spent £47.7m to sign striker Timo Werner this summer, but he’s struggling.
ESPN FC’s Janusz Michallik delves into Timo Werner’s eight-game goal drought in all competitions.
12.07 GMT: Some good news for Bayer Leverkusen fans.
Moussa Diaby and Edmond Tapsoba have signed contract extensions! pic.twitter.com/UzYQwBl4LU
— Bayer 04 Leverkusen (@bayer04_en) December 17, 2020
11.45 GMT: The Manchester Evening News reports that Manchester United will have a quiet January but are “on course to reinforce the squad over the next two windows.”
Winger Amad Diallo will already arrive for €21m from Atalanta on Jan. 1, but the report states: “United are still in the market for a ready-made winger, a centre-back, a right-back and a defensive midfielder but the expectation is there will be no incomings in the January window.
“United intend to have settled on their list of summer targets by the New Year and will only move for an agreed target if they become available next month. Senior sources at United have described the January market as ‘fool’s gold’ and ‘driven by the desperation of the buyer more than the motivation of the seller’.”
11.06 GMT: Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud would be within his rights to seek a January move, but the Daily Telegraph reports that the Blues are confident he will stay.
Giroud, 34, has scored eight goals for Chelsea in all competitions this season and wants to seal a spot in France’s Euro 2020 squad next summer. But despite Timo Werner and Tammy Abraham still being ahead of him in the pecking order, Chelsea think he’ll stay.
10.33 GMT: Nacho Fernandez‘s first option would be the Serie A should the Spain international decide to leave Real Madrid, according to his agent.
Fernandez, 30, started the season as Madrid’s fourth-choice centre-back but right-back Dani Carvajal‘s injury has allowed the veteran defender to receive more playing time. Tied to his all-time club until June 2022, Fernandez’s priority is to finish his career at Madrid.
“Nacho is an incredible professional,” Fernandez’s agent Juan Manuel Lopez said. “He grew up at Real Madrid. His mind is placed at Real Madrid and he has a winning mentality. It’s not by chance that [Real Madrid president] Florentino [Perez] and [Real Madrid coach Zinedine] Zidane don’t want to do without him. But if he had to leave Madrid, his first option would be Italy. He likes very much the idea of playing in Serie A.”
Fernandez has made eight appearances this season, six as a starter.
09.54 GMT: Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho has been linked with a €120m move to Manchester United. Is he actually still worth that?
Jan Aage Fjortoft thinks Jadon Sancho’s self-confidence has lowered since his move to Man Utd never materialised.
08.57 GMT: Western Sydney have made it three signings of wantaway A-League players this week with Bernie Ibini joining ex-Socceroo James Troisi and Scottish defender Ziggy Gordon at the Wanderers.
Ibini and Gordon’s exits from Newcastle and Central Coast respectively were both confirmed on Thursday in statements of a different tone from the two NSW clubs.
Shortly afterwards the Wanderers confirmed Gordon had signed on a two-year deal and later they announced Ibini’s arrival.
08.41 GMT: Alvaro Morata‘s agent expects Juventus to exercise the €45m buy-out clause on the Spain international next summer.
The former Real Madrid and Chelsea forward headed to Turin in September for a second spell with the Serie A champions on an initial 12-month loan deal from Atletico.
Juve have the option to extend the loan for a further season or make the transfer permanent after the first season. Morata, 28, has scored nine goals and set up five more in 15 appearances this season.
“Alvaro is focused on the present, the numbers speak for themselves,” Morata’s agent Juan Manuel Lopez told Cadena COPE. “Morata has always been Juve’s first option. And Morata would only go to Juventus. Milan and Inter were also interested. At the end of the season, [Juventus] will sign him from Atletico, I’m certain. His family are truly happy in Turin, they feel right at home.”
08.00 GMT: ICYMI — Sam Allardyce is back in the Premier League after was appointed as West Bromwich Albion head coach following Slaven Bilic’s departure on Wednesday.
Bilic’s sacking came the morning after a surprise 1-1 draw with Manchester City which brought them an unexpected point in the battle to avoid relegation. West Brom are second from bottom in the Premier League after picking up only seven points from 13 games, their sole victory coming against Sheffield United late last month. They have also drawn four games and lost eight.
Bilic, who was appointed West Brom boss in June 2019 and won promotion back to the Premier League last season, is the first top flight manager to lose his job this campaign.
Allardyce, who has 512 Premier League games to his name, will join the club with his long-time assistant Sammy Lee. The 66-year-old from Dudley, England, has agreed an 18-month contract and will start training as early as Thursday ahead of Sunday’s Premier League fixture against Aston Villa.
Julien Laurens is looking forward to the Champions League duel between Julian Nagelsmann and Jurgen Klopp.
PAPER TALK (by Nick Judd)
Szoboszlai to complete Leipzig medical
Romano explains that an actual agreement — after 24 hours of speculation — between Leipzig and Szoboszlai’s club FC Salzburg is close, and that personal terms have also been agreed. He believes the deal will be confirmed on Thursday, with Szoboszlai set to complete his medical.
The midfielder has been the subject of intense transfer speculation since the 2020-21 season started, with Arsenal, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich linked with the Hungary international, but a deal appears to be done between sister clubs Leipzig and Salzburg.
Braaf set for Germany move
Braaf has found opportunities at Manchester City hard to come by after joining from PSV Eindhoven two seasons ago, and it looks as though his time at the club could be at an end.
A number of Bundesliga clubs are reported to be monitoring him, while City are open to a loan move next month. However, it looks as though a permanent move is more likely.
Braaf, who won the Under-23s Players’ Player of the Year award in July earlier this year, would cost any would-be suitors around £8m and it’s likely that City would insert a buy-back clause into any deal.
– Marseille need to balance the books in January and Le10Sport believes defender Boubacar Kamara could net them as much as €60m from either Barcelona or Bayern Munich. Marseille are fourth in the Ligue 1 table and are looking to add their own reinforcements, but to do that they need to sell before they can buy, and Kamara could enable them to make key additions elsewhere. Kamara has this season played in defence and as a central midfielder.