Transfer deadline day is in full swing. We’re providing live, quick-hit analysis of the biggest deals – and rumors – until tonight’s 6 p.m. ET deadline.
DONE DEAL: Bayern add Cancelo ?
- Details: Loan with reported €70M purchase option (Read more)
This one came out of left field.
A testy disagreement with Pep Guardiola over a recent lack of playing time appears to be the catalyst for Joao Cancelo’s sudden, surprising move to Bavaria. Even in an era where players have more influence than ever before, an argument with a manager as powerful as Guardiola – at a club where he has been granted autonomy, more or less – is only going to have one winner. Nevertheless, this is a gamble for Guardiola and Manchester City, who are now relying very heavily on 18-year-old academy graduate Rico Lewis to maintain his current form through the end of the season. Lewis is an exciting prospect and clearly has Guardiola’s trust after his recent emergence into the starting lineup, but that’s a lot to ask of a teenager, especially for a club that is competing on three fronts and harbors serious ambitions of winning every title still available to them this season.
Cancelo has also spent plenty of time at left-back, and his departure leaves City leaning heavily on center-back Nathan Ake to cover that position. Sergio Gomez has been poor since his summer arrival from Anderlecht, Aymeric Laporte is unconvincing at full-back, and young prospect Josh Wilson-Esbrand was sent on loan to Coventry City earlier in January.
On the flip side, the move makes plenty of sense for Bayern Munich, who need a jolt to break out of their recent funk after the World Cup break; Bayern have tied all three of their post-World Cup matches, a string of results that has seen their lead atop the Bundesliga dwindle to one point. With injuries limiting Noussair Mazraoui all season, and Benjamin Pavard tipped with a summer move away from the club, Cancelo addresses an immediate need, and, if he slots in at right-back, could give Bayern one of the game’s most electrifying full-back duos playing opposite Alphonso Davies.
“He’s the optimal fit in our system with his attacking style of play and dynamism, and his mentality and experience fit very well in our team.” Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic said of the move.
Will Chelsea land their midfielder?
Chelsea are running out of time to sign World Cup star Enzo Fernandez. The Blues’ on-again, off-again pursuit was revived over the weekend, but Benfica have remained steadfast in their assertion that the Argentine midfielder won’t be sold unless his €120-million release clause is met in one lump sum. The fee itself isn’t an issue for Chelsea, who have not been shy about spending exorbitant amounts since Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital assumed control, and would prefer to make that gargantuan payment in several instalments.
Talks between the clubs are ongoing. If sealed, the move would break the British transfer record, which currently belongs to Manchester City and Jack Grealish.
Chelsea, languishing in 10th place in the Premier League, are desperately looking for midfield reinforcements due to N’Golo Kante’s ongoing injury issues and Jorginho entering the final few months of his contract (more on him below). Fellow midfielder Conor Gallagher was the subject of interest from Everton but the 22-year-old isn’t interested in the move, according to The Athletic’s Liam Twomey.
Arsenal push to sign Jorginho
The anticipated deal for Jorginho seems to have divided Arsenal’s fanbase.
One on hand, the Gunners would be acquiring a serial winner – he won the Europa League and Champions League with Chelsea, and was one of the tournament’s standout players when Italy won the European Championship in 2021 – and somebody who’s an expert at breaking up play and maintaining possession for his team.
The naysayers are quick to point out that Jorginho’s use of the ball can be rather unadventurous – something that could be a hindrance for a side that tries to quickly release Bukayo Saka and its other quick attackers – and that he’s slow by Premier League standards.
But at £12 million, doesn’t the 31-year-old represent good backup for the base of midfield? The options behind Thomas Partey are pretty shallow or unimpressive, so Jorginho could be a valuable piece to take some of the Europa League workload and cover spare minutes in the Premier League.
Other deals to watch today …
- Sofyan Amrabat to Barcelona
- Hakim Ziyech to Paris Saint-Germain
- Milan Skriniar to Paris Saint-Germain
- Pedro Porro to Tottenham Hotspur
- Hector Bellerin to Sporting CP
- Isco to Union Berlin
- Keylor Navas to Nottingham Forest
- Kamaldeen Sulemana to Southampton
- Matt Doherty to Atletico Madrid
- Djed Spence to Rennes
- Nicolo Zaniolo to … anywhere