With the January transfer window now open, the rumor mill has gone into overdrive. Here’s a look at what’s hot in transfer talk throughout world football.
Fire sale at Real Madrid
To fund their desired summer move for Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe – and re-establish themselves as the “Galacticos” of years past – Real Madrid need to offload multiple players, which is a tale as old as time. The current economic climate is forcing every club to make concessions, even one with the financial might of the Spanish giants.
Six names are on the chopping block, according to AS. Gareth Bale and Marcelo headline the list, and Luka Jovic, Isco, Dani Ceballos, and Brahim Diaz are also among the candidates to be shipped off permanently.
With four of those players already out on loan, they’re clearly not in the team’s long-term plans.
Barcelona rekindling Dutch connection
There’s been an intrinsic connection between Barcelona and the Netherlands ever since the iconic Johan Cruyff established the link, with a host of Dutch stars plying their trade at the Camp Nou over the years. Ronald Koeman is attempting to rekindle that spark. To do that, the bench boss has two compatriots in mind.
Koeman is confident in signing both Georginio Wijnaldum and Memphis Depay on free transfers this summer, according to Mundo Deportivo. The former will reportedly reject a contract offer from Liverpool to facilitate the move.
Liverpool captain at Old Trafford?
Will Jordan Henderson become a Manchester United stalwart? It seems sacrilegious to even suggest that possibility now – he’s currently Liverpool’s captain, after all. But the midfielder could have gone to Old Trafford if Sir Alex Ferguson had his way back in the day.
“We were ready to make a bid for Jordan Henderson at Sunderland. I spoke to Steve Bruce and he loved the guy,” the iconic ex-United boss said, according to Sky Sports. “And then our medical department said they were not happy with his running style – he could be the type to have injuries.”
Oops. Henderson joined Liverpool in 2011, and he’s become absolutely integral to the Reds’ success. Manchester United’s medical department would surely like a mulligan on that one.
What’s up with Gareth Bale?
The answer: Not much.
Bale has mostly been stapled to the bench since making a romantic return to Tottenham Hotspur on loan, and his limited impact thus far means a permanent stay in north London seems unlikely.
Spurs, who field a bevy of other attacking options – particularly players who operate in wide areas, similar to the Welshman – are leaning toward sending the 31-year-old back to Real Madrid at the end of the season, according to The Times.
The romance didn’t last long, apparently.
Bits and bobs
Lautaro to ink new deal: After being incessantly linked with a move to Barcelona last year, Inter Milan star Lautaro Martinez is close to signing a new contract and extending his stay at the San Siro. (Football Italia)
Eriksen back to Spurs: Speaking of Inter, the latest twist in the Christian Eriksen saga is Tottenham emerging as a possible destination. Mourinho wants to bring the Danish midfielder back to London. (Daily Mail)
Bayern, Real in talks: The dance between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid continues. David Alaba and Sergio Ramos have been central amid rumors, but now Eder Militao is apparently being discussed, too. (AS)
Simeone eyes Lacazette: Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone is keen on adding more firepower to his attacking unit in the form of Alexandre Lacazette, who could be convinced to leave Arsenal. (AS)
Ighalo keen on MLS: With Odion Ighalo’s brief spell at Manchester United slated to wrap up at the end of the month, the Nigerian’s eyes are set on Major League Soccer as a possible next step. (ESPN)
Mandzu returns to Italy: Former Juventus forward Mario Mandzukic is returning to Serie A. The 34-year-old Croatian free agent has reached an agreement with AC Milan on a six-month contract. (CalcioMercato)
Locatelli turning heads: Manuel Locatelli has been in spectacular form this season, and the young Italian’s impressive displays at the base of Sassuolo’s midfield are catching Pep Guardiola’s eye at Manchester City. (Daily Mail)
Casemiro is worth a fortune: Who’s the most valuable player at Real Madrid? The answer may surprise you. It’s defensive midfielder Casemiro, according to a report from audit specialist KPMG. (Mundo Deportivo)
Bailey thinking ahead: Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey dreams of playing in the Premier League, and he’s working with an English agency – Unique Sports Management – to help make that switch a reality. (Bild)
No contact with Rice: David Moyes is adamant neither Chelsea nor Manchester United have been in contact with West Ham about signing prized youngster Declan Rice. Not yet, perhaps. (Daily Mail)
Another young star for BVB: Donyell Malen could represent Borussia Dortmund’s next coup in the transfer market. The 21-year-old, who currently plays for PSV, is seen as a potential replacement for Jadon Sancho. (Daily Star)