The summer transfer window was unlike any other; see all the major deals and check out how we graded the biggest signings. And just because the window is shut until January, that doesn’t mean the rumours won’t keep coming. Here’s the latest gossip and speculation.
TOP STORY: Arsenal ready to move for Juve’s Kulusevski
Arsenal have long been one of the clubs linked with Fiorentina striker Dusan Vlahovic, along with the likes of Juventus and Atletico Madrid. However, Gianluca Di Marzio suggests that the Serbia international’s agents aren’t interested in talking and now the Gunners are taking an initial look at Juventus forward Dejan Kulusevski as an alternative.
The red side of North London has enjoyed plenty of attacking excitement in recent times as they have climbed the Premier League table, largely thanks to Emile Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. However, they’re not resting on their laurels and are looking toward the 21-year-old, who came off the bench during Sweden‘s 2-0 loss against Georgia on Thursday.
Kulusevski is a very different player to Vlahovic and only has one goal so far this season, though that did prove to be a Champions League winner against Zenit St. Petersburg, while he also assisted during a 3-2 Serie A win against Sampdoria.
Considering just two of Kulusevski’s 15 appearances in all competitions for Juventus this term have come from the start, the Swede may be willing to look elsewhere for game time.
The Bianconeri paid €35m to sign Kulusevski in January 2020 and would likely demand more than that now.
15.32 GMT: Aston Villa have a new manager.
Julien Laurens explains why Steven Gerrard swapping Rangers for Aston Villa makes a lot of sense.
14.37 GMT: Arsenal won’t let forward Gabriel Martinelli depart, according to his father.
Martinelli, 20, has impressed when given a chance in the first team and helped Brazil win gold at the Olympics in Japan this summer. But he has made only two Premier League starts under manager Mikel Arteta this season and has been linked with a return to Brazil to join Corinthians.
Martinelli’s father Joao told Yahoo: “There is no chance of him going to Corinthians or any other Brazilian club! Since he came back from an injury, he’s been playing a lot less than he would have liked. They even painted some proposals from Europe, but Arsenal has already warned that they will not release him.
“People like him a lot. Not only for what he plays, but also for his dedication. Martinelli is almost always the first to arrive for training and the last to leave.”
14.04 GMT: Barcelona are in advanced negotiations to bring right-back Dani Alves back to the club following his departure from Sao Paulo, sources have told ESPN’s Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens.
Alves, 38, has been a free agent since cutting his ties to the Brazilian club in September. He was present at Camp Nou last month for Barca’s 1-0 Champions League win over Dynamo Kiev and president Joan Laporta revealed earlier this week he “has offered to help the club from a sporting perspective.”
Barca had initially been reluctant to bring back Alves, who left the club in 2016. When he first offered his services in October, there were doubts due to the club’s financial limitations and the fact they are well covered at right-back.
On Thursday, sources even said Alves’ return remained unlikely. However, the appointment of Xavi Hernandez as Ronald Koeman’s replacement has seen a change of opinion at the club over the last few days. Sources explain that Xavi values Alves’ experience and leadership and believes he would be a positive influence on the dressing room.
Alves would provide competition for the young right-backs at the club, Sergino Dest and Oscar Mingueza, but would also be able to help them develop. He could also play further forward, with Xavi keen to play with two wingers.
13.44 GMT: Newcastle’s lengthy managerial search was a confused process that left several candidates baffled at the club’s lack of clarity over their future plans, sources told ESPN’s James Olley.
Former Bournemouth and Burnley boss Eddie Howe was eventually appointed on Tuesday, handed a two-and-a-half-year contract which ended an almost three-week long process that saw a raft of individuals interviewed and the job formally offered to Unai Emery.
Sources close to more than one candidate involved claimed there were competing voices within the Newcastle hierarchy over how to transform the club from battling relegation to Premier League title challengers following the Saudi-led £305m takeover. That led to a delay in identifying a clear first choice with directors Amanda Staveley and her husband Mehrdad Ghodoussi leading the process with a third director, Jamie Reuben, who is also one of several other prominent voices in discussions
13.04 GMT: Calciomercato claims that AS Roma want to sign Manchester United full-back Diogo Dalot.
Dalot, 22, has impressed on loan at AC Milan and Roma want to pip their Serie A rivals with a move to land the Portuguese on loan with an option to sign him permanently.
Roma boss Jose Mourinho was a big fan of Dalot when he was in charge of United and now wants a reunion.
12.30 GMT: Manchester City should move for RB Leipzig forward Christopher Nkunku.
Gab Marcotti and Julien Laurens love the idea of RB Leipzig forward Christopher Nkunku at Man City.
11.43 GMT: Barcelona striker Sergio Aguero will not be rushed into a decision on retirement after a report suggested his heart condition could force him to hang his boots up at the age of 33, sources have told ESPN.
Aguero first experienced chest pain in Barca’s draw with Alaves on Oct. 30. The Catalan club later announced that the discomfort had been caused by a heart arrhythmia, which would require treatment over a three-month period.
Sources close to Aguero and Barca stress that is still the case, with the Argentina international undergoing regular cardiac exams to monitor his health.
Catalunya Radio, though, reported on Friday that the latest tests have revealed Aguero’s heart problem is worse than initially feared and could bring a premature end to his career.
11.06 GMT: New Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez has imposed a series of rules he hopes will help the club rediscover their form on the pitch, sources have told ESPN’s Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens.
Xavi, 41, replaced Ronald Koeman as Barca coach last week and said at his presentation on Monday he would “restore order” at the club, who are currently ninth in LaLiga.
Sources explained that Xavi has reintroduced the fines system which has not been used since Ernesto Valverde replaced Luis Enrique in 2017. Players will pay financial penalties if they breach any of the guidelines in place, with repeat offenders having to pay more.
The rules include players needing to arrive at least 90 minutes early for training to allow time to properly prepare for the sessions and, if necessary, for individual talks with the coaching staff. The Barca squad will once again be asked to eat at the training ground, too, another habit that has been lost in recent seasons.
Xavi has also installed a midnight curfew in the 48 hours leading up to a match and will review the players’ commitments off the pitch, which will include preventing them from partaking in any activity deemed an injury risk, such as surfing or riding an electric scooter.
10.33 GMT: The Daily Mirror reports that Sevilla are tracking Manchester United’s Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani and Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette.
Sevilla are keen to bolster their attack and both the 34-year-old Cavani and 30-year-old Lacazette offer experience and goal-scoring talent, while their contracts expire next summer so they won’t cost too much.
09.50 GMT: Hakim Ziyech has been struggling to assert himself at Chelsea and the winger wants to move on, according to Bild.
Ziyech, 28, only signed from Ajax in 2020 for €40m but has slipped down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge, scoring twice in 10 games in all competitions so far this season.
German Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund are keen and will look to secure a loan deal for the Morocco international in January.
09.14 GMT: Manchester City will resist any approach from Barcelona to sign Raheem Sterling in January, sources told ESPN’s Rob Dawson. The Spanish giants have been linked with a move for Sterling, who has said he would be open to a move abroad if he cannot find regular football at the Etihad Stadium.
However, sources told ESPN that City will not consider any offer for the 26-year-old — either permanent or on loan — during the January window because he remains a key part of Pep Guardiola’s squad.
Sterling has paused contract talks with City until he is sure he will play a prominent part for the club in the future. His existing deal expires in 2023. The England winger has been in and out of Guardiola’s team this season and is reluctant to sign a new long-term contract if it means spending a lot of time on the bench.
If fresh terms cannot be agreed by next summer, City would be left with a decision to make about whether to sanction a departure for Sterling or risk letting him enter the final year of his contract.
08.30 GMT: Manchester City are prepared to launch a new bid for Harry Kane in the January transfer window, sources told ESPN’s Rob Dawson and James Olley, in what could be Antonio Conte‘s first major battle as Tottenham Hotspur boss.
City remain in the market for a striker having missed out on Kane in the summer. The England captain made it clear he wanted a fresh challenge away from the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, only to pledge his immediate future to Spurs towards the end of the window.
He has struggled so far this season, scoring just once in the Premier League, and some Tottenham supporters have shown frustration towards at the 28-year-old, particularly during a lacklustre performance during the 3-0 defeat to Manchester United.
There was hope it may lead chairman Daniel Levy to soften his stance ahead of the January window but that was before he replaced Nuno Espirito Santo with Conte. Sources said Kane is impressed with the appointment of the former Chelsea and Inter Milan boss, who has a track record of winning silverware in England and Italy — something the striker said in the summer he craves.
City would be willing to test Spurs’ resolve to keep Kane if they were given encouragement that a deal was possible. Kane has a contract at Tottenham until 2024 and Levy has consistently valued the forward at more than £150m — a fee that City are unwilling to meet.
Julien Laurens explains why Man City should wait until the summer to move for a new forward.
PAPER GOSSIP (by Danny Lewis)
– Napoli are looking to strengthen their depth behind Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Mario Rui at full-back, according to Sky Sports Italia, who have also offered a list of the players the club are considering. On the left, they are looking at Lille‘s Reinildo Mandava, Empoli‘s Fabiano Parisi and Villarreal‘s Pervis Estupinan, while Ajax’s Noussair Mazraoui is being courted for the right.
– AS Roma, AC Milan, Atalanta and Napoli are all interested in signing Sassuolo winger Jeremie Boga, according to Foot Mercato. The Ivory Coast international’s contract ends in the summer of 2023, and Sassuolo are determined not to lose him for free. He has previously been linked with Sevilla, Stade Rennais, Lille, Lyon and Marseille.
— Georgia midfielder Khvicha Kvaratskhelia shocked Sweden with two goals to dent their World Cup qualification hopes on Thursday, but AC Milan may not be as surprised, according to Calciomercato. The report says Milan have been monitoring the 20-year-old from Rubin Kazan, but that a request of €20m might have cooled their interest. While they are still keeping tabs on him, Kvaratskhelia is also being looked at by Tottenham Hotspur, Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Monchengladbach.
– Matteo Guendouzi has admitted that he wants to stay at Marseille rather than returning to Arsenal, as reported by RMC Sport. The midfielder said: “I am on loan. I am focused on what I have to do with OM, I want to register for the long term with OM. I am very comfortable with OM, I want to continue having fun in Marseille.”
– With new Genoa boss Andriy Shevchenko looking for a central midfielder, full-back and winger, Calciomercato have outlined some of their targets. According to their report, Genoa want Dynamo Kyiv’s Vitaliy Mykolenko, but could face competition from Napoli. They are also looking at AC Milan’s Samu Castillejo, while they have pointed to another report stating that Aleksei Miranchuk could be an alternative.