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: Lyon set bargain price for Depay
There has been plenty of talk about clubs moving for Memphis Depay, but you can now expect a stampede to try to secure his signature.
This comes after L’Equipe have reported that Lyon are willing to sell the Dutchman for as little as €5 million in January. Among the clubs that have efforted bids in the past are Barcelona, led by former Oranje skipper Ronald Koeman.
Depay’s contract comes to an end in the summer of 2021, so this is one way of ensuring Lyon don’t lose him for free. By offloading his wages, the Ligue 1 side would also be able to settle financially amid league-wide revenue struggles and plan how to move forward without the talisman.
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13.46 GMT: Barcelona will make a move to bring Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin back to Camp Nou if Joan Laporta is elected club president, according to the Sunday Mirror.
Laporta who was president of Barcelona from 2003-10, is one of the candidates standing for the vote, due to be held on Jan. 24 next year.
Bellerin, 25, came through Barca’s youth system before signing for Arsenal in 2012.
The Sunday Mirror reports that Laporta will sanction a £22m bid for Bellerin if he succeeds in his bid to take control of the club once more.
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12.32 GMT: Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has given midfielder Paul Pogba and the rest of his players a warning that no player is bigger than the club.
Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola, sparked renewed speculation over the France international’s future at Old Trafford earlier this month by saying: “It’s over between Manchester United and Pogba.” Pogba later insisted he is “1,000% committed” to United, but that has done little to dampen the prospect of him leaving.
Sources have told ESPN’s Rob Dawson that Paulo Dybala and Federico Bernardeschi are among the players being offered to United as Juventus look for ways to put together a deal to bring Pogba back to Turin.
Solskjaer told reporters ahead of Sunday’s Premier League clash with Leeds: “I would just not stand for anyone thinking that he is bigger than Manchester United.
“No one is. Absolutely no one — and Paul knows this. It is not only for Paul. It is for all of us.”
11.25 GMT: Massimiliano Allegri and Mauricio Pochettino are the main contenders to take over from Thomas Tuchel, with sources telling ESPN’s Julien Laurens that the Paris Saint-Germain boss is under mounting pressure ahead of this weekend’s crucial Ligue 1 encounter at league leaders Lille.
Both managers are out of work since leaving Juventus and Tottenham respectively and have been linked with Europe’s top jobs. Pochettino has long-standing interest from a number of clubs, including Manchester United, and Allegri has also been tracked by Premier League clubs since his Juve exit in 2019.
PSG have endured a difficult campaign so far, sitting second in Ligue 1 as well as suffering two defeats in their Champions League group, as they made hard work of reaching the round of 16 and a clash with Barcelona. Tuchel’s men have lost at home to Marseille for the first time in 13 years this term, and at Lyon for the first time in 14 years. Their 2-1 defeat to Manchester United in the Champions League was also their first loss at the Parc des Princes in the group stage since they were taken over by Qatar Sports Investments 11 years ago.
While PSG beat Lorient 2-0 in midweek, sources said Tuchel has not performed well enough so far this season, with a lack of identity in his team and over-reliance on Neymar and Kylian Mbappe one of the key issues to resolve. The PSG boss’ contract in Paris expires in the summer and he will not be offered a new deal, sources said.
Sources added that Allegri is close to PSG sporting director Leonardo, while Pochettino is highly thought of in Paris not only for his coaching career so far, but for his time as captain of PSG in his playing days from 2001-03.
10.02 GMT: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is relaxed about Mohamed Salah voicing his frustration at not being named captain for a recent match and putting his future at the club into question.
“Honestly, I was very disappointed,” Salah told Diario AS, referring to Trent Alexander-Arnold getting the armband for the 1-1 draw with Midtjylland,. “I was expecting to be the captain. But it’s the manager’s decision. I accept it.”
In the same interview, published on Saturday morning, Salah added “I think Madrid and Barcelona are top clubs. We never know what’s going to happen in the future. Right now I’m focused on winning the Premier League and the Champions League again with [Liverpool].”
Salah was named among the substitutes for Saturday’s trip to Crystal Palace, but the Egypt international came off the bench to score two goals and set up another in the Premier League champions’ 7-0 win.
After the match, Klopp played down his star forward’s comments, saying: “I have nothing to say on that. All fine.”
On Salah’s 35-minute contribution at Selhurst Park, Klopp added: “It’s the first time for a while we had the opportunity to do something like this. We needed fresh legs today. Mo played the last four games, just seven minutes [off] from the last four games, it’s a massively intense period.”
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09.00 GMT: Zinedine Zidane has refused to rule out adding to his Real Madrid squad in January while admitting that a fully fit Eden Hazard is what the team needs going into the second half of the season.
Madrid have won three league games in a row to give themselves a fighting chance of defending the La Liga title they won in 2019-20.
That is despite the club deciding not to spend on strengthening the team during the summer, and star forward Hazard being limited to just three league appearances so far.
“I am happy with my players, I will count on all of them,” Zidane said in a news conference ahead of Madrid’s match at Eibar on Sunday. “Things could happen, that’s clear. Until the end of January, at any club, anything can happen. But what I can say is what I feel. My players are the best.”
Madrid’s members are due to meet — virtually — on Sunday to approve the club’s latest, pandemic-hit accounts, which predict a €300 million reduction in income for 2020-21, a significant restriction on any future spending.
One high-profile player linked with an exit has been Isco, with his father and agent admitting last month that the playmaker would like a move abroad.
“I can only speak about my players,” Zidane said, when asked if he’d consider a swap for long-term target Paul Pogba. “Isco is here with us. We have enough to think about with what we’re doing. Tomorrow we have an important game.”
PAPER TALK (by Danny Lewis)
Inter want Damsgaard
Internazionale have set their sights on bringing Mikkel Damsgaard into their club, reports Calciomercato.
It is suggested that they are “bewitched” by the Dane, who plays on the wing for Serie A strugglers Genoa.
The Milanese outfit has been scouting the 20-year-old and have no doubt that he is worth pursuing.
Discussions have begun around the move, but there haven’t been any negotiations as of yet.
Juve ask for Milik discount
Juventus are turning their attention to Napoli’s Arkadiusz Milik amid their search for a striker, reports Tuttosport.
The Poland international has long been linked with a move away from Naples and has seemingly caught the attention of Andrea Pirlo.
However, Juventus are asking Napoli to lower their current demands of €18m for the 26-year-old.
If Napoli don’t budge and are unable to move Milik on in January, the striker will be able to leave for free when his contract comes to an end in the summer.
– Celtic are readying talks to sign Queens Park Rangers winger Bright Osayi-Samuel, reports Football Insider. The Scottish giants are looking to get in early to beat the competition for the former Blackpool man’s signature. Due to cross-border rules, Osayi-Samuel will be able to sign a pre-contract agreement in January.
– There is mutual interest between Columbus Crew SC and Bradley Wright-Phillips, reports the Columbus Dispatch. The veteran striker would be available for free after his contract option was denied by LAFC. The Crew, fresh off their MLS Cup victory, already have Gyasi Zardes but BWP could come in as a very effective back-up option.