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: Chelsea in ‘pole position’ to sign Alaba
Alaba, 28, is one of the world’s best in his position and Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus are among those who have been touted to have interest in the Austria international. Now AS reports that Chelsea are in “pole position” to land him.
He’s allowed to start talking to clubs outside Germany in January with a view to a move in the summer, though Bayern might be keen to offload him during the transfer window if they can persuade a club to stump up some cash.
Chelsea already spent over £220m on new players in the last transfer window, so don’t expect a move in January. But the report states that manager Frank Lampard is keen to add Alaba to his squad.
15.34 GMT: Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana is hoping to secure a move to the Premier League next summer, says the Daily Mail.
Onana is valued at around £50m and had been linked with Chelsea before they signed Edouard Mendy from Rennes, as well as Tottenham.
The report reads: “Despite committing to a seventh season in Amsterdam, the 24-year-old remains keen on a move next summer. The Premier League remains his preferred destination.”
15.01 GMT: Toronto FC’s head coach and technical director Greg Vanney has stepped down, the MLS club have announced.
Vanney, 46, led the Toronto to the Treble in 2017 — winning the MLS Cup, Supporters’ Shield and the Canadian Championship — and was named both the MLS Coach of the Year and CONCACAF Coach of the Year as a result.
“I wish Greg nothing but the best in the future, said Toronto FC president Bill Manning. “Back in 2014 he took over the head coach duties for a team that had never made the playoffs and turned them into an MLS champion. More than that, he is of high character and a great family man. I thank him for time well served for our club, his legacy here in Toronto is secure.”
14.55 GMT: Should Real Madrid be looking to move on Marcelo?
Julien Laurens feels Real Madrid defender Marcelo is no longer good enough to play for the club.
14.06 GMT: Bayern Munich have been linked with a move for Callum Hudson-Odoi but Chelsea boss Frank Lampard insists the “noise” around a possible transfer will not pressure him into selecting the winger more often.
The Bundesliga giants had a £30m offer for Hudson-Odoi rejected by the Blues in January 2019 but despite the 20-year-old subsequently signing a new five-term contract, Bayern have continued to monitor his situation.
Bayern were also rebuffed in the summer after attempting to take Hudson-Odoi on a season-long loan with an option to buy for £70m and talk has persisted over a renewed bid in January given he has made just five starts this season.
The England international scored his third goal of the season against Rennes last week but was then left out of the matchday squad altogether for Sunday’s goal-less Premier League draw against Tottenham.
Hudson-Odoi is set to feature against Sevilla tomorrow night with Chelsea already having booked their place in the Champions League knockout stages and Lampard said: “For every squad I have to leave out four or five players maybe per game and if I went through the permutations of all of them, how they feel and the risk of it, I wouldn’t make a decision and I wouldn’t be able to do the job.
“I’m aware with Callum where he’s at. He took it [being left out against Tottenham] very well. It’s not an easy conversation. All players want to play, I expect that and he’ll get his opportunities.
“He’ll get minutes tomorrow and it is up to him to keep showing when he plays that he deserves to start because there is competition in that area. That’s the reality of playing for Chelsea. So I’m not worried about the noise around it or what might the permutations of not being in the squad might mean down the line.”
13.00 GMT: The transfer window is ONE MONTH AWAY. Yes, you read that right. Here’s our preview of all the top clubs in Europe, including:
Liverpool: RB Leipzig centre-back Dayot Upamecano is regarded as the ideal replacement for Van Dijk and Gomez, but the France international will cost in excess of £50m in January.
Man City: Lionel Messi will remain on City’s radar until he signs a new contract at Barcelona, and while he won’t be moving to the Etihad midway through the season, he can begin talks with clubs outside Spain from January. Lautaro Martínez at Inter Milan is another forward admired by City, but he could cost around £80m.
Man United: Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho is still top of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s wishlist, but there has been no indication from the German club that they are willing to lower their £108m demands in January.
Barcelona: Financial limitations prevented Barca from signing Manchester City defender Eric Garcia and Lyon forward Memphis Depay in the summer. They will try again for both.
Juventus: Manchester United’s Paul Pogba, a former midfield partner at Juve to manager Andrea Pirlo, remains their top target, but the chances of him arriving in January are very low. Hakan Calhanoglu could arrive from Milan, though the Rossoneri are unlikely to want to strengthen a direct rival for the title.
11.44 GMT: Training ground transfer news here…
Barcelona presidential hopeful Joan Laporta will take inspiration from Liverpool if he is elected by using the slogan “You’ll Never Walk Alone” for the Catalan club’s La Masia academy.
“La Masia will be a personalised accompaniment to the player, under the slogan of ‘You Will Never Walk Alone,’” he said. “We want it to become a Centre for High Performance and Sport Excellence, but also for personal development, where the treatment of athletes is not generic but one-on-one. We will do this with special care for the values that make up strong personalities and that we can be proud of: we want athletes who love Barca.”
11.22 GMT: Sassuolo centre-back Gian Marco Ferrari is of interest to Tottenham, says 90min.
Spurs signed Joe Rodon in the summer from Swansea to go alongside Toby Alderweireld, Eric Dier, Davinson Sanchez and Japhet Tanganga as options. However, the club reportedly want “a left-footed replacement for Jan Vertonghen” and Ferrari is on the radar as he would cost under £15m.
The 28-year-old was linked with Everton, Roma and Napoli last summer but is not the only player being watched by Tottenham though as South Korea defender Kim Min-Jae, who plays for Beijing Guoan, is another option.
10.30 GMT: Arsenal need something. Anything.
Frank Leboeuf questions what’s going on behind the scenes at Arsenal after their 2-1 defeat to Wolves.
09.51 GMT: Despite selling Donny van de Beek (€45m), Hakim Ziyech (€40m) and Sergino Dest (€21m) in a transfer market hit by the COVID-19 pandemic this summer, Ajax are still teeming with quality young players.
The Dutch masters of talent development sit comfortably at the top of the Eredivisie (having dropped just three points from their 10 games so far) and are still in with a chance of qualifying for the knockout phase of the Champions League, if they can pick up points in their remaining games against Liverpool and Atalanta in Group D.
It’s no wonder that clubs continue to keep a close eye on the talent on show in Amsterdam. So here are the young players set to become Ajax’s next big stars.
09.20 GMT: ICYMI – Former Barcelona president Joan Laporta has revealed he turned down a €250m bid from Inter Milan for Lionel Messi in 2006 and said he can be the person to convince the forward to sign a contract extension.
“Messi wanted to leave because he was very disappointed with how [the previous board] treated him,” Laporta said in a news conference on Monday. “If there had been elections earlier, maybe we would not be in this situation.
“But Messi loves Barca and I know that he will give us the chance to have a conversation to help him decide the best for him and for Barca — although we’ve not spoken yet.
“I know he has offers from other clubs, but he always has. [Former Inter owner Massimo] Moratti wanted to pay €250m for him in 2006 and I said no.
“Messi and his family are happy here, in Catalonia, they like the life they have in Barcelona, in Castelldefels. It’s not a question of money, we just have to be up to scratch as a club.
08.30 GMT: Nicolas Otamendi has apologised to Benfica fans for the mistakes he has made since his arrival at the club in the summer from Manchester City.
In Benfica’s 2-1 league win at Maritimo on Monday, the Argentina international’s poor backpass was intercepted by Rodrigo Pinho, who beat the Benfica goalkeeper.
Otamendi, 32, wrote on Instagram: “Sorry and Thanks are the words I take at the end of this game����. I’m sorry to all Benfica fans for this start, and thank you … thanks to my teammates who are always with me and who supported me from the first to the last minute. I will work even harder to improve.”
However, Benfica coach Jorge Jesus said he still has full confidence in the veteran centre-back: “It’s true that it was an individual error but that’s part of the game. It’s true that we can’t commit these type of mistakes. But this is part of their profession. My confidence in Otamendi is the same as when we went acquired him.”
Following Ronald Koeman’s praise of Antoine Griezmann, Sid Lowe breaks down the Barca star’s improved form.
PAPER TALK (by Danny Lewis)
Quartet of big clubs eye Bogarde
Bogarde’s contract comes to an end in June 2021, so Hoffenheim will have to negotiate a move in January to avoid losing him for free.
There may be a scramble for the teenager if that agreement does not come about.
Tagliafico’s new contract won’t put off Inter Milan
It has been suggested that any contract renewal will only bring about a one-year extension to Tagliafico’s deal that is set to end in 2022.
The 28-year-old has been targeted by various clubs for months, with Internazionale being one of those. Inter actually made an approach for the left-back in the summer, and will reportedly make another move at the end of the season, with Ajax potentially decreasing their €25m valuation of the Argentina international.
Arsenal to move for Konate
The Gunners had previously been looking at his defensive partner, Dayot Upamecano, but withdrew because of the transfer fee the Bundesliga club were demanding.
The deal for Konate still won’t be cheap though, as Leipzig are set to hold out on negotiations until the summer and ask for €60m.
The north London club will reportedly make an opening offer in the coming weeks, with Mikel Arteta keen on adding the Frenchman to his ailing defence.
– Manchester City’s move for Estudiantes winger Dario Sarmiento is imminent, according to El Dia. City have dipped into South America to recruit young talent many times in the past, and it seems as though they will do so again with the 17-year-old. The player is set to stay at Estudiantes until the summer of 2021 before making the move to Manchester.
– Olympique Lyonnais are looking to sign Zurich winger Tosin Aiyegun, according to Le10Sport. The French outfit are looking at long-term acquisitions, and the 22-year-old is among those being considered. No concrete offers have been made so far, however.