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 enter race for Messi
It looks increasingly likely that Lionel Messi will leave Barcelona when his contract expires in the summer, and according to Guillem Balague, Chelsea are in line for a sensational swoop to sign the Argentina forward.
The Blues are said to be “in the equation” for the 33-year-old should he indeed leave the Catalan capital. Messi tried to leave last summer but was forced to see out the final year of his contract.
Chelsea will be buoyed by the fact there would be no transfer fee, and they might feel they can afford his wages despite having spent £230 million over the summer.
Manchester City remain in the hunt too, and with Pep Guardiola signing a contract extension, being reunited with Messi could form part of the manager’s grand plan at the Etihad.
Barca, Liverpool turn to Garay
Barcelona and Liverpool are two clubs in desperate need of defensive reinforcements, and Sport reports that both are tempted to sign free agent Ezequiel Garay, who hasn’t played since suffering a cruciate injury with Valencia in February.
The experienced Argentina centre-back would be a short-term solution for both clubs as they look to deal with an increasing number of injuries.
Barcelona are now missing Gerard Pique for a number of months, with Samuel Umtiti and Ronald Araujo also on the sidelines. Ronald Koeman was forced to field Barca B team defender Oscar Mingueza at Dynamo Kiev in midweek, and although he played well, the Barca boss will no doubt want more experience to help guide his side through until the end of the season.
Chelsea to enter talks with Alaba in January
Bayern Munich and David Alaba are at a stalemate after discussing terms to extend the centre-back’s contract beyond its expiration this summer. Having been linked with the likes of Real Madrid and Juventus in previous weeks, it seems increasingly likely that the 28-year-old will leave the Allianz Arena as a free agent at the end of the 2020-21 season.
Adding fuel to that fire, Alaba’s agent, Pini Zahavi, is preparing to hold talks with Chelsea in January over a potential move to West London, according to Bild. With a deeply competitive field standing between Bayern and their ninth consecutive Bundesliga title, and the prospect of repeating as Champions League winners, it would seem unlikely that the Bavarians would sanction Alaba’s sale midseason.
– Manchester United are being linked with another “new Lionel Messi,” this time in the shape of Velez Sarsfield’s Thiago Almada, Tuttomercatoweb writes. United tried to sign the youngster in the summer but failed to get the deal over the line, and although Manchester City also are said to be interested, United are in the hot seat.
– Jurgen Klopp remains positive he can keep Georginio Wijnaldum at Liverpool, according to the Mirror. The report suggests that despite interest from Barcelona, Klopp feels there is still time for the Netherlands international to agree an extension to his contract, which expires this summer. However, Wijnaldum can sign a pre-contract with an overseas club in January, and the longer he drags his heels over penning a new deal, the more likely it would appear that he will leave.