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: Man City turn to Spurs striker Kane?
The Independent reports that Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola wants Tottenham striker Harry Kane to be the player to help his side get back to the top of the Premier League.
Guardiola signed a new contract until 2023 recently and, amid the negotiations, reportedly namechecked Kane as a player he wants to sign in the future.
The report says that Kane “may push to leave if Spurs do not win a trophy this season” and, while the England captain has a contract until 2024 at the club, City are one of the few clubs who could afford to sign him for around £150m.
Meanwhile, City are also preparing a new deal for forward Gabriel Jesus, the Daily Star reports. The 23-year-old still has two-and-a-half years remaining on his contract at the Etihad, but in a sign of Guardiola’s faith in him, his wages will almost double to £150,000-per-week if he agrees to an extension.
City have been working on new deals for Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne as of late, and as they gear up for a new rebuilding project under Guardiola, Jesus is the latest man that the club is trying to lock down as they seek a long-term replacement for 32-year-old Sergio Aguero, who becomes a free agent in the summer.
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22.30 GMT: That will do it for the latest edition of our LIVE Transfer Talk blog. We hoped you enjoyed following along with us and remind you to check back shortly for the latest transfer rumours, reports and completed deals. Goodnight!
22.02 GMT: Minnesota United are “close” to agreeing a contract extension with star Kevin Molino.
Minnesota manager Adrian Heath, who also coached Molino with Orlando City, hinted that the Trinidad and Tobago international will likely be staying put, despite his contract expiring at the end of the season.
“Well, you’re never 100 percent, when players are in the final year,” Heath said. “We’ve sort of left the discussions with him. I think we’re very, very close and hopefully we can get to the stage where he signs a new deal and he stays here.”
Molino, 30, has 14 goals and nine assists for the Loons since joining the expansion club in 2017 in one of the biggest allocation money deals in MLS history.
21.28 GMT: Arsenal to move for Sheffield United midfielder Sander Berge?
Norwegian outlet VG claims that both Liverpool and Arsenal showed interest in the then Genk man, before Sheffield snapped up Berge for a club-record £22 million last January. The outlet adds that interest has only grown in the 22-year-old, with Berge emerging as one of the Blades’ top performers in recent months.
Berge, who has been capped by Norway 23 times thus far, looks poised for a big move, as it appears the clock is ticking on his time at Bramall Lane.
20.42 GMT: Maicon, remember him? Reports suggest that the Brazilian, now 39, could make a sensational return to Italy with Serie D side Sona.
A treble winner with Inter in 2010, Maicon also spent time in Italy with Roma (2013-16) and last played for Criciuma in Brazil’s third tier in 2019.
“I don’t want to get out of balance, but it’s all true,” Sona sporting director Claudio Ferrarese told Padova Sport.
“This is an idea from a month and a half ago, there are many steps to take. Let’s not finish it. It all stems from the knowledge of a collaborator who works with Brazilians. Maicon still plays with Villa Nova in Brazil and is physically fine. He would like to return to Italy, since he has other business in Milan. He could live in Verona and playing with us until the end of the season. It would be a dream and a leap in visibility for us “.
Now wouldn’t that be something!
19.59 GMT: Could Borussia Dortmund turn to Brentford for a Erling Haaland replacement?
The Athletic has learned that the German club are monitoring Brentford striker Marcus Forss, who has started the season in scintillating form. The 21-year-old, who has scored six goals in 13 games for the Bees, made his senior debut for Finland earlier this month and is starting to attract interest from across Europe.
Dortmund have made a habit of poaching talent from England, grabbing Jadon Sancho from Man City 2017 and Jude Bellingham from Birmingham City last year.
19.07 GMT: Brazilian wonder boy Reiner has been used sparingly on loan at Borussia Dortmund, leading to speculation the 18-year-old could be set to be recalled by Real Madrid.
Calciomercato suggests that Madrid could elect to loan him within La Liga with Sevilla, Valencia and Real Valladolid listed as potential landing spots. Following his €30 million move to Madrid and subsequent loan move to Dortmund, Reiner has made just seven substitute appearances this season.
18.21 GMT: Birmingham City have secured the surprising signing of a former Barcelona and AC Milan starlet Alen Halilovic.
The well-travelled 24-year-old has completed his medical at St. Andrew’s, and becomes Aitor Karanka’s 12th new arrival since he took over this summer. Halilovic, who was once held among football’s most-talented teenagers, made one appearance for Barcelona in 2014-15, and three appearances for Milan in 2018-19.
Capped 10 times by Croatia, the attacking midfielder spent last season loan from Milan at Dutch club Heerenveen.
17.34 GMT: The Chicago Fire have made an early signing for next season, inking Ecuador international Jhon Espinoza to a contract through 2023.
The 21-year-old right-back, who captain Ecuador’s Under-20s to a third-place finish at the 2019 World Cup, arrives from Ecuadorian outfit Aucas, with whom he played 50 times between 2018-20.
◾️ Captained 🇪🇨 to win the U-20 South American Championship
◾️ Captained 🇪🇨 to a third-place finish at the U-20 World Cup
◾️ Made 54 appearances and 48 starts in 🇪🇨’s top-flight
Welcome to Chicago, Jhon Espinoza. pic.twitter.com/5o5dlZKIjR
— Chicago Fire FC (@ChicagoFire) November 23, 2020
“Jhon is a talented, young right fullback who will be a great addition to the Club,” sporting director Georg Heitz said in a club statement. “With Jhon’s signing, we’ve added another player who will provide more competition and quality within the roster heading into next season. We are excited that he is coming to Chicago and look forward to working with him.”
17.00 GMT: The Sun says that Southampton are looking to sign Manchester United full-back Brandon Williams in January.
Saints have had a great start to the season but need competition for Kyle Walker-Peters and Ryan Bertrand. Williams, 20, has played just two matches this season — neither in the Premier League — after making 36 appearances in all competitions last year.
However, United will need Williams to cover for Luke Shaw after the left-back suffered a hamstring injury against Everton that could keep him out for six weeks.
16.06 GMT: Lionel Messi leaving Barcelona for Man City in the summer is now a real prospect after Pep Guardiola signed a new contract, writes Mark Ogden.
Pep Guardiola’s decision to sign a contract extension at Manchester City last week was a big deal for the club in more ways than one: It ensures that the most celebrated coach in football will remain at the Etihad until 2023, but perhaps more significantly, it also puts the club firmly in pole position to sign Lionel Messi from Barcelona.
In just under six weeks’ time, Messi can talk to non-Spanish clubs about a free transfer from Camp Nou at the end of this season. If he chooses to do so, from Jan. 1 he can negotiate a move to a new team in time for the 2021-22 season, and Barcelona will be powerless to stop him.
15.26 GMT: Arsenal need a leader, that’s pretty clear.
Shaka Hislop says Arsenal are “rudderless” due to a lack of player accountability on the pitch.
14.44 GMT: Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said Dean Henderson could become one of the best goalkeepers in the world but added that it is not his job to keep the youngster happy at Old Trafford.
Henderson could make his second Champions League start of the season when Istanbul Basaksehir visit Old Trafford on Tuesday having played in the 2-1 defeat in Turkey earlier this month.
It would be just his fourth game of the season after returning from Sheffield United in the summer with the 23-year-old hoping to impress England manager Gareth Southgate ahead of the European Championships.
“Dean wants to stay at Man United and play for Man United,” Solskjaer told a news conference on Monday. “He’s come back in, he’s maturing, he’s had some games, training with one of the best goalkeepers in the world and he has the potential to be one of the best goalkeepers in the world.
“It’s not up to me to make everyone happy, I’ve said that a few times. The performances will always be the deciding factor if you play or not. I think every position you play for Manchester United it’s your duty to make me and the coaches happy so then there’s a bigger chance you can play next time.”
13.30 GMT: The Football Manager video game has a reputation for finding some top young players, but how do this batch rate?
We asked our resident scout Tor-Kristian Karlsen to analyse them. For example:
DEF: Nuno Mendes, 18, Sporting Lisbon (Portugal U21)
The Portugal U21 and Sporting left-back has great ability on the ball and impressive stamina to go with the pace that is required in his position. On top of that, he’s surprisingly nimble for his size, excellent at pulling away from opponents and tends to keep his sense of orientation even when he drifts into the middle. He has been linked with Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal of late.
12.48 GMT: Sevilla defender Jules Kounde was the subject of a €55m bid from Manchester City in the summer, but the Spanish club opted to reject it.
Kounde, 21, was open to leaving but Sevilla stopped short in negotiations as City ended up spending €68m to sign Ruben Dias from Benfica instead.
City also signed Nathan Ake from Bournemouth and were repeatedly linked with Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly, but Kounde has revealed that he was close to a move.
He told Canal Football Club: “Yes, I spoke with [Pep] Guardiola on the phone. We did it in Spanish. It went well and I was interested in going there, I had guarantees to play. But in the end it didn’t happen.”
11.56 GMT: Olivier Giroud looks set to leave Chelsea in January, says The Athletic.
Giroud, 34, has played only seven times this season and has been told by France coach Didier Deschamps that he won’t play at Euro 2020 unless he gets more minutes.
The report says that “Chelsea will consider granting Giroud’s wish to leave in January as a thank you for the striker’s service to the club since he joined in January 2018.
“Giroud has decided he will have to leave Stamford Bridge in the new year unless he plays significantly more over the next few months, as The Athletic first revealed last week. Increased minutes are unlikely because coach Frank Lampard prefers Timo Werner and Tammy Abraham.”
11.14 GMT: Borussia Dortmund’s Youssoufa Moukoko became the youngest player ever to play in the Bundesliga, at 16-years-old.
Jan Aage Fjortoft says the Bundesliga’s youngest-ever player, Youssoufa Moukoko, is at the right club with Dortmund.
10.21 GMT: Lille midfielder Yusuf Yazici has been linked with Arsenal, with his agent talking up reports of a big-money move.
Yazici, 23, has scored two hat tricks in three Europa League matches — away at Sparta Prague and AC Milan — and the Turkey international is blossoming into a fine player. Lille have sold a number of their players to Arsenal in recent season — namely Nicolas Pepe and Gabriel — with Yazici a possible replacement for Mesut Ozil.
“It is necessary to be humble, but Yusuf’s achievement of this performance is the result of planned and patient work,” his agent Adem Cebeci told Turkish outlet Demiroren News Agency. “It is really an honour for the big clubs to take care of Yusuf. Because Yusuf has goals and is moving towards this goal.
“[Lille] Sporting director [Luis] Campos likes Yusuf’s game very much. That’s why he worked hard for his transfer. When Yusuf reaches his true potential, they want to sell him to very good clubs for a very good price, and that doesn’t seem too far.”
09.45 GMT: Barcelona are desperate to avoid losing talented youngster Ilaix Moriba, multiple sources told ESPN, and his renewal will be a top priority for the club’s next president, along with a new deal for Lionel Messi.
Midfielder Ilaix, 17, has a contract until 2022 and Barca want to extend it at all costs, believing he could be the next big talent to break into the first team, following the path of Ansu Fati.
The Catalan club’s unstable situation — without a president and with a managing committee in charge until elections are held on Jan. 24 — could work against them, with various clubs known to be interested in the academy player.
09.17 GMT: Luis Suarez is confident his friend and former teammate Lionel Messi will turn things around after the Barcelona captain said last week: “I am tired of always being the problem with everything that goes on at this club.”
Messi was responding to comments that he had too much control at Barca and had failed to help Antoine Griezmann settle at the club.
Suarez spent six years playing alongside Messi at Barca, during which time he won 12 trophies including the Champions League in 2015 and four La Liga titles.
“Obviously as a friend and [former] teammate of Leo, that situation pains me,” Suarez, who was ruled out of Atletico’s 1-0 win over Barca on Saturday, told Punto Penal. “I’m worried about him as a human being but I know that he is capable of moving forward and turning this situation around.”
Ale Moreno outlines the scenarios where Lionel Messi would either stay or leave Barcelona after the season.
08.33 GMT: Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici has no doubt that Cristiano Ronaldo will complete his contract with the Turin giants.
Reports intensified last week that Juve were looking to sell Ronaldo next summer in order to balance their books, and that Ronaldo has opened the door for a possible return to Real Madrid.
Asked if Ronaldo will remain at Juve beyond this season, Paratici said at the weekend: “His future is with us, I can assure you. There are transfer rumours every day and players that are linked with different clubs but we don’t pay much attention to that.”
Ronaldo’s contract expires in June 2022 but, according to reports, Juve is eager to recoup part of the €100m they paid Real Madrid and, crucially, get his wages off their books. Ronaldo, 35, earns a reported €31m per season.
08.00 GMT: Spanish midfielder Isco is not going anywhere, according to Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane.
Isco has made seven appearances in all competitions for Los Blancos, most recently as a substitute in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Villarreal, and started three times this season.
Marca reported that Isco has already told Real Madrid and Zidane of his wish to leave the club in the winter transfer window in search of regular playing time and that the club is open to allowing the player to leave.
Asked if Isco, who came on as a substitute at Villarreal, has requested to leave the club, Zidane said: “No, not at all. We’re not going to talk about what happens within the squad. But Isco is a Real Madrid player, he is staying here, he is with us and there’s no need to talk about it.”
Isco, who has won 16 titles in his seven years at Real Madrid, has a contract with Madrid until June 2022 and is a reported target of Everton. The 28-year-old has a €700m release clause but could reportedly leave for an offer in the region of €30m.
Gab Marcotti outlines Ronald Koeman’s options with Gerard Pique and Sergi Roberto out for a couple months.
PAPER TALK (by Harry Kettle)
Barcelona to chase Pique replacement?
Marca is reporting that Barcelona are considering signing a long-term replacement for Gerard Pique following his latest knee injury.
The veteran defender looks set to miss out on several months of action after being felled in Barca’s 1-0 loss to Atletico Madrid on Saturday and, as a result, the Spanish outlet suggests that Ronald Koeman’s side will dip into the transfer market in January to find a new centre-back.
Pique has been at the heart of Barcelona’s dominance over the past decade but, with the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and perhaps even Lionel Messi moving on to pastures new, the 33-year-old appears to be the latest Blaugrana legend being ushered towards the exit.
Koeman has been experiencing something of a defensive injury crisis already during his tenure at the Nou Camp, and now big questions will need to be asked as Barca count down the minutes until the January window is open for business.
Betis go after Alena and Puig
Real Betis will pursue the signing of Barcelona youngsters Carles Alena or Riqui Puig on a loan deal as a replacement for Sergio Canales, Estadio Deportivo reports.
Canales will miss the remainder of 2020 after picking up a hamstring injury on international duty with Spain. And Betis, who are viewed as one of the rising forces in Spanish football outside of the elite clubs, will be hoping to get some kind of business done during the upcoming January transfer window so they are not left short.
Betis boss Manuel Pellegrini is believed to have taken a keen interest in Puig, whereas Alena has already found success during a recent loan spell at the Benito Villamarin.
– Lyon could pursue the signing of Islam Slimani or Boulaye Dia during the summer transfer window, Le10Sport reports. The French giants would be hoping that either man can serve as a worthy replacement for the supposedly outgoing Memphis Depay, who has been continuously linked with a €25m move to Barcelona.
– Elche are set to complete the signing of Ivan Marcone on a permanent deal, Marca reports. Marcone has been on loan from Boca Juniors for almost two months now but, after impressing in the early stages of his spell, the 30-year-old now appears to be on the verge of something more concrete with Elche who are willing to pay €4.2m to secure his services.