The January transfer window is almost upon us and, naturally, all the gossip on who’s moving where is heating up. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz as we count down to the 2022 winter window.
TOP STORY: Belotti could join Insigne at Toronto FC
Toronto FC have wasted little time in looking to make amends for a disappointing 13th placed finish in Major League Soccer last season, with reports that they are preparing a sensational double swoop from Serie A.
After it was reported that they have agreed a deal to sign Lorenzo Insigne on a free transfer next summer, the Reds are now looking to launch a move for Andrea Belotti to join up with his international teammate, according to Gianluca Di Marzio.
Talks have already begun over a potential move for the 28-year-old striker who, like Insigne, is set to be out of contract at the end of the Serie A season. The report adds that Toronto are prepared to offer a more lucrative contract than what Torino have previously put on the table to keep ahold of their talisman.
The Canadian side was among the lowest scorers in the Eastern Conference last season, netting just 39 goals in 34 games, but those numbers could soon show significant improvement, with Belotti’s proven marksmanship evident from 56 goal contributions during his last three seasons in Serie A.
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21.13 GMT: Napoli are continuing to look for reinforcements to their defensive line, and they have identified Axel Tuanzebe as a target for January, reports Gianluca Di Marzio. The 24-year-old defender is on loan at Aston Villa from Manchester United, but the Serie A club have enquired whether they can strike a deal that would transfer the rights to the loan to Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.
20.40 GMT: A race is heating up for the signature of Gianluca Scamacca, with Arsenal and a host of Serie A clubs tracking him, according to Nicolo Schira. The 22-year-old striker has scored six goals in 19 appearances this season and has captured the attention of Juventus, AC Milan and Fiorentina, although it is reported that Sassuolo have no plans to move him on during the January transfer window.
20.07 GMT: Hugo Lloris is on the radar of Nice, with Foot Mercato reporting that the Ligue 1 club have made the France No. 1 a priority for the summer. The report states that the 35-year-old goalkeeper would be interested in returning to his former club, with his contract at Tottenham Hotspur set to expire at the end of the season, and Nice are ready to take advantage should he not agree to fresh terms in north London.
19.34 GMT: The Telegraph writes that Newcastle United are looking to get a deal for Kieran Trippier confirmed early in the January transfer window. It is reported that the move could be announced as early as Jan. 3, with the St. James’ Park hierarchy making the 31-year-old Atletico Madrid right-back a priority as they prepare to reinforce the squad.
19.00 GMT: TUDN reports that Rodolfo Pizarro is set to return to Liga MX and rejoin Monterrey on loan.
The 27-year-old Inter Miami midfielder will move back to his former club for at least one year, and potentially two, and it is reported that he has accepted a 70% pay cut to help advance the deal.
The story suggests that the Scottish Premier League club are weighing up a loan with an option to make the move permanent. The 21-year-old defender/midfielder featured 30 times for the MLS Cup champions in 2021, and enjoyed an impressive spell with the United States during their Gold Cup triumph last summer.
The LaLiga club wants Ralf Rangnick’s side to terminate Mata’s contract to allow them to sign him on a free transfer, with the 33-year-old having just six months remaining on his contract at Old Trafford. The former Valencia and Chelsea star has played just 152 minutes of football this season, and is yet to make a single appearance in the Premier League.
17.00 GMT: Fabrizio Romano reports that Denis Zakaria has told Borussia Monchengladbach that he plans to leave the Bundesliga club at the end of the season. The 25-year-old midfielder has been tracked by a number of clubs who are interested in signing him on a free transfer once his contract expires this summer, and it is reported that Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Juventus and two sides from the Premier League have started initial talks with Switzerland international’s agent.
16.14 GMT: The Houston Dynamo has agreed terms with Paulo Nagamura to be the team’s next manager, a source confirmed to ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle.
Glenn Davis, the Dynamo’s play-by-play announcer and host of Soccer Matters on ESPN Houston, was the first to report the selection of Nagamura.
Nagamura, 38, replaces Tab Ramos, whose contract wasn’t renewed following the 2021 season. The search was conducted by new Dynamo GM Pat Onstad.
Nagamura was most recently manager of Sporting Kansas City’s reserve side. In four seasons as Sporting Kansas City II manager, Nagamura recorded a record of 30-61-25, as the organization focused on youth development. He also served as an assistant with the team in 2017. During his time with the team, the Brazilian coached 15 of the organization’s homegrown players, as well as 23 academy products. Included in this group is current Venezia and United States international midfielder Gianluca Busio.
15.09 GMT: When it comes to football agents, Giovanni Branchini isn’t just old school. He’s the proverbial rock that was quarried to build the old school, way back in 1986.
He brought Romario and (the original) Ronaldo to Europe, advised Sir Alex Ferguson to sign a young Cristiano Ronaldo and brokered Pep Guardiola’s move Bayern Munich.
So when Branchini talks about agents and intermediaries, as he did on a recent episode of “Gab & Juls Meet,” he does it as an insider who knows and understands the system. He knows what he’s talking about; he thinks there should be clear rules for agents, and that FIFA made a terrible mistake when it deregulated the business in 2015.
14.22 GMT: Leeds United winger and Raphinha is not going to push for a transfer during the January transfer window despite interest from Liverpool and Bayern Munich, the Daily Mirror reports.
The Brazil international is Leeds’ top scorer this season with eight Premier League goals, and has attracted attention from some of Europe’s biggest clubs.
Leeds want to offer the 25-year-old a new contract to replace the four-year deal he signed when he joined from Rennes in a £17m transfer in October 2020.
Whether talks open over an extension at Elland Road, Raphinha is set to remain at the club until at least the summer.
13.29 GMT: Barcelona are set to sign young winger Fabio Blanco from Eintracht Frankfurt in January, according to Diario Sport.
Blanco, 17, will join Barca for a relatively small fee that will increase depending on appearances and performances for the first team.
Barca first tried to sign Blanco last summer when his contract with Valencia expired, but the player preferred a move to Germany where he was promised a quicker pathway to first-team football.
However, per Sport’s report, he feels those promises have not been fulfilled and is now ready to return to Spain, where he will initially play for Barca’s B team in the third division.
If the deal goes through, it will be the second operation Blanco’s agency, Leaderbrock Sports, have done with Barcelona in a short space of time.
They also represent Ferran Torres, who moved to Camp Nou in a €55m transfer this week, and have Barca midfielder Pedri Gonzalez on their books, too.
12.34 GMT: Manchester United have rejected a loan offer from Sevilla for striker Anthony Martial, sources have told ESPN’s Rob Dawson.
Martial has told coach Ralf Rangnick he wants to leave in January but United have turned down an approach from the Spanish side because they only offered to cover half of his wages.
Sources have told ESPN that the club will only consider offers that cover all of Martial’s wages and includes a loan fee. United are happy to keep the 26-year-old if the conditions are not met.
The France international is under contract at Old Trafford until 2024, with the option of another year, after signing an extension in 2019.
11.41 GMT: Germany international defender Matthias Ginter has announced that he will leave Borussia Monchengladbach when his contract expires in the summer.
Ginter is out of contract at the end of the season, and is therefore free to open talks with clubs outside the Bundesliga over a free transfer in July. He has been linked with interest from Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Inter Milan and Newcastle United.
The 27-year-old, who started all four of Germany’s matches at Euro 2020, wrote in a post on Instagram: “After long deliberation, I have decided not to renew my expiring contract. After five fantastic years at Borussia Monchengladbach, it is difficult for me to take this step, but I’ve decided upon a different path for my personal and professional development.
“I owe a lot to the fans of Borussia and shall always carry this club in my heart. Now I will go full steam ahead into the second half of the season. Those who know me know that I will give everything to accomplish the goals still possible in this season together with everyone else.”
10.48 GMT: Kylian Mbappe has said he will not leave Paris Saint-Germain in the January transfer window and played down reports linking him with a move to Real Madrid next season.
Sources previously told ESPN that PSG rejected a €200m offer from Madrid in August despite Mbappe having made it clear he did not wish to renew his contract at the Parc des Princes.
Mbappe, 22, is free to negotiate a move away from Paris in January, as he will be a free agent next summer, but said he doesn’t plan on leaving the French capital next month.
“I will give everything I have to win the Champions League, the league and the cup,” Mbappe told CNN. “And to give all the pleasure to the fans, because they deserve it.”
When asked if he planned on moving to Madrid in the summer, Mbappe laughed and replied his “mind is to beat Real Madrid in February and March” when both sides meet in the Champions League.
In October, Mbappe confirmed that he expressed his desire to leave PSG last July and said he doesn’t regret his decision being open about his future.
“I was honest. I gave a feeling, I gave what I have in my heart,” he added. “I’m happy to stay … it’s my city too. I’m French … I want to win everything this season.”
— CNN Sports (@cnnsport) December 28, 2021
09.53 GMT: Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley could make a return to boyhood club Everton on loan in January, the Daily Telegraph reports.
Barkley, 28, made his professional debut for Everton in 2011 after coming through the youth ranks, and made 150 Premier League appearances for the Toffees before joining Chelsea in 2018 for a £15m transfer fee.
However, he has only started one Premier League match under Thomas Tuchel since returning from a loan spell at Aston Villa in the summer.
09.00 GMT: Manchester City will not replace Ferran Torres in the January transfer window and will instead renew their efforts to sign a striker next summer, sources have told ESPN’s Rob Dawson.
Torres was officially confirmed as a Barcelona player on Tuesday after City accepted a bid of €55m with another €10m in add-ons.
But instead of trying to bring in another forward in January, City are set to use the money to boost their bid to sign a striker in the summer.
They still hold an interest in Harry Kane, while Erling Haaland is also among their list of targets.
Academy graduate Cole Palmer, 19, is set to play a more prominent role during the second half of the season to compensate for the loss of Torres.
PAPER GOSSIP (by Adam Brown)
– Napoli are looking to acquire a left-back and have identified two candidates as potential recruitments, according to Foot Mercato. The first is Lucas Digne, who has found himself outside of Everton‘s starting XI, but the 28-year-old is also on the shortlist of Chelsea. The Serie A club are also keen on Layvin Kurzawa, who could be much easier to sign, having featured in just nine minutes for Paris Saint-Germain this season.
– Ekrem Konur writes that AC Milan are keen to sign Hakim Ziyech on loan. Chelsea are open to letting their 28-year-old attacking midfielder go despite a recent upturn in form, and Serie A is one of the destinations that is possible in the January transfer window, though it’s unclear whether the Blues will insist on an obligation to make the move permanent as part of the deal. Ziyech has scored just twice in 17 appearances this season.
– AC Milan are also in the market for centre-back, and Sport Italia reports that they are the latest side to join the race for Attila Szalai. The 23-year-old centre-back has attracted interest from multiple clubs over the last few months, with Atletico Madrid also linked in a potential move. He has been a stalwart for Fenerbahce this season, starring in 25 games.
– A new name has been added to Newcastle United‘s shopping list, with reports that the club are targeting Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos in the January market, according to Ekrem Konur. The 25-year-old has been in impressive form since joining the Scottish side, and he is the club’s all-time top European scorer, though a move to St. James Park would be the forward’s first experience in Europe’s top-five leagues.
– Tottenham Hotspur are the latest club to be monitoring Mattias Svanberg, writes Nicolo Schira. The 22-year-old Bologna star has caught the attention of multiple clubs in the past months, with Manchester City rumoured to have sent scouts to watch him during a Serie A clash against AS Roma in December. He has contributed to four goals in 14 games when being deployed as a central midfielder this season.
– Fabrizio Romano reports that former MLS star Alvaro Medran is set to join Saudi club Al-Taawoun. The 27-year-old midfielder was a regular for the Chicago Fire last season, contributing to nine goals in 32 appearances. And despite receiving offers that would have seen him remain in MLS, he has decided to continue his career in Saudi Arabia.
– Sport Italia writes that Antonio Rudiger‘s move to Real Madrid is just “a matter of time.” The 28-year-old centre-back has made no signs of progress on a new deal with Chelsea despite the club keen on keeping him at Stamford Bridge, and now it looks as though he will be the latest free agent to head to the Santiago Bernabeu. The report adds that he will receive a €10 million per year salary.