With the January transfer window now open and clubs free to buy and sell players, David Amoyal evaluates the hottest rumours from around the world of football.
The France winger is the first name on Atletico Madrid’s list of possible departures, as they need to reduce their squad to make new signings, and among the interested clubs is Wolves. The ideal solution for the Spanish side would be to recoup part of the €72m spent in 2018, but they won’t close the door to a loan with option to buy. Considering the excellent relationship between Atletico and super-agent Jorge Mendes (who acts as an adviser to Wolves) after the Joao Felix deal, a move to Molineux for Lemar might be more than a remote possibility.
Inter’s proposed swap of Matteo Politano for Roma’s Leonardo Spinazzola would have a domino effect on the Nerazzurri‘s pursuit of the two Premier League players with expiring contracts. Politano’s departure would open a slot in attack for Giroud and make paying Chelsea around €5m more palatable, while Spinazzola’s arrival would give Antonio Conte the alternative on the wings that he was looking for by pursuing Man United’s Young, who could still be a target anyway because of his versatility.
The injury to Harry Kane and Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s return to AC Milan could give the Polish striker a prestigious landing spot following a sub-par first half of the season. Although Milan are open to selling Piatek for the amortised value remaining on his deal (about €30m) Spurs have so far asked for a loan deal or a swap involving either Juan Foyth or Victor Wanyama. At the moment, Aston Villa — who acquired goalkeeper Pepe Reina from Milan — are the club closest to meeting the Rossoneri‘s demands.
Although the proposed swap for Matias Vecino never took off, Inter are becoming increasingly confident that they can sign the Denmark international in January. They have more urgency now that the coaching change at Barcelona makes Arturo Vidal reuniting with Conte much less likely, and have made good progress on signing Eriksen on free transfer by offering him a four-year contract with an annual salary of more than €9m after tax. Eriksen’s agent is expected in Italy later this week to potentially close the deal, and then Inter will work on convincing Tottenham, who have signed Gedson Fernandes, to let Eriksen go in January for less than their €20m asking price.
Following the devastating injury to Nicolo Zaniolo, Roma have shifted their priority during the January transfer window to a creative attacking player. The Giallorossi contacted Liverpool about acquiring Shaqiri on loan until the end of the season, but the Reds turned that down immediately. As a result, Roma shifted their attention to Politano, who originally came up through their youth system, and the club are set to close that deal in exchange for Spinazzola.
Although Spurs would be interested in including a player in a deal for Piatek, the Ivory Coast defender would be an odd fit at Milan. They have two starting-calibre players at his position in Davide Calabria and the resurgent Andrea Conti, who has improved significantly this season after battling injuries.
The Portugal right-back seemed to be an untouchable in Barcelona’s starting XI at the start of the season. However, in the past few weeks he has been surpassed by Sergi Roberto. Will that change under new coach Quique Setien? In search of a right-back after Joshua Kimmich was moved into central midfield, Bayern added their name to the list of suitors for the 26-year-old Semedo, whom the Blaugrana value at €45m.
The Arsenal centre-back has fallen out of favour after a series of poor displays and could leave North London despite the shortage of defenders available in Mikel Arteta’s squad. The German’s agents are rumoured to be holding talks with Turkish giants Galatasaray, who would be more than glad to add the Gunners outcast to their squad. For his part, Mustafi would also welcome a move away from the Emirates. Although a permanent transfer does not seem to be on the cards, at least not in January, the teams could eventually shake hands on a loan with an option to buy.
The 19-year-old has been the defensive leader in one of the surprise teams in Serie A this season: Hellas Verona. Not surprisingly, the Albania centre-back has been linked to both Manchester United and Chelsea, but his next move will likely be in Italy. Juventus had pegged him as a potential replacement should they cash in on Merih Demiral, but Inter have intensified their pursuit and have leveraged their strong relationship with Verona to take the lead in the race.
With the departure of Moanes Dabbur to Hoffeinhem and with Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez nearing a move to LA Galaxy, Sevilla are sounding out the market in search of a new centre-forward. The Andalusians’ sporting director, Monchi, has been particularly impressed by the performances of Metz’s Senegalese striker, Habib Diallo. The 24-year-old, also eyed by Chelsea, has already reached double figures for goals in Ligue 1 this season and could become a serious target for Sevilla should Chicharito reach an agreement with the Galaxy.