You have come to the ESPN Africa edition, for other ESPN editions, click above.
Gab & Juls debate whether Thomas Tuchel and his Chelsea players will be affected by Roman Abramovich’s decision. (0:57)
The 2022 January transfer window is closed, but there’s still plenty of gossip swirling about who’s moving where. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz on rumours, comings and goings and, of course, done deals!
Manchester United could offer RB Leipzig‘s Christopher Nkunku a big pay increase with the Daily Star reporting that Premier League side could treble his wages.
Sources have previously told ESPN that interim manager Ralf Rangnick has urged United to step up their interest in the Leipzig midfielder.
United reportedly scouted the 24-year-old at Leipzig’s Bundesliga win over Bochum last weekend, in which Nkunku scored the game’s only goal in the 82nd minute.
Nkunku has a £62 million release clause in his contract, having become one of the emerging talents in Europe by recording an incredible 25 goals and 13 assists from 37 games in all competitions this term.
Rangnick and Nkunku have already worked together in the past, with the player joining Leipzig in 2019 when Rangnick was director of football.
Although the Red Devils will face competition for the Frenchman’s signature, the report states that Nkunku would “jump at the chance” to be reunited with Rangnick at Old Trafford.
– ESPN+ guide: LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, FA Cup, more (U.S.)
– Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ (U.S. only)
– Don’t have ESPN? Get instant access
13.44 GMT: A story in Corriere dello Sport suggests that Maurizio Sarri would like to bring Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga to Lazio on loan this summer. The former No. 1 for the Blues has fallen behind Edouard Mendy on Thomas Tuchel’s selection sheet and, with Sarri in search of a goalkeeper for the Rome-based club, a reunion with Kepa could be in the cards. The report adds that Lazio are also interested in PSG keeper Sergio Rico if their plans for Kepa don’t materialise. Rico is currently playing at Mallorca on loan from the Ligue 1 leaders.
13.03 GMT: Juventus are ready to move for Bordeaux right-back Raoul Bellanova, who is currently playing on loan with Serie A side Cagliari. Goal reports that the Old Lady hierarchy are already negotiating and are willing to pay a fee in the region of €8m to bring the former AC Milan youth player to Turin after Cagliari finalise a permanent move from Bordeaux this summer. The 21-year-old has made 12 appearances for Italy at U21 level
12.12 GMT: The Times reports that up to seven players could be set for summer exits from Newcastle United. Among them are Miguel Almiron, Dwight Gayle and Jamaal Lewis — who cost the club a combined £50m to bring in — will be available once the transfer window opens. Isaac Hayden and Ciaran Clark are also expected to leave, adds the report, while the club could also listen to offers for defender Emil Krafth and goalkeeper Karl Darlow.
19.19 GMT: Barcelona defender Dani Alves will turn 39 in May before the current season ends, fueling speculation that his time in Barcelona could be coming to a close, but Barcelona head coach Xavi Hernandez is hopeful the right-back will stick around next season.
“We haven’t talked about it yet but based on his performances, what he’s giving to the team on and off the field, it’s amazing,” the coach said Saturday of Alves’ contract. “He brings positivity, professionalism, he’s an example.
“I would like to have him here next season. He’s scored, given several assists, what he’s giving us is a lot. I would like him to continue but it depends on the club, his performances. I have no doubt that if he’s here next season he will give us a lot.”
18.21 GMT: As weeks go by without Barcelona renewing Ronald Araujo‘s contract, whispers from the rumor mill have only gotten louder about the Uruguayan defender possibly moving to the Premier League.
Araujo wants to stay with Barcelona, according to Spanish outlet Sport, but his current level of compensation is low compared to the size of his contributions for Xavi Hernandez’s side. The club and player have been in negotiations but haven’t been able to agree to terms.
Fueling rumors of a possible move, Araujo’s English is reportedly improving and the process for him to buy a house in Barcelona has been dragging, according to Sport. Araujo joined Barcelona in 2018, reportedly for a fee of €1.7 million.
17.15 GMT: Inter Milan are putting the finishing touches to a contract offer for goalkeeper Samir Handanovic, according to Calciomercato.
Handanovic, 37, is likely to be battling to be the club’s No. 1 with the rumoured summer arrival of Andre Onana from Ajax.
Inter want to keep Handanovic, who has made 426 appearances for the club since joining from Udinese in 2012, to keep competition strong.
The report states that the contract will be tabled with the former Slovenia international before the end of the month, keeping him at the club for two years on a reduced salary.
16.12 GMT: Telefoot journalist Julien Maynard reports that all options remain open to Ousmane Dembele — including staying at Barcelona.
Dembele, 24, is out of contract at Barca at the end of the season, and so far it has been impossible for the two parties to reach an agreement over a new deal.
Chelsea are being strongly linked with a move for the forward, who is also being courted by Juventus, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain.
Malgré des prises de contacts de plusieurs grands clubs européens notamment cet hiver, le futur d’Ousmane Dembélé n’est pas décidé. Départ ou prolongation au Barça, tout est encore possible.
15.10 GMT: Leeds United are one of a number of clubs who are showing an interest in Manchester United youngster James Garner.
Garner, 20, has been a revelation on loan at Nottingham Forest this season. The England under-21 international, who has also previously enjoyed a loan spell with Watford, has helped put Forest in contention for promotion to the Premier League through the playoffs.
The Sun reports that Leeds and Southampton are both considering taking the player on loan. He has a long-term contract with United which he signed at the start of this campaign.
14.26 GMT: Bayer Leverkusen will demand a transfer fee of €100m (£83m) from Newcastle United for Moussa Diaby, L’Equipe reports.
The 22-year-old winger, who has four full international caps for France, joined Leverkusen from Paris Saint-Germain three years ago and has enjoyed a stellar season, with 12 goals in 22 Bundesliga games to date.
The Daily Mail, however, reports that Newcastle are preparing an offer worth around £50m.
But Diaby has another three years on his contract, putting Leverkusen in a position of strength over any transfer negotiation.
13.41 GMT: Paulo Dybala‘s agent will arrive in Turin this week to discuss the player’s contract situation, according to Calciomercato.
Dybala, 28, is a free agent at the end of the season and so far there has been no indication he will sign a new deal with Juventus. He has been linked with a summer move to Serie A rivals Inter Milan, and there is bound to be other interest if he can be signed for no transfer fee.
The report says that his representative, Jorge Antun, will hold talks over a possible contract extension. But the player is unhappy that his situation has been played out in the media, with the last contract offer being rescinded in October when €8m net per season plus €2m in add-ons was being proposed.
Gazzetta dello Sport reports on Sunday that Inter could also meet with the player at the end of the week, and hope to tie up a precontract agreement for the summer. Juve now are not prepared to offer more than €7m a season, which gives Inter CEO Beppe Marotta the chance to swoop in and give the player what he wants.
12.50 GMT: Marca reports that Luis Suarez will leave Atletico Madrid when his contract expires at the end of the season.
Suarez, 35, joined Atletico from Barcelona in the summer of 2020 and helped the club win the LaLiga title last season with 25 goals. He has only hit the back of the net nine times in this campaign, and will look for a new challenge next season.
The report says that the striker still wishes to play at the highest level next season to be in Uruguay’s squad for the World Cup finals, if they qualify to be in Qatar.
Ajax, Inter Milan, Sevilla and teams in Brazil are all said to be interested — but Suarez is said to be eager to continue to Spain for another year.
12.03 GMT: Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has given some hints about his summer transfer plans in an interview with Sky Sports.
“I think now is the moment we have to go to a different level,” Arteta said. “We have been able to get the squad balance in a much better shape. Financially, we are in a much more stable position with the money we have spent on certain players touching the pitch for a certain amount of minutes. That balance is much better spread out across the squad. And now is the moment to raise the quality.”
Arsenal desperately need a new striker, and Arteta has set out the qualities he is looking for.
“He puts the ball in the net, that’s priority number one,” Arteta explained. “Goal threat. Any successful team needs enough goal threat in the squad. Without it, you have nothing. You can play good football but you need enough goal threat in the team.
“The other thing is that he has to complement the other people we have, personally and on the pitch, and for that, we need the right profile.
“He has to have a certain age, a certain level of experience, and he has to be able to come here and play under the pressure of being at Arsenal.”
11.15 GMT: Barcelona president Joan Laporta insists the club have not yet held any negotiations with regards to signing Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland.
ESPN has revealed that Barca, along with Real Madrid and Manchester City, are in the race to sign Haaland, whose agent, Mino Raiola, and father, Alf-Inge, visited both Barcelona and Madrid last April. Various other meetings have been reported since, too.
However, Laporta claims no talks have taken place and that Barca’s first port of call would be to speak with Dortmund.
“At Barca, we don’t negotiate with the player,” Laporta told reporters on Saturday. “When we have to negotiate, we do so with the club, which would be Borussia Dortmund in this case.
“We’re working on a lot of players that could improve the squad next season in agreement with the coach [Xavi Hernandez] and the directors of football [Mateu Alemany and Jordi Cruyff]. We’re planning for next season but there have been no negotiations — no meeting, negotiations, nothing.”
Laporta confirmed he has a “good relationship” with Raiola but reiterated the stance that any negotiations must start with Dortmund. Haaland reportedly has a release clause worth around €75m that kicks in this summer.
On reports Xavi met with Haaland earlier this week, something the coach himself has not denied, Laporta added: “It’s none of my business. I am talking about negotiations. There have been no negotiations with Haaland.”
10.22 GMT: Declan Rice believes he has become one of the best players in the world, and stressed his “urgent” desire to play Champions League football and win trophies.
The West Ham midfielder was named Premier League Player of the Year at Thursday’s London Football Awards after a fine season to date as the Hammers sit just two points outside the top four with 10 games remaining.
Rice told ESPN: “It is as urgent as possible. I feel like, not only for me, that’s for every young player as well. I feel like I am one of the established top players around the world.”
Rice has a contract at West Ham until 2024 with the club retaining an option to extend by a further year but there has been speculation Chelsea, Manchester United or Manchester City could test their resolve to keep the midfielder, who has been valued in excess of £100m.
“You hear those numbers and personally for me it is crazy to hear,” Rice said. “All I can do is go out there and perform, regardless of the price tag. I just need focus on playing well and performing at the best level I can.”
09.30 GMT: On Saturday, Gazzetta dello Sport reported that Juventus are preparing a huge contract offer to bring Paul Pogba back to the club — but now Calciomercato says the France international will have to take a massive pay cut to return to Turin.
Pogba, 28, sees his Manchester United contract expire in the summer, when he is expected to leave the club on a free transfer. Juve have always been at the head of the queue to re-sign a player who left to sign for United six years ago.
A base salary of €7.5m net per season would give him parity with January signing Dusan Vlahovic, with incentives able to increase his wage up to €10m per season across a three-year contract.
The Calciomercato report says that Pogba is earning €15m net per season at Old Trafford, meaning he faces a massive drop in his pay packet. Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid are also interested.
The report says that Juve could afford Pogba due to a clause which allows the 50% savings on taxes for those who have worked abroad in the last two years and decided to return to Italy.
– Everton, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain could all work together for a deal that would see Moise Kean join Les Parisiens, as reported by Calciomercato. The Italian is in the first year of a two-year loan at Juventus from the Toffees, where he has struggled for game time. That deal included a €4m loan fee for the second season, followed by an obligation to sign Keane for €28m. In order for the striker to leave Turin early, Everton are hoping to receive similar figures from PSG.
– Crystal Palace have joined the likes of Manchester United, West Ham United and Newcastle United in trying to sign Marseille midfielder Boubacar Kamara, according to The Sun. The 22-year-old will be a free agent in the summer when his OM contract ends. The Eagles are also keen on Ajax‘s Edson Alvarez, though the Mexico international’s £30m transfer fee could make Palace look elsewhere.
– Joe Rodon has decided that he wants to leave Tottenham Hotspur due to a lack of game time, says Football Insider. The Welshman is yet to play a single Premier League minute under Antonio Conte, after potential January moves to Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion fell through. The defender’s mind is now made up that he wants to depart.
– West Ham United are hoping to sign Lille midfielder Amadou Onana, with the French club wanting a transfer fee of at least £20m for the 20-year-old, according to The Sun. It is suggested that the Hammers are keen to sign the Belgium youth international at this early stage of his career, rather than waiting for his value to rocket as he develops further.
– Benfica goalkeeper Mile Svilar is in advanced talks with AS Roma, according to Nicolo Schira, and the Italian outfit have offered him a four-year contract with the option for another season. This comes after the 22-year-old goalkeeper decided that he would leave Benfica as a free agent when his contract ends in the summer.
You have come to the ESPN Africa edition, for other ESPN editions, click above.