10th January, 2019
As usual at this time of the football calendar, soccer transfer deals and counter-deals are on-going with many clubs doing the business of fortifying their squads. We bring to your attention some of these deals as reported below.
Chelsea want to sign Andre Silva but any deal hinges on Alvaro Morata replacing the striker at Sevilla, reports The Sun.
Ander Herrera is set to sign a new deal for Manchester United after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer convinced him to stay, according to The Sun.
Arsenal have asked about Chelsea target Nicolo Barella and could make a late bid to hijack the deal, reports The Daily Mail.
Real Madrid signs Brahim Diaz
Brahim Diaz could have been turning out for Manchester City on Wednesday in their League Cup semi-final first leg against Burton Albion. Instead, paperwork permitting, he will make his Real Madrid debut at home to Leganes in the Copa del Rey.
The 19-year-old attacking midfielder completed his €17 million move to Real on Sunday and was unveiled at the Santiago Bernabeu on Monday. On Tuesday, he was named in the squad for Wednesday’s cup clash. It has been quite an eventful few days for the youngster.
Brahim was frustrated at his lack of playing time at City and there is some disappointment in Manchester at how one of the club’s most exciting young players has slipped through the net – especially after winger Jadon Sancho left in similar circumstances for Borussia Dortmund last year.
At his unveiling on Monday, he said it had been a dream to play for Real since a young age, although Spanish sports show Jugones later unearthed an interview of the player aged 12 when he admitted he preferred Barcelona and Lionel Messi to Madrid.
Diaz was compared to Messi in his formative years due to his superb dribbling ability and almost left his boyhood club Malaga to join Barca in 2011, only to end up staying after the Andalusians offered him better terms.
While at Malaga, Brahim was a ballboy and he posted a picture on his Instagram in 2016 which shows him watching on from the stands at La Rosaleda as Santi Cazorla and Isco celebrate a goal.
Now, of course, he links up with Isco at Real Madrid and he could even compete with the Spain midfielder for a place in the team in the years to come.
Brahim, who scored a stunning goal against Real in pre-season last year for City in a 4-1 win, is seen as a player for the future at Madrid and not a solution to the team’s current woes. They should not expect too much, too soon.
Diaz is two-footed, with superb technique and the ability to move the ball quickly in tight spaces. He is an excellent dribbler, who can score with both feet (from close and long range) and is happy on either wing or behind a striker. “I can play in any of the attacking positions,” he said on Monday.
The comparison with Messi is not helpful to any player, but there are similarities and Real Madrid have an extremely exciting player on their hands.
On Wednesday, against Leganes, the fans should get their first glimpse of his talents.
Eriksen responds to Real Madrid speculation and gives contract update
Christian Eriksen says he has had positive talks with Tottenham over a new contract and insisted he is not listening to speculation linking him with Real Madrid.
Eriksen has 18 months remaining on his current deal and while Spurs are still hopeful of agreeing a new long-term contract, the midfielder has stalled on committing his future to the club.
Real Madrid are admirers of the Denmark international with reports in the Spanish press this week suggesting Los Blancos have been quoted an eye-watering £225m by Spurs chairman Daniel Levy.
Eriksen spoke to Denmark’s TV3 Sport after Tuesday’s EFL Cup semi-final first-leg victory over Chelsea, insisting speculation over his future is of no concern to him.
“It is not something I am thinking of. I focus on playing football and there are many battles you have to think about and which must be won.
“It is not the first time that there have been rumours and when the newspapers write something, it is not something we are masters of, and if there is nothing concrete, then I just comment on rumours.”
Eriksen went onto emphasise he is still in negotiations with Spurs, suggesting a positive outcome is still very much a possibility.
“I think people know what I want and I know what they [Tottenham] would like, and there is a nice dialogue so there is nothing there.”
Rudiger reveals Hudson-Odoi has asked for advice over Germany move
Antonio Rudiger has revealed team-mate Callum Hudson-Odoihas asked for his advice about a move to Germany as Chelsea face a battle to hold on to the teenager.
Hudson-Odoi, who impressed on his second consecutive start for the club in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg defeat by Tottenham last night, is wanted by Bayern Munich.
The Bundesliga club lodged a fourth bid yesterday worth £31.4million, not including add-ons. Reports Chelsea have accepted it are premature but they are concerned the 18-year-old plans to leave.
Rudiger is a Germany international who knows the Bundesliga well, having begun his career at Stuttgart, and the 25-year-old defender wants Hudson-Odoi to remain at Stamford Bridge.
He said: “He asked me about Germany. It was a general question from him. He is still young, I can advise him, but at the end of the day he decides about his future.
“You can see it from both sides. He can develop here but he can develop in Germany as well — and don’t forget Bayern Munich are also a big club.
“For his future, I wish him all the best but I just wish he stays with us.”
Alderweireld: Tottenham performances prove I’m happy to stay
Toby Alderweireld says his performances prove he is happy at Tottenham and 100 per cent committed to the club, despite the ongoing uncertainty over his future.
Alderweireld was at the heart of a dogged rearguard display on Tuesday as Spurs beat Chelsea 1-0 in the League Cup semi-final first leg.
Spurs last week triggered a one-year extension in the defender’s contract to tie him down until summer 2020, but it activated a clause allowing him to leave for £25million at the end of the season.
Alderweireld’s team-mate Mousa Dembele is on the verge of a move to China after running down his contract, but the centre-half has been reintegrated into Mauricio Pochettino’s team despite refusing a new long-term deal last season.
“I’m very happy to stay another year,” said Alderweireld. “It was [a one-year extension] in my contract and I’m happy Spurs gave me the confidence to stay another year.”
Asked about the release clause, the Belgium defender said: “People can see that every time I play that I give 100 per cent for this club — this is what I keep doing every time I play.
“I’m only focused on things on the pitch. This is my fourth season and I’m very happy. I’m doing everything to help the team.”
The Sun reports Inter Milan are planning a summer swoop for Luka Modric and could sell Ivan Perisic to Manchester United to help raise funds.
Real Madrid want either Christian Eriksen or Eden Hazard to be their new playmaker as they plan an overhaul of the squad this summer, reports The Independent.
Malcom to leave Barca?
Reports in the Spanish press today claim that Barcelona are open to the idea of letting Brazilian winger Malcom leave the club this month.
The 21-year-old only joined the Spanish giants from Bordeaux this summer, but has made just one league start this season.
The reports claim he is the subject of interest from both China and Italy, where he almost ended up in the summer, only for Barcelona to hijack Roma’s bid at the eleventh hour.
Herrera to extend United stay?
Ander Herrera is in talks with Manchester United over a new contract, according to Sky Sports News.
The Spaniard’s current deal runs out this summer, and has been linked with a return to Athletic Bilbao.
The 29-year-old has featured in every game under new manager
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, forming a partnership with Nemanja Matic at the base of midfield.
There was some good news for Arsenal fans today, despite the lack of January arrivals so far, as the club confirmed that a host of first-team regulars are back in training.
The Gunners have been suffering from a defensive injury crisis over the festive period, with a January move to bring in reinforcements being considered.
However, Shkodran Mustafi, Nacho Monreal and Hector Bellerin are all back in full training, along with youngster Konstantinos Mavropanos.
Laurent Koscielny is also in contention for the trip to West Ham on Saturday, having been injured in the warm-up at Blackpool, with Rob Holding their only long-term defensive absentee.
West Ham And Marko Arnautovic
West Ham are expected to reject all approaches to sign Marko Arnautovic this month after reports that of interest from an unknown Chinese club.
Reports on Wednesday claimed that the Hammers had received a £35million bid for the 29-year-old, but Standard Sport understands that figure falls well below the club’s valuation of the player, and they have no desire to cash in on his services.
Arnautovic was linked with Chelsea and Man Utd last summer after an impressive first season at the London Stadium following his £23m transfer from Stoke City.
It was understood that West Ham would have rejected offers as high as £50m for the player last summer, such was their determination to keep hold of the forward.
That desire remains as resolute now, with West Ham expected to reject any further advances this month.
The Austrian is set to be available for this weekend’s Premier League clash with Arsenal despite being substituted in the first half of their FA Cup victory over Birmingham last time out.
“He felt some pain in his back at the beginning,” Pellegrini said after the match. “I thought that it was better to change him because he is just coming off another injury and he played 90 minutes less than 72 hours ago.
“After that he could continue but I think it was not good to take the risk. It was just a precaution.”
Reading Confirms Lewis Baker From Chelsea
Reading have confirmed the signing of Chelsea midfielder Lewis Baker on loan until the end of the season.
The 23-year-old spent the first half of the season on loan at fellow Championship side Leeds, but has made just two starts in the league this season, and was subbed off at half-time in both of them.
He cut short his spell at Elland Road in order to complete the move to the Madjeski.
“Man City is complete for now”.
Man City boss Pep Guardiola has insisted that his current squad is big enough to compete on all four fronts this season, without the need for January additions.
Guardiola saw title rivals Liverpool crash out of the FA Cup to Wolves on Monday, playing a second string, but while a rotated but strong City XI thumped Rotherham 7-0.
They face Burton Albion in the first leg of the EFL Cup semi-final this evening, and the Spaniard says he wants to keep fighting on all fronts.
“I take the cups seriously. Against Rotherham we played with nine players who didn’t play against Liverpool and the nine were a good selection.
“Kevin [De Bruyne] had 70 minutes at full intensity against Rotherham and will try to play a little longer [against Burton].
“If everyone is fit we can cope. The problem is if you have 10 injured players — it’s almost impossible. If we had just one competition to play in, I could play with the same 11 or same 12 [every week]. Now everyone is involved.”
Bournemouth And Solanke
New Bournemouth striker Dominic Solanke has been handed the number 29 shirt at the club.
Solanke joined in a £19million move from Liverpool last week, having been heavily linked with a loan move to Crystal Palace.
The England U21 striker also wore 29 at Anfield.
There are more reports in the Italian press today linking former Atletico Madrid winger Yannick Carrasco with a move to Arsenal.
The Belgian currently plies his trade in the Chinese Super League with Dalian Yifang, and is said to be willing to take a pay-cut to return to Europe.
However, it is understood that the transfer fee of around £25million would still be a sticking point, with Arsenal having limited funds available in this window.
Having Morata would be a blessing – Sevilla boss Pablo Machín
Alvaro Morata is said to be eager to return to Spain and Sevilla head coach Pablo Machín says he will welcome the striker into his squad.
“Many teams want him because he’s worth it,” Machin told a press conference.
“The objective of the club is clear: wanting to bring the best in.”
Chelsea want £45m Elseid Hysaj in January window
Lazio are in advanced talks with Chelsea over signing Davide Zappacosta on loan in view of a permanent transfer in the summer.
Zappacosta joined Chelsea from Torino for £22m in 2017, but has not started a Premier League game under coach Mauricio Sarri this term.
Lazio are trying to negotiate a deal which will see them pay a loan fee for the right back now before spending £13.5m on his transfer at the end of the season.
Sarri does not see Zappacosta as part of his long-term plans and wants Chelsea to buy Elseid Hysaj from his former club Napoli to be his replacement.
Hysaj has refused to sign a new contract at Napoli, providing hope that he can be lured to Stamford Bridge.
However, Napoli value Hysaj at £45m and president Aurelio de Laurentiis will make it hard for Chelsea to acquire the Albania international because he was upset over the way Sarri left the club last summer.
Chelsea’s hierarchy also need some convincing to spend so much on a right back – a position where captain Cesar Azpilicueta plays.
Zappacosta won’t be allowed to leave Chelsea until Sarri has brought someone else in first.
Stoke appoint Jones
Stoke have announced Nathan Jones as their new manager.
The Sky Bet Championship club sacked Gary Rowett on Tuesday and agreed a compensation fee with Luton after being given permission to speak with Jones on Wednesday morning.
“Nathan Jones is the new manager of Stoke City, the club are delighted to confirm,” Stoke announced on their offical website.
“The 45-year-old Welshman takes up the reins at the bet365 Stadium after the Potters agreed a compensation package with his former club Luton Town.”
Rowett paid the price for Stoke’s poor first half of the season, which has left them in 14th place after eight wins from 26 matches.
Jones guided Luton to promotion last season having been appointed in January 2016 and the club are currently second in League One. He had previously worked as coach and then assistant manager at Brighton.
Stoke’s respective chairman and vice-chairman Peter Coates and John Coates added: “We have been following Nathan’s career for some time and when we met him were hugely impressed with his clear vision as to how he will achieve success at Stoke.”
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