The summer transfer window was unlike any other. See all the major deals and check out how we graded the biggest signings. And just because the window is shut until January, that doesn’t mean the rumours won’t keep coming. Here’s the latest gossip and speculation.
TOP STORY: Sanchez could be heading back to Barca
Alexis Sanchez could make a return to Barcelona from Internazionale in a move that would see Luuk de Jong go the other way, according to Sport.
Inter are happy to loan the Chile striker back to Barca, probably because the 32-year-old has started just two games this season with two goals and three assists from his 14 appearances.
De Jong is on loan at Barca from Sevilla, but has found game-time hard to come by with the Blaugrana, and Inter are keen on bringing the 31-year-old Dutchman to the San Siro to spruce up their attack.
The three clubs are now working together to try to complete the various moves. Sanchez would likely be welcome back in Catalonia, where he scored 47 goals and added 35 assists in 141 games during his last stint at the club between 2011 and 2014
Now, it’s seemingly up to Barca boss Xavi Hernandez to sign off on the deal and president Joan Laporta to get it over the line.
– ESPN FC 100: Ranking the world’s best players by position
– ESPN+ guide: LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, FA Cup, more (U.S.)
– Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ (U.S. only)
21.24 GMT: Brazilian side Corinthians are interested in a move for Manchester United striker Edinson Cavani, according to Ekrem Konur. The 34-year-old Uruguay international has been heavily linked with a move away from Old Trafford in recent weeks as the forward has seen his game time plummet since the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer.
20.51 GMT: Kostas Manolas has rejoined Olympiakos from Napoli, the Greek club has confirmed. The 30-year-old centre-back spent two seasons in Piraeus before moving to Italy for seven-plus years split between AS Roma and then Napoli.
20.18 GMT: Fenerbahce are interested in Barcelona striker Luuk de Jong, reports Mundo Deportivo. The Netherlands international is on loan at the Catalan club from Sevilla, however the Blaugrana are reported to have no intention of keeping him at the club, while the Andalusian side are similarly disinterested in his services.
19.45 GMT: Marca has a follow-up to the earlier reporting from Spain that Barcelona are considering bringing Alexis Sanchez back to the club, suggesting that the 32-year-old Chile international isn’t a “priority” for new boss Xavi in the January transfer window. The manager is said to be more interested in signing a striker first, with Ferran Torres, Timo Werner and Edinson Cavani on their radar.
19.12 GMT: Fiorentina striker Dusan Vlahovic has turned down the biggest contract offer in the club’s history, chief executive Joe Barone told La Repubblica.
“We’ve offered Vlahovic the highest contract ever in the history of Fiorentina, several times,” Barone reportedly said. “Both Dusan and his agent made us realise that they do not want to accept. Our bid is still on the table.”
18.39 GMT: The New England Revolution have acquired United States midfielder Sebastian Lletget from the LA Galaxy, the clubs announced on Thursday, with sources telling ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle that the Revs will pay up to $1.3m in General Allocation Money over the next two years. Read the full story.
Welcome to the #NERevs, @SLletget! pic.twitter.com/qK2m5MREcM
— New England Revolution (@NERevolution) December 16, 2021
18.06 GMT: Gremio have received an offer for right-back Vanderson, with Brentford said to be the side interested, according to the Mail. The 20-year-old has impressed for the Brazilian club, with the club’s vice president saying: “Vanderson, we received a proposal which is being discussed with the club and his agent. We are waiting for them to define the business.”
17.33 GMT: Manchester City are not willing to break their wage structure to sign Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund, reports Sport. The 21-year-old has been linked with a number of Europe’s top clubs, however it’s been said that it will take a large salary to land the Norway international, something City are reportedly unwilling to do.
Barcelona are said to be interested in a move following talks with agent Mino Raiola, but they fear that Paris Saint-Germain could join the race for the forward and offer a better financial package.
17.00 GMT: Liverpool defender Nat Phillips has revealed he is open to a move away from Anfield in January. Speaking to Sky Sports, the 24-year-old said: “I’m going to see what comes along [in January] and go from there. I think at this moment in time it’s unlikely that I’ll be playing lots of games for Liverpool, so if an opportunity arises where I get the chance to do that somewhere else and it suits everyone, then it’s certainly something I’d be interested in.”
16.26 GMT: Juventus winger Douglas Costa is in talks with Sao Paulo over a move to the Morumbi, according to ESPN Brasil. The 31-year-old Brazil international returned to boyhood club Gremio on loan in May, but after the Porto Alegre side’s relegation was confirmed last week, the former Bayern Munich star is now looking to remain in the Brasileirao with the Tricolor.
15.52 GMT: The Daily Mail reports that Arsenal may have to accept a reduced transfer fee for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who this week was stripped of the club captaincy due to disciplinary issues.
There appears to be no future at the club for Aubameyang, with the Gunners wanting him to find a new team in January. But the paper reports that could play into the hands of other clubs, who may try and get the striker on a cut-price fee if Arsenal want a quick deal.
Aubameyang, 32, has been linked with a move to Barcelona, but the cash-strapped Camp Nou club would only be able to do a deal on their terms — especially with the player’s wages of up to £350,000-a-week.
It means the Gabon international may well have to stay until the summer, by which time he may have repaired some of his reputation.
15.00 GMT: In Italy, football’s financial regulator reported 62 suspicious transactions since 2019, 42 of them involving Juventus. And last month, financial police raided the club’s offices. UEFA have also been looking at this practice as they try to wrap their heads around a fundamental, and almost philosophical, question: how should the game deal with something that generates huge profits, but isn’t always related to events on the pitch?
– Gab Marcotti takes us through the situation, and why the game should be worried
14.07 GMT: The New England Revolution have acquired United States midfielder Sebastian Lletget from the LA Galaxy in exchange for up to $1.3 million in General Allocation Money (GAM), with $500,000 of that amount guaranteed, a source has told ESPN.
The Galaxy will receive $300,000 in GAM in 2022, with an additional $200,000 in 2023. The remaining $800,000 is based on incentives that are spread out over the next two seasons.
13.19 GMT: Sergino Dest is not considering leaving Barcelona in the winter transfer window, Mundo Deportivo reports.
Despite being included on the transfer list, the U.S. international is determined to rediscover his best form after recovering from injuries and convincing coach Xavi he has a future at the club.
The former Ajax full-back joined Barca in the summer of 2020 but has not earned a regular spot in the squad.
Mundo Deportivo reports that Dest, 21, is aware he has not shown the level that was expected of him at the Camp Nou. Muscular injuries have prevented Dest from reaching his best form but the player is determined to work hard and prove his worth.
12.24 GMT: The Daily Mail reports that Manchester United sent a scout to watch Leeds United’s Illan Meslier face Manchester City this week, only to see the goalkeeper concede seven goals.
Meslier, 21, has been building a reputation as one of the most promising young keepers in Europe, and he signed a new five-year contract in the summer as a reward for his part in Marcelo Bielsa’s side staying up after their first season back in the Premier League.
However, with the futures of both David de Gea and Dean Henderson at Old Trafford both uncertain, the Mail reports that United sent goalkeeping scout Tony Coton to watch Meslier at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night.
How much the thrashing at the home of the Premier League champions affects how Meslier is viewed by United and other interested clubs remains to be seen.
11.33 GMT: Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger has admitted that he was considering leaving the club in January before Thomas Tuchel took over as coach.
Rudiger, 28, is out of contract in the summer, and has been linked with a potential free transfer to Real Madrid at the end of the season.
The Germany international was a peripheral figure under former Chelsea boss Frank Lampard, but became a first-team regular after Tuchel was hired at the start of the year and started in the Champions League final victory over Manchester City in May.
“Yeah [I was close to leaving], the way things were going for myself but also for the team,” Rudiger told Sky. “But in the winter period I was not keen to leave, to be honest. It was more in the summer period where I wanted to leave.
“But Thomas Tuchel came and the rest is history. He opened a new door… he played a big role.”
10.41 GMT: Spain international Unai Simon says he intends to honour his contract with Athletic Bilbao, which runs through June 2025.
Simon, 24, has established himself as Spain’s No. 1 after helping La Roja side win silver at the 2020 Olympic Games, finish runners-up in the UEFA Nations League and qualify for the World Cup.
“I will remain here as long as Athletic wants me,” he said. “I owe my life to Athletic and what better way to say thank you for all they have given me than to defend their goal in every game.
“Of the three seasons that I’ve started for Athletic, this is my best in terms of numbers. But not just that, I also have a good feeling about this season. I feel comfortable and always thinking about the next day, which is the mentality I’ve always had.”
09.46 GMT: Inter Milan are set to terminate midfielder Christian Eriksen‘s contract, the BBC reports.
Eriksen, 29, has not played since suffering the cardiac arrest while running near the left touchline during Denmark’s opening game of the tournament against Finland in June and received life-saving treatment on the pitch.
The former Tottenham midfielder began working out at the training ground of Odense Boldklub, his boyhood club in Denmark, at the start of the month following his rehabilitation.
The Italian medical authority has suspended Eriksen from playing in Serie A, due to a rule prohibiting the use of a cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) device that he has had implanted.
The BBC reports that, under those circumstances, Inter are working towards releasing Eriksen from his contract, which is due to expire in 2024.
08.52 GMT: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has ruled out the prospect of defender Joe Gomez going out on loan in the January transfer window.
Gomez, 24, has made just two appearances for the Reds this term after missing most of last season with a knee injury.
The England international has been linked with interest from Aston Villa, who are managed by former Anfield midfielder Steven Gerrard, but Klopp has ended that speculation.
“It was obviously not the best year for him, but that’s how it goes,” he told a news conference on Wednesday. We are patient, and Joe is patient. I have no plans to give anybody on loan in the winter.
08.00 GMT: Barcelona striker Sergio Aguero announced his retirement from football at the age of 33 due to a heart condition on Wednesday.
Aguero has not played since the end of October, when he was taken off during the first half of Barca’s draw with Alaves after experiencing chest pain.
Barcelona later announced that the discomfort had been caused by an arrhythmia — a broad term to describe any heart rhythm that is not completely normal — that would require treatment over a three-month period.
The former Manchester City forward has since had regular cardiac exams to monitor his health, with the results advising him it would be a risk to carry on with his professional career.
He announced his retirement at a news conference on Wednesday, joined by Barca president Joan Laporta.
An emotional Aguero said: “This conference is to announce I have decided to stop playing professional football. It is a very difficult moment. The decision I have taken for my health; the problem I had a month and a half ago.
“I have been in good hands with the medical staff. I made the decision 10 days ago after doing everything possible to have some hope of playing on. I am very proud for my career. I always dreamed of a professional career since the first time I touched a ball at 5.
“I want to thank Atletico Madrid, who took a chance on me when I was 18, and Manchester City — everyone knows who I feel about City and how well they treated me there.”
– Ogden: Aguero’s great legacy is more than just his iconic goal
PAPER GOSSIP (by Nick Judd)
– Newcastle United are looking to sign Kieran Trippier from Atletico Madrid in January, and the new Magpies owners are willing to make the former Tottenham Hotspur full-back their highest-paid player.
Talksport reports that the Trippier is a wanted man in the northeast despite having six months to run on his Madrid contract. Trippier was a key component of Atletico’s defence as they lifted the LaLiga title last season. Numerous clubs including Manchester United, and Arsenal have tried and failed to tempt him back to England, but it’s reported a bid of £25 million will be enough for the Spaniards to agree to let the 31-year-old return to the Premier League.
– Barcelona are plotting a surprise move for Chelsea teenager Ian Maatsen, according to Football Insider. The 19-year-old left-back has been getting rave reviews during his loan spell at Coventry City. Though he is highly regarded at Stamford Bridge, the Blues face the prospect of losing him to Barca in January before he has really been given an opportunity to show what he can do in west London.
The teenager joined Chelsea from PSV Eindhoven and is contracted to the club until 2024, but he has yet to make his full debut. The Netherlands U21 international has also spent time on loan at Charlton Athletic.
– Conor Gallagher won’t be recalled by Chelsea in January, according to Fabrizio Romano. The journalist’s claim follows Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel’s news conference in which he admits he has no regrets in letting the midfielder join the Eagles.
Gallagher has been a revelation at Selhurst Park. At the beginning of December, he had racked up six goals and three assists for Crystal Palace, the most of any Premier League player aged 21 or under, and he added another brace with his double against Everton last weekend.
– Arthur Melo will leave Juventus in January, according to journalist Nicolo Schira. The Brazilian midfielder doesn’t fit into boss Massimiliano Allegri’s plans, and the club is keen to see him move elsewhere on loan for 18 months, with any potential new club having the obligation to buy his contract after that period. Sevilla, AS Roma and Arsenal have all been offered the 25-year-old, but the stumbling block could be his current wages, which equate to €6m plus bonuses.