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: Lewandowski wants Real move
AS writes that the 33-year-old Poland striker — ranked No. 1 in the position in ESPN FC 100 — has informed his agent of a desired transfer to Madrid, with the hopes of heading to the Santiago Bernabeu at the end of the season.
However, the move hinges on where Borussia Dortmund‘s Erling Haaland (ranked No. 2 in ESPN’s list) ends up. Los Blancos are looking to invest heavily next summer, and they have also been linked with Paris Saint-Germain‘s Kylian Mbappe, though Karim Benzema‘s stellar form means there is only room for one marquee signing at the striker position.
Lewandowski has remained in sublime form this season, scoring 25 goals in 23 games for Bayern Munich, and narrowly missed out winning the Ballon d’Or, which went to PSG’s Lionel Messi.
09.43 GMT: Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has played down the prospect of spending significant sums in the January transfer window.
The Gunners committed £140m on six summer signings as Arteta embarked upon a major overhaul of his squad with Aaron Ramsdale, Nuno Tavares, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ben White, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Martin Odegaard all arriving at Emirates Stadium.
The club have five players about to enter the final six months of their existing contracts, the most high-profile of which is striker Alexandre Lacazette, who hinted at an exit when speaking to French outlet Telefoot last month by claiming “my agents are now looking left and right a bit, but not before Janaury.”
Arteta alluded to the complexity of this and other situations — Eddie Nketiah is also out of contract next summer and was close to a move to Crystal Palace in the summer — when asked whether supporters could expect a major outlay on new players in January.
“We are in discussions, we have talks every week about it: how we can improve the team, what things can happen in the January transfer window can affect our squad,” Arteta said on Wednesday morning.
“As you know, we have certain players with a little bit of uncertainty in the summer so we have to plan what is going to happen now and what is going to happen in the summer. A lot had to be done as well.
“We know and we don’t expect big things happening but we are going to be very alert in the market to see if we can improve the team. And as well, we have to be prepared because things can happen, injuries arise in this period and you have to be prepared.”
08.49 GMT: Jan Oblak‘s agent is due in Madrid in the coming weeks for talks with Atletico Madrid over a contract extension, Marca reports.
The 28-year-old Slovenia international — who was voted No. 1 among goalkeepers in ESPN’s FC 100 for 2021 — has a current deal which expires in June 2023, with a €120m release clause.
Oblak conceded a bizarre goal at Cadiz on Sunday but, according to Marca, both Atletico and coach Diego Simeone have “no doubts” about him.
The newspaper says negotiations with agent Miha Mlakar are expected to be “a hard road,” as they were the last time a new contract was agreed in 2019, with long-term interest in Oblak from the Premier League.
08.00 GMT: Manchester United caretaker Michael Carrick says it’s a “myth” that Cristiano Ronaldo can’t play in a pressing team as Ralf Rangnick’s arrival has sparked questions about the forward’s place in his team..
Ronaldo’s role at Old Trafford has been under scrutiny following the appointment of interim manager Rangnick, who has a reputation for coaching an intense, pressing style. The Portugal captain’s statistics this season and last season at Juventus suggest he does not close down defenders very often, but Carrick insists the 36-year-old will be able to adapt to Rangnick’s demands.
“Maybe it is a myth,” Carrick told a news conference on Wednesday. “Maybe that is how it is. He’s played in enough teams over the years being successful to play in a variety of ways and kept scoring goals for every team. I’m sure he will continue to score goals, there is no doubt about that.”
Rangnick has not yet been able to work with the players because of ongoing issues obtaining a work visa and Carrick will remain in charge for Arsenal’s visit to Old Trafford on Thursday.
It means the squad could be set for a crash course in Rangnick’s methods once he takes over during a hectic schedule of eight games in 30 days before the end of 2021.
“Players adapt, there’s different skills and styles you have to have,” added Carrick. “We have played different styles since we came here. Ralf has a terrific pedigree over a long period of time and had good success with that so I am sure that the players are looking forward to the days and weeks ahead.”
Jan Oblak says it was always his dream to be a goalkeeper after being named best in the world in the ESPN FC 100.
PAPER GOSSIP (by Adam Brown)
– Napoli are continuing their search for a left-back and have begun talks with the agent of Besiktas star Umut Meras. That’s according to Calciomercato, which writes that the 25-year-old is open to a move to Serie A, but is remaining focused on Besiktas until an official offer is made.
– Jonathan Ikone is set for a switch to Serie A in January after agreeing on a deal with Fiorentina. Fabrizio Romano writes that Lille will receive a fee of €15m for the 23-year-old. Ikone has had a mixed campaign after being a standout performer when his side won the Ligue 1 title last season.
– Meanwhile, Lille have set their sights on FC Midtjylland‘s Gustav Isaksen for a move in January, according to Sport Italia TV. The 20-year-old star was a standout performer as his side defeated Braga 3-2 in the Europa League, and he has also impressed while on international duty with the Denmark U21 national team.
– Nicolo Schira reveals that Manchester City have scouted Bologna‘s Mattias Svanberg, who scored the winner in his side’s 1-0 victory over AS Roma on Wednesday. The 22-year-old attacking midfielder has been in good form this season and has previously been linked with Arsenal.
– Barcelona are interested in Las Palmas star Alberto Moleiro, says Mundo Deportivo. The Blaugrana are reported to have been following the 18-year-old for some time with hopes he could be the next Pedri, but the Canaries are planning to make it more difficult for clubs to acquire Moleiro, with plans to triple his release clause in a new contract extension.
– Zlatan Ibrahimovic has reaffirmed his desire to stay at the San Siro after scoring the opening goal in AC Milan‘s 3-0 win over Genoa on Wednesday. Speaking after the game, as quoted by Fabrizio Romano, he said: “I’m happy for our manager [Stefano Pioli] but now it’s time for me to extend the contract. These guys make me have fun.”
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