The coronavirus pandemic made the summer transfer market unlike any before it, but there were still plenty of deals done and you can check out the major ones here. The window might be closed across the top leagues in Europe, but here are the best rumours from around the globe.
TOP STORY: Liverpool still keen on Koulibaly
Liverpool are still interested in signing Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, says Calciomercato.
The Reds have lost Virgil van Dijk and now Fabinho to injury, with the Italian outlet claiming that the club will come back in for the Senegal international in January.
Koulibaly is still valued at over €80m, with Napoli not keen to enter negotiations midway through the season, and the player himself doesn’t seem in much of a rush either.
“I love Naples and Naples loves me, that’s the most important thing,” Koulibaly told Sky Sports after Thursday’s 1-0 Europa League win over Real Sociedad. “I always make myself available game after game, I still have three years of contract, I’m calm, the teams are looking for me but I’m still here. I play at my level and I help this team and these people because I want to give something back to them then we’ll see what happens.”
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22.21 BST: With Fernandinho turning 36 at season’s end, Manchester City are preparing a €40m offer for Borussia Monchengladbach’s Denis Zakaria, according to Sport Bild, as Pep Guardiola & Co. hope the 23-year-old Switzerland international can help reenergise the base of City’s midfield.
20.34 BST: Transfer guru Gianluca Di Marzio reports that with Federico Santander ruled out for four months with a knee injury, Bologna will turn to free agent Mario Mandzukic, who’s said to have already turned down offers from Aston Villa and West Ham United.
18.47 BST: AC Milan playmaker Hakan Calhanoglu turned down an approach from Juventus in the summer and his representatives are actively negotiating with Manchester United over a free transfer to Old Trafford this summer when his contract at the San Siro expires, according to Sport Bild.
17.00 GMT: Barcelona’s era under Josep Maria Bartomeu ends with shame but shows the struggle of the club’s presidential model, writes Gab Marcotti.
Bartomeu made, or enabled those around him to make, a raft of poor decisions, most of them reacting to short-term needs. Neymar accepts Paris Saint-Germain’s offer and walks out after exercising his €222m buyout clause? Let’s blow the whole fee (and then some) on Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho, gambling that one or the other will fill the superstar gap.
Dembele is injured all the time? Cool, let’s blow another €41m on Malcom and then give him only six league starts because, well, he’s not good.
Coutinho doesn’t live up to his €145m superstar price tag? No problem! Let’s spend another €120m on Antoine Griezmann, even though he has zero chemistry with Messi and Luis Suarez and made us look silly the year before, when he did a 180-degree turn after all but agreeing to join us.
We need a backup center-forward? Let’s sign Kevin-Prince Boateng, who is 31 years old, has scored 10 or more league goals just once in his career and, perhaps most importantly, is not a center-forward.
Obviously, Bartomeu wasn’t making footballing decisions, but the buck stopped with him, and the spending had consequences.
15.55 GMT: Barcelona’s future needs to be placed in safe hands.
Gab Marcotti sees Barca’s iconic stars like Xavi, Iniesta and Lionel Messi as crucial to the club’s future.
15.04 GMT: Manchester United goalkeeper Sergio Romero has seen a move to MLS side Inter Miami fall through, reports the Daily Mail.
Romero, 33, was in talks with David Beckham’s club but is now set to stay at United until January. The Argentina international has slipped down the pecking order at Old Trafford after Dean Henderson’s return from loan to take the No. 2 spot behind David de Gea.
With his contract expiring in 2021, Romero could be allowed to depart in January. But, earlier this month, a number of United players expressed their disappointment at the treatment of the goalkeeper, sources told ESPN’s Rob Dawson.
14.39 GMT: Pep Guardiola says he wants to extend his stay at Manchester City rather than return to Barcelona.
Guardiola will be out of contract at the Etihad Stadium next summer and Barcelona’s presidential frontrunner Victor Font has already declared his intention to bring the 49-year-old back to Camp Nou.
Current president Josep Maria Bartomeu resigned this week ahead of an expected vote of no confidence next month but Guardiola insists he is happy in Manchester.
“I’m incredibly happy here,” said Guardiola, who enjoyed a trophy-laden spell in charge of Barcelona between 2008 and 2012. “I’m delighted to be happy here and hopefully I can do a good job here this season to stay longer.”
14.03 GMT: Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone has been speaking ahead of the game at Osasuna.
On signing a replacement for Thomas Partey, he said: “The club will look for what’s best for the club and the team, depending on what can be done. Right now with the number of games we have, seven in 21 days, with more to come, we’re focused on the team.”
And, asked if Atleti could sign Barcelona striker Lionel Messi next summer with his best friend Luis Suarez already at the club and the fact he likes him as a coach, Simeone said: “It’s beautiful what you say [that], but we go game by game and the importance of the players we have here. The team looks enthusiastic, with players who want to keep growing, and let’s hope we can show it on the pitch, which is the only thing that counts.”
13.36 GMT: Zinedine Zidane has said Karim Benzema and Vinicius Jr. have cleared things up after the French striker was apparently caught on camera criticising his Real Madrid teammate.
TV footage showed Benzema telling full-back Ferland Mendy: “He does what he wants. Don’t pass to him, brother. He is playing against us,” in words allegedly aimed at Vinicius at half-time in Madrid’s Champions League game with Borussia Monchengladbach.
Reports in Spain suggested that Benzema spoke to Vinicius in Thursday’s training session to resolve the matter.
“The most important thing is it has been cleared up. The players spoke among themselves,” Zidane said in a news conference on Friday. “It’s no problem.”
13.00 GMT: Inter Milan defender Alessandro Bastoni has caught the eye of Manchester City, but the Italian club are ready to offer him a new contract.
Bastoni, 21, is currently earning €1.5m a season on a contract that ends in 2023 and, according to Gazzetta dello Sport, Inter will double his wages.
City were reportedly in contact with the centre-back over the summer. Bastoni joined the Nerazzurri from Atalanta in 2017 for €31m and has made five appearances in all competitions so far this season.
12.11 GMT: Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli was being linked with PSG this summer. Will they come back for him in January after this?
ESPN FC’s Shaka Hislop wonders if Dele Alli’s confidence took another hit against Antwerp in the Europa league.
11.50 GMT: Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick says he has not given up on defender David Alaba, who has yet to sign a new deal at the Allianz Arena.
Alaba, 28, is under contract until 2021 but has been reluctant to sign Bayern’s contract offer which has been on the table for quite a while. Three rounds of negotiations with his representative Pini Zahavi have reportedly not brought the two sides closer together and the Austria international, who has been in outstanding form at centre-back under Flick, looks set to leave.
“Naturally, I hope that he signs here,” Flick told a news conference on Friday. “He knows which situation he has at Munich. That we have a lot of fun, a good atmosphere, play successful football. The sporting conditions here are top for every player. I hope he’ll stay with us.”
11.22 GMT: Barcelona will make a renewed attempt to sign Manchester City defender Eric Garcia in January, although the incoming president will have to give the green light to any potential deal, sources have told ESPN’s Moises Llorens and Sam Marsden.
Despite the resignation of president Josep Maria Bartomeu in midweek, work continues behind the scenes to strengthen the squad in the winter. Sporting director Ramon Planes and coach Ronald Koeman both believe another centre-back is needed.
Barca tried to sign Garcia in the summer but failed to agree on a fee with City. Talks were ongoing until the final day of the transfer window. The Catalan club plan to re-open negotiations with the Premier League side with the hope of reaching an agreement for the new president to sign off.
City turned down a final offer worth €10m up front, with an additional €8m in add-ons. They wanted a total package worth €20m, sources told ESPN.
Garcia, 19, is out of contract with City at the end of the season. Barca, therefore, are confident the English club will be willing to drop their asking price in January given the risk of him leaving for free next summer — even though Pep Guardiola hopes to convince him to stay.
10.48 GMT: Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hinted Phil Jones still has a future at the club despite being left out of his squad for the Premier League and Champions League.
Jones, who still has three years left on his contract at Old Trafford, hasn’t featured since January because of an injury but Solskjaer said his omission from the squads submitted for this season does not mean he will not play for the club again.
“Phil has been injured and had an operation,” Solskjaer said at a news conference on Friday. “He’s working really hard to be back and hopefully he’ll get fit in December.
“When you’re injured you can’t get into the squad. He’s working really diligently to get back in the squad now.”
10.16 GMT: Lautaro Martinez is edging closer to signing a new contract with Inter Milan, despite being linked with Barcelona, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.
Martinez, 23, has scored three goals in five Serie A appearances for Inter this season. He reportedly wants to remain at Inter and could sign a new deal as early as next month. Inter are hopeful of reaching an agreement with the player, who has requested a salary increase to become one of the highest earners at the club.
Martinez wants €7.5m per season while Inter have offered him €5m, although they are willing to negotiate. Inter don’t want to sell Martinez, who is valued at over €100m.
A target of Barcelona in recent transfer windows, the Argentina international is tied to Inter until June 2023.
09.48 GMT: Manchester City are watching FC Salzburg striker Patson Daka as a potential replacement for Sergio Aguero, says 90min.
Daka, 22, scored 27 goals in all competitions last season and has 12 goals in 11 appearances so far.
The Zambia international took over from Erling Haaland when the striker left for Borussia Dortmund in January and is doing a great job. So City are now keeping an eye on him to fill the rather sizeable shoes of the best foreign striker to have played in the Premier League: Aguero.
The Argentine’s contract is set to expire at the end of the season and he could return to his homeland.
09.27 GMT: Sheffield United midfielder John Lundstram, who is in the final year of his contract at the club, has rejected the offer of a new deal.
Lundstram, 26, can leave Bramall Lane as a free agent next summer, and is free to open talks with clubs outside of England from Jan. 1.
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder said: “It has been frustrating for me personally. I wanted John to stop here. We have discussed for a few months about him stopping. We have offered him an attractive contract, up there with the top players at the club.”
Asked if he would still select Lundstram as the contract talks continue, Wilder added: “I have to think hard about it and I am frustrated. John should have signed it. Players have committed to us. Should I be beside those, or a player who has not committed?
“We will invite offers for a good young player who did well in his first season in the Premier League. He is still a Sheffield United player and available for selection. We are coming into a period where it is straightforward, He runs down his contract, that is not ideal for us.”
08.46 GMT: Napoli sporting director Cristiano Giuntoli is confident Gennaro Gattuso will remain at the club beyond this season.
Gattuso replaced Carlo Ancelotti at the helm of Napoli in December 2019 and steered the Naples-based club to a seventh-placed finish last season.
Giuntoli told reporters when asked about Gattuso’s future: “As I’ve always said, when there is a will from both sides to continue together, there are no problems.
“I think that soon there will be an agreement reached. Could an agreement be done in 2020? It could be, why not?”
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08.07 GMT: One of the likely candidates to be Barcelona’s next president says he wants Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and other club legends to return to Camp Nou.
Josep Maria Bartomeu resigned as Barcelona president on Tuesday rather than await a fans’ vote of confidence on his future at the club. The rest of the board of directors have stepped down alongside Bartomeu, and an election will be scheduled within the next 90 days to appoint a new president.
And Victor Font believes that the best way to restore the club to its former glory and to convince Lionel Messi to stay is to bring back the coach who won two Champions Leagues in four years, as well as a host of his most senior former players.
“It is our intention to build a very strong and competitive project and we are very lucky at Barca that we inherited a style of play that Johan Cruyff instilled throughout the organisation,” Font told Sky Sports. “And most of the best professionals who know about this style are also fans and love the club – like Pep Guardiola, Xavi [Hernandez], [Andres[ Iniesta, [Carles] Puyol.
“They are all legends that love Barcelona but do not work for Barca today — we need to bring them back to ensure we will have a very competitive project.
“The only thing Messi needs is to know he is part of a competitive project that aspires to win the next Champions League. We have no doubt that if we basically have the honour to take the helm of FC Barcelona we will be able to achieve that [Messi staying].”
– Marcotti: Why being Barca president might be an impossible job
08.00 GMT: ICYMI – LA Galaxy have parted ways with manager Guillermo Barros Schelotto as Major League Soccer’s most successful club sits in last place in the Western Conference with only three regular-season games still to play.
The former Boca Juniors coach was hired in January 2019 and guided the club to the semifinals of the Western Conference last season, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic netting 31 goals during the campaign, but the club’s form had significantly dropped in his second year in charge.
Dominic Kinnear will step in as the Galaxy’s interim head coach for the remaining games of the 2020 season.
Shaka Hislop’s Power Rankings are back, but where will AC Milan, Bayern and Liverpool stack up?
PAPER TALK (by Nick Judd): Origi eyes Anfield exit amid Belgium worries
Divock Origi could be on the move in January, a result of him having fallen further down the pecking order at Liverpool, reports the Liverpool Echo.
Origi is finding game time hard to come by this season. Last week, when Jurgen Klopp changed his entire strikeforce in the Champions League match against Ajax, Origi watched on as Diogo Jota, Takumi Minamino and Xherdan Shaqiri replaced the usual trio of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.
Origi was always the first man called upon when Klopp wanted to switch things up in attack, and now he’s seventh in line. Not only that, but Liverpool are in need of defensive reinforcements, and so would welcome a fee for the Belgian striker.
Moreover, Origi wasn’t selected for Belgium’s international matches in September, so he’ll also need to fight his way back into Roberto Martinez’s thoughts too.
Atletico can’t close deal for Kondogbia
Following Thomas Partey‘s exit from Atletico Madrid to Arsenal, the Spanish club were left with €50m in the bank but some hard feelings over how the deal was finalised. Even though they were able to secure the services of Lucas Torreira on loan from Arsenal, the brass at the Wanda Metropolitano remained in pursuit of replacing the Ghana international following his last-minute exit to the Emirates.
La Liga rules specify that clubs have 30 days to replace a player whose buyout clause is paid — provided he plays within the league — and Diego Simeone’s side were therefore eyeing Valencia’s Geoffrey Kondogbia as an viable replacement. But according to Marca, that raid won’t happen until at least January due to the hardball being played at La Mestalla and an injury to the midfielder.
While the money from the Partey deal will give Atletico some flexibility in the upcoming winter window, it now seems they will need to make due with the players they have as they juggle domestic and Champions League competitions.
– Marseille are hoping to lure Nikola Maksimovic away from Napoli, reports Calciomercato. The centre-back has been left out in recent weeks by Napoli boss Gennaro Gattuso and he is approaching the end of his contract. Marseille’s head of football Pablo Longoria believes it would be a solid move for his club, but he faces pressure from Inter Milan who are also keen.
– Manchester City’s hopes of signing Lionel Messi next summer could depend on who is elected as Barcelona’s next president, reports The Athletic. Messi had indicated he was ready to leave the Catalan club after having fallen out with Josep Bartomeu, but he could now be used as a political weapon by potential incumbents to the president’s hotseat, and commit his future further, if he can be convinced by the club’s new masterplan to win back the Champions League.