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: Man United to return for Dembele
Manchester United are to return for Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele in January, says Mundo Deportivo.
Sources told ESPN in September that United explored the possibility of a loan deal in the summer window, with little progress being made in their move for Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho.
United still want Sancho but Dortmund won’t budge from their €120 million valuation and the Premier League side are interested in a move for Dembele, despite agreeing a deal for 18-year-old Atalanta winger Amad Diallo Traore to arrive in January for a fee worth €21m, plus another €20m in add-ons.
Dembele — who cost €105m from Borussia Dortmund in 2017 — seems to have little future at Camp Nou and the Spanish giants are keen to raise money to fund a €25m bid for Lyon’s Memphis Depay.
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09.39 GMT: Virgil van Dijk‘s injury setback was obviously a blow for Liverpool, but it could potentially impact Tottenham too.
Earlier in the summer, Reds boss Jurgen Klopp decided against entering the market despite the £10.9m sale of Dejan Lovren to Zenit St Petersburg, but the club is expected to strengthen in January given the length of Van Dijk’s probable absence and relative lack of cover.
Among their list of centre-back targets is Inter Milan’s Milan Skriniar, who almost moved to Spurs in October.
Tottenham held lengthy negotiations — as ESPN reported on Sept. 24 — but failed to find an agreement, with Inter refusing to budge from their €60m asking price and instead opting to sign Joe Rodon from Swansea.
Sources have told ESPN’s James Olley that Jose Mourinho retains an interest in Skriniar and would be open to moving for the 25-year-old either in January or, more likely, next summer. But Liverpool’s presence in the market could complicate the picture given the urgency with which they need to find reinforcements.
09.20 GMT: Manchester United are adamant Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s position as manager is not yet under threat despite back-to-back defeats to Arsenal and Istanbul Basaksehir. But even if the Norwegian coach cannot turn things around, sources have told ESPN’s Rob Dawson that Mauricio Pochettino would not be the only option to replace him.
Pochettino, who has been out of work since leaving Tottenham a year ago, is the obvious choice should United decide to make a change, but sources have told ESPN that RB Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann would also come under consideration alongside the Argentinian coach.
09.00 GMT: Diario AS claims that Real Madrid are “best positioned” to sign Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland in 2022.
Despite competition from Manchester United and even Bayern Munich, the newspaper says that the presence of Martin Odegaard and the relationship between Florentino Perez and Dortmund CEO Hans Joaquim Watzke means “the Germans will make it easier for Madrid than any other club.”
AS reports that while there is no €75m release clause in Haaland’s contract, there’s a “gentleman’s agreement” between Dortmund and agent Mino Raiola that the forward will be allowed to leave in two years’ time.
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PAPER TALK (by Harry Kettle)
Juventus, Inter Milan push hard for Rovella
Juventus are pushing hard to try and sign Genoa youngster Nicolo Rovella but Internazionale could still be the favourites, Calciomercato reports.
The 18-year-old has grabbed the attention of the Old Lady but Genoa are desperate to lock the midfielder down to a new deal.
Inter Milan have also been working on a move to secure the services of Rovella but Juve may well move to the front of the queue — although Inter are willing to fight given how long they’ve been in this race.
Milan open talks with Donnarumma and Calhanoglu
AC Milan are in talks with Gianluigi Donnarumma and Hakan Calhanoglu over extending their contracts with the club.
Both players have been heavily linked with transfers away from the San Siro in recent weeks, but technical director Paolo Maldini confirmed to Sky Sports at half-time of Milan’s 3-0 Europa League loss to Lille that the plan is to keep both men on the books.
“We’re negotiating the contract extension with Hakan Calhanoglu and Gigio Donnarumma. Every week could be the right one to find the agreement,” Maldini said.
Both contracts expire on June 2021, and despite Thursday’s setback to the Ligue 1 outfit (their first loss in 24 matches), both players are deemed essential to the Serie A leaders.
Marseille want Cuisance permanently
Marseille manager Andre Villas-Boas wants the club to try and sign Mickael Cuisance on a permanent basis.
Cuisance, 21, is on loan from German champions Bayern Munich but Villas-Boas has already seen enough to make him believe that Cuisance has a real future in France.
“I’m very happy with him,” said Villas-Boas to reporters on Thursday. “His performance is excellent. I hope that we can activate the purchase option.”
Prior to his fairly uneventful stint in Munich, Cuisance spent two years with their Bundesliga rivals Borussia Monchengladbach.
– Former Liverpool and Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli is training with a fourth-tier club, Corriere della Sera reports. The Italian is still holding out hope on an offer, despite reported interest from Genoa, but at the moment is training with Franciacorta — seemingly in order to stay fit as the European football season continues.
– Daily Mail is reporting that Arsenal are set to discuss a contract extension with midfielder Mohamed Elneny. The Egypt international seemed destined to leave the Emirates during the summer transfer window but after a strong start to the new Premier League campaign, it appears as if he has earned himself an extended stay in North London.