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: Four Premier League clubs pursue Bailey
Four Premier League clubs will be keeping an eye on Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey, according to the Daily Mail.
Bailey is set to feature in Leverkusen’s Europa League tie against Slavia Prague on Thursday, with Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Everton and Manchester United all planning on scouting him heading into the January transfer window.
At the age of just 23 the Jamaica international is rapidly turning into one of the most exciting wingers in Europe and he has five goals and six assists so far this season for Leverkusen. However, after letting star midfielder Kai Havertz join Chelsea in the summer, the club value Bailey at around €40m and are not willing to move him out on the cheap.
11.54 GMT: Manchester United paid Juventus £89.3m to sign Paul Pogba in 2016 but The Sun claims they will drop their asking price to get the midfielder out of the club now.
Pogba, 27, wants to leave United and Juve are favourites to sign him, along with Real Madrid. The report claims that United “want their money back but may have to drop the asking price as low as £50m to find a buyer for the French World Cup winner.”
11.33 GMT: Zinedine Zidane has denied he could stay at Real Madrid long enough to become the club’s Sir Alex Ferguson after saving his job with a 2-0 win over Borussia Monchengladbach that saw them through to the Champions League last 16.
Zidane’s position had come under intense scrutiny after one win in five games saw his team struggling in La Liga and in Europe.
Madrid’s season is now back on track, though, after posting back-to-back victories, beating Sevilla on Saturday and then Monchengladbach on Wednesday, ahead of a derby with Atletico this weekend.
“I’ll never be Madrid’s Sir Alex Ferguson, that’s for sure,” Zidane said in his postmatch news conference on Wednesday night. “I don’t know how long I’ll be here, so I don’t even think about it. I think about the day-to-day and how lucky I am to be here at this great club.”
10.26 GMT: One mess of a club or another mess of a club… will Manchester City defender Eric Garcia choose Barcelona or Arsenal?
The 19-year-old will likely leave City in January as he won’t sign a new contract and the club don’t want to lose him for nothing in the summer. But with City holding out for €20m and Barca unwilling to pay that much, could Arsenal (and former City assistant Mikel Arteta) swoop in?
The Sun claims that Arteta is a big fan of the centre-back and wants to make his move quickly. Over to you Eric.
09.50 GMT: Inter Milan crashed out of the Champions League, but is their manager to blame?
ESPN FC’s Steve Nicol explains how Antonio Conte’s coaching style could be hindering Inter Milan.
09.13 GMT: Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has warned Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang that “no one is undroppable” but backed the striker to overcome his recent dip in form.
The Arsenal captain, who was linked with Barcelona in the summer before signing a new contract with the Gunners, has scored just two Premier League goals all season and was a peripheral figure once again as they slumped to a 2-0 defeat in Sunday’s north London derby at Tottenham Hotspur.
Aubameyang is not expected to feature in Arsenal’s final Europa League Group B match at Dundalk on Thursday night given they have already secured top spot but when asked whether he would keep playing the 31-year-old in the league no matter what, Arteta replied: “No one is undroppable at the end of the day. You have to find the right players to win football matches but we cannot forget what Auba has done for this club and what he’s done in recent months, not years ago. And as well because I see how he is training, how he is behaving and how much he wants to turn the situation around.
“When I see that type of hunger I stay as a strong supporter to a player when he is established in the team and the performances that he has provided. Today and this week, the response I have seen from the players and the reaction I saw from the players after the match, I cannot be any prouder.
“I know how difficult it is for everybody at the moment after losing the derby you can be completely down and I saw a completely different team that wants to fight, that is united, that has a big belief in what they are trying to do and they want to do it themselves and push each other harder and harder.
“Auba was one of the main guys there and today he was walking [around] the place with an energy that wouldn’t be associated to a team or a player that is suffering at the moment and this is for me the way we have to approach it.”
08.36 GMT: Manchester United have doubts about whether Real Madrid or Juventus can afford Paul Pogba, sources have told ESPN’s Rob Dawson.
Mino Raiola has announced his intention to find a new club for Pogba, who will not sign a new contract at Old Trafford according to the agent. Pogba has a contract with United until 2022 but Raiola has invited bids for the 27-year-old in January and next summer.
The France international’s preference is to join Madrid but sources have told ESPN that United do not believe the Spanish champions can afford a significant transfer fee and the midfielder’s hefty wages of around £290,000-a-week.
Pogba is a favourite of Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane but there are question marks over the 48-year-old’s job at the Bernabeu after a mixed start to the season.
Juventus and Barcelona have also expressed interest in signing Pogba in the past but, like Madrid, have been forced to tighten their finances following the coronavirus pandemic. Paris Saint-Germain is Pogba’s only other viable option.
08.00 GMT: Lucas Vazquez has admitted his Real Madrid future is “a complicated subject” with his contract due to expire at the end of the season.
The winger, 29, impressed in Madrid’s 2-0 Champions League win over Borussia Monchengladbach on Wednesday night, and has been a regular at right-back in recent weeks with Dani Carvajal out injured.
“I’m calm, we’ll see what happens,” Vazquez told Movistar after the game. “I focus on my work. In football sometimes it doesn’t just depend on one party or the other. I’m happy to be at Madrid.”
Frank Leboeuf credits Neymar’s continued excellent form for PSG’s 5-1 win over Istanbul Basaksehir.
PAPER TALK (by Harry Kettle)
Neymar, Mbappe ‘both want to stay at PSG’
Paris Saint-Germain club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi has declared his confidence that Kylian Mbappe and Neymar will stay at the club.
Speaking to RMC Sport after PSG’s 5-1 Champions League group stage win over Istanbul Basaksehir, Al-Khelaifi made it clear that he believes both players want to stay in the French capital.
“We have begun to talk with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, the discussions will remain confidential but I am very confident,” Al-Khelaifi said. “They both want to stay with us at PSG.”
Mbappe has been long been linked with a move to Real Madrid, while Neymar turned heads last week when he said he’d like to be reunited with Barcelona’s Lionel Messi next season.
But after Wednesday’s match, Neymar said: “I’m very happy in Paris. I have no reason to leave here.”
Tomori heading out on loan?
Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori looks set to head out on loan during the January transfer window, Fabrizio Romano reports.
While the club are quite happy that his long term future will still be at Stamford Bridge, there is a need for him to go out and get some minutes under his belt. As such, the Blues will be exploring the possibility of a long-term loan deal.
Tomori, 22, has fallen down the pecking order in recent months but is seemingly still viewed as a viable option in the future for Frank Lampard.
– AC Milan could be interested in making a push to sign Mohamed Simakan, Calciomercato reports. The Strasbourg defender has spent his entire career over in France but with Milan working hard to bring in another centre-back that can help them boost their Serie A title hopes, Simakan is a man of real interest at the San Siro.
– Benfica have entered the race to sign Boubakary Soumare, A Bola reports. The Lille sensation has caught the eye of many top clubs in the past including Manchester United and Liverpool after making a name for himself as a strong box-to-box midfield presence since his professional debut in 2017.