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: Real Madrid to wait to sign Mbappe for free
Mbappe, 22, has a contract which expires next summer and, if he does not sign a new one, he will be free to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with Madrid, or any other club outside Ligue 1, in January with a view to moving for no fee.
Despite his contract running down, Madrid made a final offer of €200 million to sign Mbappe in August but received no reply from PSG, sources close to the LaLiga club told ESPN.
Mbappe has been Real Madrid’s top transfer target for multiple seasons, sources said. The club had been carefully managing its spending — with no transfer fees paid on first-team players since 2019, in addition to the departures of Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane and Martin Odegaard this summer — in preparation for the arrival of Mbappe.
12.35 GMT: The club’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has said Manchester United are committed to delivering success with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as they announced their latest financial results.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, United revealed revenues are up by 16% to £126.5m thanks in part to supporters returning to Old Trafford after the coronavirus pandemic but in pointed comments, Woodward said it was “success on the pitch” which matters more.
Solskjaer’s team have lost six of their last 12 games to heap the pressure on the Norwegian ahead of Saturday’s trip to Watford.
“While these financial results today demonstrate our resilience through the pandemic, our top priority is success on the pitch,” Woodward said. “The manager, players and everyone at the club are determined to achieve that objective.”
12.19 GMT: Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba‘s agent Mino Raiola has been speaking about his client’s future to Tuttomercatoweb.
Pogba, 28, is a free agent in the summer and has been linked with a move to PSG, Juventus or Real Madrid. Sources have told ESPN that United expect him to leave when his contract expires.
“Dreaming is free, those who do not dream are dead,” Raiola said. “I do not forbid dreaming to anyone, I do them too every day so let’s dream, it’s good for you. Then let’s see if they come true.”
Asked about the financial issue of Pogba signing for Juventus, he added: “December is the month for dreaming, with Christmas and all the holidays. It’s still too early, let’s see what happens. We don’t know why, but when we talk about Pogba in England, even the dead wake up.
“So better not talk about it, too because then maybe some former Manchester United players, if they don’t talk about Pogba and me, they don’t talk about anything. So it’s better not to talk about it.”
11.36 GMT: Gianluca Di Marzio reports that the futures of full-backs Diogo Dalot and Kieran Trippier are intertwined.
AS Roma want to sign Dalot from Manchester United, but United will only let him go if they can persuade Atletico Madrid to let them sign Trippier
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have been chasing Trippier, 31, for months but are put off by the €40m release clause in his contract. Roma are looking to land the 22-year-old Dalot on loan, with an option to sign him permanently afterwards.
11.03 GMT: Barcelona re-signed 38-year-old right-back Dani Alves recently.
Dani Alves says he is “still in shock” after returning to Barcelona following Xavi’s appointment as manager.
10.11 GMT: Juventus are considering a move to sign Julian Alvarez from River Plate during the January transfer window, according to ESPN Argentina reporter Gustavo Yarroch.
Yarroch says that there have been already informal talks between the clubs with the Italian giants keen on paying around €15m up front plus €10m in add-ons which will depend on certain clauses.
However, River would demand his €20m release clause which will increase to €25m if the offer arrives in the last 10 days of the transfer window.
09.45 GMT: Sport1 says that talks between Bayern Munich and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer over a new contract are underway.
Neuer, 35, wants to extend his deal until 2025 and there is general agreement at the club that he should stay.
08.51 GMT: Portuguese club Benfica have denied reports that they are looking to making a coaching change and insist coach Jorge Jesus will remain at the helm at least until next summer.
Benfica, who face Barcelona at Camp Nou next week in the Champions League, are third in the Primeira Liga, one point adrift of leaders FC Porto. They are third in Champions League Group E after a 5-2 defeat to Bayern Munich on Nov. 2.
Reports in Portugal claimed Benfica had already contacted Vitoria SC coach Pepa to replace Jorge Jesus, who returned to the club in 2020 from Flamengo.
But a club statement said: “The strategy of spreading falsehoods to divide the Benfica fans reached an intolerable dimension earlier this week. It is false that Benfica is preparing the departure of Jorge Jesus from the technical command of his team. It is false that Benfica has established contacts with other coaches or their agents.
“Such a lie seriously disrespects not only Benfica and its coach Jorge Jesus, but also for Vitoria SC, coach Pepa and, not least, all the basic principles of journalism. We make a clear appeal to our supporters. May we remain united, serene and focused on the objective we all want: to win. Always win!”
08.30 GMT: Villarreal president Fernando Roig is hopeful that teenage midfielder Yeremi Pino will continue at the club beyond 2027 after renewing his contract for a further three seasons.
“It’s a big satisfaction for us,” Roig said in a press conference. “He is a very important player for Villarreal, an example of what we want. He came from Las Palmas at the age of 14 and in five years, he has arrived to the national team.”
Yeremi, 19, helped Villarreal win the Europa League last season in his debut campaign with the first team. He has scored two goals in 15 appearances in all competitions for Villarreal this season and also earned a spot in Spain’s national team. Real Madrid were among the clubs that had shown interest in Yeremi.
“If in the future there is an offer, we will evaluate it as we have always done,” Roig said. “But my wish is that Yeremi will renew his contract before 2027. He has a long career ahead.”
Yeremi, meanwhile, says he is unfazed by his release clause having increased to €80m. “I don’t care about the clause,” he said.” I want to be here for many more years. I’m very happy with what they have given me and want to give this club what it deserves.”
The ESPN FC crew discuss Raheem Sterling’s future should he decide to leave Manchester City to play abroad.
– Dani Olmo‘s future move from RB Leipzig to Barcelona had seemed pretty much inevitable, but El Nacional are now claiming that the transfer could be in doubt. The midfielder, who came through Barca’s La Masia academy, made it clear that he hopes to play at Camp Nou when the Blaugrana attempted to sign him towards the end of the summer transfer window. However, the Spain international is now having doubts due to Barcelona’s interest in Manchester City‘s Raheem Sterling.
– Arsenal have joined AC Milan in showing interest in Lille midfielder Renato Sanches, according to Le10 Sport. While the Gunners haven’t yet made an offer for the Portugal international, it is stated that they have made their interest known and could go in for him in the coming weeks. Wolverhampton Wanderers have also been linked by various outlets in recent times.
– Fluminense are dreaming of a Thiago Silva return, after he left them to join AC Milan in 2007, and have begun talks with his agent, as reported by Nicolo Schira. While the centre-back’s Chelsea contract ends in 2022, his priority is still the Blues as there are set to be conversations around an extension in the coming weeks.
– Juventus are showing interest in FC Midtjylland midfielder Jens Cajuste, as has been reported by Calciomercato. The Serie A side have been linked with various midfielders, while also looking to offload Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot, and it seems the 22-year-old Sweden international is now on their radar.
– Having taken over as Norwich City manager, Dean Smith is hoping to take Conor Hourihane with him on loan, according to Football Insider. The Irishman is currently on loan from Aston Villa to Sheffield United, but has struggled for game time with the Blades. Smith’s hope is that Villa will be able to recall the midfielder and loan him back out again.
– AS Roma are set to renew the contracts of defender Gianluca Mancini and midfielder Ebrima Darboe, as has been reported by Gazzetta dello Sport. The former is returning from international duty and will sign a deal that will run until 2026 and see him earn above €3m-per-season — the latter will stay for the same length of time.