The summer window is closed, but that’s done little to dampen a frenzied rumor mill fueled by missed opportunities and future targets. With the January period fast approaching, here’s a look at what’s hot in transfer talk.
Juventus can’t stomach Dybala departure
Juventus chief Fabio Paratici is trying to allay fears of Paulo Dybala’s exit by claiming talks of a new deal are underway, according to Sky Sports. It seems the blue-eyed Argentine was none too pleased to sit on the bench for a 1-1 draw with Crotone weeks ago and confronted Paratici post-match.
Andrea Pirlo cited Dybala’s gastrointestinal issues as the reason for his absence, but even with a crummy tummy, the 26-year-old would have expected to feature in more than three games this season. Expect previous suitors Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, and Tottenham to be linked with Dybala.
Transfer Tinder: Old Lady seeks younger men
Early-season struggles and transfer speculation are natural bedfellows, and TuttoSport says floundering Juventus are pursuing bourgeoning Ajax teen Ryan Gravenberch. The same source alleges Barcelona are also keen, while the Mirror reckons United see him as a Paul Pogba understudy.
In other Juve news, Don Balon claims Real Madrid will offer Marcelo and Eder Militao for Matthijs de Ligt, which is hilarious, while Calciomercato says the Bianconeri face competition from Liverpool for Bayern Munich misfit David Alaba. It also looks like Sassuolo’s Manuel Locatelli could join in January.
Liverpool hot on Koulibaly again
Schalke’s Ozan Kabak and Brighton’s Ben White have been mentioned as short-term stand-ins for Virgil Van Dijk, but according to Calciomercato, Liverpool will renew their interest in Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly. Napoli still want €80 million for the Senegalese destroyer of worlds, which is a lot.
One player who Napoli are unlikely to resist selling in January is Arkadiusz Milik, as they’d otherwise risk losing him for nothing in the summer. According to the Daily Mail, the Poland striker will turn down Juventus and join one of Tottenham or Everton instead. Arrivederci, Arkadiusz.
Manchester rivals eye Milan’s finest
Mamma mia, that’s a lot of Serie A chatter, but before the focus shifts, two Milan-based players are on the radars of the Manchester rivals. First, United are willing to double Hakan Calhanoglu’s €45K-a-week wages if he leaves AC Milan next summer on a free transfer, per TodoFijaches.
Up the A57 at the Etihad, Manchester City are resigned to losing Eric Garcia to Barca in January. La Gazzetta dello Sport claims City will make another push for Inter Milan’s Alessandro Bastoni, though the Nerazzurri are understandably resistant and will improve the 20-year-old’s €1.5-million wages to ensure he stays.
Atletico set to raid Valencia
Atletico Madrid continue to act surprised by Thomas Partey’s move to Arsenal despite weeks of reports detailing the Gunners’ intention to trigger the Ghanaian’s release. A special clause permits Atleti to sign a player within 30 days of Partey’s exit.
Valencia’s Geoffrey Kondogbia is Diego Simeone’s top pick, according to Marca. Valencia’s turbulent financial situation has already led to a slew of high-profile exits, and the wage bill needs to be slashed by 40% for Los Che to remain financially viable. Kondogbia will look nice in red and white.
Bits and bobs
OK, we lied. One more from Italy. Bologna are set to sign free agent Mario Mandzukic to provide cover for the injured Federico Santander. The Croatian has already turned down offers from Aston Villa and West Ham, and he’s also been linked with Fiorentina, Benevento, Besiktas, Fenerbahce, and others.
John Lundstram is due to leave Sheffield United after Chris Wilder confirmed the midfield lynchpin won’t pen a new deal at Bramall Lane. Wilder says the Blades might be open to selling him in January before his contract expires next summer, alerting prospective suitors Burnley and Crystal Palace.
While it may seem bizarre to bury Kylian Mbappe’s possible switch to Real Madrid down in the Bits and Bobs, consider the source for the latest news: Former France teammate and pirate cosplayer Adil Rami says talks with PSG have broken down and the move is imminent. Carve it in stone.
Elsewhere in France, injuries have blighted Timothy Weah’s time at Lille. The 20-year-old USMNT stud has struggled to supplant members of Christophe Galtier’s attack this season and could be offered a chance to find form on loan with Saint-Etienne come January. Where there’s a will, there’s a Weah.
Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez’s time with the LA Galaxy has been less than ideal, prompting general manager Dennis te Kloese to shoot down rumors of a loan move to hometown Guadalajara side Chivas that includes a buy option. Te Kloese said in the same interview that Gustavo Schelotto wouldn’t get fired, and well …