Transfers

Status check: 7 Big-name deals which could still happen this January

 • by Tom Bodell
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There’s long been a feeling the January transfer window is becoming less and less exciting but this month’s complete lack of deals has only served to reinforce that view.

With just four days of the transfer window left, we’ve taken the temperature of seven big-name rumours which have dominated the headlines throughout the month to see which will and won’t happen.

Edinson Cavani to Atlético Madrid

2018/19 Ligue 1 stats for Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani

The Uruguayan has been linked with Manchester United and Chelsea this month  – as well as Inter and Napoli – but he looks set for Atlético.

Cavani, who turns 33 in the first week of February, is behind the ‘Quatres Fantastiques’ of Kylian Mbappé, Neymar, Mauro Icardi and Ángel Dí María at Paris Saint-Germain. It’s clear his playing time won’t improve.

Sporting director Leonardo revealed the former Napoli and Palermo hitman has asked to leave the Parc des Princes and, with his contract up in the summer, anything PSG can recoup for Cavani is a bonus.

Diego Simeone’s hard-running style and the intensely demanding pressing game he preaches seem tailor-made for a workaholic forward like Cavani who will leave the French capital as PSG’s all-time leading scorer.

Layvin Kurzawa to Arsenal

Paris Saint-Germain defender Layvin Kurzawa

This deal had looked nailed-on with the only detail left to iron out whether the Paris Saint-Germain left-back would move to the Emirates in January or the summer.

With Kieran Tierney‘s season over thanks to a dislocated shoulder and Sead Kolašinac injured, left-back is a priority for new head coach Mikel Arteta this month.

Kurzawa, like Cavani, is out of contract in Paris and will not renew. Arsenal can strike a pre-contract agreement to bring the French international across the Channel this summer but would like the 27-year-old now.  PSG are demanding €5million in order to make that happen. But the Gunners are reticent to pay any fee.

However, a reported swap deal with Juventus which would see Mattia De Sciglio head in the opposite direction should focus Arsenal minds in the final days of the window.

Krzysztof Piątek to Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham have needed another striker as far back as the summer. Their failure to replace Fernando Llorente always looked risky and so it’s proven with talisman Harry Kane potentially missing the rest of the season with a hamstring injury.

Plenty of names have been touted and, at one stage, it looked as though Porto‘s Zé Luís was the man who would fill the Kane-shaped hole in José Mourinho’s attack. But any potential deal is now dead, according to the Daily Mail.

Talk of a move for Milan’s Piątek had also gone quiet. Unimpressed with their €35million investment 12 months on, the Rossoneri are keen to move Piątek on – but only if they can recoup as much as possible for a striker with just two open-play goals to his name this season.

There have been no shortage of takers but Aston Villa and Newcastle United are unattractive prospects while Spurs were only prepared to do a loan deal. With time and options running out, talks with Milan have re-opened, according to Sky Italia.

Olivier Giroud to Internazionale

Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud

The 2018 World Cup winner has been understandably unhappy with his lot at Chelsea for some time now. As far back as last season, Giroud was complaining about his lack of starts and now the 33-year-old is featuring even less.

Half the Premier League and Ligue 1 are interested, according to reports, but Giroud has previously stated his desire to sign for a club competing for honours, ruling out West Ham United, Villa and Newcastle.

A reunion with his former boss at Stamford Bridge, Antonio Conte, had looked the most likely outcome as the Internazionale coach collects Premier League cast-offs for fun at San Siro. See also: Ashley Young, Alexis Sánchez, Romelu Lukaku and Christian Eriksen. But now the Nerazzurri are closing in on a deal for Napoli’s Llorente.

No matter, Barcelona are another side looking for a short-term striking fix this month and, according to Spanish newspaper Sport, the Chelsea forward is one option. Just to confuse matters, Gazzetto Dello Sport claims if Chelsea sell Giroud to Inter, they could buy Piątek from Milan…

Bruno Fernandes to Manchester United

Sporting's Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes

This one has been the saga of January. The situation is simple. Manchester United want the Sporting midfielder. Cash-strapped Sporting want £67.4million for their star man. United won’t pay that. So we’re at an impasse.

A potential deal broke down in the summer and Tottenham even tried to hijack Fernandes’ move this month. But to no avail. Now, according to Sky Sports News, the two clubs are as much as £10million apart in their valuations of the 25-year-old.

There were even reports last week that Manchester United’s owners, the Glazer family, were prepared to pull the plug entirely. That appears to be some way wide of the mark with the Sunday Times claiming United upped their offer from £42.5million to £46.4million over the weekend.

In the meantime, Fernandes continues to feature for Sporting but, according to the same report, is growing frustrated of his current and prospective employers to reach a consensus. Don’t hold your breath, Bruno…

Gareth Bale to Tottenham Hotspur

Is it even a transfer window without reports of Bale making a romatic return to Spurs? The Welshman is no more wanted at Real Madrid than he has been for the past couple of seasons. Yet he, and his particularly forthright agent Jonathan Barnett, show no sign of relenting.

Barnett says the Welsh international is “going nowhere” in the January transfer window and is “very unlikely” to leave Madrid in the summer. Bale and Barnett have been absolute in their desire to remain in Madrid despite being unwanted by coach Zinedine Zidane.

That hasn’t stopped talk of a return to North London again this month. Whether or not Madrid would demand a fee for the 30-year-old is unclear. But what is clear is the reported £650,000-a-week Bale earns at the Santiago Bernabéu would make a deal with Tottenham almost impossible.

Also of concern to Tottenham will be Bale’s fitness record. He was hooked after scoring in the Copa del Rey win over Unionistas de Salamanca last week after suffering an ankle injury – his fourth lay-off this season.

Paco Alcácer to Newcastle United

Dortmund's Spanish forward Paco Alcacer

This time a year ago the Spaniard was one of the most in-form strikers in European football after netting 12 goals in the first half of the Bundesliga campaign for Borussia Dortmund while on loan from Barcelona.

Fast-forward 12 months and Alcácer is no longer the hot property he once was. This term, he’s had to share striking duties with Marco Reus and Mario Götze, leading to just six league Bundesliga starts. Despite that, he’s netted five times.

However, the January arrival of Erling Håland from RB Salzburg has put paid to his chances of regular action. The Magpies are keen on a loan deal with a view to a £25million transfer at the end of the season; Dortmund would prefer straight cash.

According to the Northern Echo, Tottenham are also keen on the Spanish international. Given their Champions League involvement, Mourinho’s side would present a more compelling option but when Kane returns, Alcácer would be back to the bench. Food for thought.

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