LIVE Transfer Talk: Real Madrid end Haaland interest, move for Mbappe

Clubs

The 2022 January transfer window is closed but there’s still plenty of gossip swirling about who’s moving where. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz on rumours, comings and goings and, of course, done deals!

TOP STORY: Real Madrid end interest in Haaland, move for Mbappe

El Chiringuito host Josep Pedrerol has claimed Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland “isn’t in Real Madrid‘s plans right now.”

Madrid have been widely reported as being among the clubs — alongside Manchester City and Barcelona — leading the race to sign the 21-year-old next summer when his release clause of €75 million becomes active.

“It could change,” Pedrerol — who is close to Madrid president Florentino Perez — said on the TV show’s Twitch stream on Monday. “But the objective is Kylian Mbappe, not trying to get both of them in May. He isn’t a priority for Real Madrid. It’s Mbappe, Mbappe, Mbappe.”

ESPN reported last month that Mbappe was still Madrid’s top priority, and that the LaLiga club believed City were in pole position to sign Haaland.

Haaland told ESPN last week that it was time to “move on” from talk of his future after he had said earlier in January that he was feeling “pressure” from Dortmund to let them know his plans for next summer.

Meanwhile, according to Bild, PSG star Mbappe has already agreed to join Real Madrid. The 23-year-old striker can sign a pre-contract agreement for a free transfer in the summer now that he has entered the final six months of his deal, and he looks set to earn wages of €800,000 a week. An announcement is reportedly expected after the two sides have met in the Champions League knockouts on Feb. 15 and March 9.

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LIVE BLOG

16.12 GMT: Juventus beat Arsenal to sign Fiorentina striker Dusan Vlahovic for €70m, but how did they pull it off after racking up more than €300m in losses in the past two coronavirus-impacted seasons? Gab Marcotti explains.

The modern transfer market can be as much about financial engineering as anything else, and big deals have big effects.

Signing Vlahovic cost Juve €70m (plus another €5m in “easy” bonuses, and a further €5m in hard-to-attain bonuses), while Denis Zakaria, who would have been a free agent in June, joined for a €5m fee (plus another €3m in bonuses). Without getting too far into the financial weeds, the departures of Rodrigo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevski cover a fair chunk of the amortisation and wages of the new arrivals. Throw in the €60m (or so) that was slashed off the wage bill when Ronaldo left (plus the €15m they received from United as a transfer fee) and this largely answers the question of how Juve could afford Vlahovic.

There’s an ancillary benefit to this as well. Vlahovic’s arrival gives Juventus leverage as they decide what to do about two other thorny striking options: the futures of Paulo Dybala and Alvaro Morata.

Dybala becomes a free agent in June, and his representatives claim they had agreed a deal with Juventus worth, bonuses included, some €19m a season, only for Juve to delay talks until February. Morata is on loan from Atletico Madrid with an option to make the loan permanent for €35m this summer, at which time Juve will have already spent €20m on loan fees for him.

16.02 GMT: Barcelona hold an option to sign Wolves winger Adama Traore permanently for €35m once his loan expires, which Sport says they will take up.

Traore, 26, moved back to the club on loan, having left La Masia academy in 2015 to move to Aston Villa.

15.33 GMT: Bayern Munich are usually the ones signing players from Borussia Dortmund, but Sport1 says it could be the other way round with defender Niklas Sule.

Sule, 26, won’t sign a new contract and will leave on a free transfer when his Bayern deal expires this summer.

Dortmund are in talks with the Germany international’s representatives and could certainly offer him a better chance of game time.

14.58 GMT: Sky Sports reports that Liverpool are confident of completing a pre-contract agreement to sign midfielder Fabio Carvalho from Fulham on a free transfer in the summer.

Carvalho, 19, almost joined on Deadline Day, but the two clubs couldn’t get the paperwork signed in time.

As a result, Liverpool now have to agree a training compensation fee with the Championship side or face the Professional Football Compensation Committee making the decision on how much they have to pay, as happened with Harvey Elliott in 2019.

Elliott was signed for £1.2m up front, possibly rising to £4.4m with add-ons — a record fee for a 16-year-old.

14.42 GMT: Chelsea have completed the signing of 18-year-old striker Mason Burstow from Charlton Athletic.

Burstow will stay at Charlton on loan for the rest of the season.

14.39 GMT: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Ousmane Dembele played together at Borussia Dortmund, but will they get a chance to link up at Barcelona?

14.02 GMT: Wondering where Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is? He’s training at Barcelona (h/t @tjuanmarti), despite his free transfer signing from Arsenal not yet being officially announced.

13.36 GMT: Paris Saint-Germain refused to let midfielder Idrissa Gueye return to Everton on Monday, says The Athletic.

Gueye, 32, moved to Paris for €35m in 2019, but new Everton boss Frank Lampard wanted to bring him back. However, PSG still have him under contract until 2023 and didn’t want to let him go.

13.00 GMT: A new record was set this week when a non-fungible token (NFT) featuring Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland sold for more than $600,000, smashing a record that had been held by an NFT of Cristiano Ronaldo.

As one of the most coveted young players in world football, you would expect Haaland’s new NFT to attract a lot of interest from people all around the world who are willing and able to shell out six-figure sums on digital soccer trading cards.

Sorare, the producers of the NFTs, even stated before the sale that it “could go down as the most expensive auction in platform history.”

Sure enough, as Sunday’s online auction entered the final minute, the value of the top bid almost doubled — much to the amazement of those watching the events unfold in real time.

12.41 GMT: Barcelona were unable to strike a deal to move on Ousmane Dembele in January, which has left club president Joan Laporta confused.

Dembele, 24, is in the final six months of his contract at Camp Nou and has turned down the chance to extend his terms. He also rejected the opportunity to move to England on Monday.

“We offered him a new deal, it was a good offer, he even said it was a good offer,” Laporta said at a news conference. “But, in the end, he wanted a bigger offer. We told him, per our criteria, that we thought the offer was good enough.

“His agent [Moussa Sissoko] has remained silent. We did all we could [to help him leave]. We proposed two offers to leave for six months which we thought were very good. We’re surprised he didn’t accept them, especially the last one from an English club.

“But he preferred to stay. It makes no sense and isn’t good for him or the club. He’s still in the squad but [coach] Xavi [Hernandez] must also have the future in mind and if Dembele is not going to be here … We believe he has an agreement with another club [for the summer], that’s what his agent has insinuated.”

12.15 GMT: Colorado Rapids defender Auston Trusty will join Arsenal in the summer, the Major League Soccer club announced on Monday.

Trusty will remain with the Rapids on loan before departing for the Premier League side on July 17. Both teams are owned by Kroenke Sports & Entertainment.

Trusty, 23, was a fixture in Colorado’s backline that saw them finish first in the 2021 Western Conference regular-season standings. He scored one goal and added three assists in 33 matches. He joined Colorado from Philadelphia in 2020.

11.32 GMT: Gonzalo Higuain has given an indication he would like to remain at Inter Miami beyond his current contract.

Higuain, 34, joined the MLS outfit in September 2020 after 13 years playing in Europe with the likes of Real Madrid, Napoli, Milan, Juventus and Chelsea.

The Argentine forward has a contract with Miami until the end of the year and says he is not yet tempted to return to play for former club River Plate.

“Here [in Miami] I live calmly,” Higuain told TyC. “I achieved the emotional stability I wanted, and the truth is that I feel very happy, fulfilled. It is a city that brought me what I had been looking for all these years, tranquility. There is a lot of respect. Football is not a priority, people are very respectful. They want to see a show when they go to the games. … All this peace of mind that I have now I do not change for anything in the world.”

10.38 GMT: Juventus had a great January transfer window:

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1:41

Gab and Juls discuss how Dusan Vlahovic and Denis Zakaria will fit into Max Allegri’s plans at Juventus.

10.01 GMT: Joao Cancelo has signed a new contract at Manchester City, the club have confirmed.

Cancelo, who moved to City from Juventus in 2019, will stay at the Etihad Stadium until 2027 after penning a long-term extension.

“Manchester City is a fantastic club, so I am incredibly happy to have signed this new agreement,” Cancelo said. “City players have everything they need to reach their full potential, with amazing facilities, world-class teammates and an incredible manager who pushes us every single day.

“There is nowhere better to play football and it’s a pleasure to work here. I have so much I want to achieve before my career ends, and Manchester City offers me the best chance of fulfilling my ambitions. This new contract means I now have complete focus on improving my game and winning more trophies with this team.”

09.40 GMT: Tottenham winger Bryan Gil says he is looking to gain more experience while on loan at Valencia.

Gil, 20, has a contract with Spurs until 2026 but returns to LaLiga six months after leaving Sevilla in a €30m transfer.

“I was looking forward to returning to Spain,” Gil said. “I hope to grow as a player and give my best. I want to gain more experience and work a lot. One of the reasons why I’ve come here is [Valencia coach Jose] Bordalas’ style of play and how he likes to compete. I think it will help me a lot.

“I’ve come here to give it my all and I’m sure we can achieve big things. It’s a special day for me. I was very eager to come here.”

09.25 GMT: Ousmane Dembele will stay at Barcelona until the end of the season after turning down the chance to move to the Premier League on Monday, sources told ESPN.

Barca president Joan Laporta said in a news conference on Monday that Dembele had an offer from an English club on the table, but the France international opted to remain at Camp Nou despite the threat of not playing for the rest of the season.

09.00 GMT: Barcelona have agreed a deal to sign Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on a free transfer, sources have told ESPN.

The clubs have been locked in talks since the weekend, with the 32-year-old flying into Catalonia this morning in an attempt to push through a deal.

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Gab Marcotti and Julien Laurens discuss why Barcelona are pushing Ousmane Dembele away from the club.

PAPER GOSSIP (by Nick Judd)

– Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain will both try and sign Ousmane Dembele in the summer after failing to land him before the end of the January transfer window, according to Sky Sports. PSG had reportedly agreed terms, while Barcelona were particularly keen to move him on, but the French club pulled out and decided they didn’t want to unsettle Angel Di Maria. Chelsea then reportedly moved in to try and seal a deal but left it too late.

– Liverpool and Fulham will resume talks over a move for Fabio Carvalho after the two clubs failed to agree terms before the 11 p.m. GMT deadline, reports The Times. The young midfielder passed his medical earlier in the day, but the two clubs failed to agree on the structure of the deal, which means they’ll continue negotiations ahead of a summer move. The 19-year-old has been in impressive form for the Cottagers, and he’ll now see out the final six months of his contract before, presumably, signing a pre-agreement in the next few days. The two clubs are likely to use any fee discussed as compensation to avoid the need for a tribunal.

– Barcelona, Lille, Bordeaux and Ajax all failed to sign PSG defender Layvin Kurzawa in January and now, according to RMC Sport, the focus will turn to the summer. West Ham United are also said to be interested in the 29-year-old. Kurzawa could still leave if PSG agree a move to a Turkish or MLS side, with both transfer windows still open, but he would prefer to stay in France or move to Spain.

– Newcastle United and AC Milan target Sven Botman says he is fine at Lille but expects to leave the club in the summer, hinting at a move to Newcastle, according to Ziggo Sport. The 21-year-old defender was one of Newcastle’s main targets in January, but the French champions resisted advances and are preparing for Milan to bid as well as he looks to keep his options open ahead of a potential switch in six months’ time.

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