The transfer window opens on Jan. 1 in the Premier League, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 (find out about the rest of Europe here) and clubs have been planning their business amid the ongoing financial uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.
ESPN writers have everything you need to know about the top teams’ hopes and delve into deals that might be on the cards. Who will come in? Who will depart?
Budget: As ever with one of the richest clubs in the world, the money is there if City need it.
What does the team need in January? Pep Guardiola would still like another striker but whether the club need one or not is another matter given they sit top of the Premier League table at the halfway stage. It’s something they will address if needed, but probably in the summer. For now, Guardiola will back the players he already has and it’s not been much of a problem so far this season. There is also room in the squad for another left-back but that will probably have to wait as well.
Janusz Michallik says Manchester City would become untouchable with Erling Haaland up front.
Who are the major targets? Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Dortmund’s Erling Haaland are both on City’s radar but the chances of landing either during the January window are slim. Kane was their main target in the summer but that may change when Haaland becomes available for €75m in 2022. The Norway striker has not ruled out staying at Dortmund for another year but if he decides to leave, City will be one of the clubs at the front of the queue.
Who could be leaving? Guardiola has been promised by director of football Txiki Begiristain that the squad won’t be weakened in January so any significant departures would have to be replaced. Spain forward Ferran Torres wants to return to Spain and sign for Barcelona and sources have told ESPN that a €55m deal has now been agreed; Raheem Sterling is set to stay after winning back his place in the team but a couple of youngsters could go out on loan to get more experience.
Any new contracts coming? City would like to talk to Sterling about a new deal but discussions have been on hold while the England forward weighs up his options. Now back in favour, negotiations could re-start but Sterling will be in no rush to commit while the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain are interested. — Rob Dawson
Janusz Michallik names Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans as Liverpool’s dream January signing.
Budget: Minimal as money needs to be put aside for Mohamed Salah‘s new contract.
What does the team need? Jurgen Klopp’s squad is well-stocked in all departments, although their attacking options will be stretched if Salah and Sadio Mane spend a month away at the Africa Cup of Nations in January with Egypt and Senegal respectively. Klopp has insisted, however, that he will not enter the market to sign short-term replacements for his two leading forwards. Sources have told ESPN that Liverpool are unlikely to sign players in January, with all plans for recruitment focused on the summer.
Who are the major targets? No moves are planned, but the club will continue to monitor long-term targets such as Borussia Dortmund and England midfielder Jude Bellingham. Liverpool have also held a long-standing interest in Kylian Mbappe, but although the Paris Saint-Germain forward will become a free agent next summer, it is anticipated that he will move to Real Madrid.
Who could be leaving? Goalkeeper Loris Karius is still on Liverpool’s books, despite not playing for the club since the 2018 Champions League final. With Alisson, Adrian and Caoimhin Kelleher all ahead of the 28-year-old in the Anfield pecking order, the club will look to move him on ahead of the expiry of his contract in June 2022.
Any new contracts coming? The big question at Anfield is when, or if, Salah will sign a new deal. The former Roma forward has 18 months left on his existing deal and is yet to commit to a new contract. Liverpool may have to make him the best-paid player in the Premier League, and potentially even the first £500,000-a-week player in English football, to keep him. — Mark Ogden.
Gab and Juls assess Antonio Rudiger’s options, with multiple clubs chasing his signature.
Budget: Limited following heavy summer spending, but money can be found for the right signing.
What does the team need? Ben Chilwell‘s cruciate ligament injury has left coach Thomas Tuchel short of options at left-back, so Chelsea could be in the market for defensive cover. There is also an over-reliance on the creativity of Jorginho in midfield, but although that is an obvious area in need of strengthening, it is unlikely that Chelsea will spend big on a new midfielder in January. Right now, finding somebody to make up for the loss of Chilwell is the priority.
Who are the major targets? AC Milan‘s Theo Hernandez and Everton‘s Lucas Digne are both being linked with a move to Stamford Bridge next month. Although Milan are chasing a first Serie A title since 2011, Hernandez could be prised from San Siro in order to help the Rossoneri bolster their squad with the funds from any deal. With Hernandez under contract until June 2024, any fee close to the €20m he cost to sign from Real Madrid in 2019 would tempt Milan to do business. Digne is also likely to be a straightforward, if more expensive, deal to do following the French full-back’s recent falling out with manager Rafael Benitez.
Who could be leaving? The big issue for Chelsea surrounds the future of Antonio Rudiger. The centre-back has established himself as a key figure under Tuchel, but with his contract due to expire next June, a sizeable offer from interested clubs including Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Manchester United would leave the club with a tough decision on whether to offload an important player or hold him to his contract and lose him for nothing six months later.
Any new contracts coming? Chelsea hope to secure Rudiger to a new deal, while Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta could be extended with their contracts also due to expire next summer. — Mark Ogden.
Budget: Limited. There isn’t a huge amount to spend after a summer outlay of £140m on six new signings.
What does the team need in January? Arsenal’s January transfer plans centre largely around the future of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who was stripped of the captaincy last week after a series of disciplinary breaches. It remains distinctly possible the striker could leave in January but finding a club willing to sign a 32-year-old on big wages — he currently earns £250,000-a-week plus bonuses — will be a tough task. It is the primary area to be addressed either now or, more likely, in the summer with Alexandre Lacazette and Edward Nketiah also out of contract at the end of the season.
Who are the major targets? Prior to the Aubameyang captaincy row, Arteta was coy about Arsenal doing any meaningful business in January. The Gunners have scouted a number of forward options including Sevilla‘s Youssef En-Nesyri and Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Reports in Italy have linked the club with Fiorentina Dusan Vlahovic, but the 21-year-old would cost around €80m to sign.
Who could be leaving? Arsenal will look to resist offers for Lacazette but he is free to talk to overseas clubs directly from Jan. 1 as he will have six months remaining on his contract. Lacazette’s importance to Arsenal has been heightened as a result of the Aubameyang situation and the Gunners are extremely unlikely to allow both to depart next month. Left-back Sead Kolasinac will be allowed to leave if a suitable offer comes in, the same is likely true of midfielder Mohamed Elneny and defender Calum Chambers. Everton could be one of several clubs to test Arsenal’s desire to keep the versatile Ainsley Maitland-Niles, while goalkeeper Bernd Leno will be allowed to depart at the end of the season — a January exit is unlikely unless Arsenal can source another backup goalkeeper — as he has lost his No. 1 spot to the impressive Aaron Ramsdale.
Any new contracts coming? Mikel Arteta claimed earlier in December that Arsenal were still hopeful of securing a deal to keep Nketiah despite the 22-year-old rejecting the club’s latest offer amid concerns over a lack of game-time. Talks will continue but Nketiah’s future remains uncertain and Crystal Palace, who almost secured a deal for the striker last summer, will be interested. — James Olley.
Gab Marcotti feels Ralf Rangnick’s advice that Man United should pursue Haaland and Bellingham shows he is settling in.
Budget: United have money to spend but it won’t be as much as in the summer.
What does the team need? United had a good summer but they look short of a defensive midfielder and, possibly, more competition at right-back. Diogo Dalot‘s good form has quietened talk of signing Atletico Madrid’s Kieran Trippier but the hole in midfield is still there. Interim coach Ralf Rangnick likes Scott McTominay and Fred but the squad is still missing an out-and-out holding midfielder to sit in front of the back four.
Who are the major targets? West Ham’s Declan Rice and Leeds’ Kalvin Phillips have been long-term targets, while Rangnick also likes RB Leipzig midfielder Amadou Haidara. Rangnick has been told United are open to players arriving in January but it’s not guaranteed and the club are expecting a quiet window unless an opportunity presents itself. It’s more likely that any significant re-shaping of the squad will be delayed until the summer, when there could be another new manager coming in and moves for Dortmund duo Bellingham and Haaland may be on the cards.
Who could be leaving? Former manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was keen to keep a big squad at Old Trafford and Rangnick has already said a couple of times that the numbers are too high. Anthony Martial‘s agent has gone public with the Frenchman’s desire to leave in January because of a lack of playing time and there are others who may feel the same. Donny van de Beek has been short of chances for a while and centre-back Eric Bailly has barely played despite an injury to Raphael Varane. Dalot is back in the team so it’s unlikely he will leave and midfielder Jesse Lingard is out of contract in the summer anyway.
Any new contracts coming? United have been talking to midfielder Bruno Fernandes about a new contract while forward Anthony Elanga, 19, is set to sign a new long-term deal after breaking into the first-team squad at the end of last season. — Rob Dawson.
Janusz Michallik says either of England’s midfield two would strengthen Man Utd significantly in January.
Budget: Depends on player availability … if Kane departs then the club may have a lot.
What does the team need in January? Antonio Conte has been promised a significant sum to overhaul Tottenham’s squad but the majority of that work will take place in the summer. Their main task will be to repel any renewed interest in Kane from Manchester City. In the short term, Conte is likely to want a centre-back, cover for Kane, a new winger and perhaps a defensive-minded central midfielder but availability of good players in mid-season will be a big issue to overcome.
Who are the major targets? Conte is tracking Napoli striker Lorenzo Insigne, who is out of contract next summer. Rudiger is also a free agent at the end of the season and Spurs are keen on the centre-back but Chelsea would be extremely unlikely to sanction a January sale to a London rival and Fiorentina‘s Nikola Milenkovic appears a more realistic option. Winger Ousmane Dembele is in talks over a new deal at Barcelona but could be available for a cut-price fee if negotiations continue to stall, while Spurs were also tracking Norwich right-back Max Aarons prior to Conte’s appointment as head coach.
Who could be leaving? Tottenham remain adamant Kane is going nowhere but a huge bid from City would test their resolve. By contrast, Spurs will listen to offers for Dele Alli. Chairman Daniel Levy blocked multiple loan offers from Paris Saint-Germain in the summer but it is so far unclear whether they will return with a fresh bid; Newcastle could be an alternative destination. Ajax are increasingly confident they can secure a deal for out-of-favour winger Steven Bergwijn while defender Matt Doherty could be allowed to depart.
Any new contracts coming? Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris‘ deal expires at the end of the season but there is a willingness on both sides to extend the Frenchman’s stay in north London, despite him turning 35 years old on Dec. 26. — James Olley.
Elsewhere in Europe
Janusz Michallik defends Xavi after his first defeat as Barcelona manager and insists he can learn from Betis manager Manuel Pellegrini.
Budget: Barcelona have nothing to spend amid their €1.4 billion debt but president Joan Laporta says they’re “trying to be creative” in terms of raising money for signings.
What does the team need in January? Sources at the club have told ESPN the priority is to strengthen the attack, with a wide player and a striker wanted. Goals have been a problem since Lionel Messi’s departure on a free transfer to PSG this summer — Barca managed just two in six Champions League games as they were knocked out in the group stages. However, you could argue what they really need is to improve a leaky defence. Sources said that unless a “unique opportunity arises,” though, that will have to wait until the summer.
Who are the major targets? Manchester City forward Torres is the forward they would most like to sign in January, but while sources have told ESPN that a transfer fee has been agreed with the English club finding the money to pay the deal and his wages are problematic. Manchester United striker Edinson Cavani is another player who has been approached, along with a long list of players across Europe not playing regularly for their clubs who could be available on the cheap.
Who could be leaving? The usual names: Samuel Umtiti, Philippe Coutinho, Neto. However, a failure to move them on could see the club let others leave. In that sense, various reports suggest they could be open to offers for players like Clement Lenglet, or even United States international Sergino Dest. Players must go for Torres to arrive.
Any new contracts coming? Barca have plenty of work to do here. Ansu Fati and Pedri have already renewed but the big job now is tying down 17-year-old sensation Gavi to a long-term deal as his current terms have a €50m release clause. Dembele, meanwhile, is out of contract in the summer and Barca want him to commit before the end of the January window. Sergi Roberto is another player moving into the final six months of his deal and his future is uncertain. — Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens
Budget: Atletico spent big by their standards last summer — Rodrigo De Paul and Matheus Cunha cost a combined €65m — and their arrivals left the club close to breaching their LaLiga salary limit. Any January incomings, unless there’s an unexpected departure, would need to be especially cheap.
What does the team need in January? The squad boasts plenty of offensive firepower with Luis Suarez, Antoine Griezmann, Joao Felix, Cunha and Angel Correa all competing for places in Diego Simeone’s front three. So far this season, though, Atletico have looked short of options in defence. Four specialist centre-backs — Stefan Savic, Mario Hermoso, Jose Gimenez and Felipe — just aren’t enough for a team that often plays three at the back.
Who are the major targets? Club sources have told ESPN that they aren’t expecting to be active in January, believing the current squad capable of competing to retain their LaLiga title. Though after four defeats in a row, maybe they have doubts.
Who could be leaving? Simeone was surprisingly vague about Joao Felix’s future this month, saying he was “open to everything” when asked if he’d understand the forward handing in a January transfer request. Midfielder Hector Herrera is another player whose involvement has been limited this season, although his contract is due to expire in June anyway.
Any new contracts coming? Suarez will be out of contract next summer and a decision needs to be made as to whether the 34-year-old’s physical condition will allow him to contribute for another season at the highest level. After that, three key players — Trippier, Jan Oblak and Thomas Lemar — have deals that expire in 2023. Trippier has been consistently linked with a switch back to the Premier League, while Oblak has previously been tempted by a move to England too. — Alex Kirkland and Rodri Faez
Julien Laurens details Karim Benzema’s excitement at the possibility of playing with Kylian Mbappe at Real Madrid.
Budget: They were willing to splash out up to €200m on Mbappe last summer, despite his contract expiring, so there’s plenty of money to spend if required.
What does the team need in January? The squad is deep, with a strong starting XI and cover in every position. But don’t take our word for it: ask Carlo Ancelotti. “I don’t think we have to improve the squad in January,” he said last month. “If there are players who aren’t happy, we could think about [them leaving]. But new signings, no. The squad is well built.”
Who are the major targets? Barring the emergence of an unexpected market opportunity — like when 18-year-old midfielder Eduardo Camavinga joined for €30m from Rennes in August — there will be no January incomings. Madrid’s thinking is focused on next summer. Mbappe remains the top target then, with his Paris Saint-Germain contract running out and free to negotiate from Jan. 1, and the club are open to replicating last year’s free transfer signing of David Alaba from Bayern Munich with reports of a similar, cost-effective move for Chelsea’s Rudiger.
Who could be leaving? The club would love to move on Isco — his contract expires in June — if they can find a suitable club willing to take on his wages. That’s been the case for a while, though, and no offers have been forthcoming. Talented youngsters who have first-team experience but have been peripheral this season, such as Antonio Blanco and Sergio Arribas, could leave on loan to get game time.
Any new contracts coming? Isco, Marcelo, Gareth Bale and Luka Modric will be out of contract in June. Of the four, only Modric is expected to extend. The club’s other pressing business is agreeing a new deal with Vinicius Junior, whose contract, agreed when he signed as a raw teenager in 2018, must be replaced with one that reflects his new status as LaLiga’s most exciting player. — Alex Kirkland and Rodri Faez
Budget: With geisterspiele [playing behind closed doors] back in Bavaria, Bayern are unlikely to spend in January, unless a big-name player makes a surprise exit. Club president Herbert Hainer recently said Bayern lose €3.5m-a-game under these restrictions, while the club predicted losses upwards of €150m for the last 18 months back.
What does the team need in January? Ideally a new right wing-back, but much of their future transfer plans hinge on contract negotiations with their current squad.
Who are the major targets? There is interest in Marseille‘s Boubacar Kamara, who is available on a free transfer in the summer, and also Freiburg’s young centre-back Nico Scholtterbeck, according to ESPN sources. Bayern were also one of the teams namechecked by agent Mino Raiola when it came to where Dortmund striker Haaland may play next season. Barcelona’s Dest and Pedri have also been linked, while Chelsea’s Rudiger is on their radar, but his reported wage demands of close to €450,000-a-week would prove to be too much for Bayern. With goalkeeper Manuel Neuer now 35, they’re also looking at long-term options to replace him, while the club are frequently linked with Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Florian Neuhaus.
Who could be leaving? Midfielder Corentin Tolisso has been heavily linked with a move away with Tottenham, Newcastle, Roma and Juventus all circling as his contract expires in 2022. Bayern could also cut their losses on full-back Bouna Sarr. as well as midfielders Marc Roca and Michael Cuisance. Star winger Kingsley Coman will stay this January, despite ongoing talks over a new deal with his contract up in June 2023.
Any new contracts coming? Bayern’s priority will be to sort out Niklas Sule‘s contract, with the centre-back’s terms expiring in June. Both manager Julian Nagelsmann and sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic want the 26-year-old Germany international to stay, but Oliver Kahn has sounded a note on his potential wage demands, keeping in mind the struggles they had to keep Alaba last season. “It always depends on what the player is asking for,” Kahn said on Sky TV. “With David Alaba we made it clear that we have certain limits.”
Bayern have also got an eye on 2023 with Neuer, Serge Gnabry, Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller and Coman all out of contract that June. Neuer is in talks with the club while they are in ongoing discussions with Gnabry and Coman, who has been heavily linked with a move to PSG if they lose Mbappe. Lewandowksi and Muller’s futures are likely to be addressed in the summer, while the club are also reportedly keen to offer young striker Gabriel Vidovic a new deal. — Tom Hamilton.
Julien Laurens says Dortmund’s loss to Hertha Berlin will push Erling Haaland closer to the exit door.
Budget: Borussia Dortmund are unlikely to spend big in January, but could move for a centre-back if the right target becomes available.
What does the team need in January? Ideally they need to recruit wing-backs, a second striker, some old-school wingers who stay wide rather than cutting in, but the priority is a new centre-back.
Who are the major targets? Long-term much of this depends on Haaland’s future but Dortmund are leading the race to sign FC Salzburg striker Karim Adeyemi, who is on the radar of most of Europe’s top clubs. Adeyemi will not move in January, especially with Salzburg into the knockout stages of the Champions League, but the 19-year-old will likely leave in the summer for around €40m. If Haaland does depart, the club are reportedly looking at Benfica‘s Darwin Nunez as a replacement. A loan move for Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech, who has fallen out of favour in London, could also boost their attack. In defence, and looking ahead to the summer, the club have Stuttgart’s Konstantinos Mavropanos high up on their wishlist. Mavropanos has been on loan at Stuttgart from Arsenal for the past two seasons, while BVB have also been linked with Hertha Berlin‘s Niklas Stark and Freiburg’s Schlotterbeck.
Who could be leaving? In the short-term, left-back Nico Schulz and midfielder Marius Wolf could move on, but the long-term question marks all surround Haaland. His agent Raiola recently said the Norway striker could move to “one of the top 15 European clubs” in the summer. Dortmund have not ruled out offering Haaland a new deal — one which would likely remove or increase his €75m release clause — and CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke recently said he will speak with the 21-year-old in the next few weeks.
“We are not alone in control of this,” Watzke said on Amazon Prime in December. “We are dependent on signals coming from him and his advisor. The question is: does he trigger the clause or not? But we will try not to find out until March or April.” Raiola also spoke in December, saying: “We have clear ideas about where Erling should go and of course we look at what the market has to offer. I would be a bad advisor if I didn’t. We can influence the market with a player like [him]. We are not influenced by the market.”
Any new contracts coming? Axel Witsel and Dan-Axel Zagadou‘s contracts are up in June while, looking further ahead, Marco Reus, Mats Hummels, Raphael Guerreiro, Mahmoud Dahoud, Manuel Akanji, Felix Passlack, and Youssoufa Moukoko are all on deals which expire in June 2023. Witsel could move this January if a team like Newcastle offers big money, with BVB monitoring Denis Zakaria at Gladbach as a potential replacement as his contract is also up this June. Zagadou could yet stay but he’ll need to prove his fitness after an injury-troubled couple of years. — Tom Hamilton.
Janusz Michallik says either of England’s midfield two would strengthen Man Utd significantly in January.
Budget: Financially, the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the club hard like everyone. However, the arrival of Lionel Messi over the summer has brought higher ticket sales than ever for PSG, more sponsorship revenue and the owners’ pockets are still deep. The summer business was mostly free transfers, aside from Achraf Hakimi‘s €60m move from Real Madrid, so there is some spare cash.
What does the team need in January? Leonardo said on Thursday night in a news conference at the Sorbonne university in Paris that the team doesn’t need anything and that no business would be done unless there is a great opportunity. However, the team clearly needs a holding midfielder as Danilo Pereira is not good enough, while Marco Verratti, Idrissa Gueye or Leandro Paredes are not defensive-minded enough.
Who are the major targets? PSG are looking ahead to the summer window already and are working on targets. Milan’s Kessie is top of the shortlist to fill the No. 6 position, while Raiola has mentioned Man United midfielder Paul Pogba too. PSG will also probably have to replace Mbappe and consider Haaland the man for the job, though are also keen on Salzburg striker Adeyemi.
Who could be leaving? This is where Leonardo is focusing on this January. PSG want to raise funds and can move on Layvin Kurzawa, Abdou Diallo, Thilo Kehrer, Danilo, Julian Draxler, Rafinha and Colin Dagba. Striker Mauro Icardi could also be let go if a good offer arrives.
Any new contracts coming? Marquinhos, who is under contract until June 2024, will his extend his deal and “wants to stay here for life” according to Leonardo. Angel Di Maria, who is available on a free in the summer, will also sign up for another year. Then, there is Mbappe. The club are still hoping they can convince him to stay for a bit longer and talks are ongoing, but at the moment there is no breakthrough and he will be leaving on a free (probably to Real Madrid) in June. — Julien Laurens.
Budget: Will depend on what they can recoup from player departures.
What does the team need in January? A goal scorer to replace the void left by Cristiano Ronaldo. Moise Kean, who returned to the club immediately after the 36-year-old’s departur, does not perform consistently in the biggest matches, while serious question marks remain over Paulo Dybala‘s ability to stay fit and Alvaro Morata is having arguably his worst season in a Juve shirt.
Who are the major targets? Fiorentina sensation Vlahovic will be available after he informed the club he will not sign a contract extension. The Serbia international is at the top of their list but La Viola would be loathe to let him join their most-hated rivals and Juve would also struggle to match the €80m fee demanded. In the past, Juve have been able to swoop in to sign Fiorentina’s best players, such as Roberto Baggio, Federico Bernardeschi and Federico Chiesa, but the financial difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and failure to make the latter stages of the Champions League in recent seasons means they will be restricted in their movements in January.
Who could be leaving? Netherlands defender Matthijs de Ligt has finally found his feet, but his agent Raiola hinted he could be ready to leave, with every top club in Europe a potential suitor. Meanwhile, midfielder Ramsey is a player Juve have been keen to shift for some time but it’s unlikely they will find a team willing to match his reported €350,000-a-week salary. Midfielder Arthur is also reported to have suitors in the Premier League, while winger Dejan Kulusevski, despite early promise, has failed to settle under manager Massimiliano Allegri and they could look to cash in with Arsenal monitoring the Sweden international.
Any new contracts coming? Following Ronaldo’s exit, Dyabala was supposed to be the man Juve build their team around. His contract expires at the end of the season and, while discussions have been ongoing for months, there is a sense he is unreliable to due to his inability to stay healthy. — Andrew Cesare Richardson.
Budget: Low after they posted an Italian football record of €245.6m in losses for the 2020-21 financial year.
What does the team need in January? Inter continue to look for a new centre-forward, despite their free-scoring strike force of Edin Dzeko and Lautaro Martinez. The pair have struck up an impressive understanding but with Alexis Sanchez not a favourite of manager Simone Inzaghi, Inter’s attack lacks depth.
Who are the major targets? Having failed to establish a regular starting spot at Chelsea after recovering from an injury, Romelu Lukaku continues to be a linked with a return to San Siro just a few months after his €115m departure, while unhappy Arsenal striker Aubameyang is also an option which could be of interest to Inzaghi in January. Former Inter midfielder Philippe Coutinho, out of favour at Barcelona, has also been mooted for a return as the Nerazzurri look to fill the void vacated by Christian Eriksen — who had his contract terminated in December after being fitted with a heart-starting device (which is not permitted for players in Italy) following his cardiac arrest while playing for Denmark at Euro 2020 — but any deal would be low cost or reliant on players leaving.
Who could be leaving? Midfielder Arturo Vidal has been tipped to join up with Conte at Tottenham, while Sanchez could return to Barcelona as they, too, look for low-cost options in attack. But after losing three key players in the summer, Inter will be keen to keep January exits to a minimum as they look to progress in the Champions League and retain their Serie A title.
Any new contracts coming? With six months left on his contract, Inter will be looking to finalise midfielder Marcelo Brozovic‘s extension while they are experiencing difficulty in getting winger Ivan Perisic, whose deal also ends in 2022, to prolong. Goalkeeper Samir Handanovic is another starter whose contract expires at the end of the season, but any extension would surely see him play No. 2 to Ajax’s Andre Onana, who is expected to join on a free transfer in the summer. — Andrew Cesare Richardson.
What does the team need in January? The long-term injury suffered by Simon Kjaer was a bitter blow to Milan’s chances both domestically and in Europe so a new central defender will be top of the list. It’s no surprise the Rossoneri‘s form has suffered in the Denmark centre-back’s absence.
Who are the major targets? Lille‘s Sven Botman has been touted as a possibility and he could form an exciting central defensive partnership alongside Fikayo Tomori. Milan are also among the sides interested in Torino defender Bremer but will likely face strong competition from a host of Premier League sides.
Who could be leaving? With just six months left on Franck Kessie‘s contract, there remains a strong possibility one of Europe’s big clubs could make an offer for the Ivory Coast international midfielder. Milan showed their ruthless streak by refusing to meet Gianluigi Donnarumma‘s demands last summer and lining up a replacement before the Italy goalkeeper had officially left the club. While Milan will be hoping they can still strike a deal with Kessie, they will be wary of Hakan Calhanoglu‘s impressive form at Inter. The Turkey midfielder left Milan on a free in the summer to join their arch rivals, who he has helped lead to the top of the table. In an attempt to avoid a similar fate with Kessie, Milan may look to make a deal with a team outside Serie A in January.
Any new contracts coming? Alessio Romagnoli, who lost the captaincy to Kjaer in the summer, also has six months left on his contract. While Romagnoli lost his place in the side as Tomori and Kjaer formed an impressive partnership, he has been linked a move to Juve. — Andrew Cesare Richardson.