TOP STORY: Liverpool checked on ex-Arsenal defender Sokratis
Liverpool have been looking for a new centre-back amid injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, with their search taking them to former Arsenal defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos, according to The Athletic.
Sokratis, 32, was released by the Gunners last week as he was left out of the club's Premier League and Europa League squads and is reportedly set to join Olympiakos in the coming days.
The Greece international has not played since August but he was signed by then-Borussia Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp in 2013, which explains the link.
The report claims that "the conversation is not thought to have progressed past checking on his situation" but it's interesting to note that Liverpool are still keen to resolve their defensive issues before the window closes on Feb. 1.
21.29 GMT: Lazio/25-01-2021/calciomercato-lazio-idea-mai-ma-punta-todibo-mustafi-400122106158.shtml" target="_blank">Gazetta dello Sport reports that Lazio are in the market for a new centre-back, and have identified Germany U21 international Lukas Mai as the ideal candidate to bolster their defence, but convincing Bayern Munich to part with him - with David Alaba and Jerome Boateng both potentially leaving the club this summer - will prove difficult, so the Roman outfit are also monitoring Jean-Clair Todibo (on loan at Benfica, where he's played just 160 minutes this season, from Barcelona) and Arsenal's Shkodran Mustafi.
20.56 GMT: Having played just 18 Premier League minutes for Leicester City this season and a contract that expires this summer, Demarai Gray's future appears to lie outside the King Power Stadium, and the Guardian reports that Crystal Palace is battling AS Monaco and Benfica for the 24-year-old attacker, with a fee mooted in the region of just £2m.
20.23 GMT: Seventeen-year-old midfielder Caden Clark only joined the New York Red Bulls in October, but according to the Athletic, the Minnesota native is closing in on a move to RB Leipzig - a deal that will see him remain in MLS for the 2021 season and join Red Bull's Bundesliga power in January of 2022.
19.17 GMT: With Willian Jose arriving to help Wolverhampton Wanderers cope with the loss of Raul Jimenez, who is expected to miss the rest of the season after suffering a skull fracture, Patrick Cutrone suddenly finds himself on the outside looking in once more at the Molineux. Corriere dello Sport writes that, after being recalled by the Premier League club earlier this month from his loan at Fiorentina, Parma are now interested in the services of the 23-year-old once-capped Italy international.
18.44 GMT: Atlanta United FC have announced the signing of 37-year-old forward Lisandro Lopez on a free transfer from Argentine outfit Racing Club, the MLS club announced on Monday.
18.11 GMT: Bayern Munich are preparing for an overhaul to their back line this summer, when David Alaba is expected to join Real Madrid and Jerome Boateng's contract may be allowed to expire, and kicker reports that manager Hansi Flick has already spoken to highly sought-after RB Leipzig centre-back Dayot Upamecano -- who's said to be attracting interest from at least four other Champions League clubs, including Chelsea - about joining the Bavarians in the summer when his €45m release clause becomes active. Further, the eight-times-defending German champions are also reportedly interested in signing 17-year-old Hertha Berlin left-back Luca Netz, who will be a free agent this summer, as cover for Alphonso Davies.
17.28 GMT: Real Madrid's intention to sign Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe this summer has been known for some weeks, but in the middle of an economic downturn brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, how can they afford a €150m-plus transfer fee and wages that likely will eclipse the €21m a year the France international nets in Paris?
According to Mundo Deportivo, Los Blancos plan to raise funds through the permanent exits of two premier players: the name of one is yet to emerge, but the report states that Vinicius Junior could be asked to leave the Spanish capital to raise money for Madrid's Mbappe pursuit, and PSG themselves have been credited with interest in the 20-year-old attacker.
16.45 GMT: Chelsea have been been monitoring the progress of Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni, sources have told ESPN's Julien Laurens, regardless of their managerial issues amid the sacking of Frank Lampard.
Chelsea are keen to strengthen their midfield in the summer and sources said scouts have monitored the France U20 international who has been excellent under coach Niko Kovac, and has taken his game to the next level after moving from Bordeaux to the Principality a year ago for €18m.
He has started every game bar one in Ligue 1 this campaign, producing some top performances. The 20-year-old has attracted the interest of a string of clubs but Monaco are set to keep him in the January transfer window, sources said, ahead of what could be a scramble for his signature in the summer.
16.07 GMT: Manchester United defender Lukasz Bejger is set to finalise a transfer to Slask Wroclaw.
Bejger, 19, signed for the club in the summer of 2018 from Lech Poznan but hasn't made an impression on the first team.
15.53 GMT: Arsenal are making a bit of a habit of this...
Defender Shkodran Mustafi, 28, is in talks to terminate his contract early, says Football.London -- much like Mesut Ozil and Sokratis Papastathopoulos did.
The report says: "Spanish giants Barcelona were one of many clubs linked to his signature in the past, although interest from Serie A teams including Lazio appears to be his most likely destination now."
15.37 GMT: Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero is available for nothing in the summer? Barcelona anyone?
Worst signings of the season
5. Jamal Lewis, Newcastle. The Magpies spent a good chunk of their transfer budget on this former Norwich City fullback, but the 22-year-old has yet to find his niche -- he's found little role in attack, but he has struggled to create disruption on defense either.
4. Timo Werner, Chelsea. It's early in his London tenure, and his track record is too strong for him not to eventually adapt and thrive. But he hasn't yet.
3. Donny van de Beek, Manchester United. Solskjaer has yet to figure out what to do with the $42 million signing. The 23-year-old averaged nine league goals and 44 chances over his last three seasons at Ajax, but he's been relegated primarily to cup play so far and has produced a single goal and two chances created in 251 league minutes to date.
2. Rhian Brewster, Sheffield United. United spent a club-record $28.6 million on the Liverpool prospect. So far, it's bought them 657 minutes, 10 shot attempts and zero league goals.
1. Kai Havertz, Chelsea. Again, this felt very much like a "We'll do it because we can" signing for Chelsea, and Lampard has in no way figured out how or where to deploy the youngster.
Best signings of the season
5. Ollie Watkins, Aston Villa. After a monstrous 2019-20 campaign for Brentford (26 goals, albeit in 49 league matches including the promotion playoff), Watkins has filled in well up top for a balanced Villa attack. He's averaging 0.21 xG per shot, and while he's been unlucky to put only six balls in the net from 9.1 xG so far, (a) he's still on pace for double-digit goals and (b) nothing in his track record suggests he's a poor finisher. His conversion numbers will likely improve soon.
4. Kyle Walker-Peters, Southampton. Southampton acquired one of the best young fullbacks in the league for $14.6 million. Can't beat that piece of business.
3. Diogo Jota, Liverpool. Sometimes your value is presented most clearly in your absence. Jota felt almost like a luxury item when acquired from Wolves, but in all competitions this year, Liverpool have averaged more goals and more points when Jota plays than when he doesn't. Injury has limited him to just 501 league minutes, but he scored five times and created six chances in that span. It's no surprise that the Reds' drought (one league goal since beating Crystal Palace 7-0 in mid-December) has coincided with the Portugal attacker's latest injury.
2. Tomas Soucek, West Ham United. After a solid loan audition last year, West Ham knew what it was getting from Slavia Prague: a sure aerials and duels winner and chaos creator in defensive midfield (6.8 ball recoveries per 90) and an occasional offensive presence as well (five goals, seven chances) with great passing touch (71% long pass completion rate). West Ham are a really annoying team to play this season, and 25-year-old Soucek has probably been their best player.
1. James Rodriguez, Everton. Five league matches into his Everton career, James had scored three goals and created 15 chances with three assists. That proved unsustainable, but he remains a catalyst. Despite missing five matches, he still leads the team in chances created, expected assists and through balls, and he's drawn the second-most fouls. Not bad for a free transfer.
14.03 GMT: A reminder that Atletico Madrid signed Luis Suarez on a free transfer from Barcelona and he's got 12 goals in 19 games to date.
Luis Suarez showing 'hunger & grit' for Atletico Madrid
Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone explains why Luis Suarez is thriving in his system.
13.22 GMT: SportMediaset reports that AC Milan will make a final move to sign Barcelona full-back Junior Firpo this month.
ESPN reported on Jan. 18 that Milan and West Ham were sounding out the Spanish club about their defender.
Indeed, Barca are open to letting Junior leave the club and are looking at possible replacements should he depart, although the lack of a president at Camp Nou is complicating any potential January transfer business.
12.45 GMT: Barcelona want to sign Manchester City defender Eric Garcia and Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, but will have to wait until their contracts expire in the summer as the club have no money this month.
"My position is known: we lack people, but the economic situation of the club is an influence," manager Ronald Koeman said. "I think we all think the same. If no one arrives, I accept it and we continue the same, but if we want more we must sign."
Asked about Garcia specifically, he replied: "We cannot demand that the Management Board make decisions like this. We have concluded that if he is a player whose contract is ending, we must wait. If we moved now we would have to pay the transfer fee plus the player's salary."
12.10 GMT: Spain midfielder Patri Guijarro has signed a contract extension with Barcelona until June 2024, the club announced on Monday.
Patri, 22, is in her sixth season with the club and has made 159 appearances, scoring 34 goals.
A key player for Lluis Cortes' side, Patri is one of the club captains and has helped them to one league win, one Spanish Super Cup and five Catalunya Cups. She also has an established international youth career where she won the Golden Ball and the Golden Boot at the 2018 Under-20 Women's World Cup, helping Spain to a second place finish.
Patri made Barcelona history as the first woman to study for her exams at the club's La Masia academy.
11.50 GMT: More on the sacking of Frank Lampard here
Laurens: Chelsea's recruitment a poisoned chalice for Lampard
Julien Laurens feels Frank Lampard was too inexperienced to handle the overhaul of Chelsea's squad in the summer.
11.41 GMT: Some more breaking Chelsea news: Defender and Norway captain Maren Mjelde has signed a contract extension which keeps her at the club until June 2022.
Mjelde, 31, joined the London side four years ago from Norwegian club Avaldsnes. Since joining in 2017 she has helped the club win the Spring Series, two Women's Super League titles, the FA Cup and the Continental Cup.
"When I came to Chelsea in 2017, it was a really good team. I felt it was some levels up from the club I played for before," she said in a statement. "You can see there has been a lot of changes. In my first season, we got to the semifinals of the Champions League but we were not close at all. The year after, against Lyon, we were pretty close to reaching the final. That's the direction we want to go."
Mjelde's contract also has an option to extend for one year.
11.25 GMT: Chelsea have announced they have parted ways with Frank Lampard and are set to appoint Thomas Tuchel as his successor, sources have told ESPN.
"This was a very difficult decision for the club, not least because I have an excellent personal relationship with Frank and I have the utmost respect for him," owner Roman Abramovich said. "He is a man of great integrity and has the highest of work ethics.
"However, under current circumstances we believe it is best to change managers. On behalf of everyone at the club, the board and personally, I would like to thank Frank for his work as head coach and wish him every success in the future.
"He is an important icon of this great club and his status here remains undiminished. He will always be warmly welcomed back at Stamford Bridge."
11.09 GMT: Leicester City's impressive work behind the scenes has seen the club emerge as Premier League title contenders this season, and sources told ESPN's Mark Ogden the player recruitment set-up at the King Power Stadium has left bigger clubs frustrated at being unable to match the Foxes' ability for unearthing rising stars across Europe.
Manager Brendan Rodgers has rebuilt Leicester's back four since arriving from Celtic in February 2019, with sporting director Lee Congerton, who worked with Rodgers at Chelsea and Celtic, securing deals for Wesley Fofana, James Justin and Timothy Castagne from Saint-Etienne, Luton Town and Atalanta respectively.
Sources told ESPN that Leicester's connections in France gave them a head start on the signing of Fofana, a £36.5m arriving last October, which enabled the club to fend off interest from Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho.
10.31 GMT: Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said he expects defender Eric Garcia to leave the club at the end of the season.
Spain international Garcia is in the final year of his contract at the Premier League side and has been linked with a switch back to his boyhood club Barcelona.
Injuries and illness have limited the 20-year-old to just eight appearances in all competitions this season but he was handed a rare start in Saturday's 3-1 victory against Cheltenham Town in the FA Cup.
"We will see what happens at the end of the transfer window," Guardiola told reporters. "I don't think he will sign a new contract. I am pretty sure he is going to leave at the end of the season and now, in this transfer window, it will depend on the [other] clubs."
10.08 GMT: Chelsea's £47.7m striker Timo Werner is still struggling for form... even from the penalty spot.
Leboeuf: Penalties won't help Werner regain confidence
Frank Leboeuf says Timo Werner needs to get his head right before being tasked with taking penalties for Chelsea.
09.46 GMT: Chelsea are set to sack manager Frank Lampard this morning, reports the Daily Telegraph, as they have lost five of their last eight games.
On possible replacements, the report claims that RB Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann is among Chelsea's top targets but may not be available until the summer.
Ex-PSG manager Thomas Tuchel or former Juventus and Milan boss Max Allegri are also being considered as they are unattached, with many outlets reporting Tuchel to be the favourite.
09.27 GMT: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has sanctioned Jesse Lingard's loan move from Manchester United during the January transfer window and the final decision now rests with the club's board, sources have told ESPN's Rob Dawson.
Solskjaer has been keen to keep Lingard at Old Trafford ahead of a busy second half of the season but, after talks with the midfielder, has agreed he should be allowed to move to find regular first-team football.
Despite significant interest from abroad, Lingard, 28, is keen to stay in the Premier League and Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United, Sheffield United and West Bromwich Albion are among a host of suitors.
The report reads: "Tottenham are understood to have rejected three approaches from Paris Saint-German for the midfielder in the summer but the French side are still at the table and remain keen to secure Dele's services on a temporary basis for the second half of the season."
Ramos, 34, has not signed a new contract with Madrid with his deal ending this summer. He is free to negotiate with other clubs. Real Madrid have no intention of equaling PSG's offer.
Los Blancos have offered the Spain captain a one-year contract extension while maintaining his current wage, €12m net per season, despite the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
08.00 GMT: Real Sociedad have signed Spanish striker Carlos Fernandez on a permanent transfer from Sevilla for a reported €12m, the club announced.
The Basque outfit acquired the 24-year-old as a replacement for Brazilian striker Willian Jose, who joined Wolverhampton on loan for the remainder of the campaign, with a buyout option included in the deal.
Willian Jose scored 62 goals in 170 appearances for La Real after joining the club in 2016 and Fernandez knows he has big shoes to fill.
"We all know how much he's done for La Real, what a good striker he is," Fernandez said of Willian Jose. "It's a challenge that I'm willing to take on with motivation and self-demand. This is the best place for me to continue to grow."
Michallik: Weston McKennie is fearless
Janusz Michallik praises Weston McKennie for superb goal for Juventus in Juventus 2-0 win vs. Bologna.
PAPER TALK (by Danny Lewis)
Juventus look to land McKennie permanently
Weston McKennie has proven to be something of a revelation during his time on loan at Juventus. In fact, the USMNT midfielder has impressed so much that the Italian giants intend to take up their option to sign him outright, according to Fabrizio Romano.
Juve agreed a figure of €18.5m to permanently sign the 22-year-old from Schalke as part of his loan deal: "payable in three years, which might be increased up to a maximum of €7m upon achievement of further sportive performance objectives over the duration of the employment contract with the player."
Dortmund to challenge Bayern for Neuhaus
There are potential stumbling blocks for BVB though, with most of them being financial -- especially if they fail to secure a Champions League place for next season.
Another is that Bayern Munich are seriously considering a summer move for the 23-year-old. It is suggested within the report that the midfielder will have a release clause of €40m.
Juventus eye Bayern Munich duo
Juventus are looking to Bayern Munich for their January business, as has been reported by Calciomercato.
Recruiting another forward has been a priority, and it is rumoured that the reigning Italian champions are hoping to bring in 19-year-old forward Joshua Zirkzee.
The Italian outlet claims this could be a loan, as the teenager wants game time that Bayern can't give him, but they are unlikely to let him leave permanently.
In addition to that, Juventus are hoping to sign French midfielder Corentin Tolisso, though they may have to wait until the summer.
- The Times have offered an insight into the numbers behind Martin Odegaard's approaching loan move from Real Madrid to Arsenal. The Gunners will reportedly pay a £1.8m loan fee, as well as the Norwegian's £38,000-per-week wages, making a total expected outlay of £2.5m.
- RB Leipzig attacker Hee-Chan Hwang could be loaned out during the transfer window, reports Kicker. It's vaguely reported that "German and foreign clubs" are interested in the South Korea international, so it seems he has some options. On Monday, Bild reported that West Ham United, Wolverhampton and Brighton & Hove Albion are in a better position than Mainz in the race for the 24-year-old, who has not started in Bundesliga this season.
- West Bromwich Albion are taking a look at Ahmed Musa, who is a free agent, reports the Daily Mail. This comes after the Nigeria striker, who has previously played for Leicester City, was released by Saudi Arabian side Al-Nassr.