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Transfer rumor roundup: Klopp lining up USMNT starlet; Higuain dominoes

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If you blinked, you might have missed the first half of January, along with the first half of the January transfer window.

Don’t worry, though. Given the lack of deals completed thus far, it would appear that most Premier League clubs missed it, too…

[ MORE: Emery on possible exit for Mesut Ozil, reason for his absence ]

U.S. men’s national team midfielder Weston McKennie sits high atop Jurgen Klopp‘s wish list and could be set for a move to Liverpool — most likely in the summer — according to a report from the Sun (from the same reporter who was first on the scene with word of Manchester City’s interest in USMNT goalkeeper Zack Steffen).

A bid — expected to be around $26 million — for the 20-year-old could very well be made this month with McKennie allowed to remain at Schalke through the end of the season. Fellow USMNT star Christian Pulisic will join Chelsea this summer, for $73 million, after completing a similar arrangement with Borussia Dortmund.


Perhaps the highest-profile move we’re likely to see this month could be completed inside the next 24 hours, as Chelsea are doing everything within their power to bring Gonzalo Higuain to London in time for Saturday’s trip to Arsenal (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET, on NBC and NBCSports.com).

The Blues reportedly made an official offer to Juventus for a six-month loan, with an option for a further 12 months and/or an option to make the transfer permanent, on Wednesday. Higuain is currently on loan to AC Milan.

According to the Standard, manager Maurizio Sarri is desperate for the 31-year-old to arrive as soon as possible.


With Higuain widely expected to complete his move to Chelsea in the coming hours or days, the dominoes will almost certainly quickly fall, beginning with current Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata. After an up-and-down first season and a half at Stamford Bridge, Morata has fallen out of favor with Sarri and could very well leave the club before the window closes on Jan. 31.

According to a report from Sky Sports, Atletico Madrid are already in advanced negotiations with the club and/or player over a $60-million transfer back to the Spanish capital where he was previously surplus to requirements at Real Madrid. Chelsea paid nearly $100 million for the now-26-year-old in the summer of 2017. Atleti signed Diego Costa from Chelsea, for more than $70 million, not long after acquiring two summers ago.


With Harry Kane set to miss the next two months due to another ankle ligament injury, Tottenham Hotspur will surely be linked with a loan move for every available forward over these next 14 days — no matter unlikely they are to actually make a move.

Today’s fill-in comes courtesy of the Telegraph, who claim Liverpool’s Divock Origi is one player currently considered as an option. Fernando Llorente remains at the club despite rumors linking him with various moves around Europe. Mauricio Pochettino will also consider promoting 16-year-old Troy Parrott from Under-23 team, according to talkSPORT.


  • Arsenal are desperate to shed Mesut Ozil’s $450,000-per-week contract with the German international seemingly not in the plans of manager Unai Emery. The Gunners will almost certainly have to eat a significant chunk of his remaining wages, or accept a heavily reduced fee.
  • At 21 years old, Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong is one of the most sought-after youngsters in the world, with the likes of Man City, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain reportedly hot in pursuit. According to the Mirror, only PSG are willing to meet Ajax’s $85-million valuation of the five-times-capped Dutch international, despite his preference being a move to the defending PL champions.
  • Another Chelsea forward, Michy Batshuayi, remains in limbo as the club attempts to secure a $50-million offer for the 25-year-old. Ligue 1 strugglers Monaco have reportedly already agreed loan terms with Batshuayi and Valencia, where the Belgian has been on loan since the start of the season, but the Blues are holding out for a bid leading to recouping a hefty fee.
  • Bayern Munich claim to be in negotiations with Chelsea and winger Callum Hudson-Odoi after the 18-year-old has shone brightly in limited opportunities with the Blues. In a bid for more first-team action, Hudson-Odoi is said to be open to a move to Germany, following in the footsteps of Dortmund wonderkid Jadon Sancho.

Transfer rumor roundup: Pellegrini to Man Utd? Dabbur wants Liverpool

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As Arsenal might be losing its head of recruitment, other Premier League movers and shakers are looking to bring big names to the Top Four fight.

If Northern Ireland is the hub for transfer movement, January is going to be a wild ride for one of the Premier League’s flagship clubs.

[ MORE: Atlanta signs Watford teen ]

The Belfast Telegraph is reporting that Manchester United is pursuing young Roma midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini in addition to the whispers linking the club to former Liverpool wizard Philippe Coutinho.

Pellegrini, 22, has two goals and six assists for Roma this season, having become a regular call-up for Italy. He reportedly has a $35 million release clause in his contract, though he is cup-tied in the Champions League (Roma next faces Porto).

His 2.6 key passes per game lead Roma and only AC Milan’s Suso and Atalanta’s Alejandro Gomez average more across Serie A. Pellegrini is second on Roma in crosses with 1.5.

How does $115 million sound for an elite 27-year-old defender? That’s what Napoli would reportedly accept from Real Madrid to bring Kalidou Koulibaly west to Spain.

The report, which also links Real with interest in Roma’s Kostas Manolas and Porto’s Eder Miliato, says United remains interested in the player despite the exit of admirer Jose Mourinho.

Anything more than $97 million, the fee Liverpool paid for Virgil Van Dijk, would break the world transfer record for a defender.

Meanwhile, Israeli striker Munas Dabbur is angling to bring his 20-goal season to Anfield.

Reports that Dabbur has turned down a move to Valencia in the hopes of joining Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Roberto Firmino at Liverpool.

The Red Bull Salzburg striker has scored half of his 20 goals in the Champions League and Europa League, and has 11 Israel caps.

The cost for Dabbur is said to be $28 million, but is there any guarantee Dabbur can produce at a level that would demand playing time. Divock Origi has three goals in six matches and can hardly get time for the Reds, and Daniel Sturridge has only found 576 minutes in the first half of the season.

Transfer rumor roundup: Wilson, Paredes to Chelsea; Babel to Fulham

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Chelsea continue to be linked with multiple strikers and midfielders as Maurizio Sarri aims to keep their top four challenge on track.

With Cesc Fabregas sold to Monaco, Alvaro Morata linked with a move away in January and Sarri is desperate need of a new presence in attack, The Star say that Bournemouth will accept offers of $95 million for star striker Callum Wilson. It was believed Chelsea are willing to pay up to $75 million for Wilson.

Wilson, 26, has recently broken into the England national team and has scored 10 times this season for the Cherries as his remarkable return to form after two major knee injuries has been wonderful to see. His ability to make clever runs in-behind and hold up the ball will no doubt suit Eden Hazard down to the ground, and it will give Sarri something he doesn’t have as Morata and Olivier Giroud are statuesque in comparison to Wilson.

West Ham and Wolves are also said to be in the hunt for Wilson, but Bournemouth will surely only sell him to Chelsea as Eddie Howe and the hierarchy at the club must accept the magnitude of this move for a player who battled his way through the lower leagues to the top of the game.


Chelsea have also been linked with a move for Zenit midfielder Leandro Paredes, with the Argentine causing quite a stir on social media.

He appeared to retweet a video saying ‘welcome to Chelsea’ before undoing that action, but Sarri has been clear he wants his club to sign a replacement for Fabregas and Paredes, 24, would fit the bill.

The Boca Juniors product is a playmaker in the Fabregas mold and although this may not be good news for Ross Barkley or Ruben Loftus-Cheek, it is believed Chelsea have made a $35 million bid for Paredes and the deal is moving forward. Nicolo Barella is another target but he is believed to want to stay at Cagliari, so all eyes are on Paredes who will give Chelsea an alternative to Jorginho as a deep-lying playmaker.


Staying in west London, Fulham appear to be closing in on a loan move for Dutch winger Ryan Babel.

De Telegraaf say that Babel will arrive at Craven Cottage initially on loan until the end of the season, as Claudio Ranieri needs help for Aleksandar Mitrovic and Andre Schurrle in attack as Fulham battle against relegation.

The former Liverpool winger, now 32 years old, has had a resurgence in recent months and has found himself back in the Dutch national team as well as scoring 22 goals in 62 games for Turkish side Besiktas since he arrived in Istanbul in 2017.

Babel is a lively character and someone who will help to lift any gloom building at Fulham, but his nomadic career since he left Liverpool suggests this is a gamble. Given the situation the Cottagers are in, it is probably one worth taking.

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Ighalo on the move; Grillitsch to Tottenham

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Odion Ighalo has told Sky Sports that he wants to return to the Premier League.

The Nigerian international spent two-and-a-half seasons at Watford (two in the PL) from 2014-17 as he scored 16 goals and added four assists in 50 PL starts. He’s spent the past 12 months playing in the Chinese Super League for Changchun Yatai, scoring 36 goals in 55 games but, per the report, Ighalo is flying to the UK this week and wants to hold talks about his future.

A transfer fee of $25 million (what Changchun Yatai paid Watford for Ighalo in January 2017) has been suggested if Ighalo is to be sold, but which PL clubs will be interested in his services?

At a quick glance a few stick out: Southampton, Everton, Leicester and Crystal Palace would all seem like decent spots for him to land as they need added firepower and a target man. Everton have struggled in that area and have the cash the pay Ighalo, while Everton may have to get sell the likes of Shinji Okazaki and Kelechi Iheanacho to bring Ighalo in. Southampton have sold Manolo Gabbiadini, so a spot has opened up but does his style of play suit Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s high-pressing philosophy? Probably not.

Crystal Palace would be a good fit for Ighalo but whether or not they have this kind of cash is another matter. With Christian Benteke about to return from injury, Roy Hodgson may give him a run in the team, while Jordan Ayew has found some decent form in recent weeks in a central role.

Ighalo, 29, could want a move back to the PL as much as he likes, but at the moment there doesn’t seem to be many clubs who could take 1) afford his wages, and 2) have a spot for him to be a regular.


Another report from Sky Sports claims that Tottenham want to sign Austrian midfielder Florian Grillitsch, 23, from Hoffenheim.

The report claims that Grillitsch has a release clause in his contract for $24 million and with Mousa Dembele close to sealing a move to Chinese Super League side Beijing Sinobo Guoan, it appears Spurs have found their replacement.

A penny for your thoughts, Harry Winks, Victor Wanyama and Olivier Skipp…

This move seems very much like a Tottenham transfer. A young player who has UEFA Champions League and Bundesliga experience who is ready to make the step to a team competing in the top four of the Premier League each season and is hungry to improve under Mauricio Pochettino.

Grillitsch is a tall defensive midfielder who is comfortable on the ball, and likes to break up the play, so it seems like he would be a direct replacement for Dembele. This potential move says an awful lot about Winks’ future at Tottenham, while Wanyama has been hit by injuries but it appears he could be heading out of the door this summer. Either way, Spurs need extra depth as it is so if Dembele does leave then at least giving Pochettino the cash to bring in a replacement for a few million more is the least Daniel Levy can do.

Right?

Transfer rumor roundup: Morata, Coutinho to find new homes?

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Alvaro Morata could be set for his fourth team in as many years, if a Goal.com report is correct.

Sevilla reportedly wants to pay Morata’s full wages for the rest of the season as it bids for a La Liga title, sitting seven points back of first place Barcelona.

[ MORE: Sarri says Pochettino “needs to win trophy” ]

The report says Chelsea will only let Morata leave if it acquires a suitable replacement for the 26-year-old, who has 24 goals and six assists in 72 matches with the Blues.

There’s also a wild rumor that Philippe Coutinho could be leaving Barcelona for Manchester United should someone reach the $110 million or so that the Blaugranas paid Liverpool.

Man City, Paris Saint-Germain, and Chelsea are also said to be interested, perhaps solely by virtue that they are the only clubs outside of Real Madrid who have paid more than $100m for a player. The City part seems especially egregious… on what wing?

— TeamTalk says that 18-year-old Brazilian goalkeeper Gabriel Brazao is now being chased by Arsenal, Manchester United, Inter Milan, and AS Roma.