The five major transfer stories to follow before January
The transfer window may have shut but there is only a 15-week sprint before it reopens in January.
Although no official deals can be done before then, a great deal of manoeuvring can be done in the market by major clubs seeking to get themselves in position to complete major deals.
After a frantic summer that saw the Cristiano Ronaldo make a dramatic switch to Manchester United, Jack Grealish and Romelu Lukaku both transfer for huge sums and Lionel Messi leave Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain, there are still many unresolved cases that could draw to a conclusion in January – or at least come closer to one.
Jules Kounde seemed destined to leave Sevilla for Chelsea late in the summer transfer window but no deal was ultimately concluded between the clubs.
The Spaniards were sticking to their demand of €80 million – matching Kounde’s release clause – while the English side were not willing to pay above a level they believe to be the defender’s market value.
However, a late move for Kurt Zouma to West Ham could leave Chelsea short in their rearguard if Trevoh Chalobah fails to come through on his pre-season promise and if Antonio Rudiger continues to refuse a new deal.
If they were to return for Kounde, it would come as no shock.
Will Paul Pogba sign a new contract at Manchester United or won’t he? As recently as December, it seemed impossible that the Frenchman would remain at Old Trafford beyond the summer, yet he has been strutting his stuff impressively in the Premier League thus far, suggesting they will find it difficult to part with him.
His contract, though, expires next summer, when he could leave on a free transfer.
Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly monitoring the situation while Real Madrid are also linked with a move. If no new deal has been agreed by January, speculation over his future will only ramp up further.
The Kylian Mbappe saga was undoubtedly the most remarkable of the summer as PSG reportedly ignored a €200m bid from Real Madrid for the attacker, who is out of contract at the end of June.
A deadlock appears to have been reached in terms of his negotiations with PSG and he is fully expected to move to Spain – a deal that could be announced as early as 1 January.
But when the winter transfer window rolls around, other clubs are bound to take an interest, too, particularly those in the Premier League. Liverpool and Manchester City have been linked with Mbappe in the past and will want to have their say before a conclusion to the story is finally reached.
It is unlikely that Erling Haaland’s future will be resolved as early as January, but his future destination may become a little more evident. All of Europe’s top teams are set to be involved in a scramble to sign the Borussia Dortmund hitman, with one of the financial heavyweights expected to prevail.
Haaland will have a release clause that can be triggered in the summer, though if a club launched a massive bid before then, it could have dramatic implications. No-one is seriously expecting that, though.
Instead, any big clubs who are badly struggling for form can count themselves out of the race because Haaland will only be joining one of the very best.
Barcelona are eager to head off a brewing crisis regarding Ansu Fati next summer, with trouble between the club and the player’s agent as they battle to resolve a clause in the teenager’s contract that may mean he is available on a free transfer.
Barca cannot afford to lose such a gem from La Masia, although there does seem to be a degree of certainty that Pedri will be going nowhere.
Ansu is also likely to stay, but given the situation at Camp Nou, the club would doubtless feel a good deal better if the news was official.