Just eight days left in the January transfer window and clubs across Europe are inching closer to landing their transfer targets for the month.
The rumours are flying thick and fast as deadline day approaches, with speculation over potential deals going into overdrive.
Here we’ve rated four of the latest updates to hit the rumour mill.
PAULO DYBALA – Juventus to Real Madrid
Why it will happen: Los Blancos need to make a statement signing, and Dybala, one of the best young players in Europe, fits the bill. Juve’s interest in out-of-favour Madrid playmaker Isco could make a deal easier, as the two clubs could simply do a swap deal.
Why it won’t happen: Juventus are under no pressure to sell and would be silly to let go of Dybala anyway, given his talent. He was unsettled at the club last season but looks to have gotten past that phase.
Prediction: Juventus won’t part with Dybala unless Madrid prepare a huge bid, more than the £90million currently being reported.
ELSEID HYSAJ – Napoli to Chelsea
Why it will happen: Hysaj has played under Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri at both Napoli and Empoli, and has thrived under the Italian’s tutelage. He’s also currently out of favour at Gli Azzurri, and Chelsea have a need to fill at right-back.
Why it won’t happen: Napoli are known to be tough negotiators and may price Chelsea out of a move for now. Hysaj is currently rated at £45million and the Blues may not want to pay that much for a full-back.
Prediction: Sarri is getting restless over the lack of transfer activity at Stamford Bridge and the club have every motivation to keep him satisfied. Hysaj is a right-back he knows and trusts. Expect the powers that be to seal the deal.
FRENKIE DE JONG – Ajax to Barcelona
The twists and turns in the transfer saga of Frenkie de Jong continue as it’s Barcelona again being linked with a move for the Ajax midfielder, with Goal reporting that the Spanish club are ready to outbid Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.
Why it will happen: Barcelona still seems to be the most natural fit for De Jong, and he’s mentioned his desire to play for them. Plus, according to the report, Barca are set to tempt him with a deal worth €16million a year in order to beat their rivals to his signature.
Why it won’t happen: Even if Barcelona are ready to up their offer on personal terms for De Jong, it won’t matter unless they can also beat the transfer fee PSG and Man City are offering Ajax. And they won’t beat either club in a bidding war.
Prediction: This one will continue to rumble on until possibly well into the summer. Barca, PSG, and City are three of the richest clubs in Europe, making this a fierce competition, and if it comes down to money Barca will simply be outbid.
GELSON MARTINS – Atletico Madrid to Newcastle
Why it will happen: Manager Rafael Benitez desperately needs an injection of quality in his squad, especially in attack, and Martins would provide that. Plus, Newcastle owner Mike Ashley would be able to quieten the critics of his reign if he is able to pull off this transfer coup.
Why it won’t happen: Here’s who Newcastle are reportedly competing with for Martins: Arsenal and Monaco. Both clubs can offer more money. And would Martins rather join a team mired in a relegation battle – which would be the case at both Newcastle and Monaco – or one fighting for a Champions League spot?
Prediction: If these are the three clubs involved, then Arsenal are the clear favourites. This would be a stunning signing for Newcastle but one that is unlikely to happen.
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Former Tottenham and Portsmouth midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng understands he will not be an automatic starter at Barcelona.
The 31-year-old former Ghana international made a surprise loan switch from Italian side Sassuolo to the La Liga giants on Monday, with Barca having the option to make the move permanent for €8 million.
But at a press conference at the Nou Camp on Tuesday, Boateng – who sees himself as a forward these days – believes he can help aid Barcelona’s treble bid.
“It’s an incredible feeling to be here,” he said, according to Marca.
“Yesterday I was sad because I was happy in Sassuolo, but this was a great opportunity and I couldn’t say no.
“I wanted to come to Barcelona, as soon as I heard of their interest I spoke to my agent. It’s a dream and a great honour.
“This is a test and I know I haven’t arrived as a starter, but I want to play well and stay for many years, that’s my goal.
“At almost 32 years old, the role of a number nine is perfect for me.
“It’s important to have a player like me in the team because I have other attributes.”
Boateng, who started his career with Hertha Berlin, had a two-year spell with Spurs before joining Portsmouth in 2009.
After relegation from the Premier League and an FA Cup final defeat, in which Boateng had a penalty saved with the game against Chelsea goalless, he left for AC Milan.
Schalke, Las Palmas and Eintracht Frankfurt have also been home for the player, who signed for Sassuolo last summer.
But, after scoring four goals in 13 Serie A appearances, Boateng has moved to Spain and will count Lionel Messi among his team-mates.
“I’m a Barcelona player and the best player in the world, in any world, is Messi,” said Boateng, who had previously been quoted as saying he preferred Real Madrid to Barca. “He’s shown it over the past 10 years.”
Barca are top of La Liga, five points clear of closest challengers Atletico Madrid, while they are in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey and the last 16 of the Champions League.
With just over a week left in the January transfer window, transfer speculation is going into overdrive as clubs look to complete deals in time and kick-start the second half of their seasons.
As the countdown to deadline day begins it can be hard to judge which proposed moves are likely to happen and which are pure fantasy.
Our transfer predictor runs the rule over some of the latest rumours.
JAMES RODRIGUEZ – Real Madrid to Arsenal
Why it will happen: After an excellent first season in Munich James has seen his impact reduced in his second campaign, and injuries have allowed other players to go above him in the pecking order. A change of scenery might be needed.
Why it won’t happen: If Arsenal really need a brilliant creative midfielder whose defensive work rate can be lacking, they can just turn to the one they have on their bench. It’s hard to see what a team that can’t find a role for Mesut Ozil will do with James Rodriguez.
Predictor: The 27-year-old doesn’t fit the profile of player Arsenal manager Unai Emery is looking for, and Real Madrid would rather use the playmaker to land one of their own targets, such as Christian Eriksen. This move looks unlikely to happen.
ALLAN – Napoli to PSG
Paris Saint-Germain‘s search for a holding midfielder continues as they remain in the hunt for Napoli’s Allan, though according to GianlucaDiMarzio, the Italian club want PSG to double their current offer of €50million.
Why it will happen: If the Ligue 1 champions want someone, they usually end up getting him. There may be Financial Fair Play concerns hovering over the club but having decided they need to bolster their midfield, it’s unlikely PSG will be deterred.
Why it won’t happen: It’s hard to see Napoli letting go of a key player in the middle of the season. They’d be more open to letting Allan leave in the summer, whereas PSG’s need is immediate – which gives Napoli the leverage in negotiations.
Predictor: Though PSG have the financial clout, Napoli are in no rush to sell and can hold out for more money, or refuse to part with their player altogether. This might rumble on into the summer but for now, it’s likelier that Allan will stay in Italy.
EDER MILITAO – Porto to Real Madrid
Real Madrid have jumped the queue in the race to sign Porto defender Eder Militao, with Goal reporting that the Spanish giants have a verbal agreement with the highly-rated Brazilian to sign him in the summer.
Why it will happen: Real Madrid’s defensive ranks have grown thin this term, with Nacho the only centre-back looking capable of providing cover for Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane. The 21-year-old is one of Europe’s most sought-after prospects, fills a need, and is affordable.
Why it won’t happen: Because of his status as a coveted young player, Militao has plenty of suitors, having also been linked with a move to Manchester United. Madrid may have seemingly jumped ahead of the competition for the moment but expect other clubs to continue to challenge the La Liga club for Militao’s signature.
Prediction: United have plenty of other options for defensive targets while Madrid seem to have zeroed in on Militao. In all likelihood, this is a done deal.
CALLUM HUDSON-ODOI – Chelsea to Bayern Munich
After a week where talk of his future had died down, Callum Hudson-Odoi is set to dominate the headlines again with Sky Sports News claiming the Chelsea youngster has rejected the club’s latest contract offer, believed to be £85,000-per-week.
Why it will happen: Hudson-Odoi must have surveyed the landscape at Chelsea and realised how unlikely it is for him to get a first-team chance at a club that has not historically been good for its academy players. Simply put, Bayern have more to offer.
Why it won’t happen: Can Chelsea really afford to let what happened to Manchester City with Jadon Sancho happen to them? Hudson-Odoi may not have done much to earn a bigger deal than they’re offering but if he goes onto become a star in Munich, they will regret it.
Prediction: Chelsea are loaded in the positions that Hudson-Odoi can play, and have always been hesitant to promote youth. Bayern Munich, on the other hand, are stockpiling young talent as part of a squad revamp. The 18-year-old London native will soon be the latest addition.