Transfer Gossip: Arsenal path clears for two major January deals with Italy midfielder up first; Kylian Mbappe wants Man Utd star to join him at PSG
Arsenal are growing hopeful of two major signings in January, with Italy star Manuel Locatelli the first, Kylian Mbappe wants a Man Utd star to join him at PSG, while Saturday’s Transfer Gossip claims Graham Potter has made a decision on a January exit for Christian Pulisic.
MANUEL LOCATELLI PATH CLEARS FOR ARSENAL
Arsenal are reportedly at the front of the queue to sign Manuel Locatelli in January amid growing claims he will be sold by Juventus.
The Italy midfielder was chased by Mikel Arteta in summer 2020, only for the Bianconeri to beat them to his signing. However, the move to the Allianz Stadium has not gone as well as hoped.
Indeed, Locatelli has managed just three goals and four assists in 36 Serie A appearances for Juve. And while he has already made five appearances this season, there’s a growing feeling in the Italian media that Massimiliano Allegri will soon axe him.
Now Calciomercato reports that a January exit at Juventus will be given the green light with Arsenal the top candidates to sign him.
And with Paul Pogba nearing a return to full fitness, Locatelli will reportedly soon find himself on the sidelines.
Indeed, all is not well with Juventus, with the Old Lady having won just two of their seven matches so far. As such, major changes are expected when the January window opens in just 92 days.
Any deal, however, remains complicated by Juve’s own deal put in place to sign Locatelli. Indeed, he signed for them on a complex two-year loan deal from Sassuolo. That is due to become a permanent arrangement in summer 2023.
However, the report believes Juve can sell Locatelli to Arsenal if a price is agreed. Under the terms of the arrangement, Juve would be forced to bring forward their deal to sign the 24-year-old permanently. But they could then agree a simultaneous sale to Arsenal; potentially even turning over a profit.
Arsenal want Douglas Luiz as well as Manuel Locatelli
Manuel Locatelli is unlikely to be the only midfielder signing for Arsenal in January, either.
And if reports are accurate, then a deal for Douglas Luiz is also gathering pace for Arteta.
The Gunners boss remains desperate to bolster his midfield after seeing two summer offers falter for the Aston Villa star. That second bid – worth in excess of £20m – was rejected by Villa on deadline day.
But with his contract expiring in summer 2023, Villa know they will lose the player as it stands.
Indeed, reports are gathering pace that a move to Arsenal is on the cards. And those reports have been boosted by claims Luiz has already told friends he intends to move to Emirates Stadium.
Now Villa boss Steven Gerrard has further lifted their prospects following his admission that Luiz is no closer to signing a new deal.
And with the January window opening 13 weeks tomorrow, the clock may be ticking on Luiz’s stay.
Asked about his future at Villa and if a new deal was closer, Gerrard had some bad news for supporters.
“No news in terms of extending his stay here, so that hasn’t changed. But what I would say is that he’s very focused, he’s trained well,” he told The Sun.
“Am I surprised by the speculation? No, because we’ve got a young Brazilian player who’s a fantastic talent. So I expect to be asked this question a lot as the season progresses.
“We want him to stay here, the owners were very strong in keeping him here.
“We didn’t obviously want to lose him on the final day and he has performed very well since and he has trained very well and he is ready to go at the weekend [at Leeds].”
Kylian Mbappe fancies Marcus Rashford link-up at PSG
Kylian Mbappe’s growing influence at PSG is now extending to handing the club a list of his transfer targets, claim reports.
Mbappe’s future at the club was shrouded in speculation last season with his PSG deal nearing its expiry. And with that close to lapsing, it seemed certain a high-profile free transfer to Real Madrid would be on the cards.
However, Mbappe ended up signing an astonishing new deal to stay at PSG. Some reports indicate that may be worth as much as £600,000 per week.
In addition, the French press have also indicated that Mbappe – still only 23 – will also have a growing say in how the club is run.
To that end, RMC Sport claims Mbappe handed PSG a four-man transfer wishlist. And amid question marks over his relationship with Neymar, one of the players on his wishlist is Marcus Rashford.
The Manchester United star currently has just a year left on his United deal so may be lured away for a bargain price. However, after starting the new season so well, United are looking to tie him to a new deal.
The club also retains a one-year option on his current arrangement anyway. That means their prospects of a free transfer next summer are nil, regardless.
CHRISTIAN PULISIC LEARNS GRAHAM POTTER DECISION
Christian Pulisic will be given the chance to prove himself under Graham Potter for the rest of this season, claims a report.
The USA star has cut an unhappy figure at Chelsea in recent times. Indeed, a lack of regular football under former boss Graham Potter saw speculation linking him with Manchester United over the summer.
That did not materialise into a firm move, but speculation over Pulisic has grown this week amid talk Todd Boehly is willing to sell him. And that talk has been enhanced amid claims that Potter is already looking to Leandro Trossard as a replacement.
Indeed, Leeds United are reportedly heading a four-strong list of clubs looking to sign the winger.
However, Pulisic insisted earlier this week that he was giving no thoughts to leaving Chelsea. Furthermore, he saw the change of manager as a fressh start for him at Stamford Bridge.
Now, according to 90min, Potter has decided to give Pulisic a big chance to prove himself at the Blues.
He will grant the likes of the USA star and others like Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech the rest of this season to carve out their futures.
As such, a January departure for any of them has now been ruled out.
Potter is a big believer in making the players he has at his disposal better. As such, he’s unlikely to wave money at any potential problems in January.
Pulisic has 25 goals and 19 assists in 123 appearances for Chelsea since arriving from Borussia Dortmund in 2019.