Transfer Gossip: Man Utd to make £58m Bundesliga star their first January signing as John Murtough launches bid; Chelsea ‘insisting’ on deal for Liverpool target
Manchester United could make a German Bundesliga attacker their first new arrival of the January transfer window after submitting an offer for him, Chelsea are insistent about the capture of a Liverpool-linked midfielder, while Tuesday’s Transfer Gossip claims Leicester will hold talks with Atletico Madrid about a departure.
MAN UTD TARGET RB LEIPZIG ACE
Man Utd have set their sights on RB Leipzig forward Dani Olmo and hope to sign him in January after launching a bid, according to reports.
Olmo has good pedigree, having come through the Barcelona academy before moving to Dinamo Zagreb’s second team in summer 2014. He soon made it into their senior squad and began to shine in Croatia, which saw larger clubs come in for his signature.
Ultimately it was Leipzig who won the race for Olmo, paying a reported €20million (then £17m) to sign him in January 2020.
The winger – who can also operate in central attacking midfield – has impressed in Germany, scoring 19 goals in 106 appearances and helping Leipzig win the DFB-Pokal last season. That was their first ever major trophy.
Olmo’s impressive displays for Leipzig have also seen him force his way into the Spain national team. He has won 29 caps and scored at the Qatar World Cup, where Spain were knocked out in the round of 16 by Morocco.
The attacker’s Leipzig contract runs until June 2024 and the club are facing a big decision about whether to keep him or not. Big clubs are alert to his situation and a winter transfer has now become a possibility.
Man Utd bid made, setting up potential first signing
According to Goal, who cite reports coming out of Spain, Man Utd chief John Murtough has made an offer for Olmo ahead of a potential January swoop. The report does not reveal how much the bid is worth, but it claims he could cost as much as £58m.
Man Utd are in need of attacking reinforcements following Cristiano Ronaldo’s November exit. Olmo would not be a direct replacement for Ronaldo, given he prefers to operate from the left or just behind the central striker. One solution could be Erik ten Hag putting Marcus Rashford up front, with Olmo playing just behind.
Man Utd would have previously faced competition from Barca for the 24-year-old. The Spanish giants had been looking into re-signing their former academy player, only for Xavi to ‘veto’ the pursuit recently.
Instead, it is now Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich who will put up a fight for Olmo. They have a history of nabbing players from Leipzig, such as Dayot Upamecano and Marcel Sabitzer. To make matters worse for Leipzig, manager Julian Nagelsmann left for the Allianz Arena in July 2021.
Bayern want to repeat those captures by taking Olmo to Bavaria. However, Man Utd are leading the chase for him as things stand. The fact they have made a bid means Olmo could become Man Utd’s first signing of the January window, should Leipzig accept.
And there is a good chance the deal will go through. transfermarkt rate Olmo at €40m (currently £35.3m). This, coupled with the fact his contract is running down, means Leipzig will be inclined to accept the Man Utd offer.
After failing to land goalkeeper Yann Sommer from the Bundesliga, Ten Hag could get his January business underway with the capture of Olmo to boost his forward ranks.
CHELSEA WANT BENFICA MAN AT ALL COSTS
Chelsea have been ‘insisting’ on the signing of Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez in recent days, as per Fabrizio Romano.
Fernandez has been heavily linked with Liverpool following his World Cup exploits. The 21-year-old helped Argentina to lift the golden trophy and was also voted as the best young player at the tournament.
Liverpool are keeping tabs on Fernandez. They believe he would be a great signing to solve their midfield problems. However, Jurgen Klopp’s side have never made a bid for him or agreed to match his whopping €120m (£105m) release clause.
Liverpool now look set to pay for their hesitation as Fernandez is close to joining one of their Premier League rivals, in the form of Chelsea.
The Blues muscled in to put themselves in pole position for the Argentine on December 30. They are even willing to make him the most expensive player in Prem history, ahead of Jack Grealish’s £100m switch to Manchester City.
Romano provided an update on Fernandez’s situation on Monday night. He tweeted: ‘Chelsea have been insisting also today with Benfica in order to find a solution for Enzo Fernandez deal. This week will be absolutely crucial, waiting for [Benfica President] Rui Costa to decide.’
Romano added that Fernandez has had an agreement with Chelsea over personal terms for a week. He is clearly delighted at the prospect of moving to Stamford Bridge and is now waiting for Benfica to sell him.
As Romano says, the decision is ultimately up to Costa. Benfica have been stern about keeping Fernandez, even releasing a statement to push back claims they might let him depart.
However, Benfica are open to a sale if Fernandez’s release clause is met. And as Chelsea are happy to pay it, a deal in January is likely.
The 10-cap international would hugely strengthen Graham Potter’s midfield ranks. He would compete with the likes of Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic, Conor Gallagher, N’Golo Kante and Denis Zakaria for a place in the side.
ATLETICO MADRID PLOT LEICESTER TRANSFER TALKS
La Liga outfit Atletico Madrid hope to speak with Leicester City about the prospect of Caglar Soyuncu moving this winter, according to Romano.
Soyuncu enjoyed a top campaign with Leicester in 2019-20, making 34 Premier League appearances and helping the Foxes to finish fifth. They also reached the semi-finals of the EFL Cup, where they were beaten by Aston Villa.
Soyuncu was the surprise package for Leicester that year. He forced his way into the starting lineup and remained there for the entire campaign, putting in some solid performances.
However, he suffered a serious injury early in the following season and this marked the start of his downfall.
The centre-back has been unreliable pretty much ever since. Last term, he made several big mistakes as Leicester fell down to eighth.
Soyuncu is now out of Brendan Rodgers’ plans, having made just one league outing this season. And a January exit appears to be beckoning.
Atleti want to capitalise on the situation by taking the Turk to Spain. Manager Diego Simeone must feel he can get Soyuncu back to his best.
According to a recent tweet from Romano, Atleti aim to complete Soyuncu’s signing this month. With his contract expiring at the end of the season, they believe it will be done for a reduced price.
Soyuncu has already agreed to join the Spanish team on a free transfer this summer. But Atleti want to negotiate with Leicester about a transfer during the current window, to help improve Simeone’s defensive ranks.
Negotiations will soon start between the two clubs. Ultimately, the decision rests with Leicester. It might be a good idea to sell Soyuncu now so they can get back some money for him.
The only trouble with doing this is risking a defensive shortage. If some of Rodgers’ other centre-halves get injured after Soyuncu goes, then Leicester’s season will come under threat.