Sunday 16 December 2018

Transfer round-up: Manchester United linked with Schalke midfielder while Giroud to leave Arsenal

Leon Goretzka will join Bayern
Leon Goretzka will join Bayern

The winter transfer window is now just around the corner with some of world football's biggest names potentially on the move again.

Neymar smashed the world transfer record by swapping Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain in the summer but many closer to home could follow him in big money transfers in January with speculation about the futures of Philippe Coutinho, Alexis Sanchez and more refusing to go away.

Manchester City were the summer's biggest spenders splashing over £200m on new arrivals but Pep Guardiola isn't likely to stop there with a title there for the taking.

Crosstown rivals United were busy too and will want more despite adding Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic and Victor Lindelof in the summer with Jose Mourinho keen on an attacking wide player and a new full back.

Liverpool struggled to get deals over the line and could still lose Coutinho while Chelsea are still in need of bodies as Antonio Conte continues to battle with a hectic fixture list.

Manchester City will return with a big offer for Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez in January, as they attempt to finally clinch the deal that Pep Guardiola was desperate for in the summer, according to the Independent's Miguel Delaney.

While City have been in supreme attacking form despite the failure to land the Chilean on deadline day in August, Guardiola is said by sources to feel that the unbeaten Premier League leaders can do a double of domestic title and Champions League this season, so wants to press home with the purchase and add real strength in depth to his squad to seize the opportunity.

Arsene Wenger's position is still that Arsenal do not want to sell despite the 28-year-old's contract running out at the end of the season, but that stance was shown to be malleable in the summer when the London club ultimately agreed to sell the striker on the provision that they would be able to bring in a replacement.

The Sun report that Tottenham are preparing to bid for Geoffrey Kondogbia, as they continue to search for a long-term replacement for Mousa Dembele.

The Belgian midfielder is one of Tottenham's senior players but has been hit with a succession of injury problems and is now into the final 18 months of his contract.

And the paper claims Spurs will attempt to sign Kondogbia, who is currently on loan at Valencia from Inter Milan, as a replacement.

But there could be complications, as Valencia insist they have already agreed a deal for the player at the end of his loan spell.

Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud could lose his place in France's squad for next year's World Cup if he does not get more playing time at the Premier League club, according to the national team's assistant manager Guy Stephan.

Giroud is yet to begin a league game for Arsenal this campaign, notching all three of his domestic goals as a substitute, but has started all the north London club's Europa League and League Cup matches.

The 31-year-old and fellow forward Alexis Sanchez have consistently been Arsenal's top goalscorers in recent seasons but the Frenchman has been relegated to the bench in favour of compatriot Alexandre Lacazette during this campaign.

"It's clear that he is not getting enough playing time and Didier (France manager Didier Deschamps) has already spoken to him about it," Stephan told French TV network TF1. "He has to find a solution in the coming weeks.

"He has a very good goals-to-games ratio, but he now has to play."

Midfielder Leon Goretzka has confirmed he will make a decision on his Schalke future in January amid increasing speculation linking him with a move to Manchester United.

The 22-year-old is out of contract next summer meaning interested clubs will be permitted to approach the player from 1 January.

United have been linked to the German, who has made 12 international appearances for his country, though Schalke are ready to make him the highest paid player in the club’s history in a bid to dissuade him from leaving.

Jose Mourinho will prioritise full-backs for Manchester United in the January transfer window, and is considering acting on the club's long-standing interest in Danny Rose of Tottenham Hotspur.

The club have made it known funds will be more limited in mid-season, causing the Portuguese to constantly re-assess his plans as he considers his side's attempt to unseat Manchester City from the top spot.

Mourinho has wanted to improve his attacking options, but there are a few reasons why moves for top targets are now expected to be delayed.

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