The January transfer window may be closed around Europe, but teams are looking ahead to the summer and there’s plenty of gossip swirling around. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz on rumours, comings, goings and, of course, done deals!
TOP STORY: Leipzig keen on Balogun if Nkunku joins Chelsea
Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun, who has impressed on loan at Stade de Reims this season, is now on RB Leipzig‘s shortlist as they look to sign a replacement for Christopher Nkunku, according Florian Plettenberg.
Nkunku has long been expected to join Chelsea in the summer for over €60 million after sources told ESPN last September that the club arranged for him to undergo medical tests. Since then, the 25-year-old forward has shown his quality by recording 17 goals and five assists in 27 matches across all competitions despite sustaining an injury that kept him from representing France at the World Cup.
Balogun, 21, has also displayed what he can do in front of goal, scoring 19 Ligue 1 goals this term, meaning there has been plenty of interest in his services from across Europe. One thing that would go in Balogun’s favour regarding Leipzig is that his reported €30m transfer fee could be lower than Lille star Jonathan David, who has also been linked with the Bundesliga side.
There has also been intrigue over which national side Balogun could represent. Born in New York, he is eligible to play for the United States and visited Orlando during the international break after dropping out of England U21s’ latest squad due to injury.
In addition to Balogun’s pending decision at the international level, there will be plenty of questions to answer regarding his future at club level once the current campaign ends.
– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)
08.30 BST: Liverpool will not pursue a move for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham this summer, with the club instead deciding to dedicate transfer funds toward overhauling Jurgen Klopp’s squad, sources have confirmed to ESPN’s Mark Ogden.
The Premier League club have been strongly linked with a €100m move for the England star for several months but the cost of the move would prevent the club from strengthening elsewhere ahead of next season.
Klopp has made clear the need for his squad to be revitalised amid a struggling season that sees them languishing in eighth position in the Premier League.
With nine games of the season remaining, Liverpool are 12 points adrift of a top-four place. Missing out on the Champions League could further reduce the funds available this summer as well as their attractiveness to potential transfer targets.
The Liverpool boss has suggested that strengthening the midfield will be the priority, and several players could be needed with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, James Milner and Naby Keita all out of contract this summer.
Is it time for Liverpool to replace Virgil van Dijk?
Gab Marcotti and Don Hutchison discuss Virgil van Dijk’s future after the defender was found wanting on multiple occasions vs. Arsenal.
PAPER GOSSIP (Danny Lewis)
– With sources telling ESPN that Liverpool have switched their focus from signing Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham this summer, The Athletic reports that the Anfield side will instead look at such as Chelsea’s Mason Mount, Brighton & Hove Albion duo Moises Caicedo and Alexis Mac Allister, and Bayern Munich‘s Ryan Gravenberch.
– Brighton are hoping that striker Evan Ferguson will sign a new contract despite his deal running until the summer of 2026, according to the Daily Mail. This comes amid interest from the likes of Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United and Chelsea. Even with the calibre of club looking at the 18-year-old, Brighton expect him to grow with them.
– Barcelona would rather let Ansu Fati leave in the summer than see Ferran Torres or Raphinha depart Camp Nou, reports Diario Sport, which adds that offloading the 20-year-old would bring in far more funds. Varca also want to let players leave who have played fewer minutes this season, and Fati has only managed 1,524 so far this term. On the contrary, Ronald Araujo, Frenkie de Jong and Pedri are all seen as untouchable in the transfer market.
– Juventus are keen to sign Lyon forward Rayan Cherki, according to Calciomercato. The 19-year-old’s contract runs until 2024 but has the option for another season, which could block a move for the Bianconeri, who are aiming to bring in young talents.
– While various clubs are looking at Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar, whose contract expires at the end of the season, Le10 Sport have suggested that Eintracht Frankfurt are particularly interested in the 24-year-old and have sent him a contract offer. Even so, no agreement has been reached, with the two parties far apart in their expectations.