THE January transfer window is officially OPEN and trading can begin!
Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku has apologised to Chelsea fans following his interview last week in which he admitted he wasn’t happy with his situation at the club.
Lionel Messi has been ruled out of action with PSG thanks to Covid, but a return to Barcelona could STILL be on the cards after the Nou Camp club announced they are flush with cash.
Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea have been hampered by injuries and Covid cases, but have been boosted by the news that Thiago Silva has signed a new deal.
Erling Haaland is a summer target for Real Madrid, who are confident they can land both him and Kylian Mbappe.
We’ve also the very latest on a shock link between Chelsea loan star Conor Gallagher and PSG.
When does the 2022 January transfer window close?
The transfer window opened on January 1, and closes on the 31st at 11pm.
Clubs will be able to sign and sell players during that time, with the Premier League’s winter break due to take place while the final week of the window is going on.
Get all the latest transfer news, gossip and updates here…
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Lukaku apologises to Chelsea fans
Romelu Lukaku has released a new video apologising to the Chelsea fans for the upset he caused after vocalising his unhappiness at the club.
An interview wit the Blues forward from December whipped up a storm – which led Thomas Tuchel to drop him for the 2-2 draw with Liverpool on Sunday.
But in a new interview the Belgium said: “I’m sorry for the upset I have caused.”
Tuchel confirmed earlier today that Lukaku has apologised and he is now available for selection once more.
Madrid make offer for Mbappe
Real Madrid are claimed to have made a cut-price offer to Paris Saint-Germain for Kylian Mbappe.
Italian football agent Giovanni Branchini claims Real hope a £41.75million bid will secure Mbappe – just six months after a £150MILLION offer was rejected.
“I don’t know how this will play out. It seems to me that this move from Florentino Perez is worth watching closely.
“It would be a shame for a player like Mbappe to move for free in the summer. I don’t know what they think about this in Paris.”
Details on Maitland-Niles deal
Ainsley Maitland-Niles looks set to leave Arsenal on loan as he prepares to join Jose Mourinho’s Roma in Serie A.
Journalist Fabrizio Romano said: “More on Maitland-Niles deal. Arsenal will receive €500k loan fee plus €500k bonuses from AS Roma, no buy option.
“Full salary to be paid, paperworks to be signed tonight. #ASRoma
He then added: “Balogun has also chances to leave Arsenal in January. Middlesbrough asked for him on loan #AFC.”
Season ticket holder on safe standing
Manchester United season ticket holder Will Blatcher, who has been going to Old Trafford since 1998, has given his take on the new safe standing area.
He said: “It was good. I want to stand up at a game. Whether United win, whether United lose, I’m going to want to stand up and I’m going to want to support the team, and this just gives you that ability to do it a little bit more.
“You never see a choir that are seated! If I remember correctly from being dragged to choir performances when I was at school! It promotes a better atmosphere, having people standing up.
“You’re quite restricted when you’re sat down. You’re crammed in; there’s not that much space around you. I naturally move when the game’s in play. I step forward or I step sideways.
“I’m not quite as bad as someone like Martin O’Neill, jumping up and down on the touchline, heading every ball! But I do move with it, so being able to stand up just helps with that. I always felt restricted when I was forced to sit down at a match.”
Sunderland sign U21 international Hume
Sunderland have snapped up Northern Irish Under-21 international Trai Hume from Linfield for around £200,000.
The defender, 19, has signed a four-and-a-half year deal with the League One promotion-chasing Black Cats.
And he said: “I’ve played over 50 games in the Irish league and I think that will help me settle in, but this is the right time for me to test myself in a new environment.”
Wilshere ready for new chapter
Jack Wilshere has starred in Paddy Power’s new spoof video where he stated he is ready to sign for any club… except for Tottenham.
The 30-year-old has teamed up with bookmakers Paddy Power where he featured in a plea video for a team to secure his services.
In the hilarious video, Wilshere can be seen sitting at a table while two marketing executives kick-off their presentation by presenting their ‘Retirement plans for Jack Wilshere’.
He was then tasked with channelling his inner Bruno Fernandes to write the perfect apology message. To which he said: “Sorry I forgot to take the bins out this week. Wasn’t good enough, and not what the house deserves.” Before adding: “We go again next week.”
After eating a sandwich to symbolise his ‘hunger’ to find a new club, Wilshere finally snapped as he declared he wants to keep things simple.
He remarked: “Jack Wilshere. Fit, ready and available for offers.” The two-time FA Cup winner continued: “Just not from Tottenham.”
Ex-Brighton man Propper retires
Ex-Brighton and Holland star Davy Propper has retired at just 30 after falling out of love with football.
The midfielder left Albion to rejoin PSV Eindhoven in the summer having made just 11 appearances for the Seagulls last season.
Propper was hit hard by the isolation from his family when Covid struck and it affected his motivation.
He had hoped a return to Eindhoven – who sold him to Albion for around £6million in 2017 – would help him rediscover his passion for the game but sadly he has decided to quit.
Propper, who won 19 caps for his country, said: “During the period that I was abroad, I noticed that I slowly lost the pleasure of football.
“I found it extremely difficult to muster the discipline necessary to perform optimally and to let my life completely be determined by the busy football schedule. The coronavirus period and the lack of visits from family and friends did me no good then either.”
League Cup outright winner odds
Betfair have released the odds for the winner of this year’s Carabao Cup:
- Chelsea 21/10
- Liverpool 21/10
- Arsenal 16/5
- Tottenham 7/2
Liverpool call for Arsenal postponement
Liverpool are in talks with the EFL with Thursday’s Carabao Cup clash with Arsenal in growing danger of being called off due to a new Covid attack at Anfield.
Training scheduled for 4pm on Tuesday was cancelled amid reports that as many as 14 new cases had emerged within the club.
Should the Football League ruling body decide to postpone the semi with the Gunners then it is almost certain that Sunday’s FA Cup third round tie with Shrewsbury will also be postponed.
Boss Jurgen Klopp missed Sunday’s thrilling 2 – 2 Prem clash at Stamford Bridge after testing positive.
Joining him were Alisson, Joel Matip and Roberto Firmino.
Before Christmas Virgil Van Dijk, Fabinho and Curtis Jones were also forced out by the virus.
United for top four?
Manchester United have incredibly still been backed to finish in the top four this season following their defeat to Wolves by a boffin Supercomputer.
The Red Devils were beaten 1-0 at Old Trafford on Monday as Joao Moutinho fired home in the 82nd minute to put a dent in their Champions League qualification hopes.
The result leaves Ralf Rangnick’s side in seventh spot in the Premier League – four points behind fourth-placed Arsenal.
But according to bettingexpert.com, United are poised to pick up a run of form under the interim German gaffer to claim the final European Cup spot.
Partey’s coming of age performance
The Arsenal community, whist bitter at the refereeing and VAR calls in the narrow defeat to Man City, are still revelling in the performance of their young team, writes Dave Seager.
Without their manager to cajole and instruct them from the touchline, Mikel Arteta’s boys outthought, outfought and with 11 men outplayed the champions.
It was a coming-of-age performance in so many ways, proving that this Arsenal side can go toe-to-toe with the best teams in the league, but it was also a coming-of-age performance by one individual.
On Saturday lunchtime we finally saw the Thomas Partey we all thought we had signed from Atletico, who until now we had only seen glimpses of.
Watford lose battle for Barisic
Claudio Ranieri has admitted defeat in his battle to land Rangers left-back Borna Barisic.
The Hornets haven’t managed to keep a clean sheet in the Premier League this season and Ranieri wanted the experienced 29-year-old Croatian international to help plug the leaks.
However, Watford’s initial offer of £2million fell well short of Rangers’ £5m asking price and although the Hornets went back to the table with £1.5m of add-ons last week, the Scottish champions remained unimpressed.
Ranieri and Watford reluctantly pulled the plug on negotiations yesterday after Rangers agreed a £16m deal with Everton for reserve right-back Nathan Patterson.
That financial booster has eased the Glasgow giants’ cash flow problems after Covid left them needing to find £7m by the end of the season.
Watford had hoped to use that to their advantage but Everton’s move has allowed Rangers to call the shots and SunSport can confirm the deal for Barisic is now dead.
Brighton and Palace eye Nketiah
Brighton and Crystal Palace remain keen on Eddie Nketiah – and would like to sign him in this window if possible.
Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen are also interested in the Arsenal forward, who is out of contract in the summer.
Nketiah, 22, showed his class with a hat-trick against Sunderland in the Gunners’ 5-1 EFL Cup quarter-final win last month.
He is expected to start Thursday’s semi-final clash with Liverpool and Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has spoken of his desire to keep the forward.
But Nketiah is keen for more game-time and with his league minutes restricted, the likelihood is he will move on.
Palace and Brighton wanted to sign him in the summer and are still very much in the hunt during this window, as they would likely be in the summer if a deal cannot be struck now.
Patterson Signs for Everton
Everton have officially announced their second signing of the transfer window with the arrival of Rangers and Scotland full-back Nathan Patterson.
In the announcement, the club stated: “Nathan Patterson has signed for Everton from Rangers for an undisclosed fee, the talented right-back agreeing a five-and-a-half-year deal until the end of June 2027.”
They went on to add: “The 20-year-old Scotland international, one of Europe’s most highly-rated young defenders, becomes the Club’s second signing of the winter transfer window following the arrival of Ukraine left-back Vitalii Mykolenko on New Year’s Day.”
In his first interview with the club, Patterson said: “I’m over the moon to sign for Everton and looking forward to getting started.
“It was an easy choice to sign. This is a massive club with huge history and the fanbase is tremendous.
“Obviously we aren’t in the place where we want to be right now but we can definitely get there with the talent in the changing room and staff here, and I have full belief we can do that.”
Haaland given ultimatum about future
Erling Haaland has been given an ultimatum by Borussia Dortmund, with the German club telling him to decide his future by the end of January.
The 21-year-old Norwegian sensation has a contract with the Bundesliga outfit until 2024, but he is expected to leave in the summer as Europe’s biggest clubs prepare to pay his £64million release clause.
Haaland has been linked with a move to Premier League outfits Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea.
But, according to Marca, it is Barcelona and Real Madrid who have been put on alert following Dortmund’s call for a decision to be made by the player.
A deadline of January 31 has been set – meaning Haaland’s future will be known by the end of the current transfer window.
United Join Liverpool in Tracking Zakaria
According to The Mirror, the Red Devils have set their sights on signing Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Denis Zakaria.
Boss Ralf Rangnick reportedly wants to add some steel to his struggling midfield after witnessing a series of poor performances of late.
Fans have long bemoaned their need for a new defensive midfielder, and 6’3″ Zakaria would add some much needed physicality to the team.
Monchengladbach will reportedly accept around £25m for the 25-year-old Swiss international, according to the Daily Mail.
And he has already stated that he plans to quit the German team when his contract ends in the summer.
Which means that Adi Hutter’s side would be better off cashing in on Zakaria now while they still can – rather than to let him for nothing in the summer.
But the Red Devils will more than likely have to compete with rivals Liverpool for his signature, with Reds boss Jurgen Klopp a long-term fan of the player.
Lukaku to Return to Action for Chelsea
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has confirmed that Romelu Lukaku is back in contention to face Tottenham in the EFL Cup semi-final tomorrow.
Lukaku, 28, admitted to Sky Italia that he wish hadn’t left Inter Milan – while also criticising Tuchel’s tactics.
But after leaving his £97.5million striker out against the Reds, Tuchel has confirmed that Lukaku will be involved again after apologising in private.
He said: “First of all, we are happy that we took the time to look calmly on it, this is what we did.
“He apologised and is back in the squad for training today. The most important thing was to understand and believe it was not intentional.
“There was never the slightest behaviour against the team. These are very important points to understand that it is not that big as people or you want it to be.
“It is also not small but small enough to stay calm, to accept an apology and to move on.”
South Coast Scramble
Despite reportedly being close to an agreement with Bayer Leverkusen, Eddie Nketiah is also being chased by both Crystal Palace and Brighton.
The 22-year-old striker is out of contract in the summer and appears set on a move away from the club he joined almost seven years ago.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has spoken of his desire to keep the forward, but Nketiah is keen for regular first-team football, which Arteta cannot promise.
Palace and Brighton both wanted to sign him in the summer and are still very much in the hunt this window, despite being available for free in the summer.
Patrick Vieira is keen to sign another forward, with Jean-Philippe Mateta’s loan from German club Mainz unlikely to be made permanent.
While the Seagulls have had a new striker on their shopping list for some time and have a spot available having just loaned Aaron Connolly to Middlesbrough.
Maitland-Niles To Wait for Loan Move
Ainsley Maitland-Niles may have to wait until the end of the month before sealing a loan move to Jose Mourinho’s Roma.
The former Chelsea, Man Utd and Spurs boss wants the unsettled Arsenal midfielder immediately and is pushing to get a deal done quickly.
But with Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny both away at the African Cup of Nations, Mikel Arteta wants to keep him as cover in the event of an injury to Granit Xhaka or Albert Sambi Lokonga.
As a consequence, Arsenal have yet to respond to Roma’s request and no loan fee has yet been agreed.
The Serie A giants are also proposing a fee of £8.4million should they decide to keep Maitland-Niles on a permanent basis at the end of the season.
But that figure is below Arsenal’s valuation of a player who was the subject of a £15million enquiry from Everton last summer.
6. Jordan Pickford
The former Sunderland keeper and confirmed Mackems fan has endured a lengthy hate-hate relationship with the Toon Army.
So the England No 1 would provide a wonderfully entertaining capture for the fun-loving Saudis.
Pickford admits he has become too involved in exchanges with mocking Newcastle fans during their recent clashes with Everton – sticking his tongue out, celebrating a penalty save and even jokingly offering a fan ‘outside’ for a fight.
Consistently brilliant for England, some of his worst Everton performances have come against Newcastle. So if you can’t beat them, why not join them?
5. Dele Alli
There is an outside chance that this one might just happen – and Dele would surely be a sensation on Tyneside, in the Bigg Market if not at St James’ Park.
A star of England’s 2018 World Cup campaign, Dele has infuriated a succession of Tottenham bosses – including Jose Mourinho, who labelled him a ‘f***ing lazy guy in training’.
Alli is only 25 and it is not beyond the realms of his imagination that he may rediscover the form that briefly made him one of the best attacking midfielders in Europe.
Spurs are willing to let him go but would sensible Eddie Howe be willing to take such a high-profile gamble?
4. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Arsenal are desperately trying to find a buyer for their stripped captain – and they must surely have hoped that Newcastle might have been the mug punters willing to match his £350,000 weekly wage.
Aubameyang was axed as skipper last month for his shoddy time-keeping, having failed to turn up on time for last season’s North London Derby when his Lamborghini got stuck in traffic during lockdown.
The Gabonese striker is a former Premier League Golden Boot winner, whose goals won Mikel Arteta the FA Cup in 2020.
But since signing his bumper contract, Aubameyang’s work ethic has divebombed.
Surely every budding super club needs an over-paid bone-idler to frustrate the living daylights out of supporters?
3. David Luiz
The ideal central-defensive partner for Ramos, the wild-haired, scatterbrained Brazilian is the man who made defending fun again.
A Champions League and Premier League winner during two spells with Chelsea, despite his penchant for reckless challenges, Luiz is currently hamming it up with Flamengo in his homeland.
But the 34-year-old, once derided as a ‘PlayStation footballer’ by Gary Neville, could surely be tempted back to England for one last hurrah by a big sack of Saudi loot.
His recent sojourn with Arsenal was generously laden with red cards and penalty concessions.
And no circus is complete without a Sideshow Bob.
2. Sergio Ramos
Every pantomime needs a villain, and anti-heroes do not come much more compelling than Ramos.
The veteran Spanish centre-back left Real Madrid for Paris St Germain last summer, after 16 years at the Bernabeu which included four European Cups, five La Liga titles and 26 red cards.
Capped 180 times by Spain and just about the most cynical old-school defender on Earth, Ramos would give Eddie Howe’s side a menacing mean streak.
And his arrival in the Premier League would enrage Liverpool supporters – who still keenly recall his hatchet job on Mo Salah, which ensured the Egyptian’s early exit from the 2018 Champions League Final against Real in Kiev.
1. Mario Balotelli
After Manchester City’s Abu Dhabi takeover, the club made some weird and wonderful signings – including several players with outstanding talent but questionable attitude.
And young Italian striker Balotelli was the prime example – scoring a creditable 20 goals in 54 Premier League appearances, including a starring role in the 6-1 demolition of Manchester United at Old Trafford, capped off with his ‘Why Always Me?’ T-shirt celebration.
Why always Balotelli? Because he once drove into a women’s prison for a look around, he set off fireworks in his bathroom, he rucked with boss Roberto Mancini and when his mother sent him to the shop for groceries, he returned with a trampoline, a Vespa scooter and a Scalextric set.
Still only 31 and banging them in for Turkish club Adana Demirspor, Balotelli recently celebrated a goal by kicking a team-mate in the head. Surely the time is right to make him the new Tino Asprilla on Tyneside?
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/4291673/chelsea-transfer-news-live-lukaku-apology-messi-mbappe-southampton-takeover/ Transfer news LIVE: Lukaku APOLOGISES to Chelsea fans, Southampton takeover LATEST, Messi return to Barca