Manchester United lead chase for Barcelona’s Ronald Araujo

The 2022 January transfer window is closed but there’s still plenty of gossip swirling about who’s moving where. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz on rumours, comings and goings and, of course, done deals!

TOP STORY: Man United in pole position for Barca’s Araujo

Manchester United are leading the race to sign Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo, reports Marca.

Araujo, 22, has a contract which expires in 2023, with the LaLiga club hoping to extend his stay at Camp Nou. However, talks have not progressed and the Red Devils are reported to be the frontrunners to land him above Real Madrid, Chelsea and Man City.

The Uruguay international has had a growing influence on the Barca first team in recent years and has started just over half of the club’s LaLiga games this season, though he has missed six through injury.

There were plans to extend his deal before the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but a mixture of that and the club’s financial situation (€1.4 billion in debt) have prevented proposals from going ahead. Indeed, the first new contract offer since then has been turned down by the player, who knows there is interest from clubs across Europe.

Manchester United are looking to rebuild in the summer with a new manager at the helm to replace interim boss Ralf Rangnick and Araujo could boost their defence, as they have struggled to find a consistent centre-back partnership from Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly and Phil Jones.

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21.32 GMT: A quick update on Friday’s news that Switzerland international Xherdan Shaqiri is closing in a move from Lyon to Major League Soccer side Chicago Fire. On Saturday, a source confirmed to ESPN that the Fire would pay a club-record fee of $47.5m dollars to Lyon to acquire the former Liverpool and Bayern Munich playmaker. Personal terms are yet to be agreed and Shaqiri still needs to undergo a medical exam, but the source said that Fire were confident that neither of those things will be stumbling blocks and that the deal should be completed soon.

20.39 GMT: A little double dip of retirement and managerial news here as Lee Nguyen, the former New England Revolution and LAFC midfielder, has called time on his playing days and will sign on as an assistant coach for Washington Spirit in the NWSL.

Nguyen, who was a finalist in 2014 for the Major League Soccer MVP award, had joined the Spirit’s coaching staff in October just before their surprise run to the National Women’s Soccer League title and joins the team for the 2022 season.

“It’s really been hard thinking about the day I would finally hang it up because when you love something as much as I love this game, you would have had to drag me off that field,” Nguyen said via his Instagram account on Friday. “But, after having time to reflect, I can finally say I’m at peace with stepping away from the game for good.”

19.44 GMT: Barcelona’s interest in Cesar Azpilicueta is piling further pressure on Chelsea’s shortage of options in defence, according to Mundo Deportivo. A failed winter move for Lucas Digne combined with the departure of Emerson Palmieri, coupled with injuries to Ben Chilwell and Reece James has Thomas Tuchel in a tough spot with his teamsheet. The Spanish outlet reports that Barca are in touch with Azpilicueta about a possible summer move, so the German boss knows he’ll at least have the Spain international’s services for the rest of this campaign.

18.54 GMT: Brazilian forward Luquinhas appears to be set for a move stateside. The 25-year-old is set to join the New York Red Bulls, according to reporter Pat Novak.

He reportedly did not travel with his club, Legia Warsaw, for their match against Lubin to prepare for the move and is just waiting for the final greenlight. Prior to playing in Poland, Luquinhas spent five years playing in Portugal for clubs including Benfica and Benfica B.

17.47 GMT: PSG may have to find themselves a new manager soon.



Julien Laurens brands PSG’s performance vs. Nice as “pathetic” and speaks about Mauricio Pochettino’s future.

16.29 GMT: The Sun claims Arsenal forward Gabriel Martinelli wants Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang‘s old Arsenal No. 14 shirt, now he has left the club for Barcelona.

Martinelli, 20, currently wears the No. 35 but is set to play a big part in the club’s future and now wants to wear the shirt made famous by the legendary Thierry Henry.

15.34 GMT: He scored against Man City in the FA Cup today but Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said the club are still very much interested in signing Fulham midfielder Fabio Carvalho in the summer, after a January move broke down at the final hour.

Sources told ESPN on Wednesday that the club were still interested in signing the 19-year-old in an £8m deal and Klopp confirmed that the club had made a move to bring him in on Monday’s deadline day, only for the club to run out of time to complete the transfer.

“We will see with that. Of course, we are obviously still interested,” Klopp told a news conference on Friday. “It would be crazy if we were not. It was late to do the deal before the transfer window closed again. And so in the end it did work out but yeah, we’ll see what happens. These things are sometimes out of our hands.”

14.30 GMT: Liverpool are trying to move on one of Sadio Mane or Roberto Firmino, according to journalist Ian McGarry on the Transfer Window podcast.

Liverpool’s front three of Mane, Firmino and Mo Salah is the envy of world football but the trio are either nearing 30 years old or already 30 and the club have just signed winger Luis Diaz for an initial €45m. Meanwhile, negotiations are ongoing to hand Salah a new contract.

“Jurgen Klopp and the club are willing to cash in on one of their front three,” McGarry said. “They’re doing this for two reasons. One: because the three players are coming to a stage in their career where their value will only decrease because of their age. But also because Salah is the only one that is performing at a level consistently that can justify the kind of contract that he and his representatives are asking for.”

13.41 GMT: Liverpool and Manchester City are both watching the progress of forward Bukayo Saka at Arsenal and could make a move if the Gunners fail to qualify for the Champions League, says ESPN’s Mark Ogden.

Saka, 20, has a contract at the Emirates which expires in 2023, so Arsenal face a crucial summer in their bid to keep the England youngster.

13.09 GMT: Xavi Hernandez said Barcelona could not afford to shoot themselves in the foot after restoring Ousmane Dembele to the squad for Sunday’s match against Atletico Madrid after a three-week exile.

Dembele, who is out of contract in the summer, was not called up for Barca’s last two matches after being told to either sign a new deal or find a new club. However, with the January transfer window now closed, Xavi said the situation has changed and he will count on the player until the end of the season.

“We did not find a solution with Ousmane, so the circumstances have now changed,” the Barca coach said in a news conference on Saturday. “We have spoken with the president [Joan Laporta] and made the decision [to reintegrate Dembele]. He has a contract, he is part of the squad and we are not going to shoot ourselves in the foot by not using him.”

Xavi also called on supporters to back Dembele, who last featured in the Spanish Supercopa defeat to Real Madrid on Jan. 12, if he features against Atletico at Camp Nou this weekend.

“I understand fans may be hurt by [the situation] but I encourage them to come and support the team and support Ousmane, if he plays,” he added. “He is training well and has been a good professional. We have to close ranks and think what is best for the club. We think he can help us and will use him when we see convenient.”

12.30 GMT: Real Madrid are well-placed to sign Brazilian wonderkid Endrick, sources told ESPN, but want to track his progress first and wouldn’t consider paying the outlandish fees being discussed to sign the 15-year-old.

Endrick shone in the prestigious “Copinha” Sao Paulo youth cup last month, being named player of the tournament as Palmeiras won the competition for the first time in their history.

Madrid could not sign Endrick until he turns 18 in July 2024 but feel they are in a strong position should they decide to make a move, given their relationship with his agent, who also represents Vinicius Junior.

Sources said Madrid would not be willing to splash out more than they did to sign Vinicius, a deal for whom cost €45m in 2018. Further, the club are treading carefully as they “do not want another Reinier,” sources said.

11.52 GMT: Bayern Munich winger Serge Gnabry has hit issues in talks over a new contract, says Sky Germany.

Gnabry, 26, is now in the last 18 months of his deal and wants to stay at the club.

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Man United and Liverpool are among the sides interested in the former Arsenal forward, who is Bayern’s second-top scorer this season with 12 goals in all competitions, but Bayern are confident of persuading him to remain.

Gnabry reportedly wants to earn as much as teammates Kingsley Coman and Leroy Sane — an estimated €15m-per-year.

11.12 GMT: Man City spent around £15m ($20m) to sign River Plate’s Julian Alvarez before sending him back to the Argentine club on loan.



Julián Álvarez will spend the rest of the season at River Plate, before joining City this summer for pre-season.

10.45 GMT: Barcelona are closing on an agreement to sign Chelsea full-back Cesar Azpilicueta in the summer, reports Mundo Deportivo.

Azpilicueta, 32, has a contract with Chelsea which expires at the end of the season has yet to agree an extension. Barca have very little money to spend given their well-publicised debts of €1.4 billion and are targeting players on free transfers.

10.07 GMT: Antonio Conte said Tottenham Hotspur endured a “strange” January transfer window because they had to correct past “mistakes” in the market.

Spurs had a frantic end to the month as Dele Alli joined Everton in a permanent deal while Tanguy Ndombele, Bryan Gil, Giovani Lo Celso and Jack Clarke all left the club on loan.

Tottenham made two signings of their own, bringing in Juventus duo Rodrigo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevski — the former in a €19m deal and the latter initially on loan — as they look to push for a top-four finish in the Premier League alongside a run in the FA Cup, which continues on Saturday with a fourth-round tie against Brighton.

“For sure, it was strange to send [four] on loan and to sell one player in January,” Conte said. “Maybe something wrong happened in the past. It was strange to send, I repeat, in January, four players to go on loan, one player to sell.

“It means that maybe in the past, you have to see what you did and maybe to understand there were some mistakes in the past. Usually, you buy players to reinforce your team. But if you send away on loan players that you bought in the last two or three years, it means [there was] something wrong [with what] you did in the past.

“Honestly, before I arrived at Tottenham and to read the list of the players in the squad, you consider the players you had in the squad and all the players are important players. Ndombele, we paid a lot, it was the same for Lo Celso, it was the same for Gil. Only when you stay in the situation, you understand very well which is the best solution for the club, for the players in this moment. For sure, to lose four players in January is not normal.”

09.30 GMT: The Chicago Fire are closing in on the transfer of Lyon attacker and Switzerland international Xherdan Shaqiri, a source confirmed to ESPN. was the first to report the news.

The source stated that not all terms have been agreed, but that the talks were far enough along that the Fire feel confident that it will get done. Chicago will need to pay an undisclosed transfer fee to Lyon as part of the acquisition. It helps that Fire sporting director Georg Heitz and Shaqiri have a longstanding relationship that dates back to when both were at Swiss side FC Basel, where the player began his professional career.

If completed, the acquisition would amount to a huge signing for a Chicago team that has qualified for the MLS Cup playoffs just once in the past nine years.

09.00 GMT: After deciding against adding to their squad in January because top targets were not available, Manchester United are focusing attention on signing a central midfielder in the summer, with work starting before a new permanent manager is appointed, sources told ESPN.

The Old Trafford recruitment department is working to whittle down a list of midfield targets, with West Ham’s Declan Rice, Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips and Amadou Haidara at RB Leipzig all being considered.

West Ham United are already quoting suitors — including Manchester City and Chelsea — more than £100m for Rice’s signature while there are doubts about whether Phillips would be willing to move to one of Leeds’ biggest rivals.



Mark Ogden discusses the future of Manchester United’s out of contract players.

PAPER GOSSIP (by Luke Thrower)

– Atletico Madrid hold serious interest in signing Aston Villa right-back Matty Cash for next season, reports Fabrizio Romano. The LaLiga club recently moved on full-back Kieran Trippier to Newcastle for €15m and are looking to replace him. Direct talks to sign Cash, 24, began in January and Atleti will come back in for him again in the summer.

Antonio Rudiger has rejected the latest contract offer from Chelsea, according to the Daily Mail. The Germany international is one of a number of Blues defenders that are available on a free transfer at the end of the season, alongside Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta. Rudiger has been a key player for Thomas Tuchel, though he has reportedly turned down a number of new contract offers, including one close to £200,000-a-week.

– Centre-back Felipe is considering a move to Brazil after he leaves Atletico Madrid, writes Ekrem Konur. The 32-year-old is out of contract in the summer, allowing him to sign a pre-contract agreement with a club outside of Spain. The journalist claims that Flamengo, Atletico Mineiro and Corinthians are all monitoring him.

– Despite already securing the €70m transfer of Dusan Vlahovic from Fiorentina in January, Juventus are eyeing another move for a young forward in Serie A. Calciomercato claims the Old Lady are hoping to land Sassuolo striker Giacomo Raspadori at the end of the season, with Alvaro Morata set to return to parent club Atletico Madrid after his loan expires.

– Rangers do not have a clause in their loan deal with Juventus for midfielder Aaron Ramsey to sign him permanently at the end of the season, according to Fabrizio Romano. The 31-year-old reportedly had a number of options before joining the Scottish Premiership side on deadline day, though there is no agreement over a permanent signing should he impress. However, Romano claims that the club will have priority in negotiating a transfer in the summer if they wish.

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