Transfer news: latest moves
So, about the transfer market this winter. Nothing really exciting happened so far, despite all the rumors that we are going to have some pretty good moves at this point. Some expect this window to gradually get better as it’s going to be nearing its close, but so far I’m all about pointing out how this is the lamest transfer window we had in years. No moves from the big teams yet, apart from some soundly, but desperate, transfers from Monaco, which is looking to improve the squad quality in order to avoid relegation in Ligue 2 after a disastruous season half.
Arguably the most “spectacular” move yet is the transfer of Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund to Chelsea, for 64M euros. However, Pulisic will continue playing for Dortmund, on loan until summer. I see BVB securing the player’s services for the reminder of the season as a good move, which could possibly help the team in their pursuit for the Bundesliga title big time.
Second one would be the transfer of Paulinho from Barcelona to Guangzhou Evergrande, worth 42M euros. However, this is only the deal being made permanent, as Barcelona loaned Paulinho back to the Chinese team last summer. This move is sad to see, not only because Paulinho was the first player to make his way back in Europe after being flopping and being sold in China, but also because he was an important part of Barcelona’s squad last season, being one of the key players behind the Blaugranas’ internal double, and having proved that he can still play at top level in Europe.
On the brink of relegation, Monaco, ex Ligue 1 champions in 2017, are so far the most active team on the transfer market this window. So far, their biggest move was the signing of Cesc Fabregas from Chelsea, as a free agent, on a three years and a half deal, a good signing considering his amount of experience in Premier League and La Liga. Along with Fabregas, Monaco also signed veteran Naldo from Schalke, also as a free agent, and Fode Ballo-Toure from Lille, for 11M euros. There are rumors that Monaco’s campaign won’t end here, as the boards are looking to improve the team quality in order to avoid a disaster.
Another interesting transfer is that of Munir El Haddadi from Barcelona to Sevilla. A product of La Messia, the ex Spanish international of Moroccan origins no longer found a place in the Catalan team, and spent the last two years on loan, first to Valencia and then to Alaves. Sevilla is known for launching players to top football, and this could be Munir’s attempt to relaunch his career.
An unexpected move is the transfer of Brahim Diaz from Manchester City to Real Madrid, for 17M euros. Considering the young midfielder only played 15 matches for the Citizens, and his 5 league matches last season were barely enough for him to be awarded a Premier League winner medal, it’s surprising that not only has he signed with Los Blancos, but he also made his debut in Primera in the match with Real Betis, coming out as a substitute and playing 8 minutes. His evolution will be especially interesting to watch.
I’d say probably the last really interesting one is Vicente Iborra’s move from Leicester City to Villareal. His return to La Liga was unavoidable at this point, simply because the Iborra wasn’t really a good fit for Premier League in the first place. It was quite intriguing to see him leave Sevilla for the Foxes back then, but he has so far only been average.
Also, I find Lovre Kalinic’s transfer from Gent to Aston Villa quite interesting. I think Villa brought the goalkeeper for the regular position, as he already played 3 matches, two of which are in Championship. The Croatian goalkeeper, first choice for his country after Danijel Subasic’s post-World Cup retirement, Kalinic was close to a transfer on Villa Park three years ago, when he still played for Hajduk Split, but the move failed as he was denied a work permit. One year later, he left for ex Belgium champions Gent, and played in the World Cup with his country, earning the silver medal as Croatia clenched the final against France.
Ok, so now we’re through with the official transfers, let’s see some rumors. There’s too big of rumors for the actual transfers. Some say Gonzalo Higuain is likely to join Chelsea this winter, but there is a whole lot of complication in this regard, as the striker is still under contract with Juventus, and loaned to Milan on top of that, so it’s really less likely the whole paperwork for the transfer will be handled before the end of the month, or when the window closes. There’s also rumors about Chelsea signing Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy, who’s also targeted by Tottenham Hotspur. I found a transfer there very unlikely, since Vardy had the chance to play for Arsenal back after he played with England at Euro 2016, but nothing came out of it.
There’s also Arsenal’s hopeless pursuit for Bayern Munich’s James Rodriguez, as the Columbian spends his second year of loan on Allianz Arena, with the possibility of a summer return to Real Madrid somehow unlikely.
Alvaro Morata is set so sign a deal with Atletico Madrid, with Chelsea loaning the Spanish striker to the Colchoneros until the summer, with an obligation to buy, the international press reports. I still don’t know how likely Morata’s transfer to Atletico would be; yes, the ex Real Madrid and Juventus striker was practically a product of Atleti’s youth academy, but a lot has passed since then. However, it’s not unlikely, since Morata needs more play time in a championship in which he can actually score, and Atletico needs a good back up for Diego Costa and Antoine Griezmann, with ex Fiorentina ace Nikola Kalinic doing a poor job in that regard.