THE January transfer window is OPEN and deals are being made!
SunSport can exclusively reveal Liverpool are close to a £60m deal for Porto’s Colombian winger Luis Diaz.
And there are reports that Robert Lewandowski could be open to a Premier League move this summer.
The Polish superstar is said to be ‘dreaming of Spain and the Premier League’ after almost a decade at Bayern Munich.
Meanwhile Man City are ready to offer their record goalscorer Sergio Aguero an ambassadorial role with the club, SunSport can exclusively reveal.
But the club have also been hit with a HUGE Covid-19 outbreak, with a staggering 21 positive cases.
Erling Haaland is a summer target for Real Madrid, who are confident they can land both him and Kylian Mbappe.
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…
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss Friday night’s FA Cup tie at Swindon after a massive outbreak in the squad.
Guardiola and his right hand man Juanma Lillo are both isolating at home after testing positive for coronavirus.
They are among 21 cases at City with seven of those affected understood to be players.
However as things stand, the Citizens want the tie to go ahead and are not currently planning to request a postponement.
Coach Rodolfo Borrell will carry out media duties on Thursday to preview the game and take charge of the team at the County Ground
Liverpool are close to completing an estimated £60million deal for Porto star Luis Diaz.
SunSport understand that Diaz is close to a move to Anfield and is seen as the perfect stand-in for Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane as they head off to the African Cup of Nations this month.
Reds manager Jurgen Klopp saw the winger shine in both Champions League group stage games against the Portuguese giants in September and November – and is said to have been impressed.
Klopp would prefer to wait until the summer, but the absence of his top attackers – as well as several injury issues – sees him tempted to fast-forward the procedure.
The Colombia international has a reported £67m release clause but the Merseysiders are hoping to get him for slightly less
Nat good enough
Liverpool have rejected a £7million offer for Nat Phillips from an unnamed Premier League team.
According to Sky Sports, the Reds deem a bid in the region of £15million as more ‘acceptable’.
Serie A clubs have also enquired about the centre-back as he has attracted interest from across Europe.
The 24-year-old has struggled for game time at Anfield with Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Ibrahima Konate ahead of him
Pain in the Arsenal
Arsenal have been fined £20,000 for losing their heads after Gabriel Magalhaes’ red card against Manchester City.
Gabriel was given his marching orders in the 2-1 loss against the Citizens after receiving two quick bookable offences.
The north Londoners were hit with an FA charge for ‘failing to ensure its players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion’.
The FA statement read: “Arsenal FC has been charged with a breach of FA Rule E20.1 following its Premier League game against Manchester City FC on Saturday January 1.
“It is alleged that Arsenal FC failed to ensure its players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion during the 59th minute.
“The club has until Friday January 7 to respond”
Arsenal, Newcastle and Everton are set for a transfer battle over Lyon star Bruno Guimaraes.
That is according to the Evening Standard, who report that the Gunners have been following Guimaraes for a few years now.
In fact, the north Londoners scouted the midfielder when he was playing at his previous team Athletico Paranaense in Brazil.
The Brazil international, though, won’t come cheap and sources in France believe he could cost at least £40million
Kieran Trippier has been spotted leaving his hotel in Newcastle as he approaches a move to the Magpies.
Trippier is set to become the new regime’s first ever signing as the Toon are embarking on a new era.
The full-back is joining from Atletico Madrid following a £12million deal between the two clubs.
The England international is set to become Newcastle’s highest earner on £100,000 a week
End of the Pierre show
Arsenal’s out-of-favour star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has reportedly been made available for a transfer to Europe’s biggest hitters.
Aubameyang has been frozen out of the team by Gunners boss Mikel Arteta following another disciplinary breach last month as he returned late from a visit to France.
According to the Mail, clubs across the continent have been informed they can sign the centre-forward as early as this month as the north Londoners are happy to offload him.
The Gabon international has been previously linked with a move to Barcelona, who are desperate to bolster their attack following Sergio Aguero’s shock retirement.
Juventus are also keeping tabs on Aubameyang and so are Newcastle, who are looking to get him on loan
Arsenal and Chelsea seem set for a bidding war over Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic.
That is according to CBS’ Ben Jacobs, who reports that the Gunners have made a £45million bid, that includes Lucas Torreira who is already on loan at the Artemio Franchi.
However, Vlahovic is happy to bide his time and the Viola are keen to assess other offers.
This looks like it will drag out throughout the January transfer window, while the Blues have entered the race and Barcelona have been linked.
The centre-forward’s agent is busy talking to several clubs while the Serbia international is not completely sold on a move to the Emirates
Borussia Dortmund will make one lasteffort to persuade Erling Haaland to extend his stay with them beyond the summer.
Dortmund say they want a decision over Haaland’s future to come in the next few weeks rather than dragging on indefinitely.
Director Sebastian Kehl said: “We will sit down with Erling and his team over the next few weeks and discuss the situation.
“It would be good if the situation does not drag on forever
“He is in very good hands at Dortmund and we as a club can continue to be a good option for him.”
Haaland has been linked with Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona and Real Madrid
A long tripp
Kieran Trippier arrived at Newcastle’s training ground on Wednesday to undergo a medical with his new club.
Trippier is set to complete a £12million move from Atletico Madrid with the teams having agreed a fee on Tuesday night.
The full-back is set to become the Magpies’ highest earner on £100,000 a week.
And the Toon will cough up £12m plus add-ons for the England international’s services
Manchester City are ready to offer their record goalscorer Sergio Aguero an ambassadorial role.
Aguero, who signed with Barcelona last summer, was forced to hang up his boots last month at the age of just 33 due to a previously undetected heart condition.
SunSport understand City are keen to get the legendary striker back on the payroll and are exploring ways to make it happen.
The Argentine great is currently on holiday back at home soon after announcing his agonising decision to retire in Barcelona on December 16
Carabao Cup reminder
Arsenal’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against Liverpool has been postponed after a COVID-19 outbreak at the Merseyside club.
The Reds appealed to the EFL for the game to be called off following a surge in coronavirus cases.
Manager Jurgen Klopp and his assistant Pep Lijnders both tested positive and are currently in quarantine.
And as many as 14 new cases are understood to have emerged within their ranks.
Liverpool confirmed that their training ground at Kirkby had been closed for the next 48 hours as a result of the outbreak, which also saw Alisson, Joel Matip and Roberto Firmino making the list
On the Lewk out
Bayern Munich superstar Robert Lewandowski has his heart set on a summer transfer to England or Spain and has put Premier League clubs on alert.
That is according to Sky Sports Germany reporter Marc Behrenbeck, who claims that Lewandowski and his agent Pini Zahavi will push for a move at the end of the season.
Behrenbeck said: “What we know about Lewandowski and his agent Pini Zahavi…
“Lewandowski really wants to have this one big move, to Spain or the Premier League. Really great markets for players.
“So Lewandowski and his agent will try to get this move in the summer.
“But until this time Bayern want to extend his contract. So what is happening at Bayern at the moment?
“The first point of contact is Lewandowski to extend his contract and if this doesn’t work they will be back in the game around Erling Haaland.
“But at the moment, they want to extend his contract. But Lewandowski is dreaming of Spain and the Premier League”
Good morning football fans
Arsenal’s League Cup semi-final first leg against Liverpool has been postponed after a significant Covid outbreak at the Merseyside club.
Jurgen Klopp’s side yesterday appealed to the EFL for the match to be called off following a surge in cases.
The German is currently self-isolating and missed Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea.
Klopp’s No2 Pep Lijnders was on the touchline at Stamford Bridge.
But he will now also be missing after testing positive himself.
And as many as FOURTEEN new cases are understood to have emerged within the club.
Meanwhile, Chelsea moved one step closer to the Carabao Cup final with a 2-0 first leg win over Tottenham in their semi-final clash at Stamford Bridge.
Kai Havertz netted an early opener before Ben Davies unfortunately turned into his own net to hand Chelsea a two-goal advantage ahead of the return fixture in North London.
The winner of the tie will face either Arsenal or Liverpool in the final which will take place on Sunday, February 27.
Chelsea ease past listless Tottenham
Chelsea comfortably beat Tottenham 2-0 in the first-leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
Hakim Ziyech was a constant thorn in Spurs’ side while Marcos Alonso just seemed to annoy his manager from the first minute to the last.
There were barely five minutes on the clock when Marcos Alonso intercepted a sloppy Japhet Tanganga pass midway inside Spurs’ half and slipped Kai Havertz in down the left channel for the German to finish via a deflection of Davinson Sanchez.
And if the first goal was unlucky, Chelsea’s second was simply comical as Tanganga headed Hakim Ziyech’s free-kick into Ben Davies and it cannoned into the bottom right corner.
The second-half was slightly more even as both teams made changes.
Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner both missed big chances while the West Londoners limited Spurs to very little. It could have been more but the Blues thoroughly deserved the win.
Chelsea 2-0 Tottenham
Chelsea still lead Spurs 2-0 in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final at Stamford Bridge.
But a goal for the visitors could change a great deal as they look to give themselves the best possible chance in the return fixture at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Can Antonio Conte’s men conjure something up in the final 10 minutes?
Barcelona avoid cup scare
Barcelona’s season almost went from bad to worse as Xavi’s side survived a Copa del Rey scare to win 2-1 against minnows Linares Deportivo.
The Spanish THIRD-tier side, based in Andalusia, took a shock lead at their tiny 10,000-seater stadium and were 1-0 ahead until past the hour mark.
Linares Deportivo were only founded in 2009, as a replacement for the now defunct CD Linares, and spent most of the evening dreaming of a giant-killing.
Barcelona eventually clicked into gear though, and ended up winning the last-32 tie 2-1.
Tuanzebe set for Napoli loan
Manchester United defender Axel Tuanzebe is set to sign for Napoli on loan until the end of the season.
Journalist Fabrizio Romano has said: “Deal signed and sealed right now for Axel Tuanzebe.
“Paperworks signed between Manchester United and Napoli. Straight loan until June for €600k loan fee plus €600k bonuses.
“Medical expected to take place on Friday in Italy. Here we go confirmed.”
Chelsea 2-0 Tottenham
Kai Havertz gave Chelsea the lead over Tottenham with a deflected effort off of Davinson Sanchez.
And now a defensive calamity has led to Ben Davies inadvertently turning home an own goal.
Nightmare for Spurs.
Smalling agrees to be vaccinated
Chris Smalling finally agreed to get a Covid-19 jab after the Italian government clamped down on Serie A anti-vaxxers.
A new rule making it mandatory for all footballers in the top-flight to have at least one coronavirus vaccination comes into force on Thursday.
Around ten players across the league, including Roma defender Smalling, had previously refused any dose of the vaccine.
But the former Manchester United ace, 32, agreed to get jabbed before Jose Mourinho’s side travelled to AC Milan so he can continue to play.
According to Football Italia, Smalling was just one of around ten players in Serie A not to have had the jab.
Newcastle eyeing up Everton’s Digne
Newcastle are closing in on the signing of Everton star Lucas Digne, according to reports.
Digne, 28, has made 15 appearances for the Toffees this season and could be available for around £25million.
Chelsea have been linked with a move for the Frenchman and reportedly stepped up their pursuit amid injuries to Ben Chilwell and Reece James.
But it seems Newcastle will beat The Blues to Digne’s signature, according to journalist Carlos Reynoso.
Kante and Silva positive for Covid
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has confirmed N’Golo Kante and Thiago Silva will miss tonight’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg after testing positive for Covid-19.
Tuchel will be without the two senior players for Tottenham’s visit to Stamford Bridge.
The pair returned positive tests this morning and will now undergo a period of self isolation.
It means they are likely to miss the FA Cup clash against Chesterfield at the weekend, and the League Cup second leg at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium a week today.
Chelsea vs Tottenham
The teams for tonight’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg between Chelsea and Tottenham.
Chelsea: Arrizabalaga, Rudiger, Sarr, Azpilicueta, Ziyech, Jorginho, Saul, Alonso, Mount, Lukaku, Havertz.
Tottenham: Lloris, Emerson, Tanganga, Sanchez, Davies, Doherty, Hojbjerg, Skipp, Lucas, Son, Kane.
Rangnick turns to psychologist Lense
Ralf Rangnick will lean heavily on club sports psychologist Sascha Lense when Manchester United return to training today to get some much-needed confidence back in the team.
As soon as the new Red Devils boss was appointed he brought the highly rated Lense onto his staff to get into the players’ ‘hearts, brains and blood’.
Lense is the first person to have such a role at the club in 20 years.
Now Rangnick will be hoping his work can pay off in the days before United take on Aston Villa at Old Trafford in the FA Cup.
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