With the opening of the winter transfer window on Jan. 1, there’s plenty of gossip swirling about who’s moving where. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz on rumours, comings, goings and, of course, done deals!
TOP STORY: Al-Nassr can’t convince Luka Modric to join former Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo
Saudi club Al-Nassr made headlines when they signed Cristiano Ronaldo for the most expensive contract in history, and it appears they aren’t stopping there as they seek to add more big names. One player who won’t be joining, however, is Luka Modric, as Al-Nassr have failed in their attempts to sign Modric and reunite him with Ronaldo, his former Real Madrid teammate.
That’s according to Spanish outlet Marca, who report that the 37-year-old Croatian midfielder has turned down a lucrative offer to join Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia to spend another season at Real Madrid. Modric and Ronaldo previously played together for six years at the Bernabeu Stadium.
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Modric, who despite his age starred for Croatia as they finished third at the World Cup in Qatar, is on Al-Nassr’s wish list alongside other players including Sergio Ramos. However, Modric isn’t ready to leave Los Blancos, and reportedly instead wants to stay in the Spanish capital for at least one more season.
Modric led Croatia to a third-place finish at the World Cup last month and he continues to play a prominent role for Real Madrid, so when he is ready to leave Los Blancos, he is sure to have plenty of options. Modric reportedly has also had offers from MLS, but he believes he can still play at the highest level in LaLiga for another season.
Ronaldo, for his part, was reportedly met with lukewarm interest from top European clubs after his exit from Manchester United before the World Cup, with clubs reportedly put off by his media campaign against the club and manager Erik ten Hag.
Mark Ogden feels Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr is a sad ending to his football career.
– It could be a busy January at Molineux Stadium with Wolves boss Julen Lopetegui open to the departure of Raul Jimenez, according to the Daily Mail. Following the arrival of forward Matheus Cunha from Atletico Madrid, Lopetegui is ringing the changes in Wolves’ forward line, and he’s now on the lookout for another striker in order to allow Jimenez to leave this month. The Mexican 31-year-old has been one of the club’s most consistent performers in the last few years, and he is also one of Wolves’ top earners on a contract that runs out in 2024, which may explain why Wolves are willing to let him go. Barcelona have been tracking Jimenez’s progress, which has been restricted to just five appearances this season due to injury.
– Following Chelsea‘s “substantial offer” for Argentina star Enzo Fernandez, Benfica boss Roger Schmidt has admitted that the 21-year-old midfielder may have played his last game for the Portuguese club, as reported by the Daily Mail. Fernandez was selected to play against Sporting Braga on Friday night, though reports in Portugal suggest he wasn’t keen to play, possibly as a result of Chelsea’s interest. The Blues are believed to have agreed to pay Benfica’s £106 million release clause in instalments. This news would explain Fabrizio Romano’s suggestion that Benfica are plotting a bid for Norwegian rising star Andreas Schjelderup as a potential replacement.
– There has been much speculation about Adrien Rabiot‘s next destination, but it now appears as though Juventus are keen to have talks with their French midfielder in order to persuade him to stay in Italy, according to Calciomercato. Rabiot looked likely to leave the Bianconeri in January, but Juve bosses are hoping they can sit down with the 27-year-old and convince him to extend his existing contract. Talks have taken place between Juve chief Federico Cherubini and Veronique Rabiot, Adrien’s mother, while clubs such as Arsenal continue to monitor the situation closely.
– Juventus are following midfielder Denis Zakaria‘s progress at Chelsea under Graham Potter with interest, and would be open to Chelsea making the loan move a permanent one. That’s according to Tuttosport, who believe that a figure of €28 million would be enough for the Blues to seal a permanent for the 26-year-old Swiss international. Zakaria has been in good form since being granted first-team opportunities by Potter, and was solid again in the club’s 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest.
– Moroccan star Azzedine Ounahi is wanted by a number of clubs around Europe, but L’Equipe believe Napoli lead the race for his signature. However, the French outlet believes the 22-year-old will see out the season with his current club Angers, and will move on in the summer rather than in this January transfer window. Ounahi, a midfielder, is contracted to the French club until 2026, and Napoli are believed to have agreed to let him see out the current season before moving to Italy. A firm offer is believed to have been made. Leicester City have also been heavily linked to the Atlas Lions star.