The January Transfer window is not the best market to conduct transfer activities but some pretty interesting movements tend to occur every once in a while. Clubs around Europe are replacing injured players, shoring up their teams, creating depth options, and some are shredding their squad. We analyze the market for the top 5 biggest stories from the winter transfer market. While not every deal mentioned in this article will go through this January, these are the major transfer stories going round in the market today.
Mesut Ozil to Fenerbahçe
And so it ends, after 7 and a half years filled with delightful highs and demoralizing lows, Mesut Ozil leaves Arsenal to head home. “I am a Fenerbahce fan. That is why I am very happy to be coming to Turkey with Fenerbahce. I’m very excited. God gave me the chance to wear this jersey as a Fenerbahce fan. God willing, I will carry it with honor and do everything I can for the team” the former Real Madrid player said. It is always great to see football players play for the clubs they supported growing up. Ozil has not played for Arsenal since March and after being left out of the Premier League and Europa League games, this is a welcome change for the playmaker.
The midfielder who is of Turkish ancestry has endured a torrid end to his international career with Germany and his club career with Arsenal. He deserves this respite for his honors with both teams. We are sure of why his international career came to an end but we are still scratching our heads for why the journey with Arsenal came to such an end. Ozil has handled it gracefully as he does with the ball on the pitch. Bye, bye Gunners bye!
Fikayo Tomori to AC Milan
Ac Milan’s first-choice target for future partner to Alessio Romagnoli was Mohamed Simakan of Strasbourg. While Simon Kjaer is doing an amazing job right now, he is 31-year-old, and the Viking warrior will need replacing soon enough. There was a little haggling over the price of the French defender so Paolo Maldini, Frederic Massara, and Ivan Gazidis have decided to move on. Their new target? Fifth choice Chelsea defender and academy graduate Fikayo Tomori. Despite winning Derby County’s player of the year under Frank Lampard and scoring an impressive debut season (especially the early parts of the 19/20 season), Fik has fallen down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge with Thiago Silva, Kurt Zouma, Antonio Rudiger, and Andreas Christensen all ahead of him right now. He needs game time but one has to wonder if this deal will get him that.
The Milan club was looking at Simakan as a long-term replacement and this loan + option to buy for 30 million Euros looks bogus. Especially as Milan are bulking at Simakan’s 20 million Euros price. When you consider that Romagnoli and Kjaer is an established pairing then you begin to see why this move does not make sense for all parties. But according to the transfer experts, the deal is progressing. Fabrizio Romano, Matt Law of The Telegraph, Liam Twomey of The Athletic UK have confirmed that indeed the deal is progressing. Strange one but we hope it turns out great.
Mario Mandzukic to AC Milan
Staying with Ac Milan, it looks like Croatian free agent Mario Mandzukic will be signing a 6-month contract with the Rossoneri. The Italian club has been one of the feel-good stories of the season. After becoming agents of averageness for the past 7 or 8 years, they currently sit top of the Serie A table, level on 40 points with city rivals Inter Milan but with a game in hand. Their only loss of the season came at the hands of Juventus and one of the reasons for that loss was the absence of talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Milan side plays off him, especially against high-pressing opponents. His target man role is essential for the side but they lacked it against Juve. In comes Mario Mandzukic who is something of an expert in this role even adding a different dimension to it by playing as a wide target-man at Juventus.
After his release from his contract with Al-Duhail of Qatar, the Croat needs a club that he can offer something. Ac Milan might just be that club. 34 is still ripe for game time in Italy and with the 39-year-old Zlatan not as resolute as he once was, Mandzukic is an interesting option to have. While it is surprising that Milan did not push for Arkadiusz Milik who was once a target, you can understand why this deal makes sense for them. A good backup option to have and it allows Rafael Leao to move to the left where he is more dangerous.
Erling Haaland to Chelsea
Not a January deal but big news coming from Simon Johnson of The Athletic UK is that Chelsea want to bring the Norwegian striker to Stamford Bridge in the summer. Fabrizio Romano also mentioned the deal a few months earlier saying that the Chelsea hierarchy sees Haaland as the “ultimate striker”. Chelsea have improved defensively from last season but now their offensive side has become dour. Timo Werner is missing chances, Tammy Abraham is not clinical enough, Olivier Giroud has his use but he is not a 30-goal a season striker is he? Also, Kai Havertz who can be a decent striker on his day is still adapting to the league.
The move does put at least one of the players above in the market even though Giroud’s contract runs out in the summer with no signs of renewal. Tammy Abraham has 2 years left on his current deal by Summer and there was a little tension regarding his renewal. Whatever happens, this will be one of the biggest deals of the summer if it goes through. It will be interesting to see if Real Madrid or Barcelona decide to put their heads in for the wonderkid. His 75 million Euros clause comes alive in the summer of 2022 but it looks like Chelsea will not be waiting. The London club has not dealt with Mino Raiola after the Romelu Lukaku saga, brace yourselves, ladies & gentlemen.
Dele Alli to PSG
This transfer has been brewing for a while now but Daniel Levy is being Daniel Levy. Jose Mourinho has made it clear that he does not want the Englishman. He has left him out of the squad so many times this season and the message is clear. Also, PSG needs a player of Alli’s profile. Leandro Paredes, Marco Verratti, Idrissa Gueye, Ander Herrera, and Danilo Pereira do not arrive in the opponent’s box the way Dele can and it will be an advantage for the Parisian team to finally get some goals from midfield. He will be under a coach that knows his quirks and understands how to manage him. Mauricio Pochettino in his first few weeks has already taken his first trophy but he will be trying to imprint more of his identity on this team.
Leonardo and QSI’s sacking of Thomas Tuchel was unnecessary but here we are. Now with a coach of his own choice under him (Leonardo), let us see which players PSG target. Let us see if he can finally get some good deals over the line this time. For Dele, there is always a casualty when Mourinho takes over a new club and with Tottenham Hotspurs, it is him. He should take heart though, people rejected by Mourinho have gone on to have great careers. See the best player in the English Premier League for example. Fabrizio Romano believes that PSG will make another approach this week over a loan deal and everything hinges on Levy’s decision.