Lionel Messi to PSG moving closer, Klopp to urge Reds to keep Gini Wijnaldum - Transfer Notebook
It's the second of Inside Football's Transfer Notebooks and today we look at the growing belief that Lionel Messi could reunite with Neymar at Paris Saint-Germain - if, that is, Real Madrid open their chequebook to sign Kylian Mbappe. Meanwhile, Dean Jones has news on Gini Wijnaldum's contract impasse and Dele Alli's future at Tottenham.
Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona looks on during the UEFA Champions League Group G stage match between FC Barcelona and Juventus
Published 15/12/2020 at 11:30 GMT | Updated 15/12/2020 at 12:14 GMT
The January transfer window is usually seen by clubs as a time for repair jobs. Big money deals midway through a season are viewed as risky and this year, more than ever, clubs will tread with caution. With that in mind, we should expect the majority of movement to be centred around loan deals, short-term fixes and pre-contracts - but there are still some big situations for clubs to deal with.
This week in Inside Football we flick through the transfer notebook to check on imminent situations surrounding Gini Wijnaldum, Dele Alli and Isco.
But we also look towards one of the most stunning potential transfers of all time, and begin by exploring how Lionel Messi might truly leave Barcelona in 2021...
A couple of weeks ago Neymar inspired Paris Saint-Germain to victory over Manchester United and then told the press he dreams of teaming up with Messi once more. He said: "What I want most of all is to play with Messi again, to be able to enjoy him once again on the pitch. I want to play with him next year, for sure. We have to do it next season."
It's the type of line you might usually roll your eyes at but there is a feeling within the game that this is something that could genuinely begin to come together between now and the end of the season.
Messi is continuing to weigh up his future and with a pay cut in the offing after club presidential elections, he has two realistic options if he does want to make a transfer: Manchester City or PSG. City have a clearly thought-out plan which they put to him in the summer, and Messi is certainly interested in the chance to play in the Premier League, reunite with Pep Guardiola, and try to win the club a first Champions League title. He also likes the idea of a ready-made path to play in MLS with sister club NYCFC.
However, the PSG option is enticing too and they were the only other club to contact his representatives about the serious prospect of a move in August. It would have proven tricky financially at the time, because of the wage bill, but the opportunity to link-up with his pal Neymar again can become more possible next time around if Kylian Mbappe agrees a move to Real Madrid.
Several sources in Spain remain convinced Madrid do have the funds to make a big offer for Mbappe at the end of this season and that would open the door for PSG to try to replace him with the biggest name in the game.
Georginio Wijnaldum of Liverpool during a training session at AXA Training Centre
Image credit: Getty Images
The situation around Gini Wijnaldum’s Liverpool future is set to come into focus one more time as figures close to Jurgen Klopp believe he will urge the club to make a fresh contract offer.
Wijnaldum, 30, will be free to negotiate pre-contract terms with non-English clubs from the beginning of January but his importance to the club has been underlined during their injury crisis and Klopp hopes an agreement can still be reached over terms. The Reds manager is always respectful of decisions made by FSG and Michael Edwards over contracts and transfers, yet is also willing to step forward to make his case when there is a matter he feels needs addressing.
Wijnaldum could not agree terms during his last round of talks but there is still time to seek a solution. Klopp was the driving force behind Thiago Alcantara’s move from Bayern Munich as he felt they needed extra quality in the position and now there is a feeling he will request that the club try one more time to convince their Dutch midfielder to sign an extension.
His deal ends in the summer and Klopp feels it would make more sense to keep him on, even with a pay rise, than to fund the purchase of a midfield player to replace him.
Wijnaldum has started 11 of their 12 Premier League games so far but a few clubs around Europe are beginning to look at talks with potential offers for January.
Until now it has been felt Wijnaldum has pretty much made up his mind to move on, but Klopp refuses to give up and we might see one last push to find an agreement.
Spurs leaning towards Alli loan
Dele Alli of Tottenham Hotspur during the UEFA Europa League Group J stage match between Tottenham Hotspur and PFC Ludogorets Razgrad
Image credit: Getty Images
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is willing to allow Dele Alli to find a new club but is concerned about a big loss of value in this market. With that in mind, sources believe he would even prefer the midfielder to move on an 18-month loan deal than agree any cut-price January sale.
Levy always believed that Dele was on track to become a £100 million asset. A loss of form and failure to find a place in the Tottenham side means that is no longer realistic, and with the impact of Covid-19 there is now a feeling Spurs would struggle to sell him for more than £50 million.
Levy is a huge admirer of Alli's style of play and has him contracted to Spurs until 2024. With that in mind, there is a possibility he will recapture his form at another side and then come back to fulfil his potential at White Hart Lane—so a sale seems unlikely. A temporary deal for the rest of this season is the most likely solution but if an 18-month option is put on the table it would be considered.
PSG have interest and so do fellow Ligue 1 side Monaco, though Dele has to think carefully about his next move as he is still desperate to win his place back in the England squad ahead of the European Championship.
Isco a no-go?
Real Madrid are bracing themselves for January offers for Isco yet the player might resist a move for the time being.
He has fallen out of favour with Zinedine Zidane and is prepared to consider options outside of Spain for the first time in his career.
However, sources suggest he is wary of moving midway through a campaign and rushing any decision. Isco has been with Real Madrid since joining from Malaga in 2013. He loves the club and has turned down the chance to move in the past, such is his willingness to succeed with Madrid.
It is expected that he will have opportunities in England, Italy and Spain in the winter window but it will take a very impressive offer to tempt him away.