Today’s top stories:
Some fans have asked me about why Cody Gakpo didn’t get a big move in the summer, but it’s easy to make judgements with hindsight after his incredible start to this season and performances at the World Cup.
I’m not surprised because it’s not easy to invest €50m on a player with that track record, but he’s a top talent and many clubs were monitoring him, even if they weren’t ready to pay up for him at that time.
Arsenal were interested last March, Man United last August – and then many other Premier League clubs including Leeds.
📰 AC Milan could rival Barcelona for the potential signing of Arsenal forward Gabriel Martinelli, who could be a Rafael Leao replacement (Calciomercato)
Joao Felix on his future: “I’m completely focused on the World Cup. My agent doesn't tell me anything about what's going to happen, nor does he want to. I need to be focused on the now to play a great tournament.”
I can reveal that Joao Felix has chances to leave Atletico in 2023, for sure. His asking price will be more than €100m, around €120m - then it will depend on the proposals. As I recently reported, there have been several approaches, but no official offers.
Now it’s early to say where he could go, his agent is exploring the market and is speaking to many clubs. Felix dreams of the Premier League one day. I think he’d be perfect in any club in the world, but he desperately needs to play - he has to be a starter.
He’s had a good relationship with Atletico fans, but it’s true that his relationship with Diego Simeone has been tense.
💬 Would you want to see YOUR club sign Joao Felix? Which manager could get the best out of him? Let me know in the comments!
Barcelona director Jordi Cruyff: “Frenkie de Jong is not for sale. He’s key player for us, so that time has passed. He’s here and he’s important for us. At the end last summer after Fair Play discussions he stayed here and Frenkie is really loved at Barca”.
Cruyff on Memphis Depay: “Why should we sell Depay in January if it’s difficult to sign new players because of Financial Fair Play? He’s always been a great professional. He can be really helpful. Free agent in June? We will see in the next months.”
Bayern Munich want to offer Jamal Musiala a new deal, according to director Hasan Salihamidzic: “We told Jamal’s mother and his management that we're very happy with Jamal. We want to sit down with them after the World Cup to talk about Jamal's further future at Bayern.”
Official. Eden Hazard has retired from international football after Belgium’s World Cup exit.
The Real Madrid forward bows out after 126 appearances and 33 goals for his country. He’s fourth on their all-time appearances list, and their second highest goal-scorer.
Josko Gvardiol continues to be the subject of much speculation, but he wants to focus on the World Cup and right after will be time for talks with top clubs. Chelsea remain keen on signing him, then many other clubs around the world are following Josko. It’s an open race, nothing is agreed.
💬 Who will win the race for Josko Gvardiol? Give me your predictions in the comments!
📰 The Football Association want Gareth Southgate to stay as England manager until after Euro 2024, regardless of this weekend’s result against France (Daily Mail)
Sofyan Amrabat’s agent Mohammed Sinouh tells me on Premier League links: “Of course, I get a lot of phone calls for Sofyan. The whole world has seen he's the best holding midfielder of the World Cup. Sofyan is top professional, he's focused on World Cup with Morocco.”
It’s officially confirmed - Hansi Flick will stay on as Germany manager despite a disappointing 2022 World Cup.
Jurgen Klopp was never keen on being appointed as new Germany manager. He’s 100% focused on Liverpool now, though former Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel was open to talking about the job.
Adrien Rabiot on his future ahead of his contract expiring in June: “Premier League attracts me. I’ve always said I’d like to play there — will it be at the end of my contract at Juve? I don’t know. I don’t have favourite team in England, no team where I’d necessarily like to play.”
Jurgen Klopp was never keen on the Germany job. He’s 100% focused on Liverpool now, already discussing new signings with the board and insisting for Jude Bellingham. Klopp and Liverpool board will also decide together on player contract situations.
Manchester United wanted Cody Gakpo in the summer and they are still in talks with people close to the player. It’s not just them, though, with other clubs also showing an interest. PSV’s plan had been to keep Gakpo this January and then sell in the summer, but if a €50m bid comes in in January there is a chance for him to leave. I’m told there is a very serious chance of a move, so keep an eye on him in the next few weeks.
Erik ten Hag is really happy with Alejandro Garnacho’s development. He’s doing very well also in training, he’s part of present and future plans. The idea of the club is to extend his contract as soon as possible, negotiations are ongoing.
Josko Gvardiol has been linked with Man Utd by some reports, but I’m not aware of any change on his future. His focus is on the World Cup and nothing is agreed with any other club. I expect several top teams from England and Spain will be in for him in 2023.
Not just Nuno Mendes, now the World Cup is also over for Danilo Pereira after his injury, with the midfielder expected to return to Paris soon.
One more blow for Portugal after the PSG left back’s injury last week.
PSG appreciate Jude Bellingham, as hinted by their president Nasser Al Khelaifi, but they know it’s going to be difficult to enter the race now. Liverpool are really pushing for Bellingham, and Man City, Chelsea and Real Madrid remain in the race.
Marco Verratti has accepted all details of Paris Saint-Germain’s new contract proposal. His lawyers have approved it and the new deal will be signed soon.
Reminder: Verratti joined PSG from Italian 2d division side Pescara in 2012… and new agreement will be valid until June 2026. A remarkable career for the Italian midfielder.
PSG president Nasser Al Khelaifi on Cristiano Ronaldo: “Signing Ronaldo? The three players that we have [Messi, Neymar and Mbappe] it’s very difficult to think about Ronaldo. I wish him all the best. He’s fantastic and he’s still an amazing player.”
💬 Could you see Jude Bellingham and Cristiano Ronaldo at PSG? I want to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Cody Gakpo: “I haven’t heard from Manchester United yet. If they come, I will think about it with God’s help. I thought about Man Utd last summer, but when that didn’t happen, I didn’t know anymore. Then Leeds arrived, I had doubts… now I wait and see.”
An important clarification: there’s no way for Real Madrid to bring Endrick to Europe in 2023. International rules only allow Endrick to arrive in July 2024, when he turns 18.
Real are prepared to invest more than €60m now as they consider Endrick a special talent, but it will still be some time before we see him at the Bernabeu.
Sofyan Amrabat has had a great World Cup and we’re now seeing more and more transfer rumours about the Morocco midfielder.
I spoke to his agent Mohammed Sinouh today and he told me that there are many calls but no advanced negotiations. Sofyan only wants to focus on the World Cup and Fiorentina will try to keep him until June.
Tottenham were close to signing him last January then Fiorentina made the deal collapse, he’s always been in the list of Antonio Conte since he was Inter Milan manager.
📰 West Ham are making it a priority to sign a new striker in the January transfer window (Sun)
Negotiations between Wolves and Atletico Madrid for Matheus Cunha are still ongoing, progressing to find full agreement on all details. Timing will be key, as there are other clubs interested too. Felipe’s also discussed between the two clubs, as I revealed a few days ago.