The January transfer window is entering its final hours, with many clubs and players attempting to strike a deal before Tuesday’s 11 pm GMT / 6 pm ET deadline.
Some transfers have already been signed off and completed ahead of the deadline, with Newcastle announcing the £40 million signing of Everton forward Anthony Gordon on Sunday, but others including Arsenal’s pursuit of Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo are in the balance and face a race against the clock to be done.
Deadline day is generally when the well-run clubs sit back and watch from afar as gambles and mistakes are made by those teams who have left their planning and recruitment to the last minute. But there are still plenty of deals to be done before the window closes, so who will be at the center of the action?
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Deals that could be done
Arsenal’s move for Caicedo is likely to be the biggest deal before the deadline if the Gunners can persuade Brighton to let the Ecuador international midfielder leave. Sources told ESPN the Gunners had a £60m bid rejected on Friday, now reports claim a second bid of £70m for the 21-year-old has also been turned down. Brighton coach Roberto De Zerbi appeared to leave the door open for Caicedo’s departure by saying “we are ready to go forward without him” after his team eliminated holders Liverpool from the FA Cup without the midfielder on Sunday.
Tottenham’s potential €45m move for Sporting CP right-back Pedro Porro appears to be off with the two clubs failing to agree the terms of a deal, but with the player eager to move to the Premier League. Although it could still happen with negotiations continuing between now and Tuesday evening.
Leeds are trying to seal a loan move for Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie, with the two clubs in talks. Club sources told ESPN that last week that while Leeds coach Jesse Marsch is a big admirer of the United States international, the financial cost of a deal made it highly unlikely that the player would be heading to Elland Road permanently. But with Juventus prepared to accept a small loan fee in the region of €1.5m for the 24-year-old with Leeds paying his wages, a loan until the end of the season could be agreed within the next few hours.
High-flying Newcastle are still looking to add to their squad following the signing of Gordon from Everton and are interested in a loan deal for Sheffield United midfielder Sander Berge, who is also on Fulham’s radar.
And keep an eye on Chelsea and their long-standing interest in Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez. Chelsea failed with a big-money move for the Argentina World Cup winner earlier this month, but they may yet make one last attempt to get a deal done before the deadline. Benfica will not allow Fernandez to leave unless the player’s €120m release clause is triggered, but Chelsea know that a deal can be done at that figure so the ball is in their court.
Manchester United winger Anthony Elanga is likely to leave on loan. The club have received several inquiries for the Swedish forward, with Borussia Dortmund the favored option of the youngster.
Another deal to watch is Nottingham Forest’s ambitious pursuit of Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Keylor Navas. Forest have been in talks with the former Real Madrid goalkeeper and the 36-year-old is said to be keen to move to the Premier League.
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Which clubs will have a busy day?
Chelsea have had a busy window already — with notable January arrivals including Mykhailo Mudryk (€70m), Joao Felix (loan), Benoit Badiashile (€37m) and Noni Madueke (€35m), as well as Malo Gusto from Lyon (€ 35m, loaned back) — so they are likely to do all they can on the final day to get another deal done for a midfielder. But the club with the most need to get players in is struggling Everton.
Having received an initial £40m from Newcastle for Gordon, Everton now have funds to sign the two or three players that incoming manager Sean Dyche will want to energize his team. Reinforcements to the squad’s attacking options has been a priority since before Frank Lampard was fired earlier this month and Everton tried and failed to persuade Manchester United to loan them Elanga. But with Gordon now gone, the need for new forwards has increased, so Everton will be busy until the final seconds of the window.
Brighton may also add players before the deadline. The Seagulls let forward Leandro Trossard move to Arsenal for £21m already this month and could also see Caicedo head to the Emirates for triple that fee.
With 18-year-old forward Evan Ferguson forced out of the FA Cup win against Liverpool with an ankle injury, the club could be forced to do some business to bolster their hopes of European qualification either through the Premier League or FA Cup, with 19 -year-old Yasin Ayari reportedly set to arrive for €6m from Swedish side AIK.
Brighton are a club that would generally do their deals well in advance of deadline day, but circumstances have dictated a change of policy this time around. With such a strong track record in recruitment, they are likely to move for players who have been long-term targets.
Surprise moves that could happen
There are several top players who are now in the final six months of their contracts who could find themselves moving on deadline day for purely economic reasons. With clubs facing the prospect of losing them for nothing in the summer, Tuesday is that last chance to cash in and raise funds.
Leicester’s Youri Tielemans is a player with plenty of admirers, including Manchester United, and his contract expires in June, so interested clubs could get the Belgium midfielder for a knockdown fee if it is clear that he will not sign a new deal.
Wolves winger Adama Traore is another player who could be available due to him being out of contract in the summer, while Tottenham may also be prepared to offload former Paris Saint-Germain forward Lucas Moura.
Axel Tuanzebe (Manchester United) and Matt Ritchie (Newcastle) could also be moved on for a fee before the deadline.
Moves that won’t happen
Harry Maguire won’t be leaving Manchester United before the deadline. The England defender has lost his place in Erik ten Hag’s team and started just once in the Premier League since September, but there are no plans at Old Trafford for the 29-year-old to leave. It might be a different story in the summer, when a lack of first-team football could force the £80m defender to seek a move, but Maguire will stay at United until the end of the season.
Christian Pulisic’s knee injury has ruled out the prospect of the US forward leaving Chelsea this month. Sources told ESPN in November that clubs had been made aware that the 24-year-old would be available for transfer this month, with Manchester United prepared to consider a loan move following the mutual termination of Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract. But with Pulisic expected to be sidelined for another month at least, he will stay at Chelsea until the summer.
Juventus forward Dusan Vlahovic will be staying in Turin, a source with knowledge of his situation told ESPN, despite the club’s financial problems and the prospect of missing out on European qualification after being docked 15 points for transfer irregularities.
Moves for the summer
Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham and Tottenham striker Harry Kane are the two players most likely to be at the center of transfer sagas this summer.
Liverpool, Manchester City and Real Madrid are vying to sign Bellingham, but with the England international not having a release clause in his contract, the Bundesliga club could command in excess of €120m for the 19-year-old given he has a contract until 2025.
Meanwhile, Manchester United are expected to lead the race for Kane if he declines the opportunity to extend his Tottenham contract, which expires in 2024.
United have made the signing of a top-class centre-forward their priority this summer and Kane is the favored option. But sources told ESPN that United are also watching Napoli’s Victor Osimhen and FC Salzburg’s Benjamin Sesko, who has already signed an agreement with RB Leipzig, Salzburg’s partner club within the Red Bull group, to move to the Bundesliga in the summer.