Inside Track on Big Transfers Involving Real Madrid, Chelsea, Man City and MLS
The January transfer window is open, but Europe's biggest clubs are also working on deals for next season.
We have seen an agreement between Borussia Dortmund and Chelsea that will see Christian Pulisic in a blue shirt permanently in the summer, and Aaron Ramsey is the next big name that will strike a summer deal as he closes in on signing at Juventus from Arsenal.
We also have an insight on Chelsea's striker dilemma and a potential move to the Premier League for MLS star Miguel Almiron.
Madrid to Pursue Hazard Ahead of Eriksen
Real Madrid are being linked with Christian Eriksen at a time when the Tottenham Hotspur midfielder is beginning to think about his next contract. His current deal at Spurs runs to June 2020 and the Denmark international has had initial discussions with the club over the next stage of his career.
Spurs insiders insist there is no indication the former Ajax man will push to leave the club, but there is an expectation that they will reward him for such a fundamental role in their rise in recent seasons.
A report by Miguel Delaney for The Independent suggests Madrid have made initial steps to sign Eriksen in the summer, and Bleacher Report sources have confirmed there is interest from the Spanish club as they monitor his situation.
However, it was also suggested Madrid are more likely to view the 26-year-old as a long-term target for the following year—and they continue to see Eden Hazard as their primary target for the 2019 summer window.
Madrid did not push ahead with a planned move for the Chelsea forward at the beginning of this season, but he has held off signing a new contract at Stamford Bridge. Fears have been growing that is because the 28-year-old has assurances through intermediaries that a firm bid will be coming.
A big shake-up is expected at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium next summer, and the Belgium international is one of the men high on the agenda.
While Eriksen is wanted in Madrid, we should expect that he will only become a key focus once Hazard's future has become perfectly clear.
Bournemouth Slap £70M Price Tag on Chelsea Target
Talks over a potential deal for Gonzalo Higuain have dominated Chelsea's focus this week as head coach Maurizio Sarri urges his bosses to bring in a forward who gives his side a new edge.
However, if an agreement cannot be reached to bring the 31-year-old Argentinian to Stamford Bridge, Bournemouth's Callum Wilson continues to be a player of interest.
Chelsea have been compiling reports on the Cherries striker for the past year but began to take their interest in him to another level as he continued to impress this season.
Now an England international, Wilson is managing to perform at any level of the game, and Chelsea scouts believe he has all the attributes to succeed at a bigger club.
Bournemouth have been aware of their interest, yet they are keen to deter them from taking the 26-year-old away from the south coast. Sources indicated to B/R that power figures inside the club are ready to stand their ground if Chelsea do make an offer, and they will attempt to hold out for a fee close to £70 million.
They believe that figure is fair for a proven Premier League goalscorer who is representing England and about to hit his peak years.
Leicester City's Jamie Vardy is also on Chelsea's shortlist, but the Blues believe that transfer would be more difficult to complete in this window.
Manchester City Looking Towards Ndombele
It will not have escaped anyone's attention that Manchester City are far weaker without Fernandinho, and that will escalate the club's desire to bring in a new defensive-midfield player.
The Brazil international has missed two Premier League matches this season through injury—against Crystal Palace and Leicester—and City lost both games. In a squad packed with talent, he's the one man they don't have cover for.
City manager Pep Guardiola has been aware for some time that any injury to Fernandinho would be a problem. City thought they were going to sign Fred last summer and planned to mould him into a replacement, but he then joined Manchester United.
They are now moving on to other targets, and the man who remains top of the shopping list is Lyon's Tanguy Ndombele.
The 22-year-old impressed in two games against City in the UEFA Champions League this season, and the Manchester club now need to figure out a financial package that could take him to Etihad Stadium.
Ideally, they have not been planning to spend huge figures over the next year, but concern over the long-term future in the heart of their midfield may change that. They have already been in touch with Lyon about a potential £45 million deal, but the word back from the French outfit is they would be looking for a fee closer to £70 million.
Negotiations will step up closer to the end of the season, and in the meantime, City's recruitment staff will work on other options. One of those being spoken about is West Ham United's 19-year-old Declan Rice, but even he would cost at least £50 million, according to sources.
Almiron Move to Newcastle United Still Alive
The financial details are yet to be agreed for Atlanta United's star striker, but there is still confidence from both Newcastle United and Miguel Almiron that a transfer will go ahead.
When the Magpies first looked into a move for the 24-year-old, many felt it would not go through because of uncertainty at boardroom level. Owner Mike Ashley has been looking to sell the club and there was a sense that a transfer would not be agreed if he remained at the helm.
No buyer has come forward at this stage, but insiders in the north-east of England believe Ashley may yet give the green light to complete a deal for Almiron. One source told B/R: "There's a 60-70 per cent chance this move goes ahead."
In order to make the switch from MLS to the Premier League, there is still some negotiating to be done, though. The Paraguay international is valued at over £25 million in the United States, but Newcastle are adamant they will not pay more than £20 million.