Decisions and Deals to Watch on the Countdown to Transfer Deadline Day

Dean Jones@DeanJonesBRFootball Insider at Bleacher ReportJanuary 27, 2020

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 04: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the head coach / maanager of Manchester United consoles Jose Mourino the head coach / manager of Tottenham Hotspur walks off after the Premier League match between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford on December 4, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)
Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

The countdown to transfer deadline day seems to be filling most fans with anxiety rather than excitement.

Business has generally been slow across Europe's top leagues, but now it will kick into gear—especially in England.

There is a sense of dread among supporters of big clubs that they are not going to get the pick-me-up they need...while smaller clubs worry about the threat of their best players being poached.

There will be plenty of activity over the coming days, so we have reached out to B/R sources to get an idea about what to make of some major storylines before Friday's cut-off.


Man United's Slim Pickings

As the Bruno Fernandes saga rolls on, a short-term fix is needed in attack, and the club have been filtering through options over the past week to fill the void left by Marcus Rashford's back injury. They have exhausted almost every avenue—and that's why names like Odion Ighalo and Islam Slimani are now cropping up.

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The links may have surprised some fans, but this is where United are at right now. They are having to look into every possible option because it's hard to find suitable quick-fixes at decent fees.

Edinson Cavani is a more mouthwatering proposition, but Atletico Madrid's intent to sign him is a major sticking point. Sources say there is a very small chance he could join United on loan and then move to Atleti permanently in the summer, but deals like that are rare.

United will probably make one signing before the window closes, but it is the summer that is being marked as a defining point in this regime. If they can land top targets Jadon Sancho and James Maddison later in the year, the current frustration may be forgotten.


Arsenal's Dilemma over Pablo Mari

The next 48 hours are key in whether the deal for Flamengo defender Mari can be rescued. The player has been in England and looked set to sign on the dotted line, but the fine details of his contract have caused some concern for the Premier League club.

The Gunners had seen technical director Edu orchestrate this entire deal and had a vision of Mari helping Mikel Arteta's defensive problems.

Yet sources in South America suggest Arsenal fans should not be too disappointed if this transfer does completely collapse as there are serious doubts over whether he is the right man for them. One questioned his ability to step straight into the pace of the Premier League, and another highlighted the fact he could be too slow.  

Shkhtar Donetsk defender Mykola Matviyenko has also been linked, but a source at the Ukranian club told B/R it is unlikely to happen—even though it is an interesting prospect for the player.


AC Milan to Move on Suso and Krzysztof Piatek

Piatek and Suso are up for grabs as the club continues to move on from a disappointing start to this season.

Suso is set for a move to Sevilla, where director of football Monchi has lined him up on a deal that will see him move on loan now and then sign permanently in the summer.

Piatek is proving harder to shift, partly because the player has become less desperate for a move, and partly because the Italian club want to recoup the €35 million they paid for him.

They hope Spurs will return with a more reasonable offer, after lowballing them recently. But Milan are also becoming open to the idea of loaning him out for a fee of around €10 million with an option to buy, rather than obligation to buy.

Chelsea have had a look at Piatek but feel they can probably get through the season without him—so would need a good deal to crop up in order to make it worthwhile.


Spurs Need to Replace Harry Kane

The struggle to sign a Harry Kane back-up will eventually be solved—but Spurs are searching far and wide to find a deal that represents good value.

The problem with a Piatek deal has been that Tottenham were unwilling to sign the player on loan unless they had the option to send him back if things did not go well—now that Milan are willing to rethink that structure we could see new talks open.

Meanwhile, Spurs have made an initial offer for Steven Bergwijn—thought to be around €25 million—but sources told B/R that PSV did not consider it close enough to their valuation.

They aim to hold out for a fee nearer to 35 million, though there is an acceptance from sources in the Netherlands that a deal will happen.


Borussia Dortmund Wait on Emre Can Decision

An early deal for forward Erling Haaland is already paying off for Lucien Favre's men, and now the Bundesliga title-chasers want to add some guile and steel to their midfield.

The main option right now is Emre Can of Juventus, who can leave if the right terms are met.

Sassuolo's Ivorian forward Jeremie Boga fights for the ball with Juventus' German midfielder Emre Can (R) during the Italian Serie A football match Juventus vs Sassuolo on December 1, 2019, at the Juventus Allianz stadium in Turin. (Photo by MARCO BERTORE

Juve are willing to show flexibility, but the player himself is likely to determine what happens next, as personal terms will be difficult. He would see his annual salary cut by around €6 million if he joins Dortmund—so he is holding out to see if any other serious offers arrive.


West Ham United's Survival Bid

This is a club you can always rely on to provide some transfer entertainment—and links to Dimitri Payet show just how desperate things are getting.

The Marseille midfielder is very unlikely to return, but there is another fun figure who could turn up at the London Stadium...ex-Man United cult hero Marouane Fellaini.

The Hammers are in danger of being relegated, and manager David Moyes wants to team up with Fellaini again to help steady the ship—but the board are very sceptical of the idea.

Fans are starting to protest about the way the club is run, and this week will determine just how hostile things become. A new forward and midfielder are crucial if the club are to avoid further upset of the support.

Listen to Dean every Wednesday on the B/R Football Ranks podcast. New episodes every Wednesday. Subscribe here


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